|The Last Days|
This excerpt from"Then Comes the End" unveils the Conquering Christ during these last days, as revealed in the Scriptures:
We are not alone in the great spiritual battle. In the spirit realm God engaged His angelic armies to wage war against Satan and his demonic legions. God's forces were mightily empowered when Christ conquered sin and death on the cross and ascended triumphantly into heaven.
How did heaven react? First, Satan was bound and cast down (Mat 12:24-29; Rev 12:9-12; 20:1-3). The accuser who used to lie about us directly into the Father's ear (Rev 12:10) was supplanted by the Intercessor and High Priest who speaks on our behalf in the immediate presence of the Father (Heb 6:19-20). Can you imagine the uproar in heaven at the casting out of Satan? The praise, exultation and thanksgiving before God were beyond measure! That victory kicked off these "last days" and continues to distinguish them. Christ is reigning in heaven and is present in His people by the Holy Spirit. The defeated devil is crawling around on earth like a serpent (Rev 12: 9), having lost the power to deceive the nations any more (Rev 20:3) until the end of the age. Glory, hallelujah! Read what John saw in his vision:
I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals." 6Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (Rev 5:4-8 NIV)
Here is symbolic imagery of the ascended Christ. His victory over sin and death qualified Him alone to take the scroll, to open it, and to look inside (verse 4). We are not yet told the meaning of the scroll with its seals, but it appears to be of incalculable significance and bears the aspirations of all the heavenly hosts. John "wept and wept" because no one was worthy to open it. The scroll was crucial to accomplishing God's plan and was intimately related to Christ's sacrifice. The outcome for all of heaven hung in the balance, breathlessly waiting for the Worthy One, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the conquering King, to come and take it from the Father's hand. Even the prayers of the saints, full of praise, adoration, and rejoicing over Christ's finished work, rose like sweet incense to the throne.
This chapter of Revelation is devoted to the response of the heavenly hosts to Jesus, who then was transformed into the appearance of a Lamb who was slain. He mounted the throne and grasped the scroll bearing the seven seals.
At that moment, glorious praise began! The cherubim fell down to worship Him. So did the twenty-four elders; the entire company of the redeemed both in heaven and on earth. The drums rolled and the instruments played while waves of ecstatic praise and songs of worship to the King resounded throughout the halls of heaven in three great doxologies.
And they sang a new song:
"You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."
11Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12In a loud voice they sang:
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!"
13Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!"
14The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped. (Rev 5:9-14 NIV)
This awe inspiring, majestic, upwelling chorus of heavenly adoration was lavished upon the Lamb, for He was proven worthy to take the scroll and to open it. A thunderous seven-fold acclamation was accorded Christ who is worthy "to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!"
In Revelation, the number seven is the number of perfection. Thus He received perfect praise. All the great, positive attributes that exist in heaven and on earth belong to Him. The uplifted voices and music played by unnumbered multitudes reverberated in exquisite harmony; the adoration and praise crescendoed to a climax as the Lamb ascended the throne and took the scroll
That scroll must be extremely exciting overarchingly significant, to provoke such joy and worship. What could possibly occasion the gathering of this immense celestial choir? What would be revealed at the breaking of the first seal, seeing that Christ had won it by His victorious sacrifice?
Our dispensationalist brethren tell us that breaking the first seal reveals the Antichrist! This is the pinnacle of Christ's work? How is this possible? Dispensationalists portray Jesus taking the scroll so He can break the seals and loose Satan incarnate on the world! All of heaven is rejoicing over that? Is that why they are praising Jesus? Because He is worthy to reveal the Antichrist? Unimaginable! Preposterous! If they knew what they were saying, it would be blasphemy! Could John have been weeping because no one was to be found for that? How could the gloom of heaven be so completely transformed into unutterable joy at the taking of the scroll if opening the first seal found the Antichrist riding out to conquer?
Ladies and gentlemen! They have it wrong! This first rider is not the Antichrist, but the victorious, conquering Jesus, astride his white horse, wearing His kingly crown, carrying His bow, and going forth in victory throughout the whole earth! Christ, not Satan or the Antichrist, is the Conqueror!
I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come." 2I looked, and there before me was a white horse. Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. (Rev 6:1-2 NIV)
Can you feel the excitement with me, knowing that Jesus is riding with you, plundering Satan's household, stealing from his stronghold, now that this same Conqueror has bound him by His victory over sin and death? Dispensationalists and others have ignored the context of these verses. Jesus is always first, for in Him everything has the preeminence (Col 1:18). That is why heaven rang! The plan of God is going forth! Jesus is charging into battle, tearing up the domain of the evil one who for so long held the whole world in captivity, cloaked in darkness and deception. Now the Word of Truth reaches out to every nation and multitudes are being saved; a great train of the redeemed who follow their King. The unfolding plan of God depicted by the seals on the scroll began with Christ's victory on the cross, so the vision is planted there, where it grows and blossoms throughout these last days, not in some future age. As the seals are removed from the scroll, we see more of the plan. But if you leave Jesus out of the plan of God, you have nothing. The thought of it is horrifying!
What other evidence confirms that the rider on the white horse is Christ? Let Scripture interpret Scripture. Who is on the white horse in Revelation 19?
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. (Rev 19:11-14 NIV)
His name is the "Word of God." Only one Person has that name, and it is Jesus (John 1:14). By His blood He has conquered and He rides on victoriously. His many victories have gained Him many crowns. The armies of heaven also ride white horses. They represent purity and holiness. They are on the Lord's side. The devil does not own any white horses in the Apocalypse! Also, Jesus wears a crown on His head in Revelation 14:14, where He appears like a "son of man."
Jesus is the conqueror. The same Greek word for "conquer" is used of Jesus in Revelation 3:21, 5:5, and 6:2. The same author also uses it in John 16:33, where Jesus proclaims Himself the conqueror of the world. The theme of a conquering Christ runs all the way through the Book of Revelation, and He wins with great finality in the end.
Jesus carries the bow:
From Judah will come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler. (Zec 10:4 NIV)
Christ, of the tribe of Judah, has become the chief cornerstone (Eph 2:20). He carries the bow, and He is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords; the one who rules over every ruler.
Christ on the white horse is a picture of Jesus in our world today. He is the reigning King, fighting our battles for us, plundering souls from the devil's stronghold, and inspiring us to fight the good fight, run the race, and endure hardship for His name's sake, so that in the end we will receive the prize of eternal life in glory.
Every time Satan, the dragon, the serpent, or the devil is introduced in the Apocalypse, he is very clearly identified. And the rider on the white horse appears with imagery that can only represent Christ. One should be very careful about ascribing to Satan the glorious works of God (Mat 12:22-32).
As Jesus successively breaks each seal of the scroll, a portion of God's plan for these last days is revealed. The seven seals represent the complete plan of God through Christ, including the schemes of the evil one, progressing until He comes to close the age. Christ set the plan in motion on the cross, and is now worthy to charge forth at the head of the procession, bringing many into the fold until the Day when the last trumpet sounds. The first rider is Christ; after Him comes the sinful world and the devil. The first rider brings light and truth into darkness. The pursuing riders try to snuff it out with persecution and tribulation. The four horses picture the ongoing spiritual battle raging between the forces of Christ and the forces of Satan during the last days. They have nothing to do with the so-called "great tribulation," but are presented for our encouragement when we face spiritual battles in our own time.