What does Revelation 19:19 mean?
ESV: And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army.
NIV: Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army.
NASB: And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse, and against His army.
CSB: Then I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and against his army.
NLT: Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army.
KJV: 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.
This verse reminds us of the militant gathering of the beast and his followers—kings and all their armies (Revelation 16:12–16). They gather to make war against Jesus, the returning King of kings and Lord of lords, and against His army. This is often referred to as the "Battle of Armageddon," which will be extensive enough to be properly called the "War of Armageddon" (Zechariah 14:1–3).
This assembling of military might of evil forces against Jesus and His followers is not surprising. It is one more of the Devil's futile efforts to dethrone the Lord. Before human history the Devil, Lucifer, tried to overthrow God and seize His throne (Isaiah 14:12–15; Ezekiel 28:11–17). His attempt failed, but he has stirred the hearts of unbelievers throughout the ages to dethrone God. In the tribulation Satan's puppet ruler, the beast from the sea—the head of the Revived Roman Empire— sets himself up as a god and receives worship (Revelation 13). Antichrist's final act of defiance against God occurs when the beast and his forces prepare to battle Jesus.
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.
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.
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.
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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