Let’s turn now in our Bibles to Revelation 19. Here we have these interesting Greek words “after these things,” after what things? After the things of God’s judgment upon the earth. After the judgment of the great Babylon commercial system, the system of the Antichrist.
After these things I heard a great voice of many people in heaven, (19:1a)
So we have moved back to the heavenly scene. Now, when John wrote the Book of Revelation, chapter 1:19, he was commanded to write the things which he saw, the things which are and the things which will be after these things. So in chapter one he wrote the vision, that which he saw. Chapter two and three, he wrote of the things of the ministry of the church on the earth. Chapter four begins with the words “after these things.” It was there after the church things that John was taken into heaven and he beheld the heavenly scene in Chapters four and five. Then we came back to the earth. We saw the judgments of God, Chapters six through eighteen as God poured out His judgments, His wrath upon a Christ rejecting, God hating, sinful world. Now, the judgments are complete. So after these things we go back to heaven. We come back to the heavenly scene, and the first thing,
the great voice of many people in heaven saying, Alleluia; (19:1a)
Alleluia is a Hebrew word and it is praise the Lord. Hallel is praise, lu, the, Jah or Yahweh; Praise the Lord. This is the first time the word Alleluia is used in the New Testament. It is used quite frequently throughout the Psalms because, of course, they were in Hebrew. But now this Hebrew word, praise the Lord,
Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: (19:1b)
It’s interesting how that throughout the Book of Revelation as God is worshiped, there are certain characteristics that are recognized and are honored. In the forth chapter as the cherubim are worshiping God, the twenty-four elders respond to that worship saying, Thou art worthy to receive glory, honor, praise. When Jesus takes the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sits upon the throne, the church declares, Worthy is the Lamb to take the scroll and to loose the seals for He has redeemed us by His blood out of every nation, tribe, tongue, and people and has made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign with Him upon the earth. And then as the other heavenly beings join in the praise to Jesus, they declare the worthiness to receive the glory, the honor, the power, the dominions and all that are to be given to Him. So back in the heavenly scene, what are we doing? Praising the Lord still.
Alleluia; because Salvation, glory, honor, power, belong to the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: (19:2a)
It’s interesting to me how throughout the Book of Revelation, which is a book that deals with God’s fierce judgments that he’s going to meet out upon the earth, that all the way through these judgments there is the recognition, the acknowledgement, the declaration of the faithfulness of God’s judgments. “True and righteous are Your judgments.” There are some people who challenge the judgments of God. There is often times an insinuation by the question—the insinuation that God isn’t fair. How could a God of love; why would a God of love? And whenever you get questions like that, there is an undertone of a challenge of the fairness of God. Now, I’ll tell you something, I don’t really put much trust in the judgments of man or in the fairness or in the righteousness of the judgments of man. I’ve read some judgments, and I say, surely justice is blind. I mean I can’t believe some of the judgments that are meted out by man. But I am absolutely certain that what God does is right. Whatever God does is right. And all the way through there is the attesting to the fairness of God, the righteousness of God in His judgments. No one can say that they got a bum rap from God. When God judges us, it will be according to righteousness.
True and righteous are his judgments: because he has judged this whore, [which is the false church, Chapter 17, the judgment of the whore] which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and has avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. (19:2)
This false religious system that has suppressed the gospel, that has held people in bondage, that has been as Lenin described, “The opiate of the people bringing them into a blind stupor and causing them to trust in the system rather than in the living God.” And so the declaration of the righteousness of God’s judgment as He judged this great false religious system.
And again they said, Alleluia. (19:3a)
Actually we have four of them here in the19th chapter. Again they said Alleluia. Now you say, but it says Alleluia. In the Greek, there’s a little sort of backwards apostrophe at the beginning of vowels, the “a” and the “e” that give to them a “h” sound. And so it is really pronounced in the Hebrew “Hallelujah.”
