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Revelation series
Part 17
The Rider On The White Horse

In chapters 17- 18 John has foreseen two Babylons—a spiritual Babylon, symbolized by the Great Harlot,
and a literal physical Babylon that would become the headquarters of Antichrist and his evil political system. Both will be destroyed. The destruction of the literal last days city of Babylon will be accompanied by the financial devastation of the entire world, and will spell the end of AntiChrist’s economy.

With the beginning of Chapter 19, the Apostle is once again taken up into heaven to hear a crowd shouting:

Revelation 19:1-2 “1After this, I heard what sounded like a vast crowd in heaven shouting, “Praise the Lord! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God. 2His judgments are true and just. He has punished the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality. He has avenged the murder of his servants.”

This incredible hallelujah chorus stands in sharp contrast to the wailing and weeping of the world over the fall of Babylon in Chapter 18.

The four “Alleluias,” or “Praise the Lords” proclaim the triumph of heaven, the judgment of the false and final super-church, and of the whole Babylonian system, including the dreaded mark of the beast.

The Lord has finally taken vengeance on those that persecuted and murdered His people.

Remember their souls under the altar?

The 24 elders and four living creatures are now heard for the last time, giving a mighty shout of praise:

Revelation 19:3-5 “3 And again their voices rang out, ‘Praise the Lord! The smoke from that city ascends forever and ever!’ 4Then the twenty-four elders and the four living beings fell down and worshipped God, who was sitting on the throne. They cried out, ‘Amen! Praise the Lord!’ 5 And from the throne came a voice that said, ‘Praise our God, all His servants, all who fear Him, from the least to the greatest.’”

And then the voice of a great multitude, all of the redeemed of all the ages, sound out the final “alleluia.”

Revelation 19:6-7 “6Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder: ‘Praise the Lord! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. 7Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to Him…’”

Following the fourth “Alleluia” comes the presentation of the Lamb’s wife—the ransomed, glorified Bride of Christ in all of her spotless purity.

This is the first of two suppers in this climactic chapter. It is the wedding feast of the LAMB and His BRIDE.

“…for the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and His bride has prepared herself.” (vs. 7b).

Some have called this grand event the Marriage of the Bride, but it is here called the Marriage of the Lamb, because the bride is the Lamb—Jesus Christ’s—chief joy.

When all of the redeemed are around Him in heaven, then He will fully enjoy the fulfillment of why He died!

John notes the bride is dressed in white:

Revelation 19:8 “She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear. For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.”

The “good deeds” of which John is speaking are the works done by God’s saints in obedience to Him.

It is the deeds that are rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ, spoken of by Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15:

”10Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.” “12Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.”

So the “good deeds” for which these saints in Revelation have received the reward of “pure white linen” are works done in obedience to Jesus Christ.

While good deeds do not merit our salvation, they attest to the authenticity of our salvation and are rewarded.

After the bridal banquet, the triumphant saints go forth to participate in the glorious appearing and the establishment of our Lord’s long awaited Kingdom.

Who is among these saints? They are identified in Hebrews 12:23…

“You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect.”

These are the redeemed of this age, rewarded and glorified, now ready to be exalted with Christ in heavenly splendor.

Guests at the Marriage Feast will include John the Baptist, “friend of the bridegroom” (John 3:29), the Old Testament saints, the redeemed church, and the Tribulation martyrs.

The Marriage Feast will be a joyous celebration to honor the Lamb and the Lamb’s wife before all of heaven.

John is overcome with the scene. The Angel speaks to him again and says:

Revelation 19:9-10 ‘“9 …Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb…’ And he added, ‘…These are true words that come from God.’ 10Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said, ‘No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers and sisters who testify about their faith in Jesus. Worship only God. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.’”

Any time we testify of Jesus Christ, we are prophesying!

Now, let me pause here and speak to the issue of the Rapture and Second Coming of Christ. There are two views held by good people on both sides:

One, that the church will be raptured or “caught up” off the earth just before the 7 year Tribulation begins.

This is called the “pre-tribulation” Rapture view.

This is easily the most popular of the two views in America, and has certainly been popularized by Christian movies like “Left Behind,” Tim LaHaye’s hugely popular “Left Behind” book series, and the teaching of many popular pastors.

The second view also held by many good people and scholars is that the Second Coming and the Rapture are one and the same event, and that there won’t be two separate appearances of Jesus.

It holds that Jesus will resurrect the saints just prior to His visible return to earth, and the saints will then accompany Him as He returns to stop the Great War of Armageddon and destroy the Antichrist.

Now, the first view–the Pre-Tribulation view–is generally supported by 1 Thes. 4:15-17:

15 “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

Now, objections to this view are that, first, what we have just read is a DESCRIPTION of the catching up of the saints, but there is no TIME given for it to occur.

It does not say, “Just prior to the Great Tribulation, the Lord will descend with a shout…” And so on.

Secondly, those that hold to the pre-tribulation Rapture view insist that it MUST HAPPEN prior to the Great Tribulation because the Bible says in 1 Thes. 4:9,

“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

However, this verse does not specify which “wrath” Paul is speaking of. It could easily be talking about the wrath of the final Great White Throne judgment.

The Post-Tribulation view simply holds that the catching up of the saints happens in conjunction with the return of Christ to the earth.

Some protest this view by saying, “But what about the Marriage Supper of the Lamb we just read about? It happens before the 2nd advent!”

But once again, John’s Revelation doesn’t give a TIME for when the bride appears in heaven, only that she does.

Now, you’re probably wondering, “Well Pastor Jeff, where do you stand on this?”

My answer is, I lean toward the rapture.

I believe in the “come at any moment” appearance of Jesus Christ.

My philosophy is, PLAN like He won’t return in my lifetime, but LIVE like He could return today!

Listen: In one of Jesus’s parables illustrating His departure and eventual return, He tells the servants that He leaves in charge, “Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13).

This is front burner for me! To “occupy” or “do kingdom business” until He returns is what I live for.

When Jesus was about to ascend back into heaven, His disciples asked Him when He would restore the kingdom to Israel. Jesus replied,

“It is not for you to know times or seasons, but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me…” (Acts. 1:6-7)

In other words, “Disciples of mine, focus on kingdom business, not on the exact time of My return.”

Church, I encourage you to do the same!

Always be ready for His return, but let Him find you busy about the Lord’s work when He does!

Now, back to chapter 19.

Next, John witnesses the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ, the likes of which the world has never seen.

In verse 11, heaven opens. From that lofty realm comes the all-conquering Christ.

Revelation 19:11-13 “11Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. 12His eyes were like flames of fire, and on His head were many crowns. A name was written on Him that no one understood except himself. 13He wore a robe dipped in blood and His title was the Word of God.”

We note next that the redeemed of the Lord enter the picture. The Lord Jesus’s blood-bought saints return with Him! Even Enoch of old prophesied of this amazing event:
“Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied saying, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints” (Jude 14).

Notice that the descriptive names John uses for Jesus in verses 11-13 add up to six in connection with His majestic return.

But another name, the Lamb, mentioned earlier in the chapter, makes seven names in all.

They are: the Lamb, Faithful, True, Mysterious Name (no one knows but He Himself), The Word of God, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

John describes the spectacular return of Christ in living technicolor:

Revelation 19:14-16 “14The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed Him on white horses. 15From His mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. 16On His robe at His thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.”

This amazing event is the fulfillment of both Old and New Testament prophecies concerning Messiah’s sudden and majestic return.

It is a literal, personal, visible, physical, and spiritual return of the “same Jesus” who ascended up into heaven in Acts 1:11.

It is the event John described at the beginning in Revelation 1:7 “Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see Him—even those who pierced Him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for Him. Yes! Amen!”

NEXT TIME: Jesus Ends The War of all Wars

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