The Return

Revelation 19

Alan Lewis
Elon, North Carolina
May 2023

Today, we are going to go deep.  Get ready to have your mind blown.  Our topic today is the Second Coming.  It is the most significant event in Bible prophecy.  Jesus is coming back.  That is good news.   It is an exciting subject for all Christians.

The Second Coming is the theme of the Book of Revelation.  Everything in the book builds up to this point when Jesus returns and sets foot on the earth.  It will be the climax of human history.

Did you know that the first prophecy ever uttered by man is about the Second Coming of Christ?  It was uttered by a man named Enoch.  Enoch lived before the Flood.  He delivered the first prophecy in the Bible and Jude tells us it was about the Second Coming, not the First Coming.

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”  (Jude 14-15 NIV)

Many do not believe it, but Jesus is coming back.  How do we know?

The OT predicted that Jesus will come back.  Zechariah predicted it.

Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west (Zechariah 14:3-4 NIV)

The city of Jerusalem is at risk of an earthquake.  There is a geographic fault line in the city, and it goes through the Mount of Olives.  It is just waiting for Jesus to return and set his foot on it again.

The NT predicts that Jesus would come back. The Apostles predicted it.

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20 NIV)

We wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13 NIV)

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4 NIV)

The Apostle Paul describes the coming of the Lord in I Thessalonians 4.  Many today don’t believe that Jesus will come back.  It has been two thousand years and He has not come.

Skeptics in the first century did not believe He would come back.  Scoffers said, “Where is this coming that He promised?  Whatever happened to that promise?  That hasn’t happened yet.”  Peter addresses that objection in II Peter 3.  We have scoffers today.

The Second Coming is predicted, not only by the OT & NT, but also by angels.  Two angels said, “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11 NIV).

Jesus also predicted that He would come back.  He told parables about Him coming back.  He also talked about His Second Coming many times.

I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:2-3 NIV)

He gave a teaching on the Mount of Olives on prophecy.  In that teaching, He said that one day, the Son of Man will come “on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30 NIV)

He said, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne” (Matthew 25:31 NIV).  That hasn’t happened yet, but one day, it will.

Jesus predicted that He would come back in the Gospels and He predicted it in the Book of Revelation.   In fact, the last word of the Bible. Jesus says, “Yes, I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:20 NIV)

Jesus is coming back one day.  He is coming back to earth.  He will not just return; He will have a dramatic return.  It will be the most spectacular event in history.

John received a vision of the Second Coming.  He got to see what it will look like.  That would be cool to watch.  Let’s look at five truths about the Second Coming from the Book of Revelation.

Five Truths about the Second Coming

1) The Second Coming will be unexpected

We have already seen this in the Book of Revelation.  Jesus is going to come as a thief in the night (Revelation 16:15).  He will come when people are not expecting him to come.  He will surprise people by his coming.

2) The Second Coming will be spectacular

Revelation 19 gives us one of the most vivid pictures of Jesus coming back.  Heaven opens for the second time in the book.  First, it opened to let John in.  The second time, it opened Jesus returns to earth.

 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. (Revelation 19:11 NIV)

Heaven opens and Jesus returns on a white horse (this is a flying horse), riding on the clouds (not rain clouds but glory clouds) and followed by the armies of heaven (not one army but many armies, human and angelic armies).  Those armies will also be riding white horses.

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him (Matthew 25:31 NIV)

Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones (Jude 14 ESV)

He is going to return with his bride.  The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14 NIV)

Jesus said that he was coming back IN GLORY (Matthew 16:27). In fact, he said that He was not only coming back in glory but in POWER AND GREAT GLORY (Matthew 24:30).

Jesus does not return as president or prime minister but as king.  He does not just return as king but as King of kings and Lord of Lords.

On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords. (Revelation 19:16 NIV)

3) The Second Coming will be visible

When He returns, everyone will see it and know it.  When He returns, everyone will know that He came back.  There will not be any skeptics.  EVERY eye will see him.  His coming will be visible.  It will be witnessed in every country on the planet.

For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:27 NIV)

Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him (Revelation 1:7 NIV)

This refutes all the cults who teach an invisible coming.  The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus returned in 1914 but no one saw him. Preterists believe that Jesus returned in 70 AD, but no one saw him.

