The End of Earthly Authority

A sermon manuscript on Revelation 19:11-21, prepared for House of Prayer Church in Mbale, Uganda. But the crazy thing is that I never preached this sermon; God changed it at the last second.

house-of-prayer

Praise God. My name is Jeff Block. I am a Masters of Divinity student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in suburbs of Chicago in the United States. Thank you so much for having me. It is truly an honor to bring God’s Word to you today. I believe with all my heart that God has sovereignly brought us together. And He has asked me to share with you a message of hope. Not just hope in Mbale, Uganda. Not just hope in America or in Chicago. But hope for the whole world … for everyone who puts their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. To every man, woman and child in every place in all of history, God declares in his word and so I declare to you:

Do not despair; the day is coming when Jesus will make everything right!

The Lord Jesus Christ is sovereign over this entire universe. He has declared that there will ultimately be only one Kingdom, and that He will be the only King, the only power, the only Ruler or Authority in that Kingdom. And He will bring true justice to the earth, defeating and subduing all other powers … anyone or anything that would challenge Him.

Would you pray with me, and then we’ll dig into God’s Word.

Father God, we have gathered this day to hear from you. Move in power among us and speak to our hearts. Teach us from your word that we might be instruments of your glory. Put us at rest in your presence. Whatever distractions or fears or concerns which may have followed us in here, help us to lay them aside, that we might fix our hearts and minds on you alone. Use the one who preaches to bring you glory, and to bring to this people your true word. In the glorious name of your Son Jesus we pray. Amen.

Our passage today is Revelation 19:11-22. So, if you have a Bible, please open it and follow along as I read from the English Standard Version. If you don’t have a Bible, maybe your neighbor would share with you. Again, we’re in Revelation 19:11-22.

Here the word of the Lord…

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 that is 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. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and mall the birds were gorged with their flesh. (Revelation 19:11-21)

Our world is full of people and powers which claim to be true, and which make demands on our lives. But they are nothing alongside King Jesus. The Apostle John describes Jesus, riding on a white horse, as one coming to bring an end to all other powers and stand as the ultimate Ruler of all people in all the earth. We know the rider on the white horse in our passage is Jesus, because John uses images already familiar to us in the New Testament to describe Him – such as white linen (c.f. Matt 17:2), eyes of fire (c.f. Rev 1:14), sword coming from His mouth (c.f. Rev 1:16), etc. Plus, He is explicitly called the Word of God in v13 of our passage.

So, Scripture declares that Jesus will bring an end to every earthly power. He will depose every other king and conquer every opposing army. And ultimately, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:11)

What does this mean for us?

It means that in the end justice will be done, and will be seen to be done.

No matter how unjust the world may be, do not despair; the day is coming when Jesus will make everything right.

No matter how unfair or difficult life may be, do not despair; the day is coming when Jesus will make everything right.

No matter what goes wrong or who causes you pain, do not despair; the day is coming when Jesus will make everything right!

And no matter how important or impressive any person or president or king or authority may seem to be, ultimately everyone will serve the King of kings! It is Jesus who will rule. The day is coming when Jesus will make everything right.

Look at the way John describes Jesus in our passage…

Jesus is faithful and true. You don’t ever have to wonder if you can believe God’s word. He is faithful. His word does not change. It never fails. It will never return to Him without accomplishing everything which He has declared it will accomplish (Isa 55:11). He will never leave you or forsake you (Heb 13:5). He is who He says He is. He does what He says He does. He is faithful. Do not despair; the day is coming when Jesus will make everything right.

And notice that Jesus judges in righteousness. Whatever God decrees is right. He can’t be deceived. He can’t be mocked (Gal 6:7). He can’t be fooled by a deceitful neighbor or a lying enemy or a slanderous family member. His flaming eyes burn through deceit and half-truths. When he judges, his judgments are perfect (Deut 32:4). And he will make war against all those who would make war against you, His beloved child. You can trust God to fight for you (Ex 14:14)! People may get away with wicked, deceitful behavior for a little while, but in the end, justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:24). Do not despair; the day is coming when Jesus will make everything right.

Continuing in verse 12…

See how Jesus wears many diadems on His head? This is a symbol of His incredible power. He has a name that no one knows. This is likely intended to indicate that no one has power over Him, for they certainly do not! And His robe is dipped in blood, which could indicate all kinds of things, including that He is a great warrior. But even more importantly, this great Warrior King is also a Lamb who was slain, and by His blood He has purchased us all for God … men and women and children from every tribe and tongue and language and nation under heaven (Rev 7:9).

