Revelation 19:11-16

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 1, 2001


Do you remember the days when we used to stand in line for hours to get in to see some spectacular, long-awaited movie?  I remember as a teenager wasting an entire day and night standing in line to see the movie the Exorcist, what a waste!

There is one moment in history that will be the moment that all creation has been waiting for.  And it definitely won’t be a waste of anyone’s time.

Paul wrote,

(Rom 8:19-23 NLT)  For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. {20} Against its will, everything on earth was subjected to God's curse. {21} All creation anticipates the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. {22} For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. {23} And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us.

Billy Graham writes,

There is an inscription in the dome of our Capitol in Washington, which few people know about.  It says:  "One far-off divine event toward which the whole creation moves."  A visitor saw this inscription and asked the guide what it meant.  He said:  "I think it refers to the Second Coming of Christ."  When the dome of our Capitol was erected, some God-fearing official ordered that inscription to be etched in the dome of our seat of government, believing that its truth was vital to the concern of our nation.

Isaiah wrote,

(Isa 25:8-9 KJV)  He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. {9} And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

The King Returns

:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse;

whiteleukos – light, bright, brilliant; brilliant from whiteness, (dazzling) white; different word than the “white” garments that the saints wear (19:8 lampros)

Some have used this verse to suggest that there will be animals in heaven.  Perhaps.

It certainly says that our “prince” shall return on a white horse.

:11  and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True,

faithfulpistos – trusty, faithful; of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business; that can be relied on

truealethinos – real, true genuine; opposite to what is counterfeit, imaginary, simulated or pretended


You can count on Him.

Some of you know what it’s like to be betrayed or lied to.
There were six Navy pilots who left their aircraft carrier on a scouting mission during World War II, searching the seas for enemy submarines believed operating in the area.  When they tried to return, they could not find their ship.  It seems that while they were gone, the captain had ordered a war-imposed blackout of all lights on the ship.  Over and over the frantic pilots radioed, asking for just one light so they could see to land.  The pilots were then told of the blackout and that it could not be lifted even for them. After several appeals and denials of their requests, the ship’s radio operator finally turned the switch to break radio contact.  Rather than risk the lives of thousands on the ship, the pilots were forced to ditch in the cold Atlantic and from there into eternity.  The pilots left the ship thinking they would be able to return, but found that this was misplaced hope.
Some of you know what it’s like to be betrayed or lied to.
King David knew.  He was betrayed by his own son, Absalom.  Even after he had pardoned Absalom for killing his own half-brother Amnon, Absalom turned on David and stole the kingdom from David.
Jesus knew what it was like to be betrayed.  For three years He had poured his life into His disciples, only to have one of them betray Him with a kiss.
But Jesus will never betray you.  He is faithful.  He is true.  You can count on Him.
(Psa 46:1 KJV)  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

:11  and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

righteousnessdikaiosune – the condition acceptable to God; integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting


Jesus always does what’s right

This is how Jesus judges and makes war.  He does it completely correctly.
A woman who was called to jury duty told the presiding judge that she was not qualified to serve because she did not believe in capital punishment. The judge said, “You don’t understand, madam. This is a civil case involving a man who spent five thousand dollars of his wife’s money on gambling and other women.” To which the woman replied eagerly, “I’ll be happy to serve, your honor, and I’ve changed my mind about capital punishment.”

--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 414.

Jesus doesn’t “change His mind” about things.  What’s right has always been right, what’s wrong has always been wrong. He always does what is right.
Sometimes as we are reading about the judgments of the Second Coming, it seems to us that God is somehow a bit too harsh.  For example, why does hell have to last forever?
If things seem too harsh, it’s only because we don’t truly understand the nature of our rebellion against God.
In the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, Ben Johnson of Canada won the one-hundred-meter dash, setting a new Olympic record and a new world record.  Our American contender, Carl Lewis, came in second, and most were shocked that he hadn’t won the gold.  After the race, the judges learned that Johnson had had an illegal substance in his body.  He ran the race illegally, so the judges took away his medal.  Though he ran faster and made an unforgettable impression, he did not deserve the reward.

-- Charles R. Swindoll, Hope Again, (Word, 1996), p. 34.

When we see things, we can’t tell whether a person has really done things properly.  But Jesus can see through anything.  Jesus can see motives, Jesus can see a person’s heart.  He always does what is right.

:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire

flamephlox – a flame; from phlego (to “flash” or “flame”)

The idea is probably that He can see through anything, including men’s hearts.

