Babylon and Her Destruction (17.1-20.6)

"Come, Lord Jesus" (CFP), white covers only, by Watchman Nee

Revelation 17 | Revelation 18 | Revelation 19 | Revelation 20

19.1-6 The events covered by this section follow upon those which 18.24 concludes.

19.1 “After these things”—that is, after Babylon is completely destroyed. “A great multitude”—this includes all those who are saved (not just those saved during the age of grace). “Hallelujah” is literally “Alleluia”, which means “Praise the Lord” in Greek. Why Alleluia? Because salvation and glory and power have now come.

19.2 The sentence “True and righteous are his judgments” coincides with “Righteous and true are thy ways” found in 15.3. True because God judges according to actual conditions; righteous because God judges in accordance with proper procedures. The judgment of the great harlot (religious Rome) is quoted to prove that God is righteous.

19.3 The judgment of Rome will last forever and ever.

19.4 This is the last time in the Bible when the 24 elders and the four living creatures are mentioned. After the great multitude in heaven says “Hallelujah”, the 24 elders and the four living creatures respond with “Amen, Hallelujah”—indicating thereby that the latter group is different from the former group. The great multitude in heaven speak of salvation, glory, power, and so forth; thus showing plainly that the church is included. The 24 elders do not represent the church. Hereafter they will no longer be mentioned, since after this time they must have resigned from their lofty positions.

19.5 This is the last time that the throne is mentioned as being in the temple, because at the present moment there is a temple but not a city. In the new heaven and the new earth there will only be the city but not a temple.

“Voice . . . from the throne” must be referring to the voice of the Lord Jesus because the Lamb is “in the midst of the throne” (5.6).

“All ye his servants” is a phrase pointing to those in the church, since this book emphasizes the individual responsibility of believers before God.

“Ye that fear him” are words that refer to all who fear God, both of the Jews and of the Gentiles.

“Give praise to our God”—This is what the Lord always does (Heb. 2.12).

19.6 “Voice of a great multitude”—it being the voice of a great many people. “Voice of many waters”—this being the resounding voice of the great multitude. “Voice of mighty thunders”—it being the sound of majesty and grandeur.

“For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigneth”—The Almighty has always reigned, only now this fact is being manifested.

     19.7 Who is this “wife” of the Lamb? It cannot be the church for the following reasons:  

(1) The great multitude spoken of in 19.1 includes the saved among the children of Israel as well as from among the nations. The church is definitely included. Since it is the great multitude who proclaims the words found in 19.7, the church must therefore be

included among those who make such a proclamation. And hence the wife must point to someone else.

(2) In the parable of the ten virgins (Matt. 25.1-13), only the five wise virgins (and therefore not all who are in the church, for notice that all ten are virgins) are privileged to attend the marriage feast.

(3) This wife of the Lamb is different from the bride in Paul’s epistles. For she whom Paul speaks of is clothed with Christ, whereas the wife here is clothed with her own righteousnesses. In Paul’s epistles the church as a whole is viewed as the bride of Christ. In Revelation, the church is considered according to her components, therefore the responsibility of the church before God is stressed. In Paul’s epistles the church is accepted in Christ, but in Revelation the church is accepted in her works. In Paul’s epistles the church in totality belongs to Christ, while in Revelation she is divided into the saved and the overcomers.

This wife of the Lamb is none other than the New Jerusalem (21.9,10).

God is now in His holy temple, so that the voices of praise from the great multitude come also from the temple. During the millennial kingdom the overcomers shall be kings in the city and priests in the temple. But the temple shall gradually lose its prominence until it totally disappears, for God and the Lamb will be the temple in New Jerusalem in the new heaven and the new earth.

Of the church, some (for example, the five wise virgins) will attend the marriage feast, while some (for example, the five foolish virgins) will not be able to attend the marriage feast.

19.8 The wife of the Lamb, as we have seen from the above discussion, signifies the New Jerusalem. “It was given to her” are words to indicate reward. “Bright” is due to the whiteness of the fine linen. This is in direct contrast to the clothing of the great harlot (17.4). “Pure” here is in perfect agreement with the word “pure” in 19.14.

“For the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints” (Darby)—The word “righteousnesses” is the same as is found in Isaiah 64: “our righteousnesses” (v.6).

These saints will soon be inhabitants of the city of New Jerusalem. The duration of time as a bride is limited, but as a wife it is from start to finish. So, too, is this the case with New Jerusalem. During the millennial kingdom, New Jerusalem is the bride of the Lamb. And in the new heaven and new earth New Jerusalem will be the wife of the Lamb.

Christians are divided into the saved and the overcomers. Only the overcoming believers are related to the new city during the millennial kingdom. In the new heaven and new earth, both the saved and the overcomers partake equally in New Jerusalem.

