Revelation 19 Commentary, Part 4 (verses 17-21)
By Brother Mike (11-12-13, 50 minutes)
17 And I saw an [one] angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God ;
The first thing the apostle John says in this verse is, And I saw an angel standing in the sun. The sun here represents Christ as can be seen in the following verses:
Ps 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly .
Re 1:16 And he [Christ] had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength .
Re 10:1 And I saw another mighty angel [Christ] come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire .
Mal 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall .
So in saying that I saw an angel standing in the sun is the same as saying I saw an angel standing in Christ since the Sun is symbolic of Christ Himself. This means that this angel comes in all the authority and power of Christ Himself, and what he cried with a loud voice comes in this same authority and power.
Now we read, and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven. We can understand what it means that he cried with a loud voice, but what does it mean that he is saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven? In other words, who are the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven? The word translated fowls is the same word in the singular translated as bird in the phrase, and a prison of every unclean and having been hated bird back in
Revelation 18 verse 2
Pr 27:8 As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place .
Pr 6:5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler .
Ps 11:1 In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain ?
Ps 124:7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped .
Isa 16:2 For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon .
Isa 46:11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it .
La 3:52 Mine enemies chased me sore, like a bird, without cause .
Ho 11:11 They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD .
A careful comparison of the above verses revealed that the word bird is symbolic of a person, people, souls of people, or a soul of a person. Whatever the case, we can conclude in general that the word bird is symbolic of a person or persons. Therefore, the fowls [birds] that fly in the midst of heaven must be people. And in that they fly in the midst of heaven, they must be God's elect people since it is inconceivable that the non-elect would be flying in the midst of heaven as they are bound to this earth and death. So our verse says,
17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun [in Christ]; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls [the elect] that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God .
Now we already understood that the angel standing in the sun is a picture of a messenger coming in the authority and power of Jesus Christ with a loud voice, saying to all the elect that fly in the midst of heaven, but why is it that the elect are spoken of as flying in the midst of heaven? The idea of flying carries with it the notion of having been set free from the law of gravity, which is a picture of being set free from the law of sin so that, having been so set free, one is able to fly free from the bondage to this world. In other words, flying in the midst of heaven is a picture of having been saved, so all the elect can be spoken of as flying in the midst of heaven. They are no longer bound to this earth and sin, but they have been set free from the laws of this world, which declare the wages of sin is death, and so now they, in a figure of speech, can fly free from this earth in heaven.
Next, we read that the messenger who stands in the authority and power of Christ cried with a loud voice, saying to the elect who have been set free from this world, come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God. Come and gather yourselves is a command in the time of Judgment Day that we are now in for the elect to gather themselves unto the supper of the great God, and the supper of the great God is Judgment Day itself. So this command for the elect to come together is a command for all God's people worldwide to recognize that judgment began on May 21, 2011, and for them to gather together in the declaring and standing firm on this truth. As more and more of God's people throughout the world come to this knowledge of Judgment Day ever since May 21, 2011, and begin declaring it, they are gathering together in battle against this world. This gathering together of the elect kills the unsaved of the world because it declares that Judgment Day has come, and that salvation has come to an end. This means there is no hope for anyone who is unsaved to ever be brought to life, but they are destined for death when the Lord shall come to rapture His people and destroy this world with everlasting destruction.
18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great .
Now we are told in this verse why the elect are to gather together in one mind about declaring and standing firm on that judgment began against the world on May 21, 2011: 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. The eating of the flesh of all the unsaved here is figurative language of the elect being victorious in judgment. As they declare the judgment of God upon the world, it is as if they are devouring the flesh of all the unsaved because there is now as of May 21, 2011 nothing left for them but death. Obviously, the elect are not literally eating their flesh, but the elect are identified with the judgment of God, and this judgment is devouring the unsaved in that any hope for their salvation has come to an end; they are guaranteed to die at the soon coming of the Lord for His people.
