Hallelujah the first
- 19:1 Then I heard a roar of voices in heaven. They said,
Salvation, it comes from God.
He’s honorable and powerful.
He judges with honesty and fairness.
He punished the powerful prostitute
who trashed the earth with her filthy behavior.
He held her accountable
for killing his people.”
Hallelujah the second
- 19:3 Again the roar of voices cried out,
She went up in smoke.
She’ll smoke forever.”
Hallelujah the third
- 19:4 Then the 24 leaders and the four living beings dropped to the floor and worshiped God as he sat on his throne. They said,
- 19:5 A voice from the throne said,
“Everyone who’s devoted to God
and everyone who respects him,
whether you’re famous or unknown,
give our God your thanks.”
Hallelujah the fourth
- 19:6 Then I heard a single, powerful voice. It was like the voice of a crowd or the roar of a flash flood or the crash of thunder. It said,
The Lord reigns! God Almighty rules it all!
Let’s celebrate, put on that happy face, and honor him.
It’s time for the Lamb to get married.
The bride has prettied herself up, and she’s ready to go.
She gets to wear white,
in fine linen, clean and bright.
The linen stands for the good God’s people did.”
“Take a memo”
- 19:9 Then the angel told me, “Write this: Guests should consider it a high honor when they’re invited to the meal celebrating the marriage of the Lamb. They should get happy about that.” The angel added this: “What I just told you are the actual words of God himself.”
- 19:10 Instantly, I dropped at his feet to worship him. But he stopped me by saying. “Hey! Don’t you be doing that! I serve God, just like you and your colleagues do when you speak up for Jesus. Worship God! Anyone who speaks up for Jesus is talking in the spirit of a prophet.”
White horse cavalry
- 19:11 That’s when I saw heaven open right there in front of me. Look at that! A white horse! The rider is someone people can trust because he tells the truth.1 Whenever he goes into battle or passes judgment, he does what’s right.
- 19:12 His piercing eyes burn like fire. His head holds a crown—and not just any crown. It’s the crown above all crowns.2 He’s got a name, and it’s in writing. He’s the only one who knows what it is.3
- 19:13 He’s wearing a robe stained with blood.4 He’s known as the Word of God.5
- 19:14 Armies of heaven lined up in a massive cavalry behind him. They wore clean, white, fine linen. And they sat mounted on white horses.
- 19:15 A sharp sword extends out of the leader’s mouth,6 ready to defeat hostile nations. He’s going to rule with the strength of iron. And he’s going to march on the nations, unleashing God’s judgment like someone stomping grapes in a winepress.7
- 19:16 His name is inscribed on his robe and written on his thigh: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.8
Suppertime for vultures
- 19:17 Then I saw an angel standing right on the sun. In a loud voice he called out to all the birds flying, “Come and get it! It’s suppertime. God’s the host.
- 19:18 Today’s special: fresh meat of kings, commanders, soldiers, and the horses they all ride. There’s fresh meat of free people and slaves. Or you can have the meat of the powerful or the powerless. It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet.”
- 19:19 Then I saw the beast9 and his allies—rulers from all over the world. They gathered their coalition army to launch a war against the rider on the white horse and his army.
- 19:20 The beast got captured. So did the false prophet.10 He’s the one who did miracles that tricked people into accepting the mark of the beast11 on their body and worshiping the beast’s statue.12 The beast and prophet were still alive when they got thrown into the lake of fire13 that fed on sulfur.
- 19:21 Everyone with them died by the sword. The rider on the horse killed them with the sword that came out of his mouth. Birds feasted on their corpses.14
He’s Jesus, most Bible experts seem to agree. Some say that Jesus riding in on a white horse is a dramatic metaphor of what scholars call the Parousia (pa ROO see uh), the Second Coming, which is the final coming of Jesus before what the Bible seems to teach is the end of physical life as we know it. In Bible times, parousia, Greek for “coming” or “returning,” is the word people used to describe a visit by a high public official, such as a king or the emperor.
The dragon had seven crowns, one for each head (12:3). The beast had 10 crowns, one for each horn (13:1). Jesus is the King of all kings and wannabe kings.
God’s people also get secret names. Theirs are etched into white stones (2:17). And those people are the only ones who understand what their names mean.
This probably is not a reference to Jesus shedding his blood by dying on the cross, some scholars say. It’s more likely a reference to Jesus defeating his enemies. This is an idea reflected throughout the Bible. For example: Isaiah 26:21; 63:2-3; Zechariah 14.
“Word of God” is one of several titles John uses to describe this divine warrior. A more literal translation of the original Greek language identifies him as “Faithful and True” (19:11), “King of Kings,” and “Lord of Lords” (19:16.). In the Gospel of John, Jesus is “the living Word of God” (John 1:1), the message of God delivered in person.
The sword of the mouth, many say, refers to words spoken—not to some bizarre military accessory, like a stainless-steel tongue sharpened on both sides and dangerous to dentists. Yet, some students of the Bible say they read this and much of the other imagery in Revelation as literal.
Apparently a reference to Isaiah 63:2-3.
See note for 19:13.
See note 13:1.
See note for 13:1.
See note for 13:18.
What do you think most folks would say about the four Hallelujah songs that celebrate God’s defeat of the Babylonian woman, who seems to represent the Roman Empire or some other oppressive government or religious group? Pick one of the following responses, or write your own.
- The songs sound like celebration at the end of a war. All this picture needs is a sailor kissing a civilian.
- The songs don’t sound very Christian: “She went up in smoke. She’ll smoke forever” (19:3).
- Those of us who faced life-threatening danger understand the joy of being rescued.
- When we finish Revelation, could we have a party? I’ll bring peanut butter cookies.
“It’s time for the Lamb to get married” (19:7). Okay, nobody’s marrying a lamb. That’s not kosher for Jews or Gentiles. It’s illegal in many countries and categorized as animal abuse. Many scholars say Revelation’s “Lamb” is Jesus, who sacrificed himself for humanity’s sins much like a lamb died in Bible times to pay for the sins of its owner. His bride is the church. Why this marriage metaphor? Why not say Jesus is a good friend who saved our life and now we’re going to hang out with him until hell freezes over (to use a metaphor)?
The angel tells John, “Anyone who speaks up for Jesus is talking in the spirit of a prophet” (19:10). Would we also be inspired by God in, perhaps, the way he inspired writers of the Bible and his disciples as they preached?
We can understand why Jesus rides “a white horse” (19:11). Even if he’s not actually riding a white horse, the symbol is one that says he’s the Good Guy. But why do you think he shows up with “piercing eyes” that “burn like fire” (19:12) and a “sharp sword” (19:15) that sticks out of his mouth “ready to defeat hostile nations”?
Take a look at the footnote for 19:20, which says some Bible scholars say John’s reference to the “lake of fire” is another way of describing hell, and that it’s a word picture borrowed from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, which was written several centuries before Moses. Do you think most Christians would be okay with John doing that? Or would they prefer that John’s description of his visions be one-of-a-kind?
LIFE APPLICATION. When we hear about a guy getting sentenced to life in prison or to execution because he killed a lot of people, how do you think most folks tend to feel about it?
- He got what he deserved.
- An eye for an eye. It’s in the Bible.
- No one should have to die or face life in prison. People should be salvageable.
- He lived longer than the people he killed.
- It’s sad. There’s no healing in the punishment. Not for families of the victim or families of the killer.