First Baptist Church Charleston
Revelation 19:11-21
February 6, 2022

Revelation 19:11-21

February 6, 2022

We have now finished with the last interlude in this book and the remainder of the Book of Revelation is more chronological in nature than most of what we have been through.

When the Lord Jesus walked on this earth as a man, His supreme divine glory was veiled. The writer to the Hebrews tells us it was veiled with His flesh. On one occasion, on the Mount of Transfiguration in Matthew 17, the veil was drawn aside and three disciples beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. The King of kings and the Sovereign of all the earth. After that event, His supreme divine glory was once again veiled. Generally speaking, the 3 1/2 years of His ministry were more of humiliation–years of rejection, culminating in suffering and death.

But when we reach the scene in Revelation 19, all that changes. Before us now is the Lord of glory in all His majesty and sovereignty; this is the revelation of the King of kings and Lord of Lords returning in splendor and triumph. The story of the Book of Revelation has built to this exciting moment, the moment of Christ’s return to earth. We are ready to see the revelation of the Lord of glory. Having described the downfall of Satan’s false religious system, having reported the praise of the hosts of heaven on the eve of this great event, having announced that Christ’s kingdom is about to be established–called in this chapter the marriage feast of the Lamb–we are ready for His appearance. This is the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Before we go any farther this morning, I think it is necessary to establish clearly what “return” this refers to. There is a distinction made in the New Testament between:

  1. Christ’s appearing in the sky to take back His saints to heaven (John 14:3),      
  2. The time of Christ’s return to Earth to bring back His saints to Earth (Jude 14-15).

The first appearance we call the “Rapture”, a word describing what happens in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 when believers are “caught up” in the clouds. That term “caught up” is what we mean by the name “Rapture”, which comes from the Latin word rapio. That occurs before the Tribulation, I believe, in view of several promises to believers of this age, such as 1 Thessalonians 5:9, which says that God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain deliverance through our Lord Jesus Christ. Deliverance, not wrath.

In our Lord’s message to the Church at Philadelphia in Revelation 3:10, we shall be kept from the hour. Not just kept from the wrath, but kept from the very hour of testing which shall try all those left on earth who have not accepted Christ as Savior and Lord.

The Rapture is imminent; it could happen at any time. James 5:8 says the coming of the Lord draws nigh, and James used a word that means the coming of the Lord is proximate. It is imminent. It could happen at any time. There are no events that must occur before this prophetic event.

However, the Second Coming is not imminent! Several things must take place BEFORE He will literally return to the Earth. It occurs after the Tribulation. Jude talks about it in his one-chapter book, in verses 14 and 15. And this is the great day of God’s wrath according to Revelation chapter 6.

This Second Coming is the return to Earth we’re talking about in Revelation 19. But this event in Revelation 19–the Second Coming–is preceded by definite signs. According to Matthew 24:33, the Lord Jesus said that when you see these things you will know that the coming of the Lord is here.


11 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. 

12 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. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 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. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

                                                KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

17 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, 18 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.”

19 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. 20 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. 21 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.

The study outline is:

  1. 19:11-16       Christ leaves heaven and literally comes to Earth.
  2. 19:17-18       Christ calls the fowls of the air together.
  3. 19:19-21       Christ destroys His enemies.
  1. 19:11-16 Christ leaves heaven and literally comes to Earth.

Here is the apex of the ages, and high point of human history, the manifestation of the Son of God in all His glory. It is the beginning of the end for the forces of evil, the initiation of the greatest era since the beginning of time: the Millennium, 1000 years of righteousness and peace on earth.

It all begins when heaven opens, and John sees a white horse, the one sitting upon it called Faithful and True. Back in Revelation 4:1, John saw a door opened in heaven, but this seems to be a much broader thing–“I saw heaven opened.” Could it be the answer to Isaiah’s prayer in Isaiah 64:1-2?

            “Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence–as fire burns brushwood, as fire causes water to boil–to make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence!”?

What a fantastic prayer, made thousands of years before this event in Revelation. Isaiah prays for God to open the heavens and that God would come. That’s what happens in Revelation 19:11, “And I saw heaven opened and, behold, a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True.”

Keep in mind now that the rider on the white horse in 19:11 is not the same one as in Revelation 6:1. When we studied that passage, we came to the conclusion that that rider was the Antichrist, Satan’s man, the man of sin, full of deceit and lies. He began to make his conquests at the beginning of the Tribulation period.

But this rider in chapter 19 is a different rider. He is called “Faithful and True.” The same titles are applied to the Lord Jesus in the Church at Laodicea (Revelation 3:14). He goes forth to judge and to make war in righteousness at the end of the Tribulation period, for that is where we are chronologically in the book. There is no question about the identity of this rider. He is the Lord Jesus Christ.

There are also some events that I believe that the Scripture tells us must transpire before the Second Coming:

            > The Rapture of His Church from Earth to heaven.

            > The 3 ½ years of tribulation and 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation.

            > Believers who have been raptured to heaven stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, which is also                   known as the “Bema Seat of Christ”.

               (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Matt. 27:19; John 19:13; Acts 18:12-16.) As believers, our works on                             Earth are tried by the purging fire so that we may be properly clothed in His righteousness when we                       return with the Lord Jesus to Earth in His Second Coming. We must be properly clothed in garments of                   white linen, clean and white.

            > And another event that must happen before the Second Coming is the marriage ceremony of the                            Lamb so that when Christ returns, we are ready for the marriage supper, which is His kingdom on                            earth.

I believe, for the church, the end times shape up like this:

                        In the Rapture, we will be Caught Up;

                        at the Judgment Seat of Christ, we will be Cleaned Up;

                        and at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, we will be Cheered Up!

Now, His return. When heaven opens in Revelation 19, the Lord is ready to return to earth. Revelation 19:12 says, “His eyes were like a flame of fire.” That’s a reference to one of His prime duties at His return, that is, the judgment of sin. In 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was in His role as judge that John first saw Him in the opening vision of this book, and there also his eyes were like a flame of fire (Revelation 1:14).

John goes on to say in Revelation 19:12 that on His head were many crowns. There are two types of crowns in the New Testament. The Stephanos, which is the crown of the victor, and the Diadem, the crown of a sovereign. The word used here is diadem, an indication that He is coming to rule as the Sovereign of the earth.

“And He had a name written that no one knew except Himself” (Revelation 19:12c). There are four titles given to the Lord Jesus in this brief passage of Scripture:

            Faithful and True (verse 11); one that no one knows but Himself (verse 12);

            the Word of God (verse 13); and King of kings and Lord of lords (verse 16).

This one in verse 12 must depict something very unique. No one else knows that name–except the Father, which the Lord Jesus said Himself in Matthew 11:27 that no one knows the Son but the Father, and no one knows the Father but the Son. This is evidently a name which in some way portrays the unique eternal relationship between the Father and the Son.

In verse 13, His robe was dipped in blood. It’s another picture of judgment. This is probably a reference to the impending bloodshed. It was described in Revelation 14:20 as splashing up to the horse bridles.

And His name is called the Word of God” (Revelation 19:13b). Only the Apostle John uses this title of the Lord Jesus. He uses it here, and in his gospel (John 1:1, 14), and in his first epistle (1 John 1:1; 5:7). A word is an expression of personality and character and thought. So, Jesus Christ is the only perfect expression of the eternal God. And on this occasion, He is expressing the holiness, righteousness and justice of God, assuming His role as judge.

In verse 14, we read of the armies that accompany Him. “And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.”

            The obvious question that arises here is of whom this army is composed. Some say that it is only the                    church, the Bride of Christ, because they are clothed in fine linen, white and clean. But I do not think we                can set limitations like that. It is   true that the saints will be included in that army. Jude approvingly                      quotes an extra-Biblical prophecy of Enoch in Jude 14-15 that makes it perfectly clear that the saints        
            will be in that number, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment                    on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them   of all their ungodly deeds which they have                                  committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against                  Him.” The Lord Jesus makes it clear, however, that angels will also be in that company. “When the Son of              Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His                      glory” (Matthew 25:31).

