Revelation 19-20 The Return of the King of Kings

TMS 1 Peter 2:11 Abstinence is Biblical
1 Peter 2:11 “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims,
abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.”

Observations: 2:11 Peter is concerned about the spiritual wellbeing and eternal happiness of his readers. He wants them to experience the blessings God has for them in this life and the next (cf 2 Peter 1:11 below). He warns them of their adversary the devil (1 Peter 5:8), but the thing most likely to do them in, is their unsanctified desires. So in the verse above he says believers should live on this planet as sojourners and pilgrims (we're just passing through an alien land for spiritual purposes). Our real home isn't here, so we shouldn't get too comfortable. In fact, we should abstain from (and steer clear away from) any fleshly lusts (desires for the temporal, particularly illegitimate sensual attractions), because such distractions war against our souls. Our souls (mind, will, emotions) are what we use to exchange our temporal days for the eternal delights of God. If we're distracted and consumed by gratifying our desires for temporal power (security/significance), pleasures, or possessions, we can't be busy laying up treasure in heaven, nor delighting in the presence of God, in Whose hand are pleasures forever more.
2 Peter 1:2 "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue...10...for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Application: Don't become a casualty like Demas who loved this present world, and departed from the path of righteousness; instead learn to kill your deadly desires, and live happily ever after.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me keep my desires and appetites focused on what is of eternal benefit, so I don't get stuffed and consumed by the temporal that never really satisfies. Amen.


Revelation 19-20 In these penultimate chapters of the Bible, the Lord Jesus actually reigns: He celebrates the wedding feast of the Lamb, returns to earth, defeats and tosses the Anti-Christ and False Prophet into the lake of fire, and treads the winepress of God, killing their followers; He resurrects and rewards faithful OT and Tribulation saints, has Satan bound, and as promised, reigns over His Millennial Kingdom for a thousand years. Satan is loosed to deceive the nations once more, but is defeated in the battle of Gog and Magog, and tossed into the lake of fire with the other members of the unholy trio. Then sitting on the Great White Throne He judges the not so righteous, according to their unrighteous deeds. Anyone whose name was not found in the Book of Life was tossed into the lake of fire (and there are still two more chapters to come).

Revelation 19 Wedding Or Winepress
19:1 "After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Hallelujah! Salvation, power, and glory belong to our God: 2 for true and righteous are His judgments. For He has judged the great prostitute, who corrupted the earth with her sexual immorality, and He has avenged the blood of his servants at her hand." 3 A second said, "Hallelujah! Her smoke goes up forever and ever." 4 The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne, saying, "Amen! Hallelujah!"
5 A voice came forth from the throne, saying, "Give praise to our God, all you His servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great!" 6 I heard something like the voice of a great multitude, and like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of mighty thunders, saying, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Omnipotent/Almighty, reigns! 7 Let us rejoice and be exceedingly glad, and let us give the glory to Him. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." 8 It was given to her that she would array herself in bright/shining, pure, fine linen: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 9 He said to me, "Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’" He said to me, "These are true words of God." 10 I fell down before his feet to worship him. He said to me, "Look! Don’t do it! I am a fellow bondservant with you and with your brothers who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy."
11 I saw the heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True. In righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has names written and a name written which no one knows but He Himself. 13 He is clothed in a garment sprinkled with blood. His name is called "The Word of God." 14 The armies which are in heaven followed Him on white horses, clothed in white/shining, pure, fine linen. 15 Out of His mouth proceeds a sharp, double-edged sword, that with it He should strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He treads the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 He has on His garment and on His thigh a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." 17 I saw an angel standing in the sun. He cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the sky, "Come! Be gathered together to the great supper of God, 18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, and small and great." 19 I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse, and against His army.
20 The beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who worked the signs in his sight, with which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur. 21 The rest were killed with the sword of him who sat on the horse, the sword which came forth out of his mouth. All the birds were filled with their flesh."

