| King of
Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19)
The enemies of the Christians have refused to
repent. The whole purpose of God's retribution was
to try and bring the Roman Empire to repentance.
They have refused to leave their idolatrous and
lascivious lifestyle. History records that the
Roman Empire was one of the most decadent societies
ever to inhabit a place on the earth.
Homosexuality, fornication and adultery were the
earmarks of their society. And to cap that off they
worshipped every manmade God imaginable including
men on earth as Gods. In an effort to foster public
approval for the emperors, the Roman Empire forced
the populace to worship them as Gods on earth. The
nations making up the empire were eager for the
money and support of Rome and gladly went along with
From the viewpoint of the Romans this seemed like
quite a tidy little arrangement and it was
successful for a great many years. However the fly
in the ointment for them was that the Christians
refused to have anything to do with worshipping
their emperors and for good reason. The Christians
serve a jealous God who demands He be the only
object of worship. So offended by idolatry is our
God that He compares it to fornication. Christians
are regarded by inspiration as the bride of Christ.
An idolatrous Christian is no different in the eyes
of God than an unfaithful spouse and this is well
known to all Christians. Therefore worshipping a
false God is absolutely forbidden and carries with
it the consequence of spiritual separation from
God. The Christian is expected to die if necessary
to keep from bowing down and worshipping an idol and
the Revelation makes this crystal clear.
Of course the Roman Empire cared little for
this. To them the God of the Christians was nothing
more than a silly superstition. After all, they
were well practiced in inventing Gods, why would
they think the God of the Christians was any
different than the manmade Gods they invented and
pushed down the people's throats? All they knew was
that the majority of the Roman citizenry went along
with it and the Christians who were by far the
minority refused at all cost. Christianity was
outlawed. It was considered treason against the
empire if one refused to bow down to the emperor.
The ability to buy food, work and live within the
empire was made next to impossible for anyone
refusing to worship the emperor.
Unfortunately for the empire, the enigmatic,
invisible God of the Christians was a lot different
than all of the many pagan Gods they served. The
God of the Christians was the one true and living
God out of all of them. None of the God's of the
Romans existed. They were figments of the
imagination oftentimes contrived for the purpose of
controlling the population or bleeding money out of
them. The God of the Christians does exist and He
is absolutely holy, just, loving and all powerful
just to name a few of His attributes. He gave
mankind freewill in the Garden of Eden and not once
has He ever revoked that privilege. He gave the
Roman Empire and its citizens every chance in the
world to repent of all the time suffering the
persecution and death of His faithful children. One
can only imagine the wrath of a Father who for the
sake of His righteous nature watched the suffering
of His children in order to maintain all of
mankind's freewill and give every lost soul the
chance to repent and come to the truth.
Chapter 18 saw the point at which God has
declared enough is enough. Rome has not fallen yet
but it is so sure to fall that it's destruction is
mentioned in the past tense. The actual destruction
of the empire begins later on in chapter 19 when we
see the battle of Armageddon fought. But before we
see the final destruction of Rome we will see a
picture of the champion of the Christians as He
prepares for the judgment.
"After these things I heard as it were a great
voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,
Hallelujah; Salvation, and glory, and power, belong
to our God"
This multitude envisioned here is the collective
souls of those we saw beneath the alter in
Revelation 6:9-10 who were asking God how long it
would be before their blood was avenged against
their oppressors, mentioned again later in
Revelation 7:9 worshipping God on His throne.
"for true and righteous are his judgments; for he
hath judged the great harlot, her that corrupted the
earth with her fornication, and he hath avenged the
blood of his servants at her hand."
Once again we see the judgment of the Empire
spoken of in the past tense. Their judgment had
been ongoing for some time now pictured in the bowls
of wrath but the final judgment was yet to come.
The final judgment would see the Empire destroyed
from the earth for all time.
"And a second time they say, Hallelujah. And her
smoke goeth up for ever and ever."
The saved dead in Christ are rejoicing now that
God's righteous judgment has come. The imagery
leading up to this supports that these rejoicing are
the souls of the slain who overcame to the end.
They were stedfast till their death and now their
murderers are going to get their just rewards.
Those who died for Christ have every right to expect
the judgment of their oppressors. They gave their
lives so that their enemies could have a chance to
repent and be saved. They loved their enemies to
their own graves. And for those who refused to
repent, they got what they had coming to them.
