The “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” Wages War (19:11-21)

Submitted by admin on Mon, 2006-12-04 11:09.

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John next saw heaven opened up and beheld a white horse. Its rider, the glorified Son of God, is called “faithful and true,” indicating absolute trustworthiness and dependability. His judging is righteous, and his warfare is conducted in the cause of right. In possession of penetrating vision like eyes of fire, he is not deceived by outward appearances. His unequaled royal authority is revealed by his having many diadems. This harmonizes with his having been granted all authority in heaven and on earth. (Matthew 28:18) The name which only he knows evidently relates to his unparalleled royal authority to be expressed in his punitive actions against the nations, for the name written on his garment and on his thigh is, “King of kings and Lord of lords.” Apparently calling attention to the fact that he had poured out his blood to redeem humankind, his garment is portrayed as having been “dipped” in (or, according to another manuscript reading, “sprinkled” with) blood. The name “Word of God” evidently calls attention to the fact that he is the one who fully reveals the Father (just as a person makes himself known to others by what he says). The angelic forces he leads are depicted as clothed in clean, white linen and mounted on white horses. (19:11-14, 16)

Indicative of executional authority, a sharp sword issued forth from the mouth of God’s Son. With it, he would strike the nations, and he would shepherd them with an iron rod, executing all who defy his royal authority. He would act in harmony with his Father’s will, treading the “winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.” (19:15)

The angel whom John next saw may have been positioned in such as way as to appear that he was standing in the sun or on the sun. With a loud voice, this angel invited the carrion birds to feast on those who would fall before the King of kings and Lord of lords for choosing to battle against him. (19:17, 18)

John saw the beast (representing the governing power of the world) and the rulers and their armies assembled for the fight. The beast and the false prophet (through whose signs earth’s inhabitants had been deceived so as to accept the mark of the beast and adore its image) were seized alive as functioning entities and tossed into a fiery lake burning with sulfur. This lake is later identified as representing the “second death.” (20:14) As for the defiant rulers and their forces, they fell by the sword of the “King of kings,” and carrion birds were satiated with their flesh. (19:19-21)

Note: In 19:16, a number of later manuscripts read “upon the forehead” instead of “upon the garment.”