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Revelation chapter 19

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What does Revelation chapter 19 mean?

To this point in Revelation, earth has been subjected to a series of judgments by God. These were first described as seal judgments (Revelation 5—8), then through the trumpet judgments (Revelation 8—11), and finally the bowl judgments (Revelation 12—16). The last two chapters gave a poetic description of the fall of "Babylon," both as a corrupt religious system and as the political empire of the Antichrist (Revelation 17—18). Here, John witnesses prayers from heaven which precede a great celebration, followed by the triumphant return of Jesus Christ to earth.

John now hears a great number of voices praising God. This includes the voices of the twenty-four elders mentioned in earlier passages (Revelation 4:4). Their song proclaims God's justice and once again celebrates the defeat of the "great prostitute" of prior verses. These songs thank God for avenging those who have been martyred for the sake of their faith (Revelation 19:1–5).

John then witnesses further praise, this time in the context of a marriage supper. This is an event mentioned many times in Scripture (Matthew 22:1–14; 25:1–13). This description makes a clear distinction between those who are "the bride," and those who are "invited guests." In short, this means that not all believers of all eras are part of the literal "bride of Christ." All will share in the same eternal destiny, but not in the same order, or through the exact same experiences. Old Testament believers such as Abraham (Matthew 8:11), for instance, are said to be "guests," not part of the bride (Revelation 19:6–10).

John's amazing vision in this section also includes the long-awaited second coming of Jesus Christ. This is a moment of incredible triumph. Jesus' first arrival on earth was humble (Luke 2:7) and involved His sacrificial death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). His return is neither humble nor meek. Christ is described as a royal conqueror, wearing a robe dipped in the blood of His enemies, at the helm of the armies of heaven. Now displayed as the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus will single-handedly obliterate the earthly armies which have amassed against Him (Isaiah 63:3). This results in the damnation of the Antichrist and False Prophet, who become the first two beings cast into the eternal lake of fire (Revelation 19:11–21).

These events mark the end of the tribulation, and the beginning of the millennial kingdom: a thousand-year reign of Christ on earth. Chapter 20 details this era of the end times. This will be followed by a last-ditch Satanic rebellion, a final victory, and the last judgments on mankind.
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