Revelation 19 - Outline of Revelation (Book Notes menu page)
19:1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying,
Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:
after these things- ie., following the destruction of all forms of Babylon (as reported in ch.17-18).
While the description of the final battle awaits the closing verses of this chapter (19:11-21), victory is assured, and the command to rejoice has gone forth to the citizens of heaven (18:20).
     Some commentators try to trace a chronological order of events in v.1-9. However, such attempts detract from the subject of this passage which is undiluted praise.
Alleluia- GK transliteration of HB 'Hallelu-Jah',
which is a phrase with a verb (a second person plural command) and its object.
The meaning depends on which of two similar verbs is intended...
  • Hallel {praise} - u {you plural} - Jah {Jehovah, YHWH}; "Praise ye the LORD!"
  • Halal {boast in} - u - Jah; "Make your boast in the LORD!"
The word occurs only 4x in the NT (all in v.1-6). This is the "Hallelujah chorus."
Salvation has fully come, the time for "groaning" has ended.
cp. Psa 104:35; 147:1-7; Rom 8:18-23
The four 'Hallelujahs' differ in their emphasis:
  1. Praise to God for who He is. v.1
  2. Praise to God for His true and righteous judgment of Babylon. v.2,3a
    Babylon, in its confused delusion and wickedness, is the antithesis of truth and righteousness.
  3. Praise to God for His eternal destruction of Babylon. v.3b-4
    The earthly evil empire will never rise again!
  4. Praise to God for His invincible sovereignty. v.5,6
a great voice of much people (lit., 'of a great multitude')-
This description matches that of the tribulation martyrs, in 7:9-17,
where they voiced praise for the attributes of God, in similar words (7:10,12).
19:2 For true and righteous [are] his judgments:
for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication,
and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
19:3 And again they said, Alleluia.
He hath judged... Alleluia.
His judgments are...
  • true- ie., 'faithful' to His Word, to His Promises.
  • righteous- ie., 'just,' judging justly.
He has judged the great whore...-
Here, 'the great whore' appears to refer to all forms of Babylon. Following the destruction of the apostate world church (Religious Bablylon), her spiritual and moral fornication continued unabated as Political and Commercial Babylon gave themselves to the blasphemous worship of the beast and material prosperity.
His judgments - were exercised in several ways:
  • God used His enemies to destroy the false church (17:16,17),
  • He poured out supernatural plagues in the 7 Bowl judgments (ch.16-18),
  • He will finalize the judgment at the Word of Christ (v.15).
He... has avenged... His servants.-
His judgments answer the prayer of tribulation saints (6:10). cp. Luk 18:7,8; Rom 12:19
And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
19:4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down
and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
her smoke rose up for ever and ever... Allelulia.
What a contrast: The praise of the saints -versus- The torment of the wicked.
The Kingdom of Light has fully come. Col 1:12,13
The kingdom of darkness will never again see the light of day. cp. 2The 1:9; Jude 1:7,13
her smoke...- This phrase applies to the eternal judgment of all forms of Babylon.
While Religious Babylon is 'burned with fire' by her former lovers (17:16), there is no mention of the resulting smoke. However, the destruction of Political and Commercial Babylon is accompanied with smoke (18:9,18). The 'smoke of torment' that 'ascends for ever' is associated with the punishment of all who receive the mark of the beast (14:9-11).
the four and twenty elders and the four beasts...
The voices that utter this third 'Allelulia' are specifically identified (cp. 5:14).
  • the 4 living creatures, say "Amen" for the holiness of God is vindicated.
  • the 24 elders, representing the raptured Church, praise God that apostasy and false religion are forever purged from His Kingdom.
19:5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God,
all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude,
and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings,
saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.-
The fourth 'Hallelujah' is voiced by the combined choirs of heaven, led by...
a voice... out of the throne...- This must be the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Son of Man seated at the right hand of God the Father, as He leads the saints in worship (Psa 22:22-25; 116:16-19; 117:1,2)
The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.- The promised King enters into His Kingdom.
