April 23, 2009
This blog bears the title of a message given recently by Pastor Steve Hickey at Church at the Gate in Sioux Falls, SD. Those who have read my books know that I am diligent to give credit to others’ books and intellectual property. This blog does not specifically repeat the content of Pastor Hickey’s message, but it was inspired by his message (Pastor Hickey’s blog is in my recommended links).
I realize that the readers of my blog include people with diverse religious viewpoints and lifestyles. At this time of year, virtually all have kept either Passover or Easter celebrations. This blog is not about doctrinal matters re: these distinct celebrations, but is rather intended to focus our minds on Jesus Christ/Yashua in a new and timely way. Those believers who recently have observed Passover have observed the sacrificial “death of the Lord” as the Passover Lamb for mankind (Luke 22:15, John 1:29, I Corinthians 5:7). Those who have observed Easter have focused on the Jesus Christ who was newly-resurrected and walked out of his tomb (Matthew 28:1-10, John 20:1-31). One celebration memorializes the crucified Christ and the other proclaims the risen Christ. However, Pastor Hickey’s message focused on the fact that the Jesus Christ who will face mankind in the future is the Jesus Christ who will come on a conquering white war horse (Revelation 19:11-21). Mankind is not comfortable with this imagery of the Jesus Christ who now looms in its future. The “Real Jesus” who is coming is very different than the one mankind has generally considered.
The “dead Christ” hanging on a tree, threatens no one. The “baby Jesus” that many Christians focus on in Christmas observances threatens no one. The gentle “risen Christ” who meekly appeared to his followers after his resurrection threatens no one. These concepts of Jesus do not make people fall to their knees and tremble with awe at his power and authority. The image of the “Conquering Jesus” should evoke that response from all of us for that is the “Jesus” that we will face in the future.
In ancient times, people could comprehend the imagery of a Conquering King who takes possession of and sovereignty over a new nation or land after a war. Ancient conquerors would typically slay the leaders of the defeated nation as an example to his new subjects and the conqueror would appoint his trusted subordinates to fill the governmental positions needed to administer his new domain. In ancient times, such a transition would be made on a battlefield with blood and gore all over the region and with the conquering king and his army splattered in freshly-spilled blood. Obedience and submission would be demanded of the new subjects. Those who submitted…lived. Those who refused…died. Our modern world expects wars to end at diplomatic conferences where maps are redrawn, concessions made and life goes on. Few modern wars end in unconditional surrender as occurred at the end of World War II. When Jesus Christ returns, biblical prophecies indicate he will establish his kingdom over the earth only after he conquers an earth that is unwilling to submit to his rule. Let’s remind ourselves of what the Bible reveals about his return.
Many other blogs have examined the prophesied wars which the nations of mankind will fight at the end of this age. Those wars will reach a point of intensity where if Jesus Christ did not return, there would be “no flesh” left alive (Matthew 24:21-22). Revelation 19:11-21 describes his intervention. John said he saw “heaven opened” and he saw a figure on a white horse who comes to “make war.” The Rider of the white horse has “eyes of fire” and he is called the “Word (Logos) of God.” The word “Logos” is anther title for Jesus Christ (John 1:1-18). Verse 14 states the “armies of heaven” will follow him as they appear out of the ether and deploy in the skies over the earth. It says Jesus’ garment will be “dipped in blood.” This may be literal blood, a symbolism of the blood about to be spilled or both meanings may be true. This Jesus on the white war horse comes to “tread the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” Who will be in his armies? There will be millions of angels arrayed behind him…garbed for war. They will not all look human. Revelation 4:7 shows some will have heads and faces that look like eagles, lions, bulls, etc. [Those who have seen the battle scenes in the Chronicles of Narnia movies based on the books by C.S. Lewis can relate to this fact.] The resurrected saints will also be in that army…as officers in the battle host of heaven. I Thessalonians 3:13 states “all the saints” will accompany their Lord in his army, and they will also be garbed for war. Peter was told to “put up his sword” in Matthew 26:51-52 only because God’s Divine plan required that Christ be sacrificed for mankind’s sins at that time. Jesus told Pilate that “my servants [will] fight” when the time for his Kingdom arrives. Jesus Christ and his heavenly army will be radiant, shimmering Beings of Light.
Revelation 19:19 prophesies that the “beast and the kings of the earth and their armies” will “make war” against this heavenly army. The kings of the earth will not be alone. Revelation 12:4 indicates that the Devil apparently led 1/3rd of all the angels in a previous revolt against the Creator [see my article: “Is the Earth 6,000 Years Old?”], and it is entirely likely that even as Jesus Christ, the resurrected saints and the angels of heaven will be openly manifested to human eyes, Satan and his host of angels will also appear openly…and allied with the kings of the earth. Borrowing from biblical descriptions of Satan as a “serpent” or “dragon” and the imagery of the Lord of the Rings movies based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, Satan’s fallen angelic host may look not unlike an army of millions of Orcs, Uruks, Nazgul, Balrogs and winged serpents.
