The Second Coming – Revelation 19

 

The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is a much anticipated event. As we approach this text, however, we must understand that there is a difference between the second coming of Christ and the rapture of the church. The biggest difference between the rapture and the second coming is that at the rapture Christ comes for His church, but at the second coming Christ comes with His church. At the second coming, Christ comes in final judgment. There is no such judgment described in those passages of scripture related to the rapture. At the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) there is a resurrection, however, in Revelation chapter 19 there is no resurrection mentioned. Based on these observations, we must conclude that the rapture and the second coming of Christ are two separate events.

Heaven’s Praise. In verses 1-10 of Revelation chapter 19, the scene is shifted to heaven. As the time for Christ to return to the earth approaches, all of heaven erupts in spontaneous praise. There are several reasons for such praise that we see in these verses.

First of all, heaven rejoices at the completion of salvation. Notice what it says in verse one. “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.[1]Praise is given to God with an emphasis placed on salvation. It must be understood that there are three aspects of salvation. There is past salvation, present salvation, and future salvation. Our past salvation is that moment when we first come to faith in Christ. At that moment, we are redeemed and justified. Our present salvation is the sanctification process of the believer. It is life right now, as God works through the circumstances of our lives to mold us and shape us into His image. Salvation future is that glorious time when all sin is destroyed and we are glorified. With the second coming of Christ, salvation is complete. Satan’s forces are destroyed as Christ sets up His kingdom on the earth. Heaven is rejoicing because that completion of salvation is at hand.

Secondly, heaven rejoices for justice prevails. Verse two and three speaks of this. “For true and righteous are his judgments: 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. 3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.” [2] The righteous judgment of God has come upon the wicked forces of the world. At the second coming, the final battle will be raged and the enemies of God will be destroyed. Heaven is rejoicing because the horn of battle has sounded and the time has come to make war on the enemies of God.

A third reason for the praise in heaven is found in verses four through six where we find heaven rejoices because God is in control. “And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. 5 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. 6 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.” [3] The focus of heaven’s praise in these verses is the sovereignty of God. God is in control of all things. The world appears to be in chaos, and it is. The world appears to have spun out of control, and it has. But, God is on the throne. He is in control. Heaven rejoices for the time has come when Christ will return and set up His kingdom and He will rule and reign on the earth. God knows what He is doing. He has it together. He is in control.

Fourthly, heaven rejoices at the completion of the marriage of the Lamb. Verses 7-10 speak of this. “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. 8 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. 9 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. 10 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.” [4] The final stage of the marriage of Christ and His church is the focus of rejoicing in these verses. John Macarthur writes: “A marriage was the single greatest celebration and social event in the Biblical world.” [5] In ancient times, wedding celebrations involved three basic stages. First, the betrothal period. The betrothal was arranged by the parents and the children involved and it was legally binding. It could only be broken by divorce. The second stage was a time of festivities before the actual ceremony. This stage could last more than a week. The final stage of the wedding is the actual ceremony. This is when the vows are exchanged, followed by a meal and the consummation of the marriage. I believe that the bride of Christ began its betrothal stage at the time of the birth of the church. All those who come to faith in Christ, become a part of His bride. We are still in the betrothal period today. At the rapture of the church, the festivities stage begins. While tribulation occurs on the earth and God deals with the Israel as a nation again, the church is in heaven participating in the marriage festivities. At the end of the tribulation on earth, the church enters the final stage of marriage when the ceremony occurs. This is why heaven is rejoicing at this point. The marriage of the Lamb is complete and now is the time for the groom (Christ) and His bride (the church) to establish a new home (the millennial reign).

The second coming of Christ. The actual second coming of Christ to the earth is described in the final verses of chapter 19. There are three things we see here concerning the second coming of Christ.

First of all notice, the King. The King is seen in verses 11-13. 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. 12 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. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” [6] The King is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. He is coming to the earth to make war. He has a name that is above all names. His name is so great that no one can know or understand. He is the Word of God. He is the Savior. He is the King.

Secondly we see the King’s army. Notice what it says in verse 14. “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” [7] The armies described here is the church. They are clothed in fine, white linen. This is the apparel of the bride of Christ, the church. This verse provides even greater proof in support of the rapture. The church is in heaven at this time. Heaven opens up and out comes Jesus along with His bride on white horses. If there is no rapture, then how was the church in heaven? Think about this event! You and I, believers in Christ, a part if His church, will actually and literally ride out of heaven on white horses and we will follow Jesus as He conquers the armies of the earth and will we join Him as He sets up His kingdom on the earth. Just think about! Dwell on that thought for a while. What a day that will be!

Finally, consider the King’s victory. This is seen in verses 15-21. “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. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18 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. 19 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. 20 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. 21 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.” [8] Here we find the final battle, known as the battle of Armageddon. The rulers of the world are gathered together. The anti-Christ is there with His armies. The false prophet is there. Jesus will come down and intervene in the affairs of this world. He will once and for all put an end to all the chaos. The anti-Christ and the false prophet will be cast into the lack of fire.

When we think of the second coming of Christ, we are reminded once again that Christ is and will be victorious. It is easy to get discouraged over the situation in our world today. But, as we have seen, the world is only going to get worse. However, there is coming a day when all those who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus, will be brought up to heaven and will have a time of great celebration while great tribulation occurs on the earth. At the end of that time, we will come back with Jesus and join Him in establishing His kingdom on the earth. Just imagine what lies ahead of us. Not only do we have the blessings of serving Jesus in this life, but we have a glorious future ahead of us. The best is yet to come!

 

[1] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 19:1). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 19:2–3). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[3] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 19:4–6). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[4] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 19:7–10). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[5] MacArthur, John. Because the time is near. p. 285

[6] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 19:11–13). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[7] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 19:14). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[8] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 19:15–21). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

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