It would be difficult to find a sight comparable in its majesty and its soul-thrilling grandeur than the sight which John received on that day when he saw heaven opened. Listen to his words which must have been spoken with unparalleled joy: “I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True” (Rev 19:11).
What a sight for any mortal to behold! Heaven rent! A Rider issuing forth! A Revelation of a Conquering Christ! The One Whom men said was a fraud, will then be declared to be “True.” The Man Whom men accused and judged to be a sinner; God will display as the “Faithful” One.
As we look around, so earth-bound as we are, the thought of heaven being opened and Christ descending to judge the assembled armies and the unholy trinity seems like a fairytale of a master spinner of stories. Yet, it is true, every word. The problem is with us, not with the eye-witness account of John.
From chapter 18 and on to the end of the book, John has ten “I saw” eye-witness accounts. This is only one of those ten. Each is thrilling in its own right. Here John sees a sight of the return of Christ to the earth accompanied by the hosts of heaven. That company associated with Him will include you and me. So we have a vested interest in that day. Elsewhere, Paul tells us that in that day He will come to be admired in all of us who believe and to be glorified in us as well (2 Thess 1:10). We are reminded that the manner in which we live now will enhance His glory in that day. Men will marvel at what He accomplished with such poor material as we are.
This day is worth waiting for with great expectations, expectations which will not be disappointed. For over 2,000 years, Christ has been denied all that belongs to Him. He has been blasphemed, labeled an impostor. Some have tried to sanitize humanity’s estimation of Him by calling Him a great teacher, a wonderful example of selfless service, a martyr, or someone who brought a great philosophic way of life to us. None of that is consistent with the claims He made: “I and the Father are One.” And, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He is either Lord of all or the greatest fraud who ever lived!
These concepts of men will bear no resemblance to how He will be revealed when He comes. Look at the titles and pictures which John provides for us in the sight which he saw.
“His name is called, The Word of God.” He came as the Word with a message of grace at His first advent and men denied Him. He will come as God’s Word, His final message to men. They rejected the message, the Word, and refused to hear. Now God’s final message to them will be one of judgment.
On His thigh will be written another name, “King of kings and Lord of lords.” In that day, this name will strike terror to the hearts of the followers of the beast who has claimed world-wide dominion. It will cause wonder and worship to a beleaguered Jewish remnant when they realize for the first time that the true Messiah for Whom they have waited is the One Who was here and Who died. In the words of Zechariah, they will “look upon Him Whom they pierced,” and a “fountain for sin” will be opened for their cleansing (Zech 12:10; 13:1).
But there is another wonderful truth contained in that name written on His thigh. It is not only the pronouncement of His Kingship, but the place where it is written, His thigh. In Jewish history and tradition, their patriarch, Jacob wrestled with God and had his hip dislocated. As a result, they did not eat of the “sinew which shrank which is upon the hollow of the thigh” (Gen 32:32). The thigh is a constant reminder of a broken man, a man who had to be subdued beneath the hand of God as he wrestled with Him. In contrast, Christ never needed to be “broken.” He was the One Who could ride upon the unbroken colt. He was, as in the picture of the red heifer in Numbers 19, the One Who never needed a yoke to control and subdue Him. He was always submissive to His Father.
But the thigh would also remind the nation of weakness. Jacob’s thigh was weakened by the touch of God during the all-night wrestling match. Upon the thigh of the Lord as He returns in might and power, is the reminder of the One Who will rule and reign over the nations. There is no weakness linked with Him.
Thirdly, there is a name which “no man knew but He Himself” (v 12). His true worth and value can only be known amongst the Godhead. He will grow greater in our estimation as eternity rolls its course, but we will never know Him as His Father knows Him. But it will be the delight of the Godhead to eternally reveal fresh beauties to us: The Son declaring the Father and His character, the Father revealing the Son and His beauty. We will sit in the classroom of the great University of Heaven and learn unceasingly of the wonders of our God. Paul caught a small glimpse of this when he burst forth in his doxology of Romans 11: “O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! … For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Whom be glory unto the ages” (Rom 11:33-36). There will be no commencement exercise from the University of Heaven, but course after course will be pursued throughout eternity.
Unsearchable riches, unsearchable grace, unsearchable wisdom and judgments, all revealed in unspeakable words. We are in school now; we are going to another school where we will not have the distractions which now hinder us, and we will have capacities for learning which will enable us to know and appreciate Him better.