“The Word of God”
It seems hard in ordinary life to acknowledge that there will come a day when the enemies of God (and therefore of ourselves) will be overcome. We watch with horror the deeds of evil men, killing and maiming in various parts of the world, and teaching many new and old heresies. We watch false prophets spread their evils with ease. We hear and see the wicked of false cults and ‘other religions’ murder with enjoyment. We see the EU control Europe with an iron hand, the UN continually demonizing Israel, and America starting to show itself as a task-master of millions. And, we see the growth of a group attempting to destroy healthy, normal life – the homosexuals, who are now starting to take over government positions in an effort to influence and make government policies.
Yet, scripture says it will all come to an end, so why do we fret? We fret because we cannot see beyond our own suffering and our own eyes. Behind this is the reality of our beliefs – they are not so faithful as we would wish them to be! If we truly believed we would not fret and fear, but would watch in amazement as Satan unfolds his grand schemes and is successful for a season, and yet we should see God’s plan is there, fixed and untouched by Satan’s temporary successes. Our response to it all must be Alleluia and Amen!!
There is no need to fear, for God is with us, no matter how low we might sink in human terms and how hard we think our lives have become. God does not cause us to know hardship or lowness without having a plan behind it for our betterment. We may not see it at the time, but everything God sends to the faithful is for their good. So, friends, when fear grips, or circumstances bring us low in human terms, remember to look up, for the hills rise above the dark valley we might presently be in, and we can climb upward to see the blue sky above.
The valley is not our permanent abode. It is only there as a guide and teacher. In the valley of death we are to praise God, for when we do He brings us up and out, to feel the warmth of the sun. But, if we succumb to our fears and woes, we remain in the shade and pain. God is good! Do not allow woes to overcome you! God’s hand is already outstretched, and our woes are but for a short while, tests of our faithfulness sent by a loving Father. Look beyond the circumstances and see God in it all. Look down, and you will only see the dirt under your feet. Which is better? And which is reality?
“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.
For true and righteous are his judgements: 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.
And again they said, Allelulia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Allelulia.
And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise thou God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great."
When the death of the whore occurred, everyone in heaven gave out a shout of praise to God. The great instrument of heresy and lies was gone: Alleluia… ’praise ye the Lord’; Salvation… deliverance and safety, from God; Glory… honour and praise to God; Honour… that which God has because of Who He is; Power… which is His because of His nature.
God had all these attributes anyway, but He allowed Satan his head for a season, so that his demise would further glorify God. This is unacceptable to unbelievers, because they cannot see that God can use anyone for His own purposes. They cannot understand that to be God means to have this immense unlimited power and authority. Nor can they see that God operates beyond all emotional influence, acting justly. He is, truly, ‘the Lord our God’!
Because He is God, all His ‘judgments’ are ‘true and righteous’, whether or not we, as human beings, approve or understand them. The acceptance of God’s will by created beings does not affect what God does, because He does not need to tell us what His plans are, or why He does anything. He is not accountable to His creatures and we have no right at all to demand such information. All we need to know is that everything God does and says is ‘true and righteous’ - it is the ‘real thing’, eternal and unchanged, and has no sin or untruth attached to it. Therefore, it must be perfect.
So, when He judges the ‘great whore’ whatever He decided to do must be perfect also. He judges that she is to die, because she corrupted the whole earth away from God. Even if she only misled the people in one thing, this would have defiled the Temple of God. At her death God avenged those who died by her hand for their faith.
The collective voices rang out a second time, repeating their praise to God, and the smoke of the sacrifice was acceptable to Him, being a sign for ever and ever of God’s judgement upon the wicked. The four beasts before the throne and the 24 elders all fell prostrate before the throne, worshipping Him… Amen (‘so be it’) and Alleluia (‘praise ye the Lord’)!
A voice came out of the throne, saying ‘Praise our God, all ye His servants!” whoever they were, whether great in the eyes of men or lowly. And that word ‘fear’ is used – to make afraid, to put to flight with terror, to also treat with reverence. Christian ‘fear’ involves both these responses; if they are not present then one’s attitude toward God is deficient.
