Rider with the Armies of Heaven
A Sharp Sickle in His Hand
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.
His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.
He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.
Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God,
that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”
And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.
Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh. (Revelation 19:11-21)
At the end of the Tribulation — after Israel, through the judgments of the Tribulation, has been brought to the place of repentance — the heavens will open, and Christ will return to the earth (Revelation 14:14-20; 17:1-19:11ff).
God, at this time, having heard Israel’s cry unto Him, will remember His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 2:23ff). Only then will God’s action in this respect be seen. Only then will God send the Deliverer whom the nation rejected and crucified 2,000 years earlier.
These things will occur following 2,600 years of Gentile dominance, following 2,600 years of the Gentiles holding the scepter. These things will occur following blessings being withheld from the nations throughout all of these years because of Israel’s prior and continued disobedience (a disobedience that had previously extended over centuries of time preceding these 2,600 years — over 800 years of time, extending from the beginning of the theocracy during Moses’ day to the end of the theocracy during Nebuchadnezzar’s day [from about 1445 B.C. to about 605 B.C.]).
In Nebuchadnezzar’s day, the scepter was taken from the one whose right it is to rule — God’s firstborn son, the nation of Israel (Exodus 4:22, 23) — and given to the Gentiles. And, at the same time, Israel was driven out among the Gentiles to effect repentance through persecution at the hands of the Gentiles, with a view to the restoration of the Jewish people and the theocracy.
In a respect, somewhat of an irony exists in God choosing persecution at the hands of the Gentile nations to effect Israel’s repentance.
Because of Israel’s disobedience, being uprooted from her land, and dispersed among the nations, blessings have been/are being withheld from these same nations among whom Israel has found herself throughout centuries of time. That is to say, the channel through whom God has decreed that blessings are to flow (Israel) has been removed from the place that the nation must occupy for these blessings to flow (the land of Israel) and has been scattered among those to whom blessings were to flow (the nations).
And, in reality, the only way to turn this around, so that the nations can be blessed through Israel, is for the nations to intensify their persecution of the Jewish people to the point that Israel will repent, resulting in a converted and restored nation, through whom blessings can flow.
Thus, within this overall scenario, one could undoubtedly find a reason for the existing innate dislike and/or hatred that Gentiles often have for and exhibit toward the Jews, though the Gentiles couldn’t possibly understand or know anything about the “why” of innate feelings of this nature that they might possess.
The nations dislike Israel, but they don’t know why; they just know that they do. Israel, in her present state of unbelief, does not know why they are disliked by the nations; they just know that they are.
It is because of the identity of the Jewish people, the place that they presently occupy, and the place that they are about to occupy that Gentile persecution of the Jewish people comes into view and will be worked out in God’s way and time.
Israel is God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22, 23), the one whom God called into existence to exercise the rights of primogeniture — the one ruling the household (those on the earth), under and for the Father (God); the one exercising the priestly functions of the family (the one through whom blessings are to flow), also under and for the Father; and the one receiving a double portion of all the Father’s goods (heavenly and earthly dominion).
Thus, in relation to the nation’s position as God’s firstborn son, Israel, during the present time, is completely out of place. Israel not only finds herself removed from her land and scattered among the Gentile nations but these same nations hold the scepter.
All of this has persisted for some 2,600 years, accounting for all of the anti-Semitism and persecution of the Jewish people by the Gentiles down through the years, etc. But it is all about to come to a head and be worked out.
That’s a central reason for all the things prophesied to occur during the Tribulation. The extreme judgments of the Tribulation will be God’s way of ultimately effecting Israel’s repentance; and the timing on God’s clock in this respect is about to strike midnight.
Those from whom blessings have been withheld because God drove His son out among them to effect repentance at their hands (the Gentiles) are about to render the type of persecution that will bring this repentance about. Then, after God uses the Gentiles nations in this way, He will judge these same nations because of that which they will have done (cf. Genesis 12:1-3; Zechariah 1:14, 15).
(The entire history of Israel, leading into and including that future day when Christ returns, is seen in Old Testament typology time after time in the book of Judges. Accounts in this book, time after time, relate not only to that which has occurred and is continuing to occur but also to that which is about to be brought to an apex and concluded in a climactic respect by and through the judgments brought to pass by the breaking of the seals of the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation chapter five.
The entire history of and future for Israel, beginning with Moses leading the people out of Egypt and continuing throughout the remainder of Man’s Day, can be summed up in four words:
In the book of Judges, time after time, over given periods of time, the Jewish people are seen responding to God’s previously given commandments through Moses. And the people, during these different times, always followed the same pattern relative to these commandments. There was always disobedience to that which God had commanded, and judgment would then follow through God using the surrounding Gentile nations to subjugate and persecute His people.
God’s use of the surrounding nations in this respect was to effect repentance; and, following repentance, God would send a deliverer to lead His people out of the position and circumstances in which they found themselves.
This cycle was repeated time after time during the days of the judges [cf. Judges 2:16-19; 3:7-15; 4:1-4; 6:1-14; 10:6-18; 11:1ff; 13:1ff], establishing a number of types, all following exactly the same pattern.
Then, the antitype to which all these types point began over two and one-half millennia ago, at the time of the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities [about 722 and 605 B.C. respectively]. And the culmination of the matter — a bringing to an apex and the completion of the cycle to which all of the types in Judges point — is almost upon us. We are very, very near the end of Man’s 6,000-year Day.)
The Heavens Opened
There are several references in the New Testament to heaven, or the heavens, being opened.
The heavens were opened at the time of Jesus’ baptism, with the Spirit descending upon Him and God announcing, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16, 17; Luke 3:21, 22; cf. Matthew 17:5).
Then John 1:51, a Messianic passage, points to a future day when the heavens will be opened to provide angelic ministry in relation to Christ’s rule over the earth (cf. Genesis 28:12-14), a rule alluded to by God’s announcement concerning His Son at the time of His baptism (“Sonship” implies rulership [Sons alone rule in God’s kingdom], with Christ, God’s Son, having been born “King of the Jews” [Matthew 2:2]).
The heavens are seen opened two times in the book of Acts — at the time of Stephen’s stoning (Acts 7:56), and again when a vessel was let down from heaven to teach Peter a lesson concerning God’s message being carried to the Gentiles (Acts 10:11ff).
Then the heavens are seen opened or alluded to being opened a number of times in the book of Revelation. The first time pictures a door opened in heaven (Revelation 1:10; ref. the same scene repeated in Revelation 4:1), dealing with the removal of Christians preceding the Tribulation. And there are various references of this nature in verses such as Revelation 6:14-17; 10:1; 11:12; 12:5; 14:14. Then, the last of these references is seen in Revelation 19:11 where the heavens are opened to allow Christ, accompanied by angels, to return to the earth (with this same scene dealt with after other fashions in two of the preceding references [Revelation 6:14-17; 14:14ff]).
Then, two references from the preceding two paragraphs parallel one another in a respect, though separated in time by about 2,000 years — Acts 7:56 and Revelation 19:11 (also, again, Revelation 6:14-17 and Revelation 14:14ff set forth the same scene after different fashions).
In the former reference, Stephen had just finished a lengthy message to the religious leaders in Israel — an address before the council, with Israel’s high priest present (Acts 6:15; 7:1). Stephen had dealt with central parts of the history of Israel extending from Abraham to the present time, covering 2,000 years of history (Acts 7:2-50).
He then called their attention to that which had occurred down through the years, climaxed by recent events (Acts 7:51, 52). The Jewish people over the years, covering centuries of time, had rejected, persecuted, and slain the Prophets that had been sent to them. And now, in a climactic act, they had done the same thing to God’s Son (cf. Matthew 21:33-39; 23:34-37; Acts 2:23, 36; 3:14, 15).
Stephen’s message was proclaimed very early in the re-offer of the kingdom to Israel, and this message brought matters to a climactic point. Stephen’s message, which dealt solely with the recorded Word as it pertained to the living Word, was so powerful that, at the conclusion of this message, the heavens were opened. And God’s Son, referred to in the passage as “the Son of man” (a Messianic title [cf. Psalm 8:4-6; Daniel 7:13, 14; Acts 7:55, 56]), was seen standing at God’s right hand.
In the light of related Scripture, the picture is self-explanatory. The religious leaders in Israel had been brought to a decisive place in the re-offer of the kingdom to Israel. They could only do one of two things. There was no alternate. They could either receive the message being proclaimed or they could reject this message.
Receiving the message would result in ultimate blessings for Israel and the nations; rejecting the message would result in exactly the opposite — ultimate dire consequences for Israel and the nations.
Receiving the message, the religious leaders would call for national repentance on Israel’s part, God would send the Deliverer (His Son) following Israel’s repentance, and the kingdom would then be restored to Israel.
Note that similar messages had previously been delivered by Peter to individuals in Jerusalem from “every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:14-40) and later to Jews at and near the Temple following a miraculous sign (Acts 3:12-26; also see Acts 4:1-12; 5:12-33).
But, rejecting the message, there would be no national repentance. The heavens would close, “the Son of man” would sit back down at His Father’s right hand (Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:34, 35), the Jewish people would continue in their sins, and the dispensation that had begun on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter two would be allowed to run its course.
These Jewish religious leaders chose the latter. They rejected the message; and, as the Jewish people had previously done with the Prophets, and last of all with their Messiah, they slew the messenger (Acts 7:57-60).
Thus, these religious leaders (and, consequently, the nation at large) remained in an unrepentant state, a state in which they would continue. The heavens could then only close and remain closed until Israel did repent, with resulting dire consequences for Israel and the nations during the interim.
(Because of Israel’s position as God’s firstborn son — possessing the rights of primogeniture among the nations of the earth — that which occurred, particularly during the first seven chapters of Acts, had far-reaching ramifications. Events in Acts chapter seven form a major turning point in the re-offer of the kingdom to Israel, as events in Matthew chapter twelve had formed a major turning point in the original offer of the kingdom to Israel.
In the original offer of the kingdom, Israel’s rejection of the message and the Messenger was brought to a climactic point by and through events in Matthew chapter twelve [centrally by attributing Christ’s miraculous works to satanic powers]. Beyond this time in Matthew, though the offer of the kingdom remained open, matters were markedly different. And this difference began with Christ, the same day, going “out of the house” [a reference to the house of Israel] and down “by the seaside” [a reference to the Gentiles] in Matthew 13:1.
In the re-offer of the kingdom, exactly the same thing is seen through events in Acts chapter seven. Beyond this time in Acts, though the re-offer of the kingdom continued, matters were markedly different. And this difference began with the introduction of Paul [referred to by his Hebrew name, “Saul”] immediately before Stephen was stoned [Acts 7: 57-60].
Paul, following his conversion, became the apostle to the Gentiles [Acts 9:15, 16; 26:16-18; Galatians 2:7]. Thus, through concluding events in Acts chapter seven, exactly as previously seen immediately following events in Matthew chapter twelve, the Gentiles are brought into full view.
In both the offer and the re-offer of the kingdom, the direction that Israel would take [rejection] was, for all practical purposes, set at these two times [events in Matthew chapter twelve and Acts chapter seven]. Thus, exactly as the events of Matthew chapter twelve established a base for the course that Middle East history and the history of the world at large would take [the removal of the Kingdom from Israel, the Cross, and the bringing into existence of the Church to be the recipient of that which had been taken from Israel (Matthew 16:18, 21; 21:43)], so it is with events in Acts chapter seven.
Events in this chapter establish a base for the course that Middle East history and the history of the world at large would take for the next 2,000 years. Blessings for Israel and the Gentile nations would be withheld, the nations would continue holding the scepter, and conditions among Israel and the nations in the Middle East could only deteriorate.
As a result, 2,000 years later, Israel finds herself at the center of a turmoil among the nations, centered in the Middle East but worldwide in scope — a turmoil that will ultimately tumble completely out of control [ref. Chapters 1-3 in this book]. According to Scripture, this situation will one day become so dire that divine intervention will be the only thing that will save both Israel and the nations:
And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:22)
As seen earlier in this book, a situation of this nature is what Scripture reveals that it will take to bring Israel to the place of repentance — the repentance called for in the gospel accounts and the book of Acts. And God, yet future, will bring Israel and the nations through that which lies just ahead [the Great Tribulation] for this very purpose — to bring about Israel’s repentance [ref. the author’s books, Israel — From Death to Life and Coming in His Kingdom].)
The time when the heavens will open once again in relation to that which is seen by the opened heavens in Acts 7:56 is not seen again in Scripture until Revelation 19:11ff (or, 6:14-17; 14:14ff) — after Israel has been brought to the place of repentance (Leviticus 26:40-42; 2 Chronicles 7:12-14), after Israel has been cleansed of her harlotry (Revelation 17:1-18:24), after the rejoicing in heaven because of Israel’s changed condition (Revelation 19:1-6), and after the marriage festivities in heaven (Revelation 19:7-9).
Israel will have been brought to the place of repentance by and through the judgments of the Tribulation, the kingdom will have been delivered to the Son by the Father (Daniel 7:13, 14; Revelation 11:15ff), and Christ will then return through an opened heaven as “King of kings and Lord of lords,” to complete His dealings with Israel and the nations prior to His reign.
“Israel” is the key. And more particularly, in relation to the subject at hand, the one act by Israel that will turn the key in the lock and open the door is the nation’s repentance.
Until Israel repents, the nation will be left without a Deliverer; but when Israel does repent, God, remaining true to His Word, in complete accord with all of the types in Judges, will then send the Deliverer.
God will send the One of whom Moses was only a type, the One greater than Moses. And as Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt (“Egypt” is always a type of the world in Scripture) with a view to their realizing an inheritance in another land (the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), the One greater than Moses will lead the Israelites out from a worldwide dispersion, with a view to their realizing an inheritance in the same land (cf. Exodus 3:1-9; Leviticus 26:40-42; 2 Chronicles 7:12-14; Matthew 24:30, 31).
And as the former resulted in a theocracy in the land, so will the latter, with the latter theocracy being millennial in its scope of fulfillment.
Christ Comes Forth
One day the heavens will open in a climactic fashion, and Christ will come forth as “King of kings and Lord of lords” to deal with Israel and the nations immediately preceding the establishment of His kingdom. The matter is dealt with in numerous places throughout the Old Testament and is dealt with in a somewhat capsulated, succinct manner in the latter part of Revelation chapter nineteen. The matter need only be dealt with in this concise manner as Scripture is brought to a close, for all the different facets of that which has been set forth and covered in great detail in previous Scripture.
1) A Crowned Rider on a White Horse
In the book of Revelation, at the beginning of the Tribulation, a crowned individual is seen riding forth on a white horse, going forth “conquering and to conquer” (Revelation 6:2). Then, at the end of the Tribulation, another crowned individual is seen riding forth on a white horse, with the same goal in view (Revelation 19:11, 12).
The first rider is from below and rides forth from a part of the earth, with the conquest of the earth in view. He rides forth preceding the redemption of the inheritance, at a time when the inheritance is still under Satan’s dominion and control, still belonging to him.
This rider comes forth wearing a type of crown referred to in the Greek text by the word stephanos, indicating that he has yet to achieve the position to which he aspires — worldwide dominion. But by the middle of the Tribulation he will not only have achieved this position but he will be seated on Satan’s throne, wearing a crown referred to in the Greek text by the word diadema (Revelation 12:3; 13:2).
The second rider is from above and rides forth through an opened heaven to the earth, with a view to completing the redemption of and taking possession of an inheritance — an inheritance still under Satan’s rule and dominion at this time, but no longer belonging to him; and it is about to be taken from him.
This rider comes forth wearing “many crowns,” the type of crowns referred to in the Greek text by the word diadema. This type of crown, as distinguished from the type of crown referred to by the word stephanos, indicates that Christ is now in possession of the kingdom, previously given to Him by His Father (Daniel 7:13, 14; cf. Revelation 11:15). And, in keeping with that which now is in His possession, Christ is seen coming forth as “King of kings and Lord of lords.”
(For differences in crowns referred to through the use of stephanos and diadema, see Chapter 5 in this book, pp. 33, 51.)
However, the crowns seen on Christ’s head at this time are not crowns that He will wear during His reign. Christ, during His reign, will wear the crown that Satan, the present world ruler, wears — the one to whom God had given the kingdom in time past (Ezekiel 28:14; Daniel 4:17, 25; 7:13, 14); and Satan will still be wearing his crown (a diadem) at the time Christ returns, though the kingdom will now belong to the One returning through the opened heavens.
This can be seen by comparing Revelation 14:14-20 and 19:11-21 — the same scene depicted from two different perspectives. In 14:14, unlike the same scene in 19:12, Christ is seen wearing only one “crown” (a translation of stephanos, not diadema), not many crowns. Christ’s crown, at this point in time, has yet to be seen as one depicted by the word diadema, for Satan, yet to be overthrown, will still be wearing the diadem.
(The whole of the preceding, as it pertains to Satan and Christ, was foreshadowed typically by the account of Saul and David in the books of 1, 2 Samuel.
Saul was anointed king over Israel; but Saul disqualified himself by refusing, as God had commanded, to destroy the Amalekites and all of their possessions [1 Samuel 15:1ff], though Saul continued to reign. And Saul would continue to reign until the one whom God had chosen to replace him was not only on the scene but ready to ascend the throne.
Then note that which the type, thus far, foreshadows:
Satan was anointed king over the earth; but Satan disqualified himself by seeking to extend his rule beyond his God-appointed position [Isaiah 14:13, 14; Ezekiel 28:14], though Satan continued to reign. And Satan would continue to reign until the One whom God had chosen to replace him was not only on the scene but ready to ascend the throne.
In the type, shortly after God rejected Saul as Israel’s ruler, God had Samuel anoint David king over Israel [1 Samuel 16:10-13]. There were then two anointed kings in Israel. But David didn’t immediately ascend the throne. Rather, he eventually found himself in a place out in the hills, separated from Saul and his kingdom. And, during this time, certain faithful men joined themselves to David and remained out in the hills with him.
But the day came when David was ready to ascend the throne, possessing a contingent of faithful men ready to rule with him. Then, Saul was put down, his crown was taken and given to David; and David, with and his faithful men, moved in and took over the government.
In the antitype, after God had rejected Satan as the earth’s ruler, God anointed His Son King over the earth [Psalm 45:6, 7, 16; Hebrews 1:8, 9]. There were then, and there are today, two anointed Kings over the earth. But God’s Son, as David in the type, didn’t immediately ascend the throne.
Rather, as David, Christ finds Himself in a place of exile, separated from the kingdom. And, as in David’s case, certain faithful individuals join themselves to Christ during this time, remaining in the place of exile with Him.
But the day is near at hand when matters will continue exactly as is seen in the type. Christ, in that day, as David in his day, will be ready to ascend the throne, possessing a contingent of faithful followers to rule with Him. Then, Satan, as Saul, will be put down, his crown will be taken and given to Christ; and Christ, with His faithful followers, will move in and take over the government.)
The many crowns (diadems) that Christ will have on His head at this time would almost certainly be the crowns cast before God’s throne by the twenty-four elders in Revelation 4:9-11 (a representative group). These would be crowns worn by those angels ruling with Satan in the beginning who had refused to follow him in his attempt to exalt his throne — an attempt to extend his rule beyond the earth, apart from divine appointment.
And since man is to rule the earth during the coming age in the stead of angels, the twenty-four elders are seen relinquishing their crowns to God, for God alone is the One who places and removes rulers (Daniel 4:17, 25; Matthew 20:23; ref. the author’s book, The Time of The End, Chapter 7, “Crowns Cast Before God’s Throne”).
Following events at the Judgment seat (Revelation 1-3) and the relinquishment of crowns immediately afterwards (Revelation 4) — immediately following the time certain individuals have been shown worthy to occupy regal positions with Christ, but preceding Christ’s return — God will have appointed numerous Christians to positions in the kingdom.
Then — in the light of Revelation 19:12 — their crowns will evidently be given to the Son, He will return with these crowns, overthrow Satan, take His crown, and then give the other crowns in His possession to those whom His Father will have previously designated should wear them (along with crowns worn by angels presently ruling with Satan, following the overthrow of Satan and his angels).
Then, Christ and His faithful co-heirs will move in, take over the government, and rule the earth in the stead of Satan and his angels.
2) Others Accompanying Christ
The “armies in heaven” are seen following Christ at the time He returns through an opened heaven (Revelation 19:14). Those comprising these armies could only be identified as angels, not Christians, as often taught (Matthew 24:29-31; 2 Thessalonians 1:7). “Armies” in heaven are comprised of angels, not men, particularly not Christ’s bride (cf. 2 Kings 6:15-17; Joel 2:11; Matthew 26:53; Revelation 12:7ff).
Christ’s bride, about to become His wife, will not return back to the earth with the One to whom she is betrothed at this time but will be as Asenath, residing in another part of the palace when Joseph dealt with his brethren (Genesis 45:1ff), and/or as Zipporah, only going part way with Moses when he returned to deal with his brethren (Exodus 4:20, 29; 18:2, 3).
Christ’s bride will evidently go part way, as Zipporah, possibly remaining in the New Jerusalem above the earth (which would leave her in another part of the palace, as Asenath) while Christ returns to the earth with His angels to deal with Israel and the nations.
Then, as Moses was reunited with his wife following His dealings with Israel and the destruction of the power of Egypt (Exodus 18:1-5), so will Christ be reunited with the one who will then be His wife following His dealings with Israel and the destruction of Gentile world power.
(Note that the bride becomes Christ’s wife through the redemption of the inheritance [brought to pass through the judgments resulting from the breaking of the seals on the seven-sealed scroll], as seen in Ruth becoming Boaz’s wife at this time in Ruth chapter four.
For information on this subject, refer to Chapters 8, 9 in the author’s book, The Time of the End.)
The Trodden Winepress
In connection with Christ returning through an opened heaven as “King of kings and Lord of lords” to tread the winepress, an angel is seen standing in the sun (Revelation 19:17). And this angel cries out with a loud voice to all the birds of the air (land animals as well in the same scene from Ezekiel 39:17) to come, gather together, and partake of “the great supper of the God” — a supper that will consist of “the flesh of captains . . . mighty men . . . horses . . . free and slave, both small and great” (vv. 18).
(The adjective, “great” [Gk., megas] in Revelation 19:17, describing a supper [describing God in the KJV/NKJV] is used eighty-two times in the book of Revelation, describing numerous things [e.g., 1:10; 2:22; 5:2, 12; 6:4, 10, 12, 13, 17]. The word megas though is never used to describe God in this book, unless this verse in chapter 19 is the exception.
A couple of Greek manuscripts do have the word megas describing “God” rather than “supper” in this verse [including the Textus Receptus, the main Greek text used for the KJV, accounting for the KJV translation]. However, the vast majority of manuscripts have the word megas describing “supper,” accounting for the translation, “the great supper of God,” in almost any English translation since the 1901 ASV.
The word megas appears one-hundred fourteen times throughout the rest of the New Testament [Matthew through Jude], and the word is used only seven times throughout this part of the New Testament to describe Deity — three times to describe Christ in Messianic passages [Matthew 5:35; Luke 1:33; Titus 2:13], twice to describe Christ as High Priest [Hebrews 4:14; 10:21], once to describe Christ as the great Shepherd of the sheep [Hebrews 13:20], and once by the Jewish people to describe Christ as a great Prophet [Luke 7:16].
The Septuagint [Greek translation of the Old Testament] uses megas mainly for a translation of the Hebrew word gadol. This word is used some five hundred times in the Old Testament, but, as in the New Testament, the word is used only sparingly to describe Deity [e.g., Exodus 18:11; Deuteronomy 7:21; 10:17; Psalm 47:2; 99:2; 138:5].
In both Ezekiel 39:17 and Revelation 19:17, the cry is to “all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven,” not just the carrion birds. And the same is true of the land animals in Ezekiel 39:17 — “every beast of the field.”
According to the scene presented when the third and fourth seals have been broken in Revelation 6:5-8, depicting conditions during the latter part of the Tribulation, particularly near the end, hunger existing among animal life at that time will evidently be such that even non-carnivorous animals may very likely be found partaking of this “great supper.”)
The angel standing in the sun, uttering this cry, stands within that which is used in a metaphorical sense in the book of Revelation to symbolize the center of governmental power (cf. Revelation 6:12; 8:12; 12:1; 16:8). And the symbolism used in Revelation 19:17 is introduced by and reflects back on the previous six verses, depicting Christ returning through an opened heaven as “King of kings and Lord of lords.”
The right to take the scepter and rule the earth at this time will have previously been given to the Son by the Father (Daniel 7:13, 14; Revelation 11:15; cf. Daniel 4:17, 25; 5:18-21; Matthew 20:23). And the angel standing in the sun — standing in that symbolizing the central governing authority — is seen announcing this fact.
(A similar scene occurring at the time of Christ’s return was depicted earlier in the book, in Revelation 10:1, 2 — the angel with the seventh trumpet, whose “face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire,” coming down from heaven and placing “his right foot upon the sea and his left foot on the land.”)
Then, from this point, the call goes out to all the birds of the air to come and feast upon that which is about to remain of Gentile world power when it comes against the King in Jerusalem, seeking to prevent Him from taking the scepter and assuming the throne, seeking to prevent Him from assuming that which will then be rightfully His.
Following this call, both the beast and the False Prophet are taken and cast alive into the lake of fire. Then the Gentile armies of the earth — which will have dared to follow the beast, as he led them against the King in Jerusalem, along with restored Israel in the land — will be trodden under foot as Christ treads the winepress (Revelation 19:19-21; cf. Revelation 14:14-20; 16:13-16).
These armies will consist of such vast numbers in that day — myriads of myriads (Revelation 9:16; cf. 16:12-16 [200,000,000, KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV; a double use of the Greek word murias appears here, which shows an indefinite, very large number, possibly more than 200,000,000]) — that blood will flow in places to a depth coming up to a horse’s bridle. And this slaughter will extend over a distance of about one hundred and eighty miles, evidently all the way down into Edom at the southern end of the Dead Sea (Isaiah 63:1ff; Revelation 14:20).
This is how the Times of the Gentiles will be brought to a close when Christ returns — centrally because of the outworking of the principles set forth in Genesis 12:1-3 and Israel’s God-appointed position among the nations in Genesis 9:26, 27; Exodus 4:22, 23. And the manner in which this will occur results in that which Scripture refers to as “the great supper of God,” with trampled Gentile world powers left on the mountains and plains of Israel for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field to devour.
1) The Succinct Account in the Book of Revelation
It may appear strange to some reading Revelation 19:17-21 that no more space or detail has been given at this point in the book to that which will occur relative to Gentile world power when Christ returns. After all, this is the grand climax of some 2,600 years of Gentile rule, with Israel about to take the scepter and realize her God-appointed position among the nations, which was made known through Moses almost 3,500 years ago (Genesis 9:26, 27; Exodus 4:22, 23).
But the entire matter at this climactic place in the book of Revelation is stated in a very succinct manner — five verses or a total of eleven verses if one begins with Christ returning through the opened heavens in verse eleven.
Previously in this book, the same subject was dealt with several times after somewhat the same succinct manner (ref. Revelation 9:13-21; 14:14-20; 16:12-16). Just the bare facts are given any place in the book, with very little added detail. Again, the lack of space and detail given to this climactic end of the Times of the Gentiles in a book that brings Scripture to a close, completing God’s revelation to man, may appear strange to some. But that should not be the case at all.
The space and detail concerning the matter has already been given throughout numerous passages in the Old Testament, passages covering whole chapters or books at times. In fact, this is the direction toward which everything moves throughout all forty chapters of the book of Exodus, all ten chapters of the book of Esther, or all twelve chapters of the book of Daniel, with Israel emerging in the end as the nation holding the scepter once again.
The entire matter is a major subject of Old Testament prophecy, and everything about how the Times of the Gentiles will end has already been covered by Prophet after Prophet in minute detail.
If all the Scriptures written about this subject in the Old Testament were brought together, one would have a word picture so complete and detailed that it would defy description.
Thus, when arriving at this closing place in the book of Revelation — the book closing the complete canon of Scripture — nothing needs to be given beyond a simple announcement and description, connecting that which is stated by Old Testament Scriptures.
And the same thing could be said about the 1,000-year reign of Christ in the following chapter (Revelation 20). The enire matter — from events that will occur following the binding of Satan at the beginning of the Millennium to events that will occur preceding the loosing of Satan at the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:1-3, 7ff) — is stated in three verses (vv. 4-6).
Why only three verses to cover events during 1,000 years of time which the whole of creation has been moving toward since the restoration of the earth and man’s creation and fall 6,000 years ago?
The answer is the same as that which is previously seen concerning the lack of detail in this book pertaining to the end of the Times of the Gentiles. All of the events surrounding the coming 1,000-year reign of Christ have, as Christ’s return in the previous chapter (Revelation 19), already been covered by Prophet after Prophet in minute detail throughout the Old Testament as well, beginning in the opening two chapters of Genesis. And all that needs to be stated in this closing book of Scripture is simply an announcement that the time that the Prophets had previously spoken about has now come.
And exactly the same thing could be said concerning a word picture drawn from the Old Testament Scriptures pertaining to Christ’s millennial reign that was previously said about a word picture drawn from the Old Testament Scriptures pertaining to the end of the Times of the Gentiles. If all the Scriptures in the Old Testament bearing on Christ’s millennial reign were brought together, one would have a word picture so complete and detailed that it would defy description (cf. John 21:25).
Thus, if details are needed about the end of the Times of the Gentiles, as well as Christ’s millennial reign, the Old Testament is the place to go, not the book of Revelation. By the time John wrote the book of Revelation, the Prophets had already spoken and provided all of the details that God wanted man to know. And, accordingly, the Spirit of God simply moved John to provide, in a very brief manner, comments on that which had already been provided in great detail.
The Old Testament closes in Malachi chapter four after a manner covering the same subject in essentially the same succinct way that it is covered in the book of Revelation. And this would be for the same reason seen in the book of Revelation. When one arrives at this chapter in Malachi, the Prophets have already spoken, and nothing further needs to be added.
The first verse of this final chapter reflects on the end of Gentile world power, and the second verse reflects on Christ’s subsequent reign, with the remaining four verses dealing with both, but ending with the latter.
And that is exactly what is seen in chapters nineteen and twenty of the book of Revelation, preceding the eternal ages beginning in chapter twenty-one.
2) The Detailed Account in the Old Testament
The picture concerning Israel presented by Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets throughout the Old Testament is that of a nation separated and set apart from all the other nations for purposes having to do with these nations. And these purposes had to do with the salvation and blessings of those comprising all the other nations, as Israel became God’s witness to these nations and exercised the rights of the firstborn, within a theocracy, in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (cf. Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-18; 15:5-21; Exodus 4:22, 23; 19:5, 6; Isaiah 43:1-10).
All of this was in the offing under Moses and Joshua as Israel was led out of Egypt and established in the land within a theocracy. This is how Israel was to “serve” God as His firstborn son (Exodus 4:23).
But that which occurred over centuries of time (about eight hundred years) — a refusal to be God’s witness (e.g., Jonah in the type, refusing to go to Nineveh), further disobedience, harlotry — resulted in God eventually removing the scepter from Israel’s hand and giving it to the Gentiles, uprooting His people from their land, and driving them out among the nations to effect repentance.
This is one major subject seen throughout the Old Testament.
But there is another major subject seen throughout the Old Testament as well, having to do with Israel’s repentance and restoration, followed by a realization of the nation’s calling as set forth in the beginning. And this, of course, necessitates the end and destruction of Gentile world power, with the theocracy being restored to Israel and this nation again holding the scepter.
All of the different facets of this whole overall story — past, present, and future — can be seen in different places throughout Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets. Each writer presents different facets of a multi-faceted word picture that can be seen in its completeness, exactly as God desires man to see it, only by comparing Scripture with Scripture. No one book presents the complete picture. This is seen only by bringing together that which the Spirit of God moved all of the Old Testament writers to record (cf. 2 Peter 1:20, 21).
This is what the Old Testament is about, and there is an emphasis throughout the Old Testament on the latter part of the story — Israel’s restoration, the nation realizing her calling, and the Gentile nations of the earth subsequently being reached by and blessed through Israel.
And this emphasis, of necessity, involves a previous end to the Times of the Gentiles and the destruction of Gentile world power.
This is seen in typology beginning as early as the Flood during Noah’s day in Genesis chapters six through eight, or the destruction of Nimrod’s Babylonian kingdom in Genesis chapter eleven, or the battle of the kings during Abraham and Melchizedek’s day in Genesis chapter fourteen and the subsequent destruction of the cities of the plain in Genesis chapters eighteen and nineteen. That which is seen in later Scripture in Psalms chapters two and eighty-three would be two other accounts, presented in a different manner; and that which is seen in Isaiah chapters fourteen and sixty-three would be two others.
An almost endless list of other similar references could be cited. But that which has already been stated, along with sections of Scripture about to be dealt with from four different books having to do with the end of the Times of the Gentiles and the destruction of Gentile world power, should suffice to show the extensive nature of this subject in the Old Testament.
a) As Seen in the Book of Exodus
The removal of the Israelites from Egypt under Moses is a type of the future removal of the Israelites from a worldwide dispersion under the One greater than Moses. And the destruction of the Egyptian Pharaoh and his armed forces in the Red Sea once the Israelites had been removed from Egypt is a type of the future destruction of Gentile world power under the One greater than Moses once the Israelites have been removed from a worldwide dispersion (Exodus 14:13-15:4).
Then, the giving of the old covenant [the Law] and the establishment of the theocracy at Sinai is a type of God making a new covenant with the house of Israel and restoring the theocracy to the nation.
In the type, following events in the book of Exodus, the Israelites were ready to enter into the land and realize the rights of the firstborn.
And exactly the same thing will occur yet future when a new covenant has been made with the house of Israel and the theocracy has been restored to the nation.
(The Old Testament theocracy began at Sinai through the giving of the Law, the building of the Tabernacle, and the Glory of God indwelling the Tabernacle [Exodus 20-40]. At the moment the Glory of God indwelled the Tabernacle [Exodus 40:33-38], God Himself dwelled in the midst of His firstborn son, a kingdom of priests [Exodus 4:22, 23; 19:5, 6]. And the theocracy, with its people [Israel] and its rules and regulations [the Law], was brought into existence at this time and was subsequently to be established in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The same theocracy is to be restored to Israel yet future, which, according to the type, will occur following a new covenant being made with the house of Israel and following the Glory indwelling the Temple which Messiah Himself will build [Ezekiel 43:2ff; Zechariah 6:12, 13].)
b) As Seen in the Book of Ezekiel
Ezekiel deals extensively with the restoration of Israel (chapters 36, 37), the destruction of Gentile world power (chapters 38, 39), and Israel in the land during the Messianic Era (chapters 40-48).
The latter part of chapter thirty-six (vv. 17-38) deals with the reason for the dispersion of the Jewish people, their national conversion, and their restoration to the land. All of chapter thirty-seven then provides more information concerning their national conversion and restoration to the land. Then chapters thirty-eight and thirty-nine have to do with the destruction of Gentile world power once they have been restored to the land, with these two chapters ending at the same place as the previous two chapters — Israel in the Messianic Era, as seen more in detail in chapters forty through forty-eight.
That events in chapters thirty-eight and thirty-nine can occur only after Israel has been restored to the land, following the Tribulation, is evident from things that are stated in these chapters. For example, conditions seen in 38:8, 11, 12; 39:12 (cf. 38:23; 39:21-23) cannot possibly exist before that time. These conditions don’t exist today; nor can they exist any time before or during the Tribulation.
And, in the parallel account in Revelation 9:15-18 (cf. Ezekiel 39:4-20), the slaying of “the third part of men” at the hands of the myriads of myriads would undoubtedly have to do with the armies themselves rather with mankind in general (ref. Ezekiel 38:21; cf. Judges 7:22; 1 Samuel 14:20).
Then chapters forty through forty-eight present Israel in the land during the Messianic Era, following their restoration to the land and the destruction of Gentile world power.
(The use of “Gog” [referencing a prince] and “Magog” [referencing a land], used together in Ezekiel 38:2, cannot possibly refer to Russia, with Russia leading armies of subsequently named nations against Israel during the Tribulation, as usually taught. Contextually, it is evident that the reference must be viewed in line with the same type of reference seen in Revelation 20:8, where “Gog and Magog” refer to “the nations which are in the four corners of the earth.”
Note that there is nothing in the New Testament that is not found after some fashion in the Old Testament, with the New Testament drawing from the Old Testament in this respect. And Revelation 20:8 can only draw from Ezekiel 38:2, though the time element and battle are different.
Thus, Ezekiel 38, 39, in the light of the text and context, can only have to do with the princes [kings, captains, mighty men] leading armies from the nations of the earth against the re-gathered Jewish people, with the “King of kings and Lord of lords” in their midst. The fact that only a few Middle East nations are mentioned is immaterial [38:5, 6, 13]. That is also true relative to a mention of “the kings from the east” in Revelation 16:12, which, if one keeps reading, he finds that “the kings of the earth and of the whole world” [v. 14] are in view in a larger respect.)
c) As Seen in the Book of Daniel
The book of Daniel, in its overall scope, deals with the Times of the Gentiles, from beginning to end. And by an d through the use of imagery, metaphors, types, and direct statements, Daniel places an emphasis on that which will occur at the end of the Times of the Gentiles — the total destruction of Gentile world power, with the kingdom of Christ then being established.
Note, for example, the great image in chapter two and the four great beasts in chapter seven (which deal with exactly the same thing, from different perspectives). And the remainder of the book is simply commentary on that depicted by the great image and the four great beasts, with an emphasis on that depicted by the final form of the great image and the fourth great beast.
(For further information on the kingdom of this world becoming the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ, as seen in the book of Daniel, refer to Chapter 5 in this book.)
d) As Seen in the Book of Joel
The same sequence of events as seen in Ezekiel chapters thirty-six through thirty-nine is also seen in the book of Joel. And these events in Joel have to do with the Jewish people re-gathered to the land, Messiah present in their midst, and the subsequent destruction of Gentile world power (Joel 2:18-3:21).
Further, in Joel, these events are seen occurring beyond Man’s Day, in the Lord’s Day (1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14). Man’s Day lasts until the end of the Tribulation, with the Lord’s Day beginning following Christ’s return at the end of Man’s Day.
Joel is just one of the numerous Prophets that have spoken, and their words signal the end of any discussion on the matter. That which is about to occur relative to Israel and the nations will turn out exactly as outlined in Prophet after Prophet. And nothing can change or alter anything that the Prophets have stated.
(For additional information on this overall subject — events having to do with Israel and the nations, occurring at the time of Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation — refer to the author’s books, Israel — From Death to Life, and Coming in His Kingdom.)