Lord of heaven’s armies

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A frequent Old Testament title for God is ‘Lord of hosts’ or ‘Lord of armies’. What do you make of it?

Image of the Day

Bible passage: Revelation 19:11–21

The Rider on the White Horse
 11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:


 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.”

 19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21 The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).

Explore the Bible

Rider on a white horse
The scene changes once more. The bridegroom is now riding a white horse (not entirely uncommon in Eastern weddings).

This rider should not be confused with a different figure also on a white horse in chapter 6. It is better to see links with chapter 1, noting the similarity in the items carried by the rider of chapter 19 with the description in chapter 1 of Christ as head of the church.

Selfless conqueror
Again, we may be troubled by the violent and gory actions attributed to Jesus (eg v 18), but this must be balanced with other considerations. It is the forces of evil (both spiritual and earthly) that have aligned themselves against the King of kings (vs 19–21); and the war Christ (and we) wage is primarily against these authorities and powers (Ephesians 6:12).

Another important point is the way Christ conquers. The blood staining his robe (v 13) is his own! It is through his selfless death that victory is won. In any conflict we might face, taking the path of vulnerability and humility is a better option than the path of authoritarianism or overbearing forcefulness (see Philippians 2:1–11).


Go through the passage again, highlighting the titles given to Jesus. Give thanks for the meaning of each one.

David Dewey

Deeper Bible study

John’s visions shift in time and perspective. People often try to construct chronologies of the end-times, but they cannot. As Eugene Boring wrote in Revelation, ‘Here is no calendarization of the End but a tour through an eschatological art gallery’. God’s victory is presented in multiple pictures. We must look beneath their surface and unravel what they mean by using our main tool, the Bible. Some images may baffle us, but the apocalyptic puzzles yield to a careful study of Scripture.

John’s perspective changes. He is now transported to an earthly vantage point. He sees heaven open and the all-conquering Jesus descend to earth. All the descriptors reinforce this to be the same Jesus we have already met, the awe-inspiring One, ‘Faithful and True’ (v 11), in dazzling garments with stars in his hand and a sword coming from his mouth (Revelation 1:12–26; 2:12), ‘the sword of the Spirit … the word of God’ (Ephesians 6:17) – the sword with which he will save, judge and destroy. The battle imagery may seem gruesome, even politically incorrect, to us – but not to an earlier, less squeamish generation. Even today my young granddaughter perfectly understood the gory final battle in the Lord of the Rings as apocalyptic, a vivid picture of good defeating evil. Today’s painful but powerfully explicit images imprint on our minds that Jesus’ spiritual victory was final. 

Militaristic imagery seems inconsistent with the Prince of peace, but it is not inconsistent with the battle imagery of the New Testament (eg 2 Corinthians 10:3, 4; Hebrews 4:12; 1 John 5:4). It is the same victory in the same battle, now retold in apocalyptic pictures. The triumphant warrior king is the dying and rising Jesus – not crucified merely as a preliminary to some later, more complete victory but ‘once for all’ (Romans 6:10). His garments are drenched, not in the blood of his enemies but in his own blood. This death has won for us the victory.

John Harris

Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year.

Jonah 3,4

Revelation 11

Faithful and True

The vivid imagery described in Revelation can often be quite gruesome or dark, but moments like today’s passage tip the balance and bring in the light. It may not be rainbows and white fluffy clouds, but it encourages us to remember the strong, heroic, just, warrior aspects of God.

As you read this, quite different, description of Jesus once more, what do the words inspire in you?

Artist’s impression by Andrew Gray.

Christmas Countdown

What's the difference between Father Christmas and God? Some people seem to struggle to tell them apart...

Anti-Santy Ranty – by Glen Scrivener, 10ofthose (https://vimeo.com/54075943)


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  • Louise Knight | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    #ExploretheBible 'The blood staining his robe (v 13) is his own!' How do we know this?

  • Brian Livesey | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    Please listen to the above "the difference between Father Christmas and God". It highlights the difference between how most non-christians and some christian's view God as a performance based reward giving God ( which reflects our culture ) and as how God really is: as a God who loves us just as we are: broken, damaged and in desperate need of his grace.

  • Helen Humby | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Word of God, faithful and true. Names which describe our wonderful Saviour. Prince of peace in the mighty storms of life. I worship you today. Amen Louise I think we cant be absolutely sure but it would definitely make sense that this is His own blood shed for us.

  • Angela Munday | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    Thanks Louise - It seems the image in verse 13 might be that of the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah....."Their life-blood is sprinkled upon My garments and I stained all my raiment". (Isaiah 63:3). It paints a picture of an 'end of age' destroyer of all evil. JESUS, the Messiah, came in peace to save those that were 'lost':- Hallelujah!

