Author: Ron Graham

Book of Revelation

The King in His Glory
—Revelation 19:11-21

Judgment of the Beasts (Revelation 12-20) >Seven Final Visions >4th vision >The King on a white horse

John sees another vision of heaven, with similarities to the earlier visions starting at Revelation 1 and 4. John sees a rider on a white horse who has a glorious appearance, and wonderful names; he is too powerfull for his enemies to even begin their battle with him (Revelation 19:11-21)

1 The Procession of Christ

Revelation 19:11-16

a white horse In the vision of the four horses, the first was a white horse and its rider went out to conquer (Revelation 6:2). Now again a white horse appears and its rider ¶ "wages war" against evil (Revelation 19:11).

his eyes His ¶ "eyes like a flame of fire" show him to be the same person (Jesus Christ) whom John saw in the very first vision (Revelation 1:14).

his name is called In this vision, John is made aware of four names for Jesus...

The first name tells us that we can trust him; the second that he is God; the third that he explains God, the fourth that he has the highest authority over us.

a robe dipped in blood This is a two-way symbol: we may think of this blood as Jesus’s own, shed for our redemption; but we may also take it to be the blood of his enemies (Revelation 19:13, cf Isaiah 63:1-6).

fine linen white and clean The "armies of heaven" who follow behind Jesus do not have blood-stained robes like his. (Revelation 19:14). This shows us that Jesus is the only one authorized to judge, to redeem or to destroy. We can follow him as soldiers of Christ, but he alone takes responsibility and has the authority for treading out the winepress of God’s wrath.

a sharp two-edged sword This sign of a sword coming out of his mouth is another mark showing this horseman to be the same person (Jesus Christ) whom John saw in the very first vision(Revelation 19:15, Revelation 1:16). The sword coming out of his mouth is a sign for the word of God (cf Ephesians6:17, Hebrews 4:12). Jesus has ultimate authority —he is called "the Word of God" (Revelation 19:13). It is a happy accident that in English “word” is within “sword”.

rod of iron This sword is an "iron rod" (Revelation 19:15) by which Jesus shepherds and rules the nations of the world (Revelation 19:15). His is a rule of iron far stronger than that of the iron kingdom of Rome which ruled the world in John’s time (cf Daniel 2:31-35).

2 The Supper of Wrath

Revelation 19:17-18

angel in the sun [TRANSITION] The visions now move from heaven back to earth, and an angel issues an invitation, "Come! Assemble for the great supper of our God" (Revelation 19:17).

great supper of our God Now this great supper of God is not the blessed "marriage supper of the Lamb" (Revelation 19:9). This great supper of God is for the birds! They feast on the flesh of the dead after the battle between good and evil is won. The blessed marriage supper of the Lamb signifies the grace of God and eternal life. This supper for the birds signifies the wrath of God and eternal death.(Revelation 19:17-19).

3 The Battle of Futility

Revelation 19:19-21

assembled to make war While John watches, the army of evil, led by the beast, gathers to make war against Jesus and his saints (Revelation 19:19). This vision is like the vision of the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:14,16; cf Revelation 20:7-10). No battle takes place. The army gathers, but its leaders are powerless; they are destroyed and all their defenceless armies are vanquished before they can strike one blow.

special note This victory before battle in the vision doesn't mean there's no battle between good and evil —there is! (Ephesians 6:10-13). The battle in this vision is a fiasco to assure us that victory is a foregone conclusion. We must choose this day whom we will serve, and become soldiers of Christ protected by his invincible power; otherwise we will be killed by the other edge of his two-edged sword.