And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. [The smoke of the judgment of God upon this great system] And the twenty-four elders [we were introduced to them back in chapter four representing the church] and the four living creatures [the cherubim that are around the throne worshiping God] they fell down and worshiped God who sat upon the throne, saying, So be it; Alleluia. (19:4)
It’s interesting in the worship of God, these twenty-four elders, representative of the church, are always falling down and worshiping God. In the forth chapter as the cherubim are saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God all mighty which is, which was, which is to come, the twenty four elders fell on their faces, casting their golden crowns on the glassy sea, saying, Thou art worthy, oh Lord, to receive the glory and honor.” Again we find them now falling on the ground as they worship God responding to the worship of the people as they say so be it; Alleluia.
And the voice came out of the throne, saying, [Now, here’s encouragement if we needed it. I don’t think we will!] Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. (19:5)
Calling on all to praise God. You know, I think that in the Psalms we are constantly being exhorted to praise, and we are given different things for which we should be praising the Lord. And the different ways by which we should be praising the Lord, praising Him with instruments; praising Him with our voices; praising Him for His mercy endureth forever; praising Him for his goodness; praising Him for so many things and thus again we are here exhorted to praise the Lord, this voice from the throne of God. And ye that fear Him, both small and great, all that fear the Lord are encouraged and enjoined now to praise the Lord.
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. (19:6)
The time has come. The earth has been languishing under the reign of Satan for almost six thousand years. It was approximately six thousand years ago when Adam forfeited the right and the title to the earth over to Satan, where Satan began his deadly rule over the earth, his destructive rule. And the world has suffered all of the sickness, all of the maladies, all of the suffering that we see in the world you can trace back to Satan’s reign, his ruling other the earth. All of the wars, all of the bloodshed, all of the strife, all of the jealousies, all of these things that make life miserable trace back to the rule of Satan. No wonder they are saying praise the Lord because the Lord God, Omnipotent, reigneth! The time has come when He is going to establish now His kingdom upon the earth. The time has come when He is going to rule over the earth, and thus the rejoicing in heaven because the time has come when the Lord God omnipotent will again reign over all, over the earth.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. (19:7)
Throughout the new testament the figure of a husband and wife is used to depict the relationship of Christ to His church. Paul said to the Corinthians that I have espoused you unto the husband, unto Jesus Christ, and I have a godly jealously over you because my desire is to present you as a chased virgin unto Him. Now, whenever you get into the symbolisms or the analogies of the husband and the wife, there is to be a full and complete and single devotion unto the husband, unto Jesus Christ. Our worship is to be directed to Him. Our love for Him must exceed all other loves. And if there develops in our life a love for something or some experience that exceeds our love for the Lord, we are committing adultery. Because our first love is to be to Him and for Him. And if your first love is directed toward anything else that it constitutes spiritual adultery. And so throughout the New Testament, you notice that the false religious system, the false church, was called the great whore. Why? Because she was entertaining other gods. The gods of power, the gods of wealth. And because she was embracing those gods seeking to exercise power over the earth and exercising and using her wealth, she was worshiping those things and thus comes under judgment because her first love wasn’t for the Lord. “So be glad and rejoice, give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, His wife has made herself ready.” Over and over again as Jesus talked about His second coming, He was telling them that they needed to be watching and they needed to be ready. For in such an hour as you think not, he said, I’m coming. And so His bride, His wife has made herself ready, ready for the marriage.
And to her it was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. (19:8)
Paul when he was writing to the Philippians talked about the righteousness that he was seeking to achieve through the law. And he said if any man can boast in himself of his own righteousness, I can more than all of you, because I was a Hebrew of the Hebrews. I was a Pharisee. I had great zeal for God. And as far as the righteousness, which can come by the law, I was blameless. But those things, which were once important to me, I looked on as positive things, I counted loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Here was Paul on his way to Damascus. We are told that he was breathing out threats of murder, hating these Christians. He was so zealous for the law. And these Christians were worshiping Jesus, and it incensed him! And he was breathing out murders, what he was going to do when he got hold of them. He was commissioned. He had papers from the high priest that empowered him to imprison those in Damascus, the church that was worshiping the Lord there. But on the road to Damascus Paul met Jesus about noonday. There was this bright light that was brighter than the sun and a voice that spoke to him and said, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It’s been hard for you to kick against the goads. Paul said, who are You, Lord, that I might serve You? He said I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. And Jesus began to reveal to Paul the righteousness that He provided through His death. He fulfilled the law completely. God made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God through Him. And the Lord began to reveal to Paul the righteousness which is of faith. And Paul began to see the Old Testament in a new light. Looking back at Abraham, he realized that God said that Abraham’s faith was accounted to him for righteousness. And a whole new revelation that I don’t have to work to be righteous; I have to believe. I have to believe in Jesus Christ!