:12  and on his head were many crowns;

crownsdiadema – a crown as a badge of royalty as opposed to the “victor’s crown” won in battle (stephanos).  Jesus is coming back not just as a conquering hero, but He is coming back as the true and right King.

The “dragon” (Rev. 12:3, Satan) and the “beast” (Rev. 13:1, antichrist) will be wearing “crowns” (diadema), but Jesus is the one who is truly worthy to be wearing the crowns.

manypolus – many, much, large

:12  and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

What’s the “name”?  Only Jesus knows.

:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood:

vesturehimation – a garment (of any sort); the upper garment, the cloak or mantle

dippedbapto – to dip, dip in, immerse; to dip into dye, to dye, colour; this is not the word for “baptize” (baptizo) though it’s close.

Why is Jesus’ robe dipped in blood?

Don’t think that it’s His blood here.  It’s not.

It’s because He’s been treading the winepress of the wrath of God (Rev. 19:15)

(Isa 63:1-4 KJV)  Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. {2} Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? {3} I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. {4} For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.

We believe that this is talking about Jesus rescuing the Jews who have fled into the “wilderness” (Rev. 12:6; Mat. 24:16).  When He does so, He stains His robes with the blood of the people He has slain in battle.

:13  and his name is called The Word of God.

the Wordlogos – word

In case you haven’t got it yet, this is Jesus. This is what John called Jesus in his gospel. 

(John 1:1-4 KJV)  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. {2} The same was in the beginning with God. {3} All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. {4} In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

(John 1:14 KJV)  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

armiesstrateuma – an army; a band of soldiers; bodyguard, guards men

white horses – just like Jesus’ horse.

There’s a biblical word often used that refers to the armies of God, the word being “hosts”, or “Sabaoth”.  He is the Lord of Hosts or Lord of Sabaoth. This army includes both us and the angels.

One of the earliest prophecies of the Bible, referred to by Jude, refers to this event:

(Jude 1:14 KJV)  And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

In other words, WE’RE with Jesus!!

clothedenduo – to sink into (clothing), put on, clothe one’s self

fine linenbussinos – a fine linen (garment); made of fine linen

whiteleukos – light, bright, brilliant; brilliant from whiteness, (dazzling) white; different word than the “white” garments (19:8 lampros) described earlier, but could still be the same things.

cleankatharos – clean, pure; in a levitical sense clean, the use of which is not forbidden, imparts no uncleanness; ethically free from corrupt desire, from sin and guilt

Even though Jesus’ robes will be stained with blood, our uniforms will be clean and white because Jesus will do all the fighting.

In a way, we’re kind of following Jesus just for show, because it doesn’t appear we’ll be doing any fighting.  Jesus is only going to have to open His mouth, and the enemies will be vanquished.


Let Jesus do the fighting

Right now, we’re in the midst of intense warfare. But the best way for us to fight is to let Jesus do the fighting for us.
(Eph 6:10-13 KJV)  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. {11} Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. {12} For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. {13} Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
There are times when we find ourselves in all sorts of conflicts.  And many times we are unaware that the conflicts are actually part of the great spiritual battle raging around us.  I think that the problem is this certain person that I don’t get along with, yet in reality there may be an underlying spiritual cause.
What do I do?
I need to be sure that I’m staying close to my Commander-in-Chief.  I need to stay close to Jesus and let Him fight my battles.  I need to cry to Him for help.
Jehoshaphat and the battle for Ramothgilead.

Good king Jehoshaphat was in a place he didn’t belong.  For one thing, he had made an ungodly alliance with the wicked king of the northern kingdom, Ahab.  And when Ahab wanted to go to war against a city called Ramothgilead, Jehoshaphat ended up getting dragged into the battle.

(2 Chr 18:28-32 KJV)  So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramothgilead. {29} And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and will go to the battle; but put thou on thy robes. So the king of Israel disguised himself; and they went to the battle. {30} Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of the chariots that were with him, saying, Fight ye not with small or great, save only with the king of Israel. {31} And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him; and God moved them to depart from him. {32} For it came to pass, that, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back again from pursuing him.

The BEST thing that Jehoshaphat did was to cry to the Lord for help.  And God heard him and rescued him.

David wrote,

(Psa 34:4 KJV)  I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations:

swordrhomphaia – a large sword; properly a long Thracian javelin, also a kind of long sword wont to be worn on the right shoulder

sharpoxus – sharp; swift, quick

smitepatasso – to strike gently: as a part or a member of the body; to stroke, smite: with the sword, to afflict, to visit with evils, etc. as with a deadly disease; to smite down, cut down, to kill, slay

There are actually two different kind of swords mentioned in the New Testament.

The one that is usually used to describe the Word of God is machaira, which was a small sword used in hand-to-hand combat. (Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:17)

That’s what we use daily in our battles, pulling out the Bible and using our Swords!

But the word used here is rhomphaia, a large sword, like that one in Raiders of the Lost Ark, where Indiana Jones faces that big guy with the HUGE sword (and Indiana pulls out a gun and just shoots the guy). 

In one of the Crocodile Dundee movies, Mick is held up by a guy with a knife, Mick asks the guy, “What’s that?”  The guy responds, “That’s a knife!”  And Mick pulls out his own, HUGE knife and says, “No, THAT’S a knife!”
It’s still His Word, it’s just the Industrial-Strength version, the one that comes right from His mouth. When Jesus comes back, He ain’t someone to be messing with!  He’s going to use His BIG sword!

Jesus will “smite” the nations with His sword, His word.  He will keep them in line by simply speaking a word.


Let His Word rule in your life now

For us, Jesus wants to use His Word, the machaira to rule in our lives.
(Heb 4:12 KJV)  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
(Heb 4:12 NLT)  For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are.
God had told Moses that when the time for the nation to have a king, they would need to have the king know God’s Word:
(Deu 17:18-20 KJV)  And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: {19} And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: {20} That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.
David wrote,
(Psa 1:1-3 KJV)  Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. {2} But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. {3} And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
David knew this because he was a king.  He learned the hard way.
When David established Jerusalem as the capital of his kingdom, he decided that he wanted to move the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem (1Chron. 13).  He wanted it clear that God was in control of his kingdom.  So they put the Ark on an oxcart and a procession began up the hill towards Jerusalem.  On the way up the hill, one of the priests reached out and touched the Ark and was instantly killed.  David was horrified and stopped the procession.
It wasn’t until some months later that David found out what had gone wrong.

(1 Chr 15:2 KJV)  Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever.

How did David find this out?  Apparently somebody took the time to get out their Bible and find the answer.  God had already made it clear that the Ark was only to be carried by priests, not by oxcarts.  When David got into the Word, he found guidance.

Do you spend time in God’s Word?  Does God’s Word affect the decisions you make in your life?  Is Jesus ruling your life through His Word?

:15  and he shall rule them with a rod of iron:

rule poimaino – to tend a flock, keep sheep; to govern

rodrhabdos – a staff, a walking stick, a twig, rod, branch; a rod with which one is beaten; a staff; with a rod of iron, indicates the severest, most rigorous rule; a royal sceptre

This is a shepherding picture.  Yet rather than a rod of wood, which might not hurt quite as bad, or which could be broken, Jesus is going to shepherd the nations with a rod of iron.  He will be in control.

This metaphor seems to be taken from Psalm 2 –

(Psa 2:9 KJV)  Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

:15  and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

treadethpateo – to tread; to trample, crush with the feet

winepresslenos – a tub or trough shaped receptacle, vat, in which grapes are trodden; the lower vat, dug in the ground, into which the must or new wine flowed from the press

fiercenessthumos – passion, angry, heat, anger forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding again; glow, ardour, the wine of passion, inflaming wine (which either drives the drinker mad or kills him with its strength)

wrathorge – anger, the natural disposition, temper, character; movement or agitation of the soul, impulse, desire, any violent emotion, but esp. anger; anger, wrath, indignation; anger exhibited in punishment, hence used for punishment itself

Again, drawn from Isaiah 63, why Jesus’ robe is stained.  When He comes back, He’ll be angry with a correct, righteous anger.

:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

vesturehimation – a garment (of any sort); garments, i.e. the cloak or mantle and the tunic; the upper garment, the cloak or mantle

thighmeros – thigh

There is no higher authority.

He is the king over all the other kings. He is the Lord over all other lords.


Is He your King and Lord?

I’m here to ask you to do one thing.  Surrender.
When He returns, the whole world will be waiting to fight with Him, but my King will slay them with the brightness of His coming (2Th. 2:8).
If you’re not following Jesus now as your King, you need to be.
For some of you, you’ve never taken that first step in coming to Him and saying, “I need You in my life, I need Your forgiveness, I need Your help”
For some of you, you made a commitment to Jesus, but you’re not where you need to be.  You’ve gone off the path and have begun to be your own “king”. 

Every person that Jesus called in the New Testament He called openly and publicly.  Jesus said,

(Mat 10:32-33 KJV)  Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. {33} But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

I’m going to ask you to make a decision.  Come and follow Jesus. It’s time to surrender.