In part two of his five-part series on the events to accompany Christ's return, Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds John the Aposte's vision of the arrival of Jesus in glorified form.
[Message] Now, we’re reaching, as I mentioned last week, the end of our lengthy series on the subject of The Divine Purpose, and this will be the second of the final seven messages that have to do with the consummation of the covenantal program. And, tonight, our topic is “The Second Advent of the Messiah,” and the passages that I have set on the outline for you are Psalm 2, verse 1 through verse 12, Isaiah 63, verse 1 through chapter 64, in verse 12. We could, actually, go on to the end of that chapter and then Revelation chapter 19, verse 11 through verse 16.
As we shall see, we will also make some specific reference to two other places in Isaiah chapter 11 in verse 4, and chapter 49 in verse 2, passages that are alluded to, very definitely, in Revelation 19:11 through 16, which is the primary passage to which we are turning tonight.
Let me begin, as the outline suggests, with a few words by way of introduction. I think that most Bible students, who have studied the Bible at least to some extent, would grant that the most dramatic of all of the events of the Bible is the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is certainly the most prophesied event because not only do we have the many passages of the New Testament that look forward to the coming of our Lord, but we have many, many passages in the Old Testament, which also center upon the Second Advent of the Messiah to the earth.
And so, consequently, this is an event that has been prophesied most widely all through the Scriptures, even the first messianic promise is a promise that centers not simply on the first coming, but the second coming as well. And we have divine support for that through the Apostle Paul because, remember, the first promise of the Bible, the Protoevangelium concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, mentions the fact that the seed of the woman will crush the head of the serpent. Now, the Apostle Paul in Romans 16 in about verse 20, alludes to that particular passage as not yet having had its completion. And, in fact, he says it is going to happen in the future. He uses the term, soon, and expresses it as a desire of his heart. So here we have an event that is surely one of the most prophesied of all of the Bible. I’ve never done this scientifically, maybe someone will prove me wrong, but I suggest at least that it’s probably the most prophesied event and even more prophesied than the first coming of our Lord.
It may be the most neglected of prophecies practically of the major events of the word of God. People talk about the Second Coming but so far as having a practical impact upon the lives of believers today, I think, that you will probably discover, at least, it seems true to me, that the Second Advent does not have a great deal of practical import for most Christians today.
Even its foreshadowing was one of the most memorable events in the New Testament, because it’s clear from the passages in the Gospels, in the Synoptics three passages, that the transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ was a foreshadowing of the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus. And Peter, who was there, in his second epistle makes reference to it. In 2 Peter 1, verse 16 through verse 21, Peter writes.
“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well to take , as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.”
I won’t read on and read the rest of that, although it’s relative to what we’re talking about or related to it but notice, specifically, verse 15 and 16, where he says, “We made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. So it’s clear Peter understood the Transfiguration as a foreshadowing of the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, one can turn to passages such as Matthew chapter 17, one of the accounts, and see that that interpretation is supported by our Lord’s own words there. But, I think, you can see from this that even its foreshadowing of it is the foreshadowing of the Second Advent of the Lord as one of the most memorable events in the New Testament. When we think about the great events of the life of Christ, his birth, his baptism, his temptation, then generally speaking, we want to skip on to his transfiguration and then his agony and maybe we want to pay a little attention to the day on which the Lord Jesus entered into the city, his triumphal entry, then his death, his burial, his resurrection. But most people who center attention on the great events of our Lord’s life include the transfiguration in those events; and properly so because it is a very memorable event.
And yet, although it’s neglected, it’s prominently reflected in the life and worship of the church. If you were to go into almost every professing Christian church today, you will hear in the morning services, at least, I’m speaking from my experience, I grew up in the Presbyterian Church, there was never a day that we did not repeat the Lord’s Prayer. That is, never a Sunday. And in that prayer, we would say “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Now, when that statement is taken out of its context, it might suggest that the church is to be blessed by some outpouring of divine power and blessing. But looked at in the light of the teaching of the word of God, it’s a clear reference to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in his future kingdom. “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
And so Sunday after Sunday, the professing church makes reference to the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus. The Second Advent has been so neglected, however, that the average person in our Christian churches, when they say that, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,” they don’t think of the Second Advent. They think, rather, of the present age. That’s at least been my experience. It was my personal experience. It’s the experiences of my personal friends, who still meet and recite the Lord’s Prayer every Sunday morning.
