Now that we have seen the celebration in heaven we are ready to see the will of God in heaven become the will of God upon earth. “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.” We see here that the King is described. The vision continues to unfold for John. He saw heaven opened. In the fourth chapter John saw a door opened in heaven before he ascended to see things yet to be, but now he sees heaven itself opened (Rev. 4:1). There is a definite correlation between the judgement of the flood where the windows of heaven were opened and what is about to occur here (Gen. 7:11). We have seen judgment from below with fountains of the great deep being broken up (in the terms of Revelation – the opening of the bottomless pit as seen in the trumpet judgments) and now we see judgment from above with the opening of heaven. As it was in the days of Noah so shall it be in the coming of the Son of Man. Now that heaven is opened John fixes our attention on a white horse and its rider. He came riding humbly upon an ass as the King of the Jews when Israel rejected Him and He was crucified (Matt. 21:1-7). “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” (Zech. 9:9). He did so because He was the rightful King of the Jews (I Kings 2:40). He came unto His own and His own received Him not (John 1:11). He does not come this time as the King of the Jews alone but wearing many crowns as the King of kings. Thus he comes in a different manner. He comes not in meekness but on a horse of white (a symbol of his purity and holiness) prepared for war. A horse is an instrument of war in the bible. We often read about them in connection with war chariots. “The horse is prepared against the day of battle…” (Prov. 21:31). The voice of God Himself spoke this about the horse: “He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting” (Job 39:21-25). He is the King of kings leading an evading army to this world to conquer it in His own name. He is our great crusading king. We do not conquer the earth in His name but we will be with Him when he comes in His own name to do so.
The white horse has no shade of change. White is His righteousness and holiness. When the antichrist came upon a white horse it was not long before the shade of the horse changed from white to red and then to black and then to the paleness of death (Rev. 6). He comes in righteousness and that righteousness is unchanging. And thus we see the Him described with two names: Faithful and True. These are names that Christ called Himself when speaking to the church of Laodiceans. By taking on Himself those names He declares His deity (Jer. 42:5, Rom. 3:4, I Cor. 1:9). There is no shadow of turning in God. He is faithful and true in all things. And thus that He in His righteousness judges and makes war. He is our Savior like the judges of old, He arises as a judge for His people and goes forward to make war (Judges 3:10). He will wage the true war to end all wars. “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isa. 2:4, see also Micah 4:3). The bridegroom is here a faithful and true judge who brings righteousness to the earth. Such is the pattern of the bridegroom in the 45th Psalm: “Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee. Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right scepter” Ps. 45:3-6 – read the whole psalm to see the glory of His bride as well). “And he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins” (Isa. 11:3-5).
Here is a picture of Christ I have never seen hanging on a wall: “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. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” Here is a five-description of the bridegroom, the coming King and Judge of this earth.
First, consider His focus. His eyes were a flame of fire. This hearkens back to the original vision of Christ that John had in the first chapter (1:14 – this is therefore the Son of Man of Dan. 7). This is the vision of Christ high and lifted up. This is the glory of the coming Christ. This is not the first description we have of the eyes of Christ. His eyes are like doves eyes (Song 4:1). He sees all things in the purity and holiness of His nature. But the eyes here are the eyes of judgment. “The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men” (Ps. 11:4). Again, the psalmist tells us: “A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about” (Ps. 97:3). He will judge this world with fire: “For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire” (Isa. 66:15). Men will meet the piercing focus of the judgement of Christ. “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13). His focus will purify this world with His gaze.
Secondly, consider His authority; on His head were many crowns. There is no authority that is left to the men of earth. The crowns are those that He conquered. The kings of old would defeat rival kings and set the crowns of those kings on their own heads (II Sam. 12:30). Christ will claim all crowns. Some will willingly cast their crowns at the feet of Christ, as we will have the glory of doing, others will have the shame of having their crown taken. The crowns of the beast and the dragon must now also be laid upon the head of Christ. The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our God.
