The Writer of Revelation, whom I believe was the Apostle John, had little imagination – a good part of his wording can be found to refer back to the Old Testament. In reading this Sunday, I found a remarkably similiar prophecy to John’s given by Isaiah concerning the Sword of the Lord.
In that day the LORD with His severe sword, great and strong, Will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent; And He will slay the reptile that is in the sea. (Isaiah 27:1 NKJV)
Granted, many do not hold to the Deuterocanon as Canonical (which is predominately only among Protestants) but in the book of Wisdom (of Solomon) we find many things that feed the New Testament. In this one passage, as the author is expanding upon the story of Exodus, we find two things which is in common with John:
For while gentle silence enveloped all things, and night in its swift course was now half gone, thy all-powerful Word (Logos) leaped from heaven, from the royal throne, into the midst of the land that was doomed, a stern warrior carrying the sharp sword of thy authentic command, and stood and filled all things with death, and touched heaven while standing on the earth. (Wisdom 18:14-16 RSVA)
There as been some work in recent years that Wisdom was written as a midrash on Isaiah, which I will not go into here; however, Wisdom has become a favorite book of mine, especially in exploring Luke’s theologia crucis.
Moving beyond the use of Logos here, we find a theme which connects Isaiah to Revelation. In Isaiah, God has a sword which he defeats the twisted serpent. In Wisdom (of Solomon) we are given that the Word of the Lord which comes from the Throne of the Lord, carries the sword of the command of God. (I would urge some of you who dismiss the Deuterocanon books out of hand, to dwell on that last phrase – touched heaven while standing on the earth.)
In Revelation we read that in the End, the Word of God will descend from heaven, leading the armies of God, and will bring a sword:
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:11-16 NKJV)
Further, in Revelation, we read,
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, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh. (Revelation 19:17-21 NKJV)