  • Lynn Creation | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    I'm still playing catch up with the studies, but I wanted to thank SU, Howard Peskett and JAN, I think it was was, for sending the link to and highlighting SPECAL for dementia suffers. I have been in touch with them regarding my father and they have been very informative and supportive, with more on the way! Thank you

  • Lynn Creation | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    I'm still playing catch up with the studies, but I wanted to thank SU, Howard Peskett and JAN, I think it was was, for sending the link to and highlighting SPECAL for dementia suffers. I have been in touch with them regarding my father and they have been very informative and supportive, with more on the way! Thank you

  • Linda Penrose | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    "A frequent Old Testament title for God is ‘Lord of hosts’ or ‘Lord of armies’. What do you make of it? " https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOkImV2cJDg

  • Derek Forster | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    Crown Him Lord of life, Who triumphed o’er the grave, And rose victorious in the strife For those He came to save; His glories now we sing Who died, and rose on high, Who died eternal life to bring, And lives that death may die. Crown Him the Lord of peace, Whose pow’r a scepter sways From pole to pole, that wars may cease, And all be pray’r and praise: His reign shall know no end, And round His pierced feet Fair flow’rs of paradise extend Their fragrance ever sweet. Crown Him the Lord of love; Behold His hands and side, Those wounds, yet visible above, In beauty glorified: All hail, Redeemer, hail! For You have died for me: Your praise and glory shall not fail Thro’out eternity.

  • Angela Munday | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    LYNN - Good to read your update and continuing to pray for you and your dad each morning. So happy you are finding some support. May God be close to you this and every day.

  • Brenda Hill | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    #Biblepassage:Revelation19: "Faithful and True' "Word of God" "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS" It is so wonderful to be able to do this devotion today and to write this comment - I have been barred from opening it all morning - with my IT son landing in New Zealand I thought that was the end of my daily devotion till New Year. I cannot open any PDF either - not sure what has happened - but then suddenly at Midday in came Word Live for today and it opened - none of the old ones would - timed out all the time - thank you thank you Lord - the printing is tiny but at least I'm in and able to join my W/Live family - what joy. He is truly our amazing Immanuel - God with us in every situation - our King of Kings and Lord of Lords who is the living Word of God so Faithful and True. Blessings all. Will now read comments.

  • Brenda Hill | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    Lovely to see your name today LOUISE - trust you are well and thank you ANGELA for that passage in Isaiah which does seem to be the answer. LYNN lovely to hear you have found some help may His grace continue to flow. LINDA thank you for that link - so true He is the God of Angel Armies and also DEREK you have found the right tune as always thank you - I'm listening to it now " Crown him with many crowns" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YJnVN6wdvI

  • Timothy Gage | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    @Louise Knight also look at Rev. 1:5; 5:9; 7:14; 12:11

  • Sandra Laythorpe | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    Adonai Tsevaoth: God of the Armies of Israel. I love this title for Him. He will overcome all evil! Halleluyah!

  • Timothy Gage | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    It also could be his enemies as well. Isa 63:1–6. hmm? We know that Christ was victorious through the shedding of His blood, that it was with His blood as our great High priest that He bought us and that also the blood is used to describe the life he has taken from His enemies.

  • Adam Julians | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    The video talks of keeping God distant, being afriad of what he might say. Something encountered in meditation is facing fear, pain, emotional junk and it is dangerous but not as dangerous as living without surrender of will to God. "In any conflict we might face, taking the path of vulnerability and humility is a better option than the path of authoritarianism or overbearing forcefulness." And yet at times, Jesus acted in ways that could be considered to be rude, shocking even misogenysic and racist. Someone said to me recently that I invite being mistreated. What I think she picked up on was me "taking a path of vulnerability". Yes, I do that with God and with others. It does result in me expereincing pain, fear and being mistreated. Yet kindness, humility can be perceived as a weakness and there are many who will take advantage of that. Others have at times perceived me as being rude and shockiing. Always a challenge as to whether to risk being open or to "put on the full armour of God" I find. However courage, fortitude as a fruit of the Spirit is steadfastness when expereincing pain and adversity. I find this imagary brutal, yet necessary visual imagery of the reality of the spiritual battle that we all face every minute of every hour of every day. I find is a comfort that the white horse of battle is also the beauty of what the groom rides in on at the wedding supper as described with Christ.

  • Roger Hall | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    In the great scene, is the angel advising John. Carried away, John falls to worship him. The angel quickly puts him right - "Don't do it, - worship God!" No angel, apart from the fallen one, will accept worship.

  • Peter Oliver | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    Its wonderful to know that theLORD of Heavens armies armour is available for us.

  • Lynn Creation | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    Thank you ANGELA and BRENDA and, I'm sure, others, for your support. Please pray that we get back into a manageable nighttime routine as none of us are able to sleep much currently. Thanks again W,/Ls.

  • Louise Knight | Thursday, 17 December 2015

    @Timothy Gage - thank you! Do you perhaps know my friend Wayne with the same surname - unlikely, I know, but I'd love to get back in contact?

  • Chris Stivens | Tuesday, 25 September 2018

    Adonai Tsevaoth: God of the Armies of Israel. I love this title for Lord of Hevens. I wrote it when i was working in IT company (https://www.linksmanagement.com/). Thanks for sharing videos.

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