Week - 34 The Conquest of The Coming King Revelation 19:11-21
Updated: Dec 15, 2021
Authored by Jerry Marshall A man who lived in Chicago had just left the snow filled streets and the biting winter wind called “the hawk” for a vacation in Florida. His wife was on a business trip and was planning to meet him there the next day. When he reached his hotel, he decided to send his wife a quick e-mail. Unable to find the scrap of paper on which he had written her e-mail address, he did his best to type it from memory. Unfortunately, he missed one letter and his note was directed instead to an elderly pastor’s wife, whose husband had passed away only the day before.
When she checked her e-mail, she took one look at the monitor, let out a piercing scream, and fell to the floor in a dead faint. At the sound, her family rushed into the room and saw this note on the screen: Dearest wife -just got checked in. Everything prepared for your arrival tomorrow – signed, your eternally loving husband. P.S., Sure is hot down here!
There are a lot of things that don’t get communicated as they should and end up causing a great deal of confusion, misunderstanding and disappointment. But there are other things that must be communicated accurately and with the greatest amount care. Among these, would be the promises that God has revealed to us in His word. One such promise is the hope of all believers, which is the promise of the Second Coming of Christ.
Belief in the Second Coming of our Lord is one of those important fundamentals of our faith. It’s one of those unique features of our belief system that sets us apart from all the other religions that exist.
It has been said that the early church thought more about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, than about death or about heaven. “The early Christians were looking not for a cleft in the ground called a grave but for a cleavage in the sky called Glory. They were watching not for the undertaker but for the upper taker.” Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910)
The significance of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is in its relationship to several important foundational pillars of our belief system such as....
1. The integrity of Jesus Christ hangs on the reality of this event (Revelation 3:11.
Revelation 22:7; Revelation 22:12; Matthew 25:31).
2. The integrity of the reliability of Scriptural prophecy depends on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the integrity of the whole Bible hangs on this event actually occurring.
3. The substance of the hope of all believers is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It is what every true believer eagerly anticipates.
20 “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
28 “So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
5. The Second Coming then is one of the non-negotiable fundamentals of our Faith. It is akin to our belief in the Bible as the Word of God, or salvation being secured by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. It is as significant as our faith in the virgin birth of Christ and our trust in the truth that in Christ all the fullness of deity dwelt in a bodily form.
6. The Second Coming must be distinguished from the rapture of the church, which takes place prior to the seven years of Tribulation. At the rapture of the church, Christ comes for his bride, which is the church. At the Second Coming, He comes for His throne.
7. Furthermore, at the rapture, Christ meets His saints in the air (1Thessalonians 4:17) to take them to heaven (John 14:2-3). At the Second Coming, He descends with them from heaven to the earth (Zechariah 14:4), and establishes His Millennial rule.
In this last section of the nineteenth chapter of Revelation, we come to the actual recording of this event, which is the culmination of redemptive history, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This is the preeminent event of this book.
From our study today, we will be confronted with two very important questions that each of us must answer. I have broken this section down into two parts. The first being THE RETURN OF THE CONQUEROR and the second being THE VICTORY OF THE CONQUEROR.
I. The Return of the Conqueror Revelation 19:11-16
I saw heaven standing open...
The last time John beheld the sight of heaven opened before his wondering eyes were in order to receive him in (4:1). It would be from that perspective that John would receive the majority of what he recorded in this book about the last days of the last days. But now, the doors of heaven are thrown open in order to clear the way for Christ and His heavenly entourage to make their way to earth. This friend is the event that all of redemptive history has been pointing to, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
The name Jesus or Christ is never used in this passage. Instead, our Lord is described by four different titles that reveal something of His person and His mission.
A. A sanctifying title (19:11-12a)
This name is a sanctifying name because it is a title of distinction. It sets our Lord apart from everyone else. No longer is our Lord portrayed humbly riding into the city of Jerusalem mounted on a donkey, even a colt, the foal of a donkey. At His Second Coming, our Lord will be mounted on a white horse, the symbol of victorious conquest and the preferred mount of victorious Roman generals.
A victorious general would ride the white horse at the front of the procession of His troops as they made their way through the streets of Rome following a major victory on the battlefield. This would distinguish him as the one who is responsible for the victory.
The rider bears the distinctive title “Faithful and True.” Earlier in this book, the Lord described himself to the church in Laodicea as the faithful and true witness (3:14).
In this sense, he is faithful in all of his promises and truthful in all that he declares. The fact that Christ is coming again proves His faithfulness to His promises and the truthfulness of His Word. This would stand in stark contrast to the broken promises and lies spewing from the month of the Antichrist.