Jesus Christ on the White Horse will give the order to charge and the entire host of heaven will draw their swords which may all have flaming blades of white-hot fire (Genesis 3:24). They will then charge down upon the earth from on high. Joel 2:1-10 prophesies that no weapon formed against them will have any effect. Those who saw the movie, The Two Towers, the second movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, saw a scene which is an apt depiction of this event. As the forces of the “northern kingdom” of Rohan at Helm’s Deep are about to be overrun, Gandalf appears on a great white war horse at the head of a rescuing army which is positioned high above the battle. He gives the order to charge and the army descends from “on high” with the One on the white war horse bathed in a kind of heavenly light.
The battle at the end of our age will be over swiftly. Nothing can withstand the Creator and the army he will empower. The armies of humans that fight against Jesus Christ will die. The manner of their death is foretold in Zechariah 14:12, and Hollywood depicted this kind of death in the movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark. The birds of the earth will pick the remaining flesh from their bones (Revelation 19:17-18). Satan and his host will be vanquished but they will not die in the battle. Revelation 20:1-3 reveals Satan (or Lucifer as he was once called) will be chained and imprisoned for 1,000 years. His angels will surely be jailed with him.
Jesus Christ, the Conquering King, will touch ground in Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:3-4) that day, and earthquakes will rearrange the earth’s topography (verses 4-5). That day will take on an eerie “feel” in terms of its lighting quality (verses 6-7), and I will not be surprised if very unusual things occur. Luke 19:40 states the very “stones of the earth” can cry out if God wills it. The entire creation will be groaning for the return of the Creator Himself to rule his creation (Romans 8:19-22). Don’t be surprised if the rocks of the earth do “cry out” in welcome and all trees lift up their limbs like arms in worship as the Lord descends. Those still living on the earth may feel a new life force flow up into them from the ground as the Creator restores this planet at his return. Who knows what else may happen that we cannot now imagine.
The Conquering Jesus on the white horse will order that the beast and false prophet be executed (Revelation 19:20). There will be some who would rather die than live under Jesus Christ’s reign. He will give them their wish. Luke 19 is a parable about Jesus Christ giving positions of rulership to his followers when he returns, but most read right over verse 27. In that verse Jesus foretold that he will order that his enemies who don’t want to live under his rule be brought before him and executed in his presence. Isaiah 66 is another prophecy about the Divine intervention that will occur at the end of this age and verse 16 prophesies: “the slain of the Lord will be many.” Jeremiah 25:26-33 also depicts this same event and verse 33 states: “the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented…nor buried.”
Romans 14:11 and Philippians 2:10-11 prophesy that “every knee will bow” to Jesus Christ/Yashua and “every tongue” shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. All who wish to live into the Millennium/Messianic Age will make that confession. Allow me to propose a suggestion that this prophecy is more all-encompassing than you have thought. Angels have knees and tongues and will bow to the Conquering King as will all surviving humans. Consider that many forms of animals and beasts have knee-joints and tongues. It is possible that all the animals with tongues in Eden were able to speak. When a serpent in a tree spoke with Eve, Eve seemed rather nonchalant about this conversation with a beast (Genesis 3:1-6). This implies that such conversations were hardly a surprise to her. Balaam’s donkey was able to see an angel that Balaam could not see and the donkey was given the ability of speech to rebuke that foolish prophet (Numbers 22:21-35). If you live to see the day that Jesus Christ returns, don’t be surprised if you hear all creatures in the animal world kneel in worship and their tongues confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord of All Things. In C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia tales, the animals frequently talked. I think C.S.Lewis may have had similar ideas.
The above is an effort to try and convey a word-picture of the incredible day that Jesus Christ, the Conquering King of Heaven, comes to take dominion of this entire planet and rule it the way it was supposed to be ruled. Wars will end, his laws will go forth from Jerusalem and all will be peaceful and unafraid (Micah 4:1-4) Animal natures will be made peaceful as they were in Eden, and nothing will be allowed to hurt or injure another creature (Isaiah 11:6-9). Zechariah 14:16 prophesies all nations will send annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem “worship the King.”
If you live to see this day occur, be sure to kneel as it unfolds and welcome the King with your words. Those who do will enter the magnificent rule of Jesus Christ who will conquer a rebellious, damaged earth in order to restore to it the peace and joy which once existed in the Garden of Eden. That sounds to me like a King worthy of our unconditional surrender!