A NOTE ABOUT THIS TRANSCRIPT
The following sermon transcript does not match the video version of the sermon—it matches only the audio version. Here's a brief explanation why.
John MacArthur routinely preaches a sermon more than once on the same date, during different worship services at Grace Community Church. Normally, for a given sermon title, our website features the audio and video that were recorded during the same worship service. Very occasionally, though, we will post the audio from one service and the video from another. Such was the case for the sermon titled "I and the Father Are One, Part 2," the transcript of which follows below. The transcript is of the audio version.
We started having Christmas celebrations and Christmas services together back in 1969. That’s a long time. That’s a lot longer than some of you have been alive. I understand that. And every Christmas, I look forward to it. Sometimes people say to me: don’t you run out of things to say? So far, I haven’t run out of things to say, it’s an inexhaustible resource, that the Word of God is, to deal with the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And so, in thinking about how we might address that this year in our time of worship of the Christ Child, I thought it might be good to move into the future. So I’ve called this message “Christmas Future.” I kind of borrowed that from Charles Dickens, who wrote “A Christmas Carol,” and we all remember Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past. Very familiar, very beloved story. It’s fine, and a lot of times around Christmas, we go to the past, and we’ve been doing that even in some of the songs we have sung. But I want us to look at Christmas future.
The first coming of Christ was a veiled coming. Wesley got it right in that magnificent hymn: “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail the incarnate Deity.” His glory, His majesty, was veiled. The next time He comes, it will be unveiled. The first time He came, His glory was veiled. The second time He comes, His humanity will be veiled. The first time He came, His humanity was on display for all to see, and that is all that most people ever saw. There were only three people who ever saw His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration. Just three: Peter, James, and John. The rest of the world saw only His humanity. The next time He comes, the whole world will see His glory. His humanity will be hidden.
To really understand who Jesus Christ is, you have to see Him unveiled, and the best place to see Him unveiled is in the apocalypse, the unveiling. So, open your Bible to the Book of Revelation. And throughout the Book of Revelation, there are titles, and there are statements made concerning Christ that take the veil off and reveal who He really is. Not just a baby in a manger. That becomes very clear in the Book of Revelation when we see Him in His unveiled glory.
The first time, He came, and a star marked His arrival. The next time He comes, all the stars of heaven will fall, and the whole of heaven will collapse. The first time He came, wise men and shepherds brought Him gifts. The next time He comes, He will bring the gifts: the rewards for His people. The first time He came, there was no room for Him in a small inn. The next time He comes, His glory will fill the entire earth. The first time He came, just a few attended His arrival. The next time He comes, every eye will see Him. The first time He came as a helpless baby. The second time, He comes as the sovereign king and judge over all.
In the Old Testament, He was seen as the angel of the Lord. In the New Testament, it was the angels who announced His arrival. In the gospels, He appears as an infant, and as a 12 year old child, and as a man, and then as a miracle-working preacher, and then as a suffering Savior, and then as a risen conqueror, conqueror of death. In the epistles, He is presented as the teacher, as the mediator, as the shepherd, as the bridegroom, as the head of the church, and as the great high priest. All of those are true of Him. All of those add to the dimensions of His glory.
But some of the most vivid and stunning portraits are those in the Book of Revelation of the unveiled Christ. In fact, if you look at the first verse of the Book of Revelation, it says, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” That’s what the book is. It is the unveiling, the apokalupsis, the unveiling of the Son of God. So this is Christmas future, not the view so common at His first coming, but the full view of an unveiled Christ.
Now, Revelation 12 does make a reference to His birth. Revelation 12 and verse 5 says this: “She gave birth to a son, a male child.” That is the only reference in the Book of Revelation to His birth, and immediately, it is followed with these words: “Who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.” So, having just once mentioned His birth, it moves immediately to the great theme of the Book of Revelation: that is His triumphant return when He comes as sovereign Lord, king, and judge.
Obviously, as we know, the gospel focus is on His coming in lowliness, His coming in humility to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for sin. He lived as a man whose glory was hidden. And when He returns, His humanity will be hidden, and His glory fully manifest. To see the unveiled Christ, we need to look at the Book of Revelation.
