Let’s look at the second coming of Jesus Christ as described in Revelation 19, pausing along the way to examine each aspect of his glorious appearing.
His Arrival (19:11)
There are several words in the New Testament used to describe Jesus’ return to our world. One of them is the Greek word parousia, meaning “arrival, presence, or coming.” It is used 24 times in the New Testament, and 17 of those refer to Christ’s future return. Out of those 17, 10 instances are about the rapture, and seven are about the second coming. It can be argued that the parousia occurs in two phases: In the first, Jesus comes for his bride, and in the second, he returns with her. One is imminent and sign-less, while the other is preceded by seven years of tribulation and many signs. Some people confuse the rapture with the second coming, blending the two into one event, when they are separated by at least seven years.
In Revelation 4:1, heaven opened to let John in. But here in Revelation 19:11, heaven opens to let Jesus out. This is the climactic moment of end-times prophecy, the crescendo of all history. It’s the most dramatic moment of all time.
Christ will arrive unannounced, uninvited, unwelcomed, and as promised, “like a thief” (Revelation 16:15). And he will receive the kingdom promised to him by his Father (Revelation 5:1-7).
His Transportation (19:11)
Jesus will ride, or glide, to earth on a white horse – a champion steed. In ancient Rome, following a conquest, generals would ride a white horse of victory through the city. The Lord will do the same upon his arrival in Israel, having traded in a humble donkey for a majestic stallion. He will be mounted upon a war horse and land upon the very soil he spoke into existence thousands of years earlier.
His Judgment (19:11)
Jesus will not come to offer salvation as he did in his first advent. He will not return to teach, perform miracles, heal the sick, feed thousands, attend weddings, hold children in his lap, or tell stories. No, instead he will come to judge and wage war (Revelation 19:11). And it will be a righteous declaration of war. There will be no negotiations. No terms of peace. No cease-fires. No white flags. No opportunity for surrender. And there will be no mercy, either. Rather, Christ’s righteousness will demand that he judges the world swiftly and decisively, just as he did in the days of Noah (Genesis 6:3-6, 13; 7:23).
And there will be no prisoners of war in this battle scenario, as none of his enemies will survive.
His Appearance (19:12-13)
As in John’s vision in Revelation 1:14, the glorified Jesus has eyes that “are a flame of fire” (19:12). They are penetrating, piercing, and all-seeing (Hebrews 4:13). The eyes that once wept over Jerusalem and shed tears of sorrow at Lazarus’ grave will be ablaze with burning wrath.
His head is crowned with many crowns (19:12). This may signify that he has collected all the crowns of the kings of Earth, demonstrating his sovereignty over all of them (Isaiah 40:15-25). When David defeated the Ammonites in 2 Samuel 12:30, the king’s crown was taken and placed upon David’s head.
That Christ would have many crowns is part of what was previewed in Revelation 11:15: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” Jesus will have rightfully transitioned from a crown of thorns (symbolic of bearing sin) to crowns of glory (symbolic of dominance and sovereignty).
His Garment (19:13)
Jesus will wear “a robe dipped in blood.” Some see this as a reminder of his blood shed on the cross. But it is more likely the blood of his enemies. Isaiah 63:1-6 declares:
Who is this who comes from Edom, with garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, this One who is majestic in His apparel, marching in the greatness of His strength?
It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press? “I have trodden the wine trough alone, and from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger and trampled them in My wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, and I stained all My raiment.
So the blood on Christ’s robe as he arrives at Armageddon could be from the slaughter of Antichrist’s army, which had earlier raced to Bozrah in order to destroy the Jewish remnant hiding there (Matthew 24:16-28).
His Armies (19:14)
When Christ returns, he will be followed by “the armies which are in heaven” (Revelation 19:14). According to Scripture, this righteous regiment will include these four groups:
† The bride, the church (19:7-8, 14). She is clothed in fine linen, bright and clean. That includes you!
† Those who come to faith and are martyred during the tribulation (7:9, 13-14; 17:14). Also clothed in white robes, they are “called and chosen and faithful” (17:14).
† The Old Testament saints. Those who put their faith in God prior to the cross (Daniel 12:1-2; l Thessalonians 3:13; Jude 14).
† All the angels (Matthew 25:31). It’s as if heaven empties itself of the angelic host for this epic event. Imagine the sky filled with millions of horses and riders, like many squadrons of fighter aircraft. Wherever one gazes upward, the armies of heaven will be seen.
All those who join Christ at his return are described as “holy ones” (Zechariah 14:5), and all are said to be “following Him on white horses” (Revelation 19:14).