When we gather around the Lord’s Table, and here in Believers Chapel every Sunday night, in other churches once a month or once a quarter as the case may be, we read passages like 1 Corinthians chapter 11 in verse 26, and there, again, we are told that we do these things until he comes. So, we make reference to the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. But, we must, I think, admit that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, regardless of our views concerning it, even among those who are postmillennialists or amillennialists, the practical force of this is largely lost in the lives of Evangelical Christians today.
I wonder if this is due to its convicting force? If we really believed that the Lord Jesus might come quickly, might come soon, well, surely that would make a difference in all of our lives; even in the lives of us who talk about it all the time. A Second Advent has tremendous convicting force.
Many years ago, I read a well-known Bible teacher’s statement to the effect that the test of orthodoxy is a person’s belief concerning the First Coming of the Lord Jesus. Was the Son of God incarnate? Did he go to the cross? Did he offer an atoning sacrifice? Was he buried? Was he raised from the dead, in bodily form, on the 3rd day? Those great events do have a great deal to do with our orthodoxy. But the text of spirituality it has been said is our views concerning the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus.
Now, the apostles, whether they would have agreed with that precise statement or not, would have agreed with the sense of it, because in 1 John chapter 3 in verse 3, the Apostle John writes concerning the appearance of our Lord, he says, “Every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” So the thought of the Second Coming, the belief in the Second Coming, is a purifying hope. So we don’t apologize for speaking about the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus.
Now, in our study tonight, we are, of course, looking at the special relationship of it to the doctrine of the divine purpose, as reflected in the covenants, and so, that’s the force of what we are trying to say tonight. So we’ll do that, we’ll look at Revelation 19, but we’ll concentrate our attention upon the relation to the great promises of the Old Testament concerning the divine purpose.
So if you have your New Testaments at hand, let’s turn to Revelation chapter 19, and let me read through the passage first. It’s a relatively short passage. Verse 11 through verse 16, the apostle writes, and this one of the seven last things about which he writes in this part of the book.
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. [Wouldn’t you like to know that name? That has puzzled me ever since I’ve read the Book of Revelation. I think I know why I’m puzzled and I think I may never really understand that significant name, but at any rate it certainly piques ones curiosity.] And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called whe word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
Now, the Apostle John in giving us the revelation that God gave to him to pass on, has just concluded an account of the overthrow of the last form of Gentile world power. That’s the content of chapters 16, 17, and 18, that have preceded chapter 19, but particularly chapters 17 and 18, because there, in those two chapters, he talks about the overthrow of Babylon.
Now, he is going to talk about the historical event of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus, but as is customary in the Book of Revelation, the great historical events are couched in symbolic language. Now, John told us that right in the beginning that he was going to signify certain things to us. And he let us know right in the beginning of his book that what he was giving was an unveiling of the Lord Jesus Christ that was given him in symbolic form.
How to interpret the symbols of the Book of Revelation is one of the great challenges of biblical hermeneutics or of the science of interpretation. We should, of course, as we read through, note the reference in the Book of Revelation to the Old Testament Scriptures because they give us some important clues, with reference to the interpretation of them. Probably, the greatest clue to the understanding of the Book of Revelation comes from the Old Testament passages that are gathered together in this book.
In fact, the Book of Revelation has been likened to the Grand Central Depot of Bible prophecy. Now, that doesn’t mean anything to you young people because when you were growing up, everybody was still riding airplanes and people who rode trains only rode them because of the antiquity of such an experience, so that you might at least understand what your grandfathers went through. But back in my day, when I was growing up, the railroad systems of the United States found their way into Grand Central Station in New York City. And so, when you read the Book of Revelation with its many references to the Old Testament but no specific quotation, with an introductory formula in the whole of the book, it has been likened to the Grand Central Station of Biblical prophecy in that all of the little strains of biblical prophetic truth find their culmination in this book. I think that’s largely true, although the idiom itself may not be absolutely appropriate.
But John says here, now, in verse 11, giving us an introduction to the vision of the Messiah that was given him, “I saw heaven opened.” Now, this, then, is a revelation. This is an apocalypse because that’s what apocalypse means an unveiling, a taking off of a cover. So he saw heaven open.
