The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

The Rider on the White Horse

The Feast of the Scavengers and destruction of the Beast


"...we ought to know the Babylon wherein we are captives, and the Jerusalem for a return to which we are sighing.  For these two cities, according to the letter (Revelation), in reality are two cities.  And the former Jerusalem indeed by the Jews is not now inhabited.  For after the crucifixion of the Lord vengeance was taken upon them with a great scourge, and being rooted up from that place where, with impious licentiousness being infuriated, they had madly raged against their Physician, they have been dispersed throughout all nations, ....and therefore it is fulfilled what the Lord had said to them, 'Therefore the kingdom shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation doing justice.'"-The Essential Augustine (expert from The City of God) pages 224-5


"God, why have you finally rejected us, your anger blazing against the flock you used to pasture?  Remember the people you took to yourself long ago, your own tribe which you redeemed, and this Mount Zion where you came to live.  Come up to these endless ruins!  The enemy have sacked everything in the Sanctuary; your opponents made uproar in the place of assemblies, they fixed their emblems over the entrance, emblems never known before."  Psalms 74:1-5 (prophetic lament of the sack of the Temple)


"for this is the time of retribution when all that Scripture says must be fulfilled."

Jesus' prophecy against Jerusalem in Luke 21:22


Alleluia! I give thanks to Yahweh with all my heart, in the meeting-place of honest people, in the assembly.  Great are the deeds of Yahweh, to be pondered by all who delight in them."  Psalms 111:1


Ezekiel reference: chapter 39, especially verses17-20


In this chapter the heavenly host announces to John that the Bride of Christ is ready.  Her appearance, prepared for marriage, signals the opening of the Temple and the full establishment of the New Covenant united to Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet: the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  These same images will be repeated in the next two chapters when, after a series of 7 visions, John will see the City of God descending from heaven: "I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride dressed for her husband."


Please read 19:1-10: The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

Biblical scholars point to a number of similarities in language between the last verse of Revelation 18 (vs.24) -19:10 compared with Rev. 11: 15-19.  That second part of Revelation 11, as you may remember, is the 7th angel's announcement of the completion of "the Mystery of God" which was the opening of the Kingdom and the heavenly Temple to the whole world through the New Covenant in Christ.  Notice the parallels between these 2 chapters and also notice that I have extended the parallel from 11:15-12:1. Other scholars left out those passages but I think they are the climax!


Revelation 11:15-12:1                                         Revelation 18:24-19:10

11:15: "voices could be heard shouting in heaven, calling..."

19:1 "the great sound of a huge crowd in heaven, singing.."

11:17 "We give thanks to you Almighty Lord God,....for assuming your great power and beginning your reign."

19:1,7 "Alleluia! Salvation and glory and power to our God!"...."the reign of our Lord, the God Almighty, has begun;"

11:16 "The 24 elders...prostrated themselves and touched the ground with their foreheads worshipping God.."

19:4 "Then the 24 elders.....threw themselves down and worshipped God.."

11:18 "..the time has come for your retribution, and for the dead to be judged, and for your servants the prophets, for the saints be rewarded."

18:24 &19:2 "In her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and all the blood that was ever shed on earth."    "He judges fairly, he punishes justly,...he has avenged the blood of his servants which she shed."

11:18 "Your servants...and those who fear your name, small and great alike,"

19:5 " servants of his and those who fear him, small and great alike."

11:19 "Then there came flashes of lightning, peals of thunder...."

19:6 "And I heard what seemed to be the voices of a huge crowd, like the sound of the ocean or the great roar of thunder..."

12:1 "Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman, robed with the sun, .."

19:9 "His bride is ready, and she has been able to dress herself in dazzling white linen,"


Chapter 19 is an expansion and completion of what was announced by the 7th angel in chapter 11, and climaxes with the vision of the Bride prepared for her wedding feast in Rev. 19:9.  John's vision of Mary in Rev. 12:1, as the symbol of the Church who is both Virgin Bride and fruitful mother, foreshadows this passage in Rev. 19.


Verses 1-3 "After this I heard what seemed to be the great sound of a huge crowd in heaven, singing, 'Alleluia! Salvation and glory and power to our God!  He judges fairly, he punishes justly, and he has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her prostitution; he has avenged the blood of his servants which she shed.'"

The literal translation of the last verse is "shed by her hand."


In Revelation 6:9-11 the prophets and Saints had prayed for the "Great City's" destruction.  In chapter 19 their prayers were answered and now the great multitude of the redeemed gathered around the throne of God cry out in antiphonal praise.

Question:  Where have we seen the expression of this form of responsoral liturgy earlier in Revelation?  Answer: In chapter 5. This passage reminds us that John's vision takes place in the heavenly throne room and during heavenly liturgy.


