Revelation 19

Verse 1: And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:

After giving us more details of concluding events during the second trumpet, John now looks into the future to the great heavenly victory celebration.

In Revelation 18:20, the “holy apostles and prophets” were invited to “rejoice.” Here, John hears a great voice of much people in heaven,” the redeemed from this earth, doing the same thing, suggesting this to be a scene taking place after the second coming.

The same service is found in Revelation 15:2-4 where John “saw as it were a sea of glass . . . and them that had gotten victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark . . . stand on the sea . . . and sing the song of Moses . . . and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works . . . just and true are thy ways . . . who shall not fear thee . . . for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.”

Then in Chapter 14:1-3 John also “looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand . . . harping with their harps: and they sung . . . a new song before the throne . . . and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.”

Finally, there is also great similarity to the scene in Revelation 7:9-12 where John “beheld . . . a great multitude . . . of . . . people . . . before the throne . . . saying, Salvation to our God . . . And all the angels . . . saying . . . Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.”

All of those services are really the same scene with each focusing on particular groups whose experiences merited special attention during that joyous occasion.

Therefore, the post second coming scene depicted here takes place soon after Jesus “descend[ed] from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ [had risen] first: then [those] which [were] alive and remain[ed had been] caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). Those left behind “hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come” (Revelation 6:15-17). To the righteous, it was the fulfillment of the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13).

Verse 2: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.

These people, saying “true and righteous are his judgments,” echo the words of the the angel “out of the altar” (Revelation 16:7), just after “the angel of the waters” who had “poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters” declared, “thou art righteous O Lord . . . because thou hast judged thus” (Revelation 16:4, 5). Those things took place during the “third woe” or seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:14, 15), whereas the judgement of “the great whore” took place during the second trumpet. Therefore, the “people” praising God here for His judgment must have been alive prior to the first resurrection and had been sealed with the seal of the living God (Revelation 7:2), soon after the judgment turned from the dead to the living, and had been translated without seeing death.

They had seen how “the great whore” had “glorified herself, and lived deliciously” boasting of her position as “a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow” and then saw her “burned with fire” (Revelation 18:7, 8) as foretold in Revelation 17:16.

The corrupting influence of “her fornication” was witnessed when “all nations [drank] of the wine of the wrath of her fornication [when] the kings of the earth . . . committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth . . . waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies” (Revelation 18:3), after it was decreed that “no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:17).

The “blood of [God’s] servants” is represented as “the blood of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Revelation 17:6) who refused to worship “the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands” (Revelation 20:4). It was shed when “the fellowservants also and their brethren” had been “killed” (Revelation 6:11) just before Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary “took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth” (Revelation 8:5).

Verse 3: And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.

Interestingly, the word “Alleluia,” found four times in Verses 1 to 6, is the only place in the Bible it is used. It denotes celebration, rendering praise to God for His victory over the “great whore” who’s ever ascending “smoke” serves notice that her punishment (not punishing), is permanent. It will never be reversed.

The “smoke of her burning,” actually witnessed by the kings, merchants and sailors (Revelation 18:9-19), is literal, whereas this “smoke” rising “up for ever and ever” must be symbolic of the phrase she “shall be found no more at all” (repeated six times in Revelation 18). This is the same symbology used in Revelation 14:11 where “the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever,” referring to the beast worshipers, another representation of finality which takes place after the “thousand years” of Revelation 20.

Verse 4: And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.

This is the last time these elders and beasts are mentioned in the book of Revelation. They are joining in the celebration rejoicing the final destruction of the “great whore.” With so much attention focused on the career and demise of the “great whore,” [1] it is evident, from the perspective of heaven, she bears the major responsibility for delaying the time when heaven can finally declare: “Amen; Alleluia.” Her guilt is even worse because, “in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth” (Revelation 18:24).

Verse 5: And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.

The Commentary suggests: “This was either the voice of God Himself or that of one speaking for Him.” [2] It then refers to Revelation 16:17 when “the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air . . . there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done” with that voice belonging to “the Sovereign of the universe.” [3] This is likely Jesus, God the Son, who is depicted as “a Lamb” who resides “in the midst of the throne” as well as “the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders” (Revelation 5:6; 7:17), directing our attention to God the Father who sits “on the throne” (Verse 4).

Verse 6: And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

According to White, this verse is sequential to the seven last plague scenario of Chapter 16. It states that after “the last vial of God’s wrath is poured out” and the seven vial bearing angels “return and lay their emptied vials at the feet of the Lord . . . the next scene is recorded [Revelation 19:6 quoted].” [4] If this verse is the “next scene . . . recorded” after the last of the seven last plagues, we can consider this statement to be important conformation that Chapters 17 and 18 were retrospective to the seven last plagues of Chapter 16, rather than sequential. Not only does this allow the possibility that the second trumpet scenario (Revelation 8:8, 9) is featured in chapters 17 and 18, but that the second coming (Revelation 6:14-17) must be sequential to the seven last plagues.

The same statement regarding this verse continues, saying: “They sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb.”  Then in another statement: “This song and the great deliverance which it commemorates, made an impression never to be effaced from the memory of the Hebrew people . . . That song does not belong to the Jewish people alone. It points forward to the destruction of all the foes of righteousness, and the final victory of the Israel of God.” [5] This must be the people who “had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name” (Revelation 15:2), the events depicted under the fifth to the seventh seals.

This is the same “great multitude” John saw, who were crying “with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne” (Revelation 7:9, 10), just as He is positioned in Verse 4 of this chapter. They seem to be expressing the same sentiment found in Revelation 11:17 “We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty [6] . . . because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned,” at the transition point between the second and third woes. If that is the case, they had “come out of [or survived the] great tribulation” called the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7) or the seven-trumpet scenario prior to the first resurrection and the second coming.

Whatever the case, their voices must be mingled with the “great voice of much people in heaven” (Verse 1) who sang: “Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God,” ―evidently the saved of all the ages. Recall that “the voice of many waters” could belong to Jesus, who’s “voice” also has “the sound of many waters” and “the voice of a great thunder” (Revelation 1:15; 14:2)

Verse 7: Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

In Verse 9, this occasion is called “the marriage supper of the Lamb,” but it is not until Revelation 21:9 that “one of the seven angels which had the seven vials” said “Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”

“In both the Old and New Testament the marriage relation is employed to represent the tender and sacred union that exists between Christ and His people.” [7] Therefore, the Lamb’s wife is His people [8], although, in Revelation 21:9-14, she is “that great city, the holy Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God” [9] which bore the “names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel” and “the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” signifying the close association of the “church” with the holy city.

Verse 8: And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

This anthem, which begins in Revelation 18:20 when the “holy apostles and prophets” were invited to “rejoice over” the demise of the “great whore,” continues on with special mention here of the church being “granted . . . fine linen” defined as “the righteousness of saints.” But note the “merchants” lamenting for the “great city” which was not only “clothed in . . . purple and scarlet,” but also “in fine linen!” (Revelation 18:15, 16). Clearly, that article does not represent “the righteousness of saints” rather, superficial self-righteousness that God rejected as hypocritical.

While the “great whore” dishonestly assumed the “fine linen,” the church was “granted,” that is, given the “fine linen” as a gift from God. “The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer. This will lead us to do right because it is right—because right doing is pleasing to God.” [10]

Verse 9: And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

This verse brings us to the end of the celebration service conducted by the “holy apostles and prophets” and “much people in heaven” who rejoiced that the “great whore” will “be found no more at all” (Revelation 18:20-23; 19:1). Of all the demonic organizations that have ever been set up by Satan, she is his masterpiece of deception. [11]

In Daniel 7:10, even though “the judgment was set, and the books were opened,” the next thing Daniel heard was “the voice of the great words which the horn spake,” implying, even though heaven was prepared to inaugurate the investigative judgment, the “horn” power (the “great whore”) succeeded in delaying the coming of “one like the Son of man . . . to the Ancient of days” at least 1260 years, from 538 to 1798 A.D.

Consider also, the “feet that were of iron and clay” in the great image of Daniel 2. Note that its “feet,” representing more than 1500 years of time, [12] consists of “iron” mixed in with “clay.” Even the “toes” are composed of the same material, representing the fact that the papal deception will continue right on to the very end of time and be one of the primary factors in delaying “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (of course, the Jewish nation and the church of Laodicea certainly share that responsibility!).  No wonder the exasperated, heavenly onlookers account her demise worthy of great celebration for “These are the true sayings of God!”

Verse 10: And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Ecstatic with wonder and delight because of “the true sayings of God” that the Lamb’s “wife,” the church, in spite of its many defects (Revelation 2, 3), will at last have “made herself ready” (Verse 7) for “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Verse 9), the reception of His kingdom, filled with “much people in heaven” (Verse 1) and the demise of “Babylon the great” (Revelation 18:9-24 & 17:16), John forgot himself and “fell” down “to worship” the angel.

But, he was not the only one who was happy, because “The countenance of the angel grew radiant with joy, and was exceeding glorious, as he showed to John the final triumph of the church of God.” But he “instantly raised him up, and gently reproved him,” [13] because he was only his “fellowservant.” The angel was a created being like John’s “brethren” who treasure “the testimony of Jesus.” Therefore, the “testimony of Jesus,” in this context, is the entire book of Revelation, “a message exceeding in importance any other message ever entrusted to mortals. This message Christ came in person to the Isle of Patmos to present to John.” [14] Jesus counsels those that have “an ear, let him hear what the Spirit” says to “the churches” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29: 3:6, 13, 22), and “especially for the last church”, the entire book of Revelation. [15]

Like John, who “was in the Spirit” when he received this vision, we too, must be inspired by the “the Spirit” in order to “hear” or understand it. We, the members of the last church of Laodicea, who feel ourselves “rich and increased with goods” (Revelation 3:17), have been exceedingly privileged to receive a special outpouring of “the spirit of prophecy” through the writings of White whose “testimony,” as we have seen, is a marvelous help in understanding the Revelation given to John and the prophecies given to Daniel.