“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, Allelulia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
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.
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.
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
And I fell at his feet to worship him. 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 Jesus is the spirit of prophesy.”
The praise of the ones around the throne was then joined by the praise of everyone in heaven, in one thunderous accord. All praised God and His omnipotence. That is, He is ruler over all (the meaning of ‘Almighty’), having total dominion, unshared with His creation. God’s kingdom is not democratic, as some would have us believe! God decides and we must obey. It is this Almighty God, of unlimited, autocratic power, Who rules us.
We must praise Him for what He has effected – salvation (verse 7); ‘let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come’. The ‘wife’ is ready. We are all individually saved in our own times, and become joined to God through Christ. But, the marriage feast of the Lamb is due when all things have been subdued and put down, when the Church as a whole is presented to Christ at the end of time, free of all taint and wicked attacks.
The Church on that feast day will be dressed in white, a symbol of her purity, a purity given by God as a gift. But, note that the bride ‘made’ herself ready. Though the union itself is a gift of God, He calls us to enact that union with our obedience and perseverance. The linen is a symbol of our acceptance in Christ before God.
The voice continued and told John to write that those who are elected and predestined to salvation (’called unto the marriage supper’) are blessed (happy and joyful), and that everything he said to John was the truth of God, to be relied on for ever.
At this John fell to the ground and venerated the one speaking. He was not Jesus, but an angel whose task was to speak to John. ‘Do not worship me’, he told John with a tone of indignation, ‘because I am a servant like you.’ By this we know that the servants of God are all equal in status, whether men or angels. They differ only in substance and kind. The angel told John that he served just as any other minister and Believer did. Instead, said the angel, worship God only, for only He deserves praise and honour.
He then said that the ‘testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy’. There are several human meanings given to this phrase, but I suggest it means that what is foretold of the future, and what is taught as present spiritual reality, is all from God through Jesus Christ. Thus, do not worship the bringer of the message of truth, but praise the One Who sent the message.
“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.
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.
And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written. KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."
These magnificent words were hardly uttered, when John saw a magnificent thing. A rider on a white horse appeared from heaven. The rider is named as ‘Faithful and True’ – Jesus Christ rode forth in glory and power. He came forth to judge and make war; He had full authority and justification to do so, for He is righteous. Note that Christ will make war. Humanistic people who pass themselves off as Christian, can like it or not, but Christ will make war! He will not allow the wicked to have a ‘second chance’, but will obliterate them!
His intention was seen in His eyes ‘as a flame of fire’, the fire of purging and holiness. He wore many crowns, signifying the trophies and honours put upon Him by the Father. And He had a name written, possibly on the crowns or on His head, that no-one but God could translate, possibly so holy it cannot be spoken.
Christ’s clothing was red with His own blood, the blood of the Saviour-Lamb. His name is the ‘Word of God’. Repeating John 1, here is ample proof that Christ is God, for all who deny it. The Word, logos, was God and became flesh. The armies or hosts of heaven were also on white horses, and wearing white linen, which was ‘clean’. Not a speck of dirt or grime. Holy and pure!
Symbolically, a sword was in the mouth of Christ, sharp and precise. This symbolised that His word is true and enough to cut through the filth and lies of the enemy. Nothing can prevail against His word. By His word will nations rise or fall. In this case they will fall and Christ will rule with a rod of iron. Does this refer to a supposed millennium? No, it simply states that the Lord rules all men whether or not they wish it, and even if they do not believe in Him. Thus, His rule is as solid and unmoveable as a rod of iron, and carrying a heavy, deathly blow to those who are not His. No unsaved man can escape this rod of iron, which will be wielded without mercy by Almighty God. The lack of mercy is shown in the next phrase, in which we see Christ crushing His enemies underfoot, as an outworking of God’s wrath, which is described as ‘fierce’.
Another name for Christ appears on the clothing covering His thigh. It is ‘King of kings, and Lord of lords’. The wooden sign above His head on the cross stood for ignominy and scorn, but this time the words are shown to be true and prominent. He IS King over all and He IS Lord over all!
“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 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.
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.
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.
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.”
John then saw an angel standing in the sun. This may signify exactly that, for an angel sent by God has no fear of the sun and is immune to its heat. It can also signify the angel’s power, as from God, of immense brightness. He called out to the fowls ‘that fly in the midst of heaven’. This does not necessarily mean that birds will be in heaven, only that at the time of the vision there were birds there. They were there for a specific purpose.
The angel called on them to gather over the carcases that were dumped at the ‘supper of the great God’. This is not the supper of the Lamb, but the just end of all who defy and reject God and influence others to do the same. These will include all who preach and teach falsely, as well as all who are deemed to be leaders of men, both earthly-wise and spiritually. God will treat them all with utter contempt.
So, beware, the Hinns and Brown’s, Graham’s and popes of this world! You will all be defeated and eaten by carrion crow, at the direct behest of God. This is a symbol of God’s wrath upon such people, and His total contempt for their lives and work. They are so unworthy they are only fit to be torn to bits by unclean birds. The same fate is promised to ‘all men’, for hell will be a place of fury, of the wrath of God without restraint. Unbelievers say that such a God is hateful. But, they do not understand the nature of God. If mere men can hang other men for treason against the state, God can surely condemn men He created, who oppose Him!
Here we read that God called the fowl to gather as vultures, circling where the bodies of the defiant would soon fall. Here, even in the death of His enemies, God foreordains and predestines! The leaders of rebellion and all who follow are headed by the beast of the pit. They stand against God and all who follow Him, as would an army. With the beast is the false prophet that did miracles… this describes the charismatic movement (itself a spawn of Rome) and the coming false ‘Christ’ that will overshadow all other false christs.
Thus we are being told that as the final end times come, the opposition to God and to Christians will become harsh and vicious, with a clear distinction between who is genuinely of God and who is not. Presently, the tares are growing alongside the wheat, but in the last moments of history, the ‘gloves will come off’ and the hatred of the enemy will be open. I believe that many will be surprised to see who these enemies are, for they will have previously considered them to be their brethren! (2013 note: this is now happening).
The beast and the false prophet will not be killed, but will be thrown alive into a lake of fire that burns perpetually with brimstone (remember that the beast is not Satan). To ‘cast’ is to throw in without a care for where they fall. They will be thrown in alive, so that they will know forever the consequences of their evil against the Creator. And the brimstone will arise as an incense to Almighty God, a reminder to all of His power and might. Brimstone can also purify, but those in the lake will never be purified, for this is not the sense of the word here.
As for all the others (the meaning of the word ‘remnant’ in this text), those who followed satanic ploys and unbelief, they will be obliterated by Jesus Christ, by His sword. That is, they will be condemned by their own refusal of His word. They will all fall, and will be eaten by the birds of the air, receiving the ignominy they piled upon Christ and those who were faithful.
So, the overall meaning of this chapter is that heaven will rejoice when Rome is crushed. The final, long-awaited joining of Christ and the Church will occur, without hindrance from Satan. Christ will then bring judgement upon all who stood against Him and his bride, destroying them. Then the beast and the false prophet will be cast in to the lake of fire. These are the false preachers and leaders who oppose God with their lies, and the one who acts on behalf of Satan, the beast. Is this the collective name for the popes? I do not think so, for he appears to be of far greater power.
These days will come, and soon. The majority within the churches will rise against true Believers and bring them great harm, as they join with satanic envoys, false preachers and secular leaders, to bring down the Church of Christ. These false ones within the churches are already massing, mostly within charismatic and Roman churches, and they are presently given much sympathy, even by true Believers. But, this will stop when opposition to the Church grows.
Then, many who were faithful at first will become turncoats and will join their enemies, for fear of the human consequences if they do not. They will help their enemies by handing over the faithful, but any guilt they may feel will not be of use in their defence as Christ cuts them all down and feeds them to the unclean birds. (2013 note: This massing against Christians is now led not by Rome directly but by Satan, through governments and foul ‘birds’. However, the current pope is showing himself to be the spokesman for evil in a far more open way).
Alleluia. Interestingly, this word is only found in the Book of Revelation, in four consecutive verses, in this chapter. It can also be written as hallēluia or ‘hallelujah’. The word is an imperative – absolute and necessary. It means ‘praise ye the Lord’. This even applies to unbelievers, though they are incapable of doing so because of their sin. The word has an Hebrew origin: halal (do NOT confuse with the Arabic of the same spelling): to praise, and Yahh: Jah, a contraction of Yēhovah. The etymology of the word is the verb, hayah, meaning to come to pass or to be, e.g. “I AM”, or the self-existing One.
Honour. To say we must ‘honour’ the Lord is to say He has a fixed price, timē, because of Who He is. The price is beyond anything we can pay, for His price or value is above calculation; hence Jesus Christ is the pearl without price, precious above and apart from all creation. He is the Almighty Lord and deserves our deference and reverence. The same word, ‘honour’, is used in verse 7, but is a different one to that in verse 1. It is doxa, meaning to think of God in a good way, as full of perfect majesty, resulting in timē.
Omnipotent. This word (pantokratōr) can ONLY be applied to God: Almighty, ruling everything, and having complete power and authority over all of Creation. Thus, the word includes the root, kratos – strength, power, might, dominion: these words are found in the New Testament and each points to God’s omnipotence.
(The) Word of God. (See short article, on the difference between ‘Word’ and ‘word’, A-087). The capital ‘W’ has been inserted because though logos refers mainly to what God says, it is here applied to the One Who utters those words, Jesus Christ; the implied ‘The’ is legitimately inserted by the translator to show that, on this occasion, logos is taken to mean Jesus Christ. In verses containing ‘logos’ (word) the meaning is usually that of God’s utterances and not a reference to Jesus Christ directly. Indeed, reference to logos as what God says can be found 218 times, whereas reference to Christ is found only 7 times. Unfortunately, in terms of proper interpretation, most Christians wrongly use logos to mean ‘Christ’ when, in most texts, it does not! So, they completely miss the actual meaning.
John heard countless voices praising the Lord God, because He vindicated Christians who were attacked and viciously subdued by the whore. She will enter hellfire, and her punishment will last forever.
The 24 elders and the four beasts around the throne fell to their faces and praised God for what He had done. I can say with confidence that though the primary object of God’s revenge is the whore, the secondary objects will include those groups of God-haters who also attack us or attack God – Islamists, homosexuals, atheists, and even ardent ‘greens’, etc.
Those around the throne also praised Him because the final phase of marriage of the Church and Christ has come, the point at which all of relevant (godly) history converges. John fell prostrate at the angel’s feet, the one who brought the vision, but the angel reprimanded him – ‘Do not worship me, for I am just a servant like you – worship God!’
Then, Christ appeared, magnificently arrayed, on a white horse, showing that His task was not just about peace – the road to peace involved much spilling of blood. He judged the wicked and made war against Satan and all who followed him. Of course, only Christ could win!
Angels followed Christ, all on white horses, which symbolise purity and holiness of action; their actions included wrath against all who are anti-God. It is at that time that everyone ever born will see that God is above all gods (who are false anyway), and He rules every ruler. They will see that those they adored and followed are just branches to be cast onto the fire and, too late, they will join them.
John then saw an angel stand within the sun itself, God’s power protecting him from the fierce heat and flames. He ordered birds to fly to unrepentant, vanquished rulers and people, to eat their flesh.
The beast sent by Satan commanded his own army, who had previously acted ad hoc, to finally join forces to destroy Christ and His followers, in one massive evil attack. This time is almost with us as wicked factions and governments gather together to remove God and His people from the earth. But, Christ won the battle without a fight, casting the beast and false prophets (notably, charismatic fake preachers and any who claim to perform miracles) into a lake of fire, and the rest were defeated as one, to enter hell forever, to be eaten by the birds.
© April 2002 (Revised September 2013)