Revelation 19:11

Friday, 9 July 2021

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. Revelation 19:11

With the vision of the great multitude in heaven complete, a new vision is brought to John’s attention with the words, “Now I saw heaven opened.” It is not unlike verse 4:1, which said, “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven.”

This time, instead of being called up to heaven as in 4:1, John views One that will be coming from heaven. As he looks up, he says, “and behold, a white horse.” Many scholars attempt to tie the appearance of this horse in with the white horse found in Revelation 6:2. Other than the fact that both ride a white horse, there is nothing in common between the two.

The white horse is a symbol of military leadership. The rider, on the white horse in 6:2, represents a military leader during the tribulation period. The antichrist most likely. The white horse now is coming from heaven. It is Christ Jesus. This is then set as a contrast to Christ’s first advent when He was completing His ministry. At that time, He rode on a donkey, symbolizing humility and peace. Now, He is coming as the conquering King. As it next says, “And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True.”

These names are actually attributes ascribed to Him. Scripture is replete with references to the faithful nature of the Lord. For example, Psalm 89 says –

“O Lord God of hosts,
Who is mighty like You, O Lord?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.” Psalm 89:8

The faithful nature of the Lord is one of His defining characteristics. Likewise, the truthfulness of the Lord is also on prominent display in Scripture –

“For the word of the Lord is right,
And all His work is done in truth.” Psalm 33:4

Because these attributes define His very nature, what has been spoken by Him will come to pass. As His word says that there will be a time of peace on the earth where Israel will be chief among the nations, it will come to pass. When the Lord promises that He will always defend His people, even in their unfaithfulness to Him, it will come to pass.

Every word that the Lord speaks will be fulfilled, and many promises to Israel have been spoken. Therefore, they will come to pass. It is for this reason that the Lord will return as a conquering King. As the verse next says, “and in righteousness He judges and makes war.” The next words of Psalm 33 (just cited) say –

“He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” Psalm 33:5

Not only does the Lord judge and make war in righteousness, but Scripture states unambiguously that there is no unrighteousness in Him (see Psalm 92:15 and John 7:18). Therefore, His judgments and His war-making are based upon His righteousness. In other words, it would be unrighteous for Him to not do these things at the point in history when they come about.

The Lord has promised to keep Israel forever. He has promised that they will endure and that they will never be uprooted from the land again (see Amos 9:15). But there will be a time when Israel is facing complete annihilation. At that time, if the Lord does not intervene, they will be utterly wiped out. In this, His word (an extension of who He is) will have failed. Such cannot be. Therefore, He must judge and make war. This is seen in Daniel 12 –

“Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.” Daniel 12:7

The deliverance of Judah and Jerusalem is prophesied in Zechariah 12 and 14 as well. Because these words have been spoken by the Lord, and because He is Faithful and True, He must intervene as He has proclaimed.

Life application: There are many words in Greek translated as “time” in the Bible, but there are two concepts of time that can be summed up by two specific words. The first is chronos, and it generally indicates the continuance of time; it is ongoing and indeterminate time. Think of a watch ticking (a chronometer counting time). We are living in this time, and it is moving ahead.

The second concept is kairos. It indicates a specific moment in recorded time which is set and identifiable. For you, the moment of your birth is a moment such as this. It is a memorable event because it only occurs once and records something special or historic. Americans would look at the attacks on Pearl Harbor or the Twin Towers as such moments. But such moments of universal importance permeate Scripture as well. A few are –

The creation of the world
The fall of man
The flood of Noah
The call of Abraham
The giving of the Law at Mount Sinai
The birth of Jesus Christ
The crucifixion of the Lord
The resurrection of Jesus Christ
The ascension of Jesus Christ
The coming of the Holy Spirit

And (as we wait patiently) –
The rapture of the church
The literal, physical return of Jesus Christ

These moments have such great significance because they are key points of the redemptive narrative outlined in Scripture. Revelation 19:11 is the realization of the most anticipated event on earth. In fact, the largest font used in the publication of newspapers is known as the “second coming” font. It is reserved for the greatest moments in history. People have been waiting, watching, and either loving or hating the thought of this moment for over 2000 years. But despite the interval, it is a real moment that will really occur.

John looked and saw heaven opened. Jesus said that in the same manner as which He left, so He would also return. It will be visible and in a manner that anyone with their eyes directed upwards will behold. At exactly the right moment, He will return. The King is coming.

It is this moment that John sees when he beholds the white horse! As noted above, when Jesus came the first time, it was with humility and tenderness. He came as the Prince of Peace and the One to offer to His people, and by extension the whole world, a time of peace and righteousness. In demonstration of this, He humbly rode a donkey into Jerusalem. But His offer was rejected, and He was nailed to a cross. On the third day, He rose again. In His death, a New Covenant was introduced, and through His work, a new dispensation would result – the  age of grace.

At the rapture, this age will end and there will be the seven years of tribulation which have been analyzed in detail – from Revelation 4:2 until Revelation 19:10. With Revelation 19:11 stated, there begins a new era in human history. Although there are still matters to be cleaned up, Jesus Christ has returned!

The Prince of Peace is now the Conquering King! As noted above, the descriptions of Him as “Faithful and True” are found throughout Scripture. A key verse, of which Revelation 19:11 is the fulfillment, is found in Psalm 96 –

“For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with His truth.” Psalm 96:13

This verse was speaking of the Lord (Yehovah). And yet, it is understood that John is applying it to the return of Jesus. It is yet another in the many continuous reminders that Jesus Christ is God. One cannot accept Jesus as nothing more than a “created being” and be considered a Christian – the two are mutually exclusive. He is the God/Man, and He is coming again to rule and judge in righteousness.

We must shun all false pictures and depictions of Jesus. When it is time for Him to act, He will do so. The time for Him to do so is closer each day. At a moment when the world is completely unprepared for it, He will come for His church. After that, the tribulation period will come about. And just as Israel is about to be annihilated, He will again act, coming to defend them and bring them into the New Covenant that they missed in His first advent. These events will happen. He is coming! He is Faithful and He is True. Hallelujah! He is JESUS!

We bow our knees to you, O Lord. You are the King of kings and the One who is coming again to rule in righteousness. Lord, help us to be faithful servants who will proclaim that You are angry at sin and that You are coming in all Your glory to judge the world in truth and righteousness. Great are You and You are greatly to be feared. And more, greatly are You to be praised! Amen.