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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Revelation - God's Victory

I guess I had plans to complete this study in time for Pentecost, but I don't suppose it will hurt to continue a little bit longer... Still to come:

Rejoicing and scenes of victory,

Different views of the Millennium
,
The City of God, and
the Conclusion


12: Revelation 19:11-20:15 - Rejoicing, Scenes of Victory


In chapters 19 and 20 of Revelation, parallel set of images describe the same events described in 17 and 18. The judgment and fall of Satan are seen this time from the point of view of God and his followers – scenes of victory instead of defeat.

List of 7 Victory Scenes:
1. The White Horse and Rider contrast with the Whore of Babylon riding the Beast.
2. The Great Supper parallels the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, but is seen here right at the start.
3. Defeat of the Beast and Prophet parallels the Fall of Babylon
4. Satan is Bound, just as the parallel scene showed the Escape of the Saints
5. The Saints Rule, where before we saw the lost lamenting over the City
6. Satan is Destroyed, where before we saw the City fall. And
7. The Last Judgment continues the Feast of the Lamb

A. Victory over Satan’s armies
The victory scenes start with God’s victory over Satan’s armies.

1. The White Horse and Rider, Revelation 19:11-16
Parallels with the Whore of Bablyon, seen in the first scene of judgment, are fairly obvious:

White horse...................................Red beast
Male rider.........................................Female Rider
Faithful and true............................great whore
Judges and makes war..................tempts and makes drunk
Eyes like fire, many crowns.........purple and scarlet, gold and jewels
Secret, Word of God.......................Mystery, Babylon the Great
Armies of heaven...........................alone on the beast
Sharp sword....................................cup of abominations
Rule with rod of iron......................drunk with blood of saints
Name on robe and thigh................name on forehead
King of Kings...................................mother of whores

Parallels with other Biblical passages are fairly easy to find too:

Psalm 2:7-9 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron,
John 1:1 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 12:47-49 47I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge,
1 Timothy 6:15 15—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.


Traditionally, one who gives a name is superior to one who is named, so Jesus has no superior.
The one who treads a winepress gets stains on his robes, so Jesus treds the winepress of God.
The “armies of heaven” could be angels (as in Lord of Hosts), but their wearing clean white linen is reminiscent of 19:8, suggesting they could be the redeemed, us, riding with God to victory.

2. The Great Supper, Revelation 19:17-18
This time a feast is announced before the battle even begins – celebrations preceding a battle whose outcome is already known. The wedding supper of 1-10 is paralleled with a feast of carrion for birds, reminding readers of Ezekiel’s description of the aftermath of war against Gog and Magog.

Ezekiel 39:17-20 17As for you, mortal, thus says the Lord GOD: Speak to the birds of every kind and to all the wild animals: Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. 18You 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 bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan. 19You shall eat fat until you are filled, and drink blood until you are drunk, at the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you. 20And you shall be filled at my table with horses and charioteers, with warriors and all kinds of soldiers, says the Lord GOD.

B. Victory over Satan’s Powers
The great battle degenerated into a carrion feast, and now the consequences of God’s victory are seen:

3. Defeat of the Beast and the Prophet, Revelation 19:19-21
The army is the same as that of Revelation 16 (the 6th plague) gathered at Armageddon. But in God’s eyes, the battle doesn’t last very long!

Daniel 7:11 11I watched then because of the noise of the arrogant words that the horn was speaking. And as I watched, the beast was put to death, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire.

In Daniel, the beast is killed then burned. In Revelation, the beast is burned alive.
In Daniel, the beast is “a kingdom.” Revelation’s beast is the Antichrist which powers all evil kingdoms.
The death of armies is the death of the mortal body. A “second death” will soon be described as something much greater and much worse.


C. Victory over Satan Himself

The visions here parallel the “second half” of creation. Victory began when Christ died (day 3 ½) and is completed at the end of time.

4. Millenium, Satan bound, Revelation 20:1-3
Satan is thrown out of heaven at the death of Christ.

Satan is bound, not destroyed, at the death of Christ, suggesting that he still has limited power. Satan cannot deceive the nations now, but he can still deceive people and work through them. The “two witnesses” are still witnessing against him.

Ephesians 2:12 12remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Colossians 2:15 15He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.

5. Millenium, Reign of the Saints, Revelation 20:4-6
While Satan is bound, the Saints reign.

4 Beheaded: Separation of the body from the head, in the imagery of the day, suggests the body separated from the soul. The beheaded would then suggest all who have died in Christ.
4 Souls …came to life probably means living souls, waiting for the resurrection of the body, in contrast with “came back to life,” which would suggest resurrected bodies. (The resurrection of the body is then delayed by a symbolic thousand years 5.)
5 First resurrection could mean a period ruling in heaven with Christ now, before the end of time.
5 The rest of the dead might mean those who did not testify to Jesus. Perhaps God’s people live now and reign in heaven, until the end of time (hence, their crying out “How long?” from under the altar in 6:9.) But those who are not God’s people have to wait for the end of time.
6 Second death would then be that which awaits those who are not God’s people.

6. End of the millenium. Destruction of Satan, Revelation 20:7-10
The last battle of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 39) is referenced again, leading readers to think back to the time and place where the beast and the false prophet were destroyed.

D. God’s Ultimate Victory
The series of images ends again with God’s victory:

7. Last Judgment, Revelation 20:11-15
Where Satan saw a great and furious battle, all God sees is a walkover. Meanwhile the saints see judgment.

11 the earth and the heaven fled… There is no place for this present, corrupted creation before God’s throne, as in Romans 8:21 21… the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

12 12The dead, great and small standing before the throne… The 1,000 years are over. But those who belong to Christ are not dead at this point. Instead, they are reigning with Christ, and their names are written in the Book of Life. 1 John 5:12 12Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

14 the lake of fire is another Old Testament end times image. Daniel 7:10 10A stream of fire issued and flowed out from his presence. A thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him. The court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.

The Millennium
Familiar theories about the Millennium stem from this series of visions, giving rise to disagreement between Christians, and differences of interpretation over time. A period of 1,000 years is certainly mentioned. But the number is more likely to be symbolic than physical. Different interpretations claim that the saints will reign before or after Christ’s return. Many modern interpretations add Paul’s teaching of the saints “caught up in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17) and teach that the saved will be “raptured” while sinners remain on earth to suffer the trials of Revelation, but this is by no means the only way to “read” and “interpret” Revelation. As an interpretation of events yet to come, it may or may not be correct. As a message to the world for all time, and the present time, it might be necessary to look for God's present message as well as trying to interpret God's future plan.

1 comment:

Lloyd said...

It is so awesome to know what the end of the story for all mankind will be. When I stand before the judgment seat of Christ, all I want to hear is "Well done Lloyd, you good and faithful servant."

I have really enjoyed your Bible studies and look forward to many more. God bless, Lloyd