New Defender's Study Bible Notes
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.