(Rev. Chapter 19 to 20:3)


   A SHOUT of praise is raised in heaven:  “Hallelujah; Salvation, and glory, and honor and power, unto the Lord our God:  For true and righteous are His judgments:  for He hath judged the great harlot, which did corrupt the earth.”    But why is “Babylon” so persistently called a “harlot?”  It is for this reason:  The Lord made a very solemn covenant with the children of Israel, when He led hem out of Egypt into the land of Promise, Palestine.  That covenant was that they should worship Him alone, not idols.  The children of Israel, on their part, took this covenant upon themselves (it was not forced upon them).  The covenant was so solemn that God speaks of it as of a marriage vow, and of the breaking of the vow and turning to idolatry as adultery.  You will learn this by reading such passages as Deut. 4:23; 5:2-9, Jer. 2:2; 31:32; and Ezek. 16:1-8.


   When the Israelites became settled in Palestine, Jerusalem was made the capital of their government, and according to Divine instructions, their religious headquarters, too.  It is called a “harlot” by Isaiah (1:21):  “How is the faithful city become a harlot!  It was full of judgment: righteousness lodged it; but now murderers.”  This is the only city in the world, which God regards as His own.  Hence, this is the only city, which, if unfaithful to God, could appropriately be called a harlot city.  From this fact, we get its Scriptural title, “Babylon, the mother of harlots.”  Under Antichrist, with the place given over to his worship, God will not call it by a name meaning “city of the God of Peace” for He is an enmity against it.  He calls it “Babylon” because as such it is a great international city, trampled under foot of many nations, as it is said (11:2), who talk many languages (10:11).


   But Jerusalem, under the government of Christ, God will own.


   Next, all the hosts of heaven joined in raise, saying, “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).  By the marriage of the Lamb is meant the coming of Christ to live at Jerusalem.


  The Lord once described this marriage of the Lamb in a parable.  He did not represent this marriage quite the same as it was conducted in the days when He was on earth, nor as is customary with us today.  In our day, the marriage feast is at the bride’s house, and then the husband takes the bride away to the home he prepares for her.  In the days when Christ uttered His parable, it was customary for the bridegroom to come, with the “friends of the bridegroom,” and fetch the bride away to his own home, where there was feasting.


But the most ancient custom of all differs from both of these.  You will find the ancient custom described in Judges, chapter 14.  Samson with his parents went down to Timnath, where he was married at his bride’s home, and the feast was in her home; and after the feast she did not leave home.  In those early days, the bridegroom ordinarily made the bride’s home his home, as did Jacob when he married Leah and Rachel.[i]


   Here in the Lamb’s marriage we have this ancient custom.  It answers to God’s marriage law:  “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife.”  So here, the Lamb comes to live with the bride, Jerusalem, not to take her to His home, heaven.  When Jesus uttered a parable to warn all to be ready for that marriage supper of the Lamb (Matt. 25:1-13), He represented those waiting at the bride’s home of Him to arrive; and as He approaches, they go forth to meet Him., and then return to the bride’s home for the feast.  Five of the virgins were not ready for His coming, and they were shut out.  In Oriental countries, people make themselves so free in each others’ homes that you must fasten to the doors, if you do not wish people to come in uninvited, to witness a wedding or join in feast. 


   In that parable, Christ is the Bridegroom, of course.  The bride is Jerusalem restored, Jehovah-Shammah.  The “friends of the bridegroom” come with Him to the feast.  The five wise virgins are those who are prepared for His coming, and go out to meet Him, in that they are translated into His presence, as He approaches this earth.  They are the second firstfruits.  They do not stay up above, whither they rose to meet Him, but they escort Him to this earth, and to Jerusalem, His bride.  The foolish virgins, who were not ready to go out to meet Him, are not wicked people who go to hell.  They believed in Him, and believed in His coming.  They are left outside the marriage feast; they pass through the misery of the entire tribulation, lose the chance to reign with Him on the earth, and only appear again at the Great Judgment Day of God, described at chapter 20:11-15, at the end of the Millennium, when the “book of life”  is again opened.  They are saved, “yet so as by fie” the fire of the wrath of the Lamb.  But this part we will consider later.


   Next, verse 11, John sees the King of kings and Lord of lords, with all “the armies of heaven”  in His train, coming to this earth for the final extermination of the wicked.  He uttered a parable to one, to illustrate this:  “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive a kingdom for himself, and to return”  (Luke 19:12-27).  This was frequently done, under the Roman Empire:  A nobleman would go up to Rome, induce the Emperor to give him a crown, and come back and rule.  But of Himself, Jesus did not say that He went in order to ask for it; it was given to Him; He went to “receive it”  from the Father.  He received that kingdom when He took that seven-sealed roll from the hand of the Almighty.  (Rev. 5:7).


   The parable says that certain citizens of the country sent word after the nobleman, “We will not have this man to reign over us.”  So do wicked people, when they disobey Christ willfully, in the presence of the all-seeing Almighty.  When the nobleman returned, he rewarded his faithful servants, according to their degree of efficient service in his absence.  His reward was cities to rule over; to one he gave ten, to another five.  So will Jesus Christ do when He returns to earth.  He will give us cities and countries to govern, if we are faithful until He returns.


   The twelve apostles will have places, of special honor.  He said to them “Verily I say unto you that ye have followed Me, in the regeneration [when the earth is made over new], when the Son of man shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel”  (Matt. 19:28).


   In the parable, before these faithful servants begin to rule, the nobleman commands:  “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over upon white horses,”  which means, I think, borne on by the righteous upholding power of God; in fine linen, which is the righteousness of the saints.  They have no part in the slaying of the wicked, which is done by the sharp sword of His mouth.  He slays by the breath of His mouth.  He only needs to speak the word and they are dead.  John says:


   “I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True and in righteousness He doth judge and make war.  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns:…And he hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS.”  Please read the whole description for yourselves, before going further.


   We have no description given us of that marriage supper of the Lamb.  It is only spoken of, as we have shown; but now another sort of supper is called for.  It is a gruesome, horrid feast.  This book of the Revelation is a strange book of couples and contrasts:  We first see resurrected Old Testament saints (Jews) in heaven (4:4); and then a great body of resurrected Gentile saints (7:9).  We first see a body of 144,000 Jews caught up to heaven (12:5); and then a body made up mostly of Gentile Christians who have been caught up (15:2).  We read of “the wrath of the Lamb”; and then of Satan’s “great wrath.”   We first see the ark of God’s testament revealed in heaven; then the ark of  His testimony.  There are vials of prayers (5:8), and vials of wrath (chapter 15).  We have a  “great sign” of that covenant with woman’s seed; then "a sign great and marvelous"   of God’s testimony against the wicked.  The Two Witnesses do mighty signs, and punish those who oppose them with fire" then Satan gives power to the False Prophet, who “doeth great wonders so that he maketh fire come down from heaven,” and punishes all who will not worship Antichrist and his idols.  Christ died and rose again from the dead.  So Antichrist is someone who has been dead, whom Satan raises from the dead.  Christ displayed His mortal spear-wounds to doubting Thomas; so Antichrist displays a mortal sword-wound to doubters.  Jerusalem is rebuilt, and Antichrist rules there, God calls it "gate of a god, a harlot; Jerusalem is rebuilt, and Christ rules there it is now called: city of the God of Peace,  the faithful bride of the Lamb; Jehovah-Shammah (“the Lord is there”).  Next we come to the announcement of the marriage supper of the Lamb; then another supper a feasting of birds of prey upon dead bodies, is announced: Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God,” cries an angel standing in the sun, to unclean birds of prey:  “ That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and them that sit on them, and the flesh of all, free and bond, both small and great” (20:17-18).  This is how the great battlefield of Armageddon is to be cleaned up.


   But even now, Antichrist, the False Prophet, and the kings rally their armies, badly as they have been cut up, for a final stand against Christ.  How futile!  They are seized alive—the Beast and the False Prophet—and hurled into the Lake of Fire, which means hell.  All the rest are slain with the sword of His mouth:  a single word, and they are dead.  Then Satan is taken and as the Lord has further use for him he is not yet put into the Lake of Fire but he is imprisoned in “the Bottomless Pit.:


 But you will wish to know what is the difference between the Lake of Fire and the Bottomless Pit.  Their relation to each other is like the relation of a common gaol to a prison, or penitentiary.  The Bottomless Pit is for temporary use; and the other for permanent confinement.  The occupants of the bottomless Pit have not yet had , but are awaiting, their final sentence, which will be at God’s Great Judgment Day.  Those who go into the lake of Fire have been disposed of forever.  We will learn a little more about this matter in chapter twenty-two of this book.


[i] Abraham would not allow Isaac to go to live at Rebecca’s home (Gen. 24:4,8), as his trusted servant thought might be required, because God had expressly called Abraham and Sarah its idolatry, (Joshua 24:3,3.)

           CHAPTER 21