And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in Heaven, saying, Alleluia, salvation, and glory, and honour, and power unto the Lord our God:
For true and righteous are his judgements; for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
And again they said Alleluia. And her smoke rose up forever and ever.
[After these things;] that is, after the ruin of the church of Rome, the city of Rome, the judgement of the great whore, mystical Babylon, Pope, and papists, [I heard a great voice of much people in Heaven;] viz. of the prophets, apostles, martyrs, and all the saints in glory; [Saying, Alleluia] praise ye the Lord, (Ps. 68:4). They ascribed [salvation, and glory, and honour, and power unto the Lord our God].
[For true and righteous are his judgements, (v. 2)] to wit, upon mystical Babylon, the city and church of Rome, (chap. 18:8). [For he hath judged the great Whore;] that Mother of Harlots, [which did corrupt the earth,] that is, the inhabitants of the earth, who worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark, name, and number, (Rev. 13:15–17 and Rev. 14:9–11 see the exposition thereof).
[With her fornication;] that is, spiritual whoredom, her idolatry and false worship. [And hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand,] (Rev. 16:5–7 and 18:20 see the exposition).
[And again (verse 3) they said Alleluia.] Praise ye the Lord, (Ps. 68:4) [And her smoke rose up forever and ever,] (Rev. 14:9–11 and Rev. 18:8–10).
And the four and twenty elders, and the four beasts fell down, and worshipped God that sat on the Throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
And a voice came out of the Throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
By [the four and twenty elders, and the four living creatures,] we are to understand the ministers, and members of Christ in his churches of saints on earth who worship God that sits upon his throne in heaven. (Ps. 103:19) The Lord hath prepareth his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom ruleth over all, [Saying, Amen; Alleluia] Praise ye the Lord.
[And a voice came out of the Throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.]
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made her self ready.
This [great multitude,] are the concourse of the Jews and gentiles joining together to sing alleluia’s to God and Christ; as was prophesied (Isa. 52:7–12) How beautiful upon the mountains, are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good things of good, that publisheth salvation, that faith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice, with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion. Break forth into joy, sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the Nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bare the vessels of the Lord. For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your reward. The voice of singing together. The matter of their song was the kingdom of Christ; [For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.] (Rev. 11:15–17. see the exposition).
Verse 7 contains another cause of the high praises of God, [Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.] Read 2 Corinthians 11:2, Hosea 2:19–23 and Revelation 21:1–2. [And this joy and gladness was prophesied of the Lord Jesus Christ also, (Cant. 3:11)—Go forth, O ye, Daughters of Zion, and behold King Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and the day of the gladness of his heart.]
And to her was granted, that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, these are the true sayings of God.
In the eighth verse, is explained, how the bride, the Lamb’s Wife, was made ready. That is, she was arrayed in fine linen, clean, without any spot, (Cant. 4:7–10). Thou art all fair my love, their is no spot in thee. [And white;] that is, washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb, (Rev. 7:13–15 [For the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.] That is, their righteousness of justification, (2 Cor. 5:18) with which the saints are covered, (Isa. 61:10) and their righteousness of sanctification, where with they are beautified, (Eph. 4:24 and 5:9 and Phil. 1:11). And Jesus Christ is made of God unto the Saints, both righteousness and sanctification, (1 Cor. 1:30).
Verse 9 [And he saith unto me, write, blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.] He, that is, the Angel of God: Me, that is, John, write: For [these are the true sayings of God.] By the marriage supper of the Lamb, we are to understand Christ’s and the wife virgin’s wedding, (Matthew 25:1–13). And they that were ready went in with him to the marriage. See my exposition of the parable of the Ten Virgins, 1674.
And I fell at his feet to worship him: and he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
The Apostle John doubtless did not know that this angel was one of God’s ministering spirits, sent forth from Christ to minister unto him; for had he known, he would not have fallen down to worship him. And this appears by what the angel said unto him; [See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, (not thy Lord) and of thy brethren, that have the testimony of Jesus;] a servant to them also, who are the heirs of salvation, (Heb. 1:7–14) especially of the overcoming saints, (Rev. 12:11) [Worship God:]. Men ought not to worship angels; but both men and angels must worship God, (Matthew 4:10) For it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God; and him only shalt thou serve. Not angels, not saints deceased, not the Virgin Mary, etc. [For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.] By the testimony of Jesus, we are to understand the Revelation of Jesus Christ; which God gave unto him to show unto his servants, and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John, (Rev. 1:1–2) who bare record of the Word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ.
And 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.
The great battle of Armageddon, (Chap. 16:16) is more fully described in the other part of this chapter, from this verse to the end thereof; amplified, first, by the preparation to it: And, secondly, by the event of it: [I saw Heaven opened:] So he had done before, (chap. 4:1) so did St. Stephen, (Acts 7:56) [And behold a white horse.] Such a vision of Christ John had, (chap. 6:1–2). See the exposition. There Christ came to conquer and convert sinners; here he comes to conquer and destroy his enemies, that would not have him to reign. [In righteousness he doth judge and make war.] That is, Christ doth enter into judgement against his enemies, and doth war against them, and destroy them.
His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written that no man knew but he himself.
And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called, The Word of God.
So is Christ described (Rev. 1:14 and 2:18 see the exposition). Read Isaiah 11:1–4 and Hebrews 4:13. [And on his head were many crowns;] not material, but metaphorical; whereby is signified the pre-eminence, supremacy, and sovereignty of our Lord Jesus Christ, above all principalities, and powers, thrones and dominions, as being the only potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, (1 Tim. 6:15 and v. 16 of this chapter). And he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself; (Isa. 9:6–7) a secret name, as Judges 13:19 verse 13 [The word of God,] verse 14 [And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood.] So the Prophet Isaiah described Christ, (Isa. 63:1–4) Who is this that cometh from Edom, with died garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength. I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore are thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine-fat? I have trodden the wine-press 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 raiments. For the day of venegance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. Which noteth the sufferings of Christ for the sins of Gods chosen people, and his conquest over all his bloody enemies, (v. 14) [And his name is called, The Word of God,] (John 1:1–3 and 1 John 5:7) which name no man knows, but he himself.
And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
By [the armies which were in Heaven] that followed Christ, we may understand, first, the holy angels whom Elisha’s servant saw when his eyes were opened, (2 Kings 6:13–17). Secondly, those holy saints, (Ps. 149 the whole Psalm) who follow the Lamb wheresoever he goes, (Rev. 14:1–5) who are chosen and called, and faithful, (Rev. 17:14) the [white horses] are an emblem of victory, as (Rev. 6:1–2) conquering and to conquer. [Clothed in fine linen, white and clean,] as the Bride was, (vv. 7 and 8 see the exposition). Which signifies the holiness and righteousness of Christ’s armies, no spotted, no unclean soldiers in Christ’s armies, who is the Captain of our salvation.
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.
And he hath on his vesture, and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
In the 15th verse are revealed the two principal weapons which the Lord Jesus Christ will make use of in this battle against his enemies; viz. the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, (as v. 19) and they are the sword of his mouth, which is the Word of God, (Eph. 6:17 and Rev. 2:12) [And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword.] The word of threatened vengeance is sharper than a two-edged sword, (Heb. 4:12). And his iron rod, the rod of his strength, (Ps. 110:1–2) whereby is signified his kingly power, (Ps. 2:9–12 v. 16).
[And he hath on his vesture, and on his thigh a name written KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.] The Lord Jesus Christ is King of Saints, (Rev. 15:3) King of Sion, (Ps. 149:1–2) and King of Nations, (Jer. 10:7–10) the only potentate, (1 Tim. 6:15). And he shall be King in all the earth, (Zech. 14:9) And the Kingdoms of this world shall become the Kingdom of Christ and his saints, (Rev. 11:15 and Dan. 7:27–28).
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls of that fly in the midst of Heaven, come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God.
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 of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
This angel is Christ’s herald, sent forth to summon the fowls of the air to come to [the supper of the great God, to eat the flesh of kings, captains, and mighty men, and all men, both small and great.] Whereby is signified, first, the certainty of Christ’s victory over all his enemies. Secondly, the great slaughter which Christ will make in this great Armageddon battle amongst his enemies. (Ezek. 39:1–21) Therefore thou Son of man, prophesise against Gog, the chief Prince of Meshech and Tubal. And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles, and they shall know that I am the Lord—Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord God; this is, the day whereof I have spoken—And thou son of man, thus saith the Lord God, speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, assemble yourselves and come together yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan. And ye shall eat fat till be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, and my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you . Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses, and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord of God. And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgement that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.
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.
And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
In these three verses are declared, first, who are the enemies of Christ and his armies, namely, [the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies,] (v. 19). See the exposition of chapters 11:7, 13:1–11, 16:13–14 and 17:8–12 and 12:13–14. Secondly, the effect of this great battle, (v. 20). The beast and the false prophet (the Roman papal hierarchy, clergy and priesthood) were taken as prisoners of war. [Both these were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone;] that is, into hell fire, (v. 21) [And the remnant,] that is, the kings, captains, and great men, and their armies, soldiers, both small and great, were slain with the sword, that is, the Word of God, and commands of Christ, written in the holy scripture. [And all the fowls were filled with their flesh.]. (Jer. 51:19–24) The portion of Jacob is not like them, for he is the former of all things, and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the Lord of hosts is his name. Thou are my battle ax and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms: And with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider, and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider: With thee also will I break in pieces man and woman, and with thee will I break in pieces old and young , and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid: I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock, and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandmand and his yoke of oxen, and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers. And I will render unto Babylon, and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea, all their evil that they have done in Zion, in your sight, saith the Lord. (Ps. 149:1–9) Praise ye the Lord, sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints. Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their king. Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing along upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishment upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgement written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord. As God stirred up the spirit of the Medes, (Jer. 51:11–28) so God will raise up the spirit of kings to hate the whore, and to eat her flesh, and to burn her with fire, (Rev. 17:6) and so make mystical Babylon an utter desolation, (Rev. 18:21–24).