In Charles Spurgeon’s study on the Second Coming, he makes reference to the opening chapter of Revelation where John, trying to expresses the magnitude of what he had seen, sums up much of the book by the statement: Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (Rev 1:7).
In response to this, Spurgeon states: “I gather from this expression that it will be a literal appearing and an actual sight. If the Second Advent was to be a spiritual manifestation, to be perceived by the minds of men, the phraseology would be, “Every mind shall perceive Him.” But it is not so: we read, “Every eye shall see Him.” Now, the mind can behold the spiritual, but the eye can only see that which is distinctly material and visible”
Throughout Scripture we find references to the physical bodily return of Jesus to this earth.
- Psalm 2;45; 46; 47; 50:1-6; 68;
- Isaiah 11, 24:19-23, 25, 26:20, 21; 63:1-6; 65:5-16;
- Daniel 2:44-45; 7:9-14;
- Joel 3;
- Hab 3;
- Zech 14.
Furthermore, when Jesus was under oath before the Sanhedrin he asserted: Ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. (Matthew 26:64).
Thus scripture makes it clear, Jesus is coming back and every eye will see Him!
In typical fashion, Spurgeon then goes on to labour over these words, so as not to miss some priceless spiritual gem:
This announcement is thought worthy of a note of admiration. Behold indicated that there is something that we are to hold and behold. We now hear the voice crying, “Come and see.” The Holy Spirit never uses superfluous words or redundant notes of exclamation: when He cries, “Behold!” is it because there is reason for deep and lasting attention. Will you turn away when He bids you pause and ponder, linger and look? You who have been beholding vanity, come and behold the fact that Jesus comes. You who have been beholding this and beholding that and thinking of nothing worthy of your thoughts, forget these passing sights and spectacles and for once behold a scene that has no parallel. It is not a monarch in her festivity but the King of kings in His glory. That same Jesus who went up from Olivet into Heaven is coming again to earth in like manner as His disciples saw Him go up into Heaven. Come and behold this great sight. If ever there was a thing in the world worth looking at, it is this. Behold and see if there was ever glory like unto His glory!
Do not carelessly turn aside, for the Lord God demands your attention: He commands you to “Behold!” Will you be blind when God bids you behold? Will you shut your eyes when your Saviour cries, “Behold”? When the finger of inspiration points the way, will your eye fail to follow where it directs you?
This coming is to be zealously proclaimed, for John does not merely calmly say, “He cometh,” but he vigorously cries, “Behold, He cometh.” Just as the herald of a king prefaces his message by a trumpet blast that calls attention, so John cries, “Behold!” It is no ordinary message that he brings, and he would not have us treat his world as a commonplace saying. He throws his heart into the announcement. He proclaims it loudly, he proclaims it solemnly, and he proclaims it with authority: “Behold He cometh.”
No truth should be more frequently proclaimed next to the first coming of the Lord, than His second coming; and you cannot thoroughly set forth all the implications of the first advent if you forget the second. At the Lord’s supper, there is no discerning the Lord’s body unless you discern His first coming; but there is no drinking into His cup to its fullness unless you hear Him say, “Until I come.”
(taken from “The Power of Christ’s Second Coming” © 1996 Lance C. Wubbels)
As we stated in our previous study, there are three distinct reasons given for the second coming:
- To deliver Israel in the midst of her darkest hour
- To judge the ungodly nations of this world that have survived the Great Tribulation
- To re-establish the throne the throne of David
Although we have looked briefly at verses 11-14 in the previous study, to get the flow we will review them again here and add some addition comments:
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.
In chapter 6 we saw another white horse, and another rider. These two riders stand as the antithesis of each other. One is faithful (1 Thes 5:24), the other is made famous for breaking his covenant (Daniel 9:27). One is true (John 1:9), the other is full of deceit (Psalm 10:7). One come in righteousness (Psalm 11:7), the other is the enemy of all that is righteous (2 Thes 2:4). One is just in the war He wages, the other wages war out of vengeful Satanic hatred. One is Christ, the other Anti-Christ.
As we read these words they should have a very special meaning for us, for it is because He is faithful, because He has kept His promises that all the things recorded here are happening. God made a promise to David that one of his descendants would sit on the throne of Israel. Here He now fulfills that promise. But there is more that touches each of us in His title ‘Faithful and true’. For in His darkest hour in Gethsemane, when faced with the overwhelming black and sickening burden of our sin, it was then of all times that Christ showed Himself to be faithful. In John 10 Jesus had said that a good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. It is one thing to say it, but quite another, when actually faced with cruelest of opponents to give your own life to rescue, not the lovely and sweet, not the holy and righteous, for we are told that it is while we were yet sinners that Christ died for us! (Rom 5:8). No, it was while we were afar off (Eph 2:17) that our great Shepherd shed drops of blood as sweat and proved Himself faithful even unto the death of the cross (Phil 2:8), enduring the shame for the glory that was set before Him! (see Hebrews: 12:2). Never has a title been so deserved as ‘Faithful and True’ for our Saviour!
But let us just pause for a moment before we continue, for are not we to be conformed to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29)? Does not scripture say that ‘as He is, so are we in this world’? (1 John 4:17). If He is faithful and true, should we not expect the same qualities to be evident in those whom would call themselves His followers? Should not also the very fact He is coming soon, stir us to be faithful and true? We should first and foremost be faithful to Him, to ‘walk worthy of the Lord’ (Col 1:10). But we should also strive to be faithful in all things. Faithful in our marriages, faithful in our relationships, faithful in our work and faithful in our witness; and in all things we should be true. The Greek word here is alēthinos, meaning that which has not only the name and resemblance, but the real nature, in every respect real, true genuine; opposite to what is fictitious, counterfeit, imaginary, simulated or pretended. As He is, so should we be!
We are also told that in this verse, that when Jesus comes He is coming to make war on His enemies. In Luke 4:10-21 we read of the account when Jesus was at the synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath. As was the custom, the men of the Synagogue would take turns to read from the T’nach (the Hebrew Old Testament). On this particular Sabbath Jesus stood to read, and He was passed the scroll of Isaiah.
“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him” (Luke 4:16-20).
Jesus then declared: “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears”. But why were all eyes on Him? Quite simply because Jesus ‘shut the scroll’ half way through the sentence, He did not complete the reading! The passage in Isaiah comes from Isaiah 61:1-2, and where Jesus put a full stop, Isaiah has a comer, followed by the words ‘and the day of vengeance of our God’!
Jesus had come to heal the brokenhearted, preach deliverance to the captives, the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that were bruised, and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord, but at that time He had not come to proclaim the day of vengeance of God. That comer has lasted almost 2000 years, but we are now ready for the sentence to be completed, and for the day of vengeance of God to come!
12 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.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 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.
There are many scriptures that we could turn to for greater insight (Cf 2 Thes 2:8 / Matt 24:30 / Dan 2:34-35, 44 et al), but one that is particularly instructive is found in Zechariah 14:1-9:
“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.”
Adding this to what we already know, we see that the nations of the earth will be gathered together under the leadership of Antichrist in the Jezreal valley in Northern Israel, also known as the valley of Megiddo – from whence comes the name ‘Armageddon’.
From here Satan will launch an assault on Jerusalem, capturing the city and then setting about perusing the Jews in hiding in Edom – modern day Jordan
We have already seen how Isaiah in chapter 63 (vs 1-4) speaks of Jesus’ coming in wrath as if someone were treading out grapes, with the blood splattering upon His garments. We noted the same idiom used back in chapter 16 where we were also given a strange piece of information:
“And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs”. (Rev 14:18-20)
Clearly the Lord is coming in His wrath, but note the distance that is recorded over which His enemies are slain: ‘1600 Furlongs”.
A Furlong is approximately 600ft. It may be nothing, just a coincidence(?), but it just so happens to be 1600 furlongs from Megiddo to Petra!
It will be right in the heat of battle that Jesus will return to destroy Antichrist and his armies and deliver Israel. Jesus will then travel back victoriously to liberate Jerusalem, this time coming to the Mount of Olives which will then be split in two by a powerful earthquake.
At this time, and probably as a result of the earthquake, we read of an incredible geographical event: A river appears in Jerusalem, and flows out of the city, and on down to the Dead Sea. Ezekiel records:
“Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.
Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ancles. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins.
Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh”. (Ezek 47:1-9)
Thus it would seem that Jerusalem, one of the few major cities without a river, will have a river as a permanent reminder (particularly to Israel) of God’s provision of water from the Rock at Horeb (Exodus 17), which in itself is a model (as Paul tells us in 1 Cor 10) of Christ the Rock who provides the water of life (see John 7:37-39).
Just as the water from the Rock in Horeb brought life, as symbolised by the water flowing from the altar in John 7, so this water that will flow out of Jerusalem will flow on down into the Dead Sea – which because of the very high mineral content currently allows no life – and the Dead Sea will be healed and become teeming with life!
As an aside, it is no secret the Jerusalem is on a faulty line, part of the Great Rift Valley, that runs down from Lebanon, through Israel and then off into Africa, finally ending in Mozambique.
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Of the 95 Greek manuscripts that Revelation was translated from into the English, all had KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS in capitals, just to underline the point!
What is significant about the name being written on Jesus’ thigh? Well, as Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s commentary highlights, “The thigh was touched in taking an oath, as the seat of strength: it symbolizes Christ’s humanity, as, sprung from the loins of David, according to His covenant, and now the glorified “Son of man.” See Genesis 24:2-9; 47:29 / Ezekiel 21:12).
Note also that Antichrist has assumed a role of being the king over 10 kings, now Jesus will wrest even this title from Antichrist, for there can only be one true King of kings!
Note also that this is not a title that Jesus has to earn through conflict, He does not attain to this position, it has always been His! Paul said to Timothy: “I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Tim 6:13-15).
In Romans we read: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God”. (Rom 13:1).
“For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods”. (Psalm 95:3)
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;
This shows how bright this angels shines with the glory of God. The angel can be seen, even though it stands before the sun. “The angel is standing in the light of the sun with the angel himself possibly shining with even greater brilliance.” (Walvoord).
In Revelation 19 there are two suppers. One joyful beyond compare, the other utterly terrifying. The first is the marriage supper of the Lamb, and the Groom’s Father has spared no expense! The other supper is recorded in a number of passages, and is highlighted here. It will be when the slain armies of Antichrist become food for the fowls of the air as they lay defeated and dead on the ground.
In Matthew 24 Jesus said: “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” (Matt 24:27-28)
Some have taken this verse to be referring to the Rapture, suggesting that Jesus is the carcass and the Church are the eagles (loosely basing the idea on Isaiah 40:31 where God promises that those who wait on Him will rise up on wings like eagles). However the verse in Isaiah is not talking about the Rapture or any specific event, but about living lives before God each day). Rather, this verse in Matthew is a summary of the events that will occur immediately following Christ’s destruction of His enemies.
In Matthew 24 Jesus was actually quoting from Job 39:27-30 which says: “Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place. From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off. Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she.”
Ezekiel also records this event:
“And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan. And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezek 39:17-20)
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.
None of Antichrist’s party will escape. Everyone who dares to march against Jesus will be destroyed. There is no distinction made for rank. At the end of this life your position, qualifications, bank balance, social standing, number of friends you have amassed on Facebook(!) – none of that will matter. The only thing that will matter is your relationship with Jesus Christ. Are you for Him or against Him?
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.
John says nothing about a battle. This is an entirely one-sided affair, more of a simple act of judgment than an actual war. “The battle of Armageddon is the laughter of God against the climax of man’s arrogance.” (Barnhouse)
How stupid and arrogant can man be, that he would dare to march defiantly against his Creator? – the One who holds all things together, the One who sustains all things, was before all things. (Col 1:16-17).
Psalm 2 speaks prophetically of this time:
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.” (Psalm 2:1-5)
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.
Finally their pride and arrogance will be brought to an end and they will be cast alive into what we typically refer to as Hell. This is no imaginary place; the lake of fire is real and will be the eternal home of all who reject Christ. It will not be a place of eternal partying but of eternal spiritual anguish and pain. The real horror of Hell is separation from God’s presence, forever. We cannot begin to imagine what that is like. There is not one single human soul who has yet experienced the pain Jesus did on the cross. Even those who have died without accepting Christ have not yet been totally separated from God; for even in Hades (the temporary ‘waiting room’ where the unsaved will await the final judgment) the presence of God can be felt (see Psalm 139:78). Yet Jesus was totally cut off from God on account of our sin, that is why He cried out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46).
God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9); and we know that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God is fair and He is just. He has done everything possible to stop people from going to Hell for eternity, the cost was Jesus’ death on the cross, a price far higher than we have any capacity to imagine. The choice is now up to each individual.
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.
This unpleasant death for Antichrist’s followers will soon be forgotten as the real horror of an eternity separated from God’s presence hits home. Physical death is simply the gateway to eternity. The big question is where you will spend that eternity; but the decision is made during this life only. Once you die the window of opportunity to accept Jesus’ death and separation from God in your place closes.
To be continued…