Thirdly, consider His mystery; “and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.” There will later be a name that is known by man but there is forever the divinity of the Christ shrouded in mystery as the one that dwells in the light that no man can approach (I Tim. 6:16). I find it of great encouragement that it does not say that no man can know but that no man did know. A name is that which defines something. When He comes He will be have a name written. He Himself will know it and we will have the great pleasure of learning it. There will be a great mystery of Christ yet to unfold in the coming age that is exciting. It is said of those that overcome that He will write on them His new name (Rev. 3:12 – see also 2:17). Whatever that new name is we will share in it and have the glory of knowing it. Apparently, it is related to the relationship of the groom and His wife; a relationship that we are yet to know in our full experience. It will be known to us one day: “no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him” (Matt. 11:27). There is a name that He has that has been held secret till the time that we can be with Him on this earth (Judges 13:18). Every since the time of the Scriptures, we have longed to know the name and the true nature of the Son of God (Prov. 30:4). “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (I Cor. 2:9). It is great to think that the great things that are prepared for us regard the person of Christ Himself and coming to know Him. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2).
Fourthly, consider His vestments. See the conqueror of this world: “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood….” He wears the clothing of a conqueror. Some have attempted to speak about the blood dipped vesture as it is related to the atonement. The idea that they give is that He is the Lamb as it had been slain, as described in chapter five, and as such He appears. It is a good thing to see Christ as such, but that it is not what is happening in our text. The mirror text is that of Isaiah where the Messiah is prophesied to come as the Judge of the Nations: “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” (Isa. 63:1-6). As the sun rises in the east so comes the Savior from Edom and Bozrah. His apparel is glory and He moves with greatness of strength. He alone treads the winepress of God’s wrath. The judgment of the nation’s belongs solely to the King of kings; our great bridegroom. He tramples them with fury and their blood will sprinkle His garments. We have already read in the 16th chapter of the battle of Armageddon how the blood would be up to the horses bridal. So it is here with Christ as He comes to the earth on His white horse with his vesture dipped in blood. He brings salvation through judgment. He will rule the unruly nations with a rod of iron (Ps. 2).
Consider then His glory: “and his name is called The Word of God.” We need not comment on this to any great extent. We understand the nature of Christ as it is revealed in the Scriptures. He is the full expression of the invisible God just as a word is the expression of the invisible thought (Col. 2:9, John 1:18). He did not have to be born of Mary to have existence but has existed from eternity in fellowship with the Father. His delights were with the sons of men after creation (Prov. 8:31). He is the Word of God, He is God revealed. He was the voice of God walking in the cool of the garden at the fall of mankind (Gen. 3:8). And that voice itself is the Lord Jehovah of the Scriptures (Ps. 29). So it is that John spoke of Christ: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14). John in all of his letters was in awe of the person of Christ as God revealed to mankind. He stated that he and the apostles handled and saw the Word of Life (I John 1:1). And at the moment of the Revelation of Christ to this wicked world, all of the world will know Christ for who He is; the true object of worship and adoration: and every knee shall bow to Him.
Consider then His company: “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” This mighty army is the bride that shall ever be with Him (see verse 7 and 8). After all we are speaking about the marriage celebration when Christ comes for His bride. This is not a terrible army of angels but this is you and me. Truly Christ will come with His angels: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory…” (Matt. 25:31, Mark 8:38). That speaks of truth of heaven realities coming to earth. The mercy seat of necessity is shrouded by cherubim. But the truth is also clear that when Christ comes He will come “with” His saints. So it was preached before the flood of Noah by the seventh from Adam: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints…” (Jude 1:14). Jude meant by the words ten thousands to convey an innumerable company much like the multitude that no man could number in the seventh chapter. Zechariah was much more emphatic when God said through Him: “… and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” (Zech. 14:5). None of those that are saved will be absent from this moment. Some make a big deal about the words “which were” in the King James but they speak to their special relationship with Christ. They are where He is (John 14:3). He has left heaven and invaded earth and they leave Heaven when He leaves Heaven. For the next 1,000 years they will be by His side as He reigns on His earthly kingdom. They had their own white horses for in all things are the made like their Lord (I John 3:1). Once we, in salvation, become disciples or followers of Christ we will follow Him forever. We will don the clothing of His righteousness and will go in the purity and holiness of His white horses. The bride is described as armies. That is the truth that leaps out of our text. He may have trodden the wine press alone for no other power than His was needed to win this war; but the occupying army will yet be there. The beauty of the marching army is comparable to the beauty of the bride. Solomon described the love of the groom towards the bride in these words: “My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners…. Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies” (Song 6:9, 10, 14)? To the sinner the invading of righteous armies has no beauty but to those that belong to God the banners of this army it is the greatest arraying of the bride. We are reminded that the God of the Scriptures is God in relationship. He is the Lord of Sabaoth (Rom. 9:29, James 5:4). He is the Holy Lord of hosts; that is His name. “Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name…” (Jer.50:34). This is a relationship that we are yet to experience but, praise Him, we know that it awaits us on that day.
