And He Comes
I have said in various places that Revelation has a habit of moving back and forth—often depicting an event and then providing an interlude explaining the event. Well, no longer. Revelation now rushes to the end to crush the forces aligned against God, His Christ, and His Church.
Whereas in 4:1 John saw a door standing open in heaven, now heaven itself is opened for the coming of one on a white horse called, “Faithful and True,” who judges and makes war in righteousness. The description echoes chapter one where it is prophesied that “he is coming with the clouds” and that “all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him” (1:7). Likewise, his eyes are like “a flame of fire” (1:14). He is, of course, our Lord come to conquer and vindicate his name and his people once and for all. Besides “Faithful and True,” he bears the names of “Word of God,” “King of kings and Lords of lords,” and another he shares only with the Father and Holy Spirit. As the Almighty conquering King, he leads his army arrayed in white linen. But we soon discover that their appearance is only to witness their Lord’s victory, for it is only his robe which is “dipped in blood.” Some believe that it is his own from the cross, but I am inclined to agree with those who see it as the blood of the wicked he comes to slay. He does so with the sword of his mouth by which we understand his word of judgment—the same powerful word which created the world. And with that word, he strikes down the nations once for all, rules them with a rod of iron, and “treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.” For those who think this description beneath the dignity of our Lord, I quote Robert Mounce, “Any view of God which eliminates judgment and his hatred of sin in the interest of an emasculated doctrine of sentimental affection finds no support in the strong and virile realism of the Apocalypse” (NICNT, 347). If this language sounds sexist among today’s effeminate, then all the better.
What we should find amazing is that men rise to make war against their Creator. Even after so many warnings clearly depicted throughout this Book, men and women refuse to repent. Man bereft of God clings to his sin and rebels against his Maker even to his eternal ruin. It is pathological, is it not? But men hardened of heart and enslaved to sin are little above irrational beasts (Psalm 49:12-20). God is patient and kind, but one day His patience shall run dry. But for those who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, the King and the Kingdom will be made sight and their vindication finally come.