One day they asked Jesus what work must we do in order to do the work of God? And Jesus responded, this is the work of God, just believe on Him whom He has sent. You see God has made righteousness something that is available for all of us. Even a child can believe in Jesus and be accounted righteous. Well, thank God for this new and living way. When Jesus took the cup, He said this is a New Covenant, a covenant whereby you can relate to God, a covenant whereby you can become a child of God. This is a New Covenant. It’s in My blood. It’s shed for the remission of sins. And so God has established through Jesus Christ a new covenant, a way by which I can approach God, a way by which I can come to God. And it is through the righteousness of Jesus Christ that is imputed to me by my faith in Christ. So the bride adorned in the beautiful gown the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Paul said to be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law but the righteousness which is of Christ, through faith.
And he saith unto me, [Now, the angel is talking to John here.] Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. (19:9a)
The word blessed means oh, how happy! And I don’t believe that we can even imagine the rapture and the joy that we will experience when we are there in heaven clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ! We hear the invitation to come because the marriage of the Lamb, the bride has made herself ready, clothed in righteousness. And there we stand, clothed in the righteousness of Jesus with exceeding joy. He’s going to present us to the Father.
And Jude writes, Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy! I don’t think that that really does it. Exceeding joy. I think you need to sort of stretch it out. Exceeeeeeeeeeeeeding joy! Far beyond anything you’ve ever experienced here on earth! Far beyond the greatest experience that you’ve ever had of elation and joy will be the joy of that moment when that time has come when we are to be accepted as the bride of Jesus Christ. “Oh, how happy are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And then because it is so absolutely beyond our capacity to imagine, it sounds like a wonderful dream!. The angel affirms to John,
These are the true sayings of God. (19:9b)
You know, throughout the Bible when ever you get to those thing that is are so wonderful and so spectacular, there is often that little affirmation that this is God’s Word and it shall come to pass. It’s interesting in the 36th chapter of Ezekiel as the Lord tells of the sort of rejuvenating of the land of Israel, the agricultural development that will take place in the last days; prophesying to the mountains, you’re going to be covered with trees; to the valleys, you’re going to be filled with grain fields, you’re going to be tilled and sown and the desolate land; the barren mountains will be forest and green and fertile. And having made these prophesies that when the land lay desolate for two thousand years, was stripped of all of the trees because the Turks, when they had control, charged a tax for every tree you had in your yard. So what would you do if you were taxed for every tree in your yard? You’d do what they did. They chopped them down. And so the hills were barren of trees. And yet is prophesying that they’re going to be covered with trees. The desert will blossom like a rose. The barren land will become like the Garden of Eden. And having said these things, it seems so totally improbable. God said, I said it! And I will do it.
Now you go over to Israel today and what do you discover? He did it. If. The forest on the hillsides. Oh, the trees, the fruit trees, the green fields, the agriculture and the fruit and all that comes. They are the forth-largest exporter of fruit of the nations of the world. They rank forth. And yet they are by far smallest of the nations that export fruit. So small; about the size of New Jersey. And yet as God promised in Isaiah, they that come of Jacob will blossom and bud and fill the earth with fruit. God said, I said it, I’ll do it. I like when God brags about what he’s going to do. He did it!
