After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; 2 because His judgments are true and righteous; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her.” 3 And a second time they said, “Hallelujah! Her smoke rises up forever and ever.” 4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” 5 And a voice came from the throne, saying, “Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.” 6 Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” 8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
There was a great celebration in heaven at this point as a multitude in heaven praised God. They acknowledged that all salvation, glory, and power belonged to God. It is difficult for the righteous one on earth while the wicked seem to prosper, but all is made right in heaven. Believers should rejoice in the fact that God will render to each according to His deeds. The wicked will face His wrath, and believers will find joy and eternal honor with Him. God judges in truth and righteousness just as He did with Babylon. He is faithful and just to forgive sinners who ask, and He is faithful and just to punish sinners who don’t and instead continue in sin and blasphemous rebellion. There is exceeding joy in heaven when one sinner repents (Luke 15:7), and there is great joy in heaven when God justly punishes the wicked. In both, God demonstrates Himself good, faithful, true, almighty, powerful, and eternal. Because God is on the throne, the whole scheme of things will be made fair, right, and just. Without God, the wicked would triumph over the weak and righteous. But because God is good and just, He will pour out His wrath on the wicked and allow the righteous to reign with Him and enjoy His treasures forever. The twenty four elders and the four living creatures bowed down and worshipped God Who always sits on the throne of the universe. They wholeheartedly agreed with the sentiment in heaven, and they rejoiced in God’s justice and His imminent kingdom on earth. A voice came from the throne instructing all who were in heaven who feared God and served Him faithfully to praise Him. Whether small or great on earth, it didn’t matter in heaven because God allows all of His saints to reign with Him. Some believers are well-known, while others nobody knows about. Some are poor, and others have more than they need. But in heaven, everybody will have an abundance in Jesus Christ Whose inheritance is eternal. The only proper response to God and His victory is to praise Him, and that is what will happen. Those in heaven will praise Him because He is the Lord, He is God, He is almighty, and He reigns. Those who surround the throne to praise God will rejoice and be glad because the time will have finally come in which the wicked armies of the world including the antichrist will be destroyed. Also, the bride of Christ will be presented to Him. The bride has made herself ready by faith in Christ while on earth. Thus, He has clothed the righteous in His righteousness and removed their sin as far as the east is from the west. The bride is clothed in fine linen, representing Christ’s righteousness which transformed them from the inside out and enabled them to bear fruits of righteousness by faith in life. This is the culmination of the narrative of Scripture, for it is what believers have been looking forward to since they first read about heaven in the Scripture. Going to be with Jesus is the blessed hope (Titus 2:13) that helps believers endure persecution on earth and be faithful. The church will finally get to meet up with her Savior and celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb.
9 Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.” 10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
All believers are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Some will be of God’s chosen nation, Israel. Others will be Gentiles who were grafted in by the grace of God and given eternal life in Christ by faith (Romans 11:19). No unbelievers will be there, but all believers from all time will celebrate a great feast together. It is a feast that celebrates Christ’s victory and imminent rule on earth, finally seeing Jesus face to face, finally being vindicated and rewarded, and finally being freed from dealing with sin, sorrow, pain, and death. It will be a great union of all friends and loved ones who have died in Christ. It will be the biggest and best celebration that has ever happened. It is true, and since God cannot lie, it will happen just as John wrote. At this point, John fell at the feet of the angel who had been speaking to him, and the angel objected, reminding John that he was but a fellow servant of God. His job was to be a ministering spirit (Hebrews 1:14) to John and to the servants of Jesus, and he did not want John to confuse his role with God’s place as the only One deserving worship. He told John to worship God, for worshipping anything or anyone other than God is idolatry, just like what happened in Babylon. The angel’s message is that the whole point of prophecy is not to glorify the messenger but the testimony and works of Jesus. Reading the Book of Revelation should leave a person marveling at the power of Jesus and looking forward to the day when He sets all things right.
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Jesus came to earth first as a Lamb to die for the sins of the world, but next time, His second coming, He will return as a conquering King. As John sees it, heaven will be opened as Christ comes down to earth to lay waste to the antichrist and His armies. He will ride a white horse, signifying power combined with purity. He is named Faithful and True because He judges the world righteously and avenges the righteous. His war against the wicked is a just war because they have stored up His wrath and rejected the many opportunities that He has given them to repent (Revelation 11:1-13, 14:6-7). His eyes are a flame of fire, signifying just anger, and on His head are many crowns because He is the King of kings. There is a particular name written on Him which is only known by Jesus Himself. This points to Him being unique, holy, and the one true God. His robe is dipped in blood, which points out that He is out for blood and ready for war, for His just wrath has come (see Isaiah 63:1-6). His heavenly hosts clothed in clean white linen follow Him on white horses of their own. From His mouth comes a sharp sword with which He will strike down the nations. By His very words the world was made, and His words are what bring salvation and life. Thus, it should not be a surprise that His word is enough to defeat the enemies of God and set up an earthly kingdom which He will rule with a rod of iron (Revelation 2:27, 12:5; Psalm 2:9). Zechariah 14:12-15 explains the specific way in which the armies die, for a flesh eating plague destroys them, one obviously authorized by Jesus’ command (see Isaiah 29:5-8, Zephaniah 1:17, 3:8, Joel 3:1-2, 12-17 and notes on Revelation 16:16 and v. 19-21). Jesus treads the winepress of God’s wrath by destroying all who have resisted His mercy and warnings. On Jesus’ robe and thigh are written another name, that of King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Lamb of God has returned to claim His rightful kingdom on earth. Jesus the first time told Peter to sheath his sword because He needed to die to pay the penalty of sin (John 18:11). This time, He will bring His own sword and fight with power consistent with His deity. The armies will be no match (v. 19-21).
17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”
An angel seen standing in the sun summoned all the flesh-eating birds to come and feast upon the commanders and kings of the earth who assembled themselves to fight against Jesus. They were told also to eat of the horses and their riders and all the men who had assembled, both small and great. This was, for the birds, the great supper of God. There was no doubt in heaven as to who would win this final battle before Jesus’ millennial rule.
19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.
Like arrogant fools, the antichrist and his armies will try to attack Jesus and His army. There will be no drawn out dramatic fight scene or struggle back and forth. The next sentence reads that the beast and the false prophet were seized and thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. They were the firstfruits of those who would suffer the second death. They didn’t need to go to the Great White Throne for judgment, for they were granted early admission. The rest were killed with the sword that came from the mouth of Jesus (Micah 4:1-3). Zechariah explains that this “sword” is actually a flesh eating plague that brings delusion (see Zechariah 14:12-15 and Isaiah 29:5-8). The birds clean up the mess that is left, filling themselves up on the flesh. But the blood pools up to the horse’s bridle for 200 miles (see Isaiah 34:2-3 and notes on Revelation 16:16). These who die by the “sword” will go to the Great White Throne judgment and then be cast into the lake of fire along with the antichrist and his false prophet (Isaiah 24:21-22, 50:11).