We live in a world full of greed and exploitation and man-made suffering—a world where nations are at war with one another. On a more personal level within those nations, we have broken homes as a result of selfishness and adultery. We see continuous and repetitive events of suffering and pain.
It’s not all bad. Thankfully, we do see great good in the world by God’s grace and in His kindness, and we do see justice prevail over evil in certain situations, but it’s always against a backdrop of crime and corruption and suffering in so many places. Will our world ever change? Will justice ever truly be done in every sense on every level—globally, locally, and personally, in every way?
On Sunday November 8th, Ps. Tim Philips assured the congregation at SMACC (St. Mary’s Anglican Cathedral Contemporary) that “Yes!” Justice will come. Ps. Tim preached out of Revelation 19:11-21, as they make their way through the book of Revelation as a church. “Our world will be held to account one day when God decisively deals with all that is evil on every level, once and for all,” he said.
The Likeness of God’s Judge
‘Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True…” (Revelation 19:11)
The first thing we’re told about God’s judge for His world in the last day is that He is known as Faithful and True. Straightaway in this vision, the judge of the world—through whom God will judge all things, is identified as Jesus. We know this because the same title was used to describe Him earlier on in Revelation.
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.” (Revelation 3:14)
The reason why Jesus is the only one through whom God will judge His world is because He alone is worthy to do so, as the Faithful and True one. He is the only one who is truly just in and of Himself. He is the only one who has lived this life but reflected the goodness of God in every way.
Jesus never strayed from the will of God though He was tempted greatly. He never gave in to temptation, dishonored God, or went His own way for His own benefit for a minute. He never failed to love God, and so He never failed to love His neighbor and His fellow men as Himself—even to the point of an unjust and cruel death at the cross.
By that very cross, Jesus defeated the power of Satan, of sin, and of death itself. He brought wickedness to its knees. Jesus alone is qualified to be the judge of our world because He alone has overcome wickedness. Evil has no hold on Him in the way that it does on us who have resigned to it.
“…in righteousness he judges and makes war.” (Revelation 19:11)
Jesus is the one true judge who will never turn a blind eye. He will never be swayed by popular opinion or party interests. He can’t be bribed or bought. He will decide on the basis of what is right. Nothing less, and nothing more. He will judge and make war. He will carry His judgments through. It won’t be just about what He says. He will carry it through as well.
“His eyes are like a flame of fire…” (Revelation 19:12)
This is how Jesus is described to the Church in Thyatira back in Revelation 2.
“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. (Revelation 2:18)
“And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.” (Revelation 2:23)
Eyes with flames of fire represent His awareness of all the facts in every case. Everything is revealed before Jesus before His awesome and penetrating gaze, even to the level of the motivations and inclinations of the human heart—things that a human judge can never see.
Whatever has taken place on every level, Jesus sees it all. And so there is not one case that He will judge on the final day that will end up undecided due to lack of evidence. Jesus alone has all the evidence before Him.
These next two descriptions show how He can never be overruled in His decisions. The justice He brings will not be undone.
“…on his head are many diadems…” (Revelation 19:12)
A diadem is a type of crown. Other than Jesus, only two other characters wear it: Satan in the form of a dragon has seven diadems (Revelation 12:3), and the beast by whom Satan leads the world astray in sin has ten diadems (Revelation 13:1).
The diadem is a symbol of rulership. Here, we see Jesus as the final judge with not seven or ten diadems, but many. His rule is far above that of Satan or his beast. In other words, He and only He will be in charge on the final day; no one else—no other power or authority, human or spiritual.
“…and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.” (Revelation 19:12)
This is not the first time we come across an “unknown name” in the book of Revelation.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.” (Revelation 2:17)
Jesus promises this church that faces so much affliction and the probability of death in His name this security: a new name that no one else knows. It is a sign that they belong to Jesus—that they are secure and that no one can take them from His hand even in death.
The unknown name in revelation is a symbol of belonging—of ownership. What then does it mean for Jesus to have a name known only to Himself? It is effectively saying that Jesus belongs to Himself and no other. He is not owned by anyone. No one can overrule Him. He has a name that is hidden far above any power, and so He will face no competition on the day that He judges.
“He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood…” (Revelation 19:13)
These words are also found in Isaiah, where Isaiah describes God Himself coming as a warrior king to deliver His people from their enemies.
1 Who is this who comes from Edom,
in crimsoned garments from Bozrah,
he who is splendid in his apparel,
marching in the greatness of his strength?
“It is I, speaking in righteousness,
mighty to save.”
2 Why is your apparel red,
and your garments like his who treads in the winepress?
3 “I have trodden the winepress alone,
and from the peoples no one was with me;
I trod them in my anger
and trampled them in my wrath;
their lifeblood[a] spattered on my garments,
and stained all my apparel.
Jesus is the ultimate judge who wears a robe dipped in blood and it is the blood of His enemies. It is the blood of all who will ultimately stand against Him. It’s another symbol showing His unquestionable victory over evil. He wears the blood of His enemies—not the other way around. And so His authority soars high above those who vainly resist Him on that final day.
“…the name by which he is called is The Word of God.” (Revelation 19:13)
When John introduced this book, we see that Jesus and the Word of God are one and the same. Jesus is the living Word of God. He carries the authority of God Himself as the living Word. And so Jesus will be God’s final Word in His final judgment. He’s going to have the final say over everyone’s eternity. Isn’t this the kind of Judge we need for our broken world?
We have a judge who is upright in every way, truly just, righteous in His decisions, cannot be bribed, able to see all the evidence—nothing’s hidden from His sight, triumphant in His judgments, cannot be stopped from bringing justice, belongs to no one but Himself, cannot be overruled, will defeat every evil, and will always have the last word.
And here we have His promise: One day God will right every wrong through His Son. It is an inevitable and promised future day. It is a day that will mean deliverance and victory for those who have not only bowed the knee to Christ in this life and belong to Him, but have also shown their allegiance by suffering for His name when necessary in this fallen and sinful world.
The Actions of God’s Judge
Jesus does not come alone. He brings a company with Him.
“And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.” (Revelation 19:14)
At first, we may think that the armies of heaven must be angels, but then we see how they are described: Arrayed in fine lined, white and pure. We see a group described exactly this way in previous verses:
7 Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure.”
We see the Wedding Supper of the Lamb and that God’s people finally delivered and in the secure presence of Jesus our Lord. We then read that it was granted unto the bride of Christ to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and pure, for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
Those who are riding behind Jesus are not angels of heaven, but the people of God—us, if we are in Christ—showing the truth of our faith for our righteous deeds in the here and now, made possible by His grace. If Jesus is your Lord, know that you will not be facing this judgment that He brings here.
We have been spared this great judgment by His blood that was shed for us. And so those who truly belong to Him will be brought with Him in His train to see this judgment among the nations. We will be standing on the sidelines and watching. But for those who continue to resist Jesus and sin, it will be a day with no safety and no security, because Jesus not only brings a company with Him. He comes to rule.
“From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.” (Revelation 19:15)
As the true King comes home to rule, His enemies will be struck down, and everyone must bow the knee. Jesus has been greatly misrepresented in our world today, but not on that final day. The nations will have to recognize Him as King as He claims His rightful place on His throne.
It will be a day of great comfort for some, and a great tragedy for others. The suffering of God’s church has not ceased since John’s day. But here, God gives His church a promise: Your suffering will be short-lived. Your mighty Savior and King is coming back, and no matter what you endure for His sake in this short life, it will be worth it.
When we suffer for our faith and are tempted to fight back in dishonorable ways, we must remember that this day is coming; that it is the Lord’s revenge. He will repay according to His perfect justice. We are not to join in the hatred of those who are opposed to cross. Instead, we are to trust that He will right every wrong in the end.
The Verdict of God’s Judge
At the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, we see a great banquet and the salvation that we will enjoy with Jesus for all eternity. But now at the final judgment, we see that another great feast takes place. And it could not be more different from the first.
17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”(Revelation 19:17-18)
It is a horrific image representing the inevitable destruction of all who stand against God and oppose His kingdom. As we read on to the end of the chapter, we find that the armies of God’s enemies are gathered for battle, but there is no great war.
19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. 20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.
There is no contest. It emphasizes the simple warning that all who stand against God and His kingdom will perish without a fight. They do not stand a chance, because the verdict is already given.
We need to ask ourselves, “Which supper am I invited to?” The Wedding Supper of the Lamb, rejoicing with Jesus whom we know as our Lord and Savior, or the great supper of God’s judgment? We may think that we are good enough people, but we will not be judged by our standard; we will be judged by the King’s standard.
We need to remember that none of us are innocent before God and have a right to stand in His presence and live. We cannot rely on ourselves or our works. Thankfully, we can rely on someone else: the One who is this Judge and is the only righteous One. Through faith in His blood, we may be at the wedding feast, rather than at the funeral supper of the world.
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:36)
Have you trusted in the blood of Jesus to cover your every sin and so bowed the knee to Him? Have you recognized Him as God’s King and Savior to us? If not, please do. Because this day is coming. If we do not meet Jesus now as our Savior, we will meet Him on that final day, as our judge.
|Share The Good News|