The Second Coming!
“I would like to take you, if I could, to a graphic portrayal of the Word of God in a great cathedral in Milan. Come in out of the glare of the Italian sunshine, pass through the cathedral doors, and suddenly see stretching out before you, Europe's third largest cathedral where fifty-two marbled columns hold up the lofty, octagonal dome, with over 4,400 turrets and pinnacles. Statues of angels rise all about us, and the effect is one of an incomparable combination of grace and grandeur, beauty and vastness.
Up front behind the altar, like a window opening out of heaven, is one of the largest stained glass windows in the world. Depicted here is not an Old Testament scene. That stained glass window does not depict the resurrection of Jesus Christ the Lord, not his crucifixion or ascension. With tremendous imagery the window depicts the triumph of Jesus Christ the Lord.
The afternoon sun strains in, turning the window into a sea of glass mingled with fire. You see the vials being outpoured, the trumpets, Michael and his angels in battle against the dragon, the great angel with the rainbow upon his head and one foot upon the earth and the other upon the heaven, declaring in the name of him who lives forever and ever that time shall be no longer. Bound with a chain, Satan is thrown into the bottomless pit at last. The great white throne glows in the sunlight.
Most impressive of all is the great, white horse. Upon the horse sits a still greater rider with the armies of heaven behind him. He comes to set everything straight at last for everyone of us who has hoped in him, and for everyone who has been subjected to the pain and prejudice of living for Jesus Christ in a world seemingly gone mad.”
R. Geoffrey Brown, “Look! A Great White Horse!,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 111.
The last two years of high school I had a real problem with cussing
I was cussing pretty much all the time, except around my parents and other church families
My best friend and I started cussing, because we thought it was funny
Unfortunately for me it became a habit and I started using cuss words all the time
As graduation got closer, I realized that I didn’t want to be characterized as a person who cussed all the time
I determined that I was going to be different when I got to college in the fall
By God’s grace and through His power, I was able to stop cussing
But, if you would have talked to my best friend in high school, he probably would have said that I was someone who used a lot of foul language
Throughout college I’m sure I cussed from time-to-time, but it was rare
I was striving to be a better person – someone who chose their words wisely – someone who found other words to use instead of cuss words
If you would have talked to any of my college friends, they probably would have said that I was someone who did not cuss at all – they would characterize me differently
Two separate lives
Perhaps we’ve all struggled with living two separate lives
We act one way at school or work and act a different way at home
When we go to church or are around church people, we may act differently than when we are at home, school, or work
Who would people say you are?
What characteristics would your friends at school use to describe you?
What characteristics would your coworkers use to describe you?
How would your family characterize you?
Jesus asked His disciples an important question in Matthew 16:13-17 (read the passage). He wanted to know how the public perceived Him and He wanted to know how His disciples characterized Him.
John shares his vision of Jesus’ second coming in Revelation 19:11-16. There are four names for Jesus that are used in this passage. We also see other descriptive words used to describe Jesus’ character. John tells us exactly who Jesus is as He returns to earth the second time, but not everyone will see Him that way. So we have to ask ourselves this question . . .
BIG IDEA – Who do you say Jesus is?
Let’s see then how Jesus is characterized as He returns to earth the second time.
GOD (Revelation 19:11-16)
Faithful and True (vv. 11-12a)
As this part of the vision begins, John sees heaven standing open
The first time that John saw heaven opened was in Revelation 4:1, which was the beginning of his second vision (he was able to see the sights and hear the sounds of the glorious worship of God in heaven)
This time the gates of heaven are opened so that the Bridegroom (Jesus), who is now portrayed as a conquering King, can descend to earth and complete the work He began the first time He came to earth (justification, sanctification, glorification)
In front of him was a white horse with a rider on it
The color of the horse represented victory
In the 1st Century, rulers who returned from war, victorious, would be paraded around their home city riding on a white horse
The rider’s name is Faithful and True
It is the idea that Jesus is dependable, reliable, and trustworthy [Akin, Christ-Centered Exposition, Revelation, 294]
Jesus modeled faithfulness, for us, as His followers, because He knew that we would be confronted with the hostilities of this world and our culture
Faithfulness, for us, is remaining true to God when we’re persecuted, made fun of, and labeled by those who oppose Christ, the church, and the Gospel
True means that Jesus is authentic, genuine, and real [Akin, 294]
He is true to His calling and purpose [Osborne, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Revelation, 680]
What this means for us
“What He says you can believe. When He acts you can trust Him.” [Akin, 294]
“Jesus was faithful and true in his first coming to the mission the heavenly Father entrusted to him.” [Easley, Holman New Testament Commentary, Revelation, 353]
John 17:4, I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.
Because Jesus was faithful and true the first time He came to earth, God can trust Him with the final judgment that must be handed down
We can also trust that Jesus will complete God’s work on earth and that He will do it fairly, because He knows everything
The next three phrases explain, in more detail, Jesus’ character as a result of being faithful and true
Who Jesus is
Just and righteous
Jesus’ judgments of the inhabitants of the earth will be something we can believe in
We can trust that He will act fairly and provide the proper punishment for those who have rejected Him
The war that is about to be fought will be waged in righteousness
“It means that God dispenses justice on the basis of his own righteous standards, that he always does what is right.” [Osborne, 680]
We see this attribute of Jesus and God expressed by the altar in heaven and the great multitude in heaven
Revelation 16:7, And I heard the altar respond: “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.”
Revelation 19:1-2a, After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments.”
Jesus is fair and right in judging and making war, because He knows everything
This is not the first time that Jesus’ eyes are described as being fiery
Revelation 1:14, His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.
There, as here in Rev. 19:12, Jesus’ blazing eyes represent the fact that He sees everything
The fire of His eyes also represents judgment
Because Jesus is faithful and true and He is sees and knows everything about each individual, He will judge everyone fairly
“Jesus peers into the depths of our souls. He sees every act, every thought, every emotion.” [Akin, 294]
Nothing is hidden from Him, which means that He can rule, judge, and act in a way that is fair, right, and true
Children do not naturally hide what they are thinking and feeling – that’s a learned behavior from their parents and other adults around them
The older we get the more we’re able to conceal what we’re really thinking about and feeling
Then in our senior years, we revert back to child-like behaviors and either don’t care or cannot hide how we’re thinking and feeling
I was talking with a doctor the other week and she mentioned that senior citizens struggle with some of the same things that children struggle with, so some of the treatments and medication they give to seniors are the same as what they would do with children
While we may be able to conceal our thoughts, feelings, and emotions from other human beings, we cannot conceal them from God
He knows and sees every action, thought, and emotion
Are there any actions, thoughts, or attitudes you are concealing from certain people, or everyone else, but God?
God’s judgment of those actions, thoughts, and attitudes will be fair and right
God’s desire is that we live in harmony with everyone
Romans 12:14-17, Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Philippians 2:1-4, If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort form his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being on in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
My Next Step Today Is To: Recognize that God sees and knows everything and confess any actions, thoughts, or attitudes that are not pleasing to Him.