Now, I’m going to ask you to work a little bit. You’re going to have to hang in there. I hope you have a Bible. There’s one near you somewhere along where the hymnal is. You’re going to want to work with us through this to see this unveiling. We’re going to go from “Away in the Manger,” to the Hallelujah chorus. We’re going to cover the final triumphant declaration of the Spirit of God in the visions given to John that unveil who this child really is. This is the full picture of Christ.
Let’s start in chapter 1. With the first title that is given to Him in verse 5, He is identified in verse 1, “Jesus Christ.” He is identified in verse 2, “Jesus Christ.” He is identified in verse 5, “Jesus Christ.” This is the revelation of Jesus Christ. First, He is the faithful witness, there in verse 5. The faithful witness. That is, one who always speaks accurately and truthfully, one who is always gives the facts. That’s what a faithful witness does. Giving perfect testimony, absolutely accurate testimony. And the testimony that Jesus gives to God, to man, to sin, to righteousness, to judgment, to salvation, to heaven, hell, life, and death – testimony that He gives to anything and everything on which He speaks – is absolutely faithful. In fact, in chapter 3 and verse 14, He is called “the Amen, the faithful and true Witness.” The Amen, the faithful and true Witness. “Amen” means “so let it be.” If He says it, then that’s how it is. That’s how it is.
In John 18:37, He said, “For this I was born and for this I have come into the world to testify to the truth.” In a world of lies, under the control of the arch-liar, Satan, you can trust everything that Christ says. He cannot lie. He is God. He is holy God, and God cannot lie. He speaks flawlessly about everything. All His claims are true. All His promises are true. All His assessments are true. All His judgments, decisions, actions are in perfect harmony with truth, including even His judgment. So, that at the very beginning of this book of judgment and reward, we can be sure that every judgment and every reward is based on faithful testimony to the facts. He is the faithful Witness.
Secondly, in that same verse, verse 5, He is the “firstborn from the dead,” or of the dead. Either way. It doesn’t mean that He’s the first person to ever be raised from the dead. There were some before Him. In 1 Kings chapter 17, there is a resurrection. In 2 Kings chapter 4, there is a resurrection. And then, again in chapter 13. So, we have three occasions in the Old Testament where a prophet of God, by the power of God, raised someone from the dead. We also know from Matthew 9, Luke 7, and John 11, that Jesus raised people from the dead. So, this all happened before He was ever raised. Now, it’s very rare. Those are the only references we have to resurrections among all the hundreds of millions of people who have come and gone in the world, only those resurrections, very rare. But this isn’t talking about that. The word here is prtotokos in the Greek. And it means the primary one, the preeminent one. It’s not the first, chronology-wise. It’s the first in terms of preeminence, the most important one. Rank is the issue here. Of all who have ever been raised, or ever will be raised in the future, He ranks first.
Psalm 89:27 records the words of God Himself, and He speaks about the Messiah. He says, “I shall also make Him My firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.” The firstborn is the supreme one, the premier one, the preeminent one, the highest ranking one, higher than the kings of the earth. This is the right of the firstborn to possess the full estate of the Father. Revelation records the future fulfillment of that promise. We’ll see that very soon, that He, because He is the preeminent one, He is the Son of God, will inherit the entire possession of God.
Also, in verse 5, a third title is given to Him. He is called the “ruler of the kings of the earth,” and that goes with the firstborn from the dead, and both of them seem to be borrowed from Psalm 89. What does it mean that He is the ruler of the kings of the earth? Just that. He is the supreme ruler. Since He is God’s preeminent Son, God will make Him the ruler over all other rulers. Absolute sovereign over the rulers, and all the affairs of the entire world.
In fact, this unfolds in chapter 5. You might want to look at it in connection to this verse in chapter 1. We have a scene in heaven in chapter 5, and John’s given a vision of the scene. John sees in the vision, God sitting on the throne. And in the hand of God is a scroll. The word actually is scroll, in verse 1, and it’s written on the inside and the outside. Now, a scroll is usually written only on the inside and rolled up, and as you unroll it, you read the inside. This scroll is written on the inside and on the outside. The inside and the back. It is sealed with seven seals. When people made a will, they rolled up the will in a scroll and they sealed it so that it could not be broken or opened without everybody knowing it, and it could only be opened at the appropriate time when it was time to take title to the estate that had been left in the will. This is sealed seven times. It has seven seals. So, to open it, you have to break seals seven times.
