1After this I heard what sounded like the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying:
Salvation, glory, and might belong to our God,
2for true and just are his judgments.
He has condemned the great harlot
who corrupted the earth with her harlotry.
He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”a
“Alleluia! Smoke will rise from her forever and ever.”b
4The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, “Amen. Alleluia.”
The Victory Song.* 5A voice coming from the throne said:
“Praise our God, all you his servants,
[and] you who revere him, small and great.”c
6Then I heard something like the sound of a great multitude or the sound of rushing water or mighty peals of thunder, as they said:
The Lord has established his reign,
[our] God, the almighty.
7Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory.
For the wedding day of the Lamb* has come,
his bride has made herself ready.d
8She was allowed to wear
a bright, clean linen garment.”e
(The linen represents the righteous deeds of the holy ones.)*
9Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed* are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These words are true; they come from God.”f 10I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t! I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brothers who bear witness to Jesus. Worship God.g Witness to Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”*
The King of Kings. 11* Then I saw the heavens opened, and there was a white horse; its rider was [called] “Faithful and True.” He judges and wages war in righteousness.h 12His eyes were [like] a fiery flame, and on his head were many diadems. He had a name* inscribed that no one knows except himself.i 13He wore a cloak that had been dipped in* blood, and his name was called the Word of God.j 14The armies of heaven followed him, mounted on white horses and wearing clean white linen.k 15Out of his mouth came a sharp sword to strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod, and he himself will tread out in the wine press* the wine of the fury and wrath of God the almighty.l 16He has a name written on his cloak and on his thigh, “King of kings and Lord of lords.”m
17* Then I saw an angel standing on the sun. He cried out [in] a loud voice to all the birds flying high overhead, “Come here. Gather for God’s great feast, 18to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of military officers, and the flesh of warriors, the flesh of horses and of their riders, and the flesh of all, free and slave, small and great.”n 19Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered to fight against the one riding the horse and against his army. 20The beast was caught and with it the false prophet* who had performed in its sight the signs by which he led astray those who had accepted the mark of the beast and those who had worshiped its image. The two were thrown alive into the fiery pool burning with sulfur.o 21The rest were killed by the sword that came out of the mouth of the one riding the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
* [19:1, 3, 4, 6] Alleluia: found only here in the New Testament, this frequent exclamation of praise in the Hebrew psalms was important in Jewish liturgy.
* [19:5–10] A victory song follows, sung by the entire church, celebrating the marriage of the Lamb, the union of the Messiah with the community of the elect.
* [19:7] The wedding day of the Lamb: symbol of God’s reign about to begin (Rev 21:1–22:5); see note on Rev 10:7. His bride: the church; cf. 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:22–27. Marriage is one of the biblical metaphors used to describe the covenant relationship between God and his people; cf. Hos 2:16–22; Is 54:5–6; 62:5; Ez 16:6–14. Hence, idolatry and apostasy are viewed as adultery and harlotry (Hos 2:4–15; Ez 16:15–63); see note on Rev 14:4.
* [19:8] See note on Rev 14:12.
* [19:9] Blessed: see note on Rev 1:3.
* [19:10] The spirit of prophecy: as the prophets were inspired to proclaim God’s word, so the Christian is called to give witness to the Word of God (Rev 19:13) made flesh; cf. Rev 1:2; 6:9; 12:17.
* [19:11–16] Symbolic description of the exalted Christ (cf. Rev 1:13–16) who together with the armies of heaven overcomes the beast and its followers; cf. Rev 17:14.
* [19:12] A name: in Semitic thought, the name conveyed the reality of the person; cf. Mt 11:27; Lk 10:22.
* [19:13] Had been dipped in: other Greek manuscripts and versions read “had been sprinkled with”; cf. Rev 19:15. The Word of God: Christ is the revelation of the Father; cf. Jn 1:1, 14; 1 Jn 2:14.
* [19:15] The treading of the wine press is a prophetic symbol used to describe the destruction of God’s enemies; cf. Is 63:1–6; Jl 4:13.
* [19:17–21] The certainty of Christ’s victory is proclaimed by an angel, followed by a reference to the mustering of enemy forces and a fearsome description of their annihilation. The gruesome imagery is borrowed from Ez 39:4, 17–20.
* [19:20] Beast,false prophet: see notes on Rev 13. The fiery pool,sulfur: symbol of God’s punishment (Rev 14:10; 20:10, 14–15), different from the abyss; see note on Rev 9:1.
a. [19:2] Dn 3:27 / Jer 51:48–49.
e. [19:8] 15:6; Is 61:10; Mt 22:11–12.
i. [19:12] 1:14–16; 2:18 / Lk 10:22.