The Great Supper of God

ARMAGEDDON (19:17-21) is the Great Supper of God; the Sixth Bowl Plague (Revelation 16:12-16). No battle is described, just the results!

Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill” (Psalm 2:1-6).

Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side. Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow—so great is their wickedness! Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision (Joel 3:12-14).

The Valley of Jehoshaphat will be called the Valley of Decision because the great deciding issue of life and death for the nations will be determined there. The armies of the world will gather to do battle. At first, they are drawn to do battle against each other, than against Israel, and finally against Christ who suddenly descends from Heaven.

The Great Supper of God contrasts with the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (19:9). One denotes the blessed fellowship and glorious destiny of the righteous in heaven. The other symbolizes the destruction of Christ’s enemies on earth.

For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather (Matthew 24:27-28).

AN ANGEL STANDING IN THE SUN cried in a loud voice, inviting birds to this supper so they can gorge themselves on flesh. Armageddon will be a vivid demonstration of the sinfulness of the flesh (Romans 7:18); its temporariness (Isaiah 40:6) and shamefulness (Ezekiel 39:4, 17-20). Flesh (sarkav) appears five times in verse 18 — the Bible has nothing good to say about the fallen human nature.

The Beast and the False Prophet

HELL OPENED (19:20). The beast will be captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs, he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them will be thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur. Hell is still waiting for its first occupants—the king, who is the Antichrist, and its second, the False Prophet.

Topheth has long been prepared; it has been made ready for the king. Its fire pit has been made deep and wide, with an abundance of fire and wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of burning sulphur, sets it ablaze (Isaiah 30:33).

“Topheth” (htpt) means “a place of fire.” Topheth was located in the southeast end of the Hinnom Valley of Jerusalem. In Jesus time, this valley was called Gehenna (geenna). It was the receptacle of the refuse of the city, to consume which fires were constantly burning. Hence, Jesus used it to express Hell—the place of darkness, gnashing of teeth, and fire—the Lake of Fire.

But anyone who says, “You fool!” will be in danger of the fire of hell (Matthew 5:22).

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Mt 10:28).

Anti-Christ Nations

DOOM OF THOSE WHO WAR AGAINST CHRIST (19:21). Will there be survivors? Most likely, there will be none at Armageddon. Not all nations will participate in this battle, however. There will be the separation of the survivors of the Tribulation Period when Christ returns.

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world (Matthew 25:31-34).

The purpose of this judgment is to deal justly with the inhabitants of the earth who survive on the earth after Armageddon. Individuals from all nations will be judged by Christ, not national governments. Those on His left will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life (Matthew 25:46). Whether these survivors will be cast into the Lake of Fire or sent to Sheol/Hades to await the Great White Throne Judgment is not clear.

Those who go to eternal life will enter the Millennial Kingdom in natural bodies and repopulate the earth. The Gospel message will have been preached to all nations in the Tribulation and each nation will be represented in the Kingdom.

Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16).

Nations (probably new ones) and kings will exist in eternity.

The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it (Revelation 21:24).

Historicists hold that Christ riding forth on the white horse signifies the victories accomplished by the militant Church through the Word of God, the sharp sword that proceeds from His mouth. The end of the beast and false prophet is the end of Papal power.

Preterists for the most part expect Christ actually to come again, but some do not. They apply Christ on the white horse as the continuing warfare of the Church through the proclamation of the Gospel following the fall of Babylon the Great. They perceive that the preaching of the Word of God will defeat the nations and end with their virtual conversion. Those nations who do not submit to Christ the King will perish.

Idealists view Christ riding on the white horse in His Second Coming, when the persecuting power embodied in the government is directed for the final time against the Church. Armageddon symbolizes the end of the Christian dispensation. Some hold that since the Beast and False Prophet are thrown alive into the Lake of Fire, they are not humans but purely ideal forms since according to them a human individual cannot enter Hell alive. Spiritual death is inflicted upon those who have proved themselves hostile to God. In the end, the nations succumb to the power of Christ either at His Second Coming or gradually through the preaching of the Gospel.