This is the title deed to the universe, okay? This is the title deed to the universe, and it’s in the hand of God. There is a usurper now who is in charge of it, the prince of the power of the air, the ruler of the darkness of this world, Satan, who is the god of this world. He is in control of this world. But the title deed to it is in the hand of God in this vision. John saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and break its seals?” Who has the right? Who has the authority? Who has the privilege? Who is preeminent enough? Who ranks high enough to take the title to the universe out of the hand of God? Who is God’s heir? “And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it.” No one had that right. No one had that privilege.
John says, “I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; and one of the elders said to me, ‘Stop weeping; for behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.’ And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures,” who are angels, “and the elders,” who represent redeemed saints, “a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.’ Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”’ And the four living creatures kept saying, ‘Amen.’ And the elders fell down and worshiped.”
Amazing scene. Go back to chapter 1. That right to take that scroll, and take back the universe from the usurper, that right belongs only to the one who is the ruler of the kings of the earth. The one who is the absolute sovereign, the one who has a name above every name, a name at which every knee bows, the one who is head over all things, who possesses final authority.
Drop down to verse 8. And here, we find a fourth title given to our Lord. “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” It’s repeated again in chapter 21 verse 6. “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” Alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet. There are 24 letters. Omega is the last letter in the Greek alphabet. What does it mean to say He is the first letter and the last letter? You might say, well, it means that He is the creator and the consummator. That’s true. It means that He’s the beginning and the end. He’s the first and the last. He’s the starter and the finisher. Those things are true, but that’s too thin an interpretation here. That could be said. It will be said. You’ll see it in a minute. This is talking about letters. Listen, between alpha and omega, there are 22 Greek letters. And out of the total of those 24 letters, all words can be formed. All words can be formed. Therefore, all truth can be communicated. All truth can be conveyed. All wisdom can be articulated. To say that He is the Alpha and the Omega is to speak of His perfect knowledge, His omniscience. We saw something of His omnipotence in the fact that He is the ruler of all of the kings of the earth, and now we see His omniscience. He is the source of all knowledge, the source of all truth, the source of all wisdom. He knows perfectly all that is knowable. There isn’t anything that can’t be known that He does not know. This is Alpha and Omega, the full alphabet with all of its possible expressions and words are known to Him. No word escapes His mind. No thought is beyond Him.
He knows perfectly all that is knowable, all that is conceivable. This will be apparent the next time He comes. People mocked His knowledge the first time. They said, can anything good come out of Nazareth? He’s a Galilean, an uneducated man, hasn’t been to the right schools. They scorned His teaching; and His knowledge, they rejected. The next time He comes, His perfect, consummate, vast, impenetrable knowledge will be on display. He will perfectly fulfill everything He ever said He would do. Every judgment, every promise - He will fulfill. Every truth He ever articulated will come into clarity at the end. He is the Word.
Number five, He is also described in verse 8 as the one “who is and who was and who is to come.” The one who is, who was, and who is to come. He will be again described with those words in the Book of Revelation a couple of times. What is this? His eternality, His aseity. Theologians call it His aseity, His self-existence. We looked at it in John 1. He always was. His transcendent, eternal existence and presence. He’s not defined by time; He’s not confined by time. He’s not defined by space; He’s not confined by space. He is not influenced by any created reality or historical event; there are no external circumstances which shape Him or shape His thoughts. He is the one, eternal, self-existent, transcendent one, completely uninfluenced, control over space, time, energy, and matter, over time, and over eternity as well. He is above and beyond. He is outside and away from all that He has ever made. We are seeing that this child in the manger is something more when unveiled. He is the one who always speaks the truth. He is God’s heir. He is the ruler over every ruler in the world. He is the source of all truth, everything that is knowable. And, He is eternal, above and beyond all that is temporal and physical.
Also, if that’s not enough, verse 8 ends with the fact that He is the Almighty. And now you have a full statement in one word about His omnipotence. He has all power. In other words, there is no power that He doesn’t possess. There is no power beyond His power. He is the Almighty. He is the most powerful one. He has omnipotence, all power. Because He possesses all power, no one can hinder Him. Nothing can hinder Him. Not a person, not an event, not a collection of people. Not any source of power, whether it’s human or angelic. He has all power. No one can thwart Him, no one can hinder Him, no one can alter His plan, no one can prevent Him from doing what He wills to do, fulfilling what He promises to do. The first time He came, He subjected Himself to human power. He subjected Himself to the power of men who beat Him, and who murdered Him. The next time He comes, with all power, He will destroy all His enemies, and He will do it with a word out of His mouth. He has the power then to establish His kingdom over the whole earth, and then He will display the power to destroy the entire universe and recreate a new heaven and a new earth.
He is the Almighty. And that’s an expression obviously of His deity, because God, in the Old Testament, is called the Almighty.
Go down to verse 17. And in verse 17, He says at the end of the verse: “I am the first and the last.” Now, this is where He’s talking about beginnings and endings, historically. He is saying here: I am the living One. The next verse, “and the Living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades,” or the grave. “I control life, and I control death.” That’s what the first and last means. I decide who lives and I decide who dies. I decide when people live and when they die. And not only that, I decide what happens to them at their death. I am the living One. I have the keys. I have the power of death and the afterlife, because I am eternal, I decide who lives, who dies, when they live, when they die, and what happens to them when they die.
This is incomprehensible power, incomprehensible authority. This is to say that if I say something, it will come to pass. If I warn you about a judgment, it will come to pass. I have the power to bring to pass. And if I promise you something like the glories of heaven, it will come to pass. I have the power to fulfill everything I say. I have the right. I have the authority. I have the power.
False gods come and go. False gods are a figment of human and demonic imagination. False gods pass off the scene all the time. People bow down to false gods, but false gods don’t give life and false gods don’t take life. False gods are just that: false gods. They’re made out of wood; they don’t exist. Demons may impersonate them and wield their power, but I alone control life and death. This is the unveiled Christ.
Also in this same section, He introduces Himself in chapter 2 verse 1 as “the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, and the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands.” This is another designation of the unveiled Christ, the one who has the seven stars. What are the stars? They’re ministers of the churches. That’s what it says in chapter 1 verse 20. They’re the ministers of the churches, the aggelos. It’s not heavenly angels, but ministers. The seven churches are part of this section of Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Seven actual churches. They each had ministers, as churches do. What He’s saying is: I hold the ministers of My true church in My hand, and the seven lampstands, verse 20 says, are the seven churches. What is He saying here? I am Lord over My church. I am Lord over the church. They look to the world as if His whole movement had failed. When they executed Him, history went on after that. He was remembered mostly as a good teacher. Didn’t end too well. The world doesn’t yet understand that He is the Lord of His church, that I, as a minister of His in His church, as an aggelos of Christ in the church and held in His hand, that He moves in this church. He uses seven churches as an illustration because seven is a number of completion from the creation, and each of these churches is symbolic of the kind of churches that exist through all of history.
But you’ll see in the section starting in verse 12, that He is – John sees the vision of these seven lampstands representing the churches, and Christ is moving in the lampstands, moving among them, and He appears there as a priest interceding for them because He’s dressed in the garments of the high priest. He appears as a purifier of His church because His hair is white like white wool. His eyes like a flame of fire. His feet are burning like burnished bronze made to glow in a furnace. And this is Him in His church, with penetrating vision and wisdom, seeing what needs to be dealt with. Judgment begins at the house of God. He sees Him speaking to the church, and when He does, His voice is like the crashing of many waters on the rocks. And in His hand is a sharp two-edged sword with which He protects the church.
This is the unveiled Christ. The world doesn’t see that now. They don’t see that. They see a church. They see you. They see me, and they think this is a human agency, a human instrument, a human institution, a human organization, and we’re religious, and it’s all very nice. They have no idea that moving in this church is the living exalted Christ, and that we’re in His hands, and He is doing His work of empowering, interceding, purifying, speaking, and protecting His true church. This is the unveiled Christ, the glorious head of His church.
The vision was so powerful, and it was the first vision John had on Patmos. Verse 17 says he fell down like a dead man. He went into that familiar sort of coma that others fell into when they saw a vision of God.
Go down to chapter 3 verse 1. He refers to Himself with another title. In in the earlier letters, He repeated that He was the first and the last, that He was the one who had the sharp two-edged sword, that He was the Son of God with the eyes like a flame of fire and feet like burnished bronze. But in this one, He introduces something new. “He who has the seven Spirits of God and the stars.” He not only holds the leaders of the church in His hands as He moves through His church to do His work, but He has the seven Spirits of God. That is also mentioned back in chapter 1 verse 4 where it says: “Grace to you in peace from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come.” I told you that was also there. And from the seven Spirits who were before the throne of God. I wish the translators had translated that “sevenfold Spirit.” There are not seven Spirits. There is one Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit is revealed in sevenfold beauty. That came in the 11th chapter of Isaiah verse 1. This is prophesying the coming of Christ. “A shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,” the father of David. He will be a son of David, the Messiah, “a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him.” The Spirit of the Lord.
So, this is what you need to know: the first, is He is the Spirit of the Lord. The Holy Spirit. Then, there are six further characteristics, making a total of seven. He is the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge, and the fear or worship of the Lord. The sevenfold fullness of the Holy Spirit. He is presented as the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of wisdom, of understanding, of counsel, of strength, of knowledge, and of worship, and the Holy Spirit is fully upon Christ. He is the One, it says here, who has the sevenfold Spirit of God. He is fully empowered by the Holy Spirit.
That was true in His incarnation, but veiled, wasn’t it? It was veiled. It will become unveiled at His second coming. He will literally send His Spirit to fill the earth. And the Scripture says He gives not the Spirit by measure. Part of this will be the full glorious manifestation of the sons of God. When it becomes clear that we are fully empowered by the Holy Spirit in the kingdom that is to come. At His return, the Lord Jesus binds Satan for 1,000 years, establishes a kingdom on this earth. With demons and Satan imprisoned, the Holy Spirit pervades the earth and righteousness prevails across the planet.
And He is the one who is full of the fullness of the Spirit, and who sent us the fullness of the Spirit, and who will one day send the Spirit to fill the earth. So far, He has introduced to us the unveiled Christ as the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, the ruler of the kings of the earth, the One who was and is and is to come, the Almighty, the first and last. Seven stars in His hand. The One who possesses the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and the Alpha and the Omega.
That’s nine so far, in case you were counting. But not all. For number ten, chapter 3, verse 7. He identifies Himself here, and He is the one speaking. He, Himself, “who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens.”
What is that about? He is holy. He doesn’t make a mistake. He is true, operates with correct information. He is without error and without confusion. He is absolutely holy, and absolutely true. And as such, He has the key of David. What is the key of David? He possesses sovereign authority over the kingdom of salvation. The kingdom is the kingdom that was promised to David in 2 Samuel 7, fulfilled by Christ, is the kingdom of salvation. It’s the sphere over which He rules. He has the key. He alone has the key to open the door of salvation and eternal blessing.
It’s David because He had to be a son of David humanly. But it’s more than David, because being a son of David humanly wouldn’t allow you to open and close the kingdom of God. That’s a divine responsibility. So, He is both Son of Man, son of David, and Son of God. He not only has the keys to life and death. He not only is the first and last that makes a life and even allows to die and even kills and controls eternal destiny, but He has the keys to the realm of salvation.
If you wanted to be saved, who do you ask? Me? Who do you ask? You ask Him. You ask Him. He’s the only key-holder to the kingdom of salvation. In the Old Testament, God says: I act, and who can reverse it? Even in the world of His church, as He’s writing to the church ad Philadelphia, which was a good church. He says: I am the one that opens and closes doors of ministry opportunity. I take care of the church. I am the one opening and closing doors. This has been a tremendous encouragement to me. He not only opens the door to let people in the kingdom; He closes the door to shut people out, as we saw Him do at the end of John chapter 12. When they had rejected Him so long, the door was shut, the sun went out. Darkness fell. It was over.
But He opens and closes doors for His church, and He opens and closes doors for the people who are His church. They all live in conjunction with His sovereign will and purpose. It’s just an amazing reality. To live our lives in His church, knowing that we’re in it because He opened the door and drew us in. And now that we’re in, He opens and closes the doors as we work our way through life in the advancement of His glory. He’s in charge of everything. Not only our salvation, but our sanctification and all our ministry.
Chapter 3 verse 14. He introduces Himself in some familiar ways and adds a new one. I already quoted to you the “Amen, the faithful and true Witness.” We looked at that. But He also presents Himself as the “Beginning of the creation of God.” This is where His role as creator is clearly indicated. It was stated in John. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” All that was made was made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made? He is the creator. This is not saying He is the first of the created ones. In fact, there’s no ambiguity here, and I’ll help you with that. The beginning, the word “beginning” here, is arch in the Greek. It means “source.” You probably have a marginal note in your Bible that says “source” or “origin.” This isn’t saying that He is a created being, that He is the first created being. This is saying He is the beginning of creation. No ambiguity at all.
Chapter 22:13, He says He is the “beginning and the end.” He is the beginning of creation, and He is the end, the consummation of creation. Colossians 1 says that nothing was created without Him. And when He returns, it’ll be crystal clear that He is the creator, because He will come. And when His feet touch the Mount of Olives, He will create a valley, create a river that’ll flood the desert and create a garden out of it. Then, He will restore, rejuvenate, recreate this planet back to proximity to what it was before the fall. It’ll become a kind of Garden of Eden. And says, prophets say a lion will lie down with a lamb, and children will play in a snake pit, and natural enemies in the animal world will no longer be natural enemies. And if somebody dies at 100, they die as an infant. Life will be extended like it was before the flood. He’ll recreate the world for a thousand-year millennial kingdom. If you’re a believer, we’ll all be there, even if it happens long in the future, we’re coming back with Him.
He’ll recreate the earth, restoring it dramatically. Then, to show His creative power, after 1,000 years is over, literally, He’ll un-create the universe. It’ll go out of existence. None of it will exist. In a millisecond, He will have created a new heaven and a new earth, the eternal state where we’ll dwell forever. All of that’s in the revelation. This is the unveiled baby in the manger.
Back to chapter 5, which you read a little bit ago, to pick up a couple of things I know that you saw there. Another title for Him in verse 5: He is the “Lion that is from the tribe of Judah.” The Lion that is from the tribe of Judah. That comes from Genesis 49. In Genesis 49 verses 8 to 10, the tribe of Judah is described as a lion. The tribe of Judah was lion-like. The tribe of Judah was fierce and strong, and warriors came from the tribe of Judah. In fact, when the ten tribes migrated north and the kingdom was split, all that was left in the south was Judah, and Judah was strong enough to survive a lot longer than the northern kingdom with all of its ten tribes. Judah was lion-like, and the Messiah was to come from Judah, because that same prophecy in Genesis 49 says the “scepter will not depart from Judah” until Messiah comes.
So, Messiah was going to be from the tribe of Judah through David. Well, that’s why the Jews expected that when the Messiah came, He would come with a scepter, and He would come like a lion. There was nothing lion-like about Jesus. Nothing ferocious about Him. Nothing threatening about Him. Nothing strong, aggressive. Nothing warrior-like. Hebrews 7:14 says He was from the tribe of Judah, but the Jews expected Him to come like a lion. He didn’t. But He will. He will come like a lion and devour His enemies across the world, in the physical and spiritual spheres.
That same verse, verse 5, says He is the Root of David, the Root of David. We know He’s the son of David. He’s also the Root of David. What does that mean? He is the creator of David, as well as the son of David. That’s why David could say He is both my son and my Lord. He is a descendant from the line of David. We know that because the genealogy of Matthew proves that. The genealogy of Luke proves it. Both Mary’s like went back to David and Joseph’s line, went back to David. Romans 1:3 says He’s born as a descendent of David according to the flesh. He is called a son of David. That’s a messianic title. He is worthy to take the scroll on the human label because He is a descendent of David. He is worthy to take the scroll on the divine level because He is the Root of David. He is God who created David, and He is man, the son of David. He is the God-Man who has the authority, based on promise, and the authority based on heavenly nature. He has the right to take the universe because He is God. He has the right to take the universe because He descends from David. He created David, and He was born in David’s line. As such, verse 5 says He has “overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” Full authority as God, the creator of David, and man, the son of David.
