Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From 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 winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
This Advent season, I seem to see this image superimposed over every manger scene, every sweet and soft newborn baby Jesus. I am not sure why, but this year more than others, my thoughts are filled with the yet future Advent of my Lord and Savior; that glorious Day where He will come as a victorious King to reclaim His own. I love this picture of my Lord. It reminds me of His majesty and His sovereignty. It reminds me that, while He came once before in a lowly state to save, He will come again clothed in glorious power to conquer and overthrow. It reminds me not to take lightly the gift of salvation, not to trifle with the mercy of God. It reminds me that, while He is patient and compassionate, He is still the just and righteous Judge and it is only through His undeserved grace that I may approach His throne at all.
So this Christmas, let us take a moment to ponder this Jesus: He was before all things and through Him all things were created. He is Life and Love and all that is right and good. His is one with the Father and yet, in some inexplicable way, also the Son surrendered to the will of the Father--a mystery that is profound and unknowable precisely because it is the creation's attempt to understand the Creator, a finite mind grasping feebly for the Infinite. He laid aside all glory and power to be born, not to a royal family, but to a poor carpenter and his young bride. He who created speech and physical ability learned to walk and talk and feed Himself. He grew and He endured all temptation, and yet He did not fall into sin but kept Himself unstained and pure; a perfect reflection of the Father in human flesh.
He went to school and surprised His teachers at the depth and intricacy of His knowledge and wisdom in the Scripture. He was baptized by John who recognized Him and would soon be sought after by multitudes who did not. He was tempted directly by Satan alone in the wilderness yet still remained without sin and blemish. He became a Rabbi and made a distinct breech with tradition by choosing His own followers. He preached, "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand," and He healed the sick, the lame, the leprous, and cast out demons. He raised the dead. Everywhere He went, lives were changed and lines were drawn, for some hated and despised Him while others loved Him and followed Him. He forgave sin and in doing so enraged further the religious leaders of the day. He was not a rebel, however, for He obeyed the authorities and observed all the Law as given to Moses. In fact, He fulfilled it to the uttermost. He taught His 12 disciples diligently. He was accused of blaspheming, but He was not a blasphemer for He was, indeed, the Son of God. He was Emmanuel--God With Us.
At the proper time, according to the Scriptures, He submitted to arrest, torture, and even the shame of crucifixion. As the spotless Lamb of God, He refused to take up the authority that was His to wield and instead submitted to death as a ransom for our sins, as the once and forever perfect Passover sacrifice. He rose again on the third day. He appeared to many, and then He ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God. He sent His Holy Spirit--the Comforter--to be with His followers and to guide, to convict, to instruct, and to teach the people of God. Centuries later, He has followers, though many claim to love Him and yet do not seek His face or His will for their lives. Many more reject Him, and the times and the seasons grow darker and darker as the father of sin seems to have an unrelenting grip on this world.
And yet, the story is not over. One day, no one but the Father knows when, the Messiah will come again. By His death, He paid the price of the title deed to Earth and He will come to lay His claim once more. For now, the prince of the powers of the air freely wreaks havoc, but he is feverish in his attempts to destroy for he knows his time is limited. When the rightful King comes again, that will be the beginning of the end for the evil one. And He will come! He will come to the heralding trumpets and in authority, and the story will end in joy and victory for God and for all those who love His appointed King!
This Christmas, I rejoice that my Lord and Savior is worthy of my worship, and that He has not left or forsaken His own but has given us His Spirit to keep us humble and steadfast and to help us remain faithful until the end. I see Him and I am ashamed and humbled, for I deserve not even a glimpse of his feet as He passes by while I lie with my face in the dust. I see Him and I am filled with joy because He does not despise a broken and contrite heart and has lifted my head. Even now, He is sanctifying and preparing me and my brothers and sisters to meet Him on that Day. He is my Redeemer and He is my Ruler. He came as a babe but He is mighty beyond compare or imagining. This Christmas, I eagerly anticipate the future coming of the King!
They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.. . "
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever...
He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Revelation 17:14, 22:1-5, 20-21