Observations: 19:1-4 After all the preceding judgments, John then hears praise being given to God for the executing justice on the false religious system and avenging the blood of His servants at her hand. Salvation, power and glory belong to God for His true and righteous judgments in eradicating the corrupting evil. A second voice praises God (Hallelujah means Praise Yah, as in Yahweh). The twenty-four elders and four living creatures concur.
19:5-10 A voice from the throne exhorts all God's servants, those who fear Him, to praise Him. John hears them do so, praising God for reigning, and executing His will on the earth. He had tolerated the false religious system, as a means of trying and purifying His holy ones, to give people an opportunity to demonstrate loyalty and prove themselves worthy of His blessings (unlike Satan). The saints give God glory because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride, the church has made herself ready (being clothed in bright/shining, fine linen, as in glorious, the righteous acts of the saints). John is instructed to write another “beatitude” indicating the blessedness of those who are invited to the Marriage Feast/supper of the Lamb. The placement of the Marriage Feast here, at the end of the Tribulation and the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom might cause some eyebrows to be raised, since the Rapture in the Pre-Tribulational view occurred seven years earlier (or three and a half years earlier for the Mid-Trib view). The time lag for the feast could be explained by Jewish marriage customs, for there is no Scripture that says that it has to occur immediately. However, the moving of the Rapture to just before the Feast, causes a lot more difficulties than arched eyebrows (see comments on 1 Thessalonians 4:16, and Revelation 3:10). The angel tells John that these are the true words of God, and John falls down to worship him. The angel forbids him, indicating that he is just a fellow servant along with believers who hold fast the testimony of Jesus. Only God should be worshiped, because the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy. Both “testimonies” are probably the testimony which Jesus gives (subjective genitives), making the last clause mean that Jesus is the One who gives the Spirit of Prophecy, therefore He is God, and the One who should be worshiped, rather than the messenger.
19:11-19 John sees the heaven opened and a Rider on white horse. The Rider is called Faithful and True, who judges and wars in righteousness. He wears many crowns and names/titles, as well as a name which no one knows but He Himself. This implies self-sovereignty, having inherited power/glory (name). He is clothed in a garment sprinkled with blood (as the High Priests were), and is called “The Word of God” (John 1:14). The armies of heaven follow Him. Out of His mouth proceeds a sharp sword, His word (Hebrews 4:12) which strikes His enemies. He will rule the nations with a rod of iron (Psalm 2) and tread the winepress of the wrath of God, destroying all who oppose Him (Revelation 14:10-20). His visible title is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” An angel calls the vultures to the great supper of God, in which they will feed on the flesh of God's enemies. John sees the Beast and the kings of earth and their armies gathered against Jesus and His army. The worldlings don't have a chance of succeeding against Him.
19:20 The Beast was taken/captured, along with the False Prophet. They were thrown into the lake of fire, that differs from the garbage dump of Gehenna on many counts, the one noted there is that it burns with sulfur/brimstone. The rest of the opposition were killed by the sword/word of Christ, and the vultures had a feast.

Application: Three characteristics of the saints: they worship God for His righteous and just character; they are clothed in righteous deeds; and they hold fast (as in faithfully obey) the revelation Jesus gave.

Prayer: Lord, You are the victorious King of Kings, and Lord of Lords; don't let me foolishly think that anyone else is worth serving, but please guide me in pleasing You. Amen.

Revelation 20 Blessed or Burnt
20:1 "And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 He seized the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and cast him into the abyss, and shut it, and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were finished. After this, he must be freed for a short time.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as didn’t worship the beast nor his image, and didn’t receive the mark on their forehead and on their hand. They lived, and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
5 The rest of the dead didn’t live until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over these, the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with him one thousand years.
7 And after the thousand years, Satan will be released from his prison, 8 and he will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to the war; the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up over the breadth of the earth, and surrounded the camp of the saints, and the beloved city. Fire came down out of heaven from God, and devoured them.
10 The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet are also. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. There was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and they opened books. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire."

