Jesus the Avenger of Blood

He’s not a baby in a manger anymore, He’s not a broken man on a cross. He didn’t stay in the grave, and He’s not staying in Heaven forever…People get ready, Jesus is coming!” 

People Get Ready! Misty Edwards, Forerunner Music (2007). 

I saw under the altar the souls of those having been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had upheld. And they cried out in a loud voice,
“How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You avenge our blood and judge those who dwell upon the earth?”

Revelation 6:9-10.

One of the important milestones in my maturation as a Christian was hearing the prophetic worship song People Get Ready! by Misty Edwards about a dozen years ago. I didn’t hear the whole song but only a short clip running from approximately 3:28 to 5:40. In the vernacular of the Hippie generation in which I came of age, it “blew my mind.” That two minutes of prophetic music completely transformed my perspective on the second coming of Christ from a merely abstract theological concept to a stark, looming reality, and it changed the image of Him in my heart and mind from the soft and gentle Jesus of the first advent to the image John painted of Jesus in Revelation 19:11-21. 

“Then I saw heaven standing open, and there before me was a white horse. And its rider is called Faithful and True. With righteousness He judges and wages war. He has eyes like blazing fire, and many royal crowns on His head. He has a name written on Him that only He Himself knows. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is The Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in fine linen, white and pure, follow Him on white horses. And from His mouth proceeds a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. And He has a name written on His robe and on His thigh: King of King and Lord of Lords.”

“Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out in a loud voice to all the birds flying overhead, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings and commanders and mighty men, of horses and riders, of everyone slave and free, small and great.” Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies assembled to wage war against the One seated on the horse, and against His army. But the beast was captured along with the false prophet, who on its behalf had performed signs deceiving those who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. Both the beast and the false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. And the rest were killed with the sword that proceeded from the mouth of the One seated on the horse. And all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.”   

John’s word-portrait reveals the Jesus of the Second Advent as a man of war, and the avenger of blood. In it, His long-suffering tolerance for wickedness, in the hope all people would repent (2 Peter 3:9), has ended, and His wrath against those who have chosen to remain His enemies despite all the many chances He has given them is finally poured out on the earth. Just as the “wheat” (the righteous) were harvested and glorified to become part of the Heavenly Host attending His return, so are the “grapes” (the wicked) now harvested and crushed in the Winepress of God’s Wrath.  

Ever since I heard that song, the focus of my biblical worldview – in terms of what it means to be “Christlike” – has been forward looking and not backward, and I have felt strong vindication from the Lord in my career as a culture warrior. I have also largely abandoned the expectation that human efforts would solve the crisis of the world if we just stayed pure in our hearts and fought harder on the battlefield. Prophecy had come alive to me a few years before I heard the Edwards song, but my sense that His return would be sooner than later was sharpened, and, of course, events over this past decade have strongly strengthened that view. I fight to win anyhow – because it’s simply our duty always to be salt and light against the spread of corruption – but I know He is coming back soon when all these battles will be moot.  

For the past year my wife and I have livestreamed our weekly Freestyle Bible Study on Sunday afternoons. (Our archive of past studies is on Rumble.)  We go chapter by chapter through the Bible, reading and then discussing the text in a conversational manner. We’re in 1 Samuel this month and for the past two weeks (covering 1 Samuel 18-20) have read and discussed the rise of David the Christ figure in contrast to first Goliath and then King Saul, both of whom are Antichrist figures .

It struck me during these studies that while the church widely acknowledges David as a Christ figure (necessarily so if one has any respect at all for Bible literalism), that I had never in my Christian life heard anyone point out that the life and acts of David align with the Jesus of the second advent far more than the first advent. Both David and the returned Jesus are men of war who unite all twelve tribes under one monarchy. Never in the story of David do we see more than a glimpse of the soft and gentle Jesus of the first advent – and never in the earthly ministry of Jesus the Christ do we see more than a glimpse of the righteously angry avenger that David exemplified.

(Consider the call to the birds to come and eat the flesh of the wicked dead killed by the deliverer in both Revelation 19:17-18 and 1 Samuel 17:46 and how totally contrary this seems to the modern Christian concept of Jesus rooted exclusively in first advent portrayals, softened further by secular humanist values.) 

Neither do we see the unification of the 12 tribes as a result or aspect of Jesus of the first advent. True, we see members of all 12 tribes united in Christianity, but the tribes themselves remain split between the House of Israel (Christianity) and House of Judah (Judaism) through the entirety of the 2000-year-long Age of the Gentiles. Indeed, that division defines this age just as the reconciliation of the tribes (Ezekiel 37:15-28) defines the Millennial Kingdom, when Christ will “reign on the throne of David” (Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:32).  

The Millennial Kingdom is showcased in the full chapter of Isaiah 11, where we find in verses 12-13 “He [Christ] will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; He will collect the scattered of Judah from the four corners of the earth. Then the jealousy of Ephraim [House of Israel] will depart, and the adversaries of Judah [House of Judah] will be cut off. Ephraim will no longer envy Judah, nor will Judah harass Ephraim.” This passage would make no sense if one assumed the Jesus of the first advent had fulfilled this prophecy. No, this prophecy remains unfulfilled – EXCEPT to the extent that the rise of Messianic Judaism (Christ-believing Jews) represents a foreshadowing of what’s soon to come.  

I believe the emergence of Messianic Judaism shows we are presently on the cusp of the end of the Gentile Age and the start of the Millennial Kingdom. I believe Messianic Judaism will be the religion of the Millennial Kingdom for the humans who repopulate the earth after Armageddon, but is NOT the religion of the Bride of Christ who will rule and reign with Christ (after glorification), no longer needing religion.

Importantly, as summarized by Paul in Romans 11, the House of Judah will not repent and accept Christ until the second advent, when the Jesus they see is the David-like “deliverer…from Zion” – and only then will they recognize that He was also “the one they pierced” … “and they will mourn for Him, like one mourning for an only son” (Zechariah 12:10). 

That time is not far off. People get ready!


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