“Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God” (Revelation 19:1).
by Joseph Dolan
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Two beautiful chapters describe how the saints view the end of the Gospel Age. From our vantage point, we see that all that mankind has been able to accomplish falls short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Oral traditions recorded histories, and Archaeology all testify of those milestones, times, and histories, of mankind’s failed attempts at civilization.
The scriptures teach us that there was a world that came to an end due to the flood (2 Peter 3:5-6). This “world that was” was followed by two ages during which God prepared and selected a people to whom He would send His only begotten son. That period came to an end when Jesus was rejected by the leaders of Israel (Amos 3:2, Luke 13:35). Jesus told those leaders, “Ye shall not see me, until ye shall say, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:39).
Almost 2,000 years have passed since the Jewish leadership rejected Jesus and now we see the Gospel Age quickly coming to an end. Revelation 19-20 provide us with detailed information about things that God will do as the Gospel Age ends and the Millennial Age begins. A wonderful change is at hand!
Revelation 19 informs us of: (1) A proclamation that a time of final judgment upon present earthly institutions has come, (2) A proclamation that the Marriage of the Lamb is complete, and (3) A prophetic and symbolic description of how the current social order on earth will close.
Revelation 19:1-6 announces that it is time for a change! Following the destruction of Babylon, the heavenly hosts praise God in heaven. The time has finally come for the restoration of all things. Now all creation will see God’s righteous judgment against the great corruption that spoiled the earth and killed the saints. Another sound of praise is heard for the future blessings that God is ready to deploy. Praising God will continue throughout the ages to come! (Ephesians 2:4-7).
John sees the church complete, reflecting the attributes of their Father without any hindrance, praising God. Hallelujah, praise to the Creator! From the throne, John hears, it is time for all to praise God, from the least to the greatest (Jeremiah 31:34, Isaiah 9:6-7). “Now all His servants, those that fear Him, the small and the great, and from all the holy universe, comes the song, in volume like the sea, in strength like the thunder, Alleluia!” (Streeter, page 549 [original V2, page 413], Romans 8:19, Psalms 19:1-6).
Revelation 19:7-10 explains why it is time to rejoice. The marriage of the Lamb has come! This “marriage of the lamb” is a symbol for the time when Jesus’ church, his bride, is complete — when he has gathered all of the heavenly wheat into his barn (John 14:2-3). Now all will “see,” or learn, the purpose of the Gospel Age (1 Peter 2:9,10) which was to develop a spiritual family, a priesthood to fulfill His promise to Abraham. For this God made an oath (Psalms 110:4, Hebrews 5:8-10). Now His church is arrayed with immortality. They are like him and their works have followed them (1 John 3:2-3). They were separate from the world, and now they will heal man and restore mankind’s desolate heritage (Isaiah 49:8).
Those who follow after the Lamb’s wife are also blessed, and God’s word is true. This large company of people lived below their privileges. These disciples of Christ having been invited to forsake all and follow the lamb wheresoever he leadeth, are true to Jesus, but they proved less faithful than they could have been (Revelation 14:4, Psalms 45:13-14, Revelation 7:14).
John, bowing before the messenger who shows him these things, reminds us of what Jesus said in Mark 10:18, “none is good save one, even God.” Therefore, we humbly bow before our God knowing that He is the giver of every good and perfect gift (1 Corinthians 4:7).
Revelation 19:11-16 brings us to a point, after the wedding, when John sees that Christ and his bride are about to be revealed to the world and continue executing God’s grand plan. Now it is time for Christ’s apokalupsis, time for him to manifest himself to the world. This is when the last portion of Luke 13:35 will be fulfilled, and Israel will “look” unto him whom they pierced (Zechariah 12:10).
A diadem is a jeweled crown or headband worn as a symbol of sovereignty. It is time for the world to be introduced to Jesus, the World’s Savior! His robe is stained with “blood” as he “treadeth the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God, the Almighty” (Revelation 19:15). Now is the time for the Lion of the Tribe of Judah to engage the enemy (Isaiah 63:3, Jude 1:14,15).
It is time for all to hear the words proceeding out of his mouth through the scriptures. Evil will be removed and his iron rod will dash in pieces all obstacles hindering people from understanding and obeying the pure language, spoken from the mouths of God’s prophets since the world began (Acts 3:21, Psalms 2:8,9).
Here is given the name by which the world will know Jesus as they grow in grace and knowledge like the “overcomers” of the previous age: “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords” (Revelation 19:16). This King will enable all the families of the earth to bless themselves (Genesis 12:3, 28:14, 22:16-18 ASV margin).
In Revelation 19:17 John sees “an angel standing in the sun.” This is another symbol of the Church class, complete in glory, shining as the sun in the kingdom of God (Matthew 13:43). Now is the time for the climax of the time of trouble which ends the Gospel Age.1
Flesh is what enables a body to move about, but now the “flesh” of the worldly systems, and especially those opposed to Christ’s Kingdom, are to be destroyed. The truth (that two-edged sword which proceeds out of the mouth of Jesus) will put an end to false proclamations, claiming to be true, that come from the beast and the false prophet. Papacy and her daughters, along with those in sympathy with their errors, will be no more (Zephaniah 3:9).
Chapter 19 shows us that the Harvest time accomplishes two works: the harvesting of the wheat to glory, and the harvesting of the nominal “vine of the earth” (Revelation 14:19) to a winepress of judgment.
Chapter 20 moves us forward. A nice summary appears in the BibleStudentsDaily.com, a post from June 2016, “Revelation, A 2016 Perspective.” “Verses 1-3 show that the actual devil will be bound as well as a symbolic devil, the systems built upon his lies. Thus all stumbling blocks in the way of a peaceable Kingdom will be removed. This is the reason for not only binding the literal devil, but also destroying the influences of the beastly governments which have made life so difficult for the human race (Daniel 2:3544, Psalm 2:8,9, Revelation 2:26,27).
“Verses 4-11 show, (1) The reward of the true church which will reign with Christ, (2) Satan’s little season of testing upon the world at the close of the thousand years — the end of mankind’s period of education, (3) The everlasting destruction of Satan, his followers, and the corrupt civil and religious systems.
(1) One editor suggests on Revelation 19:17, “an angel standing in the sun” may be Jesus, the Son of the promise covenant. He further observes that Revelation chapter 20 is divided into four paragraphs, each relating to the thousand-year Kingdom of Christ: (1- 3) Binding of Satan, (4-6) First resurrection, (7-10) Loosing of Satan, (11-15) General Resurrection.
“Verses 12-15 show the final judgments of Earth’s billions at the end of the Messianic reign. This will be the last judgment event of history, where God will destroy in everlasting death all those still not in full harmony with His perfect law of love. Both hell and death are consigned to fire … destruction, oblivion, this is the second death (Revelation 20:14).”
Following the wedding, Jesus and his bride are together. The resurrected church is a result of the first resurrection (Revelation 14:4, James 1:17-18), and that they become immortal and see God as He is. Jesus leads the glorified Church as a head leads its body, and they wait upon his direction. A first priority is to remove the source of all evil and a condition has been prepared for that. That old serpent that deceived Eve is thus placed in confinement for 1000 years.
Six thousand years of sin, sorrow, and death end with the completion of the church at the end of the Gospel Age Harvest, ushering in the 1000 year-long Millennial Day. The gateway opens for all who were born in sin to stand again and to hear the voice of the Son of Man (John 5:25-29). Jesus’ ransom sacrifice (for all) provides the hope of the Kingdom for all of Adam’s children (Isaiah 9:6).
Jesus and his bride direct all the affairs of his Kingdom on earth, so that God’s will is done in earth as it is done in heaven. We see that the church shares in the first resurrection (Revelation 14:4, James 1:17-18), and that they become immortal and see Him as he is.
The test awaiting the human family, during the little season of verse 7, will be permitted, but by then all will have had experience with the consequences of evil, and most will look forward to an eternity of living in a Kingdom wherein dwells righteousness, where the truth covers the earth as the waters cover the sea. This will enable those followers of God to answer the tempter in the same manner as Jesus answered him when coming out of the wilderness (Matthew 4:4,7,10). Then Satan and his messengers will be cast into the “lake of fire and brimstone,” out of existence. The permission of evil will then be complete, and thereafter be a touchstone of learning for the rest of eternity.
The great white throne shows Jesus with his bride, upon it in full control of all social and ecclesiastical affairs. Their rule will reflect purity, holiness, righteousness, justice, truth, and peace. In a word, love in action will spread throughout the earth (Isaiah 25:6-9, Matthew 25:31-46). In that day the Old and New Testaments will speak to all people, and another “book” will be there. There will be a journal kept (in God’s mind) of each individual throughout the Kingdom regarding their experiences and works. Then, unlike our present walk of faith, people will be restored to the ability to show (by the perfection of their conduct) the development of their faith. The Millennial Age (of works) is for the world of mankind. The Gospel Age (of faith) will have been for the Church — the future priesthood for all mankind.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:26, Revelation 21:4). Death was the penalty of sin. The first death was the penalty of Adam’s sin. The second death will be the penalty of each individual’s sin. The first is asleep, while the second is everlasting destruction. Death (the dying condition inherited from Adam) and Hell (where the dead lie asleep) are to be destroyed.
Before there is any second death, there will be a second sin. Before there will be any second sin, there will be the standard for a second judgment. Before there is any second judgment, there will be a second life, that is, a relief from the first (Adamic) death. At the close of the thousand years the works of each person will be known and at that time any person harboring pride and selfishness in their hearts will have no future in God’s righteous Kingdom (2 Peter 3:11,13,17,18).
The Time Nears
Are we now living within a generation or two of the close of the Harvest? As a child, my Mother rode in a horse and sleigh, and carriage. As a grandmother, she flew her grandchildren to Norway to greet relatives. Might not some of our children today soon have memories of the cleansing (Armageddon) of the world and live to see the restoration of all things? Let us strive toward our goal, and give all diligence during the time that remains. Let us press on that we may be found worthy to take part in the first resurrection (Luke 13:24, Psalms 150).