The Heavenly Warrior Defeats the Beast Rev 19
11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”[a] He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
king of kings and lord of lords.
17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small.”
19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21 The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
I suspect this is the verse that preceeds verse 20 of Revelations which puts it into context. The Rider on the white horse is the Word of God being delivered to the world through the Jewish nation. (and they were a conquering nation)
Then Rev 20
The Thousand Years
20 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They[a] had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
This is portraying Jesus entering the world. He has the key to the abyss which is the christian church which was established on His teachings, His death on the cross, and the arrival of the Holy Spirit in the upper room on Pentecost Sunday.
This is Catholic interpretation of Scripture delivered by the authors of the Scripture and refined by the early doctors of the Church. Most is well documented some was passed on in tradition.
First, thank you for the thought put into this.
Here are the key questions I have about the Catholic interpretation.
They say Rev 19 above is the arrival of the 'Word of God' which is interpreted as the Old Testament text or the Tora part of it anyway. But then you equate it with the nation of Israel. I can't follow the logic behind this. The scriptures clearly indicate that it is a person that is arriving in a very sudden and earthshaking way. I can't think of any person who fits the title of "Word of God" better than Jesus Christ. And clearly that global battle and capture of the Beast described at 19:17 has not yet occurred. Rev. 19:15 says: “He will rule them (the nations) with an iron scepter.” If "He" is the OT, I hope you can agree that it is not ruling the world right now. There is no way to legitimately interpret "king of kings and lord of lords" as the Jewish Old Testament, we both know who fits that description.
You/Catholicism have interpreted this literally: "And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God."
If there is any book in the Bible that is recognized as Metaphorical, it is Revelation. Consider this my brother, you have had your head bitten off many times here.
So the question here is: Who
is in which of the two resurrections.
I think this is Paul's one sentence summary of the events in Rev. 19
1Th:4:16: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
The dead in Christ I take to mean all those who followed Christ's message. What the minimum passing grade is, I don't know, but it isn't literally losing your head. Most of us are screwed if it is.
True, the second resurection is not until after Christ's return, the thousand years of his rule is up, and the final battle is over.
Re:20:13: And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Re:20:14: And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Re:20:15: And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
The Catholic interpretation does not satisfy my need for coherence. In their scenario, the 1000 years sound's like a perk given to just the folks alive at the time Christ returns (Christians and otherwise) and the lucky dead Christians who were decapitated. The Christians that died prior to that miss out completely. This just doesn't pass the sanity test for me.
It only makes sense to me that the first resurection applies to all who are 'His' and only He can make that call. I think the purpose of the 1000 years is to complete our (Christians) understanding of what his kingdom is all about. Judging by what I see in the world, it could well take that long.
While working on this reply I think I stumbled onto the answer to another question bugging me for some time. In the scenario where Christ returns and all Christians are raised, what happens to all the ones alive who are not currently in the book of life? It looked like they get a delayed judgement and the benefit of 1000 years. But reading Rev 19, it looks like they could join the initial battle on the side of the Beast and perish at the start of the thousand years.
That poses another even deeper question about who joins Satan at the end of 1000 years but I've run on long enough.
I'd like to hear your thoughts on any of this.