In these passages the antiphonal liturgy is divided into 5 parts or divisions (you may recall that the lament of the Church in chapter 5 was also in 5 parts).  The number 5 in Scripture is usually connected to God's grace but David Chilton in his commentary on Revelation, Days of Vengeance, suggests that this number can be seen in connection with the strength and power of God especially in terms of military action.  He sees this passage as a battle hymn of the Saints.


Parts                           The Saints, Prophets and Angel's Song of Victory in Heaven

1. vs 1-2

"After this I heard..., Alleluia!...he has avenged the blood of his servants which she shed."

2. vs 3

"And again they sang, 'Alleluia! The smoke of her will rise for ever and ever.'

3. vs 4

"Then the 24 elders and the 4 living creatures threw themselves down and worshipped God
seated on his throne, and they cried, 'Amen, Alleluia.'

4. vs 5

"Then a voice came from the throne: it said, 'Praise our God, you servants of his and those
who fear him, small and great alike.'

5. vs 6-8

"And I heard what seemed to be the voice of a huge crowd.....His Bride is ready and she has been able to dress herself in dazzling white linen, because her linen is made of the good deeds of the saints.'"


Question:  With what word does the heavenly assembly begin this hymn of victory and what does it mean?  Answer: The word is "alleluia" in the Greek, and is Halleluyah or Hallelujah in Hebrew.  Most commentators translate this word as "praise God" but in the Hebrew the more literal translation would be 'Praise you, Yahweh.'  The suffix 'yah' or 'jah' reflects God covenant name "Yahweh."

Question:  If you have a concordance look up this word and see how many times it is used in the New and Old Testaments.  Answer:  it is used in the New Testament only 4 times; all of them in chapter 19 of Revelation: vss 1, 3, 4 & 6.  In the Old Testament it is only used in the book of Psalms. 


Hallelujah is used most frequently in the great Hallel Psalms (113-118) which was always sung at the festivals of the Passover sacrifice at the Temple on the 14th of Nisan, at the Passover Supper that night (which at sunset would be the 15th and the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread), and it was sung at the last feast in the liturgical cycle, at the Feast of Tabernacles.  The Hallel Psalms celebrated the awesome greatness of Yahweh Sabaoth.  These psalms looked back to the time when He revealed Himself and delivered His people from slavery in Egypt and gave them the Church, but the Hallel Psalms also looked forward to the time when all the nations on earth will praise Yahweh as the One True God!  Reading this passage in Revelation and recalling the connection between "Hallelujah!" and the Hallel psalms sung at the Passover meal would have reminded the 1st century readers of Psalms 118: 21-26 "The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.  By the LORD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.  This is the day the LORD as made; let us be glad and rejoice in it ....Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD."  The prophecy of this passage was fulfilled in Christ, the cornerstone of the New Covenant, rejected by the priests of the Old Covenant and condemned to death only to rise from the dead in victory!


Halleluyah (Hallelujah), Amen, and Hosanna are three Hebrew words preserved in the Greek of the New Testament which serve as a visible and audible marker of the internal connection between the Old and New Covenant Church and the Old and New Testament of His Word.

Question: In verse 1, how is the authority of God expressed in 3 words?

Answer: Salvation, power, and glory.  These 3 words express the fullness of God's power.  Three is also the number of Trinity.

Question: In verse 2, why are God's judgments "true and righteous" and what petition of the Saints and Prophets has been fulfilled?  Hint: see Rev. 6:10.  Answer: He has judged the Harlot city, found her guilty and answered the prayer of the Saints who cried out for justice and vengeance: "Holy, true Master, how much longer will you wait before you pass sentence and take vengeance (retribution) for our death on the inhabitants of the earth (on those who dwell on the land)?.


If the "Harlot City" is Jerusalem of 70AD, then Jerusalem's destruction is the demonstration of God's righteous justice.  God's holy honor could not endure the blasphemy of the name of His Son, which was the outcome of Old Covenant Jerusalem's rebellion against the Messiah and God's plan for humanity.  See Romans 2:23-24: Paul speaking of the Jews "If, while you are boasting of the Law, you disobey it, then you are bringing God into contempt.  As scripture says: It is your fault that the name of God is held in contempt among the nations."  What the Saints and Prophets are saying in this passage is that the very fact that God has avenged Himself upon His own covenant people is proof that "His judgments are true and righteous."  God is not arbitrary in His judgments.  The Harlot City is judged and found guilty, and Yahweh has avenged the blood of His servants at her hand!

Question:  If this city is Jerusalem, what New Testament prophecy of Jesus is fulfilled in her destruction?  Hint: see Matthew 23:33-37. Answer:  "You serpents, brood of vipers, how can you escape being condemned to hell?...(35).and so you will draw down on yourselves the blood of every upright person that has been shed on earth....(36-37) In truth I tell you, it will all recoil on this generation. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you!"


There is also in verse 2 a connection to the Old Testament harlot Queen Jezebel: "and he has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her prostitution; he has avenged the blood of his servants which she shed (by her hand)." You may remember an earlier reference to Jezebel in Rev. 2:20.  Jezebel was a Queen of Israel who had persecuted and murdered the prophets of God (1Kings 18:4, 13) and she had used false witnesses to slander them (1Kings 21:1-16) just as the Jerusalem authorities had used false witnesses to slander Christ (Matthew 26:59-61).  God's judgment on Jezebel came through his prophet Jebu.  What is interesting is that this passage in Rev. 19:2 echoes Jehu's judgment against Jezebel in 2Kings 9:7  "that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of Yahweh by the hand of Jezebel" compare with "...he has avenged the blood of his servants which she shed (by her hand)."


Like the Harlot Queen of Israel, the Harlot City refused to repent (Rev.16:9 & 11).  Just as Jezebel "painted her eyes and adorned her head" to flaunt her position of authority in an attempt to ward off her destruction, Israel is described in the same way before her destruction in 586(7)BC (see Jeremiah 4:30 and Ezekiel 23:40)as this Harlot City dressed in the garments of Old Covenant liturgy.  What has fallen on the Harlot City is what Jesus prophesied in Luke 21:22 "These are the days of (vengeance) retribution in order that all things that are written may be fulfilled."


Reading or hearing this song of victory would also have reminded 1st century Christians of the last passage of The Song of Witness that Moses and Joshua were commanded to teach God's Covenant People Israel in Deuteronomy chapter 32.  The Song of Witness was especially familiar to Jewish Christians since it was sung in the Sabbath liturgy in the Synagogue and in the Temple in Jerusalem: 32:43 "Heavens, rejoice with him, let all the children of God pay him homage!  Nations, rejoice with his people, let God's envoys tell of his power!  For he will avenge the blood of his servants, he will return vengeance to my foes, he will repay those who hate him and purify his people's country."


Revelation 19:3 "And again they sang, 'Alleluia!  The smoke of her will rise for ever and ever.' 

In part two of this victory hymn the multitude repeats "Hallelujah" as the 24 elders and 4 living creatures (the ministerial authority and the angels who represent the forces of nature) prostrate themselves before the throne of God. 

Question:  What 2 words do they cry out and what do these word mean?  Hint: see the notes on the word 'amen' in the letter to Laodicea in Rev. 3:14.  This word appears 9 times in the book of Revelation: 1:6, 7; 3:14; 5: 14; 7:12 (twice); 19:4; and 22:20.  Answer: Amen is an acrostic formed from the letters of 3 Hebrew words: El melech ne'eman which mean, "God is a trustworthy king." Alleluia is the Greek for "Praise you, Yahweh" or "You praise Yahweh."  The Hebrew word "El" means god as in false gods or God as in the One True God.

Question:  From where does the smoke rise? Answer: From the "Great City" symbolized as Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon, the "Great City" "where our Lord was crucified."

Question:  Liturgically what did the rising of smoke symbolize in the Old Covenant and how is that linked to the destruction of the city?  Hint: see Genesis 8:21; Exodus 29:18; Lev. 1:9; Num. 28:2.   Answer:  The city destroyed by fire reminds us of the destruction of Sodom in the Old Testament but the burning city is also symbolized as a sacrificial offering to Yahweh.  In the sacrifice, the offering was assimilated to the smoke of the burnt offering, (or of incense) ascending to Yahweh and "as a pleasing smell." He accepted the offering from the essence of the smoke.  This rising smoke, symbolizing the sacrifice ascending to Yahweh, was called the "olan."


It is interesting that the specific wording here is borrowed from Isaiah's description of the punishment of Edom in Is. 34:10 "its smoke rising forever.." The flames of the Harlot City burned out long ago but the "forever and ever" indicate that her punishment was eternal!  She will never be resurrected to her former spiritual state!  Old Covenant Israel can never be reestablished!


Again, notice the posture of the worshippers before God.

Revelation 19: 4 "Then the 24 elders and the 4 living creatures threw themselves down and worshipped God seated on his throne, and they cried, 'Amen, Alleluia.'"  The  literal translation would be "God is a trustworthy King, praise you Yahweh!"

Question: In this third division of the hymn who is it who answers in response to the singing of the multitude?  Answer: the 24 elders and the 4 living creatures. 

Question:  Whom do they represent?  Hint see Rev. 4:4-11 notes.  Answer: the Church and all earthly creation.

Question: What is their action before they join in the hymn?  Answer: they fall on their knees or prostrate themselves in adoration before God.