Now this picture of fowls eating the flesh of those who are vanquished can be seen when the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and Judah in the Old Testament, which was a picture of the kingdom of Satan (the Babylonians) vanquishing the churches beginning on May 21, 1988. For instance, we read in Jeremiah 19:7,
Jer 19:7 And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem [the churches] in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives: and their carcasses will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth .
And, again, in Jeremiah 16:4,
Jer 16:4 They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcasses shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth .
And in Jeremiah 7:30-34,
For the children of Judah [those in the churches] have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it
31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart .
32 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place .
33 And the carcasses of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away .
34 Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate .
So the whole symbolism of the fowls of heaven devouring the carcasses of the ones under judgment is a picture of their being vanquished. The kingdom of Satan (Babylon) did not literally eat the flesh of the people in the churches when judgment came upon them, but it is simply a figure of speech to indicate that they were utterly destroyed. Likewise, when judgment came upon the world beginning on May 21, 2011, the flesh of the unsaved is not literally being eaten, but it is simply a figure of speech to indicate that they have been vanquished or utterly destroyed spiritually.
Now, getting back to our verse in Revelation 19, notice that there are 5 major categories of flesh which may be eaten: 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. This emphasizes judgment since the number 5 is symbolic of either judgment or grace, but obviously, in this case, it is symbolizing judgment (see
Meaning of Bible Number 5
Let's now look a little more closely at each category listed. First, the flesh of kings is listed as that which the elect may eat. In the Bible, there are 3 kinds of kings (see
Revelation 17, scroll to verse 2
Second, we read of the flesh of captains as that which the elect may eat. The word, captains literally means commanders of a thousand, but because the number thousand can be symbolic of the completeness of whatever is in view (see
Meaning of Bible Number 10
Third, we read of the flesh of mighty men as that which the elect may eat. Spiritually speaking, the mighty men are those who are strong and mighty in their particular beliefs though they are contrary to the Word of God. These are those who stand strong against the truth whether they realize it or not, and may have a great amount of influence over others. They are the wealthy, or famous, or the ones who have accomplished great things in this world. They are the great scientists who lay claim to the false theory of evolution. They are the founders of all the world's religions, philosophies, or beliefs. They are the mighty ones of this world.
Fourth, we read of the flesh of horses and of them that sit on them as that which the elect may eat. As previously mentioned, horses represent the strength of mankind so that them that sit on them are all those who rely on the strength of mankind. These are all those who believe that mankind determines their own future, and that they can deliver and save themselves by their own strength. These are those who believe that they will be saved by their good works. They believe that mankind can solve all their own problems, and so, in essence, they worship mankind, but in most cases don't realize it. These are the ones who say, look how far we have evolved in technological advances over the last 100 years; in time, we can solve all our problems.
Fifth, we read of the flesh of all [people], both free and bond, both small and great as that which the elect may eat in judgment. Here God is making it clear that all people are being judged. This covers all those who do not quite fit into the previous four categories. They are all people who are subdivided into four groups: both free, and bond, and small, and great. This brings the number 4 to the forefront, which symbolizes worldwide (see Meaning of Bible Number 4 ). So this emphasizes that the flesh of all people refers to everyone who is unsaved worldwide. No one is left out! Every single last human being worldwide is under the judgment and wrath of Almighty God.
19 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 .
The first thing to take note of in this verse is that the apostle John saw (in the past) what he then describes as 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. Since this is something which John saw in the past, and we know that the context of these verses is in the present context of Judgment Day after May 21, 2011, we know that when he saw these things in the past had to have been at or before Judgment Day on May 21, 2011.
Next, we had already learned back in
Now we are told that Satan (the beast), and the churches and denominations (the kings of the earth), and the literal rulers of this world (the kings of the earth) along with all their various groups and organizations of unsaved people (their armies) gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. Although Satan and his forces have been gathering together to war against Christ and His people ever since the beginning, Satan's gathering together against Christ and His people became especially focused at the beginning of the Great Tribulation on May 21, 1988 when he was loosed from the pit. We read of this in Revelation 20:
And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea .
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them .