Observations: 20:1-3 John next sees an angel with the key to the abyss/pit and a great chain. He seizes the Dragon/Devil/Deceiver, aka Satan and binds him for a 1000 years, and casts him into the pit, so he won't deceive the nations any more, until the 1000 years are finished. After this, he must be freed for a short time, according to God's plan. The normal way of reading this progression is as a definite and literal prison sentence. “Until” indicates a definite point in time. Those who falsely say this is an indefinite period of time, not only have no basis for saying so, but fail to read the rest of the context which explains why this period of time exists. There are over two dozen references to the Devil/Satan's activity in the lives of believers from the Day of Pentecost to the letters to the Churches in Revelation, so he wasn't bound at the Cross as some falsely teach. Obvious Satan is currently alive and well on planet earth, deceiving the nations and those who write non-contextual (unbiblical) theological commentaries (1 Peter 5:8).
20:4-6 After Satan is bound and imprisoned John sees thrones on which sat those who received rulership (one of the rewards Jesus promised to the apostles in His Kingdom -Luke 22:30, and the overcomers -Revelation 3:21). This is the resurrection of the righteous, when Christ repays righteous behavior as He promised (cf Luke 14:14).
Matthew 19:28 "Jesus said to them, "Most certainly I tell you that you who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on the throne of his glory, you also will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
He also sees the souls of martyrs who had been been beheaded for their faithfulness to the testimony of Jesus and the word of God, as well as Tribulation saints who had not worshiped the Beast nor received his mark. Righteous OT saints would wake up here (Ezekiel 37:12-13; Isaiah 26:19-21; and Daniel 12:1-3 below).
Ezekiel 37:12 “Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. 14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it," says the LORD.' "
NT saints had been resurrected at the Rapture (see comments on 1 Thessalonians 4:16). These all came to life (were resurrected) and reigned with Christ for a 1000 years in His Millennial Kingdom. The rest of the dead weren't resurrected until the 1000 years were completed, which again indicates a definite, purposeful period of time, the fulfillment of the Messianic Kingdom promises of the OT (Isaiah 40-66, Ezekiel, etc).
Another “beatitude” or blessing is pronounced on those who have a part, share, allotment, or assigned portion (see Thayer's Lexicon Strongs #3313) in the first resurrection. Notice that this blessedness is for those who are holy. Throughout the Scriptures, since expulsion from the Garden, blessing is a consequence of obedience (see the Blessings and Cursings in Deuteronomy, Psalm 1, and the Sermon on the Mount). Blessing is not some random act of kindness by God, but a benevolent response to our behavior. The blessings are listed as rulership and priesthood which are promised only to overcomers (Rev 3:12, 21). Note too, that the text does not read “take part” but “have an assigned portion” which in the context means the believer's inheritance. The second death has no power or authority over the faithful saints, but they will be priests of God and Christ (cf. Ezek 44) and reign with him 1000 years, in the administration of His Kingdom.
20:7-10 Continuing the specific time sequence, after the 1000 years are over, Satan will be released from his prison, and will go back to his old tricks of deceiving the nations who have experienced Christ's Millennial rule. Satan will gather the nations for war, (for Gog and Magog, see comments on Ezek 38:2, 16; 39:26). The deceived nations will be incited to rebel against the Messiah's rule, and surround Jerusalem. Fire will come down from heaven and destroy them. Then the Devil/Satan will join his buddies the Beast and the False Prophet in the lake of fire, for an indeterminate period of time, as in continual torment forever. There is a clear distinction in this chapter between a 1000 distinct years (which corresponds to the promised Sabbath rest for the people of God -Heb 4:9, mirroring God resting on the seventh day of creation) during which Satan is bound, and the indefinite, everlasting period of the eternal state, during which Satan is in the lake of fire. There is nothing in the text to indicate otherwise, so those who say this is symbolic (as the imagery and other parts of Revelation are), have the burden of proof to demonstrate that it is symbolic, and then specify what it is symbolic of. (Good luck).
20:11-15 Next (coordinate kai) John sees a Great White Throne, and on it is God, probably in the person of the Son, since all judgment was committed to Him. Christ not only promised a resurrection of the righteous, but also of the unrighteous as did Daniel.
