*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics
Verses covered in this passage:
Revelation is a simple book with a simple message for believers: be a faithful witness and don’t fear loss, rejection, or death. For believers who heed this message, Jesus promises rewards beyond their wildest imagination. Jesus Himself is an example of one who endured great suffering through obedience, and gained the greatest of rewards. He encourages “His servants” to follow in His footsteps.
After the defeat of Babylon (the fallen world system), the saints and angels in Heaven begin praising God. They declare God the Righteous Judge who has rescued the corrupted earth from its evil rulers. He has avenged the believers who were put to death under the antichrist’s reign. Another assembly of voices from Heaven celebrates the completeness of the old world’s defeat. The corrupted world system which exploited humans and defied God will never return to power. The twenty-four elders, the four living creatures worship God, and many voices like waterfalls and thunder join in by praising God and His rulership. They speak of celebrating the marriage between the Lamb, Jesus, and His bride, the church. There will be a marriage feast, and the saints will be dressed in fine linen made of their righteous acts of obedience.
The speaker who is revealing these things to John tells him to write a statement of blessing to guests invited to the victory feast of Jesus. John falls to the ground and worships the speaker, but the speaker tells him he is only a fellow servant and that John ought to worship God. There is so much glory in Heaven that John is overwhelmed simply by the presence of a fellow believer.
John sees the moment of Jesus’s second coming. In contrast to Christ’s first advent (that of a poor suffering servant, riding a donkey), now Christ comes down from Heaven on a white horse, His eyes flaming with fire, crowned with many crowns, His robe dipped in blood, and armies of heaven following Him on white horses. He is called the Word of God and He doles out God’s wrath. He comes to judge and to wage war on His enemies, a sword proceeding from His mouth. He will rule with a rod of iron, and will crush the antichrist and his followers like grapes in a wine press. He is the King of all kings, and the Lord over all lords.
An angel calls for birds to gather. The kings, commanders, and warriors of the antichrist are about to be slain, and there will be a “great supper” for the vultures, crows, and so on. The “beast” (the antichrist) and all his armies assemble to fight Jesus.
The armies of the antichrist have gathered to defy Jesus and His heavenly forces. But immediately, the “beast” and his false prophet—the one who has ruled the earth and called himself god and his servant who used false signs to deceive people into worshiping the antichris—both are grabbed and thrown alive into the lake of fire, perhaps a symbol of Jesus’s fiery judgement. The armies of the antichrist are slain by a word from Jesus, presented symbolically as a sword, and the birds come to eat the dead.