Notice that after the thousand years, which are symbolic of the church age from 33 AD until May 21, 1988, Satan was loosed to go out and deceive the nations throughout the earth, and to gather them together to battle. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city. This all began at the beginning of the Great Tribulation on May 21, 1988 and continued until Judgment Day on May 21, 2011 when spiritual fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
Now it is important to realize that the battle between Satan and his armies, and Christ and His elect is completely spiritual. What Satan has done ever since May 21, 1988 is take over all the churches without exception as the false Christ, or Antichrist, and he has deceived them all into thinking that they are worshipping Christ when, in fact, they are worshipping Satan without realizing it. He is the master deceiver! What Satan has done is gradually infiltrate the churches with more and more false teachings with a special focus upon the supernatural such as miraculous healing; messages from God apart from the Bible such as tongues, dreams, voices, words of knowledge, visions; supernaturally being slain in the spirit and falling backwards; ridiculous things such as holy laughter, or throwing the Holy Spirit at people to knock them over; and many other things contrary to sound truth. Yes, Satan has taught the churches many false doctrines such as that it is up to you to become saved, or that you must believe and do good works to become saved, or that Christ died for everyone, and it is now up to you to believe to become saved, or that you can divorce, or that once you divorce you can remarry even if your spouse is still living, or that women can teach men in the churches and become pastors and elders, or that a man can be divorced and remarried even while his previous wife is still living and still be qualified to be a deacon, elder, or pastor, or that Saturday is the Sabbath, or that you must be baptized or speak in tongues to be saved, or that May 21, 2011 would not begin Judgment Day, and the list goes on and on. There can be no question that Satan has been working overtime in the churches to battle against Christ.
So now we have a somewhat better sense of how Satan and his armies had gathered themselves together to war against Christ and His army (the elect): it was by infiltrating the churches and the world with many false teachings and belief systems that were contrary to the Word of God, and by deceiving all the churches and the world into believing in and practicing things that are false. Up until May 21, 2011, Satan appeared to be winning as he gathered himself and his armies against the truth, but then May 21, 2011 came, and Satan and his armies were spiritually destroyed as we discover in the next two verses.
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone .
In this verse we are given a description of what happened on May 21, 2011: 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. We already understand that the beast is Satan, but who is the false prophet? Answer: The false prophet is also a representation of Satan, but he is a picture of Satan as he worked through various people in the churches to declare false gospels and teachings, and to work various miracles in an attempt to confirm that these false gospels were from God. So in reality, the false prophet is Satan himself, but he is represented by the many people in the churches who declared their false teachings and gospels to the churches and to the whole world. Some of them even wrought miracles before the beast and the people.
Now most of us are familiar with some of the miracles they claimed to do. They claimed to have received miraculous messages from God apart from the Bible such as in dreams, voices, tongues, words of knowledge, and visions. They also claimed to miraculously heal people although no one would ever be healed of having no leg, or healed of having no arm, or healed of having no eyes in the way that Jesus healed during His earthly ministry. One particular miracle (sign) that Satan through the false prophets was permitted to do is what we read in Revelation 13,
13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men . . .
Notice that the beast (Satan) maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. This is not a literal fire coming down from heaven, but it is symbolic of what is seen in churches today when people are caused to fall backward. In the Bible, fire coming down from heaven is representative of God's judgment, and Satan would like to be able to do this because it would make him appear as though he were the judge of the earth - remember, his goal is to be like God - but he is unable to bring literal fire down from heaven (1kings 18:20-40); so what he does instead is to make people fall backward. Like making fire come down from heaven, making people fall backward is also representative of God's judgment. This can be seen, for instance, when Jesus's captors in the garden of Gethsemane fell backward as recorded in John 18:
Joh 18:6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground .
This falling backward meant that these men who had come to capture Jesus were actually under the judgment of God. In fact, Jesus could have called fire down from heaven and destroyed them right then and there, but it was His plan that He be captured and crucified for the sins of His people; so instead of destroying them right on the spot, He made them fall backward in order to show that they were under the judgment of God. Satan, today, does the same thing: he makes people fall backward (calls fire down from heaven) to make it appear that he, like God, has the authority to judge mankind. The arrogance of Satan is remarkable!