We continue to see the manner of the victory of Christ: “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.” There are three instruments of victory: the sword of His mouth, the rod of His rule, and the treading of His feet. We saw the sword of His mouth as part of the glory of Christ in the first chapter (1:14). It is the way of the wicked to speak words that cut down and in the justice of Christ He returns that upon them; only He does so in righteousness. “My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword” (Ps. 57:4). They cut men with falsehood but the sword out of His mouth will cut them down with the truth of His word (Prov. 25:18). Of the Messiah, Isaiah prophesied this: “Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified” (Isa. 49:1-3). The Word of God created all things and there is no power greater than the words that proceed out of the mouth of God. They shall never pass away (Matt. 24:35). They give life and are the source of life (Matt. 4:4, John 6:63). By that same token they have the power to take life. So, when Christ comes His words will judge men. His words shall smite the nations for He is the Word of God: “Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations” (Ps. 82:8). Again, “All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name” (Ps. 86:9). He needs no greater weapon than the words of His mouth to conquer the kingdoms of this earth. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). The words of Christ will become the painful reality to the rebellious: “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). In the time of His humiliation His words were enough to level the soldiers that came to take Him; how much more will His words like a sword conquer and smite the nations of men (John 18:6). And so it is according to Paul that the Wicked shall the Lord “… consume with the spirit of his mouth…” (II Thess. 2:8).
The second instrument of victory is the rod of His rule: “and he shall rule them with a rod of iron….” As it was with the sword of His mouth so the rod will be connected to that authority of His words: “he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth…” (Isa. 11:4). Paul said His mouth bore a spirit, John said it bore a sword, and we can add to that Jeremiah said it was a fire and a hammer (Jer. 23:29). Isaiah added that His mouth bore a rod and with that rod according to John in our text Christ shall rule. A rod is an instrument of correction and instruction. The Psalmist foretold of the coming Messiah, which was revealed to be the very Son of God; “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Ps. 2:7-12). The rod will be of iron that will not yield to the rebellious childishness of mankind. It will not appease the flesh or give quarter to secret sins. Thus the Psalmist pleads with mankind to be wise and serve the Lord and to kiss the Son. This world which runs now to all manner of abomination will have to submit fully to the righteous rule of Christ. The rod of Christ is a comfort to His sheep but a terror to the wolves (Ps. 23:4). Again, the psalmist foretold of Christ, “The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies” (Ps. 110:2). But the rod is an instrument of love for those who for reasons known only to God will be allowed to continue in His kingdom (Prov. 13:24). It will teach the fool (Prov. 10:13, 22:15) and will give wisdom (Prov. 29:15). His rule will teach the nations righteousness and thus they will learn true peace.
The third instrument of His victory is the treading of His feet: “and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” We have already spoken at length about the wrath of God as it has been poured out. Again the words of Isaiah here ring out, “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…” (Isa. 63:3). The winepress of the fierceness and wrath of God, who is rightly in this context called Almighty for so He shows Himself to be, is a place as we have studied: “And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs” (Rev. 14:20). It finds its reference point in the place of Armageddon (Rev. 16). I want to look past what we have already said about this event and speak of the obvious truth of the treading of Christ. He alone treads there. He alone breaks the grapes in the winepress. He alone judges this world. All judgment is given to the Son (John 5:22). The fact is that the feet of Christ shall touch this earth again. Those feet of brass that indicated judgment in the first chapter of our study will tread this earth. That is the glorious thought of our text and one that we anxiously await. Job, before there was ever a Bible to read, had faith that the Redeemer would stand on this earth one day and so our text here describes the moment (Job 19:25). So Zechariah said, “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south” (Zech. 14:4).