Verse 11: And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

Verses 1 to 9 depict the things that John “heard,” including “a great voice of much people in heaven” and “a voice . . . out of the throne” in heaven.

Here John tells us what he “saw” in “heaven” which must have been thrown wide open to behold the magnificent ascension of “a white horse” and its rider. What does this magnificent scene represent? The first thing we should do, when attempting to understand the symbols, is to look for parallels. The more similar they are, the more likely they are to be parallel in meaning. In this case, the “white horse” and its rider who goes “forth conquering, and to conquer” (Revelation 6:2) is clearly identical to this horse and rider. [16] While no name is given that rider, here He is named “Faithful and True,” the same Person who commanded John to write the things concerning “the church of the Laodiceans” (Revelation 3:14) by “the faithful and true witness” which is Jesus Himself. In that context He is seen “in the midst of the seven candlesticks” (Revelation 1:13), but here as a warrior who judges and makes “war,” much like the other rider “conquering and to conquer.

The Commentary notes that He “appears, figuratively, as a warrior, riding forth as a conqueror on a magnificent white charger to occupy His lawful domain and to escort His faithful people back to the ‘marriage supper’” [17], while in Revelation 6:2 he is seen conducting the ongoing campaign in the Great Controversy between Christ, the rider of the white and black horses, and Satan, the rider of the red and pale horses.

As our study of Chapter 19 continues, we will find no red, black or pale horses alluded to. Why? because, at this point, the white horse and its rider, have conquered once and for all. He is the only One who is able to both “judge and make war” in truth “and in righteousness,” laying all complaints against His mercy and justice in the dust of absolute irrelevance. Here we see that the Lord “will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time” (Nahum 1:9).

Verse 12: His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

When John first saw this rider “his eyes were as a flame of fire” when “he was standing “in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks” and when He spoke “to the angel of the church in Thyatira” (Revelation 1:14; 2:18). But He wore no “crown” until we see Him riding “a white horse” wearing a single crown that “was given unto him” (Revelation 6:2). The word “crown,” in that case, is from “stephanos” which is “a chaplet” or “a badge of royalty, a prize in the public games or a symbol of honor” such as a “wreath or garland which was given as a prize to victors in public games.” [18]

But the “crowns” He has “on his head,” in this verse, are from “diadema” which is a “kingly ornament for the head,” [19] “a diadem of rulership.” [20] Since there are “many crowns,” we can assume they designate Him to be the “Lord of lords and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14) who “shall overcome” the “ten horn . . . kings . . . the beast” and the “woman” who became “drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Revelation 17:6, 11, 12) during the final moments of earth’s history.

The kingly “crown” signifies He had “moved out of the most holy place . . . tarried a moment in the outer apartment of the heavenly sanctuary [21] . . .” laid “off His priestly attire and clothe[d] Himself with His most kingly robes. Upon His head were many crowns . . . The plagues were falling upon the inhabitants of the earth. Some were denouncing God and cursing Him. Others rushed to the people of God and begged to be taught how they might escape His judgments. But the saints had nothing for them.” [22]

He also “had a name,” in addition to being “called Faithful and True,” that was “written, that no man knew, but he himself.” Those who learned to trust Him certainly “knew” His first “name” by experience. But His second “name” is known only to Himself because it must relate to His experience. He had voluntarily allowed Himself to be transmuted from king of the universe to a little baby born in a manger, living for 34 years on earth among the beings He created, treated scornfully by them, dying an ignominious death on the cross, then arising and ascending into heaven. Nobody has ever, nor will ever, duplicate such an experience! Nevertheless, “we must look in living faith upon the cross, and thus begin the study which shall be the science and the song of the redeemed through all eternity.” [23]

Verse 13: And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

The Commentary has this to say: “The question arises as to whose blood stains the cloak of the rider. Some have suggested that it is a symbol of Christ’s own blood shed on the cross, on the assumption that it cannot be that of the wicked, who, at this point in the narrative, have not yet been slain. However, Christ here appears, not in the role of ‘a Lamb as it had been slain’ (ch. 5:6), but of a conquering warrior. The striking similarity between this passage and that of Isaiah (ch. 63:1-6) suggests that this passage is a fulfillment of the words of Isaiah.” [24] It reads: “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth” (Isaiah 63:1-6).

