King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992
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Chapters 19 & 20
A Bible Study
Rev 19:1-10 - After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! "For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her." Again they said, "Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!" And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, "Amen! Alleluia!" Then a voice came from the throne, saying, "Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!" And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'" And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God." And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.""After these things..." After the details of Babylon's destruction in Chapters 17 and 18 we are transported to heaven where the reaction to what God has done is taking place among the heavenly host. And what is this? It seems they are singing the "Hallelujah" chorus from Handel's "Messiah!" First there is the "great multitude" of the redeemed and perhaps also the angels of God are meant to be included in that - praising God for the salvation He wrought in His victory over the demonic powers and evil forces of the harlot Babylon. His glory - that glory that is intrinsic to God alone and can only be refected by His creation - and power are manifested in this victory and honor is due Him. "For true and righteous are His judgments..." His judgments can only be praised, not brought to question, for they true and righteous. The "justice" of the whore was deceitful, fraudulent, unrighteous. "The prerogative and authority for righteous vindication and vengeance belongs only to God."  God has judged that system of rebellious man that has its roots in Nimrod and the tower of Babel. The smoke of her destruction is plainly visible as a witness for all to see. But as if the praise is not yet strong enough, a voice comes from the throne of God commanding "Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!" OK - here we go! Now we hear the most magnificent rendition of the "Hallelujah!" chorus from the "Messiah" that has been sung! Or is it just spoken? At any rate, it's bound to be awesome! "Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!" What is interesting also is the fact that the four living creatures no longer seem to be leading the worship around the throne as they were previously - the "great multitude" of the redeemed are. Will the Church become the initiator and leader of worship and praise around God's throne? Another interesting fact is that here is the only place in the New Testament the word "Hallelujah!" is found. ("Praise ye Yahweh!")
But there's something more being announced here: "Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'"The goal of the demonic forces of darkness has been to destroy Christ's kingdom - the primary focus of their attack being directed against His bride. Now they have been destroyed and the Bride is 'prepared' (cf. Old Testament imagery of the betrothal of God to His people). Babylon tried to get the Bride to be unfaitful (remember the 'Letters to the Churches in Chapters 2 and 3 - letters to the Bride of Christ). The enemy tried to defile the Bride so she would be disgraced on her wedding day. But that will not happen. Rev 19:8 - And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. God Himself has provided the marriage garments; the Bride does not come in her own filthy rags (remember the parable given by Jesus about the 'Prodigal Son' - Luke 15:22) - the Father purchased and provided the wedding garments for His Son's Bride. Notice the difference between the garments of the Bride and the garments of Babylon (Rev. 17:4)." 
Eph 2:4-10 - But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
"Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!" This is probably the most important beatitude in the Bible. Are you among the "called?" If so, make sure you have sufficient "oil" (Matt. 25:1-13). If you are not, then consider God's Free Gift. This wedding is by invitation only, but everyone is invited ( Rom. 10:8-13). - The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. Rev 22:17 But you must make sure you have the proper garments (Matt. 22:11-14). God provides them Himself (Rev. 19:8) for those who believe on His Son (John 3:15-18). You are not invited to be a spectator, but to be the part of the Bride of Christ. The "Lord's Supper" (Matt. 26:26-29) not only is a remembrance of His death for us, but also looks forward to the "wedding feast" (Rev. 3:20; Psalm 23:5).
Rev 19:11-16 - Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:Compare this with what appeared when the first Seal was broken (Rev. 6:2). In this case there is no doubt who the rider is. It is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He is called "Faithful and True." "The primary meaning of 'truth' in the New Testament is 'trustworthiness and reliability' - fidelity. In other words, these words are virtually synonymous. Christ keeps His promises - there is no dishonesty deception or distortion of the truth (unlike the Antichrist). He can be trusted; He is the embodiment of God's truth (John 14:6). There is a distinction in the Bible between God and man at this level. All men are liars. (Rom. 3:10-18; Num. 23:19) Man is perennially a 'covenant breaker' and does not keep his pledge or promise either to man or God. God never 'weasels out' of a committment."  "His eyes were like a flame of fire..." Nothing is hidden from His gaze (Hebr. 4:12-13) which is why He exposed the Pharisees as hypocrites - their outward form of righteousness did not deceive him, though it did man (Matt. 16:6). "He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God." During the time this was written, such an image conveyed the idea of a warrior with battlefield experience and capability. "The Word of God." - this phrase or name for Jesus is found only in the apostle John's writings - no where else. The "armies" following Him are probably both the Church (Matt. 16:18b) and the angelic host. The "sharp sword" and "rod of iron" have been seen before (Rev. 1:16; 2:26-27). "He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." (Isa. 63:1-6) This reminds you of what song?
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
(Taken from "BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC" by Julia Ward Howe)
He is the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords." Anyone who argues with that is certainly foolish. But those who go to war against Him are also very foolish.
Rev 19:17-21 - Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, "Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great." And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.As we said above, "He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."The beast and the false prophet (remember Chapter 13?) were relieved of their duties and put into eternal "retirement." And the birdies had quite a feast. Yum, yum.
This is apparently the most controversial chapter in the Book of Revelation. It seems to me to be quite straight-forward and not that hard to understand, if you just let it speak for itself. But there are those who like "mysteries" so much that they will concoct them - as if there were not enough already in Scripture. I will let R. C. Sproul  describe the various points of view and then just present it like it seems to be without all the "hoopla." "The early Church was divided into two camps: 'pro-' and 'anti-millennium.' Iraneus (2nd century A.D.) made a parallel between the seven days of creation and the 7000 of the earth's existence. He saw the Millennium coming after 2000 years of Christian history. At present there are four different views:
(1) Post-Millennialism - believes that there will be a literal 1000 year period of Christ's reign on earth. Its distinguishing chracteristic is that it has the belief that Christ will return after the Millennium - not before - and that the Millennium will be a 'golden age' of the victory and dominance of the Christian Church at the end of which Christ will return. In the early church there were those who believed that the first 1000 years of Christian history was the Millennium (up to 1000 A.D.). Augustine favored this view. So they saw the Christian Church growing in strength and dominance and thought Christ would return around 1030 A.D. Others mantained that the Millennium began with the Edict of Constantine (Emperor of Rome: 324-337) who by Imperial Fiat declared the Roman Empire to be a Christian empire - which put an end to government persecution of the Church and the Church was given official recognition and sanction by the most important political powers of the world, ushering in the 'golden age.' Others have cited the reign of Charlemagne (Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire 800-814) as the beginning of the Millennium. Still others thought the 19th century missionary movement was indicative of the Millennium, where the Church was to gain ascendency over secularism and the Kingdom of God would be established for 1000 years at the end of which Christ would return.
(2) Pre-Millennialism - believes also in a literal 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth preceded and inaugurated by Christ's return. When He returns He will usher in the 1000 year period at which time there will be a resurrection from the dead of Christians. At the end of the 1000 years is the battle of Armageddon, the final conflict with Satan and the last judgment and final resurrection. Then there will be a consummation of the Kingdom of God by the appearance of a new heaven and a new earth. The distinguishing characteristics of Dispensationalism is that it has much more complex and intricate development of future events relating primarily to prophetic predictions of the Old Testament with respect to Israel. It sees the re-emergence of the nation Israel as having enormous significance for the future of the Church. It also maintains the notion of the Pre-Tribulation rapture of the Church - that Christ will come for His saints before the tribulation in Revelation - prior ro the dragon, Antichrist, etc. There will be a 'catching-up' of believers into the air where they will remain 'floating' with Him during the tribulation. After the tribulation is over they will return to the earth with Christ to inaugurate the 1000 year reign. This view was defended and made popular in the 'Scofield' Bible.
(3) Amillennialism - is historically closely related to classic reformed theology. It takes the position that the Bible does not teach a literal Millennium. There is no expectation before or after Christ comes of a literal 1000 year reign on earth. It understands Rev. 20:1-10 as being symbols referring to the fulness of the victory involved in Revelation's 'vision.'" 
Rev 20:1-10 - Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.One of the problems which those who do not believe in a literal Millennium cite is - just who or what is Christ ruling on earth after God finishes His very thorough purging and cleansing of the earth through His judgments? This is a legitimate question (though it is oftentimes stated rhetorically in the form of an objection) that is hard to answer because the Bible does not give much detail concerning the Millennium period. But there are things it does say both in the Old and New Testaments (though the term "millennium," like "rapture," appears no where in the Bible; and "thousand years" appears only twice in the Old Testament). In fact there are quite few verses in the Old Testament referring to what the Jews know as a "golden age," but the duration of that time is mentioned only in Revelation 20. For example, read Isa. 65:17-25. Pastor Jack Hayford  has these comments: "What is Christ ruling during the Millennium? He is ruling a devastated planet (Rev. 18:19 - '...for in one hour.she is made desolate.'). Everything is destroyed, survivors are reeling from the impact. Demons and Satan are bound. There is a hodgepodge of humanity. I think the role the Church will fill will be a role in the invisible realm which now is administrated by demon beings and prinicipalities and powers that cause an evil influence. The Church through worship of God and ministry to Him will circle the earth with an envirnment of righteousness that will influence people to open themselves to the rule of Christ. So we are to rule and reign with Him for a 1000 years. This is not the "new earth" but the earth purged and cleansed of the effect of man's rebellion. During the Millennium there will be still within the human heart the capability of either submitting to God or rebelling against Him. During this time Satan is bound and the world system is gone, but there is still the flesh. There is still a spirit of rebellion in man, where he thinks he can control things - because the flesh gives place to the devil and he takes over. But if there is no devil to take over and there is just flesh, and the only power present is Jesus Christ - there still would not be full allegiance to Him."  (This is one view. In the study on Chapter 22 another viewpoint will be presented.) In the opening three verses of Chapter 20, Satan is bound and cast into the abyss (not the lake of fire where the beast and false prophet are) for 1000 years.
"The probable construction is, that those are referred to to whom it appropriately belonged to occupy such seats of judgment, and who they are is to be determined from other parts of the Scriptures. In (Matt. 19:28), the Saviour says to his apostles, "When the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." In (1 Cor. 6:2), Paul asks the question, "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?" The meaning as thus explained is, that Christians will, in some way, be employed in judging the world; that is, that they will be exalted to the right hand of the Judge, and be elevated to a station of honor, as if they were associated with the Son of God in the judgment. Something of that kind is, doubtless, referred to here; and John probably means to say that he saw the thrones placed on which those will sit who will be employed in judging the world. If the apostles are specially referred to, it was natural that John, eminent for modesty, should not particularly mention them, as he was one of them, and as the true allusion would be readily understood." Rev 20:5 - (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. (NIV) The NIV has this correct: "This is the first resurrection" refers back to the previous verse to the two groups of believers. "The rest of the dead" referred to parenthetically participate in the second resurrection at the end of the 1000 years - verses 11-15. Note Dan. 12:2 - And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Again, those who awake to everlasting life participate in the first resurrection at the beginning of the 1000 years; the latter group will be in the second resurrection at the end of the 1000 years. Rev 20:6 - Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. Notice in this beatitude concerning those who will be in the first resurrection - it is again stated they "will reign with Him for a thousand years." They are obviously the ones on the thrones of verse 4.
John 5:25-29 - "Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth-- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation."Then at the end of the 1000 years, Satan is set free and gathers together all those who would prefer to believe a lie and once again they gather to do battle, but are obliterated by God's fire from heaven. And so the devil is finally put away for good, joining the other two members of the "unholy trinity" in the lake of fire. So long, devil. Can't say you'll be missed.
Rev 20:11-15 - Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire."The theme of Revelation is that those living on earth, created by God, are ultimately responsible to their Creator for how they live. Everyone will answer to God (Mk. 4:22) God sees everything and He will judge. On judgment day we will stand before God on the basis of (1) our 'works,' asking God for our 'just reward' - according to our own 'righteousness' - so we will get precisely what these things deserve or (2) Christ's righteousness - pleading His work alone - we will get everything His righteousness deserves. (Rev. 21:7)"  Well actually this is a "no brainer." As the Word says, if their name is "not found written in the book of life," they are "thrown into the lake of fire." It's that simple. I don't mean to be irreverant but it reminds me of a scene I saw in a movie where someone on the sidelines pulled a lever, a trapdoor opened beneath the guilty person's feet and - whoosh! - down he went. "The people have no right to be in God's presence. They have rejected God's grace and 'according to their works' they can't make it."  "Oh, but I'm a good person." "Fine. Here's My Son - Jesus Christ. He's the standard by which I judge everyone. Are you as 'good' as He is?" (Rom. 3:23)
 R. C. Sproul - Ligonier Ministries
 Jack Hayford - Living Way Ministries
 from Barnes' Notes
 Marvin J Rosenthal - "Zion's Hope"