Futurists see Christ coming forth on the white horse with the armies of heaven to establish a literal kingdom on earth for one thousand years. Some hold those who come with Him are only the Church, while others include holy angels, OT saints and Tribulation saints. The only weapon involved in Armageddon is power and authority of the spoken word coming from Christ’s mouth.

The Return of Christ with the Armies of Heaven

HEAVEN STANDING OPEN (19:11-16). Heaven is standing open for the visible return of Christ to earth on the Day of Vengeance.

Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.” Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm worked salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me. I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground” (Isaiah 63:1-6; cf. Psalm 145:1-6; Daniel 2:34-35).

Thus, we learn reason why Christ is dressed in a robe dipped in blood from Isaiah and reasons for the Day of Vengeance has been revealed by the Apostle Paul.

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).

RIDER ON A WHITE HORSE pictures a conqueror. This rider is called “Faithful and True.” For the second time, John sees a rider on a white horse (Revelation 6:2). The first was the Antichrist and the second is Jesus Christ. Both riders are bent on conquest. Ironically, the Antichrist will come in peace, but Christ comes with justice and makes war.

King Jesus rode into Jerusalem the first time, lowly, meek and gentle; the second time, His arrival is fierce, vehement and violent. Notice the changes Matthew made to Zechariah’s prediction, which reflect the rejection of the Messiah at His First Advent. The people rejoiced greatly and shouted, but it was short-lived.

Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Matthew 21:5).

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).

His eyes are like blazing fire, signifying His fury and wrath as well as His torrid justice. On his head are many crowns (diadems), denoting His conquest and authority over the earth’s kingdoms.

FOUR NAMES are associated with Christ at His Second Coming: First, He is called Faithful and True, in contrast to the Antichrist who is a counterfeit. He makes good on His promises. Second, He has a name written on him that no one knows but He Himself. So don’t ask! Third, His name is the Word of God, which is His eternal name (John 1:1, 14). Fourth, He has the name KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS, denoting His sovereignty over all the earth, whether evil kings He destroys, or saints who will reign with Him in the Millennial Kingdom. This name reiterates that initial identification of “Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth” (Revelation 1:5). Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations (Psalm 2:9). This sword contains all the power of the Word of God (cf. Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 12:4) and authority used by Christ to verbalize all things into existence (Genesis 1; Colossians 1:15-16). He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.

He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked (Isaiah 11:4).

IRON SCEPTER indicates how Christ will rule (poimainw shepherd) the nations. He, who would have shepherded them with a pastoral rod and with the golden scepter of His love, shall dash them in pieces, as obstinate rebels, with “a rod of iron.” During the Millennial Kingdom, most rebellion will be internalized; external rebellion will receive swift justice and punishment. The Father said to the Son:

You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery” (Psalm 2:9).

Isaiah’s prediction of the Messiah reflects not only His incarnation and vicarious death at His First Advent, but also His Second Advent, when He will reign on David’s throne.

[Christmas] For to us a child is born, [Good Friday] to us a son is given, and [Second Advent] the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this (Isaiah 9:6-7).

THE ARMIES OF HEAVEN were following Christ, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. These riders are legions of holy angels (Matthew 26:53) and thousands upon thousands of His holy ones (Jude 1:14-15), the raptured and resurrected saints are included in Christ’s army also.

The LORD thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command. The day of the LORD is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it? (Joel 2:11).

You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him (Zechariah 14:5).

Since Christ says, “I have trodden the winepress alone” and “no one was with me” in Isaiah 63:1-4, and since the armies of heaven do not have blood on their clothing, they might only be spectators to the final judgment. On the other hand, “alone” might refer to the nations and peoples of the earth being excluded.