Obviously, then, it is the blood of the wicked that His “vesture” was “dipped in.” The Commentary, based on the last verse of Isaiah’s prophecy, states: “The wicked are represented as grapes to be trodden in the wine press of God’s wrath.” [25] Consequently, it is the “blood” of the wicked, “sprinkled upon” Christ’s “garments,” that had stained “all” His “raiment,” or “vesture,” that had already been “dipped in [the] blood” [26] of the wicked during the trumpet scenario, even before John saw “heaven opened” with Christ appearing as though riding “a white horse” as a “conquering warrior.” In other words, He had already “conquered” because He had already vanquished the wicked at this point.

The “assumption that” this “blood” is not from the wicked, who were not yet slain “at this point,” is erroneous when we consider that the “great whore” was slain in the second trumpet scenario (Revelation 8:8, 9; 17:16; 18:17-19) and “many . . . men died of the waters because they were made bitter” in the third trumpet episode (Revelation 8:10, 11) and “the third part of men” were “killed” (Revelation 9: 15, 18) in the sixth trumpet, just before the seventh trumpet, “third woe” (Revelation 11:14), seven last plague scenario commenced.

Verse 14: And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

Note the italicized, supplied words “the armies which were [27] in heaven.” The Commentary logically suggests this “is, the angelic hosts that accompany Christ at His second advent.” [28] But, there is a problem with that conclusion because they are “clothed in [the same] fine linen, white and clean” that the “saints” are “arrayed in” (Verse 8). This “fine linen . . . is the righteousness of Christ, His own unblemished character, that through faith is imparted to all who receive Him as their personal Saviour . . . This covering, the robe of His own righteousness, Christ will put upon every repenting, believing soul.” [29] But, do the angels “in heaven” need that “covering?”

“God loves the sinless angels, who do his service, and are obedient to all his commands; but he does not give them grace. These heavenly beings know naught of grace; they have never needed it, for they have never sinned.” [30] So, who are these “armies . . . in heaven . . . clothed in [the] fine linen” that represents God’s grace?

Consider this quote: “No outward adorning can compare in value or loveliness with that ‘meek and quiet spirit,’ the ‘fine linen, white and clean’ (Rev.19:14), which all the holy ones of earth will wear.” [31] [32]

Therefore, “the armies . . . in heaven” must be there spiritually rather than literally.

Recall the other “angel,” who “came out of the temple” in heaven crying “to him that sat on the cloud” (Revelation 14:15), appears to be a heavenly angel. But, White says it is “the saints will cry day and night to Jesus on the cloud, to thrust in his sharp sickle and reap. . . This will be the time of Jacob’s trouble, out of which, the saints will be delivered by the voice of God.” [33]

Note that “they that are with [Jesus] are called, and chosen and faithful” (Revelation 17:14), meaning they are “with him” spiritually, in heart and mind, but not literally.

Consider this statement: “But while anguish was upon the loyal and true, who would not worship the beast or his image and accept and revere an idol sabbath, One said ‘Look up! Look up!’ Every eye was lifted, and the heavens seemed to part as a scroll when it is rolled together, and, as Stephen looked into the heaven, we looked. The mockers were taunting and reviling us and boasting of what they intended to do to us if we continued obstinate in holding fast our faith. But now we were as those who heard them not. We were gazing upon a scene that shut out everything else.”[34] So, in the spiritual sense, they are dwellers in heaven even while being abused on earth!

At first glance, it appears “the armies which were in heaven followed” the “white horse” and its rider from heaven to earth, but, because they are clothed with the “fine linen” that the sinless inhabitants of heaven do not need, plus the other examples of earthly beings on earth depicted as heavenly dwellers, it is more likely these “armies” are following “the white horse” and its rider from earth to heaven [35] rather than from heaven to earth!

That concept makes good sense for another reason. Note that these “armies” who follow the “white horse” and its rider (Jesus, in verses 11-13) are themselves riding “upon white horses.”  Who do they represent? In our study of the four horses (Revelation 6:2-8), we have already found they represent four groups of people categorized in heaven as “white, red, black” or “pale.” Therefore, it is entirely consistent for us to interpret Jesus’ “white horse” (Verse 11) and the “white horses” (Verse 14) as God’s people who possess the righteousness and purity of Christ’s character that He gave His true believers. They are the saints who accept His righteousness and received His cleansing from their sins, with the “fine linen, clean and white” being the same color as the “horse” that Jesus rides and the “horses” ridden by His “armies.”

While the “white horse” Jesus rides (Verse 11) must represent all the righteous, the riders of the “white horses” (Verse 14) could well represent the 144,000, with their “white horses,” representing the “great multitude” (Revelation 7:9) who responded to the “loud cry” (Revelation 18:4) “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Now we see them following Jesus from earth to heaven in what we could call the “second going” [36] just after His “second coming.”

Consider Joel 2:1-11: the prophet appears to describe God marshalling together His last day “army” from His church to give the “loud cry” of Revelation 18: “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.  The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:  And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?”

Verse 15: And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

Here, John looks back to Verse 11 where the white horse’s rider is “called Faithful and True,” the leader of the horses and riders behind him.  His sole weapon is in “his mouth” called a “sharp sword.” This is the same “sharp twoedged sword” John saw after he “turned to see the voice that spake with” him at the beginning of his vision (Revelation 1:12, 16). It is seen again when Jesus critiqued the church of Pergamos. He threatened to “fight against them with the sword of [His] mouth” if they refused to “repent of the doctrine of Balaam” and “the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes” (Revelation 2:12, 14, 16).

While “he that sat upon” the “white horse” (Verse 11) has “a sharp sword” going “out of his mouth” that He uses to “smite the nations,” the rider of the “white horse” of Revelation 6:2 only “had a bow” making Him appear defenseless in comparison to the riders of the red and pale horses who possess swords. Nevertheless, “he went forth conquering, and to conquer” because the “bow” represents His word, the same omnipotent power represented by His “sharp sword.” [37]

The “nations,” that are smitten here, must be represented by the “red” and “pale” horses, both of whom are controlled by one who was given “power . . . to take peace from the earth” to “kill one another . . . with sword . . . hunger . . . death, and with the beasts of the earth” (Revelation 6:4, 8).

But, what about the “black horse” whose rider only “had a pair of balances in his hand?” (Revelation 6:5). Its color was changed to white when it heard and responded to the command from the rider of the white horse who gave a loud cry: “come out of [Babylon] my people” (Revelation 18:4). Those “people” must be the other “white horses” (Revelation 19:14).

Then another instrument of wrath called “a rod of iron” is presented. It was first promised the overcomer in the church of Thyatira who “keepeth my works unto the end” who would be given “power over the nations” to “rule with a rod of iron . . .” (Revelation 2:26, 27).

The same instrument is seen in the hands of the “man child” that was “brought forth” by the good “woman.” With it He “was to rule all nations” sometime after He “was caught up unto God, and to his throne” (Revelation 12:5). Here, the rider of the “white horse,” prefigured as “a man child,” uses it to “smite the nations” that must be represented by “vine of the earth” which He harvested with His “sharp sickle” and “cast . . . into the great winepress of the wrath of God” (Revelation 14:19) [38] at the time of the sixth trumpet, sixth angel or “second woe” (Revelation 9:14, 15).

Verse 16: And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

His “vesture” was “dipped in [and stained {Isaiah 63:3} with the] blood” (Verse 13) of the wicked, but this is the first and last mention of “his thigh.” With the name “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS,” as represented by His “many crowns” (Verse 12), [39] and being written on “his vesture and . . . thigh,” suggest His full responsibility for shedding the blood of the wicked during the first six trumpet scenarios, even though Satan, the rider of the red and pale horses, was the one who implemented them. Nevertheless, Satan would have been completely immobilized except for the white horse rider’s explicit permission.

Verse 17: And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

Jesus’ “countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (Revelation 1:16) the same “mighty angel [who] came down from heaven, clothed with a cloud . . . and his face was as it were the sun” (Revelation 10:1). It was “the sun” that clothed the good “woman” (Revelation 12:1). Here we see “an angel standing” right “in the sun” which could be the angel Gabriel who stands “in the presence of God” (Luke 1:19) or “next to Christ, as in ancient combat an armorbearer would be near his lord.” [40]

Now he extends a macabre invitation to “all the fowls” ―instead of “much people in heaven” who were “called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Verse 9).  This is a very different “supper.”

Verse 18: That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

Note, with the exception of the “horses,” the kings, captains, mighty men, free and bond are the same men who had just “hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains” calling for them to “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb” (Revelation 6:15, 16).

Therefore, this is obviously the scene following the time when “the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together” (Revelation 6:14) where John describes “a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war” (Verse 11). Consequently, the rider of the “white horse” is also “the Lamb” (Revelation 6:16)!

Because those two scenes depict the same kings, captains, might men, free and bond who are reacting to the same event, [41] the dead “horses” alluded to here must be representative of something that is also depicted in Revelation 6.

Consider the question asked by the doomed who exclaim just before being slain: “the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:17). The answer follows in Chapter 7 where John “heard” the number of the 144,000 and then beheld the “great multitude, which no man could number” (Revelation 7:4, 9). They must be configured in this chapter as the “the [victorious] armies . . . in heaven” (Verse 14) who “followed” the “white horse; and he that sat upon him” (Verse 11), “upon white horses” from earth to heaven. [42]

In the meantime, the slain, who had just asked that all-important question, most likely, at this point in time, are represented by the “pale” horse whose rider was “Death, and Hell followed with him” (Revelation 6:8).

While the color of the “black horse” was changed to “white” when the people it represented heard and accepted the “loud cry” (Revelation 18:1-4), the “horse that was red,” representing “the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews and are not,” (Revelation 3:9) found themselves horribly disappointed at the end of the sixth trumpet/second woe scenario when there “was . . . a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven” (Revelation 11:13). But their confession was ineffectual because they had already plunged themselves into the “bottomless pit” (Revelation 9:1, 2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3) of hopelessness. After wandering “from sea to sea, and from north even to the east” seeking for “the word of the LORD, and not” finding it, they finally admitted “Thy god, O Dan, liveth . . .” (Amos 8:11-14). Subsequently, only the pale horse survives to be slain by the brightness of Christ’s second coming, a short time after the seventh trumpet is sounded.

Verse 19: And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

Here John looks back, retrospectively, from the gruesome scene (Verses 17, 18) to reflect on the “war” that began when the “beast” ascended “out of the bottomless pit” to “make war” against the completed “testimony” of the two witnesses (Revelation 11 :3,7) whose “testimony” was carried by those who “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17). It was “given” to the sea beast “to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds and tongues, and nations” (Revelation 13:7) that make up the “armies” of “the beast and the kings of the earth” in this verse.

Now, even though the previous verse makes it clear how it will turn out, in this verse, the two armies led by the “beast” and the rider of the “white horse” confront each other for the last time.

Verse 20: And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

In order to know who the “beast” and “false prophet” are, we must first understand the nature of the “lake of fire” they were “cast” into. The Commentary is quite helpful here. The “identical phrase in ch. 20:10 . . . seems to call for the conclusion that these phrases refer to the same fiery event, namely, the destruction of the wicked at the end of the thousand years. But to do so presents a problem. The 19th chapter is most evidently discussing events in connection with the second coming of Christ. Hence to hold that the lake of fire mentioned in ch. 19:20 describes an event at the close of the millennium is to lift this verse out of its contextual sequence. It is always better, if possible, to find an explanation that allows any given statement to maintain its historical sequence in a passage of Scripture. As regards ch. 19:20, this is possible on the reasonable premise that there is a fiery judgment from God both at the beginning and at the close of the millennium.” The Commentary ends its statement with a quote from James White: “‘So, if you please, there are two lakes of fire, one at each end of the one thousand years’ (RH Jan. 21, 1862).” [43]

On that point we are on our own because the Commentary’s position is based on the historicist’s view that since the “woman” (Revelation 17:16) is only “figurative” she could only “be burned figuratively.” [44] But, even from the Commentary’s view, the “lake of fire” depicted here is just as literal as the post millennial “lake of fire.” Therefore the “beast” and “false prophet” (and correspondingly the “woman”) are figures that represent that which is literal.

But, without being hampered with the historicists’ view, it is clear that this “lake of fire” is what burns the “woman” (Revelation 17:16) and that it is just as literal as the “lake” depicted here. It is also the “fire,” from which the “smoke of her burning” ascends, that is lamented by the “kings of the earth,” the “merchants of the earth,” and the “sailors” (Revelation 18:9-18). And, as we have learned, that event takes place at the time of the second trumpet scenario when “as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea . . . and the third part of the ships were destroyed” (Revelation 8:8, 9).

Daniel saw the same thing when he “beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame” (Daniel 7:11). A little before that, Jeremiah, citing the Lord’s sentiments against Babylon, says: “Behold I am against thee, O destroying mountain . . . which destroyest all the earth: and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain” (Jeremiah 51:24, 25).

This beast must be parallel either to the “woman” or the “scarlet coloured beast” she is sitting upon (Revelation 17:3). Since it is the “woman” who is “burned” (Revelation 17:16), this beast must represent the “woman.”  The “false prophet” worked “miracles before” this “beast,” and we see the same scenario where the “earth beast” is seen doing “great wonders” deceiving “them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the [sea] beast . . .” (Revelation 13:11-14). Therefore, not only is this “beast” parallel to the “woman” (Revelation 17:3), it also parallels the “sea beast” (Revelation 13:1-10). The “false prophet” is parallel to the “earth beast.”

However, problems relating to this understanding still remain. If the “beast” and the “false prophet” are representative of the whole of Catholicism and apostate Protestantism, in general, being “cast alive into the lake of fire,” that would be tantamount to the final destruction that takes place after the millennium. Therefore, we are again forced to conclude that the “woman” (Revelation 17:3) represents Vatican City. But what about the “false prophet,” who parallels the “earth beast” and who meets the same fate? The answer can only be speculative at this point. If the “woman” represents Vatican City, the “false prophet” could well be symbolic of the leaders of apostate Protestantism who were invited to preside over the articles of confiscation being shipped to Rome at the time of the economic sanctions against those who refused to worship the beast and his image and rejected its “mark.” Only time will give the real answer.