There is another possible reason why everyone will see Jesus hinted at in the Gospels.  Just before Jesus returns, the earth will be covered in complete darkness.  Jesus’ coming will light up the sky and everyone will see him.

The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 30 Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. (Matthew 24:29-30 NIV)

4) The Second Coming will be emotional

There will be an emotional reaction to the return of Jesus.  Both Jews and Gentiles will have this reaction.

10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will MOURN for him as one mourns for an only child, and GRIEVE BITTERLY for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. 11 On that day the WEEPING in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. (Zechariah 12:10-12 NIV)

“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will MOURN when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:30 NIV)

“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him,

even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will MOURN because of him.” (Revelation 1:7 NIV)

5) The Second Coming will be violent

That is what we see in Revelation 19.  Jesus returns and a lot of people die.

The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh. (Revelation 19:21 NIV)

You should NOT feel sorry for these people.  They are not innocent people that Jesus kills as He returns to planet earth.  As Jesus returns, notice what happens.

The beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war AGAINST the rider on the horse and his army (Revelation 19:19 NIV)

Armies see Jesus returning and actually try to attack Him.  What is strange is that no one in any of the armies that returns with Jesus is armed.  None have armor.

How can you have an army without weapons?  In fact, how can you have an army all dressed in white.  That is not how soldiers dress when they go out into battle.

The armies come to share in the victory, but we do not do any of the fighting.  They just follow Him.  The sheep follow the Lamb wherever he goes (Revelation 14:4).

Jesus returns with armies, but He is the only one who does any fighting.  He will not need any help.  He will do all of the fighting and He will do it without any weapons

A sword is mentioned but that is not in his hand.  This sword is symbolic.  It is an apocalyptic picture.   What good would a sword do against a gun or a missile or a bomb.  This sword comes from his mouth.

Notice how short the battle is.  One word is spoken, and the battle is over.  The battle will be over before it even starts.  Jesus doesn’t even need to get off his horse.  He fights while he is sitting on his horse without using any weapons.

This battle will not take seven years, like some battles.  This battle will be over in seconds and the victory will be total.

There will be no doubt about who wins.  The side that lost is lying dead soldiers on the ground.  All of the armies of the Antichrist are instantly destroyed, except for two people.  Two people are NOT killed.

Two people in the OT never died (Elijah and Enoch).  Now, two people in the NT do not die (Antichrist and the False Prophet).  Two never died because they were so righteous and two never died because they were so wicked.

Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. (Revelation 19:19-20 NIV)

The Beast and the False Prophet. They will be captured alive and thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20).  They become the first two people to go to Hell.  They get there before Satan.  He does not get there until a thousand years later.

What followed after this battle was a great feast.  There are two great feasts in this chapter. Revelation 19 is the tale of two suppers – the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and the Supper after the Battle of Armageddon.  There is a big contrast between those suppers.

One supper was a blessing, and one was a curse.  In the first supper, the invited guests get to eat a meal.  In the second supper, guests are the meal.  They are the main course.  They are on the menu.

There are all these birds feasting on the bodies of the armies of the Antichrist.  They do not just eat; they gorge themselves on all of the dead bodies.  There will be so many of them.

And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small.” (Revelation 19:17-18 NIV)

Portrait of Jesus

Revelation 19 gives us a portrait of Jesus.  It begins with the Marriage of the Lamb and is followed by Jesus returning on a white horse. We learn all of these names of Jesus in this chapter.

Jesus is Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11), unlike the Antichrist.  He is Faithful and True in our lives as well.  He is also called Word of God (Revelation 19:13).

He is called King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16).  He is sovereign over every ruler on earth.  He is ruler over all of the rulers and He has a name that nobody knows (Revelation 19:12). That may be the same name that Christ will write on overcomers (see Revelation 2:17; 3:12).

This chapter is all about Jesus.  We are also told something very important about Jesus in Revelation 19.  The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10 ESV).

The spirit of prophecy is NOT our testimony.  It is the testimony of Jesus.  There is a connection between Jesus and biblical prophecy.  It is all about Jesus.  He is the theme of prophecy.  It all ultimately points to Him.

He is the theme of the book.  It is called “A Revelation of Jesus Christ,” not “A Revelation of the Antichrist or “A Revelation of the Woman Riding the Beast.”  Jesus is the theme of the Book of Revelation. He is the theme of the whole Bible.

