The true word on a white horse
Aug 12, 2016
The testimony of Jesus in Revelation 19:10 is defined more specifically in the next verses. Revelation 19:11 says,
11 And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war.
Although this is written in Greek, the thought patterns are Hebrew. The verse begins with “and” (Greek, kai), and this is a common Hebrew way of beginning a sentence to link one thought to another. Thus, “and” links the testimony of Jesus to the heaven being opened for the return of Christ. It is as if a door opens in heaven so that the Rider on the white horse may pass from the invisible dimension to the visible.
The One sitting on this white horse is Jesus Christ Himself. The white horse is symbolic. It was never meant to be taken literally, as if Jesus is coming to earth on a flying horse. Certainly, if He wants to do so, who am I to forbid it? But like so much symbolism in the book of Revelation, this horse is a direct reference to a constellation called Pegasus, “the chief horse.” Its brightest star is Markab, (or Merhak in Hebrew). It means “returning from afar.”
All of the constellations, as they were originally named, are prophecies of Christ and reveal the divine plan of redemption for the world. Men later twisted it and used it for unlawful purposes, and that corrupted form is now called Astrology. But God is the One who named the stars and constellations in the beginning. Psalm 147:4 says,
4 He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them.
In the Bible, the horse was a symbol of salvation. This is because horses were so important to an army in time of war. They often “saved the day” for the foot soldiers. But God gave instructions to Israel—and specifically to the kings—that they were not to place their trust in horses. In God’s instruction to kings, we read in Deuteronomy 17:16,
16 Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’
Egypt was well known for its horses. Isaiah 31:1-3 makes mention of this as well, saying,
1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses, and trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are very strong, but they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the Lord. . . 3 Now the Egyptians are men, and not God, and their horses are flesh and not spirit.
In other words, God is their salvation—not horses from Egypt. If we rely upon carnal weapons of warfare, we will find ourselves “returning to Egypt.” That is, arms races will actually bring us back into bondage, not freedom. We are seeing this even now, for the more we wage war around the world, the more we lose our freedoms.
Jesus is our Salvation. He is the true “Horse.” Jesus’ Hebrew name, Yeshua, means “salvation.” His Greek name, Iesus, or Iesous, is simply a transliteration of the Hebrew Yah-Sus. Yah is short for Yahweh. Sus is the Hebrew word for Horse.
In other words, Yah-Sus literally means “Yah’s Horse,” which symbolically means “Yahweh’s Salvation.” (About 200 years ago the English language created the letter “J” to replace many of the “I” sounds. This is how we came to change the spelling of Iesus to Jesus.)
When Jesus said in John 4:22, “salvation is from the Jews,” a better rendering of this is: “Yeshua is from the Judeans,” that is, Jesus comes from the tribe of Judah. Jesus was identifying himself to the Samaritan woman as the source of Salvation that was to come out of Judah.
Faithful and True
In the message to the church of Laodicea, we read in Revelation 3:14,
14 And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: “The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God says this…”
So we find the Rider of the white horse is called “faithful and true.” No doubt we are to understand this as a reference to Christ as a witness of the true words of God, from verse 9. The Greek word translated “true” is alethinos, which means genuine, real, the opposite of a counterfeit, a simulation, or a pretense. The root word is alethes, “loving the truth,” and which literally means not hidden, or not concealed. It is the truth unveiled and seen clearly for what it is.
When the voice from the throne said in Revelation 19:9, “These are the true words of God,” he was setting us up for the coming of the Rider who “is called Faithful and True.” A few verses later, in Revelation 19:13, we read further that “His name is called The Word of God.” Hence, the emphasis in this passage is not only the return of Christ, but more specifically, Christ as the true Word of God, bearing the nature of the Father as His Prime Witness on earth.
Hebrews 1:3 tells us of Jesus: “He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature.” Hence, when Philip asked Jesus to “show us the Father,” we read Jesus’ answer in John 14:9, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” He is the Word of God unveiled to mankind.
The Greek words alethinos and alethes are the words that the rabbis chose to translate the Hebrew word amen, which means “firm, faithful, truly.” It is the Hebrew word for faith and truth, and these two concepts are inseparable. In other words, to have genuine faith, one must believe the truth that God has presented to us through Jesus Christ’s witness. We must also be faithful to that truth, bearing witness to it in our own testimony. In this way we too can become true and faithful witnesses of the nature of our heavenly Father.
Revelation 19:11 also says, “and in righteousness He judges and wages war.” What type of war? How does He judge? These questions are not answered here, so we must go to other parts of Scripture for answers.
We often use the word “judge” as if it is synonymous with “condemnation,” simply because men generally condemn when they judge others. But these words are not the same. It is possible to judge without condemning. John 5:22 says,
22 For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son.
This is truly an amazing statement that most people have not understood. The Father does not judge anyone! All judgment is delegated to the Son. Why? Upon what law is this based? John 5:26 and 27 says,
26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.