Jesus is the personification of truth (John 14:6). He told those who professed to be His disciples that they would prove the genuineness of their discipleship if they would abide by His teaching. Then they would know the truth and that truth would set them free from the mastery of sin (John 8:31ff).
In this passage, Jesus is described as being faithful, in the sense that He has already proven himself trustworthy in carrying out the mission of His first coming, which was to redeem those that God have given to Him from the wrath of God to come
“…in righteousness He judges and wages war.”
One of the first things that Jesus does when he comes the second time is to exercise His righteous judgment. His righteous character demands that He do so. As the ultimate righteous Judge, He pronounces the sentence. As a warrior, He will carry out the sentence.
When Jesus came the first time, He came as the Savior of the world. When He comes the second time it will be as its judge. When He came the first time, wicked people judged Him. People like the Pharisees, Pilate, Herod and Caiaphas. When He returns, He will judge all wicked people. And these will be subject to the penetrating and omniscient eyes of our Lord... Note verse 12
In the exercise of His Judgment, nothing will escape the penetrating and piercing vision of our Lord. Jesus can see into the deepest and darkest recesses of the hearts of mankind. Every thought, every intention, every word, every motive and every act, are all fully exposed in the sight of this all seeing and all-knowing Judge.
The writer of Hebrews declared… “all things are open and lay bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13).
On His head are many diadems (crowns).
The word “diadems” is a translation of the Greek word, diadema, which refers to the royal crown of a king. In the case of Christ, He wears many crowns because He the ultimate King. The King of Kings! No longer does He bear the mocking crown of thorns. For He now bears the crowns of the ultimate monarch.
And so, this one who bears the title of faithful and true, is the victor on the white horse, the Judge whose eyes penetrate deep into the recesses of everyone’s heart. And His judgments are a reflection of His omniscient understanding of all things.
He is also the warrior who will execute His sentence upon the wicked inhabitants of the earth.
B. A secret name (19:12b)
He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.
Jesus bears this secret name. It won’t do us any good to speculate what that name might be. The only thing we can say is that all of the titles of Jesus that have been revealed to us are descriptive of his character, His abilities and His mission. No doubt this secret title will in some way reveal these things.
C. A sacred name (19:13-15a)
This blood on His robe is not His blood. It is not the blood poured out for us by Him in His loving act of redemption. He bears the blood-spattered robe of a conquering king. And the blood is that of His enemies. (Keep in mind that John is using the example of our conquering Roman soldier or king).
The imagery of this passage is similar to that of Isaiah 63:1-6. The prophet having a vision of God inquired of God, “Why is your garments red like those of one treading the winepress?” God replied, “I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments.” And so this robe dipped in blood, bears the blood of the enemies.
The sacred name He bears is the Word of God. Jesus is the Logos of God, the visible, tangible expression of God in a bodily form. He is the reason and the source of all that there is. He is called the Word of God because He is the ultimate revelation of God. He is the full expression of the mind; will and purpose of God (cf. John 1:1, 14).
Note verse 14, “The armies which are in heaven.” What is the composition of this army?
According to Revelation 17:14, those who are with the Lord when He defeats the Antichrist and his armies at the time of His Second Coming, are referred to as His called, chosen and faithful followers. This could be a reference to the tribulation saints (Revelation 7:13-17), who have come to rule with Christ during the millennium (Revelation 20:4), or it could refer to the raptured saints (Revelation 19:7-8). There are some who understand this army to refer to an angelic host (cf. Matthew 5:11; 25:31).
Whatever the composition of this army from heaven, “They return not to help Jesus in the battle (they are unarmed), but to reign with Him after He defeats His enemies” (20:4; 1 Cor. 6:2; 2 Tim. 2:12). Cf. Ps. 149:5–9.
This army is made up of noncombatant supporters of the Messiah as He wages the final battle single-handedly. And they, like the Word of God, are mounted on white horses, the mount of those who have been victorious. And they are dressed in fine linen, white and clean.
D. A sovereign name (19:15b-16)
The sovereign rule of Christ is described for us using graphic imagery.
From His mouth comes a sharp sword so that with it He may strike down the nations.
From the mouth of God came those commands that unleashed His creative power that brought all things into existence. But now, from the mouth of the Lord, the nations of the world will come under the powerful words of judgment that are like unto a sharp sword that strikes them down with deadly force.
And just as the Lord did not need to use the devices of man to flood the world in the exercise of His judgment, He will not need the weaponry of man to bring down the nations. He will do that simply with His Word. This is the ultimate example of “Death from Above.”
And then, quoting of Psalm 2:9, John describes the nature of the anticipated rule of Christ during the time of the Millennium. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”
We know that this is describing the Lord’s manner of rule over the nations of the world during the millennium because the nations that are gathered at the Battle of Armageddon will be destroyed. There won’t be anything to rule!