Next, we are told that with such miracles as previously described; that is, miraculous messages in dreams, voices, tongues, words of knowledge, or visions as well as apparently miraculous healings and making people fall backward, he [Satan] deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. But who are those that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image? We read of this in Revelation 13, which is a description of Satan's rule in all the churches as the false Christ or Antichrist beginning on May 21, 1988, where it states,
And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb [the Antichrist or false Christ], and he spake as a dragon
12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed .
13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men ,
14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live .
15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed .
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads :
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name .
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six .
In this passage we read, And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Most have thought that this mark would be some kind of physical mark placed upon the people whereby those who would have the mark would not be able to buy or sell food at their grocery store, but any notion of taking these words literally is ridiculous. The language throughout the passage is obviously symbolic and spiritual. The mark of the beast is simply a spiritual and invisible mark which identifies all of the unsaved as being owned by Satan, and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark is spiritual language which teaches that unless you are unsaved, you would not be able to teach or propagate your gospel in the churches during the Great Tribulation. The mark of the beast is like the brand that a rancher would put on his cattle, but it is not a physical mark; it is spiritual. This invisible mark was put upon all those in all the churches who did not come out of the churches in obedience to the Lord's command during the Great Tribulation from May 21, 1988 to May 21, 2011, but have remained there being deceived into believing that Christ is still in their church when He is not.
So, in answer to our question, who are the ones who had received the mark of the beast? The answer is all those in the churches. They are also the ones who have worshipped the image of the beast. Although beginning on May 21, 1988 Christ left all the churches so that Satan, the false Christ, could take over the ruling of all the churches as judgment against them, those who remained in the churches believe that the false Christ is the true Christ, and so they have all been deceived, and they are all worshipping the image of the beast without realizing it.
Finally, we read that both the beast and the false prophet were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. This is not a literal lake of fire burning with brimstone, but it is symbolic of this world in the Day of Judgment ever since May 21, 2011. The lake is symbolic of this world, and the fire and brimstone are symbolic of judgment. Indeed, ever since May 21, 2011, this world has become a lake of fire, spiritually speaking, with no further hope of salvation, and the beast and false prophet who are both representations of Satan have been sentenced to remain on this earth until that which is now spiritual judgment is completed on the Last Day when this world and Satan will be literally annihilated. There is a good probability that this will take place on
October 6-7, 2015
21 And the remnant [rest] 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 .
Since the word remnant in this verse can be translated as rest, this verse is simply saying that the rest were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth. The rest refers to those who had received the mark of the beast, and who had worshipped his image, which, in turn, refers to all those in the churches, but ultimately refers to every unsaved person in the world. So what this verse is saying is that not only were the beast and the false prophet cast into the lake of fire burning with brimstone on May 21, 2011 as we were told in the previous verse, but all the rest both in the churches and out who are unsaved were killed on May 21, 2011 as well. And how were they killed? They were killed with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword we have already learned is the Word of God. So, on May 21, 2011, all the unsaved in the world were slain by the Word of God, for it was the Word of God (Christ) who brought Judgment Day with the removal of salvation from the world so that there was no longer any hope for any unsaved person in the world; it was as if they were then and there killed.
Now we read, and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. This is simply a metaphorical way of saying that justice has been completely satisfied - the fowls were filled or satisfied - by the coming of Judgment Day on May 21, 2011. As we previously learned, the fowls represent the elect, and in that the elect are represented here as being satisfied or filled with the flesh of all the unsaved means that all the injustices done against God's people through the unsaved are being satisfied with the coming of Judgment Day on May 21, 2011. The unsaved have sinned greatly against God and His people, but, now, ever since May 21, 2011, the unsaved are being recompensed for their sin. First, they are killed spiritually since they can no longer be saved, and then, they will be physically killed at Christ's coming on the Last Day when He shall appear to repay the sinners in full.
Now may the Lord bless thee, and keep thee; may the Lord shine His face upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; the LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace .