Our ultimate “blessed hope” is not heaven; it’s “the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)! When the majestic personal presence of Jesus Christ returns, he will vindicate his people and judge those who have mocked him.
Revelation 19 begins with heaven crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants” (19:1-5). Justice is the reason heaven celebrates.
The worship scene quickly shifts to a banquet. Once again, heaven cries out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us exult and give him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come” (Rev 19:6-7). Of all the images to portray the relationship between Jesus and his people, why marriage? Why a wedding feast (cf. Matt 22:1-14; 25:1-3; Rev 21:2, 9; 22:17)?
Two things are said of the bride: she “has made herself ready” and “it was granted to her to clothe herself with … righteous deeds” (19:7-8; cf. Phil 2:12-13). We will be “clothed” with the unassuming, daily acts of kindness, gratitude, care, comfort, and support that typified our lives. Our wedding garment is not a patchwork of grandiose achievements; our humble apparel will display God’s amazing grace. “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:9)! The beautiful Bride of Christ will be confirmed as the sort of people who enjoy doing good because that is who we are! All because of Christ’s redeeming love!
John fell to his knees to worship the angel, but of course, the angel stopped him. “Worship God,” he told John. “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (19:10). The angel is simply clarifying the role of angels in heaven and believers on earth. Both testify of Jesus in the spirit of prophecy.
Then heaven opened “and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war … He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is the Word of God” (19:11-13). Accompanied by his mighty angels in flaming fire, Jesus’s return in glory will be sudden and unexpected, like a thief in the night (1 Thess 5:2-3).
There is nothing secret about Jesus’s appearing (1 Thess 4:16). “Every eye will see him” (Rev 1:7). Christians all over the world will dance in the streets, and say, “See? We aren’t crazy! ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation’” (Isa 25:9).
John sees “the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army” (Rev 19:19). Yes, Armageddon, the pathetic symbol of the world’s defiant stand against King Jesus, is a big fat sham. “The beast will be captured and with it the false prophet … These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur” (Rev 19:20). No more antichrist. No more propaganda. Thank goodness.
And what about everyone else? “All the nations of the earth” will mourn when they “see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory” (Matt 24:30; 2 Thess 1:8-9). Those who defied Jesus will be slain (Rev 19:21). The dead will look like scattered bird feed (Rev 19:17-18, 21). Ugh.
Yes, there is a final judgment. We aren’t nuts. This is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. Christ will reveal his kingship, put an end to wickedness, and vindicate his people. Let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.