Number 14, and we’ll go to chapter 19. I know you’re wondering if we would ever get through the Book of Revelation. We’re going to skip to the next title. It’s in chapter 19. Verse 11. John has a vision. Heaven opens up. There’s a white horse. And here is His coming, depicted. “And He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood.” And we’ll stop there. It’s an amazing picture. He’s called “Faithful and True.” Faithful? What does that mean? He’s coming because He said He would. That’s Faithful. True? He’s coming to do what He said He would do. He’s faithful to come, and He’s accurate in His judgment. What a scene. There’s no foal of a donkey here. There’s no colt here. This is a white horse, the symbol of a conquering general. He comes as the triumphant final conqueror, in contrast to Satan, whose power He is taking. Satan is an unfaithful deceiver and liar, and so are all those who are in His kingdom. He is Faithful. He is True. And therefore, in righteousness, He judges and wages war. He comes as an invincible warrior king. He comes with all the crowns on His head. Every other ruler is divested of His crown. They’re all on His head. He has a name so elevated, written on Him, and no one knows that name except Himself. It is one of those words that is formed within the boundaries of the alpha and omega of His infinite mind that is beyond human comprehension.
He comes, splattered with blood, the blood of His enemies. This fulfills the prophet Isaiah in chapter 63 who said, “Who is this who comes from Edom, with garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, this One who is majestic in His apparel, marching in the greatness of His strength? ‘It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save,’” the Messiah answers. “Why is Your apparel red, and Your garment like those who tread in the wine press?” The Messiah answers, “I have trodden the wine trough alone, and from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger and trampled them in My wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, and I stained all My raiment. For the day of vengeance was in My heart, and My year of redemption has come. I trod down the peoples in My anger, and made them drunk in My wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”
Not the meek and mild baby. The unveiled Christ, coming in judgment. Faithful to His promise. Accurate in His judgment. He judges righteously, and it’s a bloodbath.
Verse 13, again at the end. He’s called the “Word of God.” He is God’s most pure, complete revelation. People say, “What’s God like?” You could go to the Old Testament. You could go through the Old Testament and you can find the revelation of God in its magnificence. Or, you could just read those verses I read you. That’s what God is like. God is Faithful and True. He is righteous. He judges. He makes war. He’s furious. He’s devastating. No one can stand against Him. He is God’s most pure revelation. He was that in His incarnation, Hebrews 1 says. He is the exact representation of God. He is the duplicate of His nature, Hebrews 1:3.
But here, the picture is different. What do you mean, the Word of God? The expression of God, the revelation of God. God’s most complete revelation is seen in Him because He is God. And then, down in verse 16: “On His robe and on His thigh,” that name that we all know, reserved for the Book of Revelation, “King of kings and Lord of lords.” The title of absolute total complete sovereignty. And even the translators of Scripture put it in upper-case caps because they just want it to seem like it’s the ultimate. He’s the King of kings. No king can withstand Him. He has all the crowns on His head. He’s taken them from every other monarch. He’s the Lord of lords. No one in power, or prominence, or influence can withstand Him. And when He arrives, He will destroy all other rulers who have resisted Him.
And John sees it as an angel standing in the sun and crying out with a loud voice, calling birds to fly out of the midheaven and “assemble for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great. And I saw the beast,” the antichrist, “and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.”
That’s futile. He comes as King of kings and Lord of lords. And before the battle even starts, before the battle even begins, an angel calls the birds to devour the enemies of Christ, that will be destroyed. The victory is already determined. The antichrist in verse 20 is seized, the false prophet is seized, thrown into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone. All the rest of the gathered armies of the world and all of their rulers are “killed with the sword which came from His mouth.” What’s the sword that came from His mouth? His word. His word brought them into existence; His word will take them out. And the carrion was lying there for the birds to feast.
Then, in chapter 20, as King of kings and Lord of lords, He’s not only the ruler over the powers of men; He’s the ruler over the power of demons. So He takes Satan himself, throws a chain on him, and all those who are with him, and binds him for a thousand years. At the end of the thousand years, releases him for a little while, and then, verse 10, throws him into the lake of fire and brimstone to be tormented forever.
