Revelation 19:17

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, Revelation 19:17

With the vision of Christ returning on the horse to wage war against the multitudes gathered together, John next says, “Then I saw an angel standing in the sun.”

The Greek reads “one angel.” The Amplified Bible gives a notable translation, highlighting the fact – “Then I saw a single angel standing in the sun.” Young’s literally translates it as, “And I saw one messenger standing in the sun.”

There is much conjecture, but no definitive answer, as to who this messenger is. It appears, however, that it is another revelation of the Lord Jesus. When Paul was called to his commission, it says –

“While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me.” Acts 26:12, 13

In other words, the messenger (angel) here in Revelation is standing in the sun, and yet he can be beheld despite the brightness of the sun, meaning He is brighter than the sun itself. This is the same thought that is given in Acts. Right at the point when the sun is the brightest (midday), Paul beheld an even brighter light. The radiance of the Lord outshines this brightest orb of creation. In this dazzling manner, it next says, “and he cried with a loud voice.”

In this, the 19th Chapter of Revelation corresponds to the 19th letter of the Hebrew Aleph-beth. The 19th letter is qoph. It is pictured as a sun on the horizon and carries the meaning of “condense,” “circle,” and “time.” Qoph is the first letter of qara – to cry out. Verse 19:17 speaks of the angel standing in the sun and crying out with a loud voice. In this loud voice, the Creator – our Lord Jesus – prepares His creatures for what lies ahead, “saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven…”

It is the Lord who directs creation (Psalm 104, for example). He calls out, fixing their appointed times, and He directs their movements with His wisdom. Now, because of the great battle that lies ahead, He alerts them to what is about to happen, saying, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God.”

This doesn’t mean that the Lord is literally gathering birds together in advance of the warfare to come. Rather, it means that when the warfare to be described comes, the birds will be found at the scene which will occur. Exactly what lies ahead will be described in the coming verses.

Life application: The cry of this angel goes right back to Genesis 1 and shows that God is the Creator of these things and that they are at His direction even after creation –

“Then God said, ‘Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.’ 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:20, 21

The Creator sets all things in place to accomplish His will, even what birds are needed to clean up the refuse that lays exposed upon the ground. What is to be described are gruesome details that are set in stark contrast to the marriage supper of the Lamb – where the redeemed will dine in purity, holiness, and in the presence of the God of redemption. On the other hand, the people involved in this supper will be the supper – it will be a feast of death and horror.

The terminology for the call to this meal is similar to one given in Ezekiel 39 at the battle of Gog and Magog and surely builds upon that symbolism. A time of death and corruption lays ahead for all those armies who are to come against God’s chosen people. It is better by far to realize now what God is doing in human history and stand aligned with Him and His purposes. To take an alternate course is tantamount to signing up to be an unfortunate participant in a banquet of death.

Come to God through His provision. Be reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, and you will never face the horror of being eternally separated from Him. He has made the offer, and He will see you through to a blessed state where we will forever live in His glorious presence. Call out to Him today. Call upon the name of the Lord – JESUS!

O God, You have shown us what is right. You have given us advanced warning as to the consequences for not following that path. We pray for the people of the world. May Your word go out and touch many lives. May their hearts be receptive to its message and convert them now, before the terrible time of tribulation and suffering comes. We pray this so that You will be glorified in them. Amen.