“Eschatology” (Part 26: Judgment on Jerusalem and the Beast

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III. The Book of Revelation. T. Judgment on Jerusalem and the Beast (19:11-21). 1. Now we see a vision of Christ appearing in judgment. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war” (v. 11). a. This is not the Second Coming. (i) We’ve already seen that there are several comings of Christ. (a) The Lord has come several times in judgment against the nations. This is often pictured as His riding on the clouds as His chariots. (1) “The oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and is about to come to Egypt; the idols of Egypt will tremble at His presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them” (Isa. 19:1). (2) “Then the earth shook and quaked; and the foundations of the mountains were trembling and were shaken, because He was angry. Smoke went up out of His nostrils, and fire from His mouth devoured; coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down with thick darkness under His feet. He rode upon a cherub and flew; and He sped upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him, darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds, hailstones and coals of fire. The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered His voice, hailstones and coals of fire. He sent out His arrows, and scattered them, and lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them. Then the channels of water appeared, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at Your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils” (Ps. 18:7-15). (b) The Lord may be said to come for believers when they die: “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3). (c) The Lord will come again at the last day to raise the dead and bring a definitive end to human history at the Second Coming: “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thes. 4:15-17).

2 (ii) This coming is not the Second Coming. (a) In that coming, Christ will return as He went into heaven. “And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven’” Acts 1:9-11). (b) He didn’t go to heaven on a horse, He won’t return on one. b. Rather, this is a coming of Christ in judgment against Jerusalem and against the beast. (i) “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen” (Rev. 1:7). (ii) This appears to be a coming at the climax of the Tribulation to bring an end both to Israel and the beast He used to judge her. “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other” (Matt. 24:29-31). (iii) The fact that He is on a white horse does not mean that He is the same rider we saw in 6:2. (a) “I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer” (Rev. 6:2). (b) There, the rider referred to Vespasian beginning his march against Jerusalem. (c) Here, it refers to Christ, because of the description given of Him. (iv) How do we know this One is Christ? (a) The One who sits on the horse is called Faithful and True, which are characteristics John earlier attributed to Christ. “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this” (Rev. 3:14). (b) Who, but Christ, could judge and wage war in righteousness? (1) “Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the LORD, for He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in His faithfulness” (Ps. 96:12-13).

3 (2) “The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked” (Isa. 11:2-4). (3) In the OT, the Lord waged war against the enemies of Israel (His people). (A) When the Northern kingdom became an enemy to the Southern kingdom (His people), He waged war on them and removed them from His covenant. (B) When the Southern kingdom apostatized by rejecting the Messiah, He cut them off as well. (C) Now He appears to judge the beast who unjustly waged war and showed no mercy to national Israel. (c) “His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself” (v. 12). (1) Again, this matches an earlier description of Christ: “His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire” (Rev. 1:14). (A) He is the One who knows the matters of the heart. (B) “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:12-13). (C) He knows if we’re unconverted, but acting as though we’re converted. (D) He knows if we’re genuinely converted, though sometimes we act as though we’re unconverted. (2) The many diadems shows His royal status. (3) What about the name He has which no one knows except Himself? (A) This doesn’t mean that no one knows what the name is, because John tells us in the next verse. (B) What it means is that no one knows it in a personal, experiential sense, as Christ knows it. “The New Testament use of the words for know (ginosko and oida) is influenced by a Hebrew idiom, in which the verb to know acquires related meanings: to acknowledge, to acknowledge as one’s own, and to own. . . . Thus, the point in this verse is not that no one can know what the name is