Then, as King of kings and Lord of lords, He holds a judgment in verse 11, “a great white throne.” Everyone is judged. Those who failed to trust in Him and receive salvation, verse 14, were thrown into the lake of fire with the false prophet, the antichrist, Satan, and all of the demons and everyone whose name was not found written in the book of life, into the lake of fire.
Then, His power and authority so great, He creates a new heaven and a new earth, because “the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there was no more any sea.” He recreates an entire universe of heaven. This is the King of kings and Lord of lords.
If you’ll look at chapter 22 and verse 16, and then I’ll wrap up in a moment. I have to show you one other thing. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches.” He gave this to us, all of this to us, that we might know the unveiled Christ. Yes, “I am the root.” We know that. “And the descendant of David.” That is to say, I am the God who created David and I am the man who came from David.
But then He adds this: “the bright morning star.” Now, among the Jews, to call somebody a star was the highest possible comment. Our society calls useless people “stars,” just absolutely useless people. That may be in some cases the best that could be said about them, that they’re useless. But the Jews used to call someone a star, and that was reserved, and they meant that this person somehow is this way above everybody else elevated. In fact, Daniel 12:3 borrows that common use of the word “star” and says that those that win souls are wise like the stars that shine forever. It just elevates you. You’re an elevated person when you win souls. It was used to describe Messiah. Messiah would be the ultimate star, the ultimate soul-winner. Numbers 24:17 says “a star shall come forth from Jacob.” A star shall come forth from Jacob, from Abraham, from Jacob, from Judah, through David.
Jesus called Himself in Revelation 2:28, “the morning star.” Peter said about it that the day was dawning and the morning star arising in our hearts. And the morning star, in Peter’s mind, was Christ. And here He is, the morning star.
And by the way, do you remember when He comes, all the stars fall, and the world goes black, the universe goes black and there’s only one brilliant light, and it’s His own glory, filling the heavens? He will come as blazing star. His light is so bright that there are no lights in heaven because the Lamb is the light of it. Majestic pictures. Holy, True, beginning of creation, Lion of Judah, Root of David, Faithful and True One, Word of God, King of kings, Lord of lords, bright morning star.
But I left out the most common one. And I’m going to give it to you finally. Of all the titles that Jesus bears in the Book of Revelation, this one is far and away the most common. It’s repeated again and again and again and again. He is, in Revelation, more than anything else, far more than anything else, called “the Lamb.” The Lamb. Because in order to be all of these other things, and to accomplish all of His other purposes, He had to be the Lamb of God. Slain. And in chapter 5, we see the Lamb standing, who had been slain. In chapter 6, we see the Lamb breaking seals. In chapter 5, they’re all saying, “Worthy is the Lamb. Worthy is the Lamb.” In chapter 7, they cry, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.” Chapter 8, “The Lamb breaks the seal,” the seventh seal. Chapter 12, loud voice in heaven says, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb.” That’s chapter 12. Chapter 13, He is the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.
Finally, in chapter 14, and I want you to look at these. John has a vision of the 144,000 Jews who will evangelize the world during the coming tribulation. And He looks in the vision, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion. And with Him, 144,000. They’re standing with the Lamb, and they have His name, and the name of His Father written on their foreheads. Who are they? Verse 4: “The ones who have not been defiled with women. They’ve kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.”
In chapter 15, again, verse 3. They were singing the song of the Lamb, the song of the Lamb. Song of praise. Chapter 17 and verse 14. The enemies of Christ come and wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings. Chapter 19, verse 7. “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” Chapter 21 verse 9. “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
Always the Lamb. Always the Lamb. Chapter 22 verse 3. “There will no longer be any curse; the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.”
This is Christmas future. And aren’t we glad that among all those things, He was the Lamb? The Lamb of God, John the Baptist said, who takes away what? Sins of the world. Father, we thank You for our time together around Your Word this morning. What a wonderful time it’s been. Bless our dear folks. Give us a wonderful and blessed Christmas together. And may You be honored and glorified in every life. May Christ be exalted among us. We pray in His name. Amen.
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