There is no power that can unseat Him. 2Sam 7:16; Psa 22:27,28; Rev 11:15-18
19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him:
for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
Let us be glad... rejoice...-
The joy of marriage belongs, first, to the Bride and Groom. 1Pet 1:8; 1Pet 4:13
Yet, others join in the celebration: 'Let us rejoice.'
The great heavenly choir includes groups of redeemed men and women, for whom the Lord has specific promises and purposes, though they are not included in the church, the Bride of Christ. (See note at v.9 below.)
the marriage of the Lamb- occurs in distinct segments (following Jewish wedding customs):
  1. The Betrothal (Legal arrangements):
    The Bridegroom pays the dowry, then departs to make ready.
    -- Fulfilled in the price paid at the cross, and in the ensuing Church Age. Joh 14:1-6
  2. The Consummation:
    The Bridegroom comes to claim the bride (with a shout:
    'Behold, the bridegroom cometh'), and the marriage is consummated.
    -- Fulfilled at the Rapture of the Church. 1The 4:16,17
    -- The consummation is indicated by the word used, in v.7, for the Bride of Christ.
         The usual GK word is "nymphe," bride. Here, it is "gyne," wife.
  3. The Wedding Supper: A celebration including invited guests. eg., Mat 22:1-14; Joh 2:1-11
    The marriage supper is in view in v.9. The other segments were completed previously.
His wife hath made herself ready {ie., prepared}-
  • It is He, who has prepared His wife, for Himself (Eph 5:25-27).
  • It is He, who has prepared an eternal home, for her (1Cor 2:9).
  • Her part has been to love and trust Him (Eph 5:22,23), and to reserve herself for Him (2Cor 11:2; 2Tim 2:21; 1Joh 3:1-3). But even these things reflect His work in her heart.
19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen,
clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Contrast the covering of the Bride with that of the Harlot (17:4).
The righteousness {GK= dikaioma} of the saints- lit., the righteousnesses (plural).
Most translations render this as 'the righteous acts' of saints, because 'dikaioma' usually refers to "a concrete expression of righteousness," as opposed to 'dikaiosis' which refers to "a declaration of righteousness," ie., justification [Vine]. However, there are some places where 'dikaioma' takes the other connotation.
     But can it be that Christ's Wife is robed in her own 'righteous acts'?
     Does she have any righteousness apart from Him? Can she do anything apart from Him?
We are given another nuance of this word in Rev 15:4,
where the plural form of 'dikaioma' occurs in reference to the 'judgments' {'the righteous acts' [according to several translations]} of God. God's 'judgments' involve His intrinsic righteousness of mind and purpose, which may be unknown to men until they are 'made manifest' by His righteous actions. The 'concrete expression' of His righteousness is infinitely deeper than what man can see. It is who He is.
     Does this sense of this word apply to the Wife of Christ?
Prior to her wedding day, two distinct aspects of the Bride's righteousness were 'granted' to her:
  1. Righteousness imputed at salvation: Christ's righteousness, applied to her account by grace through faith. Rom 3:21-26; 4:3,23-25
  2. Righteousness imparted through sanctification: The work of God's Word and the Holy Spirit, within the believer, by which a redeemed sinner is progressively made more like the Savior (Joh 17:17-19; 2Cor 3:18). However, complete sanctification is impossible while the believer remains in the flesh.
Now, as the Wife of Christ, both aspects of the Bride's righteousness have been fully realized, for being perfectly united with Him in His glory, she is inwardly and outwardly one with Him who is the 'concrete expression of true righteousness.' Joh 17:22-26; 1Cor 13:12; 1Joh 3:2; cp. Isa 61:10; Psa 17:15
Her white raiment (not a physical garment)- speaks also of her glorified state. [JBSmith]
cp. Mat 13:43; 17:2; Php 3:20,21
19:9 And he saith unto me, Write,
he - ie., the angel who was showing these things to John (cp. v.10).
Blessed [are] they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.
called {GK= kaleo, invited} - This refers, not to the Bride, but to the invited guests.
The marriage was 'Consummated' (segment #2, note at v.7) in heaven, following the Rapture.
The 'Marriage Supper' (segment #3, note at v.7) takes place on earth, following Christ's return to earth with His Bride (who has become His Wife).
     The guests include angels, all saints which are not part of the Church, and representatives from nations which survive the tribulation.
In the following passages, note that neither "guests" nor "virgins" are the Bride.
  • Mat 22:1-14 - Guests must be invited, and they must respond aright, in which case they will be clothed in the supplied wedding garments (symbolic of righteousness received by grace through faith).
  • Mat 25:1-13 - This passage is best viewed as individual Jews, awaiting their Messiah's return at the close of the Tribulation. In the Syriac and Vulgate versions, v.1 reads " meet the bridegroom and the bride."
    Due to obvious fulfillment of prophecy, all will know that the time is near. But when the hour comes, some discover they are not prepared to attend the marriage supper, for they have not personally put their trust in Jesus Christ as their Messiah (and therefore, lack the indwelling Spirit of God). The virgins who are ready, become companions of the Bride.
    Likewise, regarding the end of the Tribulation, Luk 12:35,36 instructs all surviving believers to have their 'lamps lit,' in anticipation of the Lord's "return from the wedding" (ie., with His Wife).
  • Psa 45:9-17 - The King's wife is the Queen (v.9), who is also called the King's daughter (v.13). The occasion celebrates the marriage of the King and Queen, who is accompanied by virgins. Daughters of other kings are also in attendance.
    Also note the similarity between the first half of this psalm (Psa 45:1-8), and the closing verses of the present chapter (Rev 19:11-21), as the Bridegroom conquers His foes for the benefit of those He loves.
Note: The Church (the Bride of Christ) includes Jews & Gentiles who, through faith in Christ, have been joined to Him by the Holy Spirit, during the Church Age (between Pentecost, following His Ascension, and His return for His own at the Rapture).
Many servants of God and witnesses to Christ are not part of the Church. These include: OT believers, martyred tribulation saints, the 144,000 Jewish witnesses during the Tribulation, the believing remnant of Israel (along with believing Gentiles) who endure to the end of that time of trouble, and angels (eg. v.10). These groups have their own special places of honor and reward.
And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings {lit., 'words'} of God.
Lest the promise seem too good to be true. [JBSmith]
19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him.
John, overwhelmed with the joy of the occasion, misdirects his response.
And he said unto me, See [thou do it] not:
I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus:
worship God: for the testimony of
{ie., witness concerning} Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
We must never let the events of prophecy distract us from the Person at its center.
Luk 24:27; Joh 5:39; Eph 1:9,10; 1Pet 1:10-12
In the next verse, He, of whom the scriptures speak from Genesis to Revelation, bursts into full view.
This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ to the unbelieving world.
19:11 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.
heaven opened- in 4:1, for John to enter. Here, for Christ to exit.
Contrast (in v.11-13) -
Christ's Second Coming to earth
with -
His First Coming
on a white horse-
-- animal of war, ridden by the victor.
on a donkey- Zech 9:9; Mat 21:4,5-f
-- animal of peace, ridden in meekness.
-- His coming fulfils His promises.
Num 23:19
obedient unto death-
-- even the death of the cross.
Psa 40:7-10; Php 2:8
True- GK= alethinos, unconcealed, unforgetting
-- His ways are without any hint of wrong.
-- His judgments are without any injustice.
Rev 15:3; 19:2; Rom 2:2
The Way, Truth and Life-
-- by His death for our sin, He judged sin truthfully,
opening access into God's Presence & eternal Life.
Joh 14:6
doth judge-
-- He is ordained of God as Judge.
Joh 5:22-30; Acts 10:42; 17:31
came not to condemn the world
-- but to save us from condemnation.
Joh 3:17; 8:11; 9:39-41
doth make war-
-- with God's enemies.
Zech 14:3
He made peace with God-
-- for His enemies.
Rom 5:1,10; Eph 2:14-18
19:12 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.
eyes as fire- cp. 1:14
-- examining, judging
eyes full of compassion
-- seeking, saving, Mat 9:36; Luk 19:10
many crowns- cp. 11:15
-- He is King over all the world's kingdoms.
a crown of thorns-
-- He was rejected by the world. Isa 53:3-8
a name written-
-- but unknown to man.
a name given: Jesus, Emmanuel
-- but few believed. Mat 1:21-23; Isa 53:1,2
What is "the name written that no man knew, but He Himself"?
Since 'no man knows,' the following is speculation:
McGee observes that the other names given, in ch.19, are each linked to a gospel theme:
  • King of kings, v.16 - Matthew: Behold your King
  • Faithful & True, v.11 - Mark: Behold my Servant
  • The Word of God, v.13 - John: Behold my Son
McGee suggests that the unknown name is linked to the remaining gospel.
19:13 And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood:
the blood of the wicked-
-- at the winepress of God's wrath.
v.15; Isa 63:1-6
His own blood-
-- was shed for the wicked.
Mat 26:27,28
and his name is called The Word of God.
In this, He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Joh 1:1,14; Heb 13:8
19:14 And the armies [which were] in heaven followed him upon white horses,
clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
armies- GK= strateuma, a strategic or military force.
The hosts (armies) of heaven: 2The 1:7; Jude 1:14
white garments- speak of the holiness of heaven's armies.
Though her garment is similarly pure, the Bride is distinct from this group.
Note that in ch. 19, there is no suggestion of the Rapture.
Some, who hold to a post-tribulation Rapture, place it here.
However, here, all movement is from heaven to earth.
19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword,
that with it he should smite the nations:
2The 2:8; Rev 1:16
(more regarding the Sword of His mouth, at v.21)
and he shall rule them with a rod of iron:
Psa 2:6-9; Rev 12:1-5
and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
His coming brings the raging War of Armageddon to conclusion.
On the day of His return, the world's armies will be fighting house to house in Jerusalem. Zech 14:2-4
19:16 And he hath on [his] vesture and on his thigh a name written,
Who can stand against Him?
It is utter foolishness, but the beast & the world's armies will try. Psa 2:4-6
19:17 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;
the supper... - lit., the great supper of God.
This supper is radically distinct from the supper of v.9.
19:18 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.
Are you revolted at this sight? (cp. "eat her flesh" at 17:16)
This marks the end of the deeds of the flesh which have long nauseated God.
-- God's enemies are brought to total destruction.
-- Israel & the surviving nations receive instruction: The Lord, He is God. Eze 39:17-29
19:19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth,
and their armies, gathered together
{cp. 16:13-16}
to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
19:20 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.
these both- ie., the beast, and the false prophet.
Their followers are slain (v.21), but do not follow them into the lake of fire, until the Great White Throne judgment which follows the Millennial Kingdom (20:7,11-15).
lake of fire- the place prepared for the Devil & his angels. Mat 25:41
  • It is distinct from 'Hades' {translated: grave, hell} which is the temporary place for the wicked dead prior to the Great White Throne judgment. Luk 16:23,24
  • Is the lake of fire literal?
    Jesus warned of hell fire more frequently than He spoke of heaven.
    If it is not literal, it depicts that which is worse than literal fire & brimstone. [McGee]
19:21 And the remnant {ie., the rest [of those making war against Christ], v.19}
were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse {v.11},
which [sword] proceeded out of his mouth:
the sword...out of His mouth- (v.15; cp. 1:16; 2:12)
and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
"The defeat of the wicked will then be complete, and will be finalized as later judgments search out and destroy the unsaved in other parts of the earth." [WFWalvoord]
     In Matthew ch.25, the Lord Jesus Christ foretold that He will review all "nations" (GK= ethnos, gentiles, heathen) who have survived the Tribulation. He will separate them into two groups ('sheep' versus 'goats'), based on their treatment of His "brethren" during that terrible time. The 'sheep' will be afforded entrance into His earthly kingdom of righteousness. The 'goats' will be set aside, to await assignment to the lake of fire. Mat 25:31-46

Click here to continue the study in Revelation 20
Return to Revelation - MENU page.

Limited permission is granted to copy & distribute these notes from

Go to The Book opening page.