We are starting to see now the picture of the
final judgment yet to come. The enemies of the
Christians died physical deaths to be sure but that
is not the end of their suffering by any means. It
was only the beginning. In the account of the rich
man and Lazarus we learn that the rich man went
straight to a place called Tartarus in the Hadean
realm which is the abode of the dead. Tartarus is a
place of torment for the lost when they die. There
they await the day of the Lord where they will
receive their final sentencing and be cast into the
lake of eternal fire and darkness. The rich man
cried out to Abraham that he was tormented in
flame. When the enemies of the Christians died,
they went to the same place the rich man went and
are suffering in the same fire he is suffering in.
Truly it can be said that their smoke goeth up for
ever and ever.
The words "smoke goeth up for ever and ever"
are reminiscent of the fate of those who worshipped
the beast in Revelation 14:9-11.
Revelation 19:4 "And the four and twenty
elders and the four living creatures fell down and
worshipped God that sitteth on the throne, saying,
The vision here switches back to the beginning of
the throne scene in Revelation 4. We see here the
same twenty four elders and the same living
creatures around the same throne. This serves to
tie both series of visions in Revelation to a common
event. Keeping in mind that the visions John is
recounting now are the contents of the little book
given to him in Revelation 10. We now see here and
in the following elements of the vision things which
tie everything together into one grand vision with
one grand purpose.
"And a voice came forth from the throne, saying,
Give praise to our God, all ye his servants, ye that
fear him, the small and the great."
To try and assign this voice coming from the
throne to a particular source is fraught with
frustration and difficulties. The fact that it
comes from the throne indicates that it is a
directive from God. It is easier to think of this
as a singular voice of authority coming from the
throne of God. This directive from the throne is
applicable to those on the earth in particular. The
saved who died in Christ are represented in the next
verse making the picture complete.
"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 thunders, saying, Hallelujah:
for the Lord our God, the Almighty reigneth."
And here we have a picture of the whole of righteous
creation praising God who reigns perpetually.
"Let us rejoice and be exceeding glad, and let us
give the glory unto him: for the marriage of the
Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready."
The redeemed have every reason to be glad and to
rejoice. If not for the sacrifice made on our
behalf our fate would be eternal destruction. For
that we should all be grateful, giving all the glory
to God who had no obligation whatsoever to save us.
The saved here are pictured as the bride of Christ,
chaste, pure and Holy. The relationship between
Christ and the saved is comparable to the
relationship between a husband and a wife. This is
certainly a picture seen elsewhere in scripture and
there is not a better commentary on this than what
is written in Ephesians 5:22-32.
Worth mentioning here is that the bride has made
herself ready. This means that the redeemed have
taken those steps and done the things necessary in
order to prepare themselves for this relationship.
The words of Peter speak succinctly to this fact, "Seeing
ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the
truth..." (1 Peter 1:22). The redeemed prepare
themselves as brides by being obedient to the word
"And it was given unto her that she should array
herself in fine linen, bright (and) pure: for the
fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints."
The words of John in 1 John 3:7 come to mine when
reading this verse. "Little children, let no man
deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is
righteous, even as he is righteous." The bride
of Christ adorns herself in fine linen and John goes
on to explain exactly what the fine linen is. It is
the righteous acts of the saints. Those who act
righteously adorn themselves in white linen which is
the same thing as righteousness.
"And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they
that are bidden to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
And he saith unto me, These are true words of God."
This is one of seven beatitudes found in
1.Blessed is he that readeth, and they that
hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those
things which are written therein: for the time is at
2.Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from
henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may
rest from their labours; and their works do follow
them (Revelation 14:13).
3.Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his
garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame
4.Blessed are they which are called unto the
marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).
5.Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first
resurrection: on such the second death hath no
power, but they shall be priests of God and of
Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years
6.Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the
prophecy of this book (Revelation 22:7).
7.Blessed are they that do his commandments, that
they may have right to the tree of life, and may
enter in through the gates into the city (Revelation
It is quite obvious from a reading of these seven
beatitudes that those who are bidden to the marriage
supper of the lamb are only blessed if they
1. Heed and keep the commandments written within
2. Die in Christ
3. Keep their garments clean.
4. Participate in the first resurrection. (Baptism)
5. Keep God's commandments.
Jesus taught, "Many are called, few are chosen"
(Matthew 22:14). All people are called by the
gospel to Christ. But in comparison of all who are
called, only a few will be bidden to the marriage
supper of the Lamb. Only a few will become the
bride of Christ. Only those who adorn themselves in
righteous acts of obedience to the will of God will
be bidden. Righteous acts being represented as fine
linen in verse 8.
"And I fell down before his feet to worship him.
And he saith unto me, See thou do it not: I am a
fellow-servant with thee and with thy brethren that
hold the testimony of Jesus: worship God; for the
testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
There is some discussion about who this is who
told John not to worship Him. This individual is a
servant with John and his brethren. Jesus is
mentioned in the third person. If this person were
Jesus, he would have said "my testimony" instead of
"testimony of Jesus". This could only be an angel
speaking to John in His vision. And this is
consistent with the rest of the visions. Angels
were doing most of the communicating with John.
"And I saw the heaven opened; and behold, a white
horse, and he that sat thereon called Faithful and
True; and in righteousness he doth judge and make
White is the color of purity. A horse is
figurative for war or for riding out to battle.
Notice the words "and make war" at the end of
the verse. In John 5:27 we see that God the Father
has given Jesus the authority to "execute
judgment". The war that Jesus makes is
described later on in this vision. It is a war
against the beast and the false prophet. Identified
in chapter 13 as the Roman empire personified in the
emperors and the religious cult known as the
Concilia who enforced the worship of the emperors.
The time for the judgment of Rome is at hand.
The champion of the Christians is mounted on His war
horse and is about to carry out God's righteous
judgment on the enemies of the Christians.
Following is a vision of Jesus Christ which only
those familiar with scriptures would be able to
understand. Identifying the following
characteristics of the Son of God is easy for
someone familiar with scripture.
"And his eyes (are) a flame of fire, and upon his
head (are) many diadems; and he hath a name written
which no one knoweth but he himself."
In Daniel's vision of of the pre-incarnate form
of Jesus Christ we see these familiar words, "His
body also was like the beryl, and his face as the
appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of
fire , and his arms and his feet like in colour to
polished brass, and the voice of his words like the
voice of a multitude" (Daniel 10:6). And then again
in Revelation 1:14-15, we previously saw these
words, "His head and his hairs were white like wool,
as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of
fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they
burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of
The name that no man knoweth is the name of God.
The tetragrammaton YHWH is unpronounceable. Man has
given the pronunciation "Jehovah" to this but no one
knows for sure this is correct. The pronunciation
of "Jehovah" is at best the educated guess of
scholars. By inspiration John writes that His name
is unknown. The status of Christ as God in the New
Testament makes it altogether reasonable and logical
that His name is "YHWH" however it is pronounced in
Two things of significance come to mind First,
we must recognize the unity and oneness of the
Godhead. Jesus as the word of God shares the name
of the Father. It can be reasonably inferred that
all three persons of the Godhead share the same
name. We have God the Father as the head, we have
God the Son, the Word, and we have God the Holy
Spirit. All three sharing the same name.
God has purposefully been enigmatic when the
topic of His name arises, choosing language such as
"I AM" or "YHWH". God's name is most holy. worldly
mankind has a tendency to profane the name of God to
the ability they can. All kinds of slanderous
profane expletives have been contrived and applied
to "God" through the centuries. It is little wonder
that our most Holy Creator would not want His name
associated with such things. We have been given
enough of Him to know that He exists. We do not
need to know exactly what His name is in order to
follow Him. Some day when the saved come into His
presence, His true name will doubtless be then
revealed. Until then, we serve God, the great "I
Notice in the language that the angels are
excluded from knowing the true name of God as well.
"And he (is) arrayed in a garment sprinkled with
blood: and his name is called The Word of God."
Blood is the sign of the covenant. The blood on
the garment in this vision is Christ's own. Jesus
Christ is known in scripture by a number of
different names. In John's gospel account, Jesus
Christ was introduced as God and as the word of
"And the armies which are in heaven followed him
upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white
The armies in heaven is figurative for all the
saved who follow and serve Jesus Christ. They are
described in the vision as being clothes in fine
line, white and pure, which means without spot and
"And out of his mouth proceedeth 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 of the wrath of God,
We have new testament scripture which speaks to
the word of God being like a sword,
12 For the word of God is living, and active, and
sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even
to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints
and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and
intents of the heart.
13 And there is no creature that is not manifest in
his sight: but all things are naked and laid open
before the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Earlier in the introduction of Jesus in the
Revelation, we see these words describing John's
vision, "And he had in his right hand seven
stars: and out of his mouth proceeded a sharp
two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun
shineth in his strength" (Revelation 1:16).
Jesus rules the nations with the word of God. It
is unchangeable, it is eternal and it will not
fail. This is the rod of iron. The worldly people
of the nations may not submit to His authority but
they are governed by it and will be judged by it
nonetheless. In this context it is the immediate
enemies of the Christians which are about to be
treaded out in the winepress of God's wrath. But
the application is for all living past, present and
"And he hath on his garment and on his thigh a
name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."
To the first readers of John's Revelation, the
mighty Roman emperors looked like the most powerful
kings on earth. But unknowingly, they were living
under the rule of a king far more powerful than they
ever imagined. They demanded the worship of the
nations as gods on earth while in their ignorance
they were but vassals to the King of Kings
God gave mankind freewill in the Garden of Eden.
This freedom has never been revoked. All mankind is
given freewill to choose whether or not they will
follow righteousness. In the execution of this
freedom, it is often perceived that our King of
Kings is not in charge and is not ruling. However
this is not the case. In the course of mankind's
freewill, God will not interfere. Our King of King
and Lord of Lords is indeed ruling and His rule is a
reign of iron. One of the most significant lessons
we can take from the Revelation is that God will not
usurp man's free will choice. It is so important to
God and so much a part of His rule that even when
His saints are being slain for their righteousness,
He will not violate man's free will choice.
But those who choose to reject God will be judged
in the end. And this is what the Christians living
under the great persecution needed to know and this
is what they were told. Yes, they were going to
suffer, yes many of them would be slain. Yes there
will be great tribulation, pain and suffering. But
God is in charge and He will not violate the gift of
free will to man. In the end, all will be judged in
righteousness and receive their just rewards. The
people of the first century and beyond in the Roman
Empire had a horrible cross to bear and God insisted
they bear it. The application for us today is that
there is no cross given to us that we are not
expected to bear. God has not changed and neither
have the terms of the new covenant. We today are as
bound to the terms of righteousness as the
Christians who lived through the great Roman
"And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he
cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds
that fly in mid heaven, Come (and) be gathered
together unto the great supper of 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 thereon, and the flesh of all
men, both free and bond, and small and great."
An angel sends forth an invitation for all the
birds of prey to come and eat of the carnage and
destruction of the kings, military captains, mighty
men, horses, and of all men both free and slaves.
The devastation is going to be absolute. Nothing
will remain but vultures and buzzards eating what is
left. The vision is one of grim imagery. One can
almost picture the smoking battlefield littered with
the bodies of horses and men with nothing left alive
except the scavengers eating the flesh of the dead.
"And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth,
and their armies, gathered together to make war
against him that sat upon the horse, and against his
In Revelation 16:16 John left the vision of the
evil allies about to do battle with God's forces at
Har-Magedon. Recall to mind that the ensuing war
was not between the Christians and the Romans,
rather contextually, the actual battle was going to
be between the enemies of the Christians and their
external enemies from without the empire.
"And the beast was taken, and with him the false
prophet that wrought the signs in his sight,
wherewith he deceived them that had received the
mark of the beast and them that worshipped his
image: they two were cast alive into the lake of
fire that burneth with brimstone: and the rest were
killed with the sword of him that sat upon the
horse, (even the sword) which came forth out of his
mouth: and all the birds were filled with their
And here is the battle of Armageddon fought. The
sea beast, which was the Roman Empire, and the false
prophet which was the land beast in Revelation 13,
identified as the Roman Concilia are defeated and
thrown into the lake of Fire. History records that
the Roman Empire was attacked and defeated from a
number of external forces. They were weakened from
within by natural disasters and the consequences of
their decadent lifestyle. This left them a
vulnerable target for the Parthians from the east
and Germanic Goths from the North. The Roman Empire
was broken and destroyed from within and from
without by numerous forces over a period of time,
all of which were used by God to achieve His
The Christians never fought against their enemies
directly. They never picked up physical weapons as
an organized force and engaged in any holy war or
battle against the forces of evil. God used the
enemies of the Roman empire to exact His judgment on
it and bring it to destruction in a similar way that
He brought Babylon down by the Persians under the
rule of Cyrus.