John 5:27 “He also gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Don’t marvel at this, for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice, 29 and will come out; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.”
Daniel 12:1 "At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who stands for the children of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who shall be found written in the book. 2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the expanse; and those who turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.
Then John sees all the previously unresurrected dead standing before the throne. Holy and righteous people were resurrected in the resurrection of the righteous (20:5-6 above). These are the not so righteous, who were hanging out in Hades (the grave or Sheol) during the Millennial Kingdom. (Yes, that would mean the badly behaving miss out on blessing, just like unfaithful Israel missed out on the Promised Land.) John sees a set of books opened, an then another book opened, which is the Book of Life. The Book of Life in the context of Biblical times was a register of those people (citizens) who could participate in the rule (dominion/life) of a city-state (usually by voting) or enjoy citizenship benefits in a kingdom. All believers have their names written in the Book of Life (Ex 32:32), but those who persist in rebellious sin can have they names “blotted out” (Ex 32:31). This incident of the Golden Calf in Exodus 32 is instructive. Moses wants his name blotted out of God's book on behalf of the sinning Israelites if God won't forgive them. God says those who sin will have their names blotted out (which means they were in the book), and then smites the major sinners (not the entire nation) depriving them of the blessings of the Promised Land (parallel to unfaithful believers missing out on the blessings of the Millennial Kingdom -1Cor 10).
In Psalm 69:28 David asks God to blot the names of unrighteous enemies out of the Book of Life because of their persecution of him. “Let them be blotted out of the book of life, and not be written with the righteous.” Note that their names were in the book, but they are behaving unrighteously against the Lord's anointed. Romans 11 quotes this psalm to refer to the temporary blinding of Israel to the blessings of God, as a consequence of their sin (but goes on to say God still has a plan for them).
In Revelation 3:5 Jesus promised the overcomers that their names would not be blotted out of the book of life, but instead He would confess their name before the Father (for glory and blessing -Mt 16:27). The possibility of having one's name blotted out for unfaithfulness was real, which doesn't mean they would lose their forgiveness, but lose their reward. The rest of the promises to overcomers in Revelation 2-3 are rewards in the kingdom.
The question remains of: “How does one get their name in the Book of Life?” The NT uses the term in Philippians 4:3, recording the names of faithful laborers, but doesn't specify how the names got there. In Luke 19:20, when the seventy disciples returned from casting out demons, Jesus said that they should rejoice that their names are recorded in heaven. They were just exercising the authority of Christ, and Jesus made the segue into exercising authority in heaven (not that they were forgiven, but that is a part of it).
The key (as is true in many “difficult” passages) is to recognize that “eternal life” is “dominion of the Age” in many instances, received in the NT as a result of belief in the Messiah. See the discussion on Genesis 3 and Deuteronomy 30:19 for starters (and then examine the context of every usage of the term life in the OT and NT before you reject the conclusion). The “life” that Jesus came to give consisted of forgiveness (justification), the empowerment of the Holy Spirit (given by the ascended Messiah and necessary for sanctification), and the blessing of an inheritance in the coming kingdom (glorification -Rm 8:17). The NT is abundantly clear that unrighteous believers lose their inheritance (3Jn 8; Eph 5:5, etc) or their right to rule in the kingdom (Col 3:24-25). This is precisely parallel to the OT experience as taught explicitly by Paul in 1Corinthians 10. All the Israelites that came out of Egypt exercised faith (Ex 14:31), were redeemed, had a participation in Christ (although not the New Covenant Holy Spirit), and a planned inheritance in the Promised land. Most forfeited their right to live in the Promised Land (as the ruling people) by their unfaithfulness to the Lord and His commands (Num 13-14). This is why Deuteronomy puts an emphasis on obeying so the next generation will be blessed (exercise life or dominion) rather than cursed (deprived of life and dominion) as were their parents (Dt 28 and all over the book).
