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Revelation 19:69, 1116, 1921 comment (0)

July 17, 2008

By Jerry W. Batson

Related Scripture: Revelation 19:69, 1116, 1921

Bible Studies for Life
Associate Professor of Divinity (Retired), Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

What’s up with Christ coming down?
Revelation 19:6–9, 11–16, 19–21

How many times in the past week did you think about the future return of Christ? Two extremes can be found among Christians. Some believers read an imminent return of Christ into every headline, world event or natural disaster. Other Christians seldom give the return of Christ a single thought; they go through their daily routines as if nothing will ever change. We probably should live somewhere between these extremes.

Jesus stressed the uncertainty of when He would return, yet He made the fact of His return a certainty. Knowing assuredly that He will return and bring deliverance for believers, we can face each day with confidence and a sense of victory. He will come to claim His people, conquer the world and defeat the Antichrist.

Claimed! (6–9)
Jesus spoke several parables that used a wedding feast as their subject. Most likely, He meant His hearers to understand that He was the bridegroom. The apostle Paul compared the church to a bride, a church whom Christ intends to present to Himself “not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing” (Eph. 5:27).

In this lesson, the presentation of the church is described as the marriage supper of the Lamb. At that time, a call for rejoicing will go forth. Blessing will be pronounced on all who are invited to the wedding. The idea is that at the end, Christ will claim His bride, the church, in final purity and righteousness.

We can and should rejoice over the fact that our salvation will be fully realized and experienced when Christ returns. In John’s vision, the bride was clothed with righteous acts. We should live victoriously now by performing righteous acts whereby the church prepares itself as a bride preparing for her wedding day. While our passage does not describe the wedding feast or give a timetable for its occurrence, it does announce the certainty that Christ intends to claim His bride for eternity.

Conquered! (11–16)
John not only saw Christ as a bridegroom claiming His bride but also as a conqueror who will dispense justice. The description of the rider on a white horse and the names given identify Him as Christ. When He returns, He will assert His authority as King and Lord. He will deal justly and decisively with those who have opposed Him. He will execute the fierce anger of God upon the ungodly.

Whatever the circumstances of our lives, we can be encouraged by the certainty of Christ’s return. Just as His lordship will be evident at that time, we should proclaim the lordship of Christ in our words and actions here and now. As He will be shown to be a King when He comes, He desires to rule our lives now.

Crushed! (19–21)
As John saw in his vision, the Antichrist and the kings of the earth will fight against Christ and His army. The Antichrist and the false prophet will be captured and thrown into the lake of fire. Their armies will be killed with the sword that will come out of Christ’s mouth. Many Bible students identify this as the battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16:12–16). Christ’s victory was predicted (Rev. 17:14). John had it granted to him to see in a vision the prediction come true.

However numerous and powerful the enemies that beset us in life, Christians know that Christ will ultimately gain a crushing victory. Even so, just as Christ’s return and the believer’s victory are sure, so is the judgment Christ will execute against His enemies.

Believers have the privilege of living in the present with the end in mind. Doing so enables us to rejoice in what Christ will accomplish when He returns. Rather than fretting under the burdens of life or becoming discouraged about the course of world events, we can choose to live with a sense of victory because of what awaits us at the return of Christ.

In addition, knowing the outcome that awaits those who choose to live as Christ’s enemies prompts us to have concern for unbelievers that they should hear and obey the gospel.

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