When Daniel interrupted Nebuchadnezzar his dream. He said the dream is certain and the interpretation is true. And as you look at history, you see how that the dream of Nebuchadnezzar has come to pass and the empires that have ruled the world. So when God affirms the truth, it’s just to sort of bolster that much more in your heart—Glorious things! “Oh, how happy are those who have been called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, don’t do that: I am your fellowservant, and of your brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (19:10)
Now, God is to be worshiped. Under the law, the Lord said, you shall worship the Lord thy God and Him only. You remember when Satan was tempting Jesus, took Him up to a high mountain, showed Him the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them and promised to give them to Jesus if Jesus would just bow down and worship him. Jesus responding to Satan said, it is written thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve. Only God is to be worshiped.
And yet we read in Mathew 2:11 that when the wise men came to the house where Jesus was, they knelt down and worshiped Him. In Mathew 8:2, we read of the leper that came running to Jesus and knelt and worshiped Him. We read of the ruler of the synagogue in Capernaum, Jairus, who came to Jesus and he fell at Jesus’ feet and he worshiped Him. We read of how that when Jesus walked on the water when He got into the ship, the disciples came and they worshiped Him. You read of how the women who were returning from the empty tomb when Jesus appears to them, they held Him by the feet and they worshiped Him. And then when Jesus appeared to the disciples in Mathew 28:17, we read that they worshiped Him. If you’re only to worship God and Jesus allowed worship of Himself, what does that tell you? Jesus is God. It’s quite obvious. And thus, the fact that He received worship is only proving that He is God.
Do you remember when these four fellows brought their friend on a stretcher to Jesus who was there in Capernaum teaching in a house? Their friend had the palsy. He had become an invalid. The palsy was one of the advanced of stages of syphilis disease. And when they came to the house, they saw that there was such a crowd they couldn’t get their friend through the crowd to Jesus. So being inventive, they climbed up on the roof of the house. They lifted some of the tiles and they let their friend down in front of Jesus with ropes on his stretcher. And Jesus looking at him said, son your sins are forgiven. Now, I’m sure that those guys that had brought their friend and let him down through the roof were saying, no, no, no! We’re not worried about that. We want you to heal him.
The reaction of the Pharisees was a little different. They were upset! They said, that’s blasphemy. Only God can forgive sins. I’m sure the fellow thought, whew. For no doubt as the disease progressed and it began more and more to just sap his life, don’t you know that his sin was tormenting his mind. What a fool. Why did I do that? How stupid, you know? Look what I’m going through. The misery, the suffering. Now I’m an invalid all because of my lust, giving into my lust. And he was tormented by his sin. And now doubt the words of Jesus just caused his heart to leap. My sins are forgiven. But to answer the Pharisees, Jesus said to them, what is easier? To say your sins are forgiven or to say rise, take up your cot, and go home? Now what would be easier to say? It would be a lot easier to say your sins are forgiven because no one can see the washing away of the sins. It’s a an inward process that you can’t observe. So you could walk away and say the guy’s loony, going around telling people your sins are forgiven. But if you say to the fellow, rise, take up your bed and walk, you’re putting it on the line. If the guy still lies there, it’s quite obvious there’s not much power in your words. And so Jesus said, that you might know that I have power on earth to forgive sins. He then said to the fellow, take up your bed and walk. Go home. And the guy got up, took his cot, and walked out of the room. What did it show? Jesus didn’t dispute that only God can forgive sins. But He was proving that He was God!
When the rich, young ruler came and knelt at Jesus’ feet and said, good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said, keep the commandments. He said which ones? And Jesus gave him the six commandments of the second table of the law. He said, I’ve kept all of these from the time I was a little kid, but I’m still lacking something. Jesus said, if you would be perfect, go and sell everything you have, distribute it to the poor, come and follow Me, you’ll have treasure in heaven. But Jesus asked him a strange question. When he said, good Master, Jesus stopped and He said, why did you call Me good? There’s only one good and that’s God. Why did you call Me good? Now, what is Jesus saying? He’s saying, I’m no good. Or He is saying, I am God. And He’s trying to awaken the fellow’s consciousness to the fact that what he was recognizing in Jesus was divinity. And thus the question, why do you call Me good? He’s trying to awaken the guy’s consciousness that in seeing Jesus there was a quality of life that he was longing for and he was asking, how can I obtain this quality, this age abiding life? All the way through, Jesus affirmed that He and the Father were one. If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.