Verse 21: And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

This verse takes us right back to the gruesome scene (Verses 17, 18) where “the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven” were invited to gather themselves “together unto the supper of the great God; that [they] may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men . . .” Therefore, those men are “the remnant” depicted here who were not “cast alive into a lake of fire . . .” Instead of being burned up, they were “slain with the sword of him that sat upon the [white] horse,” leaving their “flesh” unburied to be consumed by the “fowls” after the second coming of Christ who is the rider of the white horse (Verse 11). They, inclusive of the “kings of the earth, merchants of the earth” and the seafaring men (Revelation 18:9-17), had stood “afar off for fear of her torment,” weeping and wailing because of “the smoke of her burning” (Revelation 18:9, 18), while the heavenly onlookers rejoiced (Verses 1-6).

A striking parallel to this series of events is depicted by Daniel where he, looking way ahead of the Investigative Judgment scenario, heard “the voice of the great words which the [little] horn spake: [then he] beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.  As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time” (Daniel 7:9-13). [45] The “rest of the beasts” must be “the remnant [who] were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the [white] horse” the “sword” that came “out of His mouth” (Verse 15).

Summary of Chapter 19: It begins with the victory celebration “of much people in heaven,” the saved of all the ages with special mention of those who survived the allurements of the “great whore,” called “a great multitude,” the same “great multitude” (Revelation 7:9) who “came out of [the] great tribulation” (Revelation 7:14), inclusive of experiencing the events of the seven-trumpet scenario.  The primary focus of attention in the middle of the chapter is that of the “white horse,” and its rider named “Faithful and True,” who “in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” Instead of this being His second coming to earth, it is in reality, the second going from earth to heaven after He has finally “conquered” in the ultimate sense. This horse and rider are parallel to the “white horse” and rider (Revelation 6:2) who “went fourth conquering, and to conquer.” In that context, they were in the process of “conquering.” In this chapter they will have “conquered,” as suggested by the absence of the other, red, black and pale horses. The red horse, in effect, died of bitter disappointment when it was discovered that Wormwood was Abaddon/Apollyon (Revelation 11:13), while the pale horse was slain by the brightness (or “sword”) of Christ’s coming (Revelation 6:14-17).  The blackness of the black horse will have been changed to white by its acceptance of the “loud cry” message (Revelation 14:6-9 carried by the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3-6) during probationary time.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

[1] Consider the “iron” in the “feet” of Daniel’s great image (Daniel 2), plus the “little horn” (Daniel 7 & 8), the “king of fierce countenance (Daniel 8), the “vile person” (Daniel 11), then the “sea beast” (Revelation 13), the “mark of the beast” mentioned repeatedly from that point on, then the depredations and the death of the “great whore” (from Revelation 17 onwards). God must have very good reasons for devoting so much time and attention to that power. Without this information we would be pawns in her hands because she represents Satan’s masterpiece of deception.

[2] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, page 872 (left column under “5. Out of the throne.”)

[3] Ibid page 846 (right column under “From the throne.)

[4] Testimonies to Ministers page 432 (italics and brackets supplied) This challenges our thinking because the order of events depicted is according to Hebrew thinking and is not what we ordinarily expect.

[5] Patriarchs and Prophets by E.G. White, page 289

[6] the word “Almighty” is from “pantokrator” (Strong’s #3841) translated “omnipotent” in this verse.

[7] My Life Today by E.G White, page 356

[8] White Comments on Revelation 19:7-9 in Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol.7, page 985, 986: “the church is the bride, the Lamb’s wife” and “the church is the bride of Christ . . .” See also Manuscript Releases by E.G. White, Vol. 16, pages 277, 345

[9] The Great Controversy by E.G. White, page 426, 427.

[10] Christ’s Object Lessons by E.G. White, page 97, 98

[11] Signs of the Times, 2-19-94 “Satan’s masterpiece of deception is popery; and while it has been demonstrated that a day of great intellectual darkness was favorable to Romanism, it will also be demonstrated that a day of great intellectual light is also favorable to its power; for the minds of men are concentrated on their own superiority, and do not like to retain God in their knowledge. Rome claims infallibility, and Protestants are following in the same line. They do not desire to search for truth and go on from light to a greater light. They wall themselves in with prejudice and seem willing to be deceived and to deceive others.”

[12] Check it out. Since the “head of gold” begins in 606 BC, and the legs of iron end in 476 A.D., 606 + 476 -1 equals only 1,081 years of time. The “feet,” beginning in 476 A.D., extend to the end, which by now (2023) equals 1,547 years―and still counting!

