“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.” (Rev 19:11-13)
What a picture of Jesus Christ the king! Much of Revelation 19 is devoted to John’s vision of Jesus as the conquering king. I am intrigued by the statement, “He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood.” Commentaries are split between the blood being that of his enemies, or that of himself.
In line with the latter, I believe the blood represents the sacrifice of Himself, the laying down of His life. It represents His having paid the full price for sin, while never having known sin. He conquered death, hell, and the grave and thereby has the full legal right to be the King of Kings.
I also believe the blood on the robe is a constant reminder for all to see. It heralds that He gave His life as a ransom for all. It is the eternal signature of God’s love and forgiveness. As we gaze upon Him, we cannot help but see that He is not only the king, but also, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)
His kingship was legally obtained through His having paid in-full the wages of sin. Because He knew no sin, He rose from the grave victoriously, death could not hold Him. Sin’s penalty could not hold Him. And the good news is that He gives this same victory freely to those who believe. “…and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24)
Sadly, it is common for many to feel like the rider on the white horse is coming after them. Religion teaches that He is angry and ready to judge without warning our smallest faults and largest failures. This mindset says, “Yes He died for our sins, but our human propensity to fall short is really greater than His fulfillment of God’s justice on the cross.”
Let us remember that it is by His grace that we have been born-again into His kingdom. It is His grace that “teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions…” (Titus 2:12) And it is His blood, an eternal reminder on the robe of the King, which has redeemed us and brought us to the place where “nothing can separate us from the love of God.” We are His bride, and He is deeply and passionately in love with us.
The rider on the white horse is the king and lord of all. He wages war against His enemies and is victorious. We who believe are not His enemies. He has redeemed us and called us His own. His reign is forever, and so is His love. As it says in Revelation 19:7, “Let us rejoice and give Him glory!”