And so our Lord will have a title fixed upon Him of which all men will have to adhere. “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of Kings, And Lord of Lords.” There are two things to consider in regards to His title, the title itself and the places on which the title is written. The name is written in two places, on His vesture and on His thigh. There is no part of His person or His clothing that does not proclaim His authority. He is the purest of nobility in both His dress and in His flesh. When He was on earth the last time they stripped Him naked and hung Him on a cross naked and shamed while they claimed His vesture as the spoils of a victorious war against Him; there at the foot of the cross the soldiers of the world’s greatest empire cast lots over His vesture (Ps. 22:18, Matt. 27:35). Now, that same Jesus sits before them as a conqueror of all this world’s kingdoms and has dipped His vesture in their blood and has the title King of kings written on that same vesture. Who is going to part His garments now? Who is going to cast lots on them? But, the name is also written on His thigh. One is left scratching their head over the significance of this. The first two mentions of thigh in the Bible make it a solemn point of contact between the oaths of two individuals. The servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham to promise to take a wife for Isaac out of the land of his fathers (Gen. 24:2, 9). It is connected with the promise of the seed of Israel and the Promised Land where Joseph looked in faith (Gen. 47:29). Since Christ is both the promised seed and is now the standing on the Promised Land, the oath of God finds its fulfillment in Him. The next time we see thigh mentioned in the Scriptures is when the Angel of the Lord touched the thigh of Jacob and for the rest of his life Jacob halted on his thigh (Gen. 32:25-32). Forever Israel was reminded of the day that Jacob saw God face to face and was changed. Now here is Jesus, God in the flesh, with a title on His thigh. The thigh is also the place where the prince’s sword was girded (Ps. 45:3, Song 3:8). No greater sword is needed for the Messiah than the title which is written on His thigh.
Whatever the significance of the fact, there is a name written. The idea is that the name has been signified or engraved. It is a mark that is now a part of His appearance. Is this the name that no man knew? Is it the new name that we will share in and have written on us as well as the bride to the bridegroom? The world did not want to know this truth of God; they did not want to retain God in their knowledge. Maybe this is that name that no man knew because no man wanted to know it. But, now this is the name that they must recognize. There are three references to His name in our text. He had a name which was mysterious which no man knew, He had a name which was revealed as the Word of God which spoke of His divinity, and now He has the name King of kings which denotes His divine and human authority. The kings of the earth must serve Him. The kings of the earth thought to cast off the bands of God and His Anointed, which is Christ, but God laughed at them and said: “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion” (Ps. 2). He has been set upon the right hand of God and is “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come…” (Eph. 2:21). “The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all” (Ps. 103:19). That which Nebuchadnezzar was forced to realize will be known in reality, “the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men…” (Dan. 4:32 – note as King of kings Christ is Jehovah). Paul was speaking of Christ when he said “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen” (I Tim. 6:15, 16).
So, the Bridegroom and the bride are now upon the earth; they have made it to the reception and the marriage supper is ready. This is an odd supper but it is filled with beauty for the eyes of those who look upon Christ in faith for it looks to the time when all power and authority is placed under Him. Thus we read that the supper is prepared. “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; 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.” It is fitting for the creatures of this earth to take part in the celebration of the return of Christ. “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Rom. 8:19-22).
This is the vision of that great supper. It began with him seeing an angel standing in the sun. He was conspicuous for all to see and his announcement was for all to hear. Therefore John hears the angel cry with a loud voice. The herald of supper gets the attention of all and then announces to all of the fowl that fly in the midst of heaven. These are the creatures of God (Gen. 1:20). They have suffered at the judgment of man’s sins (Gen. 7:23). God has often appointed them as judgment to mankind (Jer. 15:3). And here it is for the armies that followed the antichrist that the greatest insult was for their dead bodies to lie in the field and be food for the birds: “and their carcases will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven…” (Jer. 19:7, 34:20). It is the day of marriage that is connected with a covenant with the fowl: “And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord” (Hos. 2:18-20). God loves and cares for the fowls of heaven and will feed them with good things even at His great supper.
