When Jesus comes…Heaven stands open.
When Jesus comes…He rides a white horse.
When Jesus comes…His name is called “Faithful and True.”
When Jesus comes…He judges with justice.
When Jesus comes…He makes war against evil, against the Beast, the kings of the
earth, and the false prophet.
When Jesus comes…His eyes are like blazing fire.
When Jesus comes…He wears many crowns upon His head.
When Jesus comes…He possesses a name that is known to nobody but Himself.
When Jesus comes…He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood.
When Jesus comes…He is called “the Word of God.”
When Jesus comes…He is followed by the armies of heaven dressed in fine linen,
clean and white.
When Jesus comes…A sharp sword proceeds from His mouth to strike down the
When Jesus comes…He rules the nations with an iron scepter.
When Jesus comes…He treads the winepress of Almighty God.
When Jesus comes…He has written on His robe, “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS!”
Our Savior is a conquering King. When Jesus came the first time He was born in a manger. He was a defenseless baby. He was hunted down by Herod, but God preserved His life. He grew into adulthood and the world witnessed the mercy, grace, and love of the Father through the life of the Son. He forgave sin. He healed the sick. He brought in those who had been cast out. He gave His life for those who had no life, no hope, and no future. He allowed His blood to be shed so that people like you and me could be forgiven for our sins. After He was crucified He was laid in a tomb, a borrowed tomb. He was dead. No breath. No life. But that’s not the end of the story! He got up! The power of God raised Jesus from the grave, from death to life, never to die again! On the third day He got up a Victor! He is victorious over death and the grave! He is victorious over every enemy that would seek to separate us, you and me, from Almighty God! Our Savior is a conquering King!
This morning we are returning to our study of the Apocalypse, the book of Revelation. If you will turn with me to Revelation 19:11-21 we will read together and then see what we can learn.
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 makes 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. 13He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15Out of his mouth comes 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. 16On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. 17And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.” 19Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh. (Revelation 19:11-21 NIV)
I want to remind you once again that whenever we study the book of Revelation we must begin by taking a seat in a pew of one of the seven churches of Asia Minor, the churches that first received this letter of encouragement from the Lord. We also have to understand the context of the times in which the letter was written. We make a horrible mistake if we only study Revelation from our vantage point, disregarding the times of our brothers and sisters who were enduring the reign and wrath of Emperor Domitian.
Long before John wrote Revelation the Roman government began to crack down on the Jews because they had a different religion, they didn’t live loosely like the Romans, and they refused to worship the emperor as a god. The Romans allowed the Jews and Christians to practice their religion, but they always looked on them with suspicion.
In 40 A.D. the Roman Emperor Caligula tried to put a statue of himself in the Temple in Jerusalem, but when there were riots in response to Caligula’s attempt to desecrate the Temple, the Romans backed down and the Jews were allowed to practice their religion.
During the reign of Emperor Nero, about 66 A.D., the Jews decided to revolt against Rome so they could regain their independence. Nero sent one of his minor generals, a man named Vespasian, who would later be emperor, to put down the revolt. When Vespasian became emperor in 69 AD, he charged his son Titus with bringing the Jews under control and putting an end to the revolt. Titus waged war against the Jews and destroyed the Temple, and Jerusalem, in 70 A.D.
When Titus returned to Rome, his brother Domitian built a great big stone arch in his honor. Inside the arch were carvings showing Titus carrying away the sacred things of the Jews, including the Menorah, the golden trumpets, and a copy of the Torah. If you go to Rome today you can see the Triumph Arch of Titus standing above the forum in Rome.
Josephus, the famous Jewish historian, wrote about Titus’ victory in his book, The Jewish War, Book VII. Josephus tells us how Titus destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the Temple and then returned to Rome with the spoils of war and the captured Jewish soldiers. Back in Rome, Titus joined with his father, Vespasian, and his brother, Domitian, who would later be emperor and exile John to Patmos where he would write the book of Revelation. Once back in Rome they led the citizens in a “Roman Triumphal Procession.”
