When Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate during His trial, Pilate was asked, “Are you the King of Jews?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36) The literal Greek implies that Jesus said His kingdom was not “out of” or “from” this world. It was not derived from the world of men. It was not empowered by the power of men. Jesus’ kingdom did not come from the realm of men. Pilate did not understand that the King of kings, and the Lord of lords was standing before him. Pilate was out of the realm of men, but Jesus was not. Pilate did not understand that his authority and power to reign as king over Judea did not really come from Caesar of Rome. It came from the One who was standing before him (Acts 2:23; Rom. 13:1). This fact is still true today with every nation and province of the world. The rule of men is an illusion of power and authority that some day will end.
The realm of God’s rule has always existed and will never end (Ps. 145:13). He has always ruled in heaven, and yet He allows men to rule on earth to some degree. The Apostle Paul said that will change some day.
I charge you in the presence of God . . . and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time – He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords . . . (NASB) 1 Tim. 6:13-15
The apostle says “the proper time.” When the proper time comes, Jesus will rule as King of kings and Lord of lords and the rule of men will end. His delegated authority and power will be taken back and His kingdom will come to earth.
The King’s Return
Early in the book of Revelation, Jesus opened the fifth seal (Revelation 6:9-11). When He did, the Apostle John saw the souls of men and women who had been murdered because they were Christians. John also heard them ask how long would God wait to avenge their blood. The answer they received was this,
And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. (NASB) Rev. 6:11
They would have to wait until the proper time – wait until a certain group of men and women who believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior were killed. The proper time had not yet come!
But as we pick up our study thirteen chapters later in Revelation 19:17, the proper time has come and the King of kings has finally arrived to end the rule of men and establish His kingdom. He is on a white horse, dressed in a red robe dipped in blood, wearing many crowns on His head, having glowing eyes, carrying a sharp sword, and His names are “Faithful and True,” “The Word of God,” and . . .
And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (NASB) Rev. 19:16
He is the Almighty God. He will be the winner and He will come to reign. He is the King!
Jesus will not come alone. He will come with multiple armies whose soldiers are Christians (Rev. 17:14).
. . . He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful. (NASB) Rev. 17:14
They are the saints of all the ages dressed in fine, bright clean, white linen which symbolized the “righteous acts of the saints” (Rev. 19:8, 14). Earlier in Revelation 7:9 we saw the same symbolism – the saints were clothed in white clothes. These armies will be Christian men and women who have already died and have been living in heaven.
I am eager for my white clothes. I want to be righteous like God. The Word of God tells us that God has a will, emotion, and intelligence. We do too! We are also told that God loves, is merciful, gentle, and kind. Most of us are do too! But we are not like God when it comes to holiness. His actions are always holy, and ours are not always. I want to be holy like Him! I want to know holiness. What did Adam and Eve give up? Some day we will know! And I am looking forward to seeing God.
Call To War
Revelation 19:17 tells us that the apostle saw an angel call the birds of the earth to come and eat the flesh of men. Supper is ready to be served – fresh and warm! It will be the great supper of God!
Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.” (NASB) Rev. 19:17-18
What an ugly picture! It reminds me of the big, black vultures that circle high above the Sonoran Desert looking for fresh food. The angel’s promise of food tells us that many people will be killed. God will not play favorites. He will not care if you are a soldier under military command, a wealthy person, a poor one, a man, a woman, a child, popular with the people, a politician, or one with great moral intentions. Everyone who has rejected Jesus will die. Now you might say, “I have not rejected Jesus, but I have not accepted Him either. I am neutral.” Then listen to Jesus’ word – listen to the warrior on the white horse,
He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (NASB) John 3:18
God says that we must believe in Jesus. Otherwise, we are opposed to Him. The warning to believe is given in nation after nation around the world today, and it will be given again many times during the Tribulation. Yet, many will reject the warning (Rev. 9:20-21; 11:18; 14:6-12).
Feeble Power of Men
Then the apostle saw the beast or the Antichrist and the armies of the world.
The . . . ten kings . . . receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful. (NASB) Rev. 17:12-14
And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. (NASB) Rev. 19:19
They will come to wage war against Israel and Jesus Christ. The world will come because its people are angry with God for all of the horrible plagues, the 144,000 witnesses, the two witnesses they could not kill, the angels who preached the gospel around the world, seal judgments, the trumpet judgments, the bowl judgements, and the destruction of Babylon the Great. Jesus will be seen as a threat to their lives – their existence. Maybe they will consider Him to be like some alien invader from outer space. The armies of the world will unite against the God of the universe in the hope and belief that they can defeat Him. The Antichrist will have deceived them with signs and miracles (2 Thess. 2:9-10; Rev. 13:13).
Power of Demons
The prophecy of Ezekiel 38-39 describes a great battle that occurs in “the last days” (Ezek. 38:16), and after victory, God will reign forever (Ezek. 39:21-22). Ezekiel 38:8 says that the events will occur in the latter days after Israel is restored to the land. The disaster that occurs at Armageddon as described in Rev. 16:17-21 matches the description in Ezek. 38:19-23 and Ezek. 39:11 almost perfectly. The angel’s call in Rev. 19:17-18 to the birds to come to the great feast is also very close to the call given in Ezekiel 39:17-20. Ezekiel also tells us that the armies of the world will come to destroy Israel (Ezek. 38:14-16; 39:11), and that the battle occurs in Harmon-gog or Armageddon (Ezek. 39:11; Rev. 16:16). In summary, Ezekiel 38-39 describes the events before, during, and after the final battle at Armageddon.
This means that the demonic forces under the leadership of Satan will have gathered the armies of the world to Armageddon, which is in the land of Israel (Rev. 16:13-16). According to Rev. 16:12 and Ezekiel 38-39 the armies will come from the north and cross over the Euphrates River to invade Israel.
Ezekiel 38:5-6 tells us that African, Arab, European, and eastern nations, including the former Russian Empire, will come to the land of Israel (Ezek. 38:15-16). They will come to destroy Israel and God, but they will be defeated and humiliated.
Armageddon – Leaders Removed
The Antichrist and the world’s armies will come to the battle with their best modern weapons. One can only imagine what type of weapons they will bring – their most lethal. The wait will be over when Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords, and the armies of the saints come in the clouds! The Battle of Armageddon has come, and the armies of the world will moan and groan when they see Jesus.
And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. (NASB) Matt. 24:30
What a way to start a great battle. Discouraged and demoralized troops! When the battle starts, Jesus will kill the Antichrist and the False Prophet with the breath of His mouth. – no sword, just the breath of His mouth.
Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders . . . (NASB) 2 Thess. 2:8-9
They will lose quickly. Wow! What a defeat. No battle. No rockets, no swords, and no bullets, – nothing. The generals are gone!
And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. (NASB) Rev. 19:20
The Antichrist and False Prophet will be immediately removed and sent to the Lake of Fire to remain there forever.
Armageddon – Troops Defeated
Then Jesus kills the armies of the world with the sword of His mouth – the Word of God.
And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh. (NASB) Rev. 19:21
Ezek. 39:2-5 gives us more details,
I will strike your bow from your left hand and dash down your arrows from your right hand. You will fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you as food to every kind of predatory bird and beast of the field. You will fall on the open field; for it is I who have spoken,” declares the Lord GOD. (NASB) Ezek. 39:3-5
The slaughter will be massive. Rev. 14:20 says that the blood of these armies will cover 200 miles (322 Km) and splatter to the horses’ bridles. Rev. 16:17-20 says that God will use great natural events to destroy the armies. All of creation will be used to destroy them. It will be horrible and joyous at the same time.
For some the idea of burying the dead after the battle of Armageddon for seven months seems difficult to accept (Ezekiel 39:12-13). This means that the burial of the dead would have to occur during the kingdom. If this seems difficult to accept, remember that the kingdom will not be in heaven. There will be non-Christians and Christians in the kingdom. Sin will still be present. The lion and lamb will play together in the kingdom. The new heaven and new earth will not have arrived yet. There will still be waste products and trash to bury. There will still be dust in the house to be cleaned, and the weapons of the war will also have to be destroyed (Ezek. 39:9-10). Finally, there will be peace on earth and Jesus will be the King and the Lord of all the earth after Satan is removed.
Next an angel appears, descends from heaven, grabs Satan, and shuts him up in the abyss.
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. (NASB) Rev. 20:1-3
It amazing that God will use an angel to bind up Satan. Satan was once the anointed cherub who covered God with his wings (Ezek. 28:14). He was a highly honored angel, and now God will use an angel to humble him. God will not personally remove him. Another angel will do that.
Have you ever worried if God could defeat Satan? Have you ever wondered if the Holy Spirit that lives within you is greater than Satan? The answer is found here. God will not have to do anything; even an ordinary angel can defeat Satan. The proper time has come and Satan cannot escape. The rule of men is over. The rule of Satan is finished – almost. He will return in our next study.
God will not be like a boxer in a ring who is going to be hit in the stomach, in the head, and in the nose. He will not fall down, and then get up with a bloody lip. God will have no cut eye, bruised ear, or be tired when it is over. With a puff of His breath, a sweep of His sword, and the judgment of an angel, it will all be over. What a great God we have!
If Pontius Pilate were alive on the earth during Jesus’ kingdom, he would finally understand Jesus’ answer. Yes, Jesus is a King. He is more than King of the Jews. He is more than King over Pontius Pilate. He is more than King over Caesar. He is King over all of creation. He is King over sin. He defeated sin, evil, wickedness, and death on the cross. He will defeat Satan and the armies of wickedness. The answer is yes! The answer is yes! Shout it from the mountains. Shout it with all your heart and voice. Jesus is King! He is King of kings and Lord of lords. And He loves us! Oh, does He love us! Please Jesus, come quickly!