What he saw? Well, of course, he talks about this. If he saw other things, well, he doesn’t tell us that. This is the apocalypse of heaven that the apostle writes about here. And the first thing that he writes about is the white horse and rider. “And behold a white horse.” Now, remember, in interpreting the Book of Revelation, we must remember that we are dealing with symbolic language. Not everything is symbolic, but it’s largely a symbolic book, but never forget that the symbols are designed to represent realities, many of them, historical realties. And so, when we talk about symbols, we’re not talking about things that are not real and that are not historical, we’re talking about the way in which these historical events are given to us. They may be given to us in historical language. They may be given to us in typology. They may be given to us in symbol. And the Book of Revelation is an apocalypse filled with symbols; just like the Book of Daniel.
So when we read here, then, about the white horse, we’re not to take this to be a horse that could be entered in the Kentucky Derby, like Seattle Slew or Men of War or the great horses that we know about. Is John Henry a horse? I think I’ve seen references to this on the sports page recently. But being a baseball/football/boxing man, I don’t read everything on the sports page. But this kind of horse that we are talking about is a symbolic horse.
Now, it’s interesting isn’t it, then I don’t want to do anything more than just throw out this as a point of interest, that the Lord Jesus entered, seated upon an ass at his First Coming. As Zachariah’s prophecy was being fulfilled. In fact, he went out of his way to specifically fulfill it. The ass was recognized to be, and I think properly so, from what I know about donkeys, as a very lowly animal. And so the Lord Jesus entered in his triumphal or un-triumphal entry, some might want to call it, Jerusalem upon an ass at his First Coming.
But now, symbolically, at His Second Coming, he comes in this white horse, suggestive of something quite different from the ass upon which he entered in his First Coming. Now, we won’t have time to turn to this but you could turn to the 45th Psalm, and there we have, again, the picture that is just like the picture here; a picture of a different kind of arrival. It is stated in verse 11, that the one who sat upon him was called “Faithful and True.” I wonder if you thought about this in the light of the Book of Revelation, and the way in which John has been developing this book? Well, he’s just talked about the anti-Christ. In fact, he’s talked about the beasts. He’s made a great deal of stress upon them. But now, he talks about an individual who is called “Faithful and True.” In fact, in the original text here, at this point, when he makes this description of him in Revelation chapter 19 in verse 11, I’m just talking while I find this passage, of course, in verse 11, he says, “Faithful and Alethinos which is a Greek word that means “genuine” as over against “Aletheos” which means “True” in the sense of that which is opposed to falsehood. This is “True” as opposed to that which is not genuine.
So He is called “Faithful and True” as being the true Messiah. We’ve just heard a whole lot about the false messiah, the beast, and what he shall do in the last days. But the one who sits upon the horse has this particular description, “Faithful and True,” contrary to the anti-Christ.
What does he do when he arrives? We read, “And in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” This text, it seems to me, is the death knell to pacifism. I respect very much the people who honestly believe the Bible teaches pacifism. I don’t think the Bible does. I don’t think the Bible teaches we should go out and make war all the time, either. But there is a time when war is justified. I do think, under certain circumstances, there are such things as a just conflict. But, at least, here we read, that the one who sits upon the horse in righteousness judges and makes war. And if you read the rest of this chapter, you will see that he truly does make war.
Then John launches into the description of the Messiah in verse 12 through verse 15. We’ll just make a few comments because it’s not really all that important for the emphasis that I want to lay on the use of the Old Testament here.
He speaks, first, about his eyes. He says, “His eyes were as a flame of fire.” Now, I think, that is designed to express to us the penetrating judgment of the Messiah. All of error and untruth will be seen to be such in the personal presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And you can see, in a few cases, in our Lord’s earthly ministry, where some foreshadowings of this took place. When he was, for example, in the temple in Jerusalem, and the moneychangers were there. And he took a scourge of small cords and drove out the moneychangers. One man against a number of moneychangers, how could that be possible, were it not for the fact that there was something about the countenance and the words and the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ that was supernatural.
If you have any doubt about that, when the soldiers came to take our Lord captive, you’ll remember, they asked him was he the Messiah, and the Lord Jesus said, “I am,” they went back and fell to the ground. It was as if the Lord, in a sense, had just pulled the curtain a little bit and they were given some insight into the personal holiness and glory of the second person of the Trinity. And even that was sufficient to throw them upon the ground. Penetrating judgment, “His eyes were as a flame of fire;” that has great practical application for us, too. We don’t ever get away with anything before a Holy God. All of our little un-holinesses appear before the Lord God as just that. We never are able to hide anything from him. Of course, we learned that from his omniscience, his omnipresence, and his omnipotence as well as, perhaps, other of his attributes, as well, certainly his holiness.
It is stated also that on his head were many “diadems.” That’s a striking expression because the word that is used is the word that is used of the diadems that were on the beast and the false prophet, particularly the beast in chapter 12 in verse 3, and in chapter 13 in verse 1. Those were crowns that were won by conquest. And on the head of the Lord Jesus are all of the crowns that have to do with rule over this universe for which he is responsible. Diadems. That’s the particular word for a crown that means that, diadema.
Then, we read of his personal name in verse 12, “And He had a name written, which no man knew but He himself.” I suggest to you since there are two other names that are given in this context, that this is supposed to be something separate. This is something that only our Lord knew. If you were to say, well, I think, it was the word of God, that’s what it says right here, well, then it wouldn’t be a name that no man knew but he himself. It is suggestive, since the name in ancient parlance was reflective of the true meaning of an individual. Read the Old Testament, you read about the name of the Lord God, and so on. This is designed to express the hidden depths of the nature of the second person of the Trinity. No one knows that for the simple reason that we are finite, and he is infinite.
We have suggestions of something like this is passages like Matthew chapter 11 in verse 27, where we read, “All things are delivered unto Me of My Father. No man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” There is a breath of knowledge between the persons of the Trinity to which we humans, we creatures, are forever excluded. We shall never know God fully. Please remember that. Never. After we’ve been in heaven for fifty million years, we will still know him as the infinite God and we as finite worshippers. So he has a name written that no man knew but he himself.
His garment is next spoken of. “And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood.” In a moment, we’ll talk about this. I want you to notice that carefully because that’s an expression that goes right back to Isaiah chapter 63 in verse 1 through verse 6, particularly. And in verse 15, here, it’s alluded to again, where we read, “And He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” So his garment, his garment is a vesture dipped in blood, and probably is a reference, symbolically, to the victory that he has won; not only on Calvary’s Cross, through his blood, but also the victory that he will win in the future over the enemies of the Lord upon the earth.
Another name is referred to in verse 13. “And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The word of God.” Now, this is a name that is very significant, because it’s found in the Gospel of John in chapter 1, remember. It’s also found in the 1 Epistle of John in chapter 1. And here it appears in the Book of Revelation. It’s one of those links between the Johannine writings.
Now, some of you probably know that a great deal of debate has taken place over the authorship of the Gospel of John, as over against the authorship of the Book of Revelation; some denying that the apostle wrote the Gospel, but that he probably wrote the Book of Revelation, because it has some strange grammatical constructions in it and then others, taking the reverse position. But there are some links between them and this is one of the links. It doesn’t prove the Johannine authorship of these particular documents, but it is one of the things that is common to them. What is meant here is probably a name that is particularly appropriate for the one who is to overcome the seventh great world empire in His Second Advent. I’ll just allude to the preceding context of the book there.
And then, we read of his companions in verse 14, “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”
Commentators and students of Revelation 19, debate whether the armies that followed him are simply angelic, or whether they include Old Testament and New Testament saints as well. Without a great deal of support, I lean to the latter interpretation. But, fortunately, it doesn’t have serious effect on the way in which you take this passage. That happens to be my interpretation. I think that the angelic beings are there, and also, the redeemed as well.
And in verse 15, we read, “And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”
Now, what I would like to do now is to take this 15th verse and analyze it and try to show you what we may derive from it, with reference to the completion of the covenantal program that we have been talking about.
Now, you know that if you’re going to study the Bible, you have to read the Bible carefully. If you think that you can understand the Bible by just cursorily reading through its pages, well then you will have a cursory superficial knowledge of the Bible. Unfortunately, that’s true. But if you treat the Bible as the word of God, and you study it minutely and carefully, and ask God to throw light upon what you are studying, you’ll discover that there are many, many things in the word of God that have great significance.
Now, for example, we’ll just look at this 15th verse, for a moment. We read, “Out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword.” Does that particular statement ring any bells in your biblical mind? If you have a biblical mind? Does that ring any bells, at all? “Out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword.” Well, if it doesn’t ring any bells and for those of you in whose minds it does ring a bell I’m going to ask you to turn over to Isaiah chapter 42, and we’ll read verse 1 and verse 2.
Now, you know, from the many times that I’ve referred to the suffering servant of Jehovah songs, that this is one of them. Isaiah 42, Isaiah 49, Isaiah 50, Isaiah 52, 53, and even perhaps 61 and 62, although that’s not generally recognized as one of the suffering servant’s songs.
Listen to this great passage, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth.” Well, you know that’s a reference to the suffering servant of Jehovah and, ultimately, to the Lord Jesus. This is part of the statement that God spoke from heaven at his baptism. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” “Mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.” Now, we read here, “Out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword.” Now, you can see from reading through this passage and, I’m going to read on down a few verses, beginning with verse 6, that what we are talking about here is the suffering servant of Jehovah, and specifically his ministry with reference to Israel and the Gentiles.
Verse 6, “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.” And then on in various other of the passages, we have a similar kind of reference.
Verse 2 of chapter 49, and here is the second of the servant songs. “
“Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of me. And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me.”
Now, notice also in verse 5, “And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him.” And this next passage has been translated by many Hebrew scholars, “And that Israel may be gathered together to him,” or, “in order that Israel may be gathered to him.” “Yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.” Notice the 6th verse, “And he said, it is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” But, verse 2, particularly, “He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword.”
Now, you can see from this that when this 15th verse of the Book of Revelation is written, and in the symbolism of it and in the statement of this revelation that it is God’s intent, through the Apostle John, to make plain that the Lord Jesus is the suffering servant of Jehovah. He’s the one whose ministry will touch the Gentiles and Israel; and in a covenantal way.
Now, let’s read on. Verse 15, “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword,” Isaiah 49:2, “That with it he should smite the nations.” Now, I’m not going to say anything about that, except generally. We won’t turn to that one. That is from Isaiah chapter 11, verse 4. There is an allusion to that. And if you’ll remember, Isaiah chapter 11 is also a messianic passage. In fact, that’s the passage where the Prophet speaks about the “root out of the stem of Jesse” and how he’s going to have a worldwide ministry. Then, he continues, “And he shall rule them with a rod of iron.” Now, let’s take our Bibles and let’s turn back to Psalm 2. “He shall rule them with a rod of iron.” I know you might think that all of this is not too significant. But let me assure you, it’s very significant. In verse 9 of Psalm 2, now, you remember Psalm 2?
“Why do the heathen rage, the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Mashiyach. [His Messiah] Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” [So the kings of the earth say. And now, we have God’s response to Gorbachev and Reagan and Khomeini, and all of the kings of the earth put together, if they turn against him.] He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, ‘Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.’ [That’s a reference to our Lord’s resurrection and the identification of him as the king referred to, here.] ‘Ask of me, the Father says of the Messiah’ and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”
Now, listen again to Revelation 19:15, “And He shall rule them with a rod of iron.” Again, taken from Psalm 2, the Psalm of the King who is the king to whom the kings of the earth, ultimately, submit themselves.
But, we’re not through yet with Revelation 19:15. We have an allusion to Isaiah chapter 49 in verse 2, suffering servant of Jehovah, to chapter 11 in verse 2, the root out of the stem of Jesse, Psalm 2:9, the king who will ultimately have rule over the whole of the earth and shatter the enemies of God. And now, in the latter part of this verse we read, “And he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”
Let’s turn back to Isaiah chapter 63, and we’ll read a few verses in order to make the connection. The preceding chapter has in verse 12 said, “And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, sought out, a city not forsaken.” And that promise now crystallizes in chapter 63 in verse 1, and following.
In verse 11, we read, “Behold, thy salvation cometh.” Well, here is the coming of the salvation.
“Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness…” That reminds us, doesn’t it, that in righteousness shall he make war. “Mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel.” See, this is a little conversation going on between the prophet and someone else.
“Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine vat?” And the answer comes, “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.” Hmmmm, that is divine viticulture.
Now, I’ve told you about how I grow a few grape vines. Well, this is divine viticulture; and it’s not very pleasant. Verse 4, “For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.”
So here, again, is a passage alluded to in chapter 19 in verse 15, and applied to the Lord Jesus, the one who is sitting upon that horse. “He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” And, if you have any question about who is involved, we read in verse 16, “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
Now, for just a moment or two, I want to go back over and let you see what John has been given. And John didn’t originate this. This is what was given John. He was given this unveiling of the Lord Jesus Christ. And in this text, in Isaiah chapter 63, that’s the conclusion. That, added to the other, means specifically this: That these words of Revelation chapter 19 in verse 15, are words made out of great Messianic passages taken from the Old Testament, allusions to them, clear allusions to them. No question about it! You take any great New Testament, written by the finest of our students of New Testament text or criticism, and with the apparatus at the bottom of the page, they’ll all put down at the bottom that these are the sources, most likely, of the things that have been given here.
So what we have is this: in this one verse, we have reference to Isaiah chapter 49, verse 2, identifying the Lord Jesus as the suffering servant of Jehovah. We have a reference to Isaiah chapter 11 in verse 4, identifying him as the stump from Jesse, who will have worldwide rule. Read Isaiah chapter 11.
We have reference to Psalm 2:9, and the king who is the Son of God. “This day thou art my Son, I today have begotten thee, who shall exercise rule over the nations of the earth.” As a matter of fact, he shall shatter them. He shall rule over them as complete conqueror of them. And then, finally, from Isaiah chapter 63 in verse 2, the same theme, the one who comes is going to come in great judgment, pictured very, very vividly, by his garments that have blood sprinkled all over them, signifying his conquering of the enemies of the Lord God. So he’s the suffering servant of Jehovah. He’s the king. He’s the conqueror. He’s the worldwide ruler. All bound up in this one verse from Revelation chapter 19, in verse 5. Look at those passages, in their context, they refer to the great promise, the great covenantal promises of the Old Testament; and they find their fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let me just read on a few verses from Isaiah 63, to show you how this is true. In Isaiah chapter 63, in verse 7, after this, the one writing now pleads the ancient mercies that have been unfolded in the word of God. And so we read.
“I will mention the loving kindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his loving kindnesses. For he said, ‘Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Savior. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. [See, he’s referring to the way in which the Lord God dealt with Israel in the past.] But they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them. Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, ‘Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? Where is he that put his holy Spirit within him? That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name? That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble? As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name. [Now, notice what the author does. He says:] Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? Are they restrained? Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel [That’s a reference to Jacob.] acknowledge us not: thou, O Lord, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting. O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance. The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary. We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name. [And, now, he expresses this great desire that the Lord come.] Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence.’” And so on.
Well, I think you can see, if you read through the whole of this, I think you can see that what we have here is a marvelous pray in the light of the past mercies and of future mercies and then an appeal, beginning at verse 5, and on through the remainder of the chapter, that the Lord would redeem them and accomplish his purposes for them.
So, to sum it up, I think, you can see from this magnificent account of the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ that the Apostle John reckoned that when the Lord Jesus Christ, and I, when I say the Apostle John, of course, I mean the Revelation that was given to him, he reckoned that the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus was the fulfillment of the suffering servant of Jehovah prophecies. It was the fulfillment of Isaiah chapter 11. It was the fulfillment of Psalm 2, and the fulfillment of Isaiah chapter 63. In other words, the covenantal promises of the Old Testament, find their culmination in the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, we don’t have time to talk further about this but, I think, you can see from this that so far as these passages are concerned, they find their culmination right there.
Some years ago, as you remember, Nikita Khrushchev said, in a press conference that later on he wished to deny a bit, because the words could be taken in a different sense. He said, “We will bury you.” And that made quite an impression upon America. And they thought of it, simply, as a physical burial; that is, the Russians would attack the United States, overcome the United States, and we would all lose our lives. And the Russians would be our undertakers.
Well, later, Khrushchev said that the word that he used, the Russian word “xopohntb” was only to be understood in a figurative sense, and he explained that he felt what he meant by that that their philosophy would survive our philosophy. And, in that sense, he would bury us. Well, one thing we do know, Khrushchev will not be there because he’s xopohntb buried right now.
And so far as the Scripture is concerned, the Scriptures make very plain that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one who at His Second Advent will win the final victory over the enemies of the Lord, the kings of the earth that the Psalmist speaks about will find their overthrow in the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Well, that’s the second of our highlights of the consummation of the covenantal program. Our time is up.
Let’s close with a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for these magnificent indications from the word of God of the faithful carrying out of the covenantal promises. We look forward, therefore, to the restoration of the nation Israel. We look forward to the salvation of the Gentiles. We look forward to those magnificent promises that have to do with the future. In the meantime, however, Lord, we pray that Thou wilt keep us faithful in our testimony to the sovereign grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the sacrifice of Calvary’s Cross. And we pray that as a result of all that Thou hast done for us, we may be moved to be submissive to Thee. We thank Thee for this time of study together.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.