We have just read about the battle of Armageddon, where Jesus makes very short work of the great harlot, the beast, the false prophet, and the armies that foolishly gather to do battle against Him at His return. They are truly deluded by the devil to even hope that they might win such a war, and their fate is sealed before the war begins. The birds that will feast on their flesh are summoned in advance (19:17-18).
We are told in today’s reading that, after her judgment, the smoke of the great harlot will ascend “forever and ever” (19:3), one more indication that she represents a wicked city. Keep in mind that the previous chapter ended with a scene of the smoke of Babylon rising (18:18), while this chapter begins with a scene of the smoke of the destroyed great harlot rising, once again leading us to believe that the great harlot and Babylon are one and the same.
We are also told that the kings of the earth and the armies that will gather to battle Christ as He returns will be killed by a sharp sword which comes from His mouth. This, I assume, is symbolic of the fact that He will kill them with just a word. Paul wrote concerning the antichrist: “And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming” (2 Thes. 2:8). After the antichrist is slain, he will be cast into the lake of fire along with the false prophet. We will read in the next chapter that they will be “tormented day and night forever and ever” (20:10) along with the devil himself.
It seems quite possible that when Jesus returns to earth riding a white horse, you might also be riding a white horse along with the army that returns with Him! That army does not seem to consist of angels, but of the redeemed, as they are described as being “clothed in fine linen, white and clean” (19:14), and we are told in an earlier verse that those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb will be given clothing of “fine linen, bright and clean” (19:8). I suspect that there will be no casualties among that army at the battle of Armageddon. And with all this in mind, we may have a better idea what Paul meant when he wrote to the Corinthians, “We are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete” (2 Cor. 10:6).
The marriage supper of the Lamb will apparently occur sometime within this same time frame, and we note that the church is the Lamb’s bride. She will be pure and holy, cleansed by His blood, and the fine linen that she will wear will symbolize the “righteous acts of the saints” (19:8). So she will be more than “legally righteous,” but also “practically righteous.” It is possible that it was this supper that Isaiah foresaw when he wrote: “The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; a banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow” (Is. 25:6). Won’t that be a wonderful occasion?