And so here is John ready to worship an angel. The angel says no, no. Not me. Worship God. And then he declares that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” A lot of times people ask me, well, is the United States in prophecy? No. The spirit of prophecy is Jesus. All of prophecy centers around the person of Jesus. All of the Old Testament prophecies centered around the person of Jesus. They were prophesying the Messiah that is to come. Now, the conditions that would be going on around Israel and so forth, because that’s where the Messiah would be. And now the prophesies that we have today are still centered in Jesus, but they’re centered in the second coming of Jesus and the world circumstances as they relate to Jesus and the second coming. “But the spirit of prophecy is Jesus.”
And John said, I saw heaven opened, and behold there was a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, on his head were many crowns; [or diadems because he is going to be the King of kings and The Lord of lords. So all of the powers and the crowns will be vested in him. ] and he had a name that was written, which no man knew, but he himself. (19:11,12)
This mystery name. Now, we are told in Jeremiah that in that day His name will be called Jehovah-tsidkenu, “The Lord our righteousness.” But there are many names for our Lord. And here is a name, which no man knows but He, Himself.
And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. (19:13)
In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God. And the same was in the beginning with God and all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. Clothed in a vesture dipped in blood. John said in Revelation, Chapter 5 when the angel asked who is worthy to take the scroll and loose the seals, and no man was found worthy in heaven and earth or under the sea and John began to sob. The elders said, don’t weep John. Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed to take the scroll and loose the seals. John said, I turned and I saw Him as a Lamb that had been slain. His robe dipped in blood. His vesture dipped in blood. In Isaiah 63, Isaiah prophesying of our Lord and the period of judgment in righteousness and judgment, He does make war. Isaiah 63, he said, “Who is this that comes from Edom with died garments from Bozrah, this that is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength? And the answer is I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. The question. Why are you red in your apparel, and why are your garments like him who has been treading the wine vat? The answer. I have trodden the winepress alone and of the people, there was none with Me, for I will tread them in Mine anger and trample them in My fury and their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments, and I will stain all My raiment. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed is come. And I looked and there was none to help. And I wondered that there was none to uphold. Therefore, Mine own arm brought salvation unto Me and My fury, it upheld Me, and I will tread down the people in Mine anger and make them drunk in My fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth, and in righteousness, He doth judge and make war.” Isaiah describes Him as He comes to bring His judgment and the final judgment of the earth as He returns. “When the Son of Man shall come in His glory with all the holy angels. Then shall he gather together the nations, and he will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And to those on His right hand, He’ll say, come ye blessed of the Father, inherit the kingdom that’s been prepared for you from the foundations of the earth. To those on His left, He’ll say, depart from Me ye workers of iniquity into hell that was prepared for Satan and his angels.” And so when He comes, the first order of business will be judgment.
In Daniel 12 where they are talking about the coming again of our Lord to establish the kingdom, the question is asked, how long oh, Lord holy and true, before this will happen? And the Lord tells him that from the time that the abomination that causes desolation is set up. That is, from the time that the Antichrist comes to the rebuilt temple, stands in the temple, declares that he is God and demands to be worshiped as God, stops the daily prays and the sacrifices. From that time, it will be 1,290 days before the Lord returns. And then Daniel adds, blessed is he who comes to the 1,335th day. What does that mean? What’s the 45 days all about? For the first 45 days when Jesus comes back, they will be days of judgment where these who have survived the great tribulation will be brought before Him, and it will be determined at that time which of them will at that time be cast into hell and which of them will be allowed to enter into the kingdom. If you’re still here after the 1,335th day, it means that you made it through. Blessed is he who comes to the 1,335th day. You’ve made it through the period of judgment. You’ll be allowed to enter into the kingdom age to have Lord as He reigns upon the earth. There’s a lot there that we don’t have time to go into tonight, but it’ll just give you a taste and you can read Daniel and find out more.
