19:11 he that sat upon him. At His initiation of the tribulation on the earth and with the opening of the sealed scroll, the great Rider had set forth to conquer His own rightful domain from its usurper, the old dragon. The Rider now appears again to terminate the tribulation and complete His conquest.
19:12 he himself. He is known by many names, including three in this passage alone (Revelation 19:11-16). However, He now has “the name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9), and that name represents the fullness of who He is and what He does. Even though we shall learn more and more of our great Creator and Redeemer as the ages of eternity roll on, we can never reach that fullness, for He is infinite. Thus the ultimate name above every name can never be known save by God Himself.
19:13 vesture dipped in blood. The vesture was dipped in blood as He rode triumphantly down the great winepress, where the spilled blood had reached the horses’ bridles (Revelation 14:20). He will begin His journey deep in Edom at Bozrah (Isaiah 63:1), and continue on, “red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat” (Isaiah 63:2), until He reaches Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. “In thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things” (Psalm 45:4).
19:13 The Word of God. Note John 1:1-3 and Hebrews 11:3. The same one who created the universe and framed the aeons will also triumph over all the hosts of darkness and wickedness.
19:14 armies which were in heaven. All the saints are prepared for the marriage supper (Revelation 19:8) but it will be held on earth, so the earth must first be purged. Therefore, they will follow the Rider to the battle, but they will not be involved in the battle, for He has the only weapons needed (Revelation 19:21).
19:14 followed him upon white horses. Note Zechariah 14:5; I Thessalonians 3:13; Jude 14. His saints will accompany Christ both at the rapture (I Thessalonians 4:14) and at His glorious appearing on the earth, as described here.
19:15 out of his mouth. Compare Revelation 19:21; also Revelation 1:16; Isaiah 11:4; II Thessalonians 2:8. With “the breath of His mouth” He had called the hosts of heaven into being (Psalm 33:6). He can surely destroy the hosts of darkness with that same omnipotent Word.
19:15 rule them. To be understood in the context of shepherd, “rule” is actually “feed,” in the sense of using His shepherd’s rod to compel the “sheep” to travel the paths of righteousness (Psalm 23:3-4). On His “rod of iron,” see Psalm 2:9.
19:15 winepress. See notes on Revelation 14:14-20; Isaiah 63:1-6.
19:16 LORD OF LORDS. Note also I Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14.
19:17 fowls that fly. The armies of devils will have gathered together all the world’s armies to Armageddon (Revelation 16:14-16) to fight with God (Revelation 19:19). Now God, through an angel, would gather all the scavenger birds of the world together to cleanse the land of their carcasses. There may have been a similar, though smaller, avian feast some seven or so years previously at the slaughter of the armies of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 39:17-20). The latter, however, may also refer to this same feast at Armageddon.
19:20 the beast was taken. Every person in the vast assemblage of armies will be instantly slain in the great winepress by the slashing “sword” (Revelation 19:15) from the mouth of the Rider on the white horse—perhaps a blast of such overwhelming pressure as to explode every blood vessel and result in a great vat of human and animal blood extending down the 180 mile valley (see note on Revelation 14:20). Or perhaps the violent pelting of great boulders from the sky will contribute (Revelation 16:21). More likely, it will simply be the power of His omnipotent Word itself. Whatever the nature of the “sword” may be, it will spare no one except the two human leaders, the beast and the false prophet. These are designated for a different fate, that of being the first occupants of the lake of fire, which is the final hell. The souls of the rest of the slain multitudes will join all other lost souls in Hades, in the heart of the earth, there to await the final judgment. As for the old dragon, Satan, he also will be cast into Hades, into the “bottomless pit” section, and no doubt all his angels will be cast there with him. See notes on Revelation 20:1-3.
19:20 lake of fire. The “lake of fire” is the ultimate hell, the place of “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). It is not the same as Hades, although that Greek word is often translated “hell” (e.g., Luke 16:23). Rather, it is the place called gehenna, which also is often, somewhat confusingly, translated “hell” (e.g., Matthew 5:22). Gehenna was a word coined from the use of the Valley of Hinnom near Jerusalem, as a perpetually burning refuse dump, thus having the appearance of an everlasting lake of fire. On the location of the lake of fire, see note on Revelation 20:10.