December 04, 2019
Well-loved broadcasters David & Karen Mains launch their 14th podcast with a conversation about David’s insights into the book of Revelation, Chapter 19:11-21.
Revelation, however, is primarily a most encouraging message about who eventually wins the war of the spiritual superpowers. And Christ’s victory will include the complete destruction of the great whore, or the unholy urban headquarters of our despicable enemy.
Intro: Welcome to the Before We Go Podcast featuring Dr. David Mains and his wife noted author, Karen Mains. Our subject for today, the last book in the Bible, The Book of Revelation. Here’s David and Karen Mains.
David: Hi friends, David and Karen Mains here. Thank you for joining us. We call these visits…
Karen: Before we go.
David: And we look forward to these times together, right?
Karen: Why do we call this before we go?
David: Because we’re old timers and we don’t have that many things or times anyway.
Karen: But a lot to say still, right?
David: That’s right. Okay, I’ve got a question. I’m thinking of three levels, A, B and C. Would you say that the return of Christ is A, which is a major emphasis in the New Testament, you can’t possibly miss it. B would be more secondary but still important. And C, it comes up, but you almost have to look for it. Where would you put the second coming?
Karen: I’d probably put it in a B category.
David: You want to explain why?
Karen: Well, I don’t think it’s… I think the emphasis of the New Testament is a Christ having come and lived among us but giving himself for us in a sacrificial way and then teaching us how to live. I think a lot of the…
David: …the Kingdom of God.
Karen: Yeah, living in the Kingdom of God. But it’s definitely there, so it’s not hidden.
David: The second coming.
David: I would probably put it at the top of level B or at the very bottom of level A.
Karen: David, those are nuances you didn’t offer me.
David: Well, I didn’t think about it until I asked you your question. Okay, what about your own life? I’m going to go to three levels again.
David: We’re talking about the second coming of our Lord. You say level A would be not a day goes by, but what is on your mind. B level would be it’s in the back of my mind and I’m pushing to make it more important. And C, I believe it, but I don’t think about it very much.
Karen: Well, I think about the Kingdom of God a lot. Not so much exclusively in the second coming of Christ. I think I don’t understand the theology behind it because Scripture is not real clear on it. But the…
David: Yeah, there’s a mystery to it.
Karen: There’s a mystery. Him coming and establishing his Kingdom and us being able to live in that Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven. Now that, I think, is a great deal about. I’d be thrilled if Jesus came at any time, but this is something I’ve heard about ever since I was a little, little girl. And so the thing that pushes me the most is being in a part of that Kingdom of God.
David: Are you interested in how I would answer that question?
Karen: Yeah, I am very interested in how you would answer that question.
David: I heard about it all the time when I was growing up, the second coming of Christ. It was a major, major theme, not so much in preaching now. I would say that in my older years, I would say probably for the last 10, 12, 15 years, I start my day in prayer and one of my prayers is always talking to the Lord about his return. Looking forward to that, may I be ready? There was a time when I was younger, say even in grade school, junior high, high school, when it scared the daylights out of me.
Karen: That you wouldn’t have been ready or worthy.
David: Yeah, right.
Karen: Well, I think that was a theology that was much more emphasized in that way when we both were younger and in the kinds of very conservative church backgrounds that we came from. Yours more than mine, maybe. I think yours was even more conservative. So, I think that very, unfortunately, very often in those kinds of places with that kind of theology, judgment is sometimes emphasized more than love. So, it would be easy to say, well, I don’t want to face that judgment. I’m probably not ready in all those kinds of things that come up in the environment.
David: I would say though now, I look forward to the return of Christ. I pray it every day. I think in my mind, the return of Jesus is going to be the biggest event that history has ever known. I mean it is colossal and I look forward to it. I say even so, come quickly Lord Jesus. That’s a regular prayer every morning almost without exception. I would say if I don’t pray that way it would be unusual and then I pray that at night again. So, I those are my two prayer times. I will have to admit that during the day I forget about it. Although I think when I’m tempted. Also, I say no Jesus is coming back. I want to be ready for his return. So, it’s much more in my mind than it used to be but it’s a habit that I’ve formed. That I’ve just determined I’m going to keep that in the forefront of my mind.
Karen: I think that’s a wonderful habit and I think you should articulate it more in our family environment because sometimes prayer times are very private. But I think that would be an extraordinary thing to emphasize with me and with our extended family.
David: That’s funny now because we pray together on a regular basis. And that’s a fair statement because we miss days but it’s more our habit to pray together and I don’t think I’ve ever…
Karen: I don’t think you have either.
David: …ever prayed Lord we’re looking forward to your…
Karen: …yeah, I think that you know…
David: Let me give you another question because I want to get into this revelation series in just a moment. Do you think people in other parts of the world, not Americans but in other parts where there’s more suffering does you think, they think about the second coming?
Karen: I think they think about theology and it totally different with a totally emphasis than those of us comparatively in the safe West do as far as Christianity is concerned. So, yeah, they think about suffering. They think about you know martyrdom.
Karen: I’m sure they think about Christ coming again, you know. That would be part of their thinking process.
David: Yeah, so in some ways because we’ve lived in peace all our lives, I know there have been wars going on, but there hasn’t been war going on…
Karen: In our land…
David: …in our land. That’s correct. So, for the suffering Church the return of Jesus is a very…
David: Yeah. Okay we are going into session 10 of 12 now in our series on Revelation. And one of the things that I asked way back at the beginning of this series was for people to memorize a verse. And every section of the New Testament there are 27 books. They’re not really books but some are epistles, some history. And so, it has this theme of the return of Christ coming back again. And the verse that I asked people to memorize out of Revelation was look he’s coming with the clouds. And every eye will see him even those who pierced him. And all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. It will bring this, in fact some of the translation say, they will mourn, and we’ll end because of him. So, shall it be. Amen. Thank you for joining this, friend. Now we’re into that Revelation series.
Are you a reader? There’s something really special about a good book. In my opinion is that Revelation fits that description. To begin with, I believe it contains a message of great importance from the risen and glorified Christ to his beloved apostle John. Not to some totally unknown first-century person named John. And its opening paragraph states that we should take to heart what is written in it. This word of Revelation was initially for the early church, that is with the rest of the New Testament readers of all generations, should see that these scriptures shape their lives.
In this book a seal communicates regarding the future came from God himself and was open for us by Jesus the lamb. That word from the Lord related to the opening of the seven seals proved to be consistent with what Jesus told us earlier in the gospel accounts.
Through the centuries, this intelligence report from God, himself, has emboldened the persecuted church. And will certainly continue to do so during what is referred to as the end times. In fact, the seven trumpets began to detail what those terrible last days will be like. It’s when the church will experience Satan at his worst.
Revelation, however, is primarily a most encouraging message about who eventually wins the war of the spiritual superpowers. And Christ’s victory will include the complete destruction of the great whore, or the unholy urban headquarters of our despicable enemy.
During the era of the early church that was obviously Rome. It will eventually be the capital city of the Antichrist and his false prophet. This visit, these inspired pages of text, will reveal the return in power of our great Lord and Savior. Hallelujah. And there’s still more to come.
Incidentally, your reading assignment for our next visit is Chapter 20. Again, read Revelation Chapter 20 ahead of time for our next time together. If I asked to describe what the return of Christ will be like, I don’t think the response of most church people in the U.S. would mirror what’s found in Revelation 19:11-21. That’s today’s assigned passage in this 12-part series on Revelation. The verses are divided into three paragraphs.
Paragraph three is about the defeat of the beast, the false prophet, and the armies that side with them. Paragraph one centers on Christ and the armies of heaven that accompany him. Paragraph two, the shortest of the three, is one long sentence of sixty-one words. Let’s begin with it.
“And I saw an angel standing in the sun who cried with a loud voice to all the birds flying in mid-air. ‘Come, gather together for the great supper of God so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people free and slave, small and great’.”
So, here is this open invitation to carry on eating birds like vultures and buzzards, hawks, eagles, crows, that among other meals feed on the decaying flesh of dead bodies. But on this occasion, it’s not their normal roadkill. This is banquet time. And on the menu is the beast, or the remains of the kingdom of the Antichrist, plus the armies of the various kings who have joined with this wicked leader in opposition to our Lord. That’s paragraph two.
Here’s paragraph three. Only five sentences and the conflict is over that quickly. Sentence one. “Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army.” Sentences two and three. “But the beast was captured and with him the false prophet who had performed miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image.”
Sentence four. “The two of them were thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.” Last sentence number five. “The rest of them were killed with a sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.” Just like that it’s done. Victory one. No best two out of three.
The next time you see a black crow or two picking at some dead possum or squirrel or raccoon that’s been hit on the roadside, tell yourself that’s the fate of the Antichrist, the false prophet and all their followers. Yes, like much a revelation this paragraph is symbolic but the truth it conveys is hard to miss.
Back to paragraph one now that centers on Christ in the armies of heaven that accompany him. “I saw heaven standing open, and there before me was a white horse whose writer is called Faithful and True.” You might recall those same two words, Faithful and True, describing Jesus back in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 as part of the seven short sermons. These are the words of the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the ruler of God’s creation.
Next sentence from today’s text in Revelation 19, “With justice he judges and makes wars. His eyes are like blazing fire.” Once again, I’m reminded of those descriptions of Jesus preaching to the churches back in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. “These are the words of the Son of God whose eyes are like blazing fire.”
More words about the writer on the white horse. “And on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.” I take that to mean he’s beyond our limited ability to fully comprehend, so he alone understands the true scope of who he is. “He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood.” This time is not his own blood, but the blood of his enemies.
So, he’s seen as a warrior even before the battle has begun. And his name is the Word of God. We think of the Word of God as the Bible. But to John here in Revelation and in the start of his gospel and also his first epistle, the Word is Jesus himself. He is the embodiment of God’s redemptive plan.
Remember these verses from John’s gospel. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And again, from his first New Testament epistle. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at, and our hands have handled. This we proclaim concerning the Word of Life. The life appeared. We have seen it and testified to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and has appeared to us.”
Back again from Revelation 19. “His name is the Word of God.” Now, verse 14. “The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.” His armies are probably angels. Remember back in Mark 8:38, Jesus saying, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Here’s the same concept in 2 Thessalonians 1:7. “This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven and blazing fire with his powerful angels.” Nothing is said here in Revelation about the angels being involved in the conflict. Neither are their garments bloodstained.
Verse 15. “Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.” This is the only weapon mentioned in the passage, and I doubt that it’s meant to be taken literally, an actual sword that Jesus holds in his mouth. Back in Isaiah 11, a great Old Testament prophetic passage about Christ, we find these words, “He will strike the earth with a rod of his mouth, with a breath of his lips, he will slay the wicked.” So, he only has to speak the word, and his will is done.
Again, from Revelation 19, “he will rule them with an iron scepter.” That’s a reference to Psalm 2. You’ll probably recall these words, “He said to me, ‘You are my son today, I have become your father. Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance. The ends of the earth, your possession, you will rule them with an iron scepter’.”
Next sentence from Revelation 19, “He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.” That’s a reference to verses back in Revelation 14, “…the angels swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes, and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and the blood flowed out of the winepress, rising as high as the horse’s bridles, for a distance of 1,600 stadia, or about 180 miles.”
Verse 16, “…on his robe and on his thigh, he has the name written, ‘King of Kings’ and ‘Lord of Lords’.” All through our study of Revelation, we have waited for some definitive word regarding the return appearance of Christ. Now that it’s finally come and we’ve had a chance to look at these verses, let’s back away a bit and see what we’ve learned.
To do that I’ll use six questions of who, what, when, where, why, and how. The who is obviously Jesus. He’s the protagonist, the main character. The action of Revelation 19:11-21 centers on him. The antagonist is the anti-Christ. He represents the opposition, at least for now. Satan will get what’s coming to him in the next chapter.
The what, of these verses is this deciding battle that’s fought. It’s the ultimate showdown for which all of history has been pointing. The important question, of course, is which side wins?
We aren’t given a precise score, but it’s a route. The victor is the rider on the white horse. Regarding the win, well there’s actually little we learn about the win. But once we know which side wins, the win becomes a secondary matter. If we were told everything we wanted to know about the win, but still didn’t know which side won, that wouldn’t be very comforting. Let’s look at the where.
The where probably connects to the verses back in Revelation chapter 16. “Then they, the dragon and the beast and the false prophet, gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” Who, what, when, where, why? Because Satan and his followers, the beast and the false prophet and the kings, wouldn’t have it in any other way. There’s no repentance, no surrender on their part. They won’t back off. Satan apparently would rather lose than submit.
Finally, how? How does Christ win this battle? We’re not told how in chapter 19. Jesus just does. Although there may be hints in the verses that follow the Armageddon passage back in Revelation 16, “The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne saying, It is done. Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away, and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men, and they cursed God on account of the plague of hail because the plague was so terrible.”
I take it the Lord has any number of creative options available to him. I mean there’s nothing like a major earthquake to humble even the greatest army. And one-hundred-pound hailstones would be really tough to stand up against also.
Anyway, this is what the major passage in Revelation about the second coming of Jesus has to say. During this series I haven’t used many verses from Scripture outside of Revelation itself, but I think this visit I’ll make an exception to that.
Let me first read without comment two extended sections of Scripture. The message of Revelation was given by Jesus to the Apostle John. The next passages I’ll read are first from the Apostle Paul and then one from the Apostle Peter. I believe both were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This is 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12. Paul is writing, “concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed; the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or his worship so that he sets himself up in God’s temple proclaiming himself to be God.”
“Don’t you remember that when I was with you, I used to tell you these things? Now you know what is holding him back so that he may be revealed at the proper time for the secret power of lawlessness is already at work, but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.”
“The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracle, signs, and wonders and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved.
For this reason, God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” That’s Paul, 2 Thessalonians.
Here is 2 Peter chapter 3:3-13. First of all Peter writes, “you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, where is this coming, he promised, ever since our fathers died everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” Let me insert here that I’m not impressed by scoffers. Truth be known I’m uneasy around those who poke fun at others. I generally turn off the television if someone starts belittling another person even if in jest. Ridicule doesn’t impress me. Neither do clever put-downs.
“In the last days scoffers will come asking, where is this coming, he promised. But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world at that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends, with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar. The elements will be destroyed by fire and the earth, and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy in Godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.”
So, believers are to live holy and Godly lives as we look forward to the return of Christ and His decisive victory. Maybe I went by those two words, holy and Godly, too quickly. What this means is all that’s unholy or ungodly in our lives is to cease. What does this speak to in your life? What’s going on that’s not holy?
Well in plain words, you are to be in the active process of getting rid of it immediately. What ungodly activity or activities or attitudes? Marcus. They are to change, so we will be instantly ready when our Lord returns. What’s that word from Peter again? “You ought to live holy and Godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.”
My point of concentration regarding the last days is not how to survive in some forsaken wilderness on roots and berries. I’m more concerned about how to stay close to the Lord and letting my life be a bold testimony for Him in holiness. You see, in His time the rider and the white horse will return. Let’s face it, the names of this horseman include faithful and true. His word can be trusted. At His coming He will be focused and resolute, even angry. He’s pictured as treading the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.
With Him will be the armies of heaven. Whatever opposition the earth cobbles together, it will be totally inadequate. For that moment I’m describing, put out of your mind the picture of gentle Jesus meek and mild, because in that great day He will be seen by all as King of kings, Lord of lords, who will rule with an iron scepter. You don’t want to be a part of the paltry opposition. Food for crows and buzzards.
Again, believers are to live holy and godly lives as we look forward to the return of Christ and His decisive victory. That’s not only my key sentence. It’s good advice. Live godly lives as you look forward to the return of your Lord. And I don’t want you to hear those words, it’s just coming from me. But from ancient apostolic authority. How much higher in rank can one go than solid agreement from the apostles John, Peter and Paul?
Just to add weight to this challenge, here are words from the other three Gospel writers beside John, the Apostle Matthew. “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Mark, quotes Jesus citing the Old Testament, prophesies, “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. At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.”
Here’s Luke, writing in Acts 1, “Suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside the disciples. ‘Men of Galilee’, they said, ‘Why do you stand here looking into the sky? 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.’” The writer of Hebrews adds, “For in just a very little while he who is coming will come and will not delay, make every effort to be holy. Without holiness no one will see the Lord.” James, the brother of our Lord, “Be patient then brothers until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm because the Lord’s coming is near.”
Finally, here’s Jude. To complete the New Testament writers, Jude is thought by most to be another brother of our Lord. “See the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone and to convict all the ungodly.” Those judgments will be the topic when next we meet.
In preparation I want you to read Revelation chapter 20. Let me give you that earlier summary sentence one final time and then go back to the words of Jude in closing. “Believers are to live holy and godly lives as we look forward to the return of Christ and his decisive victory.”
Jude again. “Remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They, the apostles, said to you in the last times, there will be scoffers. But you, dear friends, build yourself up in your most holy faith. Be merciful to those who doubt. Snatch others from the fire and save them.”
Are you doing that? Are you building yourself up in your most holy faith? Would the Lord say you’re living a holy and godly life? If not, what changes do you need to make?
Choose any one of the New Testament writers and his words will include a strong reminder about Jesus returning to this earth in power and great glory. And thus, always needing to be ready, including living holy lives.
Someday, the writer on the white horse will mount up. When remains a question I can’t answer. We are just instructed to be prepared. To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy; the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord before all ages now and forevermore. Amen.
Outgo: You’ve been listening to the Before We Go podcast. If you enjoyed this podcast, please remember to rate, review, and share on Apple Podcasts or on whatever platform you listen. This podcast is copyright 2019 by Mainstay Ministries, Post Office Box 30, Wheaton, Illinois 60189.
Get a copy of David Mains’ The Remarkable Revelation – Sermon Series.
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