Jesus is not only all-knowing, but He is also sovereign
This means that He has the right to rule and He rules rightly in my life
John sees Jesus riding on a white horse, with blazing eyes, and many crowns on His head
Two kinds of crowns in Scripture
Stephanos – victor’s wreath
Rev. 12:1, worn by the woman
Rev. 14:4, worn by Christ
Rev. 2:10; 3:11; 4:4, worn by the victorious saints
Diadéma – ruler’s crown
Rev. 12:3, worn by the dragon
Rev. 13:1, worn by the beast
Rev. 19:12, worn by Christ
The dragon and the beast were simply pretenders
They were trying to claim a crown that was not theirs
Think for a moment about someone you look up to – would you ever imagine for a moment that you could fill their shoes? (most of us would answer, “No”)
The dragon and the beast thought they would be able to fill Jesus’ shoes, but they will never be able to
Jesus was perfect without sin, so He was the only One who could take your place on the cross
Anyone other than Jesus would only want the prestige, power, and influence that a ruler’s crown would bring, but they would never want to go through what Jesus did in order to obtain it
“In 1717, King Louis XIV (14th) of France died. Preferring to be called ‘Louis the Great,’ he was the monarch who declared, ‘I am the State!’ His court was the most magnificent in Europe, and his funeral was the most spectacular. In the church where the ceremony was performed, his body lay in a golden coffin. To dramatize his greatness, orders had been given that the cathedral would be very dimly lit with only one special candle that was to be set above the coffin. Thousands of people in attendance waited in silence. Then Bishop Massillon began to speak. Slowly reaching down, he snuffed out the candle and said, ‘Only God is great.’” (Jeff Arthurs, “Laying the Foundation for Peace,” PreachingToday.com) [https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2006/june/3062606.html]
Jesus willingly and selflessly sacrificed His life on the cross for our sins and because of that He is the sovereign ruler of everything and everyone
He is the rightful wearer of many crowns, because He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords
But I’m getting ahead of myself
Jesus is faithful and true, so He will judge and make war justly, because He has all the information at His disposal and He is sovereign
That brings us to the second name mentioned in this passage, but it is hidden from us
Hidden name (v. 12b)
This name is written on Jesus
He is the only One who knows what it is or understands what it means
We’re given multiple names of Jesus and God throughout scripture, which help us to understand who they are – their attributes/qualities/character, but even what we do know, doesn’t exhaust who God and Jesus are
“Because Christ is infinite, unknowable aspects of his attributes will always remain. Humans, even in their eternal glorified condition, may know only what he chooses to reveal, and his secret name reminds us of this.” [Easley, 353]
“‘That he also has a secret name means that the human mind cannot grasp the depths of his being’ (Ladd, Commentary, 254), which means for all of eternity we will grow in our knowledge and wonder of this great Redeemer King!” [Akin, 295] (Let that sink in for a moment!!!)
There are some important passages in scripture about this unknowable name for Jesus and God
Exodus 3:13-14, Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” 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.’” (Hebrew letters for “I AM” are referred to as the tetragrammaton, YHWH)
Judges 13:17-18, Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?” He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.” (this is Samson’s father)
Philippians 2:9-11, Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Those who overcome will also be given a name that only they will know
So, what John sees here builds upon what was written to the believers in Pergamum
Revelation 2:17, He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.
We will be given a new name that only we will know
“Therefore, the ‘new name no one knows except he himself’ is a title reserved for eternity, the name that will reveal the true nature of the Godhead in a way beyond our finite ability to grasp.” [Osborne, 682]
While this hidden name is fascinating, the next name that John hears for Jesus is not hidden
Word of God (vv. 13-15)
The “He” referred to here is the rider of the white horse – Jesus!
He is wearing a robe that has been dipped in blood
There are three beliefs about what blood is in view here
Jesus’ own blood – referring to His ultimate sacrifice on the cross
The blood of the martyrs
The blood of His enemies
The third belief is the most widely accepted for several reasons
The context of this passage of scripture is a military one
At the end of v. 15 we see that Jesus treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty, which is done to His enemies as part of their judgment
There are two parallels in scripture that help in strengthening this viewpoint
Isaiah 63:1-3, Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, speaking in righteousness, might to save.” Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing.
Revelation 14:20, They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia (180 miles).
John then writes that the riders name is the Word of God
Jesus’ words are powerful
We are reminded in John’s Gospel and his first letter to the church, that Jesus is the Word of God
John 1:1, 14a, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
1 John 1:1, That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
“As the Word of God, He is God’s perfect communication and revelation. When you look at Jesus, you are looking at God. When you listen to Jesus, you are hearing the voice of God.” [Akin, 296]
Hebrews 1:1-2, In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
Jesus is not only referred to as the Word of God, but He uses God’s words to strike down His enemies
PRINCIPLE – Jesus’ words are powerful!
