When God gave Israel the Land of Promise, He required them to be avengers to execute wrath on wicked peoples. He commanded that they enforce His law within their new domain. When Christ returns as “King of kings,” He will do exactly the same thing.
The peoples of the world at His return will be doing the same things that the Canaanites were doing when God gave it to Israel (Revelation 9:20). The peoples of the land did not repent, just as the survivors of God's plagues will not repent. Had there been repentance, there would have been no need to execute wrath on evildoers. God is a God of great mercy and compassion, but with the hardhearted and rebellious, He is a God of justice.
David C. Grabbe
Why Did God Command Israel to Go to War?
Not only is Christ's coming shock and awe, it is destruction as we have never imagined it. The angel calls the birds to devour the flesh of all people, small and great. Jesus Christ comes back to wage a righteous war, one that has been brewing for 6,000 years due to mankind's hostility and rebellion to God. By the time this prophecy is fulfilled, God has had enough of sin. Christ comes back and treads the winepress of His wrath, where the blood spilled comes up to the horse's bridles. It is hard to imagine blood three or four feet deep and flowing like a river.
Talk about shock! Some people faint dead away when they see just a drop of blood, but imagine a river of blood flowing through the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Revelation 14:20; Joel 3:9-13)! Not a pretty picture.
As is happening in Iraq today, the enemy regime and all of its supporters must be removed before a new and better government can be installed. In like manner, God has to wipe the slate clean and start over.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Shock and Awe - and Speed
Our God is a God of truth. He is the Rock, the immovable Foundation of this way of life. The Hebrew word for "Rock" indicates firmness, stability, and faithfulness. What would it be like to worship a God whose "truth" changed from time to time? Could such a God be trusted? The Greek word for "True" in Revelation 19:11 means much the same thing, but it carries the additional sense of "real" or "genuine." There is nothing—absolutely nothing—false, deceitful, evasive, or variable in His character, His Word, or His example.
What does this mean practically? Who are the most important people in a community, state, or nation? Not the doctors, lawyers, teachers, entertainers, military personnel, or businessmen. Considering how much God's Word concentrates on the preachers and kings, God indicates these two win in a landslide.
It might be difficult to say which of these two is more important, but a slight edge seems to go to the ministry. Christ came first as a rabbi and Savior, teaching and living the values that form the foundation of God's way. At His return, He will come to administer them. This is why God devotes so much space to these two in the Bible. The preacher must teach and live the values, and the king must live and administer them.
Without true values, civilization will not continue long but descend into revolution and anarchy. God's Word, His doctrine, is true and faithful just as He is. It is a reflection of His nature and character. Any society or family built on it will prosper and become great in godly terms. Jesus' first coming left mankind without excuse regarding the eternal question, "What is truth?"
Jesus says in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." Many can say, "I have told you the truth," but Jesus not only told it, He embodied it. He put truth into a visible, concrete form so all who want to see it can.
What credibility that gives to one's teaching! A person can teach us a mathematical, grammatical, spelling, geographical, or historical truth, and what his character is like matters little. But if a person teaches moral truth, his example, character, conduct, and attitudes are all-important. Who wants to be lectured on purity by an adulterer or on honesty by a liar and thief?
Jesus lived what He taught with total purity and never a shadow of turning. He was absolutely stable, firm, and reliable, the real, genuine representative of eternal life, the way of life that He will establish on earth at His return.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment (1997)
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Revelation 19:11:
1 Thessalonians 4:17