“Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all Lords.”
Revelation 19:11-16 NLT
The events leading up to the final and bloody battle, Armageddon, were building. It all started with a rider on a white horse. But who is this rider? And why a white horse? The most likely person riding that horse is Jesus. The Son of God leading His forces into battle. And the colour of the horse, white, signifies righteousness. The cause Jesus was fighting for was just and righteous. In our verses today, the rider’s title was “the Word of God”, which was how Jesus was described in John 1:1, “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
In John’s vision, Jesus was described as having “eyes … like flames of fire”. What else could that be other than Jesus having the capability of seeing through all situations, piercing the darkness, the lies, the sin, the wickedness, the ploys of the enemy. He could see far more clearly than any man-made radar or similar technology. The “many crowns” on His head refer to His lordship – He was and is the Lord of lords and the King over all kings. And His name, “that no one understood except Himself” indicates that Jesus was without description. He was far beyond that. The picture emerges of the Son of God, once a humble baby in a stable now coming as the victorious Ruler over all.
Jesus’ garments were “dipped in blood”. Isaiah prophesised about this very event, which we can read in Isaiah 63:2-3, “Why are your clothes so red, as if you have been treading out grapes? “I have been treading the winepress alone; no one was there to help me. In my anger I have trampled my enemies as if they were grapes. In my fury I have trampled my foes. Their blood has stained my clothes.” And the righteous army was arraigned on their white horses, ready to do battle.
The language on John’s vision was highly symbolic, but we can somehow get the picture of a four-dimensional event. The usual battle picture, the army, it’s accoutrements, it’s vast numbers, forming a three-dimensional scene, but with a fourth dimension describing the background and characteristics of the main player, Jesus.
We pilgrims know what is going to happen. Jesus is “Faithful and True” and He has come back to earth for the second time, this time to judge all those who wronged Him the first time. His first-coming mission has been accomplished. Salvation has been freely available for all those called by God. As we read in Philippians 1:6, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” The work is finished. Finally and forever.
Dear Lord Jesus. We look forward to Your second coming, patiently but with great expectation. Judgement for all the wrongs committed against Your people at last. We praise and worship You today. Amen.