As Christmas nears each year, I seem to gravitate to one of the classic hymns: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” (ancient Latin origin). Both the music and lyrics have a hypnotic grip on me:
“O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear”
With child-like giddiness, I long for Christmas to arrive - it overflows with joy, echoing the glorious birth of Jesus, Messiah!
Although “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is commonly viewed in the context of anticipation of the virgin birth, it can be heard as a beckoning for the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 19 is massive. It is climactic. THIS IS THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST, which Jesus Himself talked about in Matthew 24! This is a grand scene, nearly indescribable – shouting, singing, praise, falling-down worship, and then…:
Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses.
The image of Jesus as the Faithful and True rider of the white horse is beyond compare. Could this be the same flawless yet fragile Jesus that was placed in the manger in Bethlehem? Is it really the same innocent yet condemned Jesus that perished on a cross at Golgotha? Could it be the same Jesus that was placed in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb yet was raised from the dead on the third day?
YES! On all counts! This is exactly the same Jesus! This is Emmanuel, God With Us! And here, in Revelation 19, He is the conquering, everlasting, omniscient, omnipotent KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS! In vv.19-21, John graphically described Jesus’ vanquish of the beast and the false prophet (two-thirds of the Satanic Trinity), leaving only Satan himself for later.
Especially after reading vv.11-21, I find myself open-mouthed and wide-eyed. As Christians, we are in relationship with this same Jesus! One of the sweetest beatitudes in scripture is found in this chapter:
“Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.”
As believers, we are blessed to be invited to the wedding feast! And collectively as Christians (the Church), we actually are Christ’s bride! In this truly extraordinary relationship, Romans 8:31-39 comes to mind – we are more than conquerors!
This Christmas, contemplate that the flawless and fragile infant we celebrate (the first coming of Jesus) is the King of Kings, the ultimate conqueror we eagerly await (the second coming of Jesus)!
“Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel”