Revelation 19

Revelation 19 completes and expands the narrative about the end of time and the final destination for the forces of evil and for the followers of the Lamb. Chapter 18 ends with a lament for the fall of Babylon the Great and for the whore who rode the dragon; she celebrated evil and appeared to be in complete control of the destructive forces. But finally, she is consumed by the evil she thought she had under control; “they make her desolate and naked, they will consume her flesh and burn her up with fire”. What an accurate description of our chosen idols today, we choose pride, fashion, education, intoxicants or self-esteem,  we think we control our chosen “beast” but the “beast” really controls us, it devours and destroys our soul. At her death there is silence and mourning on earth; while in heaven there is joy, music, worship and celebration. Revelation 19 begins with the sound of a great multitude singing the praises of God; “For the Lord our God, the All-Powerful reigns! Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory”. The wedding celebration of the Lamb has begun; the Bride of Christ has made herself ready, dressed in bright, clean, fine linen which are the righteous acts of the saints.

The wedding of the Lamb is a stark contrast to the destruction of the whore, on earth they will never again hear the voice of the bridegroom and bride while in heaven all happiness and joy break out in full force. Hebrew marriage customs occurred in three parts, the betrothal period, which was as legally binding as marriage; the terms of the marriage contract are accepted in the presence of witnesses and before God. During the engagement period the bride makes herself ready, when the dowry and bride price are finalized, the groom arrives with great celebration to bring the bride to her new home.  What we see in Revelation 19 is the Bride (the church) has made herself ready, the Bridegroom (Jesus) has paid the bride price with his own blood, now the time of waiting has ended and the Bridegroom arrives to escort his Bride to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

Then John sees the Bridegroom arrive on a white horse, his eyes are like a fiery flame, his crown is shining on his head, his clothing appears to be dipped in blood and he is called the Word of God. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword to strike down the nations, and his name is written on his clothing and on his thigh, “King of kings and Lord of lords”. With him are the armies of heaven; the invitations to the wedding of the Lamb have been issued and the followers of the Lamb enter into the banquet. The Bridegroom and his vast army usher those who rejected the Lamb to the great banquet of God. In grim contrast to the wedding supper of the Lamb the birds of the air will feast on the flesh of the kings, generals, powerful people and flesh of all those who reject the invitation of the Lamb. Finally, all those who reject God are thrown alive into the lake of fire burning with sulfur, “because they found no place in their hearts for the truth so as to be saved”.

Revelation 17-18

Revelation 17 begins with an angel telling John that he will be shown the final punishment and the end to the great prostitute, the Whore of Babylon and the Fall of Babylon. These two chapters seem to reflect back and expand on the Revelation 16:19, “The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath.” John’s vision begins with a description of the Woman riding the Beast; she stands in stark contrast to a previous vision of the Woman in Heaven (chapter 12).

Remember the Woman in Heaven is clothed in the sun, moon and stars giving birth to a male child with the Dragon poised to kill the baby. But she escapes to a safe place prepared for her by God. Then the Dragon goes to war with Michael and the angels of Heaven, the Dragon is defeated. He then turns his fury on the offspring of the woman who are identified as those who obey God’s commandment and hold to the testimony of Jesus. The Dragon calls forth the Beast with 10 heads, 10 horns, and 10 crowns; the false prophet arises to lead the world into a false religion that worships the Beast. The lines are drawn there are the 144,000 faithful followers of the Lamb with the seal of God on their forehead and there are the deceived inhabitants of the earth who are sealed with the Mark of the Beast. The end has come “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!” and the harvest of earth begins first with the faithful and righteous who go with Jesus, in the second gathering, the unfaithful adulterers, head to the winepress of God’s wrath.

The Woman of Babylon is described as dressed in purple, adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls. In her hand is a gold cup filled with “detestable things and unclean things from her sexual immorality”. On her head is her title, “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of prostitutes and of the detestable things of the earth”. Everyone is marked with their allegiance, either sealed by God or marked by the Beast. She is riding the Beast, indicating that at this point she controls the Beast and she is intoxicated on the blood of the saints and of those who testified to Jesus. She is a composite of all that is evil, cities, governments and entities that have stood against the Lord God and persecuted the prophets and the saints.

As we study this we can’t help but think that John would have had Rome in mind and quite possibly the destruction of Pompeii that occurred in 79 AD or possibly the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. John describes Babylon as the city with seven heads and seven hills, Rome is known as the city on seven hills by Roman writers. John describes seven kings or heads as, “five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, he must remain for a little while”. There are many different permutations used to identify the seven kings, which have changed over the centuries to be different kingdoms that somehow relate to the former Roman Empire. This includes the European Union, the United States, the U.N., the Roman Catholic Church and others. These ten kings or kingdoms will gather together to make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome because he is the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. When the Lamb overcomes the forces of evil gathered against God, the kings of the earth turn on the prostitute, the Whore of Babylon, “they make her desolate and naked, they will consume her flesh and burn her up with fire”.

Revelation 18 is a lament for the Whore of Babylon it begins with “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great!” Three groups cry out their distress: the kings, the merchants and the seamen. They each mourn and wail about her torment, but they are really distressed about the loss of the riches she gave them, all has been destroyed in a single hour. “With violent force Babylon the great city will be thrown down and it will never be found again!” In contrast to the lament of the earth, those in heaven are called to rejoice over Babylon’s demise because God has judged her persecution of the saints. Another contrast is revealed: on earth there is silence, there is no sound of work, no music, no light shining and no happiness of family life. Revelation 19 begins with a description of the joy in heaven, the prostitute has been destroyed, the twenty four elders, the living creatures and the vast throng in heaven are saying: “Hallelujah, Salvation and glory and power belong to our God!”

Revelation 15 and 16

We are approaching the intense end of John’s apocalypse; the themes and messages to believers are being repeated with increasing drama and great crescendo for His-story. Chapters 12 through 14 occur in the space between the seventh trumpet and the first bowl and reveal the supernatural story behind the familiar narratives of Christmas, Easter and the final great Harvest.
In the pause between the 6th and 7th seal John sees the 144,000 who are sealed in preparation for the judgments of the seven trumpets, then between the 6th and 7th trumpet John sees the two witnesses who offer the final call to mankind to repentance, now at the beginning of the end, the last seven, the bowls of God’s wrath John see all those who have been victorious over the beast, the seals announced, the trumpet have warned, now the bowls are poured out the end to evil has come!
John sees a “great and marvelous sign” which announces a new section. He sees seven angels with seven bowls, filled with God’s wrath and declares they are the final judgments, it is the end. The angels come from the throne of God, with the sea of glass; while all those who have been victorious over the beast sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. John wants us to connect this deliverance to the Israelites’ escape from Pharaoh’s army; it was the LORD, the All-Powerful, the King over the nations who overthrew the Egyptians, the same God will put an end to all evil forever!
The dwelling place of God was opened and he sees seven angels with seven last plagues, they are dressed like priests and kings. One of the four living creatures fill the bowls with the wrath of God and God’s glory and power fills the temple. This final end is orchestrated from the throne room of God, a voice from the temple tells the angels to pour out on the earth the seven bowls containing God’s wrath.
John wants us to understand the connection to both the plagues of Egypt and to the plagues of the seven trumpets. Jesus Christ will lead the saints to a great deliverance from the beast just as Moses led the Israelites to deliverance from Egypt. With the first bowl ugly and painful sores appear on those who worshiped the beast, like the plague of boils in Egypt and the sting of the locust from hell. The second bowl turns the sea to blood and every creature died, like the Nile was turned to blood and when one third of the sea creatures die with the 2nd trumpet. The third bowl turns all the rivers and waters to blood, as God did in Egypt and when the rivers and waters became poisonous with the 3rd trumpet. The fourth bowl scorched the people with fire and the fifth plunged the Beast’s kingdom into darkness, as when hail mixed with fire covered the Land of Egypt and the sun, moon and stars turned dark with the 4th trumpet. The sixth bowl poured out his bowl on the Great River Euphrates, which dried up and released a plague of demon frogs, like the plague of frogs in Egypt and when the 6th trumpet released the four angels bound at the Euphrates River. These frogs with lying tongues are emissaries of the Dragon, Beast and false prophet they go out to deceive the kings of the earth and gather them for a battle against God Almighty. The kings of the earth gather at Armageddon, for the final showdown with God. When the sixth seal was opened there was a great earthquake and the kings of the earth hid from the wrath of the Lamb, the sixth trumpet released the four angels and their army held back at the Euphrates River finally, with the sixth bowl the kings are gathered at Armageddon.
Revelation 16:15 is missing in some translations, added in with a parentheses in others and in red quoting Jesus in others. This is the third beatitude (blessing) of Revelation, (“Look! I will come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays alert and does not lose his clothes so that he will not have to walk around naked and his shameful condition be seen.”) Some translators believe this quote is an added editorial warning for the church, a reminder to stay awake because the bridegroom is near.
When the seventh and final bowl is poured out into the air a loud voice comes from the throne of God saying: “It is done!” then an earthquake that shakes the foundations of the earth, leveling the cities of the earth and throws the islands into the sea and flattens the mountains. With the seventh seal there is silence in heaven for ½ hour, with the seventh trumpet the temple in heaven is opened with lightning, thunder, earthquake and hail. With the seventh bowl there is a loud voice announcing “It is done!” punctuated with an all creation flattening by an earthquake and hailstorm.

  • “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work” Genesis 2:2
  • Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled,… Jesus said, “It is finished.” John 19:30
  • The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” Revelation 16:17