Tuesday, 13 July 2021
Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. Revelation 19:15
The narrative now continues to describe the rider dressed in white mentioned in the previous verses. The description says, “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword.” This is the same description given in verse 1:16 –
“He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.”
To get a fuller understanding of the symbolism, refer back to that commentary. In short, the sword proceeding from His mouth gives the sense that Christ will cut out all that is false and all that is contrary to the truth. Of the sword, it next says, “that with it He should strike the nations.” This was alluded to in Isaiah 11:4 –
“But with righteousness He shall judge the poor,
And decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.”
Such terminology is found elsewhere in the Old Testament and earlier in Revelation as well (for example, see Revelation 2:27). Continuing on, John prophesies about Christ’s coming rule, saying, “And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron.”
The words are emphatic. It is Christ, and He alone, who will ultimately rule the nations. Though the millennium will be a time of great wonder in comparison to our current age, it does not mean that there will be only peace and harmony without any disobedience. This is understood from passages such as Zechariah 14 –
“And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 17 And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. 18 If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” Zechariah 14:16-19
Hence, there will be a need for the rod of iron spoken of. As such, the specific prophecy concerning this time was made in the second psalm –
“I will declare the decree:
The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
8 Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’” Psalm 2:7-9
Continuing on, John next says, “He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”
The treading of the winepress was referred to in Revelation 14. That symbolism is brought in again here, and it is reflective of the words of Isaiah 63:3. It is Christ who pours out the anger of God on the disobedient. The fact that “the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” is mentioned shows how repulsive sin is to the Creator.
He has made His goodness and His perfect nature manifest to the people of the world, but that has been openly rejected and actively worked against in our wickedness. Christ is the One who will trample out this disobedience, and who will maintain harmony during the millennial reign.
Despite His rule and despite the ideal conditions of the world in which man lives, the wickedness of man’s heart will be shown to have been unchanged. From the fall, through the various dispensations, and into the millennium, the depravity of the human heart and man’s desperate need for Jesus Christ is on full display.
Life application: The right to rule the nations belongs to Jesus, the right to judge those nations belongs to Jesus, and therefore the right to destroy the ungodly nations belongs to Jesus as well. God is a God of mercy and longsuffering, but His patience has an end. It was true when He destroyed the world in the flood. It was true when He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. It was true when He used Israel to destroy the nations of Canaan. And it was also true when He turned His judgment on Israel after continuous disobedience.
The world of today has all but rejected Him and, in due time, He will come for His faithful at the rapture. After this, the events which have unfolded thus far in Revelation will come to pass. But instead of humble repentance, the world will only turn further away from Him. And so, He will come in His glory with His faithful believers to be glorified in them at His return. He will be glorified in the eyes of His followers in how He judges, and He will be glorified in those He judges through their destruction.
The word of God, the Holy Bible, is likened to a sharp two-edged sword in Hebrews 4:12. If this is the proper symbolism to be taken, then Jesus will merely speak and by the breath of His mouth He will strike the nations. Paul appears to indicate just this in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 –
“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.”
The very Word which the nations have rejected will become the implement of their destruction.
The saying “to whom much is given, much will be expected” rings true. The Bible is the most published book in all of human history, and its pages fill the homes of the world, even the unbelieving world. With the internet today, any person can access, read, and study it. In it is sure proof of the infallible word of God. Therefore, to reject it is to reject the God who gave it.
This powerful word will be spoken by Jesus and the nations will fall. During and after His return, “He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron.” The shepherd carries an iron rod to beat attacking animals and thus protect His sheep. And so, Christ will shepherd His people in safety. It is His world, and He is the Defender of His flock. No accusation of unfairness will hold when He judges, and the world will submit to His judgment and rule.
It is important to remember here that Jesus is returning to the land and the people of Israel. The world will have come against them, and it is this antagonistic world to which His rod is directed. Thus, in a sweeping display of judgment, we read the words of the subject verse.
The gentle, humble, and loving Creator and Savior has become the Executor of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. The world that now mocks Jesus, and finds Him either a joke or a cosmic pushover, will stand in horror as He personally destroys all wickedness and roots out everything that causes evil. This is the great, awesome, and splendid God who deserves all of our praise, honor, and respect.
We can give it to Him now, or we can stand condemned for rejecting His gracious offer of peace which came at the cross of Calvary. I choose life… I choose JESUS.
O God! How glorious You are and how splendid is Your message of peace to the people of the world. Surely, no one has any right to cry “Unfair” when You come to judge them for rejecting You. We can only avow that Your way is right and that in faithfulness and righteousness You make every decision. Hallelujah to You! Amen.