4 (for in fact, as we shall see, we do “know” the name, in the cognitive sense), but that He alone properly owns the name; it belongs only to Him” (Chilton, Vengeance, 483). (C) That name is “The Word of God” (19:13). (I) “He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God” (19:13). (II) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). (D) And it is “King of kings, and Lord of lords” (v. 16). (I) “And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘King of kings, and Lord of lords’” (v. 16). (II) He is the King over every king, and the Lord of all lords. (d) “He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God” (v. 13). (1) The picture we have here is one of war, not atonement. The blood of His enemies is spattered on His robe as He brings His vengeance on them. (2) “I have trodden the wine trough alone, and from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger and trampled them in My wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, and I stained all My raiment. For the day of vengeance was in My heart, and My year of redemption has come” (Isa 63:3-4). (e) “And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses” (v. 14). (1) This is not the church – the church doesn’t engage in this final warfare. (2) These armies of heaven are the holy and elect angels. (f) “From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty” (v. 15). (1) The sword from His mouth is His Word, not a literal sword. As God created the world with a word, so Christ will win this battle with a word. (2) Notice that He comes not only to bring vengeance on Jerusalem and on the beast, but also on the nations. (A) He rules the nations with a rod of iron. (I) “And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne” (Rev. 12:5). (II) “‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession.

5 You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’ Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!’” (Ps. 2:8-12). (III) With His scepter, He may either raise up a nation, or put one down. (B) Those who trust in Him and who do His will, will also reign with Him. “He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’” (Rev. 2:26-29; cf. 20:1-10). (C) It is also His to execute the vengeance of His Father: “He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.” 2. Invitation to the great supper of God. “Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, ‘Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great’” (vv. 17-18). a. We’ve just seen the marriage of the Lamb (19:7), accompanied by the marriage supper of the Lamb (v. 9). Here we see another supper, “the great supper of God.” (i) This is not a celebration, but a slaughter. (ii) Those who are called to the feast are not men, but the birds (animals). This again shows reversal of the blessing: Instead of the animals being food for man, man becomes food for the animals. (a) The slaughter will be so great, the bodies won’t be cared for, but left for the birds to eat. (b) “Your carcasses will be food to all birds of the sky and to the beasts of the earth, and there will be no one to frighten them away” (Deu. 28:26). (c) “As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Speak to every kind of bird and to every beast of the field, “Assemble and come, gather from every side to My sacrifice which I am going to sacrifice for you, as a great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood. You will eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, as though they were rams, lambs, goats and bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan. So you will eat fat until you are glutted, and drink blood until you are drunk, from My sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. You will be glutted at My table with horses and

6 charioteers, with mighty men and all the men of war,” declares the Lord GOD’” (Ezek. 39:17-20). b. The beast and the false prophet judged. (i) The beast and the kings who supported Rome take their stand against Christ. “And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army” (v. 19). (a) The beast and the kings of the earth were not only the enemies of Israel, they were also the enemies of God. (b) He used them to bring judgment on His people, but that doesn’t mean they were good. (1) When Rome fought against Israel, they sought not only to destroy the Jewish faith, but also the Christian faith. (2) Titus “expressed the opinion that the temple ought most certainly to be destroyed, in order that the Jewish and Christian religions might more completely be abolished; for although these religions were hostile to each other, they had nevertheless sprung from the same founders; the Christians were an offshoot of the Jews, and if the root were taken away, the whole plant would soon perish” (F. F. Bruce, Israel, 226). (3) God used the beast to bring judgment on His people, but because the beast opposed Him, He brought judgment on the beast as well. (ii) The Lord overthrows the beast, the false prophet and his followers. “And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone” (v. 20). (a) Nero was killed during the war against the Jews. The high priest died around that time as well. Rome too would eventually perish. (b) After their death, their souls were thrown into the lake of fire. (c) The bodies of those who followed them became food for the birds, “And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh” (v. 21). (iii) With this, God’s judgment against the Jews was complete. James Ussher, in his The Annals of the World, writes, “This was the end of the Jewish affairs and happened as predicted by Jesus in the Gospels. All these things came to pass in the very same generation that heard Jesus speak them, exactly as they were recorded in the Gospels . . . and graphically elaborated on by John in the book of Revelation” (882).

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