The armies which were in heaven followed him on white horses, (19:14)
The Bible tells us, behold, He cometh with ten thousands of His saints to execute judgment upon the earth. Paul said, when Christ who our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory. Coming back with Jesus as He comes back to establish God’s kingdom on the earth, and we shall live and reign with Him for a thousand years, is our song in Revelation 5.
And out of his mouth there went a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath and Almighty God. And he has on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (19:15,16)
So His name is the Word of God, there is a name that nobody knows but Him, and there is also the name on His vesture KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Out of His mouth there goes the sword. We read that the word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than a two edged sword. We read that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And God said, let there be light. He spoke light into existence. It’s called the divine fiat. Jesus, the words that go forth from His mouth are like a sharp sword. In other words, there is really no battle. He comes to make war, but all He has to do is speak the words and the enemy is destroyed. And so out of His mouth goes the sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations, and He begins to rule them with a rod of iron. The rule of Christ will be an ironclad rule.
You know, the most efficient form of government is a monarchy. And that’s good if the monarch is good, but it’s hell if the monarch is a tyrant. But Jesus, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and believe me, His will be a righteous rule and a righteous reign. It will be forced. Those who don’t want to comply will be dealt with severely. And as I understand it, as we come back to reign with Christ over the earth, we will more or less be the enforcers of righteousness. We will be given authority over territories here on the earth.
Do you remember in the distributing of the talents, when one fellow came back and said, Lord, you gave me five I’ve increased it?. Here’s ten. He said, good job! You’ve been faithful in a few things, now I’ll make you ruler over ten cities. Enter into the joy of the Lord. And so we will be here to assist Christ in His reign. It says the kings of the earth will come once a year to Jerusalem to sit at His feet and learn. So we’ll see you every year in Jerusalem because you will reign as kings and priests here on the earth with the Lord, and we’ll have our annual meeting in Jerusalem where we all go to meet with Jesus and just sit and learn. Because throughout the ages to come, He’s going to be revealing unto us the exceeding richness of His love and mercy towards us in Christ Jesus. So rich, so great! You’ll never learn it in a lifetime. It’s going to take all eternity to reveal the depth of God’s love for you!
So I saw the angel who was standing in the sun, and he cried with a loud voice [Now, they are spirit beings. They can stand in the sun. We say, oh my! He’d be burned up! The Hebrew children, they stood in the burning, fiery furnace. They were not bothered.], saying to all the fouls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yours together unto the supper of the great God; (19:17)
Jesus is coming and the Antichrist is going to gather together the nations to try to thwart His kingdom. Multitudes, millions, the armies of the world gathered under the Antichrist to thwart the return of Jesus Christ. And so the birds are invited. Come to a feast. He’s going to wipe them all out. Feast on their carcasses.
That you might eat of the flesh of the kings, and the flesh of the captains, and the flesh of the mighty men, and the flesh of the horses, and those that sit on them, the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, [the Antichrist, the son of perdition] and the kings of the earth, and their armies, they were gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. [This great battle of Armageddon] And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought the miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (19:18-20)
Now, there is a place that is called hell, which in the Hebrew is Sheol and in the Greek is Hades. It’s also translated grave, or hell, either translation. It’s the place, that a person who has died has gone, to the grave.
Now, prior to the death of Jesus this place called Hades was in the heart of the earth. Jesus, when He was asked for a sign said no sign will be given except the sign of the prophet Jonah. As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Paul writing to the Ephesians, chapter four, said He who has ascended, that is Jesus, ascended into heaven, is the same one who first of all descended into the lower parts of the earth. And when He ascended he led the captives from their captivity and He gave gifts unto men. On the ascension, Jesus gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to the church. To some, of course, the gift of apostleship, to some evangelists, to some prophets, to others pastor-teachers for the perfecting of the saints.
Jesus describes Sheol prior to His visiting there. In the 16th chapter of Luke He speaks of a certain rich man who faired sumptuously every day and of a beggar named Lazarus who was brought daily by his friends. And lying at the gate of the rich man survived off of the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. And the poor man died and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. Moreover, the rich man also died and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and seeing Lazarus afar off being comforted in Abraham’s bosom said, “Father Abraham, have mercy upon me. Send Lazarus that he might take his finger, dip it in water, an touch my tongue. I’m tormented in this heat. And so the two sections, Abraham said, son remember in your lifetime you had the good things, Lazarus the evil? Now, he is comforted while you’re tormented, but beside this there is this gulf that is fixed between these two places. It’s impossible for those that are here to go over there or for those that are there to come over here.” When you die, that’s the way it’s going to be. You’re not going to be able to cross that gulf after death. But when Jesus died, He went and preached to those souls in prison. And when He rose, He led them from their captivity.
In the prophecies concerning Jesus, Isaiah 61, “He came to open the prison doors to those that were bound to set at liberty those that were captive.” “And so He led the captives from their captivity,” Ephesians 4, as He emptied that section of Hades.
But the unrighteous dead, are still there awaiting the great judgment of God. And in the next chapter we will read at the judgment throne of God death and hell will deliver up the dead which are in them and they stand before God to be judged. And death and hell will be cast into the lake that is burning with fire. This is the second death. And whosoever’s name is not found written in the Lamb’s book of life will be cast into the lake burning with fire.
The lake burning with fire is the description of a place known in the scriptures as Gehenna. Now, Gehenna is a valley just south of Jerusalem known as the valley of Hinnom. And it was really the valley where in the times of apostasy of the nation of Israel in their worship of Baal and Molech, they would build bonfires and they would take their little babies and throw them into the fires for Molech and for Baal. That was called causing your children to pass through the fire. And the Israelites were doing this. It was their method of getting rid of born children. They didn’t have the skills of abortion in those days and so they would wait until the child was born and then they would throw them into the bonfires in their worship of their god of pleasure. Horrible practices. But later and in the time of Christ, the valley of Hinnom became the garbage dump for the city of Jerusalem. And they were constantly burning the garbage. You could always look towards the valley of Hinnom and you could see the smoke rising day or night, the fires of Hinnom burning as they burned the garbage and the refuse that was thrown there into the valley. And thus the name Gehenna, a place of constant burning. It is described as a lake of fire and brimstone.
Now, the first occupants of Gehenna will be the Antichrist and the false prophet. They will be there sort of isolated and alone for a thousand years. Satan, when Jesus returns, will be bound and he will be put in a place called the abusso, the shaft, the bottomless pit. And he will be released , we’ll get that in the next chapter, for a short period from the bottomless pit at the end of the thousand-year reign of Christ. And we’ll go into that next week when we get into chapter 20. But the beast and the false prophet are cast alive into this lake that is burning with fire. Later, Satan will be cast in a thousand years later, and it says where the beast and the false prophet are. Not where they were consumed, not where they were destroyed, but where they are. You know, some groups teach the annihilation of the wicked. You won’t find that in the Scripture. You find the Scripture says the smoke of your torment ascends forever and ever—eij tw?n aiw<nwn—from ages to the ages.
So the remnant were slain were the sword of him that sat on the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all of the fouls were filled with their flesh. (19:21)
The result of the judgment of Christ when He returns and puts down those opposing forces that have gathered to thwart the establishing of God’s kingdom upon the earth. But He shall overcome them because He’s the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
Father, we thank You for these insights into the future. We’re so glad, Lord, we’re on Your side that we have surrendered our lives even now and acknowledged that Jesus is King. He is Lord. King of our lives, we crown Thee now, Thine shall the glory be. And Lord, we see how the world is gathered together against You today. We can see how the Antichrist has already preparing the hearts of man in rebellion against You. The forces of darkness as they are being mustered to try to thwart Your coming kingdom. But Lord, we thank You that Your kingdom shall stand. And Lord, we’re so thankful that You’ve called us to be a part of Your glorious kingdom. Lord help us, as we look at history, we see how many people and how many times the people turn from You. And You warned us of these last days because the iniquity in the earth would abound. The love of many would wax cold. Lord, don’t let our love wax cold. Keep us ever fervent in our pursuit of You and in our love for You. In Jesus name, Father, Amen.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #8258