King of Kings Lord of Lords: Ruling With a Rod of Iron

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Church – The Church and Tribulation – At Christ’s Return – Rev. 19-11-13

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King of Kings  Lord of Lords:

Ruling With a Rod of Iron

by Terry Myers Smith

The faithful saints, after believing, waiting and suffering, have been called to the marriage supper and are now glorified and completely redeemed. They have received their crowns of glory and have been awarded the prize of the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus”  Phil. 3.14. For their faithfulness, they are wedded to Christ forever. Now, they are about to return to earth with Him to rule it with a rod of iron and in godly righteousness.

As Enoch had foreseen before the Flood, Christ and His saints wait at heaven’s gates eagerly listening for the Father’s command which will trigger their descent back to earth. The final assault to wrest back control of the “purchased possession” Rev. 10 from evil and sin on the earth, to give it to its rightful inheritors is about to take place. This is the third momentous event detailed in chapter nineteen  –  Armageddon is about to begin. The battle array is set in heaven:

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.     
    His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
    And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” Rev. 19.11-13


It was just a tiny open door in heaven at the start of Revelation in chapter four that signaled the beginning of the events concerning the Tribulation. Now, at the end, we see not just a door but “heaven’s gates” thrust open and hundreds of thousands of saints pouring through it with Jesus at their lead.  For all practical purposes, this signals the end of the Tribulation. At first, just a small door in heaven was opened to receive the raptured saints. But at the end, the gates of heaven swing wide open to allow the armies of Jesus, those who were received through that small opening (plus the Tribulation martyrs) to come storming back to earth in the greatest military assault of history. When the door was first opened a trumpet-like voice announced salvation saying, “Come up hither”. This time the trumpet sound is not a call to salvation and glory, but it heralds the doom of the Antichrist and his unholy followers; it is a foreboding of a great slaughter to come. The world, knowing God’s Word by now and exactly who it is that they are fighting, has braced itself for Christ’s Second Coming.

The first thing mankind will see is Christ riding a white horse leading a mighty, majestic army. Christ appears very much as He did in chapter one. His eyes burn like fire. His hair is white with wisdom which belies His fury, power, and strength. His feet and legs glow like molten brass and signal coming judgment on the rebels of the disobedient earth. At the start of the Tribulation, in chapter six of Revelation, the usurper of the throne, the would-be king, the Antichrist, is riding a white horse with a single crown and an empty bow. He was allowed to go forth “conquering and to conquer”. But here at the end we see, instead of the pretender to the throne, the true king, He who has the right to ride the white horse. This is the king that first came as a humble servant riding upon an ass’s colt, but now has earned the right to ride in majesty, and is astride the white horse which symbolizes His almighty power and sovereign authority. His military title is not Commander, General, or Field Marshall, it is: “He who is called Faithful and True”. It is the last of seven titles He uses to introduce Himself to the seven churches when He describes Himself to the Laodicean Church, the end-time Church that He will spew out of His mouth for their lukewarm arrogance. In righteousness, He will judge and make war. Christ is about to initiate the mother of all righteous wars in which the Devil will be subdued and the Antichrist, False Prophet and their armies will be cast into the lake of fire where they will be tormented forever.

The returning Christ’s eyes are most notable. They appear here exactly the way they were in chapter one when John first saw them. A simple glance from these eyes and we are consumed; the truth is revealed. They pierce through every pretense and hypocrisy and bring the soul of each person to its knees. Within is a fire that cannot be quenched, the gaze of which no person can stand, from which no truth can hide. His appearance is the same as it was at the start of Revelation, but now there is something different. For the first time in Scripture we see crowns upon His head. That’s right! We have never seen the Lord of all the Universe, the Maker of the Worlds, the Master of every soul and spirit crowned in His rightful glory. The only crown He has ever donned up until this time is the one fashioned for Him as the humble sacrifice Lamb; the one that a mocking world had placed on His head when they pressed upon His brow the crown of thorns. Once, His misguided followers tried to crown Him king in the wilderness at His first coming but He rejected it. It was not time for His coronation as the Son of David, or to sit on the throne of Israel forever, so He fled from their carnal temptations. In chapter one, His appearance was complete except for this one magnificence. Never had the framer of the worlds, the maker of mankind, the one by whom all things consist, been seen wearing his crowns of royal lordship until this moment when He bursts through heaven’s gates. His heavenly coronation must have taken place sometime between the time when we saw Him open the seals and the moment that He began His descent to earth. He was probably crowned at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. It is impossible not to notice too that there is not just one Lordly crown upon His head, but many crowns. He is master of Heaven, master of Earth and master of Hell. He is Lord of all, Master of all, Supreme Potentate of the universe.

Yet, in spite of this graphic depiction of Jesus, there is still just a touch of mystery about Him. We are told that He has a name showing on Him that only He understands. It suggests worlds yet unknown, universes untold, victories of faith fresh, unique and unimaginable yet to come. There is still an eternity of surprises in store for those who are redeemed and live in intimacy with Him. Like a big brother that is looked up to by an idolizing sibling, Jesus will always be in the process of doing things and going places that we could never foresee; and we can only hope that He will invite us along to be a part of His great adventures. He will take us constantly into uncharted territories of hope and love for all eternity. Those who have been called, and chosen and faithful will be privileged to go “withersoever He goeth” Rev. 17.14. His character, His love, for as we are told in Scripture that God is love, is so deep and wide, so immense and limitless, that it will always be in a state of revelation. In other words, God’s love is so great that it can never be exhausted or fully revealed, even throughout eternity. What an eternity awaits those who have been faithful and have believed. His love cannot be named or defined by a title or name. It can only be revealed a portion at a time. Christ will always have names about Himself that we cannot comprehend until the time of its expression and revelation takes place.

Because of Jesus’ magnificence, we must constantly be reminded who He is so we see Him on the white horse clothed in a garment that has been dipped in blood commemorating His death on the cross for the sins of the world. This is unique to Jesus. Only He can wear the garment that recalls the blood that He shed for all mankind on Calvary. Only “Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. …him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood”  Rev. 1.5, has the right to wear this vesture. The Roman soldiers had cast lots for His vesture at the foot of the cross as they mocked Him without mercy. Now He wears the vesture that symbolizes His victory over sin and death. Though Christ has a name on Him that no one knows, He does bear a name as He rides to earth that describes him perfectly. He is called: “The Word of God”. This is the Word of God that became flesh in order to defeat sin for us. Only Jesus has this name ascribed to Him because only He is the living Word of God. We have heard of ignorant people using this name to describe the deceased Mother Teresa of Calcutta. What blasphemy. Only one person can be called “The Word of God”. This is why Jesus is said to have a sword in His mouth. It is the “sword of the spirit”, which we are taught in Ephesians is the Word of God. All Jesus will need do to His enemies upon His return will be to speak the Word and they will be vanquished instantly. In Old Testament times men and women were given names by God to signify their character. Abraham’s name meant “Father of a multitude”; Jacob’s name was changed to Israel signifying that God ruled his life; Sarah meant “princess”, Isaac meant “laughter” because of the joy his birth brought both Sarah and Abraham. Jesus is called by many names in the Bible but this is the final name given Him in Scripture. It sums up His character. Every hope, every desire, every will, every command, every declaration or thought ever made by the Father is embodied in Jesus and by His eternally perfect obedience. This obedience was proven when He willingly did the Father’s bidding and gave up His glory in heaven to suffer the shame of the cross so He could save sinners from an eternity of separation from God.

As heaven’s gate opens this is the picture we get. Unlike Jesus in chapters two and three when He walked among the Churches, Christ is arrayed in full battle gear. His military dress is a blood-stained vesture. His rank is King of kings and Lord of lords. His title is: “The One Who is Faithful and True.” His name is “The Word of God”. He is armed with the sword of the spirit. His eyes detect everything. Like an MRI or an X-Ray, no truth can go unseen, no lie avoid His detection. All things are known to Him. This is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. At His first coming He came as a Lamb – meek, mild and subservient. In chapter six Jesus is seen as a Lamb when He began opening the seven seals of judgment. But gradually, we see other aspects of His power and character as the Book of Revelation progresses. He roars like a Lion as He comes to take control of the earth in chapter ten. He appears as an angel in the clouds holding a scythe of judgment in His hands harvesting the earth in chapter fourteen. We see Him as the mighty avenging angel powerful enough to judge Mystery Babylon.  Now He bursts forth from heaven in all His glory, burning up the armies of the Antichrist and the False Prophet with one glance of His fiery eyes, and defeating them with the terrible, swift sword of His mouth. With Him are His faithful ones.

“And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”  Rev. 19.14


These are the armies of heaven
Joel 2:11, but they are not the armies of angels anymore. These are the saints. Just as Jesus wears the vesture dipped in blood as His exclusive military uniform, so the saints are the only creatures who have the right to wear linen that is clean and white. Fine linen clean and white symbolizes the righteousness of saints. It is their exclusive wardrobe because it is “their shield and armor” symbolizing the covering of the sacrifice that Christ made for them on the cross. Their clothes are washed not in the righteousness of their own works, but in the blood of the Lamb. Those that are raptured repent of their own dead works Heb. 6.2 and put on the righteousness of Christ during their lifetime. They give up their lives (spiritually speaking). The Tribulation saints literally give up their lives and have their vestures washed in the precious cleansing blood of Jesus. Rev. 7.14 “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” 

The white horses that these faithful saints (both raptured and martyred) ride upon are symbolic in that they show how the faithful ones will get to share in the majesty and power of Jesus Christ during the upcoming thousand-year rule of Christ on earth, known as the “Millennium”. Those who are raptured prove their worth and might in the battle of faith that will be waged on earth before The Rapture. They also fight against Satan and his minions alongside Michael and Gabriel when Satan is cast out of heaven right after Christ’s appearing (ch. 12). Others fight the battle of faith by keeping their testimony for Jesus right through the Tribulation until they die a martyr’s death. They fulfill Christ’s prophecy: they lose their lives so that they can find life. The faithless of the earth keep their lives but lose all chance at eternal salvation. (Matt. 10.39)

“And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”  Rev. 19.15


It has been rightly said that Jesus is coming back with a vengeance. He is going to put away all unrighteousness and idolatry. He is about to institute a new age. The Tribulation signaled the end of the Age of Grace. Now Christ is about to usher in the Age of Imposed Righteousness. Many Church members and preachers have gotten side-tracked because of their misunderstanding of prophecy on this point. They think it is God’s intention during the Age of Grace to force the world into accepting the righteousness of Christ. The moral majority, the “religious right” and conservative Catholics all think the imposition, legal and otherwise, of righteousness on the world is the Church’s duty. But if they took stock in either history or prophecy they would know better. They are sadly out of touch with the Spirit. Christ did not try to do it at His coming during His ministry on earth. The apostles did not preach a social gospel of reform or revolution against the existing power of Rome. Gospel history of the primitive Church in no way gives credence to such an attitude in the Church. The Age of grace is a divine dispensation of choice. The choice is between receiving God’s merciful plan of salvation through His Son’s shed blood or, receiving any of the infinite number of gospels that man can conjure up in his own mind. Let people choose God’s mercy, grace and the love of God, which is freely offered to all takers; or let them choose unrighteousness, the false gods of their own making or the ways of 
Mystery Babylon. During the thousand-year reign of Christ’s Millennium, God’s righteousness will be imposed by Christ from His throne in Jerusalem and enforced by His ambassadors (the returning saints) who will administer His justice and teachings as kings and priests of God (ch 1). Psalm 149 tells the believer that this is the inheritance of the saints and that the day is coming when they will administer justice and righteousness on earth – with force when necessary.

“Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.
    Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
    Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.
    For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the
meek with salvation.

   Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in
their hand;

   To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon
the people;
To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron;

   To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.”  Ps. 149


This honor has all His saints but in due time. Chapter nineteen of Revelation tells us this is the moment when God’s imposed righteousness will begin in earnest. But just before the battle begins our attention is called to one last glorious declaration.

“And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Rev. 19.16


We are to make no mistake or be deceived in any way. This Jesus descending to earth is the one and exact same Jesus who gave up His glory in heaven and took on the likeness of sinful flesh to defeat sin in the flesh for us. (Phil. 2). After His resurrection, Christ walked with us for forty days and then He rose back to heaven to be with the Father. At that time He ascended into the clouds before the apostles. Two angels were present then and they told the apostles that Jesus would return in the same fashion, in the clouds.
“Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1.14. Many religions have this totally confused. They claim that Jesus may come back, but it will be as a different Jesus, not the one and same Jesus. The Muslims have faulty ideas in this regard about Jesus. Another Maudi will come, some other teacher in the “name” or spirit of Jesus and he will return to a perfected world. Cult Christian religions like the Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons believe a Jesus-like person will come again to lead the world to a Utopia. Some believe He is already here and is hiding in some remote cavern or one-horse town in the Midwest. How preposterous! All these are anti-Scriptural and perfect set-ups for receiving the Antichrist when he comes “in his own name”. Jesus warned mankind about this when he said,

“Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there;
believe it not.
    For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
    Behold, I have told you before.
   Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
    For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matt. 24.23-27


But Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords and Master of all the earth.
“Every knee shall bow and every tongue will be made to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Phil. 2.10-11 He was before the worlds were made and His going forth is from everlasting to everlasting. God has given us the picture of a coming army led by the great master and general, Jesus Christ, the Righteous. It is the fulfillment of Christ’s prophecy,

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
    And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
    And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together  his  elect  from  the  four  winds,  from  one end  of  heaven to  the other.”  Matt. 24.29-31


All this is in preparation for what Moses had seen thousands of years earlier in his last prophecy to Israel.

“If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.
    I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.
    Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.” Deut. 32.41-43


Now Armageddon is here. God is ready to make a slaughter of all those who have opposed Him, His Son, His kingdom, His people and His nation, Israel. Mercy temporarily gives way to His terrible, undiluted judgment and overflowing wrath.

 “And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
    That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.”

    And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.” Rev. 19.17-19

  
Christ’s descent to earth will not be the same as His appearing at the time of the Rapture. The Second Coming and His Appearing (the Rapture) are two very distinct and separate events. The time of His Appearing will be as the lightning flashing in the sky going from east to west, an instantaneous, momentary flash. Just as with lightning, those who are not looking directly at the sky in the right spot (spiritually speaking of course) will not see it. Only the people who are watching in the right spot (spiritually speaking) are taken in the twinkling of an eye. This is the way of Christ’s appearing. Christ does not come back to earth at the Rapture. It is a catching up of people – not a return, in the strict sense, of Christ. But Armageddon is the time of the Second Coming. Now, when the mammoth gates open in heaven all eyes on earth will see Jesus leading His saintly armies to war against them. Everyone, no matter who they are or where they are, spiritually, will see Him. Perhaps He will first appear from somewhere by the “Morning Star”, (Venus) and will begin His long descent to judgment. Telescopes and television cameras will be trained on Him and His awesome army of saints. By this time all people will be expecting Christ. The Antichrist and the False Prophet will have rallied the people to fight against the Lamb and He who sits on the throne in heaven. There will be no confusion or surprise as to what is about to take place. It is a battle royale. The final confrontation – Man and Satan against God.

In Revelation 1.7 the promise of His return is repeated, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” The timing of Armageddon has already been established in chapters sixteen and nineteen. It comes at the end of the Tribulation and is the sixth and next to last vial judgment, which makes it the next to last judgment of the entire Tribulation. There is nothing rational about why the kings of the earth gather together at Armageddon to fight against God. Revelation shows us that the people of the earth hate Him for all the judgments that have befallen them, but that does not explain why they would think they could defeat God in a war. The explanation is given to us earlier, however. They will be drawn to the battle by deceiving spirits. In chapter nineteen we are told that three spirits will come out of the mouths of the Dragon, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet to go to all the kings of the earth to trick them into believing that they can defeat God at the valley of Megiddo in Israel. A miracle even occurs when the Euphrates River dries up so all the armies of the East can cross the river and advance in time for their appointed judgment.

