Finally, He Comes
Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” borrows from Revelation 19:6: “Hallelujah! For the Lord God Almighty reigns.” We do not mean that God does not reign presently, only that when His Son returns, the victory won on the cross will finally be completed, Satan’s forces consigned to eternal torment, and the kingdom of our Father made visible “on earth as it is in heaven.” And it is His Son’s return that marks the end – the end of history as we know it – and the beginning of a new history, announced by the prophets long ago, who spoke of the mountain of the Lord being established on earth, swords being beaten into plowshares, lions and oxen eating straw together, and best of all, a mighty king ruling in righteousness (Isaiah 2:1-4; 11:1-9; Micah 4:1-4). This king will rule with a “rod of iron,” a phrase used in the Bible to depict the coming reign of the Son of God (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 2:27; 12:5).
It is truly a terrible sight. It seems that the one on the white horse bears little resemblance to the one laid in a lowly manger two millennia ago. But it is he. It was necessary that he should suffer before he entered his glory (Luke 24:26). And he has entered it. He now waits for his Father’s nod to finish what he began. And when he comes again, it will be in power and might. He comes to rule, and not just over men’s hearts, but over all things, bodies as well as souls, the natural world and spiritual world being welded into one, and all things being made subject unto him (1 Corinthians 15:20-28). I am inclined to think that the way we see him here, and the way we see him in chapter one, is the way he truly appears, for when he walked upon the earth, he was cloaked in the humility of mortal flesh. When he comes again, he shall appear in his glory, and his glory is no cloak, but his natural state of being. The little bit of glory he displayed in his transfiguration was his pulling back the veil so we could get a slight glimpse of it even in his human state (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36).
Then there are the names he is called: Faithful and True, Word of God, King of kings and Lord of lords, and one that only he knows. These express the nature of who he is. His robe is dipped in blood – his blood – the blood he shed for us, the blood that was drawn by sinful men. A sword proceeds from his mouth, and the birds of the air feast upon the flesh of men. “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19). And so the divine payday arrives. The martyrs are vindicated. The rewards are handed out; each goes to his assigned place. The fierce Lamb comes to judge the world; the gentle Lion comes to rule his people.