The Battle (19:11-21)

For the last chapter and a half, John's vision has been more auditory than visual. Not since the bright angel of 18:1 has he focused on something about which he said, "I saw" (Greek eidon). Instead he has attended to voices and messages from heaven that he quotes verbatim, sometimes explicitly claiming, "I heard" (Greek ekousa, 18:4; 19:1, 6).

Now the visual aspect surfaces again. The account of the long-awaited battle between good and evil, as well as the millennium, the last judgment, and the new heaven and earth (19:11—21:8), is punctuated repeatedly by the expression I saw (19:11, 17, 19; 20:1, 4, 11, 12; 21:1, 2). The first three of these occurrences divide the battle story as follows: the mounted general and his armies (vv. 11-16), the invitation to birds of prey to feast upon the slain (vv. 17-18) and the battle itself (vv. 19-21). The invitation and the battle will be viewed together.

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