What does Revelation 19:15 mean?
ESV: From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.
NIV: Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. 'He will rule them with an iron scepter.' He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.
NASB: From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.
CSB: A sharp sword came from his mouth, so that he might strike the nations with it. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God, the Almighty.
NLT: From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress.
KJV: And out of his mouth goeth 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 and wrath of Almighty God.
Verse Commentary:
When Jesus first appeared to John in a vision at Patmos, a sharp two-edged sword proceeded from Jesus' mouth (Revelation 1:16). Once again, according to this verse, John sees a sharp sword proceed from Jesus mouth. The returning King of kings and Lord of lords uses this sword to "strike down the nations." Since the sword of the Lord represents His Word (Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:17), it is reasonable to expect Jesus to mow down His foes with just a spoken word. He brought the world into existence by His speech (Hebrews 11:3), and He can assuredly destroy His enemies with just a word from His lips.

Revelation 19:15 also informs us that Jesus will rule the nations with a rod of iron. Psalm 2:9 prophesies this action by saying, "You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." The thoroughness of Jesus' judgment on His enemies is symbolized by the description of His trampling them underfoot as He dispenses the fury of God's wrath. Jesus' first appearance on earth was marked with humility and sacrifice (Philippians 2:8), unlike His second coming in glory and power (Isaiah 63:2–3).
Verse Context:
Revelation 19:11–21 presents one of Scripture's most spectacular moments of victory: the second coming of Jesus Christ. In this event, Christ returns to earth at the close of the tribulation. At His first coming to earth, Jesus appeared as a baby and sacrificial Savior. This time, He arrives as King of kings and Lord of lords. Many prior Scriptures prophesied this epic day of victory (Matthew 25; Zechariah 14:1–4; 2 Thessalonians 2:7–12; Hebrews 9:27–28; Jude 1:14–15). Christ arrives in a blaze of glory, obliterating His enemies single-handedly, at the head of the armies of heaven. The Antichrist and False Prophet become the first two cast into the lake of fire, ushering in the beginning of Christ's millennial reign on earth.
Chapter Summary:
Revelation 19 begins with a multitude in heaven singing a doxology to God. He is praised for judging religious Babylon and avenging the martyrs. They are joined by the twenty-four elders (Revelation 4). Voices cry out joyfully that the Lord reigns and the marriage supper of the Lamb is ready. Then, John sees heaven open and observes Jesus—now coming as the glorious and invincible King of kings and Lord of lords—as He descends from heaven to execute judgment. The armies of earth gather to battle the Lord. The battle concludes with the Antichrist and False Prophet being thrown into the lake of fire and the graphic slaughter of their followers.
Chapter Context:
This chapter describes the victorious second coming of Christ, His victory over the Antichrist and the False Prophet after the fall of Babylon (Revelation 17—18). Christ's first arrival on earth was to redeem (Matthew 2; Luke 2:1–21; John 1:1–14; Galatians 4:1–5). The purpose of His second coming is judgment and the establishment of His reign on earth (Psalm 2). This is separate from the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13–17), the event in which Jesus returns in the air to take Christians from earth to be with Him. Jesus' second coming begins the millennial kingdom, leading up to the final judgments and the appearance of the New Jerusalem.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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