Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Revelation 19:17

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

An angel standing in the sun - Exceedingly luminous; every part of him emitting rays of light. From this representation, Milton has taken his description of Uriel, the angel of the sun. Paradise Lost, b. iii. l. 648 -

"The Archangel Uriel, one of the seven Who, in God's presence, nearest to his throne Stands ready at command and are his eyes That run through all the heavens, or down to the earth Bears his swift errands over moist and dry, Over sea and land."

All the fowls that fly - The carcasses of God's enemies shall be food for all the fowls of heaven. This is according to a Jewish tradition, Synopsis Sohar, p. 114, n. 25: "In the time when God shall execute vengeance for the people of Israel, he shall feed all the beasts of the earth for twelve months with their flesh and all the fowls for seven years." It is well known that both beasts and birds of prey are accustomed to frequent fields of battle, and live upon the slain.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And I saw an angel standing in the sun - A different angel evidently from the one which had before appeared to him. The number of angels that appeared to John, as referred to in this book, was very great, and each one came on a new errand, or with a new message. Everyone must be struck with the image here. The description is as simple as it can be; and yet as sublime. The fewest words possible are used; and yet the image is distinct and clear. A heavenly being stands in the blaze of the brightest of the orbs that God permits us here to see - yet not consumed, and himself so bright that he can be distinctly seen amidst the dazzling splendors of that luminary. It is difficult to conceive of an image more sublime than this. Why he has his place in the sun is not stated, for there does not appear to be anything more intended by this than to give grandeur and impressiveness to the scene.

And he cried with a loud voice - So that all the fowls of heaven could hear.

Saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven - That is, to all the birds of prey - all that feed on flesh - such as hover over a battlefield. Compare the notes on Isaiah 18:6; Isaiah 56:9. See also Jeremiah 7:33; Jeremiah 12:9; Ezekiel 39:4-20.

Come and gather yourselves together - All this imagery is taken from the idea that there would be a great slaughter, and that the bodies of the dead would be left unburied to the birds of prey.

Unto the supper of the great God - As if the great God were about to give you a feast - to wit, the carcasses of those slain. It is called “his supper” because he gives it; and the image is merely that there would be a great slaughter of his foes, as is specified in the following verse.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Christ, the glorious Head of the church, is described as on a white horse, the emblem of justice and holiness. He has many crowns, for he is King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is arrayed in a vesture dipped in his own blood, by which he purchased his power as Mediator; and in the blood of his enemies, over whom he always prevails. His name is "The Word of God;" a name none fully knows but himself; only this we know, that this Word was God manifest in the flesh; but his perfections cannot be fully understood by any creature. Angels and saints follow, and are like Christ in their armour of purity and righteousness. The threatenings of the written word he is going to execute on his enemies. The ensigns of his authority are his name; asserting his authority and power, warning the most powerful princes to submit, or they must fall before him. The powers of earth and hell make their utmost effort. These verses declare important events, foretold by the prophets. These persons were not excused because they did what their leaders bade them. How vain will be the plea of many sinners at the great day! We followed our guides; we did as we saw others do! God has given a rule to walk by, in his word; neither the example of the most, nor of the chief, must influence us contrary thereto: if we do as the most do, we must go where the most go, even into the burning lake.