Matthew Henry Complete

Commentary on The Revelation

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Chapter 19

In this chapter we have,

  1. A further account of the triumphant song of angels and saints for the fall of Babylon (v. 1-4).
  2. The marriage between Christ and the church proclaimed and perfected (v. 5–10).
  3. Another warlike expedition of the glorious head and husband of the church, with the success of it (v. 10, etc.).

Verses 1-4 The fall of Babylon being fixed, finished, and declared to be irrecoverable in the foregoing chapter, this begins with a holy triumph over her, in pursuance of the order given forth: Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, ch. 18:20. They now gladly answer the call; and here you have,

Verses 5-10 The triumphant song being ended, and epithalamium, or marriage-song, begins, v. 6. Here observe,

I. The concert of heavenly music. The chorus was large and loud, as the voice of many waters and of mighty thunderings. God is fearful in praises. There is no discord in heaven; the morning stars sing together; no jarring string, nor key untuned, but pure and perfect melody.

II. The occasion of this song; and that is the reign and dominion of that omnipotent God who has redeemed his church by his own blood, and is now in a more public manner betrothing her to himself: The marriage of the Lamb has come, v. 7. Some think this refers to the conversion of the Jews, which they suppose will succeed the fall of Babylon; others, to the general resurrection: the former seems more probable. Now,

Verses 11-21 No sooner was the marriage solemnized between Christ and his church by the conversion of the Jews than the glorious head and husband of the church is called out to a new expedition, which seems to be the great battle that was to be fought at Armageddon, foretold ch. 16:16. And here observe,

I. The description of the great Commander,

II. The army which he commands (v. 14), a very large one, made up of many armies; angels and saints followed his conduct, and resembled him in their equipage, and in their armour of purity and righteousness—chosen, and called, and faithful.

III. The weapons of his warfare— A sharp sword proceeding from his mouth (v. 15), with which he smites the nations, either the threatenings of the written word, which now he is going to execute, or rather his word of command calling on his followers to take a just revenge on his and their enemies, who are now put into the wine-press of the wrath of God, to be trodden under foot by him.

IV. The ensigns of his authority, his coat of arms— a name written on his vesture and thigh, King of kings, and Lord of lords, asserting his authority and power, and the cause of the quarrel, v. 16.

V. An invitation given to the fowls of heaven, that they should come and see the battle, and share in the spoil and pillage of the field (v. 17, 18), intimating that this great decisive engagement should leave the enemies of the church a feast for the birds of prey, and that all the world should have cause to rejoice in the issue of it.

VI. The battle joined. The enemy falls on with great fury, headed by the beast, and the kings of the earth; the powers of earth and hell gathered, to make their utmost effort, v. 19.

VII. The victory gained by the great and glorious head of the church: The beast and the false prophet, the leaders of the army, are taken prisoners, both he who led them by power and he who led them by policy and falsehood; these are taken and cast into the burning lake, made incapable of molesting the church of God any more; and their followers, whether officers or common soldiers, are given up to military execution, and made a feast for the fowls of heaven. Though the divine vengeance will chiefly fall upon the beast, and the false prophet, yet it will be no excuse to those who fight under their banner that they only followed their leaders and obeyed their command; since they would fight for them, they must fall and perish with them. Be wise now therefore, O you kings, be instructed, you rulers of the earth; kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish from the way, Ps. 2:10, 12.


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