Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! He who sat upon 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 inscribed which no one knows but himself. He is clad in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, followed him on white horses. From his mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly in midheaven, "Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great." And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who sits upon the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had worked the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur. And the rest were slain by the sword of him who sits upon the horse, the sword that issues from his mouth; and all the birds were gorged with their flesh. (RSV)
Jesus’ return is one of the most significant events in the Bible and we are all anxiously waiting for it. First came creation, where God decided that He wanted more than angels for companions. Then came the fall where His creation rebelled. After many years of speaking to us through the prophets, He came in person when He was born and named Jesus. The next two events, Jesus’ death and resurrection are the turning points in every person’s spiritual journey. The rapture of the Church is the next event we are looking forward to, and His return will undoubtedly be one of the most spectacular events of history. After that, we will be looking forward to the last event of history, the judgment.
When Jesus completed His ministry on earth, He had everyone who He was. He had held nothing back and made it clear that He had not come to conquer physically but to conquer sin and save spiritually. To demonstrate this He entered Jerusalem on a donkey. He didn’t need a donkey to ride so this was not just to fulfill the prophecies but also to show His intent. When He returns on the white horse He is also showing His intent. He certainly doesn’t need the horse. This time He is coming to conquer. He is going to take physical control of the earth.
In verse 11 it is very important that the horse is white. It stands out along with the word righteousness. In this sense the two words are tied together. Jesus has the power because the white horse identifies Him as a conqueror. But more than that, since white is also a symbol of holiness and purity, it shows that Jesus is the one who is capable of coming as a pure and holy conqueror. His motives are not questioned but are righteous, which gives Him the right to judge.
For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: (John 5:22 KJV)
We need to remember that what is written here is also what John saw. He was not trying to describe something in symbolic words to get an idea across – it isn’t poetry. He is trying to describe the vision God gave him. We need to remember the times of the Old Testament, horses and chariots appeared from heaven. One was when Elisha prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened.
And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. (2 Kings 6:17 KJV)
Before that, Elijah was taken to heaven in a whirlwind but separated from Elisha by horses and a chariot from heaven.
And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (2 Kings 2:11 KJV)
We’ve discussed other visions where the horses are symbolic (Zech 6:2-8). In those verses the emphasis was on the horses. Here, the emphasis is on Jesus. I think Jesus will come back on a horse. Just as He physically fulfilled the prophecy to ride a donkey I think He will fulfill this one by riding on an actual horse – one from heaven, not an earthly horse. Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, He is faithful and true so He will do it. All the armies of the earth with all of their weapons of war will be defeated by someone on a horse. It will be evident where the true strength comes from.
If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself. (2 Tim 2:12-13 NASB )
Jesus is faithful in that He cannot deny Himself. Jesus won’t change the rules. He has made it clear that salvation comes from Him alone (John 14:6) and that He is the resurrection (John 11:25-26). It also means that when we acknowledge or deny Him before men, He will acknowledge or deny us before the father (Matt 10:32-33). Jesus isn’t going to be unfaithful about His promises. We need to be aware that those promises include not only salvation but judgment for those who deny Him. He isn’t going to change that, to do so would be to deny Himself. He cannot and will not change who He is and how He acts (Heb 13:8). Upon this truth rests His faithfulness.
He is faithful when He provides a way out of temptation.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Cor 10:13 KJV)
He is faithful when He cleanses us from our sins that we have committed even as believers.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 KJV)
He is faithful to return as He promised.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:3 KJV)
The angels told us that he would return just as he left.
Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:11 KJV)
True – Judge
He is also true as we discussed earlier. Since He is true, His judgment will be true. He will know all the facts. In lessons 1 and 2 we talked a lot about the blazing eyes of Jesus. Here, they are going to be put into action against the unsaved.
Part of His justice is to see clearly what has been done and to see the motives behind what has been done – all the motives; there will be nothing left out. He will not have to sift through evidence to try to discover if someone was lying. He will simply be able to look at them and history and know.
Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (Acts 17:31 KJV)
His resurrection is crucial proof of who He is and without it none of this would even make sense. If He had not been raised, then He would not be able to come back. It is something that we do not emphasize much, but we should. If we confess Him as Lord but do not believe that God raised Him, we certainly won’t be one of those coming back with Him, but will be one He is coming back to judge. If we do not believe that God raised Him from the dead then we believe in a different Jesus.
When He comes it will be to judge the wicked. In Gen 18:22-25, God revealed a very important thing about His character. Abraham was able to ask God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if there were only a few righteous people in the cities. God will not destroy the righteous with the wicked. He is faithful. Just as He removed Lot from Sodom before He destroyed the wicked, so He will remove the righteous from the earth. The rapture will have taken place already, all believers will have been killed by the Anti-Christ’s forces, or they will be separated from the wicked so they can be safely protected.
It is Jesus who is coming in judgment and He will be doing it in a war. War in and of itself is not evil. It is only evil when we use it to meet our evil desires. James 4:1-3 says that we fight among ourselves because we want things for our own pleasures. We even ask God with the wrong motives. We may have to fight wars, but not start them. That is God’s job. Since Jesus has the authority (Matt 28:18) He also has the right to wage this war against the unrighteous who are left on the earth.
His crowns and the titles written on His robe and thigh all signify that He has the authority to do what He is doing. How often do we say to someone, “If you confess Him as Lord, then you will do whatever He says"? In the past, lords had the right to put to death anyone they wanted to. They didn’t need cause, they just did. One of the Roman Caesars would go out to the street and have his soldiers kill random people just to watch them die. He was a lord in that sense and didn’t answer to anyone. Fortunately our Lord is also faithful, true, and judges with justice. I can put my full faith and confidence in Him and for that reason I can submit to Him as the Lord of my life and agree to do whatever He requires of me.
As was mentioned before, God gave Him the right to judge. The name that no one knows represents that right. He has His own name; He answers to no one but Himself. We have been given the name of Jesus by which we must be saved. We also know Him as the Word of God. It is with the Word that He will judge. The Word is the standard that He will use. It is also the reason that we can have confidence in His judgment. If the Word had not been given we would be like all others. We would be wondering what He expects of us. As it is, we know of His love and mercy as well as His wrath and judgment. Since He has His own name He doesn’t need a savior.
He has also earned the right to judge. His robe is dipped in blood, His own. That blood has cleansed those who are following Him so that they may wear white robes. The blood bought them so that they are there in heaven with Him ready to come back in His army. This is one of the reasons that the rapture will have to occur sometime before the end of the tribulation because we are with Him in heaven. We just saw in verse 8 that fine linen was given to the Church and that it stands for the righteous deeds of the saints. It would be very hard to say that those following Jesus are not the saints but angels. They are the ones that have been sitting at the banquet table with Jesus. Now they have gotten up from the table and are going to war with their Lord.
Some say that the blood is from those He has slain. They quote Isa 63:1-6 where Jesus is shown as coming from Edom after trampling the winepress of God’s wrath. In fact, they claim that Jesus actually returns to the earth first at Bozrah to execute vengeance and then goes to the Mount of Olives. In an attempt to make every verse in the Bible literal, they say that He doesn’t actually touch the ground in Edom but sort of hovers over the earth.
I’ve added this simply to show that some very well respected biblical scholars can be carried away with the literal interpretation of the Bible. They try to make everything fit together and that isn’t possible for us. While doing this, they miss the deep truth that is revealed. Namely that Jesus is the only one that can secure our salvation and He has done it by His sacrifice on the cross.
The saints are also riding on white horses. If the white horse signifies that a conqueror is riding, then it shows that these have all overcome. It ties back to the promises to each church in chapters 2 and 3.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:37-39 KJV)
In Him we are conquerors, but more importantly, nothing will ever separate us from Him. At the wedding supper we will be joined with Him with immortal bodies. When we go to war with Him nothing can stand against us. As it will be physically then, it is spiritually now if we exercise the weapons He has given us.