The angel spoke to the fowls: “Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 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.” This is the exact prophecy of Ezekiel. “And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord God; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan. And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord God. And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them” (Ezek. 37:17-21). The bridegroom does honor to His guest. He has made a sacrifice for them. He has given them, not the worse wine but the best wine, the blood of princes. He has given not the stale crumbs that fell from the table but the flesh of kings, captains, mighty men, horses and their riders, and all the free and enslaved men that followed them in their rebellion. The slaughter of Armageddon will turn into a feast for the birds; it is so vast that all the birds need to be called to fill them there. There is nothing illusive about the words. The birds are not angels and they are not preachers. This is a scene of carnage and is the fitting end to man who rebels against their God (Rev. 13:6).
And so, the supper has been served and now the judgment is set. “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.” We see again the here a fresh description of the battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16:13, 14). The description of that battle there ended with great hail stones crushing the armies of the beast. After taking a small pause to describe the parallel fall of Babylon, we are now ready to see the end of the story of those armies. They were gathered together for no other purpose but to fight against Christ and His army (either meant to speak of the army of angels in a singular sense or the oneness of the armies of the saints described above, the bride). They gathered to fight against God and against His anointed as it was foretold by the psalmist: “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” (Ps. 2:1, 2).
And now we see the end of the beast. “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.” The beast that was so exalted in the thirteenth chapter is now subject to judgment. It was of this time of antichrist that Isaiah spoke of Lucifer: “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners” (Isa. 14:15-17)? The false prophet, the great religious propaganda agent who seems to be closely related to the whore of the 17th chapter is also subject to judgment. This person did two things; he did miracles before the beast (or rather at the beckoning of the beast, in his name and for his glory, at his service) and he deceived those of this wicked world into receiving the mark of the beast and worshipping his image. We spoke of this vile relationship at length in the 13th chapter. Paul said, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thess. 2:8-12). This corrupt clergy was responsible to leading the world after the beast.
The 13th chapter showed the glory and conquest of these two characters and this verse shows us their end: They were “taken” and “both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” There are several points that are worth commenting on here in preparation for what will be discussing in the following chapters. First, they were completely conquered in that they were taken. They led the whole world captive and now they are taken. As it was with the wine in the hand of the whore so they were destroyed by their own indulgence. “For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak” (Ps. 59:12). The proverb will become true of them: “Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth” (Prov. 6:2). They have been seized forever by justice. Secondly, they both were judged to be fully culpable for their actions and shared the same fate together. People suffer the same fate as their associations. The prophet did not make himself an idol but he led others to make an idol of the beast. He suffers the same fate. They both had separate roles and distinct ends but now they are forever tied in destiny to one another. Thirdly, their fate is a living fate. They were alive when they were taken. They were alive when they were cast down. And there is nothing in the text that indicates that they will ever cease living. “Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living, and in his wrath” (Ps. 58:9). That is an eternity without Christ. That is what those who reject Christ and those who thwart Christ have chosen. There is no annihilation. The fate that awaits is one that is living. The worm will not die (Mark 9:46). These are the first to enter the living fate. The rich man died and was yet alive and opened his eyes in torment. That is a picture of an eternal fate as well to which these two will be the first to enter. We have already read these words: “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night…” (Rev. 14:11). Lastly, their place is a prepared place: “a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” We have spoken already of the place of fire and brimstone (Rev. 14:10). We will speak of it yet again. From this point this eternal abode shall be known as a lake of fire. Brimstone speaks of the raining of judgment (Gen. 19:24). Fire speaks of the burning of God’s wrath. A lake speaks of that which when cast into submerges and surrounds the person; they are inundated in it. Christ described this place of eternal suffering as Gahenna. “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels… And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matt. 25:41, 46). Forever, in wrath and from the presence of Christ, this is an eternal lake of fire and these are the first to know it: “… when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power…” (II Thess. 1:7-9).
And then the remnant of the armies of antichrist must meet Christ. “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.” With the word of His mouth he leveled what was left of the armies of antichrist. And He served the marriage supper to the fowls of the air which glutted themselves with their flesh. There is no dignity and honor for those that oppose Christ. Yes, my fellow believers, we are on the winning side. One day the victorious Christ will come and put all authority under Him and we shall be with Him forever.