The Wedding of the Lamb

CHAPTER NINETEEN. The Seven Dooms are interrupted with a set of three parentheses within the parenthesis:

(1) the Wedding of the Lamb; (2) the Return of Christ and Bride; and (3) the Great Supper of God. AFTER THIS (19:1-8) refers to the fall of Ecclesiastical Babylon and Commercial-Political Babylon. The roar of a great multitude may indicate the martyred Tribulation saints, or all the redeemed if this answers the command to rejoice in 18:20, or all the hosts of heaven.

HALLELUJAH (allhlouia) comes from the combined Hebrew: hy wllh (Praise Yahweh or Praise the LORD). The four Hallelujahs center on the themes:

1. Redemption (19:1-2)
2. Retribution (19:3)
3. Realization (19:4-5)
4. Relationship (19:6-8)

The first time Hallelujah appears in the Bible is 1 Chronicles 16:4:

He [David] appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, to make petition, to give thanks, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel.

The ark of the LORD signified for those who feared God the realization of His presence in redemption, retribution and relationship.

These outbursts are expressions of heavenly joy of what has taken place on earth and in heaven. The best rendering of Handal’s great oratorio The Messiah and its very famous “Hallelujah Chorus” are dwarfed by these Hallelujahs.

The voice from the Throne might be God’s or the Lamb’s. Again, the fear of God is ultimate in one’s life. It has been said, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. “ Those who fear God, glorify Him!

He will bless those who fear the LORD—small and great alike (Psalm 115:13).

THE WEDDING OF THE LAMB AND HIS BRIDE (19:6-8). Often marriage is used in Scripture as a metaphor for relationship. The Hebrew wedding consists of three phases: (1) betrothal; (2) presentation; and (3) ceremony. The Church was betrothed to Christ as part of God’s plan of salvation (Romans 9) in the New Covenant (Hebrews 9:15). She is presented to Christ at the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) and the marriage ceremony takes place (hlyen, prophetic aorist: “come at last”) when Christ and His Bride enter the house for the marriage supper.

Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Fine linen stands for ta dikaiwmata (the righteous acts or the righteousness) of the saints; either translation is possible. It does not imply, however, any kind of meritorious works that would bring about salvation. Since not all saints will receive a reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ, it cannot stand for rewards. The Church’s clothing is distinct from the Great Prostitute’s purple and scarlet clothing.

THE WEDDING SUPPER OF THE LAMB (19:9) refers to the millennial reign of Christ as King on the earth. Notice the angel’s instruction (for John to write) immediately precedes the Second Coming of Christ, indicating the Wedding Supper will take place on earth.

Christ and His bride (gunh, wife) are joined by the invited guests. Many holding a Post-Tribulation Rapture of the Church, place the Rapture here. Here occurs the fourth beatitude of Revelation.

Those invited to the Wedding Supper are OT Saints and Tribulation Saints—the Bride is not invited to her own wedding. The Parable of the Wedding Banquet (Matthew 22) and the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) describe those who are invited to share in the Millennial Kingdom with Christ and His Bride (the Church). By this point, the OT and Tribulation Saints must be resurrected (Daniel 12:1-3). John the Baptist will be one of the guests according to his own testimony in John 3:29:

The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.

God does not treat all saints alike! There are different groups, rewards and opportunities to serve in His kingdom.

THE COMMAND TO WORSHIP GOD (19:10). John is so impressed with the scene that he falls at the angel’s feet to worship him. “Worship God!” is the angel’s straightforward command. “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy,” that is the very nature or purpose of prophecy is to testify of Jesus Christ and bring glory to God.

Historicists believe the Marriage of the Lamb either represents the future state of the true Church after the fall of the papacy or the true Church at present, in a relationship to be intensified in the future.

Preterists hold the Marriage of the Lamb is the opening of the Temple and the full establishment of the New Covenant.

Idealists perceive the Marriage of the Lamb as the day of Christ’s Second Advent. Those who are faithful to Christ are at the same time the Lamb’s bride and guests.