Summary: The Battle of Armageddon points out the need to follow Jesus and to trust in what He has done for us.
Last year the 1980’s TV series, “The A-Team” was made into a full length motion picture. In both the TV series and the movie, a group of ex-United States Army Special Forces are led by Colonel “Hannibal” Smith who was played in the TV series by George Peppard and in the movie by Liam Neeson. His often repeated phrase, “I love it when a plan comes together” is still ranked in the top 100 Greatest TV Quotes and Catchphrases of all time.
The last part of Revelation 19, which we’ll look at this morning, is the final coming together of God’s plan – one that His people have been waiting for throughout redemptive history. It is the fulfillment of God’s promise in Genesis 3:15 that one day the Messiah would bruise Satan’s head. It is when God’s promise to Abraham to bless all the peoples of the world through his offspring will come to fruition. It is when God’s promise to David that one of his descendents would rule permanently will come to pass. It is when all the Old Testament prophecies, many of which we have looked at, will be finally and completely realized. It is when the words of Jesus, spoken to His disciples on the Mount of Olives, will be fulfilled.
So go ahead and open your Bibles to Revelation 19 and follow along as I start reading in verse 11:
11 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. 12 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. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 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. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
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.” 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.
As I read this passage, I am struck with the great contrast between the first advent of Jesus and His return. In the gospels we are introduced to a Messiah who is subject to humiliation, suffering, and death. But His return will be characterized by triumph, glory, power, and dominion. He came over 2,000 years ago as Savior, but when he returns he will come as Judge.
At his first coming Jesus wore a crown of thorns as He willingly yielded His power. At his second coming, He will be adorned with many crowns as a picture of His complete dominion.
At His first coming, the people mocked Him by placing a sign over his head that charged Him with the crime of claiming to be the “King of the Jews”. When He returns, He will claim His rightful place as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the name written on his robe and thigh.
At His first coming, Jesus suffered the humiliation of dying on a cross. At His Second coming, He will come in glory, riding on a white horse.
At His first coming, He willingly gave up His life to save others. At His second coming, He will slay those who have refused to trust in Him with the breath of His mouth.
But there is another contrast in this passage that I want to focus on this morning – a contrast between the fates of those who have placed their faith in Jesus and those who have not. That contrast is illustrated by three pictures that we’ll examine this morning.