Once again John witnesses the expression of worship through the posture of the Saints and angels.

Question: Is it important they we observe a worshipful physical attitude in our religious activity? 

Question: Do you see the modern Church's casual approach to conforming to a spiritual as well as a physical expression of worship as simple laziness or lack of formal training and catechesis?  What has been your experience in the instruction of posture?


Revelation 19: 5 "Then a voice came from the throne; it said, 'Praise our God, you servants of his and those who fear him, small and great alike.'

Question: Whose voice do you think announces the 4th section of this liturgy?   From where does the voice come?  Answer:  From the throne of God.  It could be one of the elders but it could also be Christ calling on the redeemed to praise God (see Rev. 16:17; Rom 8:29; Heb. 2:11-12).   I personally favor Christ as the voice because this voice takes the position as the officiant in the liturgical assembly.

Question: To whom is the 4th part of the liturgy (led by the voice/Christ) addressed?  Answer: to the Church as a whole: His "servants, those who fear Him, the small and the great."  Do you see any connection to the liturgy of the Mass here?


Revelation 19: 6-8" And I heard what seemed to be the voices of a huge crowd, like the sound of the ocean (polus hydra / many waters) or the great roar of thunder, answering, 'Alleluia! The reign of the Lord our God Almighty has begun; let us be glad and joyful and give glory to God, because this is the time for the marriage of the Lamb. His bride is ready, and she has been able to dress herself in dazzling white linen, because her linen is made of the good deeds of the saints.'

Question: In this last part of the victory hymn, what is the response to the officiant's invitation?  Answer: all of heaven responds!

Question: What is the imagery presented in this passage?  Answer: the imagery identifies the Church with Christ as His Bride.

Question: How is she dressed and what is the symbolic significance?  Answer: Her wedding garment is white (the symbol of ritual purity) and the texture of her garment is the good deeds of the saints.  She is the sinless Bride of Christ the sinless Bridegroom.

Question:  What is the significance of the key words "voices of a huge crowd (multitude)"  "like the sound of the ocean (polus hydra)" and "great roar of thunder"

Answer: this is the Glory-Cloud.  The Glory-Cloud has assumed the Church/Bride into itself.


Did you notice that the True Bride does not appear for the marriage ceremony until the False Bride is destroyed?  Professor Massyngberde-Ford sees this as the symbolic 'divorce' of the Old Covenant Bride (Israel) before the establishment of the New Covenant Bride (the Universal Church).  But with the statements Jesus made about divorce being out of the question in a covenantal union (Matt 19:1-9) perhaps it is better expressed that the death of the Old Covenant Bride (symbolized by the destruction of the Temple) had to take place before the New Bride can come to the marriage feast?  In any event, the Old must pass away before the New can take its place.  It is Hebrews 9:8 "as long as the old tent stands, the way into the holy place is not opened up.." The appearance of the Bride ready for the marriage covenant is the "opening up" of New Covenant Church.  Under the Old Covenant the people of God had no way to the Father, but now under the New Covenant, Christ Himself is the way to the Father (Jn 14:6 "I AM the way; IAM Truth and Life.  No one can come to the Father except through me."; and  Heb. 10:19 "We have then, brothers, complete confidence through the blood of Jesus in entering the sanctuary, by a new way which he has opened for us, a living opening through the curtain, that is to say, his flesh."). 


In this passage we have the 5th portion of the liturgy.  The first Hallelujah of the great heavenly multitude (vs 1) had praised God for His sovereignty in the judgment of the Harlot and now the 4th Hallelujah praises God again for His sovereignty, but this time in the marriage supper of the Lamb to His Bride the New Covenant Church.  Once again this contrast only makes sense if the Harlot is the Old Covenant Church.  This action marks an entirely new epoch in Salvation History.  God is not just taking Gentile believers into the Covenant (He did this even in the Old Covenant when Gentiles had the opportunity to convert and be received into the Old Covenant Church), but now He is bringing in "The Age to Come" spoken of in Hebrews 2:5 and 6:5.


Revelation 19:8, "His Bride is ready."

St. Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:25-27 of Christ's sacrifice on the cross as the redemption of the Bride: "...Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her to make her holy by washing her in cleansing water with a form of words, so that when he took the church to himself she would be glorious, with no speck or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and faultless."

Question: Whose duty was it during the "Last Days" of the Old Covenant to prepare the Bride for her nuptials?  Hint: see 2Cor 11:2-3

Answer:  The Apostles, as Paul wrote in 2 Cor: "The jealousy that I feel for you is, you see, God's own jealousy: I gave you all in marriage to a single husband, a virgin pure for presentation to Christ."


Revelation 19: 9-10 "The angel said, 'Write this, "Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb," and he added, 'These words of God are true.'  Then I knelt at his feet to worship him, but he said to me 'Never do that: I am your fellow-servant and the fellow-servant of all your brothers who have in themselves the witness of Jesus.  God alone you must worship.'  The witness of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

This is the 4th of the 7 blessings or beatitudes in Revelation.   

Question: What is the Wedding Feast of the Lamb?  Answer: the most holy Eucharist.  With the establishment of the New Covenant Bride of Christ the Eucharistic celebration of the Church is fully revealed in its true form and nature as "the Marriage Supper of the Lamb."


The Eucharist is the center and the summit of Christian worship.  It is what we are commanded to do when we come together on the Lord's Day; we are commanded to take part in the heart of Christian worship and receive the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Lord.  We can see this reflected in the New Testament in the simple statement of Acts 20:7 "On the first day of the week we met for the breaking of bread." And in 1Cor. 10:16-17 and 11:20-34.  Please read those passages.  It is also described in the first catechism of the Church, the Didache (the teaching) which was written sometime between 50 and 120AD "But every Lord's Day gather yourselves together and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure."  St. Justin the Martyr's explanation of Christian practices to the Roman Emperor Antonius Pius (circa 155AD) is the oldest surviving account of the celebration of the Eucharist "On the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles (the Gospels & Epistles) or the writings of the prophets (Old Testament) are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things (the homily or sermon).  Then we all rise and pray, and as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying, 'Amen'; there is a distribution to each and a participation of that over which thanks has been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons."


The greatest privilege of the Church has been and continues to be her weekly celebration and participation in the Eucharistic meal: the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  In these passages the heavenly assembly celebrates Eucharist as we join with them on earth in every Eucharistic celebration.  John's vision is heavenly Eucharistic liturgy!


Question: In verse 10, what is significant about the angel's rebuke of John?

Answer:  The most obvious interpretation of verse 10 is a warning against the worship of heavenly 'powers.' Only God, as the angel tells John, is to be worshipped (see Col 2:18; Heb 1:14; 2:5).  But Professor Scott Hahn also had another suggestion.  The Greek word used for 'worship' in this passage is proskyneo, which literally translates "to prostrate oneself".  It is only one of several Greek words that are translated as 'worship' in the New Testament.  He suggests a better translation might be "do homage" since to prostrate oneself was the common sign of respect one gave to someone in authority.  Dr. Hahn's point is that the angel is telling John that he is not in authority over John any longer, their relationship to one another has changed.

Question: With the establishment of the New Covenant what would be the sudden change in the relationship of believers to angels that may be reflected in the angel's statement?  How does the angel characterize his relationship with John and other believers?  Answer:  With Christ's sacrifice on the Cross opening the "gates of heaven" to believers through the forgiveness of their sins, for the first time human beings "in spirit" have access to God just as the angels have access to God.  We are now "fellow-servants" and "fellow witnesses" to Christ along with the heavenly beings.


"the witness of Jesus" is the word of God to which Jesus testifies and which is implanted in every "re-born from above" (baptized) Christian believer and which inspires the prophets down through Salvation History. (See Rev. 1:2; 6:9; 12:17).



Please read Revelation 19:11-16 The Rider on the White Horse

Yahweh came in judgment on His people down through Salvation History.  Israel was His Bride and she was judged, so too shall we all be judged at the end of time for our earthly Temples, our bodies, and so will the New Covenant Church and all humanity be judged at the Second Advent of Christ.


Revelation 19:11-16 "And now I saw heaven open, and a white horse appear; its rider was called Trustworthy and True; in uprightness he judges and makes war.  His eyes were flames of fire, and he was crowned with many coronets; the name written on him was known only to himself, his cloak was soaked in blood.  He is known by the name, The Word of God.  Behind him, dressed in linen of dazzling white, rode the armies of heaven on white horses.  From his mouth came a sharp sword with which to strike the unbelievers; he is the one who will rule them with an iron scepter, and tread out the wine(press) of Almighty God's fierce retribution.  On his cloak on and his thigh a name was written: King of kings and Lord of lords."

This verse begins the first of the final series of 7 visions, each of which begins with the phrase kai eidon = and I saw:

The Last 7 Visions of John

Vision #1 Rev. 19:11

"And I saw heaven open and a white horse appear;"

Vision #2 Rev. 19:17

"And I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he shouted..."

Vision #3 Rev. 19:19

"And I saw the beast, with all the kings of the earth..."

Vision #4 Rev. 20:1

"And I saw an angel come down from heaven with the key.."

Vision #5 Rev. 20:4

"And I saw thrones, where they took their seats,.."

Vision #6 Rev. 20:11

"And I saw a great white throne and the One who was ..."

Vision #7 Rev. 21:1

"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth .."

*the scholars who wrote your translation of these passages may have varied the beginning of each phrase to avoid repetition.  This may be more pleasing in modern literary construction but, unfortunately, it loses the significance of the literal translation.

There are actually 7 visions but 8 uses of Kai eidon which is used twice in 20:4.  The number 8 is associated with salvation, resurrection and regeneration (Hebrew males were circumcised on the 8th day after birth; Jesus [the gematria of His name is 888] was resurrected on the 8th day, etc.  John will use this expression the 8th time with the 7th Vision which is of the new heaven and new earth = regeneration.


Question: Can you identify this heroic figure on the white horse? What name is written on Him?  Hint: read the Gospel of John 1:1-18.  Answer: He is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God.


Verse 11 introduces a pivotal moment in Salvation history.  With the revelation John receives of the most Holy Eucharist he suddenly experiences heaven opening and discovers that every barrier between Christ and himself is removed. Now John sees Christ as the victorious the King.  "His eyes were flames of fire" is the same description of Christ that John gave in Rev. 1:14 and He is further identified by His many crowns.  John's invitation to Communion with Christ is the same invitation that we receive every Lord's Day when heaven opens and our Lord and Savior, the Bridegroom, is revealed to us, the Bride.

Question:  What two titles are Christ given, what is His mission, and what is the symbolism of the white horse?  Answer: He is called "Trustworthy (some translations will have "Faithful") and True."  The white horse is symbolic of Christ's victory and dominion over all the earth.  He rides forth to victory as "the faithful and true Witness" as was anticipated in Rev. 3:14, as He judges mankind and wages war against sin and Satan. 


Scholars disagree whether Christ is riding forth in judgment at His Second Advent at the End of Time, or whether John is witnessing the progress of the Gospel throughout the world in the universal proclamation of the message of salvation which follows Christ's First Advent.  I think there is an important connection between this vision and Christ's message to the church at Laodicea where He is also identified as "the trustworthy, the true witness" (3:14).  Then in 3:19-21 He says "I reprove and train those whom I love: so repent in real earnest. Look, I am standing at the door, knocking.  If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in the share a meal at that person's side.  Anyone who proves victorious I will allow to share my throne, just as I have myself overcome and have taken my seat with my Father on his throne."  In this scholar's humble opinion, Christ in righteousness judges and makes war: Christ rides to do battle against the forces of evil on earth as He rules and defends His Bride but He will also reveal Himself to us, as He is revealed to John, when the Archangel shouts and the shofar sounds and He comes to bring judgment on the world at the End of Time (1Thes 4:16).


After commenting on Christ's many crowns, John sees that there is a name written but "the name written on him was known only to himself."  But then in vs 13 John seems to be contradicting himself when he tells us the name. The correct interpretation of this passage may lie in understanding the use of the words for "know" in Greek: ginosko and oida. In this case the word is oida. The difficulty may be that once again we may be confused by the fact that John is writing in Greek but thinking in Hebrew.  In Hebrew the word "to know" is influenced by a Hebrew idiom which in the verb form acquires related meanings: to have intimate knowledge (as in sexual knowledge or to know in Covenant), to acknowledge, to acknowledge as one's own, and to own.  In this verse it isn't that no one can know, have knowledge of the name's meaning but that He alone properly owns the name; it belongs only to Christ.  A hint John gives us indicating the "Jewishness" of the thought process is the chiastic structure of this passage:

A.     He has a name written which no one 'knows' (owns) except Himself (vs.12b)

B.     He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood (vs. 13a)

C.     His name is called the Word of God (vs. 13b)

C.     From His mouth comes a sharp 2-edged sword (v. 15a)

B.     He treads the wine (press) of God's fierce retribution (vs 15b)

A.  On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords (vs 16)


Other answers are provided in this interesting pattern: Look at the pattern and answer these questions:

Question: What is the sharp 2-edged sword of vs. 15a? Hint: see Heb. 4:12.  Answer:  "The Word of God is sharper than any 2-edged sword.."  The sword of 15a answers to 13b's characterization of Christ as the Word of God.         

Question: in vs. 12 "his cloak was soaked with blood.." how did Christ's cloak become bloody?  Hint see15b.  Answer: His cloak became bloody treading "the wine of God's fierce retribution.." See Isaiah 63:2-4 "Why are your garments red, your clothes like someone treading the winepress? I have trodden the winepress alone; of my people, not one was with me.  So I trod them down in my anger, I trampled on them in my wrath.  Their blood squirted over my garments and all my clothes are stained. For I have decided on a day of vengeance, my year of retribution has come." This blood from the wine press is that of Christ's enemies, the "grapes of wrath" of chapter 18, and also as we saw in Rev. 14:19-20, there is a sense in which the blood is also from Christ's own sacrifice. 