The wedding gown is worn only for a time; the believers who overcome are joined together as the bride.

At the marriage of the Lamb it looks as though the door of New Jerusalem is opened for the first time to let in the overcomers. The five foolish virgins are not able to enter at this time.

19.9 This verse shows us explicitly that some people are invited, and blessed are those who are invited to the marriage. This city is the bride of the Lamb, and those who enjoy the glory and the beauty of the city are the invited ones who have the righteousnesses of the saints. (It is also true that these righteousnesses constitute the very glory and beauty of the city.)

“These are true words of God”—This is repeated twice more in 21.5 and 22.6. It is used to call our special attention to what has just been said. Some may regard the invitation to the marriage of the Lamb as insignificant, though as a matter of fact only those who are so invited have any share in the kingdom. All who are not invited to the marriage have no part in the kingdom. Only the believers who overcome are entitled to participate in the marriage feast. This seems to agree with Revelation 3.20 wherein the thought of supping with the Lord is also present.

19.10 Angels are servants of God. It is a great temptation to us to worship created beings.

“The spirit of prophecy” is related to “the spirits of the prophets” (1 Cor. 14.32), since it is the prophet who prophesies.

19.11 The marriage ceremony being over, now the Lord comes down to the earth with His faithful followers. These names “Faithful and True” have already been spoken of in chapter 1 of this book. Here they are the names of our Lord in His second coming, and they reveal His relationship to the world; in chapter 1, however, these names are especially connected with the church.

19.12 “Diadems” are crowns. They can be worn layer upon layer because they have no tops. The “name” mentioned here is so special that no one knows but He himself. In 2.17 it is recorded that the Lord promises to give to the overcomers in the church at Pergamum a new name which no one knows but they who have received it. Therefore, this special name of the Lord is also given to Him by God.

19.13 “And he is arrayed in a garment sprinkled with blood”—The garment is not sprinkled with blood in heaven, rather it is so sprinkled in the battle on earth. This describes the scene of the battle of Har-Magedon (see also Is. 13.1-6).

“The Word of God”—Only John had used such an expression before (John 1.1), thus proving that John wrote this book.

19.14 Those here who follow the Lamb (“the armies which are in heaven”) are the same as the called and chosen and faithful mentioned in 17.14. By this time the standings of the Christians have already been determined. All who are invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb may enter the kingdom because:

(1) The garment of the bride is the righteousnesses of the saints.

(2) The righteousnesses of the saints, in turn, are the glory and beauty of the new city.

(3) All who are invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb must possess the righteousnesses of the saints. Those who come with the Lord are those who have been invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb. Hence all who enter the kingdom have been invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb.

(4) As recorded in Mark, the Lord used these words: “Until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God” (14.25). This indicates that the feast is to be enjoyed in the kingdom.

(5) The “sup with him, and he with me” of Revelation 3.20 agrees with the words “Blessed are they that are bidden to the marriage supper of the Lamb” of 19.9.

(6) The “blessed” in 19.9 is related to the “blessed” in 20.6.

(7) In the kingdom, the New Jerusalem is the bride; in the new heaven and the new earth, New Jerusalem is the wife of the Lamb. Yet even then, at the time of 21.9, she still retains the form of a bride.

19.15 This verse declares three things concerning the Lord:  

(1) “Out of his mouth proceedeth a sharp sword”—This is the word that comes out of His mouth.

(2) “A rod of iron”—Three times is this mentioned in the book, the other two places being 2.27 and 12.5. At the commencement of the kingdom He will break all powers of resistance.

(3) “Treadeth the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God”—This is in agreement with 14.17-20 and Isaiah 13.1-6.

19.16 His thigh is especially mentioned because He rides on a horse.

19.17,18 “The marriage supper of the Lamb” spoken of in 19.9 is for those who are invited; “the great supper of God” here is for “all the birds that fly in mid heaven” (v.17).

19.19,20 These verses tell of the destinies of the beast and the false prophet. Observe the following sequence of events:

(1) 19.11-16 relates how the Lord fights and wins the battle.

(2) 19.17-18 rehearses how the birds eat the flesh of the defeated.

(3) 19.19-20 tells the end of the beast and of the false prophet.

The false prophet has done three things. He has:

(1) “wrought the signs in his [the beast’s] sight”;

(2) “Deceived them that had received the mark of the beast”; and

(3) “Deceived . . . them that worshipped his [the beast’s] image . . .”

“Alive into”—Please notice this word. It coincides with our explanations of 13.11 and 13.18. For both beast and false prophet come back from death; and since their flesh cannot die twice, they are cast alive into the lake of fire.

19.21 After the events which this verse concludes, then those Christians who faithfully have followed the Lord shall enjoy glory a thousand years ahead of other Christians.