Today’s passage is Revelation 19:11-21. There are so many powerful truths about Jesus that we can learn from this passage. Let’s go!
Revelation 19:11 (NIV) 11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.
On verse 11: Here John sees an awesome picture of Jesus. In the Gospel of John 12:14-15, John described Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey, which is what kings would ride on during peace time. Now when we see Jesus on a white war horse, it’s because Jesus means war. The suffering servant who died to bring us peace is now the conquering king who lives to judge with justice and fight his enemies.
Also, in verses 11 through 16, we will learn 4 names of Jesus. The first name is here: Faithful and True. Like you and me, Jesus is known by His character.
Revelation 19:12a (NIV) 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.
On verse 12a: While on earth Jesus was known for having eyes of compassion (e.g. Mark 6:34; Matthew 9:36). Here Jesus’ eyes are like blazing fire. While on earth Jesus wore a crown of thorns. Now his head is crowned with many crowns.
Revelation 19:12b (NIV) 12 …He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.
On verse 12b: The second name of Jesus we learn from these verses is here: “a name written on him that no one knows but he himself” (v12). Based on this I could imagine Jesus walking into a tattoo shop in heaven. He shows the tattoo artist some obscure writing and tells the artist to tattoo it on him. “Your Majesty, what does this writing mean?” the tattoo artist asks. “Is this Your new name, Your Majesty?” Jesus replies, “That’s for you to wonder about and for Me to know.”
What can we learn from the fact that Jesus has a name that is only known to Him? Jesus is the self-defining, self-existent one. He doesn’t need anyone else to define Him. He is secure in who He is.
Revelation 19:13a (NIV) 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood…
On verse 13a: In heaven it seems that all the people wear fine linen, white, bright and clean (see verse 14), except for One. Jesus’ robe is stained (“dipped”) in His own blood. Jesus’ blood stained robe, along with the scars He continues to have in heaven from His crucifixion, are a visual reminder that by His wounds we are healed and by His blood we are made clean. Revelation 19:13b (NIV) 13 …and his name is the Word of God.
On verse 13b: Here’s the third name for Jesus we find in verses 11-16: the Word of God. John loved calling Jesus “the Word”. It was a name he frequently used for Jesus (e.g. John 1:1; 1 John 1:1). Do you have a favourite title or name for Jesus, one that you use most frequently when you pray to Him? “Lord” is probably the most popular one today, but when you pray to Jesus I encourage you from time to time to address Him using His other names. For each name of Jesus emphasizes a different aspect of who He is.
Revelation 19:14 (NIV) 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.
On verse 14: Jesus was the greatest leader earth has ever known. Jesus is also the greatest leader heaven has ever seen.
Revelation 19:15 (NIV) 15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.
On verse 15: I love this powerful image of a sharp sword coming out of our King’s mouth to strike down His enemies. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, He would use the Word of God to fight back (Matthew 4). It’s no wonder the Word of God is called the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
Just as Jesus defeats His enemies by the power of His Word, so we can defeat our enemy Satan by the power of Jesus’ Word.
Also, when verse 15 says that Jesus “treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty”, this means that Jesus is not just the dispenser of God’s amazing grace but also the one who executes God’s great wrath and judgment.
Revelation 19:16 (NIV) 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
On verse 16: What a cool image. I could imagine Jesus’ robe being almost like a hockey jersey with His title on the back: King of kings and Lord of lords. This is the fourth name of Jesus that we find in verses 11-16.
Now why is this title also written on Jesus’ thigh? In the Bible the thigh is sometimes a symbol for reproduction. The fact that Jesus’ title “King of Kings and Lord of lords” is written on His thigh suggests to me that Jesus is in the business of reproducing royalty. Through Christ we are not only children in God’s family but also princes and princesses in God’s kingdom. Revelation 19:17-18 (NIV) 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.”
On verses 17-18: In Revelation 19:9 a great multitude in heaven sang about the “wedding supper of the Lamb”. Now in verse 17 an angel standing in the sun speaks of another supper – “the great supper of God” (v17) – where the birds are invited to eat the flesh of God’s enemies.
What can we learn from this? In the end, we will either eat with Jesus at His wedding banquet and live, or we will be eaten at the great supper of God and be destroyed. Whether we’re at one supper or the other all depends on our faith: is our faith in Jesus or in ourselves?
Revelation 19:19-21 (NIV) 19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21 The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
On verses 19-20: In a showdown for the ages, the beast from the sea (the anti-Christ) and his confederation of kings fights Jesus and His army. Jesus’ army captures the beast from the sea (the anti-Christ) as well as the false prophet (the beast from the earth). Both of Satan’s beasts are thrown alive into a lake of burning sulfur, while the rest of the anti-Christ’s armies are killed with the sword coming out of Jesus’ mouth. Answering the angel’s invitation in verse 17-18, a huge flock of birds feast on the meat of Jesus’ enemies. Jesus wins.
To my Conquering King, the Lord above every lord, the self-defining one, crowned with many crowns, faithful and true, the One whose blood washed away my sins, the One who dispenses God’s mercy and also delivers God’s judgment, I praise You for being the victor, the One who wins in the end. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!