Scholar David Chilton points out that in a sense this passage is a replay of the Incarnation drawing on John's imagery from his Gospel:

  • Christ the "Word" came down from heaven and became flesh
  • He teaches and is assailed by His enemies
  • His blood atoned for the sins of man
  •  He was resurrected to victory over sin and death and
  •  He ascended and was enthroned as King of Kings. 


Now John repeats in this Revelation passage with:

  • The heavens are opened and He descends to earth
  • He is the "Word"
  • He does battle with His enemies
  • He is stained with blood, and
  •  He wins victory as King of Kings


Question:  What is the name that vs.12b says Christ uniquely owns in vs 16 and what is written on His cloak and on His thigh?  Answer: "The Word of God" and "King of kings and Lord of lords."  They are one and the same in identifying Christ. He IS the WORD of God and therefore He IS the "King of kings and the Lord of lords."  It is interesting that John tells us in vs 16 that "a name is written." The gematria for Lord of lords, King of kings in Aramaic, excluding the "and" to make it a single "name" is the number 777.  Christ is a trinity of perfection while the Beast (666), and his followers, will never reach perfection. (See Massyngberde-Ford quoting P.W. Skehanpage pg 324)

Question:  It is written in blood on His cloak, probably in His own blood, but why is it written on His thigh?  Hint: see Hebrews 4:12 and John 12:48.  Answer: It is on His thigh because that is where He carries His sword which is "The Word of God," the mighty Holy Spirit-Sword of God.  It is this "Word" which judges (Jn 12:48 "..anyone who rejects me and refuses my words has his judge already: the Word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day." ).


Please read Revelation 19: 17-21: The Scavenger's Feast and the Destruction of the Beast

 17-18 "I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he shouted aloud to all the birds that were flying high overhead in the sky, 'Come here.  Gather together at God's great feast.  You will eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of great generals and heroes, the flesh of horses and their riders and of all kinds of people, citizens and slaves, small and great alike.'"

This is the second of the final 7 visions.

Question:  What was proclaimed to John in Vision #2?  Answer: The Marriage Supper of the Lamb, the sacred Eucharistic meal of the Church.  


In this vision another "great feast" will be proclaimed by an angel "standing in the sun". Like the "Angel of the Covenant" in Malachi chapter 3, standing in the reflected glory of God and calling out the Day of Yahweh: "Who will be able to resist the day of his coming?  Who will remain standing when he appears?  For he will be like refiner's fire, ...."   Christ, the "Sun of Righteousness" "his face was like the sun shining with all its force" (Rev 1:16) has called His Bride to the Eucharistic banquet but now an invitation is issued to "all the birds that were flying high overhead in the sky", or more literally, "all the birds that fly in midheaven." 

Question:  Do you remember where we have seen this reference to midheaven 2 other times?  Answer:  In 8:13 midheaven was the place in which the Eagle/cherubim warned of approaching disaster, and in 14:6 when an angel stood and invited the rulers of the earth to embrace the eternal Gospel. 


Now an angel invites the birds of prey to the "Great Supper of God" where they can glut themselves on the flesh of Christ's enemies.

Question: Who is it that the birds of prey are invited to feast upon?  Answer: kings, commanders, mighty men, horses and their riders, all men both free and slaves, and small and great. I count 9 classifications.  9 is the number of judgment.

Question:  What was the basic curse of the Covenant as expressed in Deuteronomy 28:26 and Ezekiel 39:17-18 for those who rejected the Covenant of Yahweh?  Answer:  Deut: 28:26"Your carcass will be carrion for all wild birds and all wild animals with no one to scare them away."  Ezekiel 39:17-20 "Say to the birds of every kind and to all the wild animals: Muster, come, gather from everywhere around for the sacrifice I am making for you, a great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel, so that you can eat flesh and drink blood.  You will eat the flesh of heroes, you will drink the blood of the princes of the world.  They are all rams and lambs, goats and fat bulls of Bashan.  You will glut yourselves on fat and drink yourselves drunk on blood at this sacrifice I am making for you.  You will glut yourselves at my table on horses and chargers, on heroes and every king of warrior" declares the Lord Yahweh.


The horror of this passage is that this is a negative sacrament.  The message is: either you drink the blood and eat the flesh of the Son of God as He commanded us in John chapter 6 or you will be consumed as a sacrifice to your sin and rejection of Christ as Israel had become a sacrificial corpse, and there will be no one to drive the scavengers away. Those nations that refuse to submit to the lordship of Christ will be utterly destroyed. 


This is not only a sacrifice but also perhaps a cleansing.  Birds of prey help to clean the land of dead carrion.  Those who refuse Christ are dead spiritually.  The birds of prey reference not only emphasizes the totality of the judgment but may also point to the desired result of a judgment that is cleansing and redemption.


