"The Conquering King"
The Book of Revelation gives us a window into the great and glorious future which awaits all of creation. The central figure of the letter is Jesus Christ, the One who was and is and is to come (Revelation 1:8). We often think about Jesus as the One who was and the One who is, but we rarely pause to consider Him as the One who is to come. We know the humility of Jesus upon the cross as the One who was, and we acknowledge the supremacy of the resurrected Christ as the One who is. But what is Jesus’ character forevermore? Meek and lowly? Revelation 19 gives us a different picture, which we may see most clearly as we examine the contrasts between Christ at His first and second advents.
At His first coming, Jesus was meek and humble. Born in a manger, He lived three decades with “no place to lay his head” (Luke 9:58 NIV) and finally was mocked and ridiculed upon the cross. As they raised Him to His dying place on Golgotha, the Romans posted above Him an inscription that read “This is the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38 ESV). The soldiers could never have imagined their jest toward Jesus had any truth. He hung upon the cross with a crown of thorns and the worship of no one. However, when Christ returns at the second advent, there will be no mistaking His kingship. There will be no question, no mockery, no ridicule of His authority.
Revelation 19:11–16 gives us a glimpse of our victorious King at His second advent. He is not riding a lowly donkey; instead, He’s upon a white horse (Revelation 19:11). Gone is the crown of thorns, replaced by many diadems (Revelation 19:12). Though He was abandoned by the masses on Good Friday, He will return with the armies of heaven at His side (Revelation 19:14). And though upon the cross we see Jesus’ great mercy displayed, He is also a God of justice (Revelation 19:15). The character of God, as He revealed Himself in Exodus 34:6–7, contains both of these elements. He is certainly slow to anger, but He will by no means clear the guilty. This news should strike wonder in our souls. It is this King—this King of all kings—who gave Himself for us. The only appropriate response is that of the psalmist: “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” (Psalm 95:6 ESV).
Revelation 19:11-16 (ESV):
11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.