The Roman Triumphal Procession through the streets of Rome was an honor bestowed on Roman generals who defeated the enemy on foreign soil, captured over five thousand enemy soldiers, and obtained additional territory for the Roman Empire. The emperor and all of the citizens of Rome cheered as the procession passed by them. The procession led up the Via Sacra, the main street of Rome that led from the Forum to the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill. The general, mounted on a white horse, rode at the head of all of his troops, and was followed by wagon loads of items he had taken from the conquered nation. The most precious of objects taken from Jerusalem were items from the Temple: the golden table on which the “bread of the presence” had been placed, the golden lampstand, or Menorah, the golden trumpets used in calling people to worship, and a copy of the Jewish Torah. Behind the wagons that carried these objects rode Vespasian, then Titus, with Domitian beside him. The triumphal procession ended at the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus—where Simon, son of Gioras, who had been the Jewish general, was put to death before all of the citizens of Rome. All of this happened in 70 A.D. when Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple of God.
This is the background of our study for today, but it is not the final chapter of the battle. The persecuting emperor, Domitian, was destroyed, the mighty Roman Empire fell, but the Church prevailed—our Savior is a conquering King! David S. Clark writes,
But does the conquest of this rider on the white horse pertain only to the Roman Empire? Must we be ever dealing with things that are dead and buried centuries ago? Is there nothing in all this that touches and vitalizes the church of the present day? Or are we never to get beyond the dry dust of the catacombs?…Let the church remember that this rider on the white horse is the living Jesus, that he is in the forefront of every battle, that just as He conquered the beast and the false prophet, so he will conquer every enemy…The rider on the white horse is still riding on. Let the church follow, clothed in linen, white and clean. (Clark, David S. The Message From Patmos: A Postmillennial Commentary on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989)
Clark is right. Jesus’ victory is not past tense, neither is it solely an end-time victory—Jesus is the conquering King today—in our day as well! The Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible states in the footnotes for this section of Revelation,
Christ appears as the divine warrior to wage final battle against all the enemies of God, who are headed up by the beast and the false prophet. Christ’s holy attributes contrast markedly with the unholy, counterfeit attributes of the beast (13:1-10). This final war brings to a climax all the wars that God has waged on behalf of His people (Ex. 15:2-3; Deut. 20; Isaiah 59:16-19; Ez. 38-39; Hab. 3:8-15; Zec. 12:1-9; 14:3-5) and consummates the triumph achieved by Christ on the cross. (Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible, pg. 2078)
There will be a final battle, but make no mistake about it—the battle has been waged throughout history. The battle is engaged even now, all around the world, in every village, every town, and every city—our Savior is a conquering King!
I want to spend the remainder of our time today taking a look at some things that really jumped out at me this past week as I was studying this Scripture. First of all, I want you to notice the rider on the white horse. Who is this rider? He is the same rider that we ran into in Revelation 6:2. Read along with me.
1I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. (Revelation 6:1-2 NIV)
Some Bible teachers disagree about the identity of the rider on the white horse in Revelation 6:2, but you have to realize that “white” is always characteristic of purity in Revelation. We see “white stones” given to those who are victorious (2:17). In Revelation 3:4-5 we read about the “white robes” Jesus will give to those who walk with Him. In Revelation 3:18 “white clothes” symbolize purity of character. In Revelation 4:4 we read,
4Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. (Revelation 4:4 NIV)
In Revelation 14:14 we read about one “like a Son of Man” sitting on a white cloud. Here, in our Scripture for today, we read about the rider on a “white” horse and in Revelation 19:14 we read about the heavenly armies riding on “white” horses. Last of all, in Revelation 20:11, we read about the “great white throne” of God. There are several other references to “white” in the book of Revelation, but I think I’ve made my point—white is always symbolic of purity in Revelation.
Who is this “pure” rider on the white horse in Revelation 19:11? He is none other than Jesus, our conquering King! What else can we learn about Him from our Scripture for today? Well, I’m so glad you asked. His name is called, “Faithful and True.” He judges with justice and He makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire and on His head are many crowns. He has another name, a name written on Him that no one knows but Himself. Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword with which He strikes down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh it is written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Jesus, our Savior, is the conquering King! He is a King unlike any other king who has ever lived. He judges with justice, not by preference or prejudice. He is called “Faithful and True” because He doesn’t conveniently twist the truth to make it fit His agenda. His eyes are like blazing fire. He sees through all deception and hypocrisy. This description reminds me of the nature of the Word of God described for us in Hebrews 4:12-13.
12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13 NIV)
In Revelation 19:12 we also learn that He has many crowns upon His head. Back in Revelation 12:3 we learned that the enormous red dragon had seven crowns upon his head. In Revelation 13:1 we read where the beast coming out of the sea had ten crowns upon his head, but the rider on the white horse has many crowns upon His head. He is the Sovereign King of all nations!