Here is the answer. The Son was given the authority to judge, “because He is the Son of Man.” The word “man” is simply the definition of the Old Testament name, Adam. Jesus is the “last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45). Jesus had to be born of Adamic lineage in order to receive the original dominion mandate given in Genesis 1:26. The highest position, called the Birthright, was passed down from father to son through the generations coming to David and finally to Jesus Christ Himself. The title, “Son of Man” is given because of His lineage through Mary back to Adam.
In other words, when God gave Adam the dominion mandate in Genesis 1:26, God was giving man authority to judge. And the Judge of the highest court in the Universe is Jesus Christ Himself. Final judgment has been given to Him, because He is the Son of Adam, the heir of the dominion mandate.
Even so, He is not the only one called to judge the world. He is the highest Judge sitting on the Supreme Court of Heaven, but there are also lesser judges who judge with the mind of Christ. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:2, “or do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” In the next verse, he asks, “Do you not know that we shall judge angels?”
Some people, of course, rub their hands with glee, because they think this means that they will soon have opportunity to condemn those who have wronged them. But Jesus taught us by example how to judge. John 5:30,
30 I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
The judges of all lower courts must abide by the mind and will of the higher court, or else they will be overruled and be ashamed. Jesus, who was the Amen of God, judged all things by the mind of His Father. Likewise, we too are to judge by the mind of Christ. This requires more than a mere knowledge of the law. It requires revelation to know how to apply it specifically. This is impossible for the carnal mind to do, because the carnal mind can hear evidence, but only the mind of the Spirit can discern truth from lies and half-truths. Only the mind of the Spirit knows all things.
Divine judgment, like all things coming from God, is based upon Love. That simple principle is hard for the carnal mind of man to grasp. How can judgment proceed from Love? It has to do with the ultimate purpose of all judgment. God’s purpose is to correct and restore, not to condemn and to cast out permanently.
This has always been the divine purpose, for as Paul says in Romans 13:10, “love is the fulfillment of the law.” Love and law are not at cross-purposes. In reality, they are one and the same, because they have the same Source. This is the Mind by which both the Amnos and the arnion company will judge righteously.
The Sword of Righteous War
Likewise, it is by this principle of Love that they wage war. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6,
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations [logismos, “thoughts, or fleshly reasoning that seems logical to the carnal mind”] and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish [ekdikeo, “that which proceeds from justice”] all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.
Paul tells us that we are to wage war, but he makes it clear that we are not to wage the type of warfare as men and nations do. Our warfare is not against people, but against those spiritual forces that keep people in bondage. Our warfare is not even against “the wicked,” but against the spiritual forces that make them wicked—so that they can be set free in Christ.
In other words, our warfare is not destructive. It is constructive. Our armor is not carnal either. According to Ephesians 6:11-17, we conduct warfare dressed in spiritual armor. This is the only type of armor that can defend against the “enemy” in verse 12,
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places.
This is what God is teaching us even today. We are learning the art of spiritual warfare, so that we banish from our minds the idea that we are supposed to use carnal weapons against flesh and blood people.
And so when Revelation 19:11 speaks of waging war in a righteous manner, it is not referring to Christ coming to “slaughter enemies,” as has been so often taught. In fact, if we may skip down to verse 15, we can see the type of weapon that is to be used against His enemies.
15 And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations…
Once again, people have carnalized this sword in order to make it destructive. If it were a carnal sword, John would have seen it in His hand, rather than in His mouth. In Revelation 1:16 we read,
16 And in His right hand He held seven stars; and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.
In an Old Testament setting, a two-edged sword was a destructive weapon that could separate head from body. But the New Testament weapon is described in Hebrews 4:12,
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
The sword is the spoken word of God. That is why it comes from the mouth, not from the hand. And this is confirmed in Ephesians 6:17, where Paul says,
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
This sword is able to divide soul and spirit and can “judge the thoughts and intents of the heart.” It is much sharper and more effective than a physical sword. To the one who has such a sword, “all things are open and laid bare.” In other words, all the facts are uncovered and known fully in every case that comes before the heavenly Judge.
When Israel came to Mount Sinai for their first Pentecost, they refused to hear the word of God (Exodus 20:18-21). They did not realize that they were refusing to receive the Sword of the Spirit. They were left only with a carnal sword.
Thus, when they later worshiped the golden calf, the penalty was executed by physical swords, which was all that the Levites had at their disposal. On that day, 3000 died and were subtracted from the Church in the wilderness (Exodus 32:28).
In Acts 2, however, the 120 disciples gathered in the upper room to receive the Sword of the Spirit. Then they went out into the street, using the sword from their mouth, and ADDED 3,000 to the Church (Acts 2:41).
They had a different sword that laid bare the hearts of the people, and the people repented according to the word of Peter (Acts 2:38).
This is the type of sword that the rider of the white horse is going to wield. It is the Sword of the Spirit, which Jesus uses, and that same Sword is used by the company of overcomers that form His body. By this sword, they will judge and wage war. The results will be awesome.
This is part 155 of a series titled "Studies in the Book of Revelation." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones