Let’s take our Bibles if we could and open them to the Book of Revelation, chapter 19 and verse 11. The title of our message this morning is The Main Event. This time of the year we’re getting ready to celebrate the coming of Jesus to our world two thousand years ago. And here we’re looking at something related but not exactly the same thing as we’ll see, the coming of Jesus into our world yet future. We call that the second coming or the second advent of Christ.
We’re now in a section of the Book of Revelation where all of the various judgments have been poured out, taking us to the very end of the tribulation period. Here’s an outline we’ve been using to kind of navigate our way through the verse that we’re looking at, both last week, this week and next seek. We’ve seen the marriage supper of the Lamb, how verses 8 and 9 are sort of the completion of a process for the church as the church has now been raptured to heaven, emerging from heaven fully rewarded, emerging from heaven participating on the earth in something called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. We saw all of that last week. And then we saw John being so overwhelmed by these events that rather than worshipping God he worships the angel that gave him the vision. And we got a lesson there in verse 10 concerning idolatry.
And now what follows all of that is verses 11-16, it’s simply titled The Second Advent of Christ. When Jesus returns to this earth one day what exactly is that going to look like? You get a very concrete description of it in the verses that we’re looking at here. We’ve seen verses 11-14, His qualities. There’s about ten of them. And then we see verses 15-16, His activity, and there’s about five of those. [Revelation 19:15-16, “From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will]rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.  And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”] I’m not sure if we’re going to get through all of that today in our allotted time period but it should give us at least some of the things we talk about today a taste of what this world is headed for when Jesus Christ comes back a second time.
Notice first of all His qualities. And we see ten of these in verses 11-14. Notice if you will Revelation 19:11, John says, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.” Notice number one here his celestial or heavenly origin. John specifically said he “saw heaven opened.” Now you might recall when Jesus was here two thousand years ago, just before He ascended back into heaven, following His crucifixion and resurrection, in Acts 1:9-11 we read these words. “And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” That’s His ascension. Verse 11 says, “…This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
He left bodily so He’s coming back bodily. He left physically so He’s coming back physically. He left visibly so He’s coming back visibly. He left from the Mount of Olives and He’s coming back to the Mount of Olives. This is the difference between taking a tour of Israel with someone who believes in these things and someone who doesn’t. Most of Christianity will take you to the Mount of Olives on their tour and they will explain to you what Jesus did on the Mount of Olives. There are many things He did. But when you go with someone who is a student of the full counsel of God’s Word they will not just tell you what Jesus did two thousand years ago on the Mount of Olives but what He will do yet future.
The coming of Jesus Christ to this earth is just as actual and just as factual and just as historical as was His first coming. Everybody accepts, at least within professing Christendom, the historicity of the first coming of Jesus Christ. And I’m here to tell you that His second coming is going to be just as much historical. So Jesus two thousand years ago ascended back into heaven and exactly where did He go? Revelation 3:21 tells us, “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” Following His ascension two thousand years ago He is not seated on His own throne. That is yet future in Jerusalem. Currently Jesus is seated on the Father’s throne.
One of the things to understand is in the ministry of Christ there are three offices that He occupies—Prophet, Priest and King. He functioned largely as prophet in His first coming trying to bring the nation of Israel to Himself. He will function as King in His second coming. That won’t happen until subsequent the second advent when He takes His seat on David’s throne in Jerusalem. So what is He doing now? A lot of people think He’s not doing anything. Well, I’m here to tell you that He’s very busy; He is functioning as high priest after the order of who? Melchizedek. The whole Book of Hebrews is a description of His current ministry. There are at least eleven things He’s doing. He’s sustaining creation. He’s head over the church. He’s groom over the church. He’s building the church. He is bestowing to His church spiritual gifts. He’s functioning as a priest. He’s praying for the saints. He’s keeping the saints. (Aren’t you glad about these things…. I AM!) He’s an advocate for the saints. And when we as Christians sin He restores broken fellowship. And “whom the Lord loves the Lord” what? “the Lord disciplines.” [Hebrews 12:6] He’s disciplining the saints.
I mean, there’s a very active role that the glorious ministry that Jesus is occupying now, not on His own throne in Jerusalem but on the Father’s throne. But you see, when heaven is opened and Jesus returns to this earth these ministries that I’m describing now will be a thing of the past, just like His ministry as prophet in His first advent is a thing of the past. These ministries that we appreciate now and enjoy now will ultimately be a thing of the past because Jesus will move into His third office where He will function not as prophet, not as priest, but as King. The moment heaven opens and Jesus returns from heaven, which is where He’s been for two thousand years, you can expect a completely different ministry of Jesus. He will be functioning in His regal authority.
Now there is a lot of confusion today concerning the rapture of the church. There are people (I call them rapture deniers) that spend all their waking hours trying to debunk the blessed hope or the rapture of the church where we are going to be taken into heaven before the tribulation period even unfolds. We teach that here at Sugar Land Bible Church, the blessed hope of the church, the pre-tribulational rapture of the church. We defend it, it’s in our doctrinal statement and yet there are people that will completely deny it, they don’t think it’s a reality. They will put the rapture either in the middle of the tribulation period or what a lot of people do is they’ll put it there at the end of the tribulation period and they’ll try to argue that Revelation 19 is actually a description of the rapture.
Notice with me, if you will, which direction is Jesus coming? I mean, John physically says there in verse 11, “I saw heaven opened,” He is coming from heaven to where? To the earth! In fact, Acts 1:11, which we saw earlier, communicates that. “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” He left from the Mount of Olives, He’s coming back to the Mount of Olives.
In fact, Zechariah 14:4 says, “In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley,” you say what does that mean? What it means is Jesus will come back and His feet will touch the Mount of Olives and the Mount of Olives will be split from east to the west in a very large valley.
You wouldn’t believe the commentators that roll over themselves trying to explain this away. Loraine Boettner, who takes Bible prophecy and spiritualizes them all away says well “what this really is about is about Jesus coming into the heart of the sinner and their heart is broken when they trust Christ as Savior.” I give him an A for creativity but that’s not what the passage says. The passage when we just read it and take it for what it says, it says Jesus is coming back to the Mount of Olives just as He ascended from the Mount of Olives. He’s coming back to this earth.
Zechariah 14:9 says, “And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day.” In fact, you don’t even have to get far into the Bible to see prophecies about the return of Jesus Christ. What is the oldest Book of the Bible? The Book of Job and what does Job say in Job 19:25. “As for me, I know that my Redeemer” the Hebrew there is goel, famous word for Redeemer, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” Jesus is coming from heaven to the earth.
Now think about this for a minute; the rapture which occurs seven years earlier is going the exact opposite direction, isn’t it? Doesn’t Paul, when he talks about the rapture say this: “Then we who are alive and remain,” 1 Thessalonians 4:17, “will be” what does it say? “…will be caught up” that’s going from the earth to heaven, we “will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” How could this, Revelation 19, be the rapture when the rapture is going the exact opposite direction than we’re reading about here in Revelation 19. Rapture from earth to heaven; second coming from heaven to the earth. And yet some of the most brilliant people in Christendom will argue that this is the rapture.
And I hate to be the bearer of bad news or to bust anybody’s balloon but the reality is do these people do not understand the difference between up and down? [Laughter] I mean, they’re getting their ups and their downs confused here. And Bible prophecy ought not to be treated that way.
So He is, number one, coming from a celestial origin. Number two, He is coming back on a white horse. Now this is not the first white horse that we’ve seen in the Book of Revelation. You might when the first seal judgment was opened there came forth a man who brought peace to the earth riding on a white horse. Revelation 6:1-2 says, “Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.”  And I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.”
And many people will tell you that the rider on the white horse in Revelation 6 is Jesus because that’s how Jesus is described coming back to the earth in Revelation 19. I’m here to tell you that the rider on the white horse in Revelation 6 is not Jesus Christ! How do I know that? Because Jesus, Revelation 6:1, is in heaven opening the seven sealed scroll, which brings the rider on the white horse to the earth. So it’d be kind of odd to make Jesus in heaven and simultaneously have Him also as the rider on the white horse.
Number two, when Jesus sets up His kingdom upon the earth one day there will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace. World peace won’t be a problem when Jesus returns. And yet this rider on the white horse brings what we would call a temporary peace to the earth but he never permanently solves the issue of world peace. In fact, the first seal judgment is followed by the second field judgment which brings forth global war on the earth.
Beyond that there’s a lot of differences between the rider on the white horse in Revelation 6 and the horse and the rider that we’re reading about here in Revelation 19. The rider in Revelation 6 has a crown and a bow. That’s not how Jesus return is described. He doesn’t have a crown and a bow; He has crowns, plural. He doesn’t have a bow, He has a sharp sword which is portrayed as protruding from His mouth. So a different description entirely.
You say well then if the rider on the white horse in Revelation 6 is different than the rider on the white horse in Revelation 19 who was the rider on the white horse that we read about? [Revelation 19:11, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.  His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.  He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.”]
That was the antichrist! He’s a rider on the white horse because he solves the Middle East peace problem, something that no politician has ever been able to fix. He actually enters into a covenant with the nation of Israel, Daniel 9:27 which launches the seven year period of time. [Daniel 9:27, “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”]
And he seems to solve all of the world’s problems and he is heralded as a conqueror, someone coming to conquer. In fact, 2 Thessalonians 2:9 in the New Living Translation says this of the antichrist: “This man will come and do the work of Satan with counterfeit powers, signs and miracles.” Who was that rider on the white horse in Revelation 6? He was a counterfeit. What you’re seeing here in Revelation 19 is the real McCoy. And this is very important to understand because if the world will not accept the real deal (and many of them don’t) you know what God will give them? He’ll give them a substitute. He’ll give them an artificial substitute to embrace, something that looks like a little thing but really is not actually the real thing.
This is very important to understand. The human mind will go into incredible deception when it rejects the truth. I am somewhat stunned about what some people believe in the twenty-first century about aliens, about Martians, about reincarnation, about this and that. And they want to take my beliefs in the Bible and call them extreme when in reality my beliefs in the Bible are very simple; I accept what it says! What you have to understand about people when they reject the truth they will become open to any number of false ideas and deceptions which come into their mind. You look at people today and you think why are they so messed up? Why are they so deceived? Why do they believe as scientific fact the theory of evolution which says we went from the goo to the zoo to you over billions of years in a random process that went on for billions of years.
Why not just believe what the Bible says on page 1. And it has to do with something in the heart of people where they’ve pushed out truth. They’ve pushed out God’s message; they have pushed out reality and they are given over, Paul tells us, to strong delusion. [2 Thessalonians 2:11, “For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false.”]
And so what you’re seeing in Revelation 6 is a delusion. What you’re seeing in Revelation 19 is the real McCoy. And you say well come on pastor, you don’t really believe Jesus is coming back on a horse do you? I mean, that’s obviously figurative language. Well let me remind you of something. There was a prophet named Zechariah and Zechariah 9:9 predicts this 500 years in advance concerning Christ’s first coming. Zechariah says, “Humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
And you go to Matthew 2:1-6 and you see how literally that prophecy was fulfilled. [Matthew 2:1-6, “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,  “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”  When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.  Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.  They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet:  AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL’”]
Matthew 21:1, “When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,  saying to them, ‘Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me.’”  If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”  This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:  “SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, ‘BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY, EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.’”  The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them.”
I think if there’s ever a mistake that can be made when interpreting God’s prophetic Word it’s not to take it for what it says. And perhaps He’s not coming back on a donkey; okay, well I’ve had a happen life believing He is coming back on a donkey, or He is coming back on a white horse. And I’m completely open to the idea that there’s going to be things in prophecy that may not happen exactly like I think that they’re going to happen but I have a tendency to take God at His Word whenever I possibly can. And this is a great mistake being made in Christendom where people generally look at a prophecy like this and they say well it really can’t mean what it says. People probably in Zechariah’s day probably didn’t think Jesus would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey and yet that’s what happened.
Jesus is coming back to this earth (if I’m understanding it correctly) on a white horse. And by the way, you’re coming back to the earth with Him on your own white horse. Did you know that? I got an e-mail from a guy who was very, very excited about this prophecy and he told me he’s already got his horse made. And I said wow, I’ve never gone that far but that’s enthusiasm, I like that. And I’ll show you that passage a little bit later. But this is the return of Jesus Christ, the real McCoy, this is the bona fide Jesus, not the deceptive antichrist that we read about in Revelation 6.
So number one, He is coming from heaven. Number two, He is riding on a white horse. Number three, He is faithful to His promises. Notice Revelation 19, continuing on there with verse 11, notice what it says. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True….” Jesus is called “Faithful and True. And one of the reasons He is called Faithful and True is because He is executing and He is finishing and He is completing everything He promised to do. Everything the Holy Spirit said He would do is being fulfilled here, going all the way back even to Job 19:25. He is taking His stand on the earth. [“As for me, I know that my Redeemer” the Hebrew there is goel, famous word for Redeemer, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.”]
I am reminded or remember that movement Promise Keepers. Remember that movement, where all the men are going to come forward and we’re going to give our promises and so, Promise Keepers, and well-intentioned but here’s the reality of the situation, is there’s only one Promise Keeper and that’s Jesus Christ. Everybody else in this life came in by a sin nature and will let you down. Your boss will let you down. Your family will let you down. Your friends will let you down. God forbid your pastor will let you down. Your church can let you down. Your elders can let you down. Your deacons can let you down.
It’s part of living in the fallenness of our circumstances because we can try to be people of integrity, and we should strive for that, but there’s only one person that’s met the mark with 100% accuracy and that’s Jesus Christ. Why? Because He wasn’t tainted by the sin nature. That’s the whole significance of the miraculous virgin conception. Had He not experienced that virgin conception then He would have been tainted with the exact same sin nature in Adam’s lineage that we all are tainted with.
So consequently as you go through life what you’re going to discover is people can be a tremendous disappointment, just as you are no doubt a disappointment to other people sometimes in your life. And sometimes we attach so much weight to what others think or what others do or what others believe when the reality of the situation is we need to stop looking to people and we need to start looking to Jesus Christ, because He’s the only one that is a Promise Keeper. He’s the only one that’s Faithful and True.
In fact, you yourself will let yourself down. Did you know that? 2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless,” what does that mean? Without faith. This is speaking to Christians. Christians even getting to a point in their walk with the Lord where they’re not trusting the Lord like they used to. They’re not exercising the faith that they once had. And there’s a great many people in modern day Christendom that will argue well, such a person was never a Christian to begin with. Or they lost their salvation. But what does this say? “If we are faithless,” without faith, “He remains” what? “faithful for He cannot deny Himself.” For Jesus to become suddenly faithless would be for Jesus to deny who He is, which He cannot do. And so I like how John is seeing this return of Christ and He’s seeing Jesus as “faithful and true.” The true Promise Keeper.
And what else is Jesus going to do when He comes back? He is going to execute righteous judgment.” He is going to execute what we would call a just war. Look, if you will, at the end of verse 11, it says, “and in righteousness He judges and wages war.” You mean the Savior is going to wage war? That’s exactly what your Bible says. Now war is a horrible thing, and we think of war being waged in the hands of the wrong person and how that can result in miscarriages of justice. Not the Lord Jesus is going to wage; it’s a righteous war. He judges righteously! That’s the only person prosecuting a war that I really even trust, it’s Jesus Christ unhindered by a sin nature; no errors, no mistakes, no miscarriages of justice. And I like the fact that Jesus here it specifically says is going to wage war when He comes back. The Greek for war is πόλεμοs [polimos], where we get the word polemic, or polemical, it’s the opposite of being tyrannic, peaceful. Irenic also comes from a Greek word peace, the opposite of polimos, meaning warlike.
This is God’s turn in history to wage war because as you go through world history everybody else is waging war. In fact, that’s one of the things spoken of in Daniel 9:25, in between the 69th and 70th week. It says, “wars are determined.” [Daniel 9:25, “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.”]
Revelation 12:17, of Satan, that we read about in the Book of Revelation, Satan has waged war. Revelation 12:17 says, “So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war” polyemos [πόλεμος] “with the rest of her children….” And guess what? Now it’s God’s turn to wage war. He is coming back to this earth to prosecute a war on His enemies but with justice and righteousness, completely and totally different than everything we know about His first coming. Remember James and John, the Sons of Thunder, the first coming of Christ, Luke 9:51-56.
[Luke 9:51-56, “ When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem;  and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him.  But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem.  When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”  But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of;  for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”
They came to a Samaritan village and as you probably know the Jews hated the Samaritans and the feeling was mutual the other way, the Samaritans hated the Jews. And the Samaritans rejected the message of Jesus Christ and James and John said, “Shall we not call fire down from heaven to consume them.” [Luke 9:54, “When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”]
Remember what Jesus said? Luke 55, “But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of;  “for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” And they went on to another village.” And so we have a wonderful testimony of the forgiveness of God, the grace of God, the forbearance of God, the longsuffering of God, particularly of Christ as we read about His first coming. And we just assume that it’s always going to be that way. But that’s not what your Bible says. The day will come where Jesus will wage war with His adversaries on this planet.
I like what Solomon writes in the Book of Ecclesiastes. “There is an appointed time for everything, there is a time for every event under heaven.” [Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—“] And he says in Ecclesiastes 3:8, “A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace.” Guess what’s happening here in Revelation 19? The time for peace is over, now it’s time for war. The time of love is over, and now it’s a time for hate. We have a very lopsided perspective of this man, Jesus Christ, don’t we? We’re all very comfortable with the grace and thank God for it that He bestowed at His first coming but as we look at these passages we see very clearly that that is not always going to be the case because He’s coming back to prosecute a righteous and just war.
And we have a description there in verse 12 of His fiery eyes. Verse 12 says, His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.” John calls our attention here to His fiery eyes. This is not the first time in the Book of Revelation that we’ve run into that description. You might recall that when Jesus disclosed Himself to John on the Island of Patmos and he was told to write these things down, John wrote down a description of what he saw. And it says in Revelation 1:14, “His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire.”
What does all of this mean, these fiery eyes that He has. I don’t know if I know but I know this much, fire tests the quality. That’s why at the Judgment Seat of Christ our works are going to be put through a fire which will test their quality. Wood, hay and stubble, are they combustible or are they the gold, silver and costly stones which are noncombustible? How could you even determine one from the other. The fire reveals it. The fiery eyes of Christ reveal what’s happening in the hearts of people. There’s no ducking out of the way, there’s no giving an excuse, it’s just an open naked heart before the eyes of God.
I’m reminded of Jesus in His ministry in Jerusalem at the end of John 2. It says this, verse 23, “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing.  But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men,  and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.” All of these people that had trusted in Him He didn’t just entrust Himself back to them by way of discipleship because He could see what was happening in them, He could see what was happening in their hearts. He was laying bare through His omniscience their motives. And I think this may be one of the reasons why He is described with these fiery eyes.
Number six, according to verse 12 he’s got many crowns, “many diadems.” [Revelation 19:12, “His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.”] The antichrist, Revelation 6, has one crown. Jesus, by contrast has many crowns. He is a victor; He’s won! This is His coronation. All of the Christ hating Christ rejecting mindsets of this world system that has been going on for at least six thousand years is now a thing of the past. The days of trampling God under people’s own feet and acting like God doesn’t exist and living their lives the way they want to, that’s all a thing of the past because Jesus is the winner! He’s the victor! By the way, isn’t that one of our songs? Crown Him with Many Crowns. Why do we sing that? Because we’re recognizing in this passage His ultimate victory.
And according to verse 12 He has upon Him an unknown name. Now inevitably when I start talking about this someone will say well what is that name. How am I supposed to know? [Laughter] It’s an unknown name. But look what it says in verse 12, “His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.” If I’m understanding my Bible correctly that same name, which only Jesus knows, is going to or perhaps already has been the moment you trusted Him as Savior, has been written on you.
Revelation 2:17, Jesus makes this statement to the church at Pergamum, “…and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’” [Revelation 2:17, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’”]
I think it’s clear in Revelation 3:12 to the church at Philadelphia, “I will write on him” the overcomer, the believer, “I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.” Did you know that you’ve got three names since inscribed on you, if I’m reading this right? The name of the Father, the name of the city which is where our citizenship is, and then the new name of Christ, known only to Christ, written on you as well. If that doesn’t communicate the desire of God to have a personal walk or relationship with humanity I don’t know what will. When Jesus died on that cross two thousand years ago He was not just generically dying for the sins of the world. He did that, but He was thinking about You as an individual. He was thinking about you as a person because He desires through that transaction to have a personal intimate walk with you and with me, as if we’re worthy of such a thing (which we’re not!) That’s why we receive this by grace.
I think sometimes we make Christianity so group oriented, so categorical and so generic that we’ve sort of lost sight of the fact that if you were the only person on planet earth at the time of Christ He would have done just the same thing because of His intimate love for you. And so this is who God is, He has a new name.
You go to verse 13 and we have an eighth characteristic of the return of Christ. We have, number eight, His blood soaked vesture. Look at verse 13, “He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.” So notice that when Jesus Christ comes back His robe, His vesture is portrayed here as still being soaked with blood. I have always found this to be very interesting in these prophecies that when He comes back the second time there’s always some sort of reminder of His sacrifice.
Revelation 5:6, John says, “And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain….” When John in the vision sees the glorified Christ long after the crucifixion of Christ, he looks at Him as if Jesus has been slain. Apparently there’s some sort of token, there’s some sort of remembrance of His sacrifice. We know the story of Doubting Thomas don’t we? John 20:25, “So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he” that’s Thomas, “said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
Verse 27, “Then He” that’s Jesus, “said to Thomas,” now this is Jesus in His resurrection body, “Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” What would you do if the Lord gave you that chance? I like Thomas’ response. “Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and My God.” What else do you say to something like this?
So in Christ’s resurrected body apparently His wounds are still visible; apparently He looks as if one flame from the foundation of the earth in His glorified state, and He’s coming back with His vesture blood soaked. I mean, why is it that we keep getting these glimpses of Christ coming back in His glory with these reminders of what He went through in His first coming.
I think it’s as simple as this: throughout eternity, throughout the ages of time, as we are enjoying heaven together we look at Jesus and we’re reminded of the fact constantly that we’re there because of His grace. And it causes heaven itself to praise Christ over and over again and they never get tired of praising Christ or glorifying Christ because you can look into His body, look into His garments and you can see the wounds that He experienced on our behalf. Isn’t that what the Lord’s Table is about? That’s what we try to communicate anyway. Why do we do this? Is it just a quarterly ritual? It’s designed by the Lord Himself in the Upper Room to be a reminder of what He did for us. Doesn’t He say “Do this in” what? “in remembrance of Me.” [Luke 22:19, “And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”]
People today are very upset that a lot of us think in the millennial kingdom there’s going to be a temple, and there’s going to be animal sacrifices in that temple. And you wouldn’t believe how hot under the collar that people get at that. But you know, your chipping away at the finished work of Christ? Don’t you know you’re bringing back the Law of Moses? All of these sorts of activations, all of which I think can be answered.
But that’s not my point here; my point here is simply to communicate why there’s going to be animal sacrifices in the millennial temple. In the millennial kingdom you’re going to be living in a world where death, for the most part, is a thing of the past. Those of us as the church in resurrected bodies won’t die and those that survive the tribulation period and repopulate the earth in their mortal bodies and have children, there’s going to be dramatically elongated and prolonged lifespans. In fact, the prophet Isaiah, chapter 65 around verses 20-23 talks about how in the millennial kingdom if someone dies when they’re 100 everybody is going to kind of sit around and say what a shame this young man died at such an early age.
[Isaiah 65:20-23, “No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days; for the youth will die at the age of one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought accursed.  They will build houses and inhabit them; they will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.  They will not build and another inhabit,
they will not plant and another eat; for as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people,
and My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands.  They will not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they are the offspring of those blessed by the Lord, and their descendants with them.”]
The prophet Isaiah says, “As the lifetime of a tree so shall be the days of My people, My chosen ones will wear out the works of their hands.” [Isaiah 64:22, “For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands.”] Death, what is that, I don’t remember what it is. Death is just sort of a fading memory of the way things used to be. And wouldn’t it be easy in that kind of a climate to forget the death of Jesus? And so these sacrifices are practiced in the temple in this environment so we’re reminded of the blood that He spilt. These sacrifices are essentially designed like communion, to get us to look backward. They don’t add to the finished work of Christ, nothing can.
But the danger is sort of forgetting what that was all about. And how easy that would be to slip out of one’s mind living in a world where death is sort of a bygone reality. And yet you go to Jerusalem and you see the blood and you see the sacrifice and you see the suffering of these animals. And then you’re standing next to Jesus Christ and looking at His body and you’re seeing His wounds and you say that’s right, Lord, forgive me, I forgot about that. This world that we’re living in is so wonderful, the curse has been rolled back, I let it slip out of my mind the sacrifice that You did for us. And so we have these reminders of Christ returning and there’s always a visible reminder of some kind, in this case His blood soaked vesture of the price that was paid.
We come here to number nine, and we learn his identity; there’s no doubt who this is that they’re speaking of here because you look at verse 13 and it says, “He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood” now watch this, “and His name is called” what? “The Word of God.” We know exactly who this is. This is not the chief imitation that the world embraced of the first rider on the white horse, Revelation 6, this is the real deal. This is the real McCoy because John did not just write the Book of Revelation, he also wrote the Gospel of John. And when you go to John’s opening in his Gospel he makes this statement: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And then in the same chapter he says in John 1:14, “And the Word” that’s the logos, “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John writes five books, the Gospel of John, First John, Second John, Third John and the Book of Revelation. Quite a set! Quite a literary contribution! I would encourage you to read it sometime. There’s some really good stuff in there. And how does He end this literary set? Revelation 19, with the Word of God. What is everything about in between? It’s about the Word of God, it’s about Jesus Christ. What’s the point of history as it began? Jesus Christ. What’s the point of history as it ends? Jesus Christ. What’s the point of our lives now? Jesus Christ. The whole thing is Jesus, from beginning to end this is why later on in the Book of Revelation He will be called the Alpha and the Omega of history, the beginning and the end.
A tenth quality, and with this we’ll finish, verse 14, and this is where I believe your horse comes in, maybe not, that may be coming a little later, I might be getting ahead of myself, but number 10, He is followed by the armies of heaven. Look at verse 14, “And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him” there it is, “on” what? “white horses.” Oh come on, it’s not literal! It says that about Zechariah’s prophesies didn’t they, Him coming to Jerusalem on a donkey. He’s on a white horse, there’s an army that’s following him on white horses (plural). Now who is this army? Well, part of me would say the angels because Matthew 25:31 says, “But when the Son of Man,” NOT IF, “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him,” there’s a lot of angels, myriads of them, “then He will sit on His glorious throne.”
So the angels are with Him. Now who else would be with Him? That’s you! That’s me! That’s the church that has been raptured at least seven years earlier in the Father’s house experiencing [A] the Bema Seat Judgment of Christ, the judgment of rewards. And [B] the marriage of the Lamb which we studied last week, coming back with Him on white horses to rule and reign alongside of Him. And you’ll notice that those that are coming back with Him, what does it say here, “are clothed in fine linen, white.” So the horse is white, Jesus’ horse is white, your horse is white, and you have white linen that’s white. What is that speaking of? It’s speaking of purity.
How do you get the purity of God? The Protestant Reformers called it alien righteousness. What does that mean? Righteousness which is not your own, it’s transferred to you on the basis of faith. Paul says in Philippians 3:9, “The righteousness which comes from God,” notice it doesn’t come from you, if you think that your acts of righteousness get your foot in the door you’re following religion. In fact, that false belief will send you into hell. You get into this, what I’m describing, when the righteousness comes from God on the basis of faith. It can’t be that easy… it IS that easy. That’s why the gospel is an offense, because the prideful human mind and spirit looks at that and says it can’t be that simple. And yet it is that simple; it comes from God on the basis of faith.
And they’re coming back on these white horses. Now the fine linen could also be speaking of, Revelation 19:8 being rewarded at the Bema Seat Judgment of Christ. [Revelation 19:8, “It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”] That could be part of the white linen, but I have a tendency to think it’s the righteousness that is transferred to us on the basis of faith because of whose blood? Verse 13, the blood of Christ.” His blood soaked vesture, verse 13, is described before our transferred righteousness, verse 14, because if it wasn’t for His blood, verse 13, we wouldn’t have the benefits of grace, verse 14. [Revelation 19:14, “The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.”] That’s what communion was about this morning; we’re reflecting on that, recollecting that calling, recalling that. And so we’re coming back with Jesus Christ to do what exactly? Revelation 1:6 says, “And He made us to be a kingdom of priests,” (did you know you’re a priest) “to His God and Father—to him be the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Well, that’s interesting—what are we going to be doing? Revelation 5:10, “You have made them to be a kingdom of priests and they will reign” future tense verb, “they will reign upon the earth” that’s your destiny “in Christ.”
And right here, as you’re returning with Christ on a white horse as He is on His white horse, as He’s prosecuting a just war, this is where your reigning starts. This is where it begins. This is where the priestly ministry of Christ is finished and we now move into His legal ministry. And it’s not just His ministry, it’s your ministry because delegated authority to you, as part of your identity as a kingdom of priests.
Believe me folks, I’m excited about celebrating the first coming but what about the second coming? Are we just as excited about that? I can’t wait personally! Lord, bring it on! So how do you get this transferred righteousness of Christ, by way of closing. You simply trust in what Jesus has done in His First Coming. We’re living in this unique time between these two comings of Christ, the first coming, second coming. And the role that you’ll have in the second coming is dependent upon your response to what He did for you in His first coming. If you reject what He did in His first coming then you have nothing to look forward to in His second coming, except to be victimized by this just war. But if you respond by way of faith to what He did for you at the first coming then the future looks pretty bright, doesn’t it? There’s the second coming where you’re coming back with Him to rule and reign.
And so our exhortation to folks here at Sugarland Bible Church is to trust in the Savior, trust His words when He said “It is finished!” He authenticated what He said He would do through His bodily resurrection, you can trust everything He said. And trust His plan of salvation which you receive by way of faith, by way of grace what He’s done for you on the cross 2,000 years ago. In fact, He’s made this so easy that He even sends the Spirit into the world to convict us of our need to do this. And so no doubt the Spirit could be convicting people of their need to trust in the Savior, even people may be listening on computers or online or the internet. The Spirit is convicting them also. And our exhortation is to not ignore that convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit.
That conviction is your friend, not your enemy, and to respond to it by way of faith, which means trust, meaning you’re saved not by walking an aisle, joining a church, raising a hand, giving money, filling out a card, studying American history, eating too much on Thanksgiving. Whatever it is those things don’t save anybody. You’re saved by what Jesus did for you and you receive that as a gift. And you can do that right now in the quietness of your own heart as the Spirit places folks under conviction. You don’t have to join a church to do it, walk an aisle to do it, it’s a matter of privacy between you and the Lord, where you trusted in Christ and Christ alone for the safekeeping of your soul. And if it’s something you need more explanation on I’m available after the service to talk.
Shall we pray. Father, we’re grateful for this special time of the year where we look back at what You did two thousand years ago but we look forward with great eagerness and expectation to what You are about to accomplish on planet earth and we’re grateful that You contemplated us and made us part of Your plan. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said…. Amen!