Useful Bible Studies > Revelation Commentary > chapter 19

The commander of heavenís armies

Revelation 19:11

John began the Book of Revelation with a special description of Christ as the judge (1:12-16). Now, near the end of the book, he gives another special description. John chooses not to tell us whom he is describing. This is the greatest ruler, the judge of all nations and the commander of heavenís armies. John saw him in the greatness of his power, as he went out to defeat all his enemies.

The phrase Ďheaven openedí appears several times in the Bible; we do not always understand it. Here, however, the meaning is clear. The gates of heaven opened, as the gates of a city open to let out its army (contrast Psalm 24:7-10).

At the front of heavenís army, in his proper place, is the leader of that army. This leader does not need to hide among the other soldiers for fear of his enemies. All attention is upon him as he rides forward.

In the description, John gives a series of names to this great champion. The first of these names is Loyal and True. That describes his perfect character. He is the judge and he is making war; but he does these things in perfect goodness. Nobody can persuade him to do anything that is not completely right. His judgements are absolutely correct. He will not stop his war until he has defeated every wicked enemy. That is the real purpose of a judge, and that is the only proper reason for war: to defeat what is evil.

In the modern world, of course, judges do not fight wars. In the ancient world, a judge might have to lead a group of men to catch criminals. Sometimes a whole nation would fight a war as an act of judgement against another nation, or part of a nation (see for example, Judges chapter 20 and 1 Samuel chapter 15). The ruler of that nation (for example, Saul in 1 Samuel chapter 15) would be acting as a judge in that battle.

Next part: Christ, the leader of heavenís armies (Revelation 19:12-13)


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© 2016, Keith Simons.