When the battle of Armageddon was over, the
enemies of the Christians were defeated.
Christianity prevailed in the end. And it will
continue to prevail until the end of time on earth.
For as long as earth stands, there will be
Christians and the weapons of their warfare will
always be the word of God.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war
according to the flesh
4(for the weapons of our warfare are not of the
flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of
Revelation 19 Paraphrase
And after these things I heard what sounded like
a mighty shout of a great crowd in heaven,
exclaiming, Hallelujah, praise the Lord! Salvation
and splendor and majesty and dominion and authority
belong to our God! Because His condemnation and
sentences of destruction are true and sound and
just. He has convicted and pronounced sentence on
the great idolatress nation who corrupted and
poisoned the earth with her lewdness and
fornication. And He has avenged on her the penalty
for the blood of His servants at her hand. And
again they shouted, Hallelujah and praised the
Lord. The smoke of her burning torment shall
continue to ascend forever and ever throughout all
Then the twenty-four elders of the Israelites and
the Christians and all the creation from the four
corners of the earth fell prostrate and worshiped
God who sits on the throne, proclaiming, "Amen, Let
it be so! Hallelujah, praise the Lord our God!" Then
from the throne there came a voice, saying, "Praise
our God, all you servants of His, you who reverence
Him, both small and great"! And after that I heard
what sounded like the shout of a vast multitude that
sounded like the roar of many pounding waves and
like the sound of thunder, praising God saying,
"Hallelujah, For the Lord our almighty and all
powerful God reigns now! Let us rejoice and shout
for joy! Let us celebrate and credit to Him glory
and honor, for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and His bride has prepared herself. She has been
granted that she may dress in fine linen, for the
fine linen signifies the righteousness of God's holy
people." Then the angel said to me, "Blessed are
those who are invited to the marriage supper of the
Lamb". And then he said to me, "These are the true
words of God".
Then I fell prostrate at his feet to worship he
who spoke to me, but he restrained me and said,
"Stop! You must not do that for I am only another
servant with you and your brethren who follow the
testimony borne by Jesus. Worship only God! For the
truth revealed by Jesus is the breath of all
After that I saw heaven opened, and behold, a
white horse appeared. And the One who was riding on
it is called faithful, trustworthy, loyal,
incorruptible, steady and true. And He executes
judgment and wages war in righteousness, holiness,
justice, and uprightness. His eyes blaze like a
flame of fire, and on His head are many kingly
crowns and He has a name which He alone knows or can
He is dressed in a robe sprinkled with the blood
of His sacrifice. And one of the names by which He
is called is written on His robes and on His thigh.
This name by which He is called is the Word of God.
And the armies of the saints, clothed in fine linen,
dazzling and clean, followed Him on white horses.
From His mouth goes forth the will of God as sharp
as a sword with which He can strike the nations. And
He will reign over them with a scepter of iron. He
is all powerful and will tread the winepress of the
fierceness of the wrath in His indignation. And on
His robe and on His thigh He has a name written,
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Then I saw an angel stationed in the light of the
sun, and with a mighty voice he shouted to all the
birds that fly across the sky, Come, gather
yourselves together for the great supper of God.
That you may feast on the flesh of the slain rulers,
the flesh of dead generals and captains, the flesh
of powerful and mighty men fallen, the flesh of
horses and their riders killed in the destruction,
and the flesh of all humanity, both free and slave,
both small and great!
Then I saw the beast and the rulers and leaders
of the earth with their troops assembled to go into
battle and make war against Him Who is mounted on
the horse and against His troops. And the beast was
defeated and captured, and with him the false
prophet who by his authority had worked lying
wonders and performed fake miracles by which he led
astray those who wore the mark of the beast and by
those who paid homage and gave divine honors to his
statue. Both of them were defeated and thrown alive
into the fiery lake that burns and blazes with
brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword
that issues from the mouth of Him Who is mounted on
the white horse, and all the birds filled themselves
with their dead flesh on the battlefield.