The Victory of Christ's Return
Over the last few years, it has become obvious that there was a significant spiritual shift that happened in our world. Prior to COVID-19, most churches were preoccupied with entertaining the saints and growing ecclesiastical empires. Then COVID came around and the proliferation of woke ideologies and something happened in churches who were spiritually anemic. Many churches shut down. According to Lifeway Research, more churches are closing each year than opening. The percentage of closures increased significantly during and following COVID. Some people who attended church prior to COVID never returned. And while bars, strip clubs, and Walmarts were allowed to stay open during the pandemic, many churches were forced to close their doors and switch to online gatherings.
Since COVID, many churches have been preoccupied with bowing to contemporary and woke agendas than preaching the gospel. Few stopped and looked at the massive deceptions happening during the pandemic. Even fewer challenged the lies. This past week it seemed that the those lies were exposed at deeper levels. For instance, this past week a leaked set of messages from the former UK Health Secretary and his aid. In the messages they clearly reveal the fear and control our leaders used with the virus:
“We frighten the pants of everyone with the new strain,” Hancock says, to which the adviser responds, “Yep, that’s what will get proper behaviour change.” “When do we deploy the new variant,” the minister then asks the aide (Daily Caller, The Blaze, et al).
The number of signs of we are witnessing pointing to the return of Christ is not only increasing in number, they are gaining momentum. We are unquestionably moving toward a global anti-God and anti-Christian culture being driving by world leaders and fueled by Laodicean Churches. In Canada, a pastor was arrested and remains in Jail for quietly protesting at a library hosting a drag-queen story hour. Calgary Pastor Derek Reimer was arrested at the request of the Mayor of Calgary for charges of mischief and illegal gatherings (The Rebel News). He remains in jail today.
This comes as another Canadian Pastor, Artur Pawlowski remains out on bail for holding church service in his church. “They are doing this to me They are going to come after you… We have become political prisoners in Canada because we dare to challenge their corruption.” (CBN”
Meanwhile, closer to home, an Arizona School Board Member says the district should reject hiring teachers with Christian values. Tamillia Venezuela, while wearing cat ears at a school board meeting. Venezuela said, “My concerns [is] when I got to Arizona Christian University’s Website, [they are] committed to Jesus Christ accomplishing his will and advancements on earth as in Heaven… Part of their values is to transform the culture with truth by promoting the Biblically-informed values that are foundational to Western Civilization, including the centrality of family, traditional sexual morality, and lifelong marriage between one man and one woman… I want to know how bringing teachers from an institution that is ingrained in their values so directly brings impact to three of your board members who are part of the LGBT community...” (Fox News).
A weak eschatology leads to a luke-warm church. The Church has lost sight of the fact that we are living in a world being directed by evil people in leadership who are being directed by a demonically-driven agenda. It is not our job to fix the world. It is our job to preach the gospel in the midst of the darkness and not be ashamed of our Lord or afraid of those who practice this evil. It is important that we remember that our hope is not in a better world or in fixing the world, our hope is found in the imminent return of Jesus Christ and our desire is that the gospel is preached so that all who hear will come to a saving faith in Him.
1 Why do the nations rage And the peoples meditate on a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against Yahweh and against His Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!”
So with that, we are looking at the remaining part of Revelation 19 tonight and we’re going to read through the three visions John has in the victorious return of Christ with His Church in Revelation 19:11-21. It is a glorious vision that marks the end of this corrupt and evil world. It is a victorious conclusion to the Antichrist and the Beast’s reign, along with all who follow them. Jesus is coming and when he comes we will see the culmination of all of human history. He is not only coming to defeat the world system, we see tonight that he comes with perfect justice that is engaged in the Battle of Armageddon.
We read a little already about Armageddon in Revelation 16:16-17 “And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon. 17 Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the sanctuary from the throne, saying, “It is done.”
Babylon has been destroyed, its religious, economic, and political systems left burning while the kings and merchants of the earth stand off in a distance weeping over the loss. Now John brings us in closer now to show us what will happening when Jesus returns.
The Coming of the Rider (vv. 11-16)
The Coming of the Rider (vv. 11-16)
11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sits on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; having a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself, 13 and being clothed with a garment dipped in blood, His name is also called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may STRIKE DOWN THE NATIONS, and He will RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON; and HE TREADS THE WINE PRESS OF THE WRATH OF THE RAGE OF GOD, the Almighty. 16 And He has on His garment and on His thigh a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
The first thing John sees is Heaven open up as the Lord appears. It is going to mark the end of this age when he arrives on earth. It is going to be an actual historical event. History does not end quietly, it does not end with nuclear war, it does not culminate with some environmental collapse, nor does it arrive quietly with merging of the Kingdom of God with the world as some theologians attempt to contrive. The Kingdom of Heaven arrives with violence for a decisive conclusion to the reign of Satan over this world.
1 Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, That the mountains might quake at Your presence— 2 As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil— To make Your name known to Your adversaries, That the nations may tremble at Your presence! 3 When You did awesome things for which we did not hope, You came down; the mountains quaked at Your presence.
Coming out Heaven is Jesus on a white horse. The word “white” here isn’t a flat white, but it means a dazzling, brilliant, glowing white. This isn’t some western fantasy, this is his victory. He is the conqueror, triumphant, and victorious King. The very point of our entire study of Revelation has reach its pinnacle. Jesus Christ is coming back with the Church Triumphant, and the armies of heaven to establish his eternal earthly kingdom.
6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
27 “For just as the lightning comes from the east and appears even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
30 “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.
7 BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and EVERY EYE WILL SEE HIM, EVEN THOSE WHO PIERCED HIM; and all the tribes of the earth will MOURN OVER HIM. Yes, amen.
Take a moment and clearly understand that this is a very different event than that described in John 14:3, 1 Corinthians 15:51-53, and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. That’s the Rapture of the Church taken up to heaven, here there is a clear description of his return with the church. There is no way you can interpret these events as being the same.
John describes the rider as Faithful and True. First Jesus kept his word and secondly he stands in contrast to the deception and darkness of this world system. Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Jesus is fully righteous and there is not any deception in him.
Secondly, we see that he is returning for two initial purposes: first to judge and also to make war. Of all the thousands of wars wages on earth, none were just. They were all the result of man’s corruption. Heaven is at war also; it is at war with sin.
“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.” (Mounce)
Verse 12 tells us that his eyes were aflame with fire, meaning that he is all knowing and there is nothing hidden from him. Also his head are many crowns - diadems. These are the crowns of a king, not a stephanos, the victor’s crown. The plural language shows his unlimited authority.
Verse 12 also says he has, “a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.” Meaning there is an incomprehensibility about him which cannot be understood through human knowledge (MacArthur). He is far beyond what we can imagine in his abilities, his attributes, and his nature. His power is greater than we can grasp.
Verse 13 says His robe is dipped in blood. This gives reference to his continual victory over death and darkness. This is not his first battle. Some have debated if this is in reference to the cross or the blood of his enemies and I believe both may be accurate. What you will notice is that there is no mention of any armor. His strength is all that is needed.
The last description of Jesus in his Second Coming is that his name is also called the world of God. John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus is the Living Word of God. This is why the world hates Christianity so much. Recently, Texas Tech suspended their Head Basketball Coach, Mark Adams for quoting the Bible to a student athlete. Everything the world celebrates is in opposition to God’s Word. The third name given to Jesus in his Second Coming is found in verse 16, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Now, with Jesus comes the armies of heaven. Look at Revelation 19:14 “And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.” So who are these armies that John describes. I always say that the Bible interprets the Bible. Revelation 19:8 describes the Church as “clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” So behind Jesus on white horse will be the Church Triumphant. We also know that the Tribulation Saints are described this way as well the Old Testament Saints. Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:31 that he returns with his angles.
Jude 14-15 “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, 15 to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.””
15 And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may STRIKE DOWN THE NATIONS, and He will RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON; and HE TREADS THE WINE PRESS OF THE WRATH OF THE RAGE OF GOD, the Almighty. 16 And He has on His garment and on His thigh a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
The description of Jesus with a sword coming from his mouth is also found in Revelation 1:16 and Revelation 2:12 in Jesus’ address to the Church in Pergamum. Isaiah 11:4 “And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will put the wicked to death.” Also Revelation 2:27 “AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father;” In other words His Authority will be complete and far reaching.
This is such a powerful event that is about to take place. It has been anticipated by God’s people since the very fall of man and an echo of Genesis 3:15. All through the prophets, they have anticipated this Great Day of the Lord
Isaiah 11:1 “1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.”
Isaiah 63:1 “1 Who is this who comes from Edom, With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, This One who is majestic in His clothing, Marching in the greatness of His power? “It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”
Zech 9:9 “9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Make a loud shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is righteous and endowed with salvation, Lowly and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a pack animal.”
Zech 10:6 “I will make the house of Judah mighty, And I will save the house of Joseph, And I will cause them to return, Because I have had compassion on them; And they will be as though I had not rejected them, For I am Yahweh their God, and I will answer them.”
Zech 14:4 “4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.”
When Jesus arrives on earth, the Mount of Olives will be split down the middle from the east to the west. When he returns, it will be in fiery judgement against the sin of the world and those who stand in rebellion of him.
Joel 3:1-2 “For behold, in those days and at that time, When I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will gather all the nations And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; And they have divided up My land.”
The Command of the Angel (vv. 17-18)
The Command of the Angel (vv. 17-18)
17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of strong men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”
The Angel is in a visible and commanding place. He is standing in front of the sun. Maybe he creates some sort of eclipse. We know from our study in Revelation and from other prophets like Joel there will be many signs associated with the sun, moon, and stars.
This angel has a job of calling the birds from around the world to come to feast on the flesh of the dead. It is interesting to note that the greatest migration of birds on the planet happens over Israel at the beginning of winter. All of the birds in Europe go south to Africa and they go through Israel so they don’t have to fly over the entire Mediterranean. It is the largest migration stream on the planet. According to Israeli Scientists, more than 500 million birds pass over Israel (Hebrew Today Magazine)
It is also interesting to note that Israel has seen Birds of Prey gathering and migrating. Israel is now home on one of the world’s largest wild bird sanctuary for Eagles, Vultures, and Buzzards. Ezekiel 39:4
4 “You will fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you as food to every kind of predatory bird and beast of the field.
The Conquest of the Beast and False Prophet
The Conquest of the Beast and False Prophet
19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war with Him who sits on the horse and with His army. 20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who did the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sits on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.
This is the final war of Armageddon. All of the armies of the world are gathered together in the great valley of Megiddo to make war against Jesus and his armies. Except there will be no battle. With a word from his mouth, Jesus casts the Antichrist and the False prophet into the Abyss and everyone are killed with the birds that have gathered to consume their flesh.
Now, we are left with the question of why would these people in these armies make such a foolish choice in following the Antichrist in a maniacal effort to overthrow Christ. William Newell called it the “incurable insanity of sin.” I think its an extension of our ongoing battle with God that until we come to a place of surrender through Jesus our Lord, we are already at war with God. It is no different than Jesus himself coming the first time to this earth and being taken by men to be hung on a cross.
The fate of the Antichrist and the false prophet is to be thrown into the lake of fire, also known as hell. The fate of those who embattled God, both here in the Battle of Armageddon and in ages past will be the final resurrection of the dead and the Great White Throne Judgement of Christ, coming up in Revelation 20.
It is hard for people, even believers to face the reality of the existence of hell. The Bible speaks of hell as a dreadful place for the just punishment of a life of sin (Ryken). Jesus described Hell in Matthew 18:8 as a place of “eternal fire.” Jesus talked about hell as a real place more than he talked about the reality of heaven.
Matthew 10:28 “28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Matthew 25:46 “46 “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
“The Bible clearly and explicitly teaches that hell is a real place to which the wicked/unbelieving are sent after death. We have all sinned against God (Romans 3:23). The just punishment for that sin is death (Romans 6:23). Since all of our sin is ultimately against God (Psalm 51:4), and since God is an infinite and eternal Being, the punishment for sin, death, must also be infinite and eternal. Hell is this infinite and eternal death which we have earned because of our sin.” (Got Questions)
in the weeks to come, we will talk about the establishment of Christ’s kingdom, his judgement over all of the living and dead. As we examine the world around us, it is clear that Satan is rising up a world-wide rebellion against the righteousness of God. We hear of so much evil in this world growing at an alarming rate. Immorality and the celebration of sin is on the rise. Those who hold fast to biblical values are in turn demonized as people of hate. This is truly a time when man is calling evil good and good evil (Isaiah 50:2).
The question you must ask today is where will you find yourself on the great day of Jesus’ triumphant return? Will you be behind him as part of the Church Triumphant - those who have received in faith his forgiveness for your sins - or will you still be in front of him as the armies of the world, embattled with God under the curse of sin facing his judgement and wrath for your rebellion?