He has only one weapon, the Word of God, the sword coming from His mouth. He is the Word and the sword is the Word, which makes Jesus His only weapon. It sounds somewhat funny when I put it that way, but it isn’t when you consider that Jesus is God.
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Ex 3:14 KJV)
God’s name is I AM. The Greek is hayah (haw-yaw); a primitive root; to exist, i.e. be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary.) Essentially, God is saying that He is the self-existent one. He doesn’t need anyone or anything else to exist. In the same way Jesus doesn’t need anyone or anything to fight His battles for He is sufficient in Himself. Jesus is also our only offensive weapon. We don’t need any other weapons to fight the battles that come our way. He is sufficient.
It is by the Word that all things were created and it is by the Word that all things will be judged.
And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (John 5:37-40 ESV)
If God’s Word dwells in a person it is quite natural that he should believe in Jesus and come to Him for eternal life. Those who study the Word of God today (and that includes many Jewish scholars and sincere cult members) but who do not recognize Jesus as the source of eternal life haven’t heard from God the Father. Those who are with Jesus at the wedding supper of the Lamb have had the Word dwelling in their hearts.
Jesus is the Word. The following verses all talk about the Word of God though not in direct reference to Jesus. From each of these we can get a more complete understanding of Jesus and His will for us. For each passage, explain what you understand about the Lord after reading and meditating on it.
And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. (Deut 8:3 KJV)
He will humble us so that we will look to Him and Him alone. We are to desire His presence and guidance more than anything else. Before the Israelites became content with the manna (the word of God) they grumbled. They didn’t understand that the only reason they had anything was because of God’s grace. As we nourish ourselves on the Word, we become tired of the Word only when we grumble and get out of fellowship with God. Then He may have to humble us also.
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. (2 Sam 22:31 KJV)
He is flawless. Because He is flawless we can trust Him completely. He will protect us when we take our refuge in Him. When we take refuge in other things, He will come, sooner or later, and take those things away.
What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. (Ps 56:3-4 KJV)
We are to praise His Word. With the praise comes trust; from the trust we will lose our fear. Even though we believe that we need not fear mortal men, we do many things every day to please people instead of God. Witnessing is probably the thing that we fear the most because we don’t want to upset someone. The next time we know we should say a word of witness but are afraid, try to praise Jesus and see if our trust in Him increases and the fear decreases.
Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Ps 119:9-11 KJV)
He is able to keep us pure and keep us from straying. When we memorize His Word, it is not just in our heads, but also in our hearts because we have Jesus in our heart. It becomes more than just words; it becomes the Word. It becomes Him when we have a relationship with Jesus. Instead of having embraced a concept we have embraced Jesus. He keeps us pure because He is with us every moment.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Ps 119:105 KJV)
The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments. (Ps 119:130-131 KJV)
When He is in our hearts He also provides light and guidance. When we ask for wisdom He gives it to us and even more generously as we bring Him into our lives more and more by bring Him in through the Word. We want to come to that point in our lives when we, too, pant for more of Him and His Word. We won’t if we don’t continually bring the Word into our lives.
Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever. (Ps 119:160 KJV)
His Word is true and eternal. It is eternal because Jesus is eternal. We can see that it is true by seeing the application of what He has said He will do and what He has done. Jesus is the spirit of prophecy and all prophecies from Him have come true or will occur in the future.
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. (Prov 30:5-6 KJV)
He is flawless and His Word is flawless. We can trust Him for that. He shields us because His Word is without error. The cults and the people that He is coming to judge have added to His Word. The beast and the false prophet have not only added to His Word, but they have tried to put themselves in His place. He will rebuke us, but He will tread the wine press of God’s wrath on the others.
Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts. (Jer 15:16 KJV)
The love of Jesus can be seen in how much a person loves the Word. When Jesus dwells in our hearts though faith, He (the Word of God) becomes our joy, delight, and our nourishment. We bear His name. When a person comes to Christ and then makes a comment that they just can’t seem to get enough of the Bible, it shows that they bear His name.
… Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. (Matt 15:6 KJV)
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matt 15:6-9 KJV)
Jesus is true and the Word. When we add traditions and our own rules and put them at the same level as the Word of God or higher, then we are making ourselves out to be God since He made it clear that we should not change or add to His Word. In a very real sense we are worshipping ourselves instead of God.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matt 24:35 KJV)
Jesus is eternal, and therefore, so is the Word of God. People will try to destroy the written documents, but they can’t. The written Word comes from God so it will be protected. Since it is His word, it will not return void either. The beast and his false prophet will probably try to destroy all copies of the Bible, but they have not counted on the Word of God returning to ensure it will never pass away. We are trusting in what is eternal. Things change, traditions change, but the Word will never change.
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great. (Luke 6:46-49 KJV)
The Word is our foundation. We build upon the Rock of Ages, Jesus. If our knowledge of the Word is weak, then our foundation is weak. What we do have will be solid but we need to continually build. When Jesus comes for His bride we will be standing firm because of His Word. We will not be like those who will be destroyed by His Word.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1 KJV)
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 KJV)
These verses are absolutely clear to a Christian. Jesus is God and He is the Word. It is hard to believe that before becoming a Christian these verses meant nothing to me even though I had heard them read many times. We wonder how so many people miss the obvious. It is because Satan has blinded them or they have blinded themselves. If it were not so, then He would not be returning a second time as a judge.
Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? (John 6:68-70 KJV)
Peter summarized it very well. Whom will we turn to if not Jesus? He is the Word and therefore He has the words of eternal life. God has chosen to communicate the way to eternal life through words. Yet there was Judas who heard the words also, and didn’t believe. He heard the Word, God Himself, speak and rejected Him. Even Jesus couldn’t save someone without the Holy Spirit working in that person. Just a few verses earlier, He stated that all that the Father gives Him would come to Him. We should be careful about saying we have converts or lead people to the Lord. His Word does it. The reverse is also true. Otherwise we may become despondent when we fail to lead someone to the Lord.
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15:7 KJV)
In a sense, Jesus lives in us through His Word because He is the Word. It goes way beyond what cults or causes think of when they refer to words and how they can ignite people to action. This is actually God remaining in us. But we had better not lose sight of the first part of the verse. We are to remain in Him. To remain in Him, we need to hang on Him as the NIV says (Luke 19:48b). To know His Word is to find out who He is so that we can remain in Him and hang on Him. When we are in tune with Him like that, then we can ask Him for whatever we wish and it will be given to us. What a contrast between those who will be destroyed by the Word, and those who reject it now and are destroyed by sin.
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17 KJV)
Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Eph 5:25b-27 KJV)
We are made holy by His word. When we are exposed to the truth (His Word) we are cleansed. We can fight it as Peter started to when Jesus wanted to wash His feet or we can welcome it and seek it. We can even try to protect some area of our life from cleansing, but since His Word is truth, it will find us out. Water has a way of seeping into areas that you never thought it could get to; ask anyone who has tried to patch a roof. That is the way the Word works because the Holy Spirit is living water.
Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. (Acts 6:2-4 KJV)
What is the ministry of the Word of God? If Jesus is the Word, then it could mean sharing Jesus with others. It could also simply mean teaching the Word to others. In that case it would mean telling those who already know Jesus more about Him. It relates to the story of Mary, Martha, and Jesus. Martha was overly concerned with the order of things so that she missed the time she could have spent with Jesus. The disciples must have remembered that incident and knew how important it is to assist others in developing intimate fellowship with Jesus. If you are going to minister the Word, then you cannot help but minister Jesus.
