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.” 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. ~ Revelation 19:11-16
Today, we return to Revelation 19. In v.11 we are introduced to a Rider on a White Horse who is called "Faithful and True." And, "With justice he judges and wages war."
As we seek to understand this passage, we must keep in mind it contains a mixture of symbolism and reality. God, in this vision is giving the Apostle John several signs and symbols. The horse, the sword and the rod of iron, for example, are all symbolic. The reality is He is coming again with conquering power as King of kings and Lord of Lords.
The horse was the ancient animal of warfare and victorious kings sat on white horses. When the Lord Jesus came the first time, He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey which was the animal of peace. Kings rode donkeys in times of peace. They rode in on white horses in times of war, especially after a victory. This passage is borrowed from the Roman armies and gives us a description of their victorious armies after they had conquered a nation. The general rode into town with the vanquished armies behind him. Behind them would be the spoils of the victory, and then, the general would march into town full of his glory.
This will happen at the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ who will come to execute perfect justice on behalf of all who will have been persecuted by the enemies of this world. At last, as Scripture has long promised, all the evil on the earth will be exposed and judged.
In v.12 the Apostle John tells us, "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."
"Blazing eyes" speak of the Lord Jesus' full discernment, and penetrating knowledge. "Many crowns" speak of His full authority. The two together picture omniscience and omnipotence. The Lord Jesus Christ will clearly be seen by all as the man who manifests all the fullness of God, because He is fully God and fully man. Suggested here is the fact that no one will know and understand the full extent of His mysterious union as the God and man. In fact, in heaven, we will discover, perhaps daily, new aspects of His mystery throughout eternity. This is why heaven will be constantly breaking out with new praises.
You will remember in Revelation 12, Satan will have seven crowns on his head. In Revelation 13, the antichrist will be wearing ten crowns. But at the end of time, only the Lord Jesus Christ will be wearing THE crown.
In ancient days, whenever a general would take over another nation, he would often symbolically wear the crown of the very kingdom that he had conquered, showing that he is now in control of that kingdom. The Lord Jesus wore a crown of thorns at His first coming, sarcastically placed upon Him by narrow-minded men. In the end, He will wear the crowns of the kings of the earth. He will clearly be known by all as the King of kings and the Lord of Lords.
In v.13 we read, "He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God."
The Lord Jesus Christ will have on a robe which will be dipped in blood. He will come with the armies of heaven following Him, and He will have a sharp sword coming out of his mouth.
His "robe dipped in blood" is referenced in Isaiah 63:1-4 which reads, "1 Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, proclaiming victory, mighty to save.” 2 Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? 3 “I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. 4 It was for me the day of vengeance; the year for me to redeem had come."
At His second coming, when the Lord Jesus comes back to earth, He will put a stop to the battle at Armageddon that will have been raging in the Middle East. And, His robe will be splattered with the blood of His enemies. This explains the appearance of His robe in this text.
In v.14 of today's text we read, "The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean."
We who believe in the Lord Jesus as our Lord and Savior right now will be a part of this army that will accompany the Lord Jesus at His second return to earth. In fact, in Revelation 17:14 we read "his called, chosen, and faithful followers," will accompany Him when He comes.
At the Rapture, the Lord Jesus will come in the air and His followers will meet Him in the air. At His Second Coming, the Lord Jesus will come through the air and His feet will touch the earth. At the Rapture, He claims His bride. At His second return to earth, He will come with His bride. At the Rapture, only His own will see Him. At His Second Coming, every eye will see Him. At the Rapture, it's a time of blessing followed by a time of great tribulation and wrath. At His second return, it will be a time of judgment, followed by a kingdom that will be set up forever and ever. At the Rapture, the focus will be on the Lord Jesus and His church. At His second return, the focus will be on Israel and the kingdom. The Rapture is sudden and unannounced. His second return will be very predictable because at the middle of the tribulation one will be able to know the number of days to the Second Coming.
In v.15 we read, "Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty."
This "rod of iron" is a symbol of tough justice, of unbending, unwavering righteousness. It is the standard of God's morality which he cannot lessen or diminish in any way. This is descriptive of the millennial years when righteousness will reign in all the earth. There will be sin and sinners present in His one thousand year reign on the earth, but they will not upset things.
In v.16 we read, "On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords."
In ancient days, a king would often have his title woven into his garment and engraved upon his blade. Given that the garment would hang from a band at the waist, the words written on it would fall at roughly thigh level. For all to see most prominently will be the message: "King of kings and lord of lords." It was the Lord Jesus Christ who spoke all things into existence. He came as predicted in His word to substantiate that word as He made His way to the cross of Calvary.
Interestingly, the Lord Jesus didn't need to acquire His King of kings and Lord of lords status by going through the cross. He could have just vanquished His enemies as soon as they rebelled. But, He chose to go to the cross so that He could include you and me in on His victory over sin and death. We will, with Him, be the victors. The design of the cross includes one horizontal beam and one vertical beam. One points us to God's love, and the other points us to His holiness. One represents the width of His love and the other reflects the height of His glory and holiness.