Jesus King of Kings
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75. Jesus King of Kings
(Revelation 19.11-16)

"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 no one but he knows. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 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 the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and his thigh he has written: 'KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.'" (Revelation 19.11-16)✞

Christ's White Horse

The entrance of King Jesus is one of the most dramatic moments in the Book of Revelation. John of Patmos sees the emergence of the conquering king. In the words of the English Biblical scholar H. B. Swete (1835-1917), "a royal commander followed by a dazzling retinue." Jewish dreams are full of the warrior Messiah, who will lead God's people to victory and destroy his enemies. The Rabbinic picture of the Messiah is described eloquently in "The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan ben Uzziel on the Pentateuch Volume 1," "How beauteous is the King Messiah, who shall rise from the house of Jehudah. (Judah) He hath bound his loins and gone forth to war against those who hate him, kings and princes shall be slain. He will make red the rivers with the blood of the slain. His garments will be dipped in blood." Psalm 2.9 repeats this concept, "You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery." Here, the white horse symbolizes King Jesus as a conqueror king because a Roman general rides into Rome on a white horse in procession to celebrate a great triumph in battle. On a white warhorse, King Jesus contrasts markedly with the Jesus who rides on a donkey and the foal of a donkey through the Golden Gate into Jerusalem. He is equally a king in both cases!

Faithful and True

JusticeJesus Christ, the faithful and true judge, comes to bring justice to the nations. The event's background 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 in part, "For thousands of years, Jews have been evoking the blessing of 'Blessed is the true judge' at funerals in response to death and tragedy. The entire blessing is as follows: 'Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, the True Judge.'" Jesus Christ, in this Revelation passage, is called the "Faithful and True." The word for "faithful" is "pistos," meaning "absolutely to be trusted." The name 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." It also means "genuine." In Jesus Christ, we meet perfection.

True Judge

The passage continues, "with justice he judges and makes war." Again John of Patmos finds his picture in the prophetic words of the Old Testament in Isaiah 11.4a, which describes the chosen king, "but with righteousness, he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth." John knows all about the perversion of justice for no one could expect justice from a pagan tyrant. Even the tribunal of the proconsul 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, his power will be exercised righteously.

King of Kings

Heavenly AngelJesus is called 'King of Kings' and 'Lord of Lords' in a heavenly vision with the armies of heaven riding on white horses. The first king known to have used the title "king of kings" is Tukulti-Ninurta I (BC c1243-c1207) of Assyria. He uses the title quite literally, as the title of a city-state king with other kings in submission to him. With the formation of an empire in the Late Bronze Age, the Assyrian kings install themselves as rulers over the existing structure of rulers (kings) of city-states. The title is adopted in Biblical Hebrew by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, (BC 643-562) in Ezekiel 26.7, "For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: From the north, I am going to bring against Tyre Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots, with horsemen and a great army." In Aramaic portions of Daniel 2.37, Daniel calls Nebuchadnezzar, "Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory." In Judaism, the "King of Kings of Kings" title comes into use as God's name, utilizing the double superlative to raise the title one step above the Babylonian and Persian kings' royal titles. In ancient days, being a king was not an honorary title, but it required brutality to put down one's enemies. Kings kept their position and power by subduing all their opponents.

Rod of Iron

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 harshness of the title. Although Jesus is called the "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS," this verse implies that no name can do him justice. Jesus is higher than any king the human mind can devise. His titles indicate his absolute sovereignty. In the Heavenly vision, most of the world is worshipping the beast and the Antichrist, whom they believe has all power and authority. 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 entrance of the King of Kings signals the end of false powers. Jesus is described not just as the "King of Kings" but as the "Lord of Lords." When a king conquers another kingdom, the defeated king bows to the more powerful and casts his crown symbolically before him. We will eagerly cast our crowns before Jesus when we meet him in Heaven!

The Word of God

Jesus called Son of ManJesus, as the Word of God, rides out of heaven with an army of angels to destroy the godless nations and shatter unrighteous rulers. Together with the armies of heaven, the divine Word of God overcomes the beast and its followers. The Almighty "Word of God" conveys the reality of his name 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 from nations that trample her down to destruction. Wisely, righteously, he shall thrust out sinners from the inheritance. He shall destroy the pride of the sinner as a potter's vessel. With a rod of iron, he shall break in pieces all their substance. He shall destroy the godless nations with the word of his mouth. At his rebuke, nations shall flee before him, and he shall reprove sinners for the thoughts of their hearts."

"Jesus King of Kings"
by Ron Meacock © 2020

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