Yesterday we were looking the importance of Christ's return and learning a few things about it from Revelation 19:11-16. We saw that 1. Jesus is coming as King, and 2. Jesus is coming as God. Let's look at two more things about His return from these verses today.
3. Jesus is coming as Judge.
Revelation 19:11 tells us that 'in righteousness He judges and makes war' (cf. 2 Tim. 4:1). First He pronounces the just verdict, then He goes to war. But there's no need to worry; the outcome of this war is certain. The victory has already been assured by the Cross.
And how does He wage this war of judgement? With 'a sharp sword' (Rev. 19:15). Does this mean He's going to hack at His enemies? To answer that, look at where the sword comes from: 'out of His mouth'. The sword with which He wages His war of judgement is what comes out of His mouth; it's His Word. Jesus conquers by the power of His Word!
And, 'He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God' (Rev. 19:15). Jesus Himself is the Judge, so He Himself passes sentence and He Himself brings the punishment.
4. Jesus is coming as Saviour.
His judgement seems to leave us with bad news; but that's not the end of the story of Christ's return. When He comes, He's coming 'with a robe dipped in blood' (Rev. 19:13). But hang on, this is before He treads out any winepresses of wrath; before He unleashes any sharp swords. And where's He coming from? He's coming from heaven, and there's no bloodshed there! So how'd He get this blood on His robe?
Well, there might not be any bloodshed in heaven, but there is shed blood in heaven - Jesus' own shed blood! Always in Revelation, when we see blood connected with Jesus, it's His own blood. Jesus is coming from heaven as the Lamb that was slain. He's coming as the One who shed His blood to save us.
The fact that the robe is dipped in blood points again to Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross, for in the Gospels Jesus spoke of the Cross as a dipping he had to be dipped with (Luke 12:50; Mark 10:38). Jesus is coming as the One who has made atonement for our sins. He is coming in the proof of the Victory He accomplished on the Cross.
And when He comes, He isn't coming alone. 'And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.' (Rev. 19:14) The fine linen tells us who the armies of heaven are, for if you look back a few verses to verse 8 you'll see that it's the Bride of the Lamb (the Church) who's dressed in fine linen (Rev. 19:8). And back there in verse 8 we also learn how the Bride got this fine linen: it was granted. The granting is Justification. In Justification God clothes us with the righteousness of Jesus. It's now ours; it's granted to us. (Rev. 19:8 also shows how Justification leads to Sanctification: 'the righteous acts of the saints'; how faith leads to works.) But the fine linen is only possible because of the robe dipped in blood. The righteousness of believers is only possible because of Jesus death for our sins on the Cross.
One more thing about this heavenly army: they don't have any swords and they don't have any armour. They're not there to win the battle. Rather, they simply accompany the Victor and enjoy His victory!