Revelation 19:11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
In the post from last week we discussed the idea of the Crucified Messiah. I love this picture for several reasons. First, here is the God of the universe who could destroy His enemies with a thought and He didn’t, He actually put His life in the hands of His enemies and allowed them to fulfill His purposes by killing Him illegally and immorally. The second reason why I love this picture is that God’s love for us is completely sacrificial, even to the point of death.
The problem with this picture though is the inability to understand the importance of the advents of Christ and the very nature and personality of God. In the first advent, or what is commonly called the Incarnation of Jesus, the Old Testament and Jesus Himself are very clear that He would be coming as the suffering servant who would lay His life down for us; but they are equally clear He will also be coming as a Warrior King. It is in the Second Advent in which we see a Warrior King who will not ask for allegiance but demand it.
Throughout the Bible, we see that God is a Warrior King who is passionate and loving enough to go to war and do violence on behalf of His people, His Bride.
In Exodus 15:3 Moses sings us a song where he declares that God is a warrior! This idea is common from the beginning all the way to the end when followed through in Revelation. In Revelation we see Jesus coming back as this Warrior King leading an Army of Saints decimating the enemies of God.
What we need to understand that it isn’t as simple as either side of the debate would make it seem. It isn’t like I can just choose to be a pacifist over being a warrior or vice versa. Further, it isn’t either Jesus the Crucified Messiah or Jesus the Warrior King, but rather Jesus who came as a Crucified Messiah and will return for us as a Warrior King.
We need to understand that instead of picking a theological position such as Pacifism or “Just War” we must do exactly what Jesus did. We need to understand what season we are in and to pray and hear from God when is the appropriate time to lay down our life as a crucified servant or take up a sword in the defense of the weak and oppressed. In other words instead of applying a verse to every single scenario we encounter we must be obedient to the Spirit in every moment.