“Iron Scepter - this is a symbol of tough justice, of unbending, unwavering righteousness. It is justice based upon God’s morality, which is rooted in His Holy Character.”
The word that is translated “Rule” comes from the Greek word poimaino which not only conveys the idea of governing or ruling but also nourishing and providing. It is frequently translated in the NT to shepherd.
Jesus will be the ultimate Shepherd during the time of the Millennium. But He will also be a benevolent dictator nonetheless who will swiftly exercise His righteous judgment against sin and those who commit it.
John then returns to the work of Christ at hand at the time of His Second Coming and that is judgment. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.
The imagery here is that of the ancient practice of stomping on grapes as a part of the winemaking process. Here it depicts the fierce judgment of the Lord exercised at the time of His Second Coming against these nations. And just as the grape juice would spatter during this process, so the blood of the enemies of the Lord will be spattered as the Lord treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.
This anger of the Lord has been building up for centuries as His holy character has been offended by the blatant sinfulness of mankind.
Note Revelation 19:16. The Lord is wearing what is probably a banner, which runs across His chest and down on His upper leg. And there we find this fourth name, KING OF KING AND LORD OF LORDS. Christ is the ultimate monarch. He is the King of time and space and the King of all creations. He is the LORD OF LORDS, the ultimate sovereign ruler who controls all things in the magnificence of the exercise of His divine providence. How dare anyone oppose such a King and such a Lord as this?
And so, at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, John affirms the extraordinary nature of the Son of God come to judge the nations and to rule the earth by these unique names, a sanctifying name, a secret name, a sacred name and a sovereign name.
II. The Victory of the Conqueror Revelation 19:17-21
A. The gathering of the birds of the earth (19:17-18)
So confident of the victory of the conquering KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORD’S, that an angel of the Lord calls for the birds of the earth to come and feast on the carnage of the battle before the battle begins. This invitation anticipates the victory of the Lord over these enemies.
These birds will feast upon the kings, generals, mighty men, horses and their riders, which is descriptive of all those gathered at the Battle of Armageddon. But also, this feast will include all people, free and slave, small and great. They are the inhabitants of the earth who received the mark of the beast and worshipped the Antichrist.
As they gather around the city of Jerusalem in order to destroy it, the sharp sword that comes out of the mouth of the Lord will strike down the armies of the earth. In addition, the beast worshippers from every social level will be destroyed as well.
B. The gathering of the armies of the earth (19:19)
The formidable and seemingly invincible armed might of the Beast, with all its firepower, awaits the arrival of the faithful and true one who is the Word of God, THE KING OF KING’S AND LORD OF LORD’S, who is accompanied by His army.
The beast is the Antichrist, the kings of the earth refers to those ten kings who rule the ten sectors into which Antichrist’s worldwide empire is divided. The armies of the ten kings are gathered to make war against the coming rider and his army.
They believe that they have come to this battle because of their own choice. However, they are simply conforming to the Lord’s sovereign design for the end times.
C. The triumph over the enemies of God (19:20-21)
I know that this is often referred to as the Battle of Armageddon, but it isn’t much of a battle. The fact that the Beast and the false prophet were thrown alive into the lake of fire is convincing refutation of the false doctrine of annihilation (Note 20:10).
John Phillips describes this scene in a way that cannot be improved upon.
“Then suddenly it will be all over. In fact, there will be no war at all in the sense that we think of war. There will be just a word spoken from Him who sits astride the great white horse. Once He spoke a word to a fig tree, and it withered away. Once He spoke a word to howling winds and heaving waves and the storm clouds vanished and the waves fell still. Once He spoke to a legion of demons bursting at the seams of a poor man’s soul, and instantly they fled.
Now He speaks a word, and the war is over. The blasphemous, loud-mouthed Beast is stricken where he stands. The false prophet, the miracle working windbag from the pit is punctured and still. The pair of them are bundled up and hurled head-long into the everlasting flames. Another word and the panic-stricken armies reel and stagger and fall down dead. Field marshals and generals, admirals and air commanders, soldiers and sailors, rank and file, one and all- they fall. And the vultures descend and cover the scene.” (Exploring Revelation, 236)
1. One of the new attitudes that Paul spoke of as an indicator of true conversion is one of anticipating the Second Coming of Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:8-10).
2. There are certain virtues and behavior patterns that should be evident in the lives of those who wait for the Lord to come.
3. The order of our behavior should be characterized by holiness and godliness.
2 Peter 3:10-11
10 “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.”
4. All who hope in and for the Second “Coming of Christ indicate their confidence in that truth by a lifestyle of purity.
1 John 3:2-3
2 “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”
5. Those that wait for this essential event in redemptive history must be steadfast and patient.
7“Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!”