Heavenly Forces, Earthly Battle
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon it was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war.
And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
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.
1And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
The glorious appearing of Jesus Christ is easily the most exciting event in all Bible prophecy. Every Christian who knows anything about the Bible looks forward to that blessed day when his Lord will truly be glorified.
His coming in glory will be in marked contrast to His first coming. When He fulfilled the prophecies of a Savior on that occasion, He came humbly to be born in a manger. He allowed Himself to be abused and buffeted by men, even to the point of permitting people to spit upon Him and to be crucified for us.
The next time our Lord will not come in humility but in power and great glory.
Revelation 19:10 (spoken to John)
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Background info: Our Lord ascended into Heaven from the Mount of Olives.
Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.
The angels said, “This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into Heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven” Christ will actually come to the same place, the Mount of Olives.
When His feet strike the Mount His power will be manifested in that the mountain will be divided into two parts. These events taking place in a breathtaking moment of time will highlight the fact that our Lord has come. There are many passages in this Holy Book that could be used to describe the great event of our Lord’s glorious appearing.
Verse 11 introduces this dynamic scene by telling us that John “saw Heaven opened”. This is the second time that John saw the Heavens opened. The first time was in Revelation 4:1 where he was invited up into Heaven and as a representative of the church looked down on the scene of the Tribulation period. In Chapter 19 the Tribulation has been concluded and Christ is returning to the earth, so we find the Heaven opened again.
This time, instead of a man going up, ascending into heaven, Heaven is opened to let the rider on the white horse out, accompanied by His armies. THIS RIDER is to be distinguished from the rider on the white horse in Revelation 6:2 who is the Antichrist.
And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
The “significance of the white horse” is typical of the difference between this coming and a previous coming of Jesus to Jerusalem. While on this earth our Lord fulfilled Zechariah 9:9 entering Jerusalem on a lowly beast of burden.
Zechariah 9:9 (the word of the LORD)
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion: shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Now His “humiliation” is finished and He will come in “glory,” probably using the “white horse” to depict His power and glory.
Lest you think it strange that there are horses in Heaven, I remind you that in 2 Kings 2:11 and 6:13-17 we find references to horses and chariots of fire.
2 Kings 2:11
And it came to pass as they still went on, and talked, that behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
2 Kings 6:13-17
13 And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and bring him. And it was told him, saying, Behold he is in Dothan. Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. 15And when the servant of the man of God was risen early and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, Alas, my master! What shall we do? 16He answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 17And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray Thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
Christ is described as the “faithful and true.” This presents our Lord as a contrast to the unfaithful deceivers of men, the Antichrist and Satan. Our Lord has faithfully fulfilled these prophecies with one prophecy yet to become history: Revelation, the book of Revelation as recorded in God’s Word.
“A day with the Lord is as a thousand years” suggests that a promise of God given a 1,000 years ago, is as though it were given yesterday.
And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
The “armies of Heaven” consist of the the Old Testament Saints, the Church and the Tribulation Saints. The most significant truth, however, is the clothing of “this army.” They are “clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”
Military men are issued fatigue uniforms for battle dress, not only for camouflage, but also because war is so dirty that light colored clothes would be severely soiled. Here, however, the Commander-in-Chief of the Heavenly Forces clothes His army in white, a practice unheard of in the history of warfare.
You know why? The battle is the Lord’s. Not one of us will lift a finger to fight that battle, for the battle will be consummated by the spoken word of our Lord!
Revelation 19:16 (above) tells of His vesture and His name on His thigh. A warrior goes into battle with His sword on his thigh. Christ’s “Sword” will be “His spoken Word.” The “Word” that called the world into being will call the leaders of men and the armies of all nations into action.
Instead of a sword on His thigh is His name: “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” Christ Jesus, the living Lord, will be established in that day, for what He is in reality is KING above all kings, LORD above all lords.
Revelation 19:17, 18
17And 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 together for the supper of the great God; 18That ye may eat the flesh of kings, 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.
Behind the summons to the birds flying in the air is an absolute confidence about the outcome of the forthcoming battle. While the armies are still assembled and all of their power is intact the call to prepare to enjoy the spoils is made.
We see man in his pent-up wrath and antagonism against God. In one moment man stands in his physical might, filled with hate and bitterness, attacking the very headquarters of the Christ. The next moment his flesh is food for the ravenous birds of the Heavens. What a picture of the futility of man is, pitting his will against Jesus Christ.
Make no mistake about it; God is in control. Evil forces may gain the upper hand temporarily, as allowed by God, but victory belongs to the Lord.
19And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. 20And 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 worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21And 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.
After John saw the angel standing in the sun, he turned his attention to the earth and their armies. They were gathered together to make war against Christ and the saints. Immediately we are told in Scripture that the beast and the false prophet are captured. Their days of miraculous signs designed to deceive the people of the earth are over. The two of them are cast alive into the lake of fire burning with fire and brimstone. To such a place of torment the Antichrist and the False Prophet were confined.
Matthew 25:41 (Jesus speaking)
Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into the everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
What a destiny! It behooves all men everywhere to recognize the Lordship of Christ.
All the evils in this world are caused by the devil. No living creature in the known history of the universe has brought more misery to the human race.
35 times in Scripture he is called the “devil” and 52 times he is called “Satan.”
1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
The apostle Paul exhorts us to “put on the whole armor of God.” Take adequate precaution to “stand against the wiles of the devil.”
Revelation 20:1-3 (above) introduces the marvelous reign of Christ on earth. This period of time is the utopia man has yearned for and never found.
An angel will come from Heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. The Devil will be bound by the angel and cast into the bottomless sealed pit for one thousand years. The binding of Satan will restrict him from doing the thing he does best, deceiving people. During these 1,000 years he will be bound, but after this he will be released for a short time, his purpose being to deceive people, after which he too will be cast into the lake of fire.
You might ask the question, “How big a chain will it take to bind this powerful devil?” What does it matter how big or heavy it will be. Is there anything too hard for God?