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. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God. (2 Cor 2:14-17 NIV)
Paul recognized that it was God Himself, in Christ, who leads the way for us to present the Word. Otherwise we wouldn’t be up to the task. We also see that Jesus in our lives presents an aroma that reminds those who are perishing that they are dead and those whom He has called that they may have life. This aroma will only be present if our motives are right in presenting the Word. If we do it for gain or if we distort the Word, then we have distorted who Jesus is and the aroma is distorted also. Satan is already out there blinding people to the truth of the Word. We don’t need to help him. We need to present Jesus as the Word, the image of our God and Lord.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (Eph 6:17 KJV)
Jesus is the sword of the Spirit. When we quote the Word of God to people, it is powerful because we are lifting up Jesus before them. The Holy Spirit will bear the witness to them that it is Jesus. When He comes back, the sword will come from His mouth to do battle. This sword is not physical but spiritual. It is the same sword, or Word, that was used to create the world. That which was used to create can also destroy.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ … (Phil 2:14-16 KJV)
When we hold the Word of God up before others, the way we have behaved has a lot to do with the power behind it. I know that God can speak to someone even through a donkey, but that is not His first choice. He would rather speak through someone whose words are matched by his action. The impact is so much greater. The Holy Spirit can use the Word and the action together much more effectively. This verse makes it very clear that as we live holy lives, we are to be holding out the Word. Other translations say that we are to hold on to the Word. If that is more accurate, then it means we can only live this kind of life by the Word. If that is true then we certainly ought to tell others how.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (Col 3:15-17 NASU)
The Word of Christ is to dwell richly in our hearts. Does this mean it is possible for Him to dwell poorly? Is it possible for Him to dwell in our hearts without His Word? Is it possible for Him to live in our lives only as Savior and not as Lord? I doubt it.
The key in these verses is thanksgiving, mentioned three times. Then comes peace, and building one another up in teaching and song. It is important for us to be always in the Word in order to grow and for Jesus to become more and more real to us. We can then help other by sharing the Word with them, especially in song. In these verses are three points of thankfulness, three ways to share the Word and three ways to do it in song.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Heb 4:12 KJV)
As I read some of the verses above, I get very wonderful feelings about the Lord and His Word. It is about the love that He gives us though His Word. Then this verse pops up. It reminds me that His Word is more than just a comfort for us. It is also that which corrects us when we screw up. It cuts us to the quick and reveals our inner most thoughts. That is why we don’t have to push people when we exhort them. We are not concerned with the result; that is up to the Lord. We also know that the Word convicts and that gives us the confidence to leave it up to the Lord. It is easy for us to want someone to shape up because we know it is right and we want the best for him. It is harder for us to accept that this verse says it is the job of the Word, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Many times all we can do is present the Word and then wait. When we are the ones with the problem, many times all we need to do is read the Word to ourselves and obey it.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (James 1:22-25 KJV)
The Word is to be obeyed. That means that we do what it says regardless of feelings or anything else. We can listen to it all we want, but until we put it into practice, we have not solidified it and applied it in our lives.
King of Kings
Jesus has several names in these few verses. The last is the one by which he will be known for the next 1,000 years. He is coming to put an order to the world that has never been seen. The physical appearance of this new kingdom will be similar to the Garden of Eden. However, there is also a big difference. In the Garden, they had complete freedom and no fear of punishment. This new kingdom will be strict. In some way, Jesus is going to be able to ensure that people behave. That is what the iron scepter describes. It is a symbol that there will be no flexibility; things will be quite black and white. He will probably be using His army to do this since He has told us that we will rule with Him.
As He releases God’s wrath upon the earth it will be like someone who has come home and found his kids trashing the house with a wild party. He kicks the kids’ friends out and then grounds them. They are not provided with a second opportunity to party. One of the parents is always hovering over them and watching every move until they are ready to be tested or trusted again. God’s patience has ended with His creation (kids) at this point. His desire that everyone come to repentance has been fulfilled so that everyone who will, has. The party is over.
These verses offer some more detail into this final battle and why it is happening. We have seen through the whole book of Revelation that God is dealing with rebellious man. At this point, He is preparing for the millennial reign of Jesus to end the physical rebellion.
