When Jesus walked on the earth almost 2000 years ago, He made a radical promise to His followers. We find that promise recorded in John 14:2-3. “In my Father’s house,” Jesus said, “are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” Christians down through the ages have referred to that glorious return of Jesus Christ to the earth as the second coming of Jesus.
After the death of Jesus on the cross for our sins and glorious resurrection from the dead, Scripture records that Jesus ascended to heaven, to His Father’s house. The scene is recorded in Acts 1:9-11:
“After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was ascending, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.’”
Here again, heavenly messengers give the followers of Jesus a promise of His second coming.“This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Jesus had described His second coming to this earth with these words, in Matthew 24:30-31.
“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
This testimony of Jesus makes it clear that when Jesus returns to this earth a second time, He will not come as He did the first time, as a helpless baby in Bethlehem’s manger. Jesus will return “on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory!
I have always viewed the return of Jesus, our Glorious King, as a very positive event; something to look forward to. What about you? We sing songs like “Lift up the trumpet and loud let it ring, Jesus is coming again. Cheer up ye pilgrims, be joyful and sing, “Jesus is coming again!” We view the second coming of Jesus in power and great glory as a positive event. A time of great joy!
The apostle Paul tells us that another wonderful event is going to take place at the second coming of Jesus. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 we read,
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”
Those who have died, trusting in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, they will be raised to life at the second coming of Jesus! Did you hear that? “The dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.”
What an amazing reunion that will be! How many of you have loved ones and friends who have fallen asleep in Jesus that you will be looking for on that day? What a day of rejoicing that will be! Can you say Amen?!
So, when I think of the second coming of Jesus, it’s a very positive event. We’ll see Jesus face to face. The dead in Christ will be raised. I long for Jesus to return in power and great glory. Don’t you?
The book of Revelation also paints a picture of Jesus returning to the earth as the Glorious King. But it’s not a joyful picture. It shows another side to the story. We are going to study that picture today.
This message is part of a 5-part series entitled Pictures of Jesus in the book of Revelation. We have noted that the book of Revelation is the Revelation of Jesus Christ. It is a revelation by Jesus Christ to His servant John about that which must come to pass. But it is also a revelation about Jesus Christ.
In this series, we are examining five pictures of Jesus in the book of Revelation: Jesus the Christ-child, Jesus the Lamb of God, Jesus the Risen Lord, Jesus the Faithful Witness and now we are going to examine the picture in the book of Revelation of Jesus the Glorious King. And as we study, an artist, Victoria Mandraken, is going to capture the message in a picture!
The passage that we are going to study together today is found toward the end of the book of Revelation, in Revelation 19:11-16. It’s a picture of Jesus, the Glorious King.
Please open your Bible to the last book of the New Testament, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, as we will begin reading with Rev. 19:11. “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.”
Who is this Rider on the white horse? It is none other than Jesus, the Faithful Witness, who stands in the midst of the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3.
John continues to paint the picture in Rev. 19: 12. “His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but He Himself.” Those words remind us of the picture of Jesus, the Risen Lord, in Revelation chapter 1. There in Revelation 1, Jesus, the Risen Lord is described as having eyes like blazing fire.
What is the significance of the many crowns on His head? Isn’t one crown enough? And what is the name written on him that no one knows but He Himself? Perhaps the answer is found in Revelation 19:16. “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of kings and Lord of lords.”
That is the significance of the many crowns. Jesus is not just a king. He is King of kings and Lord of lords! The apostle John continues to paint the picture in Rev. 19:13. “He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.” That reminds us of the picture of Jesus, the Lamb of God, in Revelation chapter 5. It is this same Jesus who now appears on the scene of history as the Glorious King!
Let’s continue to read, in Rev. 19:14. “The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.” Just like their commander, Jesus, the Glorious King, the armies of heaven are also riding on white horses. Are they taking a casual ride? No. This is a picture of an impending battle.
What is the significance of the fine linen clothing, white and clean, that the armies of heaven are wearing? It’s a symbol of righteousness. Earlier in the same chapter 19 of Revelation, we are told that the redeemed are also wearing fine linen, bright and clean.
In Rev. 19:7-8, we read, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. (The bride is a symbol for the redeemed). Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)”
Now, before you come to a false conclusion that we somehow produce that fine linen by our righteous acts, please notice that “fine linen, bright and clean,” was given her to wear. This righteousness is both provided for them by Jesus and also revealed in their lives through righteous acts.
Let’s continue to read in Rev. 19:15. “Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.”
Jesus and the armies of heaven are returning to the earth, and out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. That’s not a very appealing picture, is it? Is this a literal sword coming out of His mouth? I don’t think so. And I’m not sure that Jesus and the armies of heaven are actually riding horses. This is symbolic. This is a picture of the culmination of a spiritual battle; a battle between good and evil. Jesus and the armies of heaven are about to bring the great controversy to an end.
So what is this sharp sword that is coming out of the mouth of Jesus? It is the Word of God; the sword of the Spirit. It is the truth of God. The nations of the earth have mocked His name. They have scorned His mercy and rejected His grace. And now it is the time of judgment. Chapter 6 of the book of Revelation records the response of those who have rejected Christ at the time of His return to earth as the Glorious King of kings and Lord of lords. Rev. 6:14-17:
“The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
“Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?
This is such a different picture from the one that I have always imagined at the second coming of Jesus, where we look up with joy when we see Jesus, our Glorious King returning with power and great glory. I have always imagined myself looking up with joy and crying out, “Lo, this is our God. We have waited for Him and He will save us. This is the Lord, let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”
So what makes the difference? Why do some look up with joy and others run in fear? Why is the glory of our King a cause for joy to some and a consuming fire to others? What makes the difference?
It’s our relationship with Jesus. If we have accepted Jesus as our personal Savior, if we believe in Him as the Lamb of God, if we trust Him as our Risen Lord, if we listen to Him as our Faithful Witness, then we will welcome Him as our Glorious King.
If, on the other hand, we have scorned His grace, and rejected His authority, if we have turned away from His truth, then we will not welcome Him with joy when He returns to this earth with power and great glory. We will run in fear and cry for the rocks to fall on us.
I believe that it won’t be long before Jesus, our Glorious King, returns to this earth with power and great glory. And that means that we have a work to do. There are so many people who still have not heard the truth about Jesus. We want them to be able to welcome Jesus with joy. Isn’t that right?
God has given us the privilege of sharing the good news about Jesus and His love with our world. Some of us may share right here in Orlando, Florida. Others may be called to go to a remote part of the earth. But each of us has the privilege of telling others about Jesus—that He is the Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, and that He is the risen Lord, raised from the dead, soon to return to this earth with power and great glory as our Glorious King.
A little over a year ago, one of our church family left on a daring mission to share the love of Jesus in a remote part of our world. She left family, friends, and comforts that many of us enjoy. Her name is Emmanuela; God with us. And that is her mission. Many of you have been praying for her. But what many of you don’t know is that Emmanuela is here today to share part of her story with us.
Emmanuela, why did you leave the comforts of home to share the love of Jesus in a distant land? How has your experience in the past year affected your thoughts and feelings about the return of Jesus as our Glorious King? God called you to share the love of Jesus in a distant land. What would you say to those of us who have stayed behind?
Jesus, our Glorious King, will soon return again to this earth. Some will welcome Him with joy, and others will run in fear. We need to tell people about the return of Jesus and we need to tell them how they can meet Him with joy.
It’s simple: If you love Jesus now, you will welcome Him with joy when He returns to the earth as our Glorious King. Let me say that again: If you love Jesus now, you will welcome Him with joy when He returns to the earth as our Glorious King.
He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. His name is Jesus, because He will save His people from their sin. But we have to choose whether we will accept His salvation. We have to choose to say, Jesus, Lamb of God, take away my sin. We have to choose to love Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. And if you love Jesus now, you will welcome Him with joy when He returns to the earth as our Glorious King.
Then you will be able to sing again, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come. Let earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare Him room. Let heaven and nature sing!
By Derek Morris, Pastor of the Forest Lake Church in Apopka, FL. Better Sermons © 2005-2009. Click here for usage guidelines.