We see a sharp sword that comes out of Jesus’ mouth
It is used to strike down the nations
This is not a literal sword, but rather the words of God spoken through Jesus
“. . . just as God’s word was powerful enough to create the cosmos initially, so it is all that is needed to strike down the nations who rise against him.” [Patterson, The New American Commentary, Revelation, 348-49]
Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
This takes us back to Jesus’ fiery eyes – He is omniscient, He sees and knows everything including our thoughts and heart attitudes – nothing is hidden from Him
His words of judgment will be perfect and complete
The fact that He will rule with an iron scepter is referring to destruction
The iron scepter is the same as the shepherd’s club (rod)
The club/rod was used to kill the predators that were attacking the sheep
The shepherd's staff is the one we think of with the crook on the end (show picture), which was used to direct the sheep and pull them back into the flock
Isaiah 11:4, but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
In the center of these three verses is v. 14, which talks about Jesus army
Armies of heaven
Most likely this army will consist of both angels and saints
We can be certain that those who have overcome will be included
Revelation 17:14, They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings – and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.
Revelation 19:8, “Fine linen, bright and clean, was given to her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
It’s important to note that the linens of the armies of heaven are not blood spattered
they will be there for the battle, but only as observers and not participants
This will be evident next week as we look at Revelation 19:17-21
Jesus as the Word of God is incredibly powerful – nothing will be able to stand against Him
He is the sovereign ruler of everything, which is expressed through the final name that John uses for Him in these verses
King of Kings and Lord of Lords (v. 16)
Most scholars agree that the name is written on His robe where it falls across his thigh (it would have been easily seen when mounted on a horse)
There is no king on earth who is or will be greater than Jesus
There is no lord on earth who is or will be greater than Jesus
The Caesars of ancient Rome may have thought they were the greatest, but Jesus is greater still
Philippians 2:9, Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name . . .
Who do you say Jesus is?
Do you call Him, Faithful and True?
He is just and righteous
He is omniscient
He is sovereign
Do you recognize that you cannot grasp the depths of His being/essence?
Do you believe He is the Word of God and that His words are powerful?
Do you believe that He is the supreme, sovereign ruler of everything as King of kings and Lord of lords?
Our actions, thoughts, and attitudes may not match up with our beliefs
If asked these questions directly, most of you would answer, “Yes!” to them all
Yet, in your heart and mind you may have doubts, that you would never express out loud
James 1:5-8, If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and this world, and they are unstable in everything they do. (NLT)
You may believe these things, but your actions, thoughts, and attitudes would prove otherwise
Perhaps you’ve experienced something in your life that causes you to doubt that Jesus is faithful and true
Maybe you were abused (physically, emotionally, or mentally)
The person who abused you claimed to be a Christian, so you don’t see Jesus as just and righteous, all-knowing, and sovereign, because He didn’t stop the abuse from happening
Yet, He has faithfully been with you through it all, and has kept His promise to restore you
Maybe you’ve prayed for healing for yourself or a loved one, but they weren’t healed and eventually died
Through that experience you may say you believe God’s Words are powerful, but you doubt that they are powerful in your life
You may doubt that God is the sovereign ruler of everything
Psalm 23:1-3, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
“‘He restoreth’ or literally, brings back – ‘my soul.’ The soul is made up of the mind and emotions. Who is the Restorer of the soul? Only Jesus. My mind and emotions can be so scattered that only the Lord can pull them back together.” [Courson, 29]
My Next Step Today Is To: Believe with my whole heart and mind that Jesus is faithful and true, that the depths of His being is eternal, that He is the Word of God, and that He is the supreme, sovereign ruler of everything.
The 1st Century Christian perhaps would have described Jesus differently than we would. They experienced His first coming. There are some important contrasts between His first and second coming: [Akin, 293]
“Christ does not return to do some new or different work. His return in glory will be to consummate the finished work of his life, death and resurrection. At his coming he will be revealed in all his glory to all principalities and powers. That which the believer now grasps by faith will be open to every eye . . . . Although the Lamb will ever be the Lamb, for the glorified Christ is exalted on account of his sufferings, nevertheless the majesty of the Lion will shine forth from the Lamb at His second coming. (Lamb and the Lion, 28) [Graeme Goldsworthy cited by Akin, 293]
1 John 3:2, Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.