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Revelation 19:11–21

“I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself” (vv. 11–12).

Overwhelmed by the vision of the marriage supper of the Lamb, John fell down to worship the angel who told him to write a blessing for those who will attend that banquet. However, the angel rebuked John for worshiping him, a mere creature (Rev. 19:9–10). It is easy for us to criticize John at this point, but we should be careful. The glories he saw would certainly overwhelm us as well. In our fallenness, we are not any less susceptible to worshiping a creature as glorious as an angel. Most important, John obeyed the angel and ceased his attempt to worship him.

Immediately after receiving the angel’s rebuke, John saw a new vision of the One whom he is to worship, the Lord Jesus Christ. Today’s passage describes John’s vision of the return of our Savior as conquering King at the end of history. Heaven opens, and the Word of God—the incarnate Logos and Son of God (John 1:1–14)—appears on a white horse, leading the armies of heaven dressed in fine linen (Rev. 19:11–14). This army, of course, consists of those who have died in faith, those who maintained their witness to the end and have received the fine white clothing of triumph (v. 8; see 6:11; 7:9–14).

That we are seeing the final battle at the return of Christ is evident in the destruction of the beast and the false prophet—that is, the beast from the sea who makes war on the saints and the beast from the land who deceives the nations (19:20; see ch. 13). We last saw this beast from the sea in Revelation 17, where he is depicted as the eighth persecuting king to come and the mount of the prostitute Babylon, or Rome, who turns on Babylon when she falls. As we have seen, this beast may be consummated in the appearance of one final Antichrist, but in general it represents the evil world system that is opposed to God and His people, which finds one final expression at the end of all things. This beast epitomizes rebellion against the Lord, and the ungodly nations of the world join him to fight the Messiah. Yet to call the conflict between this evil alliance of world powers and Jesus a battle is to give too much credit to the strength of our Lord’s foes. No real struggle is recorded in Revelation 19; the beast and his followers meet their doom as soon as the Lord appears from heaven. Jesus wears the blood-stained robes that God wears in executing His final judgment (19:13; see Isa. 63:1–6), confirming the surety of His quick victory. Without a doubt, Jesus will perfectly judge and defeat all His and our enemies (Rev. 19:21).

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

The surety of Jesus’ return to destroy all His and our enemies is an important truth for life in the present. Because we know that God will perfectly judge His foes, we can leave vengeance in His hands and show patience and even love toward our enemies. We do not have to worry that our kindness will enable evil people to escape judgment, for God will certainly hold the impenitent to account for their sins.

For Further Study
  • Joel 3:9–13
  • Romans 12:19
  • Revelation 14:14–20; 17:14

The Word Became Flesh

A Thousand Years

Keep Reading The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus

From the December 2020 Issue
Dec 2020 Issue