"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. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that only he knows. He dresses in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. Heaven's armies followed him, riding on white horses and dressed in white and clean fine linen. Coming out of his mouth is 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 Almighty God's wrath. On his robe and thigh, he has written: 'KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.'" (Revelation 19.11-16) ✞
The entrance of King Jesus is one of the most dramatic moments in Revelation. John of Patmos sees the conquering king's emergence. H. B. Swete (1835-1917), the English Biblical scholar wrote of this scene, "a royal commander followed by a dazzling retinue." Jewish dreams are full of this warrior Messiah, who will lead God's people to victory and destroy his enemies. "The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan ben Uzziel on the Pentateuch Volume 1" describe the Rabbinic picture of the Messiah, "How beauteous is the King Messiah, who shall rise from the house of Jehudah. (Judah) He has bound his loins and gone to war against those who hate him, kings and princes, and he will slay. He will make the rivers red with the slain's blood. He will dip his garments in blood." Psalm 2.9 repeats this concept, "You will break them with an iron rod, you will dash them to pieces like pottery." Here, the white horse emphasizes King Jesus as a conqueror king like a Roman general riding into Rome on a white horse to celebrate a battle triumph. King Jesus contrasts markedly on a white warhorse, with Jesus riding on a donkey through Jerusalem's Golden Gate. He is equally a king on both occasions! ✞
Jesus Christ, the faithful and true judge, comes to bring justice to the nations. The background to this event lies in future Jewish expectations and has little to do with the meek and lowly in heart Jesus of the Gospels. Rabbi Dovid Zaklikowski, in the "Jewish Blessing on Death," writes, "For thousands of years, Jews have been evoking 'Blessed is the true judge' at funerals in response to death and tragedy. "Faithful and True" is the name for Jesus Christ. The word for "faithful" is "pistos," meaning "trusted absolutely." The Greek for "true" is "alethinos," meaning "the one who brings the truth and who never at any time has any falsehood in anything that he says." "Alethinos" also means "genuine," for we see in Jesus Christ true perfection. John of Patmos also finds this picture in Isaiah 11.4a, which describes the actions of the chosen king. "But with righteousness, he will judge the needy. With justice, he will give decisions for the earth's poor." John knows all about the perversion of justice, for no one can expect justice from a pagan tyrant. Even the proconsul's tribunal in Asia Minor was subject to bribery. Wars were matters of ambition, tyranny, and oppression rather than of justice. But when Jesus Christ, the supreme judge, comes, he will exercise his power righteously. ✞
Jesus is called 'King of Kings' and 'Lord of Lords' with heaven's armies riding on white horses, in a heavenly vision. The first monarch we know of using the title "King of Kings" was Tukulti-Ninurta I (BC c1243-c1207) of Assyria. He used the title literally as the name of a city-state king with other kings in submission. With his empire's formation in the Late Bronze Age, Assyrian kings installed themselves as rulers over the existing city-states. The title was adopted in Biblical Hebrew by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar (BC 643-562) in Ezekiel 26.7, where the prophet says, "For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: From the north, I am going to bring Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, against Tyre with horses and chariots, with horsemen and a great army." In another Aramaic portion of Daniel 2.37, Daniel calls Nebuchadnezzar, "Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion, power, might, and glory." In Judaism, the "King of Kings of Kings" title comes into use as God's name, utilizing the double superlatives to raise it one step above the Babylonian and Persian kings' royal titles. ✞
Being a king was not an honorary title in ancient days, but it required brutality to put down one's enemies. Kings kept their position and power by mercilessly subduing their opponents. Although Jesus is called the "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS," this verse implies that no name can do him justice. Jesus is more superior than any king the human mind can devise. His titles indicate his absolute sovereignty. Most of the world worships the beast and the Antichrist, whom they believe has all power and authority in the heavenly vision. Suddenly, Jesus rides out of heaven with an angelic army with his name written on his robes and his thigh, "King of Kings and Lord of Lords." The King of Kings' entrance signals the false powers' end. John of Patmos describes Jesus as the "King of Kings" and the "Lord of Lords." When a king conquered another kingdom, the defeated king bowed to the more powerful and laid his crown symbolically before him. When we meet Jesus in heaven, we will eagerly cast down our crowns and bow before him! ✞
In Revelation, the words "He will rule them with an iron scepter" may be translated as "He will rule them with a rod of iron," reflecting the king's authority and power. ✞
As the Word of God, Jesus rides out of heaven with an angel army to destroy the godless nations and shatter unrighteous rulers. Together with heaven's armies, the divine Word of God overcomes the beast and its followers. The Almighty "Word of God" conveys his name's reality in John 1.1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The Psalms of Solomon 17.23-27 says, "Behold, O Lord, and raise unto them their king, the Son of David, and gird him with all strength that he may shatter unrighteous rulers and that he may purge Jerusalem of nations that trample her down to destruction. Wisely, righteously, he shall thrust out sinners from the inheritance and shall destroy the sinner's pride as a potter's vessel. With a rod of iron, he shall break in pieces all their substance and shall destroy godless nations with the word of his mouth. At his rebuke, nations shall flee before him, and he shall reprove sinners for their hearts' thoughts." ✞
As I write these words, a chorus to a traditional Christian Israeli tune circulates in my mind. Let me share it with you.
"King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Glory Hallelujah.
King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Glory Hallelujah.
Jesus, Prince of Peace, Glory Hallelujah.
Jesus, Prince of Peace, Glory Hallelujah. ✞
Writers "Naomi Batya and Sophie Conty" Publisher/Copyright "1980 Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing." ✞