Jesus’ return is gradual enough in the sky that the kings will see Him coming and be able to make war preparations against Him. They will know He is coming to take the earth by force and they will be dead set against giving it up to Him. All their munitions and forces will be mustered against God’s armies. Every gun and weapon that is left on earth will be trained on Christ and His armies. By then their hearts will have been thoroughly hardened by hatred for God and His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. They will be a hundred times more belligerent toward God than Pharaoh was in the days that he withstood Moses. This is what Armageddon is all about, make no mistake. It is all out war against God and the Lamb of God. (Rev. 17.14) The Antichrist, the False Prophet, and the world’s leaders, along with their followers are completely decimated.

More than any other event in prophecy it is the battle of Armageddon that is speculated about with all sorts of scenarios suggested. The incredible fact is that the nations of the world do not converge on Israel with the sole purpose of destroying one another as in a conventional war. The enemy is not so much the other nations, it would seem, and the purpose not so much for world domination as it is to defeat God, Christ, and His armies Rev. 16:12. God has tormented them. The Antichrist and his kingdom have just recently been afflicted with great and terrible sores all over their bodies that cause them to gnaw at their tongues so painful is their disease. Whether the kings of the east, (China, India and/or Japan) 200 million strong, are in cahoots with The Antichrist, or whether they are in opposition to both his kingdom and Christ’s we cannot be sure. Two things are certain here, the kings of the east, having also been deceived by the spirits that came out of the unholy trinity’s mouths, will be at Armageddon to fight against the Lamb, and the carnage will be so great that a river of blood, as wide and deep as the Euphrates itself, will flow from the bodies of the slaughtered rebels. The birds of prey, starving because of the recent last plagues on the earth, will find their source of salvation by feasting on the carcasses in the valley of Megiddo.

 “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image.These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
    And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” Rev. 19. 20-21


The six things which God had promised in the prophecy of Daniel chapter 9.24 more than 2,500 years ago are now complete.

“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to (1) finish the transgression, and to (2) make an end of sins, and to (3) make reconciliation for iniquity, and to (4) bring in everlasting righteousness, and to (5) seal up the vision and prophecy, and to (6) anoint the most Holy.”
  1. The transgression of man by his disobedience and distrust of God has been arrested by God’s wrathful judgment. The rewards of obedience have been proven and the price for disobedience has been paid. The transgression started in the Garden by disbelief and disobedience has been righted by the obedience of Christ and those who followed in
    His ways.
  2. Sin is ended. Christ has defeated sin for us on the cross at Calvary and through His ministry has delivered willing souls from the wages of sin. Those who were resurrected before and during the Tribulation are living proof that an end has been put to sin.
  3. Mankind, having been cast out of the presence of God when Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden, has been restored to the Creator and welcomed in heaven. The first of this glorious fact was seen at the beginning of Revelation. Man is reconciled by Christ’s redeeming work to his Creator.
  4. The coming of Christ in the clouds heralds the new dawn of a perfectly righteous reign of a just and righteous ruler where every man and woman will now get a fair shake, an even deal, without corruption from an honest beneficent government. And man shall never again be without everlasting righteousness at the helm of government.
  5. All that has been written and prophesied, in spite of man’s (and the Church’s) disregard for prophecy, has been completely fulfilled just as the Bible stated it. The days of God’s vengeance are done.

And last, but not least,

  1. Christ has been crowned King of kings and Lord of lords has deposed the impostor and has taken the throne in Jerusalem to rule the nations with a rod of iron.
    This has been an excerpt from the book Revelation Pure & Simple by Terry Myers Smith
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