Adrian Rogers - The Coming of the King
All right, take your Bibles and turn to the book of the Revelation, the last book in the Bible. And we're coming to the end of that book and the climax, Revelation chapter 19. In a moment we're going to begin where we left off last Sunday with verse 11. There's an old, old story that illustrates so well what I want to say this morning. There was a salesman who had been working very hard in a particular city. He had a hotel room. He came in late at night, very late at night. He was very tired and he took off his shoes as he was sitting on the edge of the bed. Took off the first shoe and let it fall with a thud on the floor. And he thought to himself, "That was so thoughtless of me. It's late at night; to drop my shoe like that on the floor, it's bound to have disturbed the person in the room underneath me".
So he took the second shoe and put it down very gently. He went to bed. In about thirty minutes there was knock at the door. He went to the door and there was a man who had lived in the room beneath him, a man with dark circles under his eyes. And he said, "Would you please drop the other shoe"? The world is waiting for the dropping of the other shoe. The Christ who was born at Bethlehem, the Christ who walked the dusty shores of Galilee, the Christ who hung naked on a cross was buried, rose again, has ascended the high hills of glory, that Jesus is coming again. And the incarnation without the coronation would be like east without west. It would be like an engagement without a wedding, without a marriage. We are waiting for the Lord Jesus Christ to come and friend, what a glorious time to be living between those two mountain peaks of His incarnation and His coronation. And we are on a collision course with destiny. And we know that we know that soon and very soon the King is coming and we cannot afford to be ignorant and we cannot afford to be indifferent as we wait for the soon coming of our Lord.
Now, we know that there're many people today who have hearts that are perplexed. And sorrow looks backward, worry looks around, but friend, faith looks upward. The King, the Lord Jesus Christ is coming. So let's look at our Scripture today that describes the coming of the King. Look at it, Revelation chapter 19 and verses 11 through 16. Here's what the Apostle John said that he saw, "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 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. And the armies which were in Heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 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: He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God".
Now, as we think about the King coming today, I want us to learn three things as we look at this wonderful, glorious passage of Scripture. How is the King coming? Well, number one, Jesus is coming visibly, Jesus is coming visibly. Now, there're those who always try to spiritualize the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as some event in history or perhaps when a soul dies that Jesus comes and carries us back to Heaven. Events happen in history. And indeed, we go to meet the Lord Jesus Christ when we die. But the Apostle there on the Mount of Transfiguration heard the angels say, "This same Jesus which is taken from you up into Heaven shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into Heaven". Find that in Acts 1 verses 10 and 11. He went away literally, actually, bodily, visibly. Friend, He's coming back literally, actually, bodily, visibly.
Notice what the Apostle John says here. And he says in Revelation 19 verse 11, "And I saw Heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and Him that sat upon him was called Faithful and True". John says, "This is what I saw". You say, "Well, John saw it; perhaps we'll not see it". Look in Revelation chapter 1 verse 7. Just put it in your margin. "Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him". Now there're those who tell us, different cults and so forth, that different events in history were the Second Coming of Jesus. Don't believe it. When He comes, "Every eye shall see him and they also which pierced Him". That is, people of all times, even those 2000 years ago, will see Him. "And all kindreds of the earth shall wail even so, because of Him. Even so, come Lord Jesus". Jesus Christ is coming back visibly in power and great glory and majesty.
Now that brings a question. "Pastor Rogers, what about the Rapture? Doesn't the Bible teach that Jesus is coming like a thief in the night? Doesn't the Bible teach that His coming is mysterious? And now we see this passage of Scripture that shows Him coming in power and great glory. Now which is true? Is He coming in mystery or is He coming in majesty? Is He coming secretly as a thief in the night or is He is coming in power and great glory"? Now you must understand this or you're going to get hopelessly confused. There are two aspects to The Second Coming of Jesus Christ; first the Rapture, then the revelation. The Rapture is when Jesus Christ comes for His bride, that's us folks. The Revelation is when Jesus Christ comes with His bride.
Now I want to give you some ancillary Scriptures and put these in your margin. Second Thessalonians chapter 2 and verse 1. Paul says, "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto Him". He's going to come and take the church and just gather the church to Him. We're going to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. So Jesus is coming for His church first of all. But then in this passage of Scripture we find Jesus coming with His church. Look, if you will, in Revelation 19 verse 14 before you. "And the armies which were in Heaven following Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean".
Now who are these armies? That's the saints; that's the bride. We've just read about the bride dressed in her wedding dress. White linen; that represents the righteousness of the saints. And so His coming is both a mystery and a majesty. He is coming at the Rapture for His bride. He's coming at the revelation with His bride. Now the Old Testament prophets didn't know anything about the Rapture. So we don't find the Rapture in the Old Testament. It was a mystery revealed in the New Testament. Put this verse down in your margin, First Corinthians 15 verses 51 and 52. Paul said, "Behold, I show you a mystery". Now when the Bible uses the word mystery, it doesn't mean mystery like a mystery story or a novel. It talks about a truth previously unknown now revealed. "Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye".
I understand that the twinkling of an eye is the fastest movement of the human body. "At the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed". Now that is, friend, a mystery that the Old Testament prophets did not understand. And so that helps us to understand the various metaphors and illustrations used concerning The Second Coming of Jesus. For example in the Bible Jesus' coming is described cataclysmically like a bolt out of the blue, like a flash of lightning. Matthew 24 verse 27, "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth unto the west; so shall the, also the coming of the Son of man be". So Jesus is going to come like a bolt out of the blue coming suddenly like lightning but He's coming secretly like a thief.
Look in First Thessalonians 5:2, "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night". Well, is it a flash of lightning that everybody can see or is it like a thief who comes quietly? Jesus is coming sweetly like a bridegroom. Matthew 25 verse 6, "And at midnight there was a cry made, 'Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.'" But not only is He coming sweetly as a bridegroom, He's coming sovereignly as a king. Second Thessalonians 1 verses 7 through 10, "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ". These would be antithetical. These would be contradictory if we did not understand that there are two phases to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
First, He comes for His church and we're taken out before the tribulation. And then after the tribulation we come back with Him. That's what this chart is all about. Here at the end of the Church Age, you see the Rapture, the church caught up. And up there in glory is the judgment seat of Christ, the marriage of the Lamb that we preached about last week. And then the Great Tribulation's been going on down here on earth. And then our Lord is going to come and this is the point we're talking about right here when Jesus now comes with His church in power and great glory. What a day that is going to be. Now, that's the reason, folks, we're not waiting on any signs to be fulfilled. All of these things are going to happen but we're not waiting on these things. Jesus may come at any moment.
If you don't understand that, if you don't understand that, you're going to think we're going to have to go through The Great Tribulation before Jesus comes. No, friend, listen to me. If you don't learn anything else from these studies on the book of the Revelation, learn this, get it down, hammer the pulpit. Listen, Jesus may come at any moment, at any moment. Now to deny that is heresy. I want you to hear what the greatest prophecy preacher of all time had to say about the imminent coming of the Lord Jesus. By the way, do you know who His, what His name is? It's Jesus. Okay, I want you to hear what Jesus had to say about His coming. Listen, Matthew 24 verse 36. And you might jot all of these down. Matthew 24 verse 36, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of Heaven, but My Father only".
Don't let anybody set a date for you. If he does, he's acting smarter than an angel. Matthew 24 verses 38 and 39, "For as the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. So shall the coming of the Son of man be". Now, it was not The Great Tribulation that Jesus said we're to look for. They were eating, drinking, marrying, giving in marriage. They knew not until the day. It was the ordinary round of life. Matthew 24 verse 42, "Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come". Matthew 24 verse 44, "Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh". I've always thought He's coming on Monday because I can't think on Monday. All right, Mark 13 verses 32 and 33, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in Heaven, neither the Son".
Jesus in His humanity, in His humanity, had so divested Himself of that knowledge that was inherently His, that He said, even I do not know but just the Father. "Take heed, and watch and pray for ye know not when the time is come". Now friend, the church is not going to go through The Great Tribulation. If the church were going through The Great Tribulation when we see the antichrist come, when we see him sit in the temple and desecrate the temple and all of that, we could just start counting. But the Bible teaches that we are going to be caught out before the Tribulation. Let me give you a couple of key verses and then we're going to move on. What we're talking about is this folks, that Jesus Christ is coming suddenly at any moment. We're not waiting for the tribulation; we're looking for Jesus.
First Thessalonians chapter 5. It's very important you write this one down. First Thessalonians chapter 5 beginning in verse 9 and on through verse 11, "For God hath not appointed us to wrath". Now The Tribulation is the great day of His wrath. God will chastise His church. But friend, He does not pour His wrath on the church. The wrath of God is for the unsaved. "God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another". Friend, if I'm looking for The Great Tribulation, that's no comfort to me. Put down this verse, Revelation 3 verse 10. He's speaking to the church at Philadelphia. "Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth". He said, "I'm going to keep you from this terrible time".
Well, you say, "Pastor Rogers, that's the church in the book of the Revelation. That's the church of Philadelphia two thousand years ago and one particular church". But that's Revelation 3:10. Revelation 3:13 says, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches". What he said to Philadelphia, he's saying to us. God took Sodom out God took Lot out of Sodom before the fire and brimstone fell. God put Noah in the ark before the flood came. These are times when God was pouring out His wrath upon the world. And God is not going to beat up His bride with His wrath. Now He will chastise us, John 16 verse 33, "And in this world we will have tribulation". But the great tribulation, the great tribulation is poured out on this world after the bride is taken out, after the rapture of the church. And so, Jesus is coming back friend, visibly. He's coming at any moment, but He's coming for us before power and great glory. He's coming like a thief in the night to take the church out.
Now here's the second thing I want you to see. Got the first one? Here's the second one. Not only is Jesus coming visibly in power and great glory, but Jesus is coming victoriously, victoriously. Now continue to read Revelation 19 beginning in verse 11 to verse 13, "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".
Now this one that John beholds on a white horse coming visibly is one who's coming victoriously. All of this is a picture of victory. I want you to look at it. First of all, I want you see the mastery of His conquest. He's riding upon a white horse. When He entered into Jerusalem that day when they were throwing palm branches in front of Him and bowing down and saying, "Hail Him, Hail Him". In just a few days they were going to be saying, "Nail him," and they nailed Him to a cross. What was he riding then? A donkey, a lowly donkey. But when he comes the second time to Jerusalem to the Mount, He'll not be riding a lowly donkey. He'll be on a white charger. The white horse in that day was a symbol of victory and honor and conquest. And so there's the mastery of His conquest. Number two. There's the mystery of His character.
Look in Revelation 19 verses 11 through 12 again at this passage of Scripture. And the Bible says that, "He is 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," watch this, "that no man knew, but He Himself". That's the mystery of His character. Now He's righteous and true. He's faithful. He makes war, righteous war. But the import of this is that He has a name that no one knows. Did you know the Bible says in Philippians 2 verse 9 that, "God hath given Him a name which is above every name"? What is that name? Well, we know Him as Jesus. But friend, there is a mystery about Him that you will never fathom even in Heaven. He is the Highest of the High. He is so far above us.
One of these days we will be like Him but we will never be as Him. That was Satan's downfall. He said, "I'm going to be like the Most High". That's what he tried to say to Eve, "You will be as God". No friend, He is higher than the high. There is the mastery of His conquest. There's the mystery of His character. There's the majesty of His coronation. He has on His head many crowns. The word is diadem. It's not a stephanos, a victor's crown, but it is the regal crown that a king would wear. But he hasn't just one; He has many, for He is King of kings. He is Lord of lords and no longer does He wear a crown made by the briars of this world but by the jewels of Heaven. I'm going to love to see my Savior wear that crown and sing, "Crown Him with Many Crowns". And look at the ministry of His crucifixion.
Revelation 19 verse 13 says that He has a vesture dipped in blood. Some people think that this is the blood of His enemies. I think not. I think this is a reminder of Calvary, of that precious blood. The Lord Jesus Christ wears forever an emblem of His sacrifice there on Calvary. And thank God for the ministry of His crucifixion and the blood of Jesus Christ that gives the victory. And we overcome by the blood of the Lamb. And the victory that He's about to win over the antichrist is based on the blood. What a day when Jesus comes not only visibly but victoriously. Now let me give you a second point folks. What is the hope of this world? Is there hope? Yes, there's hope. But may I tell you that science is not the answer. Science has made the world a neighborhood but not a brotherhood.
The late great Dr. Vance Havner used to say that, "Civilization is like a chimpanzee with a blowtorch in a room full of dynamite". That's the situation we're in. So scientifically we're in the graduate school, morally we're in the kindergarten. Science is not the answer. I want to say that politics is not the answer. No politician's going to be able to deliver us. We win the wars and lose the peace and now these days it seems like we can't even win the wars. Social reform is not the answer. All social reform does, if it prevails at all, is to make the world a better place to go to hell from. And it's not going to save this world. You know, sometimes people say, "Well you preachers you're pessimists because you don't believe that we can change the world". I'm not a pessimist; I'm a glowing optimist because I know the only One who can. And I'm not in the business of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Friend, I am waiting for the Lord Jesus Christ to come again. The answer to this world's problems, believe me, beyond a shadow of any doubt or peradventure is the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is coming visibly. He's coming victoriously. Now thirdly and finally, the Lord Jesus is coming vengefully, vengefully. Now the people don't like the idea of vengeance. They don't like the idea of judgment. They think that God is un-American if He judges sin. There're people who say, "Well, you know God is too good to punish sin". Look up here at this pastor and listen to me. Don't ever say God is too good to punish sin. God is too good not to punish sin. God is a Holy God. God has said in Deuteronomy 32:35, "'Vengeance is mine; I will repay,' saith the Lord".
Look in Revelation 19 verses 14 through 16, "And the armies which were in Heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 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; He treadeth," now, listen to this, this is Scripture, listen, "And He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords". The fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. "Well, Pastor Rogers, I thought God was a God of love". He is; infinite love, perfect love. But He's also a God of wrath.
Now, if you preach the love of God to the exclusion of the wrath of God, you don't have the whole Gospel. If you preach the wrath of God to the exclusion of the love of God, you don't have the whole Gospel. Now, each half of that truth is true, but when you take part of the truth and try to make part of the truth all of the truth that part of the truth becomes an untruth. God is a God of love. And if you want to be saved, you can be saved. If you want mercy, you may have it. But I am telling you friend, as surely as my name is Adrian, as surely as I stand here, there is coming a time if you refuse the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior; if you trample under your feet the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ; if you do despite to the spirit of grace; if you plea, if you turn from His longing hand that is reaching out to you and saying, "Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest," Matthew 11:28; if you ignore that, if you spurn that, if you refuse that, if you deny that, you, my friend, listen, listen, I don't say it with malice; you're going to face the wrath of God.
God is a God of wrath. Let me give you another Scripture that parallels this. Put in your margin Second Thessalonians chapter 1 verse 8 that speaks of the coming of our Lord. Listen to it, "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ". Taking vengeance, He is coming vengefully to make things right. So many times things, as we preached last Sunday, are not made right in this world. Justice is not done. Wrong seems to prevail. Wrong is on the throne and truth on the scaffold. It will not always be that way. He is the righteous judge and He will make it right. So how is the King coming? The King is coming back visibly. As surely as He was here the first time, Jesus Christ is literally, actually, visibly, bodily coming back to this earth. He is literally, actually, visibly, bodily coming back to this earth. Every eye shall see Him.
You say, "Well, pastor, I think we need to spiritualize it a little bit". Did you know that there were those who missed the first coming of Jesus because they did not believe the prophecies? They missed the first coming of Jesus because they did not believe the prophecies. He is coming back visibly. Secondly friend, He is coming back victoriously. I am telling you the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ. If you're saved, you're on the winning side. If you're not saved, you're following a loser. I can tell you that. He is coming victoriously. And thirdly, He is coming vengefully. He is coming in vengeance and flaming fire, taking vengeance on those who know not God and who obey not our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, what does that mean to you, to me, today? May I mention a few things and I'll be finished? Number one: We need to learn of His coming. That's why I'm preaching here through the book of the Revelation. We need to learn of His coming. You cannot afford to be ignorant of these things. You need to teach others these things. The world needs to learn. Jesus said over and over, "Be ye ready, be ready, be ready, be ready".
Not only should we learn of His coming but folks we should look for His coming. We're not waiting on some prophecy to be fulfilled. If I thought that we were going through The Great Tribulation, if I thought the mark of the beast and all of these things were going to take place, I wouldn't be looking for the Lord Jesus Christ. Rather than looking up, I would be looking around. I would not be waiting for someone to come. I would be waiting for something to happen. But we are to live every day, this afternoon, as if Jesus were to come. We are to learn of it.
We're to learn of His coming. We're to look for His coming. I'll tell you something else. We are to long for His coming. We're to long for Him. The last prayer in the Bible is this, Revelation 22 verse 20, "Even so, come Lord Jesus". If you've prayed that model prayer in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 6 and verse 10, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is Heaven". Do you long for the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ? I can hardly wait to see Jesus. What a day that will be when I will see Jesus. We need to long for His coming. But last of all, listen carefully; we need to live for His coming. The Bible says in Revelation 19 verse 13, "Occupy". Jesus said, "Occupy till I come".
John Corts of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association told a story. He said, "When I was a sixteen-year-old boy," he said, "I went with about eight of my cousins out to our grandfather's farm. And we were all out there having a big celebration. And the kids wanted to go out and work on the field. But grandfather said, 'No, it's not a good idea. I don't want you kids out there.' And they said, 'Please, grandpaw, please. We want to go out and work in the fields. Please let us go.' So John said, 'My grandfather said, 'All right, take them out there in the fields,' but he said, 'You will not come in till the end of the day. Keep 'em out there for the full day.'" Boy they loaded up. They were so happy. They were on the tractor going out there pitching hay and all of this stuff. And for about an hour it was wonderful. And then the sun came up, and the hay went down their collar, and they began to get that grit and grime. And they said, "John, take us in". He said, "Nope, Papa said we're gonna stay out here all day". "But it's hot".
At noontime they were, they were hot, they were miserable, they were tired, they were whining, some of them were crying and saying, "We want to go in". Said, "Nope, we're gonna stay out here the whole day! Papa said we're staying out here the whole day". And after noon, about three o'clock, there came an incredible thunderstorm and the lightning, the zagged lightning was going across the sky. They wanted to go in. But he said, "We're staying out here the whole day".
At the end of the day, about five o'clock, he said, "All right, we're going in". They got in the wagon and went in. They got their baths, had their supper, got cleaned up. They were so proud that they had stayed in the field all day long. And then he gathered them at the supper table and he said, "Children, I want to tell you something. God has blessed us. We have a fine farm here. We've got a good heritage". He said, "Let me tell you why God has blessed us. There've been times out there when it's hot and I'm tired and grimy, and I wanted to come in. But we didn't come in. We stayed in the field". And he said, "All this that you see is because we learned the lesson of work. We learned what it meant to stay in the field".
Now folks, I want tell you something. Bellevue Baptist Church is over a hundred years old. You know why she's a glorious church? Because some of you have stayed in the field. It's not been easy. It's not all honey and no bees. But I tell you what, Jesus says that we are to occupy till He comes. And when He comes, I want to be found faithful serving Him. And I hope that you do. We need to look for His coming. We need to learn of His coming. We need to long for His coming. And we need to live for His coming. And God's people ought to say, "Even so, come Lord Jesus Christ". And when You come, when You come with trumpet sound, oh may I then in You be found, dressed in Your righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.
Would you bow your heads in prayer? Heads are bowed and eyes are closed. And would you, precious friend, begin to pray to Him and say, "Lord, let your power fall on this service and on this invitation". Would you pray that right now? No one stirring, no one moving, no one leaving, unless it is an absolute necessity. And while we're praying, if you're not ready for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; if His coming, you think about it, is not your greatest delight but your biggest dread, if you're not saved; if the idea of His coming strikes fear in your heart, then it means you need to be saved. You need to be saved. Let's get it settled right now. Would you pray a prayer like this?
Lord Jesus, I know that You love me. I know that You want to save me. I believe You are the Son of God. I believe You shed your precious blood on the cross for my soul. And now, by faith, by faith, I open my heart. I receive You into my life now. Come into my heart. Forgive my sin. Cleanse me. Save me, Jesus.
Friend, pray it. Teenager, pray it. Youngster, little child, pray it. "Lord Jesus, save me". Did you ask Him? Then pray this.
Thank You for doing it. I receive it by faith. I don't ask for a sign. I don't look for a feeling. I stand on Your Word. You are now my Lord, my Savior, my God, and my friend. Thank You for saving me. Now Lord Jesus, I will not be ashamed of You.
Listen to this prayer now. I want, I'm asking you to pray.
Lord Jesus, I'll not be ashamed of You. I will make this public. Because You died for me, I will live for You. I will not deny You. I'll make it public. In Your name I pray. Amen.