The Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:1–21)

At long last, the Apostle John is shown the culmination of God’s future wrath against and destruction of all sin. To this point it had been revealed that Jesus Christ—the Lamb who was slain and is, thus, worthy (5:6, 12)—will one day initiate, oversee, and enact righteous judgement upon the whole world. Natural disasters and unnatural disturbances, fear and famine, death, darkness, and demonism will be unleashed. While the church will be exempt from this time (3:10), those who come to faith during this time will likely be martyred (6:9–11). As the prophets predicted (Dan 12:1; Joel 2:2) and Jesus affirmed, it will be a season of chaos “such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will” (Matt 24:21).

But it all comes to an end with two banquets, one of celebration and one of condemnation. And a study of these two future suppers can prepare God’s people today to partake in another supper, the Lord’s Supper, one of commemoration, purification, and anticipation.


Today we’re going to observe communion nearer the end of our time together and so, if you haven’t already, please feel free to grab the elements from the back of the room. 

My motivation for switching things up a bit this morning is not merely for novelty’s sake but because I think the passage we’re considering today, Revelation 19, prepares us for it. It’s a passage that, as we’ll see, describes two banquets—one of celebration and one of condemnation. And our study of these two future suppers will ready us to partake in the Lord’s Supper, a meal of commemoration.

I want to begin by reading Revelation 19, a chapter that tells of the culmination of God’s future wrath against sin and destruction of sin. Over the last couple of months, we’ve seen that Jesus Christ, the Lamb who was slain and is thus worthy, will one day initiate, oversee, and enact righteous judgement upon the whole world. Natural disasters and unnatural disturbances, fear and famine, death, darkness, and demonism. While the church will be exempt from this time, those who come to faith during this time will likely be martyred. As the OT prophets predicted and Jesus affirmed, this will be a time of chaos “such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will” (Matt 24:21).

But, as we were reminded last week, in the end God wins. And we start to see that ultimate victory crystallize in Revelation 19. [Read Revelation 19]

Did you hear the two meals mentioned? First, in verse 9, we’re told that the marriage supper of the Lamb is ready. Then, in verse 17, the birds are told to assemble for the great supper of God. Two future banquets of dramatically different tones—one of inexpressible celebration, the other of incomprehensible condemnation. 


Let’s look at the second one first: the supper of condemnation. It’s a meal announced by its host, the Lord Jesus, who bursts through the heavens (19:11) atop a white horse. If you’ve ever wondered what Jesus will look like when he returns, here’s a hint. And John wants us to notice a few things about him.

First, he wants us to notice what Jesus is called, “Faithful and True” in verse 11. He keeps his promises, including those of judgement. In verse 12 we’re told that “he has a name written on him which no one knows except himself.” While we can know Christ, there’s a sense in which he’s still unknowable. He’s condescended to us but he’s still transcendent above us. In verse 13 “his name is called The Word of God.” He’s the revealer and adjudicator of God’s will. And, in verse 16, John reports that “on his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, ‘King of kings, and Lord of lords.’”

What Jesus is called when he returns says something about him. He’s the unrivalled authority, personifying and imposing truth as promised.

John also wants us to notice what Jesus is like. Verses 12 and 13 say that “his eyes are a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems. … [and] he is clothed with a robe dipped in blood.” Verse 15 adds that “from his mouth comes a sharp sword.” His eyes burn with a zeal to kill sin and the crowns say he has the authority to do it. The bloody robes, imagery from Isaiah 63, tell of God’s wrath against rebellious nations, something he applies with his powerful and slicing word. 

What Jesus looks like when he returns says something about him. He means business and he’s prepared for war against evil.

Finally, John wants us to notice what Jesus is doing. Verse 11 says that “in righteousness he judges and wages war.”. And he’s not alone (19:15). He leads an army of purified saints though it seems they’re mostly there to watch as it’s him, and him alone, that will “strike down the nations, and … rule them with a rod of iron.” It’s Jesus that “treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.”

What Jesus is doing when he returns says something about him. He’s not only ready for war, he wages it and wins it.

The dragon, the serpent of old, Satan has had his time on earth. He’s killed, deceived, and destroyed. He’s waged war against God, God’s Son, and God’s people. It ends here. Jesus Christ, God the Son incarnate, descends to the battlefield of this fallen world, not as a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths but as a warrior draped in royal robes. He’s not riding a donkey toward a cross but a warhorse toward his throne.

The cancer of sin will be totally excised from this world. The terrorism of evil will be completely irradiated. The rot of wickedness will be dug up and forever discarded. But we can’t do it. Not only because we’re weak, finite, and simple, but because we’re contributors to the problem. No, it’s going to take the perfect Surgeon, the flawless warrior, and the eternal King of kings. And that’s who we see coming in Revelation 19.

In spite of his epic entrance, those on earth at this time (19:19) “assemble to make war against him who sat on the horse and against his army.” They’re so drunk with rebellion that they come to challenge God for supremacy. This has never worked in the past, does not work in the present, and will not work in the future. In fact, Christ’s victory here is so sure that an angel invites the birds to prepare for a banquet. [19:17c–18] This meal isn’t one of fine food and drink but of corpses.

“Come, assemble of the great supper of God.” The invitation is urgent because the war will be short and its destruction will be total—all who challenge God will fall, “small and great.” As predicted, so it will be. [19:20–21]

This is the second coming of Jesus Christ. As believers, we long for it, don’t we? “Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight / The clouds be rolled back as a scroll.” But that which is the best day ever for those in Christ will be the worst for those who stand against him. 

Charles Spurgeon (a 19th-century preacher), imagines this day for the rebel: “When Christ comes a second time, there will be a marvellous change in the way [people] talk. Me thinks I see him; there he sits upon his throne. Caiaphas, come and condemn him now! Judas, come and kiss him now! … Now, Barabbas, go! See whether they prefer you to Christ now. Swearer, now is your time; you have been a bold man; curse him to his face now. Drunkard, stagger up to him now! Infidel, tell him to his face that there is no Christ now that the world is lit with lightning and the earth is shaken with thunder. Tell God there is no God now; now laugh at the Bible, now scoff at the minister. Why, men, what is the matter with you? Why can’t you do it? Ah! There you are: you have fled to the hills and to the rocks. ‘Rocks hide us! Mountains fall on us! Hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne.’ ‘Ah! Where are now your boasts, your [bragging], and your glories? Alas! Alas! For you in that dread day of wonders!’”

Like cowards who talk and type big behind people’s backs but, when face-to-face with those they accuse their faux-courage and conviction vanishes like a scared squirrel. That’s what it will be like for those who, with ill-founded bravado, blaspheme, mock, and ignore Christ now. When he comes, it will be a different story.


Why? Because there is coming a supper of condemnation, a banquet to which all who stand opposed to Christ will attend when he comes. But there’s another meal in this passage one could attend instead, one as beautiful as the other is devastating: it’s a supper of celebration.

And celebration is the right word for it. This text opens with a series of hallelujahs!, a Hebrew declaration meaning “praise God!” The first is declared in verse 1 by a heavenly throng. “Hallelujah!” they say. Why? [19:1b–3] They’re praising God because he perfectly and totally judges wickedness. They aren’t sadistically celebrating the slaughter of people but the defeat of the sin that made this a necessity. Sin’s destruction is worthy of a thousand hallelujahs!

In verse 4 the elders around the throne and the four living creatures can’t help but join in, falling down and agreeing with the multitudes: “Amen. Hallelujah!”

Then a voice comes from the throne inviting others. [19:5b] While, in verse 18, the small and great of those who hate God will be condemned, here the small and great of those who fear God—that is, revere him, obey and love him—will celebrate. [19:6] They’re looking back to his defeat of Babylon and forward to the perfect reign of Christ on earth and declare, “our God is truly Almighty! Hallelujah!”

This invitation to worship becomes an invitation to a wedding. [19:7–8] This is the wedding of Jesus, the Lamb of God, the bridegroom who laid down his life for his bride. [Eph 5:25–27] 

In Revelation 19, we can imagine the faces of the Bride and Bridegroom, Christ and his church, together at last. Jesus sought a bride, called her, redeemed her, cleansed her, so that she would be ready for him. Jesus purifies his bride with his gift of righteousness and with the power to pursue righteousness herself. It’s both, and. [19:8] We are saved by God’s grace and by his grace we serve him, follow him, worship him, and wait for him.

[19:9] This party is happening and it will be a supper of celebration the likes of which the world has never known. “Blessed are those who are invited,” who stand not with the rebels but with the redeemed, not with the beast but as the bride?

How do we get invited? By faith in the Groom. By believing God when he says that he loves us and that his Son, Jesus, came and sought us while we were yet a sinners, died on the cross for those sins, rose from the dead, and offers life eternal to all who trust him for it.

When you do that, you are given the white wedding robes of Jesus’s perfection. You are given the Holy Spirit to live in you and empower you toward “the righteous acts” as we prepare ourselves for our beloved’s appearing. When we do that we have a real reason to say, hallelujah!, and wait with great anticipation for the wedding party.

If you have never placed your faith in Jesus Christ, asking him for the eternal life he has promised and the invitation to the best dinner party ever thrown, today is the day.

And if you have, which is most of us, we have some work to do as well. To say it simply, we’re called to prepare (the bride has made herself ready), anticipate (wait for his coming), and worship (say hallelujah!). Prepare, anticipate, worship.


All three of which we’re going to do now as we approach the Table of the Lord. As believers in Jesus Christ, we come to this supper of commemoration thankful that we’ll be kept from the supper of condemnation and longing for the supper of celebration. And what are we commemorating? We’re remembering why it is—and how it is—that sinners like us have been made a blameless bride.

Now, most of you likely know that the foundation of this supper is the Jewish Passover, a meal that recalls God rescuing his people from Egypt. [Ex 12:3, 5–7, 11–13] In the supper, Israel prepared themselves with the blood, they anticipated the promised deliverance from bondage, and they worshiped the God who would bring it to pass.

This Passover meal was observed for centuries in Israel. In fact, it was that very meal that Jesus, on the night before he would die, was eating with his disciples when he instituted something new. [Matt 26:26–29]

While the Passover meal remembered deliverance from bondage in Egypt by the blood of a lamb, the communion meal remembers deliverance from the bondage of sin by the blood of the Lamb. While the Passover meal was connected with the old covenant, one that was powerless and external, this new meal is connected with the new covenant, one that enlivening and internal.

The Apostle Paul would later give instructions for the observation of this supper. [1 Cor 11:23–34]

This supper, like the marriage supper of the lamb, is for those who belong to Groom, who have believed in Jesus and are, thus, a member of the Bride, the church. And we come to this supper of commemoration to remember how that is so—the Son of God gave himself, his body, and shed his blood, to bring us to him.

So, we prepare, examining ourselves so that we do not feast in an unworthy manner. In the context of 1 Corinthians, I think that means that we don’t have conflict with another member of the body. We are declaring unity to Christ and to one another as we partake; it would be the height of hypocrisy to make that declaration while hating a member of the bride. So, we prepare ourselves. Examine our hearts. As the Spirit to convict us where there is unity-straining sin. And repent of it. Let’s take a moment and do that now.

Second, we anticipate. When he instituted this supper, Jesus said “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” Anticipation of that kingdom is baked right into this cake.

And Paul picked up on that as well: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” We’ve prepared ourselves, not just by believing in the Son who died for us, but by asking the Spirit to cleanse us of hypocrisy. And now, we prepare to remember his death while anticipating his return. 

Finally, we worship. This is an act of praise. With every bite we say “Thank you, Father, who is worthy and able to save sinners like me. Thank you, Jesus, for dying for my rebellion. Thank you, Spirit, for making me new and keeping me yours.” With every swallow we say, “Come, Lord Jesus. Kill sin, set up your kingdom, free your people, bring the supper of celebration.” 

Let’s pray before we eat and drink together.

Like a bride waiting for her groom, we’ll be a church ready for you, ev’ry heart longing for our King, we sing, even so come, Lord Jesus, come. Our Father, our hearts are heavy and weary with the sin, rebellion, and brokenness all around us and even within us. We confess that what you’ve said is true: only you can remedy a rot this deep, a cancer this aggressive, and hatred this intense. 

But we thank you now, that you have and you will. We thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ, who died for those sins, rose from the dead defeating death and offers eternal life to those who reach out from the grave by faith. We pray for those in our midst who have never trusted in Christ that today would be the day of salvation. And, Father, for the rest of us, as we prepare to remember his sacrificial and atoning love, help us prepare fully, anticipate truly, and worship you rightly.

We ask these things in the precious name of Jesus, your Son and our Saviour, Lord, and coming King. Amen.


Josiah Boyd

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