No. 1

Rev 19 1

No. 1 [1]

Revelation 19:11

[1st sermon on this text]

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.
What was revealed to the Apostle in vision, is by the Written Word set forth to the eye of faith, which has the privilege of seeing things that are invisible.  We have here a sublime description of the Saviour as he appeared to the beloved John in Patmos – engaged on his people's behalf to fight their battles, and to subdue their enemies and his own.  We expect a glorious accomplishment of this undertaking.  A day is coming when all the Anti-Christian powers which still exalt themselves against his kingdom, grace and people, shall be brought low.  At present we may take occasion from this representation to contemplate his Glory for our immediate comfort.  If we are believers we may say of this Mighty One, he is our Lord, our Shepherd, and our Friend, and every feature and circumstance in this picture is as a well of salvation opened for us, from whence to draw the Water of Life.  I propose to go through it leisurely, and to set forth according to the line of my experience and ability, what is expressed in the several particulars.
Rev 19 11 heaven
The expression I saw the heaven opened, is not easily explained to our apprehension.  When Stephen saw the like, there was nothing seen by others.  And the glory which surrounded Saul beyond the brightness of the sun was not observed by his companions.  We are at a loss to conceive of the unseen state, but we are surrounded with it and live in the midst of it, like people shut up in a dungeon, from whom things very near them are hidden by the walls.  We look upwards for heaven at all times alike, though the point which is over our heads in the morning is at night under our feet.  When the soul is removed from the body, it will the next moment find itself in the other world; the faculties suited to that state, seem suspended in the present life, but the Lord can when he pleases enable them to act.  Were this the case with any of us, I doubt not we should see both Heaven and Hell opened.  There are great realities very near us, which would encourage the Lord's people and make the wicked tremble, if they were perceived.  But we are to walk by faith while here, not by sight.  I say no more upon this subject, lest I should go out of my depth.  There are great realities very near us, the Lord prepare us for death, for then we must mix with them.
The description in this verse is general.  Jesus is the personage, and we have here –
1. his attitude,
2. his character and
3. his employment.
1. [His attitude:] Seated on a white horse
  Thus chapter 6:2, [2] which, compared with Psalm 45:4, [3] seems to intimate the Gospel truth, and ministry, which like a horse by the rider, is managed, guided and directed by the Lord Jesus.  He appoints it whither to go and to his presence and accompanying power it owes it efficacy.
  The horse is an emblem:
  1.1 of courage (Job 39:25 [4])
  1.2 swiftness
  1.3 strength
  1.4 providence
  They whom the Lord sends forth, he inspires with fortitude; he causes the work to spread speedily in a day of his power; he enables them to prevail against all resistance and opposition, and he directs and guides their course.  It is his choice and not theirs, that marks their route – his sending the Gospel to one place rather than another, is a business in which he so veils his management under the operation of instruments and second causes, that to common eyes, he seems to do nothing, when in reality he does all.
  We may likewise consider Jesus as the Protector and Saviour of his people, in this view:
  1.1 Sitting upon a white horse, represents a Warrior and a Conqueror.  The Lord is always upon the watch as a Man of War in battle array for their defence.  This One Glorious Horseman is of more avail, than all the chariots and horses which Elisha's servant saw. [5]  They were the angels of the Lord, but the Lord of angels, the Lord of hosts himself is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge. [6]
  1.2 He is on a horse – intimating the speed with which he comes to the relief of his servants.  They often think he delays, but at his appointed time, he will not tarry.  He is a present help – or a help easily found in time of trouble (Ps 46:1 [7]).
  1.3 As the Captain of Salvation, he leads them on to the battle.  They are soldiers, and must fight in his cause.  The Lord gave Israel Canaan by promise, and he it was who dispossessed their enemies – yet they went forth to the battle, as though all depended upon themselves.  So in the spiritual warfare – we have a conflict to endure, and must strive before we are crowned.  But the victory is his, and he deserves all the praise.
We have but entered on our subject.  Let me close with application:
1. Who is on the Lord's side? [8]  This is a war which will admit of no neutrality.  Not to be for him is to be against him. [9]
2. You that know him rejoice – if he be for you, who can be against him? [10]  Why complain?  Do you distrust your cause or your leader?
3. And let not them who seek him be afraid.  He is upon the white horse.  The Gospel proclaims him mighty [to] save, [11] and that he will cast out none who trust in him. [12]
[1] Newton began this series on Sunday morning 27 July 1777, noting in his diary: ‘I began to preach this morning from a passage which is full of thy glory. The well is deep [a ref to John 4:11], Lord help me to draw, to drink myself and to refresh others.’
[2] Revelation 6:2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
[3] Psalm 45:4 And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
[4] Job 39:25 He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
[5] 2 Kings 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
[6] Psalm 46:1,11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
[7] Psalm 46:1 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
[8] Exodus 32:26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord's side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.
[9] Matthew 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
[10] Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
[11] Isaiah 63:1 Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.
[12] John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

Cowper & Newton Museum, Olney

Marylynn Rouse, 09/08/2016