And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God.
And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. Revelation 19:11-21 (KJV)
The term “heaven opened” is used only once in the Revelation. It is, however, used three other times in the New Testament; in Matthew 3:16; John 1:51; and Acts 7:56. In each case, it is a very special and glorious event.
At heaven’s opening, here we see a great army being led by none other than the glorified, risen Jesus Christ. This is not the same horse or rider that is mentioned in 6:2-3. The first rider went out to conquer with the deceit of false peace. This second white horse rider goes out to conquer and to put an end to every evil man and deed.
He is given several names in these verses.
- “Faithful and True”, thus fitting with the final sentence of verse nine (v. 11);
- One name that “no man knew”, but He Himself (v. 12);
- “The Word of God” – identifying Him as the One John earlier spoke of in John 1:1-5, 14 (v. 13).
- “King of kings, and Lord of lords” (v. 16), for truly all kings will bow before Him and, the devil, that is, Satan, the liar will bow before Him as Lord.
The “second coming” of Jesus will be to make war, not peace. War against His enemies who have rejected, neglected, and blasphemed His every attempt for redemption. War against those who considered their way better. War against those who despised His written Word. He will put them down by the Word of His mouth (2 Thes. 2:8).
Let us look now at the description of His appearance (vv. 12-16).
- “Eyes…as a flame of fire”. They are piercing, looking, judging righteous judgment. Surely, He would have been righteous in His judgment even had He chosen to redeem no one;
- “On His head were many crowns” – Could this be the crowns awarded the saints at the ‘judgment seat of Christ’? Awards the saints received only to lay them at the feet of Jesus recognizing Him as the One worthy of the crowns;
- “A name, no man knew”;
- “A vesture [robe] dipped in blood” – This is not His blood, but the blood of those who were trampled beneath His feet. If our sins are not paid for with the blood of Christ, then our own blood will be required to pay the eternal debt.
- “His name the Word of God” – This identifies Him as our Creator (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16) and as the One who gave His life for sinful man.
The “armies of Heaven” would probably include the angels of God as well as the Bride of Christ. Notice the reference back to verse 8, “fine linen, white and clean”. Verse 8 says, “…the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints”. Certainly, then, the ‘army’ includes the saints at least.
He puts down the nations with His Word. We can find reference to verse 15 of Psalm 2:9, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel”. His love, mercy, and grace have been extended over millennials of time. Now His ultimate wrath is poured out. The end of the reign of man has come and Jesus Christ shall reign forever more.
Because of the carnage, vultures are called to the scene. In the Old Testament, it was a sign of divine judgment when corpses of the dead were eaten by the beasts of the field. For example, read about Jezebel’s death in 1 Kings 21:23; 2 Kings 9:30-37. As a contrast to the above, read about the prophet in 1 Kings 13, and pay special attention to verses 23-25.
Needless to say the vultures, at man’s war with the glorified Jesus, have the feast of a lifetime.
The nations of earth could not keep their own “peace accords” and through this, God in His sovereignty calls them to “Armageddon” (16:16) where they fight one another only to suddenly be confronted by the Son of God. Confronted by Him sitting on the ‘white horse’ they unite against Him, recognizing a common enemy, only to be slain and fed to the vultures by the Lamb of God.
The Beast (13:4) and the false prophet (13:11) are cast into “a lake of fire burning with brimstone”. The smoke of their torment ascending day and night forever. The rest are slain by “Him that sat upon the horse”, and the “fowls were filled with their flesh”.
In conclusion, if this is the end of man’s anarchy against God, and his Word what will be your destiny? Will you be in the blessing of His presence on the glorious day of the LORD? Will you be at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and riding with Him when He comes with His saints, and in wrath upon His enemies?
The wrath for our sin has already been bourne by Christ Jesus on the cross. The curse of sin and its debt paid by the blood of Christ.