Step one is the absolute, unquestioning, demonstration of His glory. Man was once supposed to rule over all animals and to present animal sacrifices to God. Now, the animals are going to receive a sacrifice of men from God. It is a cleansing of the land to make way for the new. In Ezekiel, it was told to scare the daylights out of nations around Israel.
In Revelation it is there to bring the fear of God into the hearts of anyone who doesn’t believe. God wants people to read this and see the goriness and horror of it so that they will want no part of it. He still wants to rescue as many as possible from it. He knows that many will not heed the warning.
His plan is to usher in a kingdom in which people will forget their shame and unfaithfulness, one where the nations will be ruled from Jerusalem. Everyone will know that the Lord is his God. After the battle is over, He will bring all Jews that are left on earth back to Israel. He will no longer hide His face from them. He will be physically present in Jesus.
And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten. (Jer 23:40 KJV)
All that gather together to battle Jesus will be killed except for the beast and the false prophet. The promise to false prophets is that they will have everlasting disgrace and shame that will not be forgotten. These two in Revelation will obtain immortal bodies and be tossed into the lake of fire immediately. Everyone else will not meet his or her judgment until Christ’s reign on earth is completed.
They have so turned their bodies over to Satan for his use that they are the exceptions. In following Satan the way they have, they probably know more about spiritual things and what God wants and desires than any other lost people ever have or will, yet they made a conscious choice to be Satan’s instruments. They are captured instead of slain. They have deluded others. This could be a good example to use to show that there will be various degrees of punishment in hell. All hell is bad, but some people will be worse off than others.
Those who gather together to do battle against Jesus will be slain. If they are at Armageddon it is clear that their intent is to battle Jesus. It doesn’t matter what their circumstances are for they have made a choice. You could argue that some are here because they are forced and their intent is not to battle Jesus. But then look back at all of the martyrs in the book of Revelation who chose to die rather than worship the beast. All who are gathering here have made a choice too. They chose to follow the beast.
I believe that only those who are gathered at Armageddon will be slain like this. Earlier we saw that after the battle, blood will flow for miles. This indicates that the battle is localized. We also saw that it will be just outside of Jerusalem. The point is that even though millions will be killed here, there will still be people left on the earth who have not gathered to battle Jesus.
In many of the battle scenes in the Bible we see God helping His people. He gives people strength; He causes the enemy to be confused and fight themselves. But in this case it is totally Jesus against the evil people. All of these stand helplessly by as their leaders are captured right in front of them. All the weapons of the world could do nothing to help them. Even the miraculous signs of the false prophet will have no affect on Jesus. The delusion that they had will be utterly smashed in a moment. They are left alone and exposed. The one they had worshiped is tossed into hell as their spiritual eyes are opened.
They are slain by Him and apparently in a moment by the Word of God. Even though we daily resist God in small ways, it still boggles my mind that someone could think that they would be able to do physical battle against Jesus. They are slain but they will be raised to face judgment.
He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. (Matt 12:30 KJV)
But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part. (Mark 9:39-40 KJV)
Jesus says that whoever is not with Him is against Him. He also says that someone who is not against Him is for Him. What is the difference between these two examples? In the first case we see open hostility towards Jesus. In the second we see ignorance and someone who is not committed. This is seen because he isn’t part of Jesus’ disciples.
I think that there will be many people left on the earth that never made a commitment to Jesus, but on the other hand never denied Him or followed the beast. These will be left and have somehow managed not to gather with the others to do battle against Jesus. It isn’t because they trusted in Jesus or anything else, but because the Lord has a plan to show absolute fairness to all so that in the end there will be no excuse for anyone who doesn’t come to Him by faith. These will have a thousand years of the best environment to make up their minds to trust Him. They will be doing everything in the name of Jesus, for He will be a physical Lord as well as spiritual Lord.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9-11 KJV)
May we all confess Him as Lord while we have a chance to do it willingly and gladly so that we may be coming with Him instead of against Him.
 Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.