Wednesday, 14 July 2021
And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:16
The description of Christ Jesus in His glorious return at the second coming continues in this verse. John, beholding the apocalyptic scene, says of Him, “And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written.”
In verse 19:12, it said, “He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.” In verse 19:13, it then said, “and His name is called the Word of God.” Each of these thoughts is given to express a truth about Christ Jesus.
He has a name that no one knows, expressing that it is impossible to grasp its meaning. His name is called the Word of God to reveal that He is the One who conveys to us the meaning and expression of who God is. Now, a name will be provided that will express one of the many positions He fills. The name to be given is thus a title.
The name is written upon the robe to designate His position of authority in a manner that is evident for all to see. The words “and on His thigh” could mean one of various things:
1) It could mean that the name is written on the robe, and it is also written on the thigh. 2) It might mean it is written partly on the robe and partly on the thigh. Or, 3) what seems likely is that the word “and” is signifying “even.” In this, it would translate as “He has on His robe, even on His thigh.”
With the third option, the NLT states it more obviously as “On his robe at his thigh.” The ISV states it, saying, “On his robe that covers his thigh he has a name written.”
Until that time comes, we can only speculate, but the context of who Jesus is and what is being symbolized should be considered carefully. Jesus is a Jew. He was born a Jew, He lived as a Jew, and He has promised (in both testaments of the Bible) that He will return to His brothers, the Jewish people. From His own mouth –
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” Matthew 23:37-39
It is when Israel as a nation calls on Jesus as Lord (Jerusalem – symbolizing the seat of power for the nation) that He will return. This is spoken of, as noted, throughout the prophetic books of the Old Testament as well. The Church Age has occurred during the time of His rejection by the nation of Israel (see Romans 11:25, 26). But when they call on Him, at that time “all Israel will be saved.”
At some point, the rapture of the church will occur. This will be followed by the seven years of tribulation on earth. At the end of this period, the nation of Israel will be facing annihilation and will come to their senses, calling out to Him. When they do, He will return, with the church following Him, to rescue His people (take time to read Zechariah 12-14).
Understanding this context, it can now be more easily perceived what His appearance will be like. He will be dressed in traditional Jewish garments, recognizable to His people. These garments include a tassel on their corner which is mandated in the Law of Moses –
“Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners. 39 And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined, 40 and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God. 41 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord your God.” Numbers 15:38-41
The tassel is known as a tzitzit (also known as a gedil in Deuteronomy 22:12). It was mandated to be worn, as it says in Numbers 15, to “remember and do” all the commandments of the Lord. When Christ ministered to Israel, it is this part of the garment that the people reached for in order to be healed. For example –
“And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. 21 For she said to herself, ‘If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.’ 22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, ‘Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.’” Matthew 9:20-22
“When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, 36 and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.” Matthew 14:34-36
These and other references are certainly based on what was said in Malachi 4:2 –
“For behold, the day is coming,
Burning like an oven,
And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall burn them up,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“That will leave them neither root nor branch.
2 But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings;
And you shall go out
And grow fat like stall-fed calves.” Malachi 4:1, 2
The words, “With healing in His wings,” are referring to the extremities of His garments (the wings) where the tassels are located. The tassel of the Messiah is an identification of who He is and the authority He possessed. This is why the people sought to touch this tassel. The tassel was given as an anticipatory picture of the coming Messiah who would fulfill the law and take the burdens of man from them.
When Christ Jesus returns, the name on His robe is symbolized by His tassels. Being on His robe, it will rest upon His thigh while He sits upon His horse. The tassel of the Messiah will reveal His name, meaning His title –
KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.
In Revelation 17:14, it reversed these words saying, “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings.” The inversion of the words here in Chapter 19 is probably given to highlight His kingship – the white horse, the many crowns, and so on. There are “kings,” but there is one “KING.” Thus, John places this designation first.
Life application: Understanding the symbolism of Revelation calls for a full knowledge of the symbolism of the Old Testament. The innumerable references from the Old Testament come alive when the connections are made. Importantly, the Jewish nature of who Christ is, and the interactions He has made (and that are yet ahead) with His people cannot be dismissed without having a faulty view of the redemptive narrative.
In Jeremiah 31, it is clear that the New Covenant was made with Israel and Judah –
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.” Jeremiah 31:31
As such, Gentiles are brought into what has been established already. They do not replace Israel and Judah. Rather, Israel and Judah are the entities with whom the covenant is made, and in whom it will someday be fully realized (see citation from Matthew 23:37-39 above). Paul deals with this in His epistles, clearly demonstrating that the people of Israel will someday be brought into the covenant after the time of the Gentiles is complete.
At that time, they will recognize Him as Melekh melekhim, Adonai adoniim or “King of kings and Lord of lords.” The tassel on His robe, which will be draped over His thigh as He sits on His horse, will be the identifying mark of this exalted name. This is the symbolism we are to infer from what John presents.
Jesus, the King of the Jews, is also King of all kings and Lord of all lords. He will reign in the midst of His people Israel and His law will go forth from Jerusalem. The church has often missed this fact, but it doesn’t change the truth of what lies ahead.
The Gentile-led church age will end and then the events of Revelation will come to pass. For now, this dispensation is a steppingstone that has come about during the time of punishment for disobedience upon the nation of Israel. That time is almost over. They are back in the land, and they will soon be brought through the fire of tribulation in preparation for the glorious return of their rightful King – JESUS!
Glorious Lord Jesus – You are ever-faithful to us, even when we turn from You. Your promises to Israel are from everlasting to everlasting and You will never forsake Your covenant with them! Thank You for being so faithful to them and to Your church. We fail You, but You forgive. We turn from You, but You remain faithful! Praises to You! Amen.