Monday, March 5, 2018

Revelation 19:11-16 Jesus Like You've Never Seen Before!

KEY TEXT: Revelation 19:11-16 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 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. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. 

KEY THOT: Modern believers who are raised on "gentle Jesus meek and mild" as depicted in their Sunday School colouring books need be warned that the images of Jesus as Warrior-King in Revelation 19:11-21 may be too "graphic and disturbing" for them. Jesus will be returning as the warring King of kings and Lord of lords, riding on a white horse in a robe that is dipped in blood with eyes blazing and a sharp sword coming out of his mouth. This unfamiliar image of Jesus is likely to stir up fear and dread! 

And that is exactly what is needed for us modern Christians to help us grow in holiness--the fear of the Lord. Incidentally, one of the attributes of the seven-fold Spirit resting on Jesus is the "fear of the Lord": "And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord" (Isaiah 11:2-3). If any church claims to be Spirit-filled but does not teach the fear of the Lord, something is quite wrong. In fact, Jesus is said "delight" in this fear of the Lord!

Returning with this Warrior-King Jesus will be the "armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure... following him on white horses" (v.14). Even the saints that return with Jesus are no longer meek and mild but will come as conquering armies to destroy the enemies of God. In fact, God has made believers "more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Romans 8:37). And He has also given us the spiritual authority to get the job done: "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you." And Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12 that we "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

Like it or not, we at war! But sadly, many believers have already been neutralized in this spiritual warfare largely through ignorance, indifference or unbelief. The Lord is raising the church up an army to continue this war against the devil that he came to start: "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8). In Acts 10:38, we also read "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him." So, Jesus did not just do good works--he also cast out demons from all who were oppressed by the devil.

I used to think that spiritual warfare, especially deliverance, is a very "messy" ministry. So, I tried very hard to stay clear of it and just focus on the more rational ministry of teaching and preaching the Word without getting into deliverance. I left the deliverance ministry to those extreme wild-eyed "exorcists" do it--and simply refer people who need it to them.

But I've come to realize lately (hopefully not belatedly) that if our Word ministry is not accompanied by the Warfare ministry, our ministry is incomplete. That Revelation 19:15 reveals Jesus with a sharp sword "to strike down the nations" suggests that the Word ministry is for spiritual warfare to destroy the works of the enemy. Any Word ministry that ignores the Warfare component is not doing Jesus' ministry: "And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons" (Mark 3:14-15). So, the Word ministry is preach and cast out demons.

Revelation 19's image of a warring Jesus may be too graphic and disturbing for some of us more sensitive and gentle believers--but it is the Jesus that the non-believing need to hear about and see released among us. And as the Church of Jesus Christ, we cannot avoid the ministry of warfare if we are to do effective evangelism. Evangelism is not just a word ministry--it is also a warfare ministry. And every believer must taught and equipped to do it.

Abba-Father, forgive us for emasculating the Word ministry to rational discourse. For You have given us the Word to engage in warfare that is often not in the realm of rationality but often into the realm of non-rationality. Amen.

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