“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: ‘KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.’
17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, ‘Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.’
19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.”
Last week we celebrated the future fall of the system of Babylon. Sadly, it is still alive and well in our time today. It is growing right in front of us, and only the Rapture will rescue us from the total depravity that is coming to this earth. Even so, come Lord Jesus.
The passage we are about to explore is that final culmination of all we have hoped for. The earth will be ready for this deliverance; some 7 years of chaos have worn out the people of the earth. In particular, the final 3.5 years of focused war and destruction in Israel have wearied the people; it has fractured the world and it has prepared the Jews for the second coming of the Messiah. We all want to get to the part where Jesus shows up, and rightly so, but there is a lot to cover before that. We will get there, I promise, but there is some road to cover first.
The Anti-Christ is given power by the people. He seems meek and lowly, but inside he is a man full of himself and of rage. He is ruthless; and between him, his false prophet and the image they set up, they set about to subdue the whole world. About halfway into the Tribulation, he experiences an assassination attempt and is killed. He then resurrects and is indwelt by Satan. From this point on, his focus becomes the nation of Israel; and we have played out before us the time of Jacob’s Trouble, as seen in Jeremiah 30:7:
“How awful that day will be! None will be like it! It is the time of Jacob’s distress, but he will be delivered out of it.”
God says in verse 6 that every man’s hands will be on his knees like a woman in birth pains. This will be a terrible day when the resurrected Anti-Christ (Revelation 13:3) turns his wrath on Israel. We have a prophecy in Daniel 11 that tells us what will happen.
A Picture of the Future from Daniel 11:20-24
“20 There shall arise in his place one who imposes taxes on the glorious kingdom; but within a few days he shall be destroyed, but not in anger or in battle. 21 And in his place shall arise a vile person, to whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue. 22 With the force of a flood they shall be swept away from before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant.
23 And after the league is made with him he shall act deceitfully, for he shall come up and become strong with a small number of people. 24 He shall enter peaceably, even into the richest places of the province; and he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his forefathers: he shall disperse among them the plunder, spoil, and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the strongholds, but only for a time.”
Notice in verse 21 that a ‘vile person’ arises; this in history is Antiochus Epiphanes. A vile man. Notice how he comes in peacefully. He reigned just 9 years from 175-164 BC. In 167 BC he took the city of Jerusalem, and there he set up a statue of Zeus and desecrated the 2nd Temple that had been built after the return from Babylon. Notice in verse 22 that he made a covenant with the people of Israel, but that he acted deceitfully in verse 23 and tricked the people. In like fashion, the Anti-Christ, a vile man, will also make a covenant with the nation of Israel, but he will break that covenant as well and desecrate the 3rd Temple built after the Rapture. There he will set up an image to himself and force the Jews to worship it.
There were great exploits by the Jewish persons who rebelled against Antiochus; and from the reading of this passage, there will be some great exploits at the end as well. See Daniel 11:30-35:
“So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. 32 Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. 33 And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering.
34 Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. 35 And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.”
See in verse 32 that there will be some who will be strong and carry out “great exploits.” Some, we are told, will fall by the sword and other means. But notice in verse 35 that those that fall will be at the time of the end. So, in the days of Antiochus, there were great warriors. We can read of the Maccabees that rebelled against the injustices of that vile man; but in the time of the end, there will also be a resistance as well in Israel. Men will not sit idly by and allow the Anti-Christ to desecrate and destroy. Nonetheless, the Anti-Christ is a skilled and excellent warrior; he repels at least 2 invasions from sizeable armies. We read about that in Daniel 11:44:
“But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore, he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.”
Notice that while he is dealing with the internal issues in Israel, he gets word of two invasions from two areas: one from the north and one from the east. We are told that he goes out with “great fury” and that he annihilates many. This man is a formidable warrior and not one to be challenged.
Two Wars, Two Fronts and Two Victories
The first war is from the North. Russia lies to the north of Jerusalem. If we read in Ezekiel 38-39, we find that Gog, Russia, is called by God to attack Israel. They are repelled by a variety of things including hail stones, fire and other things. Just as this is wrapping up, an army of 200,000,000 from the east, China, (Revelation 16:12) begins an invasion of Israel; and the Anti-Christ is able to repel them with a great annihilation. These seeming victories will embolden him and feed his pride even more. How do we know this? When we read the chapter that we are considering in Revelation 19, we will see that only an arrogant man would attempt what the Anti-Christ did.
Let us a do a short recap. We are told in Jude 1:9 that Satan and Michael the archangel wrestled over the body of Moses:
“Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
To end the fight, Michael rebukes Satan in the name of the Lord. Satan could not even beat Michael, his angelic equal. We are told in Daniel 12:1a that Michael is the prince who protects Israel, called ‘the sons of your people’ referring to Daniel’s people:
“At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people.”
So, we know that Satan cannot defeat Michael. He has been beaten once by him and that, with the Lord’s help, Michael has Satan’s number, so to speak. But as we reach the end of the chapter in Revelation 19, we see that the Anti-Christ turns to take the fight to Jesus, as Jesus opens the eastern sky over Jerusalem and makes His descent to the earth as the Righteous King of Israel.
But let us first consider the entrance before we look at the fight. Well, really not a fight as far as Jesus was concerned – a skirmish – well, maybe not even that much. An incidental incident may be the right assessment of this engagement between the Prince of Light and the Price of Darkness.
Jesus Makes an Entrance, Revelation 19:11-16
Jesus splits open the sky over Jerusalem on His way to take his place on the throne of David. He is taking his place as the rightful King of Israel, fulfilling Genesis 49:10-11:
“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.”
From this day forward, that day in Revelation 19, Judah shall have a man on the throne of Israel forever. On that day, Jesus will bring in the Millennial Kingdom, but there is a bit of mopping up to be done with regard to the Anti-Christ and his armies. Go and read Isaiah 11, but here is a short part of the passage from verses 6-10:
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious.”
When Jesus makes His entrance back to earth –and make no mistake; there will be no confusion as to who He is – He will arrive in his glory and be accompanied by the armies of Heaven. And yes, the Anti-Christ, Satan in the flesh, will know exactly who Jesus is. He will know that he cannot defeat Him; he will know that he can’t even beat Michael the prince, protector of Israel. But in his arrogance and in his hatred for the Son of God, he, the Anti-Christ, will turn his armies to engage Jesus (Revelation 19:19). The Anti-Christ and the kings of the earth that were still loyal to him turn to make war with Jesus.
Now, I will give the kings of the earth some leeway in fighting Jesus, but the Anti-Christ knew he could not win, or at least he should have. But, headlong and in full battle array, they turn to make war with Jesus. The battle is not a long one. In verse 20, the beast is captured along with the false prophet, and both are cast into the Lake of Fire immediately, forever. But that day Jesus defeated the armies of the Anti-Christ, millions died and the birds of the air came to eat their fill.
This is the day that Israel accepts their Messiah and repents of their rejection. We will explore this chapter 19 again next week as we take a closer look at Jesus himself and the names assigned to Him, His clothing and His armies. But rejoice in this: Jesus wins. This is the confidence that we live with. Jesus wins. He defeated death when he rose from the dead. And now He destroys the Anti-Christ and his armies and sets up the utopia that the world system promised but could not deliver. Jesus wins.
If you are a child of God – one who has agreed with God that you are a sinner under God’s wrath and worthy of His judgment, but you have put your trust in the Lord Jesus, trusting in His death, burial and resurrection as the payment for your sins (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10; Romans 6:23) – then you have the gift of Life in Jesus.
But, and this is serious, if you have rejected the gift of God, you are under God’s wrath. The same wrath that destroyed the whole earth in Genesis 6-9, the same wrath that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, the same wrath that we have experienced in Revelation for the past 40+ weeks, and the same wrath that destroyed the armies of the Anti-Christ. You need Jesus, NOW!!! Romans 10:8-10:
“But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”