And so, the hosts of heaven, angels and men, will compose the army of the Lord at His second coming. Let me tell you, folks, this is the poorest equipped army in history, by human standards, and yet the best equipped by divine standards. There is only one weapon for the whole army, and it is described in verse 15. It is a sharp sword, that goes out of the mouth of the Son of God. It may be that this sharp sword is nothing else than the Word of God which is likened to a sword in Hebrews 4:12. Jesus Christ absolutely annihilates the enemy with the word of His mouth. In 2 Thessalonians 2:8, it says that the lawless one, the Antichrist, specifically will be destroyed by the spirit of His mouth. Right here in Revelation 19:21, the rest of the unbelievers were slain with the sword which proceeded out of His mouth.

Once He spoke a Word to a fig tree and it withered away.

Once He spoke a Word to the howling winds and the heaving waves and there was calm.

Once He spoke to a legion of demons and instantly, they fled.

Now He speaks a Word and the war is over.

None of the rest of us will even get an opportunity to fight. The Lord Jesus wins this battle alone. He smites these godless nations with the sword of His mouth. And the next statement says that He shall rule them with a rod of iron. A rod was a shepherd’s instrument. He used it in caring for his sheep. It was usually made of wood. When the Lord returns, He’s going to have a rod, but it will be a rod of iron. In other words, once His kingdom is established, He shall tolerate no open rebellion against His will.

This concept is taken from Psalm 2:8-9. Verse 9 says, “You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.” That same statement is repeated to the Church at Thyatira. “He shall rule them with a rod of iron; they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels” (Revelation 2:27). A similar idea is found in Isaiah concerning the Millennial kingdom; “He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked” (Isaiah 11:4b).

Look back again at Revelation 19:15. The next sentence says, “He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” This is a repetition of what we read of the Battle of Armageddon in Revelation 14:19-20. The cup of iniquity is full, the grapes of wrath are ripe, and now God is about to put in the sickle, and gather the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress and crush it in judgment. It is an awesome picture.

It, of course, was the inspiration for that great hymn: “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. He tramples out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.” And here it is again. The men who have rejected God’s grace shall feel the terror of His wrath against sin.

The purpose of His second coming is threefold:

            > to destroy His enemies;

            > to set up His kingdom on the earth;

            > to reign for 1,000 years.

Again, back to our outline:

  1. 19:11-16 Christ leaves heaven and literally comes to Earth.
  1. 19:17-18 Christ calls the fowls of the air together.

This is the second feast mentioned in this chapter, but it is not nearly so happy as the first one. The first one was the marriage supper of the Lamb. In this second one, the birds of the air are going to feast on the carcasses of the godless nations of the earth. These are the people who rejected the message of God’s grace, who submitted themselves to the will of the Antichrist. These are the kings who gave him their power, the captains of his army, the horses on which they rode. These are the masses of people from every walk of life who received the mark of the beast. The picture is not a pleasant one, but it emphasizes the all-important fact that our God is not only a God of love, but a God of holiness and justice who must punish sinners who reject His offer of salvation.

  1. 19:19-21 Christ destroys His enemies.

                                    Satan’s Forces are Destroyed at Armageddon (20-21)

                                    The beast and false prophet (20) The armies (21)

The scene closes with the casting into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone:

            > the Beast and its armies,

            > and the false prophet who deceived people into taking the mark of the beast.

This lake of fire was especially prepared for:

            > the unholy trinity of Satan, the Beast and the false prophet.

This lake of fire was never intended for man.

            > If man goes there, it is his own choosing to do so.

            > If man goes there, it will be because man rejected what God did to save him.

What if Christ did not return to earth?

            There would be no restoration of all things.

            There would be no goal to history.

            There would be no righting of wrongs.

            There would be no victory over Satan.

            There would be no termination of evil.

            There would be no resurrection of the righteous.

            There would be no fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel.

            There would be no reign of the righteous on this earth.

If God does not do what He promises to man in His last revelation (the Book of Revelation), how shall we know that He shall do as He promised in other portions of the Scriptures.

If part of the Scriptures is not fulfilled, then none of the Scriptures are truth.

Acts 1:11

who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

John 14:1-3

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Titus 2:11-13

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

The return of Christ is “the blessed hope” of the church!

When the Church loses her vision of this hope:

            > We as a church become like a ship w/o a compass, wandering in stormy seas.

                        We wander helplessly and aimlessly.

                        We never deliver the vital message of redemption and hope to a lost world.

                        We start substituting man-made programs and organizations.

                        We become comfortless and powerless.

            > What is true for the Church is true for the individual Christian.

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