Many study the Book of Revelation and miss Jesus.  One of the greatest mistakes today in interpreting The Book of Revelation is it ONLY through the lens of future events.

Many study the Bible and miss Jesus.  That is very common when non-Christian scholars at secular universities with degrees from ivy league schools try to interpret the Bible.

They have Ph.Ds.  They are great scholars, but they don’t have God.  They don’t have the Holy Spirit.  The Pharisees were like this in Jesus’ day.  Notice what He said to them.

You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:39-40 NIV)

If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. (John 5:46 NIV)

The Biblical Jesus

There is something shocking in this chapter.  Most Christians do not worship the Jesus found in this chapter.  Many do not know the real Jesus.  In fact, they would be shocked to find out what this chapter says about Him.  What is so shocking here?

1) Jesus judges people

The Jesus of Revelation 19 does not save people.  He judges people.

The First Coming Jesus came to save.  He came to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (I Timothy 1:15 NIV).

“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:17 NASB 1995)

During the Second Coming, Jesus will judge people.  In fact, He will judge people at the Great White Throne Judgment.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he JUDGES (Revelation 19:11 NIV)

In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31 NIV

2) Jesus goes to war

Most people think that Jesus was a pacifist.  Most people in the world believe that Jesus is against war.  Many think that He is anti-war.

Some have bumper stickers that say, “War or Peace – What Would Jesus Do?”  Some wear t-shirts that say, “Who Would Jesus Bomb?”  Are they right?  Is Jesus a liberal?

He taught people to turn the other cheek.  He taught us to love our enemies and forgive people.  He taught us not to return evil for evil.  He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Sermon on the Mount.

When Jesus comes back, He makes war.  After a wedding, there is a war.  In righteousness he judges and makes war (Revelation 19:11 ESV).

If Jesus is against war, if He is anti-war, then why when He returns does He make war on people?  Why does He wage war when He returns (Revelation 19:11)?

Many people think that war is wrong.  They think that war is inherently wrong.  It can’t be because Jesus will go to war.

Now, most wars on earth lead to the slaughter of innocent men, women and children.  Most wars on earth are wicked.  Jesus will wage war IN RIGHTEOUSNESS (Revelation 19:11 KJV, ESV).  The Antichrist will make war in unrighteousness.

In the First Coming, Jesus came to make PEACE.  He came to make peace between God and man.  He is called “the Prince of Peace.”  That is one of his names.  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NIV).

Right after He was born, there was a message of people.  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14 ESV).

In the Second Coming, Jesus comes to make war.  In fact, He leads an army into battle.  He returns not only as king but as a military leader.  He returns as a general.

3) Jesus kills people

Most people were never taught this about Jesus.  The Jesus that we worship saves people.  He has compassion for people.  This Jesus kills people.  That is not the Jesus that most Christians worship.

When Jesus comes back to earth, a lot of people will die.  Revelation 19 is one of most violent chapters in the Bible.

Jesus’ eyes are like blazing fire.  A sharp sword comes out of His mouth.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood.

There is a textual variant.  We don’t know if it should be translated “dipped in blood” (NIV) or “sprinkled with blood” (ASV)

This battle ends with dead bodies all over the battlefield and birds eating all of the dead bodies and feasting on them.  It is not really a battle.  It is more of an execution.

Life Lessons

1) Who do we worship?

We need to be careful who we worship.  John fell down and worshipped an angel in this chapter.  He was not only a mature Christian.  He had been a believer for decades and he was an apostle.  He had been with Jesus for three years. If he could commit this sin, we could as well.

2) Do we have a biblical view of Jesus?

Do we follow the the Jesus of the Bible or some other Jesus?  Not every Jesus presented, even by preachers, is necessarily the Jesus of Scripture.

3) Are we ready for Jesus to return?

Many will not be ready.  He will come back unexpectedly.  He will not announce when He is coming back.  Do we live each day like we are ready?  We should be more focused on preparing than predicting, as one preacher put it.

4) Which supper will we be attending?

Will we attend the Marriage Supper of the Lamb or the Supper of the Great God?  Are we a part of the Bride of Christ?  Do we follow the Lamb wherever He goes, or will we be followers of the Antichrist and even defend and fight for him in battle, as many will do?

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