And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True…
I. JOHN SAW OUR CAPTAIN, the King of kings.
1. Let us notice His glorious state. Our Lord is here described as sitting upon a gallant steed, charging His foes upon a snow-white horse.
(1) This means that Christ is honoured now. In royal state our Jesus goeth forth to war, not as a common soldier, but as a glorious prince, royally mounted.
(2) By a horse is denoted not only honour, but power. To the Jews the employment of the horse in warfare was unusual, so that when it was used by their adversaries they imputed to it great force. Jesus Christ has a mighty power to-day, a power which none can measure.
(3) Here is symbolised swiftness, too. His word runneth very swiftly. The colour of the horse is also meant to denote victory. He comes to fight, but the fight is for peace; He comes as a conqueror, but it is as a delivering conqueror who scattereth flowers and roses where he rides, breaking only the oppressor, but blessing the citizens whom he emancipates.
2. John looked into the open vault of heaven, and he had time not only to see the horse, but to mark the character of Him that sat upon it. He says that He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True. By this you may know your Lord.
3. John still looked, and as he gazed with open eye he marked the mode of action and of warfare which the champion employed, for he says, "In righteousness He doth judge and make war." Jesus is the only king who always wars in this fashion.
4. One other thing John saw, and that was His name. But here he seems to contradict himself. He says that He had a name which no man knoweth, yet he says that His name war the Word of God. Oh, but it is all true, for in such a one as our Master there must be paradoxes. No man knoweth His name. None of you know all His nature. His love passes your knowledge; His goodness, His majesty, His humiliation, His glory, all these transcend your ken. You cannot know Him. Oh, the depths!
II. His FOLLOWERS.
1. Christ has a great following — not one army, but "armies," whole hosts of them, numbers that cannot be counted.
2. These that follow Him, you notice, are all mounted. They followed Him on white horses. They are mounted on the same sort of horses as Himself, for they fare as He fares: when He walks, they must walk; when He bears a cross, they must carry crosses too; but if ever He gets a crown, He cries, "They shall be crowned too."
3. The armies of Christ followed Him on white horses. Look steadily at these white horses, and observe the armour of their riders. Cromwell's men wore at their side long iron scabbards in which they carried swords, which oftentimes they wiped across the manes of their horses when they were red with blood. But if you look at these troops there is not a sword amongst them. They are not armed with lance or pike, and yet they are riding forth to war. Do you want to know the armour of that war? I will tell you. They are clothed in white linen, white and clean. Strange battle array this! And yet this is how they conquer, and how you must conquer too. This is both armour and weapon. Holiness is our sword and our shield.
4. Yet I have said they were all on horses, which shows you that the saints of God have a strength that they sometimes forget. You know not that you ride on a horse, O child of God; but there is a supreme invisible power which helps you in contending for Christ and for His truth. You are mightier than you know of, and you are riding more swiftly to the battle and more rapidly over the heads of your foes than ever you dream.
III. THE WARFARE. What is this warfare? There cannot be war without a sword, yet if you look all along the ranks o" the white-robed armies there is not a sword amongst them all. Who carries the sword? There is one who bears it for them all. It is He, the King, who comes to marshal us. He bears a sword. But where? It is in His mouth! Yet this is the only sword my Lord and Muster wields. Mahomet subdued men with the scimitar, but Christ subdues men with the gospel. We have but to tell out the glad tidings of the love of God, for this is the sword of Christ with which He smites the nations.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
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.