Bible Lessons on the Book of Revelation: The Fall of the Dragon’s Allies, Lesson XVIIII – Part 2

LESSON XIX – PART 2 Rev. 19:11–21

Read More Than Conquerors, pp. 217–220



As another section of the book is about to be concluded (chapters 17–19) the battle of Har Magedon is shown once more. That battle in its final manifestation consists of two elements: the final attack of anti-christian dominion upon the Church, and Christ’s victory over this vast army at his coming.

We see, first of all, the Rider upon the white horse. That Rider is always the Christ. His name is “the Word of God” (cf. John 1:1), the divine Logos. He is the One already mentioned in Revelation 5:5 as the Conqueror; again in 6: 2 (there, too, he rides upon a white horse), and now here in Rev. 19. Yet, there is a difference between these three passages. The book of Revelation, also in this respect, shows wonderful progress. In Revelation 5:5 we see him as the One who conquered at Calvary (as is proved by the context, see Rev. 5:9); in 6:2 as the One who even now and throughout history is conquering; and here in 19:11ff. as the One who in the great day of the final judgment rides on to victory over all his enemies. His garment is “sprinkled with blood.” He is about to rule “with a rod of iron,” and to “tread the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God the Almighty.” Surely, it is hard not to see in this scene our Lord Jesus Christ “surrounded by the angels of his power in flaming fire, rendering vengeance to those who do not acknowledge God, even to them that obey not the gospel,” and coming “to be glorified in his saints” ( II Thess. 1:8–10).


This section begins with a reference to “birds” (verse 17) and ends similarly (verse 21). It is, accordingly, a unit, and should not be too rigidly divided at verse 19.

It was spring-time. On the hill at Gibeon a mother is keeping vigil. And what a vigil it wasl Rizpah was her name. Here she sat on sackcloth, and this for five months, keeping faithful watch over the bodies of her dead sons, “suffering neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night” (ll Sam. 21:10). She must have driven away ever so many ravenous vultures. When David heard about her deed of heroism, he had the bodies of these two sons (and the others with them) buried. To have one’s body consumed by birds of prey was considered a horror of the worst possible kind.

It is with that story and thought in mind that one should try to picture to himself what John actually saw in a vision, as described here in Revelation 19:17–21. An angel “standing in the sun” summons all the high-Hying birds of prey to an immense banquet, so that they may gorge themselves on carrion to their hearts’ content. In her most interesting book, All the Birds of the Bible (see p. 109) Alice Parmelee tells us that Palestine abounds with birds of prey. She states that in addition to an abundance of eagles (nine different kinds!) and vultures (five kinds) there is a bewildering variety of “buzzards, hawks, kestrels, kites, harriers, and falcons.” It is especially the vulture that is considered the high-flying bird of prey, the “unclean” bird, that is continual1y looking for and swooping down upon carrion. And so it is here in Revelation 19. This, let it be borne in mind, is a battlefield, the battlefield of Har Magedon (same as in Rev. 16:16 and 20:8). Above this battlefield the dark shapes of all these vultures—in fact, of all the birds of prey that fly in mid-heaven -make their appearance. More swiftly than you can tell the story they come tearing down out of the sky. The rest is horrible for the imagination to contemplate. John sees an immense heap of corpses; of kings, captains, mighty men, in fact of all those wicked people who have followed the two beasts. The two beasts themselves are taken and “cast alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone” (verse 20), for Christ’s second coming means the eternal doom of every world-empire and every false religion or philosophy that has set itself in array against the kingdom of light. And as to all these individuals who were obedient to the beasts, here are their corpses, mingled with the corpses of horses (verse 18). The pile is so enormous in size that all –be sure to note that word all—the birds (of prey) “were filled”—they could not have consumed any more!—with their flesh. Such is the symbolic picture drawn here of the certainty and the horror of all those forces and individuals who oppose the Christ and persecute his people. Such is their complete discomfiture when Christ comes as Judge in that great, final day.



1. What does Isaiah 63:3 teach us with respect to the meaning of Revelation 19:13, “a garment sprinkled with blood”?

2. What passage (or paragraph) in Ezekiel furnishes a background to this picture of the birds of prey summoned to “the great supper of God”?

3. Explain Revelation 19:14.

4. In connection with verse 17, how is it possible for an angel to “stand in the sun”?

5. In connection with verse 20: does moral responsibility rest only with individual persons, or also with the world as center of persecution (the beast out of the sea) and the world as center of false religion (the beast out of the earth)?

6. What is meant by “the lake of fire that burneth with brimstone”? See verse 20.

7. Do the following passages teach anything with respect to the relative number of the saved and of the lost: Revelation 19:21; Revelation 7:9; Matthew 22:14; Luke 13:23, 24? Note the practical application!