The NT believer is given life in the Messianic Age as a result of their trust in Christ (John 3:16) but can forfeit it as a result of unfaithfulness (1Jn 3:15 see comments there). This does not mean they are no longer born again, nor were never born again in the first place, nor that their sins where never forgiven, but it does mean that they won't receive the blessings of the righteous. Most talk of “positional righteousness” as an attempt to explain righteousness and reward by works (as in passages like Romans 2:5-10) is mere talk. We are given life, forgiven and justified by faith in Christ, but experience abundant life by continued belief (John 20:31). Unbelief and sin don't undo regeneration, but result in forfeiture of reward. We'll see more of this in the next chapter where the allotted portion or share in blessing of the unfaithful is in the lake of fire (they're not in the lake of fire, their reward is). Those who equate Gehenna with the lake of fire have simply not studied the passages in the Gospels referring to Gehenna (often incorrectly translated “hell”) with an understanding of context, and with the removal of the glasses of their incorrect and uninformed biases (most fail to take into account the state of the forgiveness of the audience, e.g., in the Sermon on the Mount the audience were Jews who were forgiven on the basis of their participation in the Day of Atonement, as it had been for over a thousand years, and the fact that the Sermon is about being rewarded in the Kingdom, not getting one's sins covered by the blood of the cross). Since ignorant biases die hard, may I recommend the use of a concordance, and previous posts in DailyTruthbase where the context of each use of Gehenna is explained?
Back to the Great White Throne judgment, the less-than-righteous dead are resurrected, and judged according to their deeds, showing them to be worthy of death. However, as a testimony to God's grace, another book was opened, the Book of Life. After being judged worthy of death, there is no hope or merit which could spare the sinner the lake of fire, except if his name was found “having been written” (perfect tense, for an activity that happened in the past with continuing results up to the present) in the book of life. Even if his name was crossed out, or blotted out, it still had been written there. The NT/Greek usage of “blot” has a range of meanings, from wipe away a tear, smear, white-wash, plaster over or erase. It could mean totally eradicate, but as usual, the precise meaning needs to be determined from context. If a name was written on a scroll, simply crossing it out would be the practice as is seen in NT and OT manuscripts and marginal readings. The OT has similar corresponding usages, although obliterate is more common, the other usages could be appropriate. The argument is not that the name still remains (it doesn't, in terms of being a righteous citizen) but it had been written there, which is what the text says, and a person who believed is spared the lake of fire. God is gracious. There would be no purpose of having the book of life there if no name of those being judged was written in it (although some could argue for having a second witness). The second witness argument will fall to pieces under the cross examination of the next two passages referring to the book of life (21:27; 22:19) as well as the reference to the tree of life (see next post). The next chapters also present unrighteous believers, which according to any other interpretation, would not exist.
So all the dead who weren't resurrected and rewarded in the resurrection of the righteous, are judged according to their deeds which were written in the books, and if their name had not been written in the book of life, they joined the unholy trio in the lake of fire.

Application: Be righteous, be blessed, and live happily ever after. Do your will rather than God's will, and you will regret it.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, may I be faithful to You in all my ways, doing what finds Your favor and is right in Your sight. Amen.


Digging Deeper

God in a nutshell: God is the sovereign judge, who will reign with Christ and destroy all of their enemies. God the Father and God the Son are to be worshipped.

Build-a-Jesus: Jesus, the Bridegroom of the Church, the Messiah, the Word of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, will triumph. He will reward those who are faithful to Him, and destroy those who have totally rejected Him.

Us in a nutshell: Believers have the opportunity to be resurrected and blessed, and share in the Messiah's kingdom, or forfeit those blessings in doing the devil's will. Those who trust in Christ will have their names written in the Book of Life, and won't go into the lake of fire. Those who are faithful will live happily ever after.

Where to Go for More: