REVELATION 19:11-16  


The one and only second coming of Christ

Revelation 19:11-16 is a restatement of the arrival of Jesus that is implied as occurring at the 6th seal. The prewrath view equates Joel 2, Matthew 24 and Rev. 6 as all referring to the arrival of the Lord at the inception of the day of the Lord.
The chronology of the book of Revelation is not entirely chronological in the presentation of the visions shown to John. Several times the running chronology is interrupted and a new vision backs up to a previous point in the chronology and starts over. It is not inconsistent to see a new vision at Revelation 19:11 that interrupts the chronology that ended at verse 9 with the marriage of the Lamb and the start of the millennial kingdom. The new vision then restates the arrival of Jesus, skips over everything that happened after that, and continues in verse 17 with the final confrontation at Armageddon.

The seals are chronological.
Seal #6 is the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky after the cosmic signs occur. The people shake in expectation of coming wrath. There is no actual statement of His arrival in these verses (12-17), nor for that matter is there any reference to His coming until Rev. 19:11, except for the parenthetical warning at verse 16:15. Verse 19:11 then is the unmentioned arrival as the vision back-tracks to the 6th seal cosmic signs.
Rev. 7 follows the 6th seal. We are shown 3 things that occur after the arrival of Jesus.
(1) We see four angels who have authority to harm the earth, sea and trees (Rev. 7:1-2). This picture is a natural extension of the threat of divine wrath mentioned with the 6th seal. The natural and literal understanding is that the employment of these four angels would be an administration of "the wrath of the Lamb."
(2) The result on the earth: We have the sealing (conversion through trusting in Christ) of 144,000 Jews who are designated and recognized as servants of God before the four angels are allowed to harm (judge) the earth (Rev. 7:3-8).
(3) The result in heaven: We see in heaven a vast multitude of believers who came out of the great tribulation (Rev. 7:9-17). It is suggested that these believers are in resurrection bodies because they are "standing" and they have palm branches "in their hands." The saints in heaven get there at the arrival of Jesus and before the conversion of the 144k. Verses 9-17 are not chronological but simply show something that is a fact (saints in heaven) that was resolved before the 144k were sealed/saved.
AFTER the 6th seal, and AFTER the 144k are sealed, THEN the 7th seal is opened and that paves the way for the 4 angels who were told to "hold back" at verse 7:3 to now start harming. And this will be done through the first four trumpet judgments. This is clearly chronological and sets the pattern for the entire book except at those places where "flashbacks" are indicated.
Rev. 8:13 indicates chronological progression by announcing 3 remaining trumpets and 3 woes. Trumpets 5 and 6 symbolize the demon attack and some serious movement of troops respectively.
Chapter 10 is not chronological, but gives a chronological transition. At verse 7: At the 7th trumpet "the mystery of God" will be completed. This is not the MYSTERY of the church age (Eph. 3:1-11), but the mystery that was announced by OT prophets. Thus, the mystery about Israelís present and future (Romans 11:25). The 7th trumpet brings to a close Godís plan for national Israel BEFORE the kingdom (the 70th week of Daniel 9). THAT is the first indication we have that the 70th week ends AROUND the sounding of the 7th trumpet.

Chapter 11 interrupts the chronology and returns to the middle of the week and goes to the end of the week (v. 1-13), and in fact takes us 3 1/2 DAYS past the 1260 allotted to the 2 witnesses. And then at v. 14, we are given MORE chronological keys. Two woes are past, one is still to come, and THEN, the 7th trumpet sounds.
The sounding of the 7th trumpet announces the 3rd and final woe, which happens to be comprised of several quick slams of Godís wrath that will bring to an end any remaining opposition and INFLUENCE from the beast. The primary chronological factor of the 7th trumpet is the end of verse 18, "it is time to destroy those who destroy the earth." And this is exactly what the 3rd woe does through the 7 bowl judgments over the next 26 days. This is exactly what Dan. 11:11 tells us; after the 1260, there will be another 30 days in order to finally cleanse the temple from the abomination.

Then at verses 15-18, we see that the time has come for certain things to be accomplished. That does not mean that all of them must occur RIGHT NOW, but that the final steps will now be taken to finish those things, which ends with Armageddon. To me, the flow of the text provides clear chronological progression from the 2nd woe to the 3rd woe, which must refer to the next series of judgments; the bowls. This is why the bowls cannot be concurrent with the trumpets, but are an extension of the 7th trumpet. The bowls are not a restatement of the trumpets because the progression in the visions is consecutive and not interruptive. Verse 19 anticipates the next phase of wrath with the temple being opened in preparation to pour out the bowls of final wrath. (Just like at rev. 8:1-5 in preparation for the trumpet judgments).

The next three chapters interrupt the chronology and provide RETROSPECT and AMPLIFICATION.
Chapter 12: The vision begins at the middle of the week and just describes the persecution by the beast during the tribulation.
Chapter 13: The vision begins at the middle of the week and describes the issues of beast worship during the tribulation.
Chapter 14: Begins at the time right after the 6th seal (the arrival of Jesus) when the 144k are sealed, and goes to the battle of Armageddon.
THEN chapter 15 returns to the chronology of pouring out judgment. It picks up from 11:19, and we see saints in heaven, standing on the sea of glass WHICH WAS EMPTY at verse 4:6. John is shown again the temple in heaven (from 11:19) and the 7 angels with the 7 bowls of the final wrath of God. These will be poured out either simultaneously or chronologically. It does not matter, because it will all be within 26 days and will culminate with the destruction of "Babylon" in connection with the battle of Armageddon.

Chapter 16 shows John the 7 bowls. These 7 bowls constitute WOE #3 and specifically target "those who destroy the earth." They cannot be a restatement of the trumpets, because trumpets 5 and 6 are woes 1 and 2, and trumpet #7 is basically an announcement of Woe #3 and the only thing that qualifies as woe #3 is the pouring out of the 7 bowls.
The 7th bowl shows John the great earthquake that destroys Babylon, and the hailstorm that devastates the rest of the world. Where this occurs in the chronology is not shown, but the details can be found in the Old Testament and is related to the physical descent of Jesus to the Mount of Olives of Zechariah 14:4.

Then chapter 17 and 18 interrupts the chronology and returns to the midpoint of the week. It reviews the history of "Babylon" (both religious and economic Babylon) and brings us to the same time of her destruction as at the end of chapter 16. (the destruction of the beast) which happens at Armageddon.

Revelation 18:20, the command to rejoice over the destruction of Babylon.
Verses 21-24, the vision to symbolize the final end of Babylon.

Chapter 19:1-4, the three praises that fulfill the command of verse 18:20.
Verses 19:5-6, praise for the reign and marriage of the lamb.
Verses 19:7-9 the preparation of the bride.
Verse 10, the end of the chronology.

Verses 19:11-16, This is a new vision. It interrupts the chronology and goes back to BEFORE the destruction of Babylon and before the rejoicing in heaven and before the marriage of the Lamb. It is showing John the key factor in all of this, which is the ARRIVAL of Jesus. The vision describes that arrival by showing "heaven opened," and then a description of Jesus. The vision shows "armies" that are with Him and states the purpose or His arrival.
(1) to smite the nations.
(2) to rule them with a rod of iron.
(3) to carry out the indignation of the wrath of God.

The vision then skips over everything that will occur after His arrival and jumps directly to the battle of Armageddon. 

The return of Jesus has not been mentioned in the book since verse 1:7 and 16:15 (and perhaps 3:3). We know that it will occur at the 6th seal even though not directly mentioned. We also learn from the Old Testament that the Lord will descend physically to the earth and stand on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem sometime BEFORE the battle of Armageddon. And we learn that He will come to the earth even before that and go to Edom first. Thus, first to Edom, then to Jerusalem and then to Megiddo.
There is a difference between His arrival in the clouds of the sky at the day of the Lord (Joel 2, Mat. 24, Rev. 6) and His physical descent to the earth.
So, the question is, in this new vision at Rev. 19:11, does this describe the initial coming of the Lord at the 6th seal or does it describe the subsequent physical descent to the earth several months later.

The literal Greek of Rev. 19:11.
"And I saw THE sky/heaven (ouranos) opened.
Mat. 24:29, "And then they will see the sign of the Son of Man in the sky/heaven (ouranos)."
V. 30b, "and then they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of THE sky/heaven (ouranos)."
What is the difference? It certainly . . .
Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and acts like a duck . . .
It certainly looks like the same event.
Pretrib makes the two the same event and places it at the end of the 70th week - JUST BEFORE Armageddon.
Prewrath COULD (and I am thinking - it should) equate the two as one and the same event, and still place it at the 6th seal at an unknown day and hour after the trib is cut short.
It seems that the issue is NOT whether they are the same event or not . . .
It is the TIMING of the event that is the issue.

The subject of the book of the Revelation is the second coming, that is, the initial arrival of Jesus proclaimed at Rev. 1:7.
It is not the physical descent to Edom or to Jerusalem. That is detailed throughout the OT prophets and is realized when John's vision shows the armies assembled and Christ's victory over them.

Zechariah 14:4-5 does something very similar. Verse 4 describes His descent to the mount of olives. But then at verse 5, the prophet writes, "And (thus) the Lord my God will come and all His holy ones with Him." This is then, a restatement of His coming. But does it go back to the INITIAL arrival; the arrival which really starts the whole judgment scenario, which the prophets write about so much, or does it refer to this immediate descent to the Mount of Olives? Many of the prophets describe the initial coming of the Lord with the attendant DOL cosmic signs, but then immediately focus on a judgment or destruction that will occur DURING the time that the Lord is present.
Isaiah 13:9-13, Judgment through the arrival of the day of the Lord. Verse 10 shows the cosmic signs that will announce the arrival of the day.
Verses 11-12 show the judgment
Verse 13, The "Therefore" backs up and restates the signs that will announce the arrival of the day. Mat. 24:29; Luke 21:26.
Verses 14-16, judgment during the day from invasion by the king of the North.
Isaiah 26:21
1. The Lord is about to come out of His place.
2. To punish the inhabitants of the earth.

Isaiah 30:27-30
1. The name of the Lord will come.
2. To shake the nations.

Isaiah 35:4, Arrival then vengeance and recompense (judgment).
Isaiah 40:10-11
1. The Lord will come.
2. But the focus is on deliverance for Israel.
Isaiah 42:13, arrival and then judgment
Isaiah 66:15-17
1. The Lord will come in fire.
2. Execute judgment with fire no all flesh.

There are two KEY factors in the context of Zechariah 14:5 that indicates this is referring to the Messiah's initial arrival at the inception of the day of the Lord.
KEY FACTOR#1: The statement, "and ALL the holy ones (angels) with Him," is always associated with the initial arrival of the Messiah at the start of the day of the Lord.
In the Gospels Jesus tells us that He will come with His angels. (Mat. 16:27; 24:31; 25:31; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26). Elsewhere in the New Testament:
Jude 14
1Thes. 3:13, "at the coming of our Lord Jesus with ALL His holy ones."
2Thes. 1:7-10.
Verse 7, "at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of His power in flaming fire."
Verse 10, "when He comes to be glorified by His holy ones on that day, AND to be marveled at among all who have believed."

KEY FACTOR#2: The statement, "known to the Lord" is a strong reference to the "unknown day and hour" factor of Christ's initial arrival at the start of the day of the Lord. Mat. 24:36-44; 1 Thes. 5:1-3; 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 16:15.


It seems throughout the Bible that we have many statements of Christ's return. And among all the various passages, it seems that we have a time line of sorts that starts with His arrival and culminates with Armageddon and the establishment of the kingdom, with various passages dealing with events that come in between those two points.
And "we" equate all the second coming passages as referring to the one and only second coming - parousia.
That is, EXCEPT ONE passage.

All through the Bible we are looking for that second coming.
Even at Revelation 1:7, that is the focus. It is a statement that He will come. And at Rev. 16:15, the statement that He is coming. But no passage shows Him actually coming, although it is certainly indicated at the 6th seal, since they see Him.

It seems that throughout the prophecies of what will occur during the PRESENCE of the Lord, we recognize many SUMMARY statements of Christ's arrival and see them as the one and only second coming.

Why can't that one statement of the actual arrival be a summary statement of all that has been prophesied before?
It seems to me that throughout the OT, the arrival of the LORD is mentioned and then each passage focuses on one or more of the events that follow that arrival without dealing with details. But all of them have (1) arrival (2) judgment (3) deliverance for Israel and kingdom blessing.
And the passages jump forward and backward and back again.

The book of Revelation has no rigid chronology. The visions shown to John jump forward, and then back-track, and then jump forward again, just like in the OT.
Rev. 1:7- chapter 3 = arrival, mourning (judgment), reward.
Rev. 6-7, implied arrival and rapture, then judgment.
Rev 16:15, arrival + reward.
Rev. 12-13, 17-18: tribulation period and DOL judgments
The trumpets and bowls brings us to the final judgment of those on the earth.
Rev. 16:14-21; 18:20-24; 19:1-4
Rev. 19:5-10, the status of the bride ALREADY prepared and ready to be "wed" and to go into the marriage supper at the start of the mil kingdom.

NOW, why not BACK UP once again - to what precipitates the judgment - the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory, with His army of angels.
Why can't the arrival of Jesus at Rev. 19:11-16 be the same arrival of Jesus at Mat. 24:29-31?
It would STILL refer to the arrival already mentioned at the 6th seal. It does not change the timing of prewrath.
THEN at verse 17, the vision SKIPS OVER every detail taught in both the Old and New testaments and jumps right to Armageddon, because - that just happens to be the focus of this phase in the visions shown to John.
Why can't we treat this actual arrival of Jesus just like all prophecies that point to it?

The literal Greek of Rev. 19:11.
"And I saw THE sky/heaven (ouranos) opened.
Mat. 24:29, "And then they will see the sign of the Son of Man in the sky/heaven (ouranos)."
V. 30b, "and then they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of THE sky/heaven (ouranos)."
What is the difference? It certainly . . .
Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and acts like a duck . . .
It certainly looks like the same event.
Pretrib makes the two the same event and places it at the end of the 70th week - JUST BEFORE Armageddon.
Prewrath COULD (and I am thinking - it should) equate the two as one and the same event, and still place it at the 6th seal at an unknown day and hour after the trib is cut short.
It seems that the issue is NOT whether they are the same event or not . . .
It is the TIMING of the event that is the issue.

The rapture event is not mentioned specifically in the OT.
The arrival of the Lord is for (1) deliverance of Israel, (2) resurrection, and then (3) judgment.
There are several stages of judgment in connection with the DOL.
But it seems that the OT focuses primarily on the judgment that comes through the invasion of armies.
And finally the destruction of the armies in connection with Armageddon.
(1) The general description of judgment. Joel 1:15; Amos 5:20; Is. 13:1-16; Zeph. 1:1-18;
(2) An army invades Palestine. Joel 2:2a, 11; Zeph. 1:1-18.
(3) Blessing on Israel through deliverance.
Mat. 24 (Mark and Luke) = tribulation first and then arrival, then rapture, then judgment.
2thes. 1 = arrival, rapture and judgment.
2Thes. 2 = tribulation, then arrival (gathering; DOL), then judgment.
1 Thes. 5 = false security (during reign of the beast), then DOL (rapture), then judgment.
John 14 = arrival and rapture.
1 Thes. 4 = arrival and rapture.
1 Cor. 15 = arrival, rapture, resurrection, final judgment on enemies.
Jude = arrival then judgment.
Mat. 16:27, Arrival and then judgment/recompense.
The only difference is that in the NT, the rapture is placed into the scenario.
At the 6th seal, we are shown the same pattern of events.
1. Arrival
2. God's wrath
There is no MENTION of the rapture, but we see the results of the rapture at 7:9ff.
And because of the above NT passages, we know that the rapture will occur when Christ arrives.



Questions and comments are always welcome

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