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The Rider on the White Horse

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its rider is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed that no one knows but himself. 13He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God. 14And the armies of heaven, wearing fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15From 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 wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, “King of kings and Lord of lords.”


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11. behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him—identical with Re 6:2. Here as there he comes forth "conquering and to conquer." Compare the ass-colt on which He rode into Jerusalem (Mt 21:1-7). The horse was used for war: and here He is going forth to war with the beast. The ass is for peace. His riding on it into Jerusalem is an earnest of His reign in Jerusalem over the earth, as the Prince of peace, after all hostile powers have been overthrown. When the security of the world power, and the distress of the people of God, have reached the highest point, the Lord Jesus shall appear visibly from heaven to put an end to the whole course of the world, and establish His kingdom of glory. He comes to judge with vengeance the world power, and to bring to the Church redemption, transfiguration, and power over the world. Distinguish between this coming (Mt 24:27, 29, 37, 39; Greek, "parousia") and the end, or final judgment (Mt 25:31; 1Co 15:23). Powerful natural phenomena shall accompany His advent [Auberlen].

12. Identifying Him with the Son of man similarly described, Re 1:14.

many crownsGreek, "diadems": not merely (Greek, "stephanoi") garlands of victory, but royal crowns, as King of kings. Christ's diadem comprises all the diadems of the earth and of heavenly powers too. Contrast the papal tiara composed of three diadems. Compare also the little horn (Antichrist) that overcomes the three horns or kingdoms, Da 7:8, 24 (Quære, the Papacy? or some three kingdoms that succeed the papacy, which itself, as a temporal kingdom, was made up at first of three kingdoms, the exarchate of Ravenna, the kingdom of the Lombards, and the state of Rome, obtained by Pope Zachary and Stephen II from Pepin, the usurper of the French dominion). Also, the seven crowns (diadems) on the seven heads of the dragon (Re 12:3), and ten diadems on the ten heads of the beast. These usurpers claim the diadems which belong to Christ alone.

he had a name written—B and Syriac insert, "He had names written, and a name written," &c., meaning that the names of the dominion which each diadem indicated were written on them severally. But A, Vulgate, Origen, and Cyprian omits the words, as English Version.

name … that no man knew but … himself—(Jud 13:18; 1Co 2:9, 11; 1Jo 3:2). The same is said of the "new name" of believers. In this, as in all other respects, the disciple is made like his Lord. The Lord's own "new name" is to be theirs, and to be "in their foreheads"; whence we may infer that His as yet unknown name also is written on His forehead; as the high priest had "Holiness to the Lord" inscribed on the miter on his brow. John saw it as "written," but knew not its meaning. It is, therefore, a name which in all its glorious significancy can be only understood when the union of His saints with Him, and His and their joint triumph and reign, shall be perfectly manifested at the final consummation.

13. vesture dipped in bloodIsa 63:2 is alluded to here, and in Re 19:15, end. There the blood is not His own, but that of His foes. So here the blood on His "vesture," reminding us of His own blood shed for even the ungodly who trample on it, is a premonition of the shedding of their blood in righteous retribution. He sheds the blood, not of the godly, as the harlot and beast did, but of the blood-stained ungodly, including them both.

The Word of God—who made the world, is He also who under the same character and attributes shall make it anew. His title, Son of God, is applicable in a lower sense, also to His people; but "the Word of God" indicates His incommunicable Godhead, joined to His manhood, which He shall then manifest in glory. "The Bride does not fear the Bridegroom; her love casteth out fear. She welcomes Him; she cannot be happy but at His side. The Lamb [Re 19:9, the aspect of Christ to His people at His coming] is the symbol of Christ in His gentleness. Who would be afraid of a lamb? Even a little child, instead of being scared, desires to caress it. There is nothing to make us afraid of God but sin, and Jesus is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. What a fearful contrast is the aspect which He will wear towards His enemies! Not as the Bridegroom and the Lamb, but as the [avenging] judge and warrior stained in the blood of His enemies."

14. the armies … in heaven—Compare "the horse bridles," Re 14:20. The glorified saints whom God "will bring with" Christ at His advent; compare Re 17:14, "they that are with Him, called, chosen, faithful"; as also "His mighty angels."

white and cleanGreek, "pure." A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, and Cyprian omit "and," which Origen and Andreas retain, as English Version.

15. out of his mouth … sword—(Re 1:16; 2:12, 16). Here in its avenging power, 2Th 2:8, "consume with the Spirit of His mouth" (Isa 11:4, to which there is allusion here); not in its convicting and converting efficacy (Eph 6:17; Heb 4:12, 13, where also the judicial keenness of the sword-like word is included). The Father commits the judgment to the Son.

he shall rule—The HE is emphatic, He and none other, in contrast to the usurpers who have misruled on earth. "Rule," literally, "tend as a shepherd"; but here in a punitive sense. He, who would have shepherded them with pastoral rod and with the golden scepter of His love, shall dash them in pieces, as refractory rebels, with "a rod of iron."

treadeth … wine-press—(Isa 63:3).

of the fierceness and wrath—So Andreas reads. But A, B, Vulgate, Coptic, and Origen read, "of the fierceness (or boiling indignation) of the wrath," omitting "and."

Almighty—The fierceness of Christ's wrath against His foes will be executed with the resources of omnipotence.

16. "His name written on His vesture and on His thigh," was written partly on the vesture, partly on the thigh itself, at the part where in an equestrian figure the robe drops from the thigh. The thigh symbolizes Christ's humanity as having come, after the flesh, from the loins of David, and now appearing as the glorified "Son of man." On the other hand, His incommunicable divine name, "which no man knew," is on His head (Re 19:12), [Menochius].

KING OF KINGS—Compare Re 17:14, in contrast with Re 19:17, the beast being in attempted usurpation a king of kings, the ten kings delivering their kingdom to him.




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