His Weapon (19:15, 21)
Of all those who descend from heaven, Jesus alone possesses a weapon in this war, and only one. It is the “sharp sword” that proceeds from his mouth. His words are all that is needed to win this battle. Consider all that his spoken words have done through the ages: By his word, the worlds were formed (Genesis 1:3; John 1:1-3).
With only a word from his mouth he healed the sick, raised the dead, calmed a storm, cursed a fig tree, and silenced demons, casting them out of people and animals and into the abyss. His word, whether spoken or written, is a powerful, razor-sharp double-edged sword.
As Jesus descends and looks upon his enemies at Armageddon with his flaming eyes, they will have no chance to launch a counterattack. Instead, Christ’s enemies will be annihilated instantly. They will be mercilessly crushed underfoot, like grapes in a winepress.
The slaughter will be so great that we are told the blood from these armies will flow as high as four-and-a-half feet in some places along a 200-mile-long battle line! John tells us Christ will tread “the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty’’ (verse 15). The outcome will be brutal, bloody, and beyond comprehension (Revelation 14:14, 15-20).
By this time, most of those who remain on the Earth will have refused to repent. They will have rejected the preaching of the gospel from the two witnesses, the 144,000, the tribulation Christians and the angels flying in mid-heaven. None of these proclamations from God’s Word will have convinced them to repent. Therefore, Jesus must personally return and destroy them with his Word.
This will be the most extensive mass slaughter since the great flood in Noah’s day. Jesus will not be some kind of woke social justice warrior or hipster. He won’t be a smiling Savior. He will return to wipe the Earth clean of Satan and his minions.
His Title (19:16)
On Jesus’ bloodstained robe and across his thigh are written “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” The robe is possibly a banner that is draped across his chest and thigh. This secondcoming Jesus is unrivalled in history. He will be undefeated in battle and unforgiving in his last-days judgment.
The risen Christ is the hero of the ages, a conqueror for all time. The world knows virtually nothing about this Jesus described in Revelation. And sadder still is that the church knows very little of this side of Jesus as well.
Today, Jesus Christ is still welcoming repentant sinners. But at Armageddon, he will condemn and kill them all. This is a sobering reminder that God is the One who creates life, gives life, and takes life according to his sovereign desires and purposes (Genesis 6:1-8; Job 14:5; Psalm 90:12; 139:16).
For all those who show up at Armageddon, a brutal, vengeful execution awaits them at that doomsday location. And the entire planet will witness the carnage (Revelation 1:7).
After this battle, an “angel standing in the sun” will summon all the birds of the air to gather for a great feast, here called “the great supper of God” (19:17-18).
They will feast on kings, commanders, and mighty men, gorging themselves on the flesh of the global elites. Those whose careers and egos once soared to meteoric heights will be brought low and humbled before the Jewish carpenter from Galilee.
The antichrist and false prophet will be seized and thrown alive into the lake of fire (19:20-21). These two men who once stood on top of the world and ruled over billions will be reduced to nothing and confined forever as the first-ever residents in God’s fiery lake.
And the history of mankind will officially end.
Why Is Christ Returning?
In Christ the King’s long-anticipated visit back to Earth, he will accomplish a host of holy objectives. He will return:
Ω to make good on his promise to come back to Earth (Zechariah 14:4; Matthew 25:31; Acts 1:9-11).
Ω to defeat his enemies (Revelation 19:19-21).
Ω to redeem and restore national Israel (Isaiah 11:11; 43:5-6; Jeremiah 30:10; 33:6-9; Ezekiel 36:24-38; 37:1-28; Romans 11:25-27).
Ω to judge Gentiles in the sheep and goats judgment (Matthew 25:31-46).
Ω to resurrect Old Testament saints and tribulation martyrs so they can enter the millennial kingdom in their glorified bodies (Revelation 20:4-6; see also Daniel 12:1-4).
Ω to bind Satan for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-3).
Ω to begin his millennial reign as King (Isaiah 9:6; Daniel 2:44; Matthew 19:28; Luke 1:32-33;
We get to have front-row seats to the most epic moment in all of history.
We will join Jesus in this glorious event and see, from his holy and righteous perspective, all that is happening on Earth. And we will participate in and celebrate his victory.
Jesus’ second coming will be a visible, violent, decisive, heroic and regal event! (Revelation 1:7; 19:16).
No wonder John couldn’t hold back at the end of Revelation, proclaiming, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (22:20 NKJV). The Lord is faithful!
[Excerpted with permission from God’s Grand Finale by Jeff Kinley published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 97408. Copyright 2023, Jeff Kinley. www.harvesthousepublishers.com]