If you will remember, when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, He was offered power over all nations if He would only bow down and worship Satan. Take a look at Matthew 4:8-11 with me.
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” 11Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (Matthew 4:8-11 NIV)
Jesus came on a mission. He came as a servant, to give His life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45) His coronation would take place, but not at this time, not by the hand of the enemy. The day came when Jesus laid down His life, “He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross” Paul tells us. Paul writes in Philippians 2:8-11.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:8-11 NIV)
“God exalted Him!” God gave Jesus the name that is above all names so that every knee will bow. Every knee will bow. Domitian may call himself, “Lord and God,” but Domitian will bow. Saddam Hussein may have made himself out to be bigger than life, but Saddam’s knee will bow. Seung-Hui Cho may have made himself out to be “Ismail’s Axe,” but let me tell you that he will bow his knee before the One who judges with justice. Osama may be terrorizing people today, but his day is coming. It will be a day in which he will bow his knee and be humbled. You may think that you can live however you want to live with no regard for the Lord and His call upon your life, but let me assure you my friend; you will bow your knee and proclaim that Jesus alone is Lord and God!
Let’s talk about another interesting aspect of this Scripture that is often overlooked by those in our society today. John writes, “With justice he judges and makes war.” So many in our society today have an image of Jesus as weak, meek and mild. A pacifist who turns a blind eye to sin. Nothing is further from the truth. Throughout God’s Word we read about a God who is involved in the struggle of His people. Let me give you some examples. In Exodus 3, when God appeared to Moses at the burning bush, He said,
6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. 7 The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey– the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. (Exodus 3:6-8 NIV)
By the time the Lord delivered the Hebrew slaves and destroyed the army of Pharaoh, the slaves knew the power of God. They knew that God had accomplished for them what they could not do themselves. In Exodus 15:2-3 Moses and the Israelites sang a song to the Lord.
2The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3 The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name. (Exodus 15:2-3 NIV)
In 2 Kings we read about when the King of Aram was at war with Israel. The prophet Elisha would tell the King of Israel where the King was going to attack. Eventually the King of Aram found out about it and he sent his troops to kill Elisha. In 2 Kings 6:14-17 we read,
14Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. 15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked. 16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:14-17 NIV)
“Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” What comforting words! You may live in a country where the government is persecuting you because of your faith. You need to know that those who are with you are more than those who are against you! You may be attending a school where you find yourself constantly being hassled because your love for the Lord won’t allow you to do what the other kids do on Friday or Saturday night. That’s alright. You just don’t ever forget that those who are with you are more than those who are against you! You may work in a hostile environment where faith is viewed as a mental illness or as aberrant behavior. You need to remember that those who are with you are more than those who are against you! Jesus, our Savior, is a conquering King!
This is the good news that was delivered to those who lived in Pergamum, Smyrna, Ephesus, and the other churches of Asia Minor. This is the good news that you and I need in our own day. This is the good news that will still be good news when the last battle is fought—Jesus is our conquering King!
Let me show you something truly amazing. Do you remember the Roman Triumphal Procession? The State sponsored parade in Rome which honored the conquering generals and made a spectacle of the defeated troops and general? The Greek word that is used for “Triumph,” is “qriambeu,w” (thriambeuo.) It is only used twice in the New Testament, but there is no doubt that Paul gets his imagery for the word from the Romans and their parade. Read along with me from Colossians 2:13-15.
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:13-15 NIV)
Titus defeated the Jewish army by power. He destroyed the Temple and sacked the city of Jerusalem, but our Savior began His conquest on the cross. The sign of defeat, the symbol of scorn, we have come to cherish as the sign of our victory in Jesus.
In 2 Corinthians 2:14-15, Paul’s pen overflows with praise as he considers what God has done for His people. Read along with me beginning at verse 14.
14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. (2 Corinthians 2:14-15 NIV)
Jesus, our King, is a conquering King! He has conquered the enemy not by might, but by the cross! He continues to conquer in our day as the Divine Warrior who comes against every evil, every force, that seeks to set itself up as God. I want to invite you this morning to trust the King. People want something to hold onto, someone to be able to trust, but let me tell you that there is only One that you can truly trust with all of your heart and every aspect of your life. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. He will never misuse, abuse, or deceive you. He is “Faithful and True” and He loves you more than you can even comprehend. Won’t you let Him into your heart today?
Britton Christian Church
922 NW 91st
OKC, OK. 73114
April 22, 2007