And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True…
The office of king belongs to Him by eternal right, inasmuch as He is the Son of God. The Father constituted Him heir of all things. Being the express image of His person, and the visible shining forth of His glory, it is He who is to all created being its Lord and Ruler and manifested King. We are the work of His hands: we, and all our world. We owe Him allegiance by the very fact of our birth and our being. And we are the kings of earth; in our hand hath He put all the tribes of His creation: in our hands all the wonders of capacity latent in His inanimate works. We, and all this oar dominion over which we reign, are His. And not we and our world only. There are hosts of happy spirits, rising through all the gradations of created glory, even to the very presence of God, and the skirts of the brightness which flows round and veils the eternal throne. These too, however lofty and holy, are His: Him they acknowledge as their King and Lord, by the very condition of their angelic being. Behold Him then, the Head over all things: the rightful and everlasting Sovereign of the universe of God. Such spectacle we might contemplate with adoration; with wonder, the more we thought, at His unapproachable majesty and power: but it has pleased Him to reveal to us greater things than these. The throne of majesty was not enough for Him: He must win a higher throne of love. To stand by the throne of God and rule, satisfied not the yearnings of His heart: He must come down among His own creatures, and endure the contradiction of sinners against Himself, and resist, striving unto blood: and fight and fall, but conquer while He fell, with the weapons of redeeming love. It was not enough for Him, to have created man in God's image, after His likeness; to be the rightful Head by creative lordship over their nature, the wonder of His universe: but when that image was marred, He must Himself descend into the tabernacle of the flesh, and gain for Himself another and a closer headship and kingship — so that He is now not only the Son of God, but the Son of Man: has not only His supreme and undoubted rights over our nature ab extra, as its God and Creator, but also rights far more wonderful ab intra, inasmuch as He is its second head and righteous root, and blessed renewer in righteousness. Let us pursue a few of the grounds and details of this His sovereignty. He is King of man, inasmuch as He is the only man who has ever fulfilled manhood. He is our King also, because He is the Head of our common nature. He has taken unto His personal Godhead our whole and entire nature, as complete as it was in Adam, and as free from taint as it was when Adam was created in it; and on account of this His being the second root or head of our common nature, and on no other account, it is, that every man has a part in Christ, that we preach Christ the Saviour of the world, and call on all to look unto Him and be saved. He thus is rightful and undoubted King of that nature of ours, and of all that it has and rules, by virtue of His including it all in Himself, and standing before God as man; all we and our world being contemplated by the Father as existent solely in and because of, and as summed up in, Him. Advancing onward again with those new titles to kingship which He who by His own right was king, has been in the process of redemption pleased to make for Himself, we come to this one; that He has, besides His perfection in our nature, besides His headship over it, purchased it to Himself by the price of His own precious blood. Not only is He the light of the world, not only is He the second Adam, but He is the Redeemer. He became our representative, not in perfection only, not in entireness of bearing our nature only, but inasmuch as He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows, and bowed under the burden of the world's guilt in His own body on the Cross, and came up out of death triumphant, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. God and evil, God and impurity, cannot exist face to face: nor can He permit an unconquered antagonist in that universe which He hath created. But because, in the eternal verities of God, who counts not time, but sees as present all that happens in all time, Jesus had suffered, had died, had risen again, man was spared, nature was spared: the sun was commanded to shine on the evil and on the good, and the rain to rain on the just and on the unjust. So that as we are told, "in Christ all things consist," have their being: and to Him alone this existence of ours, and of things around us, this life and motion, and joy, and increase, is owing from moment to moment. Then, has He not a right to it all, as His? to us, and to all that is ours? to all that would have perished with us had He not died, but which is now preserved to us and to Him? And if He is a King, He has a kingdom. And what is His kingdom? In that wider sense in which we have treated of His sovereignty, it is the universe of God: all that ever was and is and shall be: but of that His kingdom we will not now speak. Let us rather tell of the issues of that lower and more limited kingdom, which He hath won here below among us, and see whether that have not for us a voice within our hearts, and a claim which grasps at the threads of our common motives and affections. Christ is the King of man. Who remembers this, who acts upon this, as he ought? Every man on earth is Christ's subject: He is your King and my King, and the King even of the poor heathen who know Him not: for He hath bought us all for Himself: He is thus our rightful King: and it is a claim which He will not forego. All kings shall bow down before Him: all nations shall do Him service. But O, it was not for this that He won for Himself a kingdom; not for this, that the wheels of His chariot might crush down all that opposeth, that He might hear His enemies calling on the rocks to fall on them, and the hills to cover them; no, for He is, as we have seen, not only a King of right, but a King of righteousness to the sons of men. When Pilate asked Him in the hour of His deepest humiliation, "Art thou a King then?" in asserting His Kingship, He added, "For this cause was I born and for this cause came I into the world, that I might bear witness unto the truth." There is no truth, but in Him: and whatsoever is true is His, part of His kingdom, and woven into His design, and blessed by His sanction, and matured by His fostering Spirit. Here is the Redeemer's more glorious, more heavenly kingdom; the kingdom of truth, and purity, and holiness, and love. But the question arises, What is this truth of which He is speaking? Is it truth in science merely — is it truth in art — those subtle powers of harmonising with God's creative laws, which seem as if they might and do exist where there is no deeper truth of heart and life? Is it, in a word, any of those outlying branches of truth, which seem as if they were rooted in earth for themselves, and got no life from the parent stem? Let us reply to this in His own words, "I am the way and the truth and the life." It is He who has revealed to us the truth, and He has revealed it in Himself. And as He is the revelation and the fountain of truth, so in order to be a subject of His blessed kingdom of truth must a man enter into it by Him: by knowing Him and believing Him, and being knit unto Him, and living his common life by virtue of faith in Him. This process of self-renunciation, this acceptance of Him as King, and of His Spirit as guide of His life, must accompany all effectual entrance, with the will and the affection, into His kingdom of grace — all heirship of His kingdom of glory. Such a kingdom then is God establishing on earth among men: a kingdom of truth and mercy and love, of which His Son is the Head and King. Day by day He is calling its subjects out from among the falsehood and the strife which is the rule of life of this world. Among the nations, He is preparing it; in His own way, not in ours. He is still suffering the darkness to prevail over wide tracts of this earth: still permitting the oppressor to oppress, and the truth to be kept down: but it is that that truth, by trial and by sifting, may become purer and surer. And we look for a day when that His kingdom, which sprung not out of this world, shall yet be manifested in this world and rule over this world. But we are called on by our text to look forward further even than this. Its words treat of a time when Christ's kingdom shall have passed altogether out of conflict into triumph, out of grace into glory.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.