Looking back at the verse, in verse 15…

We already mentioned that Jesus is the Word of God, the very author of creation. The Lord Jesus Christ is God’s Word (John 1:1). He spoke the universe into existence (Ps 33:9). He is the Word who became flesh and walked among us, declaring to us in his very person the glory of God. (John 1:14). But this Word is also a sharp sword which will 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 Almighty God. God’s wrath is being poured out against all ungodliness and unrighteousness (Rom 1:18). No one is exempt. Either you will pay the price for your sin – in full – or Jesus will. If you haven’t already done so, give your heart to Him. He came to us and died for us in order to take our justly-deserved punishment upon His strong back. Don’t leave here carrying the weight of your sin. Cast it upon the Lord. Allow Him to pay your debt for you. Because no debt will go unpaid. No evil will escape God’s judgment, and we are evil apart from God’s regenerating work in us! No wrong will fail to be set right. Even when wrongs seem to go unpunished … even when the wicked seem to be winning … do not despair; the day is coming when Jesus will make everything right.

And this next verse is probably my favorite part…

“And on his robe and on his thigh He has a name that has been written: King of kings and Lord of lords.” (:16) It has been written that every earthly authority will someday surrender entirely to Jesus. There is no president, no king, no master, no employer who will fail to answer to this King. Every kingdom, every empire in all of history … their power will come to nothing. And every person in this place is no different. If you have never trusted Jesus Christ to be your Savior and your Lord and your only way to spend eternity with God, do that right now! Because someday, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:10) You have only two choices: Bow before the King now, willingly, and give Him your heart. Or be forced to bow before Him someday by a rod of iron and a sharp sword, when unimaginable wrath is pour out upon all unrighteousness and disobedience. You cannot escape that wrath by being good or by clever deception; only by the blood of Christ! So often, it seems that the ungodly are prospering. Don’t believe it! You may see unjust leaders abusing their power. Their time is almost up! You may wonder who will hold corrupt rulers accountable. Leave all that to the Lord! Vengeance is His, and He will repay in full (Deut 32:35). But for you, make sure that YOU have submitted your whole life to Jesus. And once you do, do not despair; the day is coming when Jesus will make everything right.

Now, the rest of this passage gets pretty gruesome. The unrighteous kings of the earth and all their power are literally devoured by God’s judgment. This is explicitly contrasted with the wedding feast of the lamb, earlier in the chapter, where the people of God finally find rest reclining at the table of their Lord and King. This is the ultimate picture of Jesus making everything right … those who have been purchased by the blood of Christ dine at the table of the Lord, and those who have demanded to live life on their own terms and refused to bend the knee to their rightful King … they are consumed by the righteous wrath of God.

Then Satan, who is represented by the beast, and the false prophet, who represents all the lies that Satan has told to the people of this world … they are both cast alive into the lake of fire to be tortured forever, never again to raise evil hands or lying lips against the people of God.

So, when it seems like the unrighteous live in comfort while the people of God suffer, do not despair; the day is coming when Jesus will make everything right.

And finally, notice that there is no actual battle in this passage. In verse 14, the people of God line up behind our King, dressed like Him because we are His children. And in verse 19, the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gather to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. But there is no battle. King Jesus simply captures the beast and the false prophet and devours the kings of the earth, representing all unjust earthly authority. And in an instance, the battle is the Lord’s! And we do not lift one sword or one hand to fight. Why? Because the battle against evil and injustice was fought on the cross of Calvary! This is the Lamb who was slain but who stands now in glorious victory. Though you may not see it, it is only a matter of time before His victory is complete.

This is the legacy of the people of God … to know how the story ends. For this reason, we can have faith. I challenge you to trust the Lord. I challenge you to give your heart and life to Jesus. I challenge you to serve the King with joy, while we eagerly await His coming. We can endure hardship. We can forgive those who mistreat us. We can have faith in what we do not see. Because we know that Jesus is coming soon. And in the meantime, walk with the Lord, be patient, have courage, remain united, and do not despair; the day is coming when Jesus will make everything right.

Let’s pray…

Sovereign and almighty God, we acknowledge before you today that you are the Great King over all the earth. There is no one above you, no one beside you, no one who compares to you, no one who can even comprehend you. You are more than a Creator, more than a Savior, more than a means of escaping judgment. You are the mighty and awesome One on whose robe is written, “King of kings and Lord of lords.” We bow before you, sovereign God, and worship you in the splendor of holiness. Keep your promises to us, Father! Do not leave us or forsake us! Come quickly, Lord, to rescue your people and judge your enemies. For we know that you judge and wage war in absolute, perfect righteousness. And until that day, send us out, that we may declare your glory and your beauty and your boundless love to a world that is hurting and afraid and deathly ill. Make us instruments of your saving work, that the world may know that there is a God in Israel!

And come quickly, Lord Jesus. Come quickly.

And all God’s people said…

Amen!

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About Jeff Block

Lover and follower of Christ. Husband and father. Writer and seminary student. On a long journey, learning to swim with the current of God's love and walk with Him in the garden in the cool of the day.
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