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From the editor: I Saw Heaven Opened (Rev 19.11)

J Grant

In the midst of a world scarred by sin and increasingly distancing itself from the Scriptures it is good to pause and consider the ultimate triumph of Christ. The rapture (1 Thess 4.13-18), when Christians are taken up to be with the Lord, is followed by the time of tribulation, unique in history. Following that, He will come to assert His rule and authority and to gather those on earth who have placed their trust in Him. What a glorious coming that will be. What do the Scriptures say of this momentous event?

What John saw did not alarm him; "I looked, and, behold, a door was opened" (4.1), and "I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened (15.5), and now "I saw heaven opened". What a revelation he had seen, culminating with the view of the Lord coming to "judge and make war" (v.11), to judge in righteousness all that had scourged the world with sin. The church will have been raptured home to glory (1 Thess 4.15-18) and others who had believed God and had died since would be in the glory.

We note first His Coming (vv.11-16); His appearing. He comes on a white horse, "white" denoting absolute righteousness. He is called "Faithful and True". So will be His judgment, and conquest, as "he doth judge and make war" (v.11). His enemies will fall before Him; no one will be able to stand against Him. He will be seen not to waver, but to act with power such as no man has ever seen.

"His eyes were as a flame of fire" (v.12). The piercing eyes of the Conqueror will see all fall before Him. Nothing will be hidden to Him, nothing will escape His majestic progress. His enemies will fall back, impotent, powerless.

"On his head were many crowns" (v.12). All will bow before Him. Those who raised their fists to Him in derision, those who mocked Him, those who regaled Him with sinful laughter, will lie prostrate before Him to acknowledge His greatness. He reigns and none dare challenge Him.

"He had a name written, that no man knew" (v.12). This name indicates authority, government and power, so mighty that it is known only to Him. He cannot be overthrown.

"He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood" (v.13). The prophet Isaiah writes of these events. The watchmen of the faithful are looking for His coming but, "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?". He who is "mighty to save" (Is 63.1). "His name is called The Word of God", an expression unique to John's writings.

Note His armies (v.14). He brings with Him the mighty host of saints, the saved of all ages who have died and at that time will be in the glory. What a magnificent progress this will be, never before experienced.

Note His armoury (v.15). Those of the mighty host who follow Him will not be required to raise weapons against the enemy. "Out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations." At His word the vast armies arrayed against Him will fall defeated and destroyed. Such a victory has never been known - He treads the winepress of His wrath, and the power of His adversaries comes to naught.

Note His authority (v.16). The written declaration is clear and plain on His vesture and on His thigh for all to see: "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS". All authority, all rule and all government are now acknowledged as being His.

The Call (vv.17-18). This comes from an angel shining greater than the sun. It is the call to gather for the "supper of the great God" (v.17). The call is for the fowls of heaven to gather to eat the flesh of those who followed "the beast and kings of the earth" (v.19). No one will escape, kings and captains, all men bond or free, both small and great.

The Conquest (vv.19-21). Now John sees the climax. The "beast" and the "false prophet", who sought world-wide dominion, are cast into the lake of fire. The Satanic campaign to control creation is doomed. He who died on Calvary's cross will see in all its fullness the triumph of His sacrifice.

The hymn expresses it well:

Thine be the glory, risen,
conquering Son,
endless is the victory Thou o'er
death hast won.

(E Budry)


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