[13] Spiritual Gifts by E.G. White, Vol. 1, page 130

[14] Medical Ministry by E.G. White, page 37

[15] “To John were opened scenes of deep and thrilling interest in the experience of the church. He saw the position, dangers, conflicts, and final deliverance of the people of God. He records the closing messages which are to ripen the harvest of the earth, either as sheaves for the heavenly garner or as fagots for the fires of the last day. Subjects of vast importance were revealed to him especially for the last church, that those who should turn from error to truth might be instructed concerning the perils and conflicts before them. None need be in darkness in regard to what is coming upon the earth.” (Spirit of Prophecy by E.G. White, Vol. 4, pages 211, 212; Great Controversy by E.G. White, page 341)

[16] For reasons that are difficult to understand, nearly all commentators ignore this obvious parallel. I don’t feel overly critical to point out that the Commentary also ignores this parallel (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, page 873, right column under “White horse.”)

[17] Ibid

[18] Strong’s #4735

[19] Strong’s #1238

[20] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, page 748 (left column under “Crown.”) It also defines the “’stephanos’ as “’a chaplet,’ or ‘garland, of victory.’”

[21] It is at that point that He “took the censer, and filled it [entirely] with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth” (Revelation 8:5).

[22] Early Writings by E.G. White, pages 280-281 (bracket and ellipses supplied) Read the complete quote for yourself, it is serious!

[23] Last sentence from:  Review and Herald 5-3-81

[24] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, page 874 (left to right columns under “Dipped in blood.”)

[25] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, page 323 (right column under “6. Tread down.” Italics supplied)

[26] Interestingly, the verb “dipped” is from “bapto” which is: “Not to be confused with, baptizo. The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words.  Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped’ (bapto) into boiling water and then ‘baptised’ (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change.” (Strong’s #911 Online Computer Lexicon) Obviously, Christ’s garments are white. Therefore, its blood color, from being “dipped in blood,” is only temporary. The “blood” must also be that of His enemies who were destroyed by the brightness of His coming.

[27] The words “which were” are supplied, not in the original text.

[28] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, page 874 (right column under “14. Armies.”)

[29] Lift Him Up by E.G. White, page 344

[30] Review and Herald 10-15-08; 9-15-96; Testimonies to Ministers by E.G. White, page 519

[31] Our High Calling by E.G. White, page 273 taken from Acts of the Apostles by E.G. White, pages 523, 524 (parenthesis not supplied)

[32] Here is another wonderful quote: “There was to be imparted to the human being striving for conformity to the divine image an outlay of heaven’s treasures, an excellency of power, which would place him higher than the angels who had not fallen.” (The General Conference Bulletin 10-1-99)

[33] Word to the Little Flock, by E.G. White, page 12

[34] Manuscript Releases by E.G. White, Vol. 21, page 326 (read the whole article beginning on page 325-328)

[35] Read Revelation 19:14 again in this light and note that the direction of travel of the heavenly “armies” is not specified, leaving it up to us to decide―either from heaven to earth or from earth to heaven. The former understanding holds until we take into consideration the “fine linen” the saints are “granted” (Verse 8).  In that case, the latter view takes precedence.

[36] The “first going” is depicted in Acts 1:9

[37] Another parallel to the “sharp sword,” in addition to the “bow,” might be the “sharp sickle” of Revelation 14:14-19 used to harvest “the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.”

[38] Remember, the scenario of Revelation 14:20 depicts a brief overview of the battle of the sixth trumpet, or second woe, when the armies of the red horse people emerge after “the four angels bound in the great river Euphrates” were “loosed” (Revelation 9:14) to take vengeance against pale horse people. It will be the bloodiest conflict this world has ever seen, and it will be the last. Consider this quote: “I saw that the judgments were just upon us, and that the trouble would soon be to this land, and that blood would flow in streams. The angel said, ‘It will soon be even to the horses’ bridles.’ That was an awful time.” (Manuscript Releases by E.G. White, Vol. 16, page 33)

[39] also the same name given “the Lamb” who is “Lord of lords, and King of kings” who overcomes all who come against Him (Revelation 17:14).

[40] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, page 875 (left column under “17. Standing in the sun.”)

[41] The second coming of Christ.

[42] If you are confused (and I don’t blame you!), go back and review my conclusion that the “armies in heaven” are really God’s people on earth who long for heaven and follow Him back into heaven at the time of the second coming.

[43] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, pages 875, 876 (bottom right column to top of left, italics supplied)

[44] Ibid page 858 (right column under “Burn. her.)

[45] Uriah Smith comments: “The papacy has long been in the field, and has come to the closing scenes in its career. Its overthrow is emphatically predicted in other prophecies than the one now before us, notably in Daniel 7:11, in which the prophet says that he beheld until the beast was slain, and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame. This power must be very near the close of its existence. But it does not perish until Christ appears, for it then goes alive into the lake of fire.” (The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, page 737)

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