White supremacists advocating a jihad in the name of Christ didn’t end in the 13th century. Using passages like the one we will read right now and preparing for a literal Armageddon which is not going to take place the modern day crusader is still at large.
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 wages war. 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. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron sceptre.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
King of kings and lord of lords.
(Revelation 19 v 11-16)
The Christian crusades of killing Muslim and Jewish people including women and children were as evil as the fanatical militants are today.
The crusade is the cross and the cross of Christ was enough.
What we have read is as symbolic as the image of the dragon with his 7 heads and the beast coming out of the sea. It is not a proof text to take up the sword against anyone. The symbolism draws from Isaiah 11 and 63 and Psalm 2.
What we know now from Revelation is that Jesus does have weapons and they are his own sacrificial blood and the Word of God.
What we know now from Revelation is that heaven’s door keeps opening and throughout the vision Jesus keeps being revealed. In fact this is the Revelation of Jesus and from Jesus.
It is all about Jesus. Christmas is about Jesus. The New Year is about Jesus. Every day and every moment is about Jesus.
Here He comes. On a horse which is a sign of war and He comes to wage war but not as we know it. It is not the final battle for that has already happened on the cross. This is not a crusade. This is to deal with the dragon and the 2 beasts. This is a ride of declaration and of victory.
Let us unpack this briefly.
- He is Faithful and True. John has already written (1:5) that Jesus is the ‘Faithful Witness’. He represents God the Father to the world and as the witness he knows what it is to suffer. He is the perfect model for martyrdom. No matter how dark or difficult your road you are walking in His steps who has gone before you.
- He has eyes of blazing fire. Not only are they pure but they see into the soul of anything and judges them with purifying fire. “Purify my heart, let me be as gold and precious silver.”
- He has many crowns. The dragon only has 7 and the beast of the sea has only 10 crowns on 7 heads. That may look complete. But Jesus has many crowns. It is hard to count there are so many! What the enemy purposes for evil Jesus turns it for good because He always has more authority over the situation of your life than the dragon.
- He has a name that no one knows. There isn’t anyone in creation that truly knows or can control Him by knowing Him. No matter if you have served Jesus for all of your life there is still more to know. Today you can pursue Him with a first love because you don’t know Him fully.
- His robe is stained with His own blood. The blood is the sign of victory. He has been treading the winepress of God’s wrath. Where? On the cross. There is no battle for He has already battled and won. Your sin has been dealt with. Your judgment has been taken away. The wrath of God has been peacefully met.
- The armies with him are dressed in linen. Again another proof there is no battle for they are not dressed for it. The weapons of our warfare are not the weapons of the world.
- He is the Word of God. Surely John is remembering what he wrote in his gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” (John 1: 1-2) Jesus is not only the reason for the season, He is the reason for life. Jesus is not only the true meaning behind Christmas, He is the true meaning to everything of your life.
- He is above every other name. The Caesars would be called king of kings and lord of lords but He is the real King and the real Lord. Bow before Him now and make Him so.