Revelation 19: 19-20 "Then I saw (And I saw) the beast, with all the kings of the earth and their armies, gathered to fight the Rider and his army.  But the beast was taken prisoner, together with the false prophet who had worked miracles (signs) on the beast's behalf and by them had deceived those who had accepted the branding with the mark of the beast and those who had worshipped his statue. These two were hurled alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur."


This is the third of the 7 last visions and it reveals the defeat of the Satan inspired Sea Beast and the Land Beast known as the False Prophet.  Christ the King and His army of the Church glorified and the Church militant are in open warfare against Satan and his forces. They are defeated and are thrown into Gehenna, the Lake of Fire, HellRome, the Beast, the 4th Kingdom that devoured all other kingdoms (Daniel) has also been judged.  Like Sodom pagan Rome will be conquered and destroyed and Israel, the False Prophet, suffers the fate of the false prophets Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (in Numbers 16:31-33) who were "swallowed up alive" when they stood in opposition to God's representatives (Moses and Aaron).

Question:  But there is a notable contrast between the destruction of the Beast and the False prophet and the Beast's followers.  What is the difference?

Answer:  The kings of the earth are killed with the sword that comes out of Christ's mouth.

Question:  What is the sword that comes from Christ's mouth and what does this mean in the judgment of the followers of the Beast and the False Prophet?  Hint read Heb. 4:12-13

Answer:  The Word of God from the mouth of Christ.  The Gospel, the Word-sword of the Holy Spirit will destroy His enemies by conquering them either by converting them or by judging them: "seeking out the place where soul is divided from spirit, or joints form marrow; it can pass judgment on secret emotions and thoughts.  No created thing is hidden from him; everything is uncovered and stretched fully open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves" (Heb. 4:12-13).


In the next chapter we will begin looking forward to the Second Advent of Christ.

Chapter 20 is the most difficult chapter of the most difficult book in the Bible.  There are biblical scholars who believe all of Revelation was fulfilled historically and spiritual in 70AD.  But I think it is as much a mistake to interpret all of John's prophecy of Revelation as being fulfilled in 70AD with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (and thereby the Old Covenant) as it is to interpret Revelation as only being fulfilled in some future time with the Second Advent of Christ.  The key, I believe lies in the record of Jesus' mini-apocalypse discourses found in the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  In each of these Gospels Jesus speaks of the total destruction of Jerusalem (Matt 24-25; Mark13; & Luke 21) and then He addresses His Second Coming and the Final Judgment.  Revelation chapter 6 provides a kind of outline of the destruction of "The Great City" and Final Judgment which can be compared with the same themes in the Synoptic Gospels of the destruction of Jerusalem, His Second Advent, and the Final Judgment (see the chart on this comparison in the Chart section = the Synoptic Gospels vs. Revelation).  The Gospel of John is the only one of the Gospels that does not have a mini-apocalypse.  I think that is because the Holy Spirit chose John to write the maxi apocalypse: the book of Revelation.  I also think Revelation follows the same themes in the Synoptic mini-apocalypses.  Therefore, the fulfillment in 70AD does not preclude a fulfillment at the end of time; instead it establishes it. 


The destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem is what happens on a provisional level.  The destruction of earthly Temple in 70AD is a foreshadowing of what will happen to the "Temple of the Cosmos" at the Final Judgment.  This concept of the earthly Temple as a micro Temple in contrast with the Universe as God's macro Temple is found throughout Jewish thought from the Old Testament prophets down to present age Jewish scholars (an excellent contemporary work on this concept is Sinai & Zion: An entry into the Jewish Bible by the Harvard scholar Dr. Jon D. Levenson, HarperSanFrancisco Press.  For the Catholic view see Fr. Yeves Kandar's book The Mystery of the Temple). 


It was common in Old Testament times to think of the "Ages of man" and of the Covenant that would come to fulfillment in the "Last Age."  The "Last Age" of the Old Covenant was fulfilled with the coming of Christ in His first Advent and the destruction of the Old Covenant Church in 70AD.  However, even though this is the New Covenant and the "New Age" of redeemed mankind (or "The Age to Come" as it would have been expressed in the O.T.), it does not mean that this 'New" and Final Age does not contain "ages".  In Ephesians 2:4-7 Paul writes " But God, being rich in faithful love, through the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our sins, brought us to life with Christ-- it is through grace that you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and gave us a place with him in heaven, in Christ Jesus.  This was to show for all ages to come, through his goodness towards us in Christ Jesus, how extraordinarily rich he is in grace."  So within this final age of the New Covenant, there are ages of the Church unfolding down through history until the final fulfillment of time in the "Final Judgment" and the End of Time as we know it.  Next week: The Thousand Year Reign of Christ! 

Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2008 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.