Friday, February 11, 2011

The Lamb Opens the Seals

The Time of Divine Wrath:

The main action of the book of Revelation begins here at chapter six. From this point on, as the seals of the book of destiny are opened, the judgment period for the earth is depicted. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the Lion-Lamb, who holds the title deed to the earth by right of creation and redemption, is about to take over the earth. Chapters four and five are scenes in Heaven. Believer Priests have been raptured (our promised hope) and have received their crowns or rewards [Ref. Rev. 4:10]. The giving of the crown belongs to that period after the rapture of the Church [Ref. 2 Tim. 4:8]. After the redeemed have received their rewards, earth’s official representative (Jesus Christ) takes command. In Heaven He has been proclaimed “worthy.” Now the earth must receive Him, but first the righteous judgment of God the Father must be meted out to the inhabitants of the earth who have rejected Him.

The judgment period takes place in Revelations 6:1-19:4, the judgment being executed in three series: the seals [ref. 6:1-8:5]; the trumpets [ref. 8:6-19:21]; the vials [ref. 16:1-19:21].

Actually we see from scripture that the seven seals cover the entire judgment period, with the trumpet judgments issuing forth out of the seals, and the vial judgments issuing forth out of the trumpets.

All judgments are future; they have not been fulfilled yet. “The day of vengeance of our God” [ref. Isa. 61:2] has not yet come upon the earth, but is drawing near. Up to the present hour God the Father’s throne has not been one of judgment but of Grace.

The First Seal:

Revelations 6:1-2~Judgment is about to fall. All acts described under the seven seals are acts of judgment. The scene is a judgment scene. The throne is a judgment throne.

As each seal is opened, God’s judicial action is disclosed, one stage at a time. The seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy is about to begin [ref. Dan. 9:27]. One of the four beasts is the spokesman. We note from scripture here that when the subject concerns Heaven, the elders speak, and when it concerns the earth, one of the four beasts speaks.

As our Lord and Savior broke open the first seal, the sound John heard was “as it were the noise of thunder.” The thundering voice out of the beast (living creature) speaks of coming judgment. The first mention of thunder in the bible is in connection with God’s judgment upon Egypt [ref. Exd. 9:23]. This voice as a clap of thunder sounds the beginning of the tribulation period, the time of Jacobs trouble [ref. Jer. 30:7]. The thunder of divine judgment upon the earth rolls with increasing magnitude for seven years until the lightening of Christ’s Second Coming to the earth strikes [ref. Mt. 24:27; Rev. 19:11].

John say’s I heard and I looked as the living creature spoke concerning what is about to take place upon the earth. The voice is not speaking to John to come but John is to record what is taking place. The voice is speaking to the rider on the white horse. Literally he is telling the rider, “Be going.” The command is literally obeyed. This rider appears at the beginning of Daniel’s seventieth week, this rider is the Antichrist, the prince of Daniels prophecy. He is the counterfeit Christ, the wicked one to appear after the church is translated [ref. 2Thes. 2:8]. The rider is given a crown, but his is the Stephanas, and not the Diadema crown worn by our Lord and Savior when He rides forth [ref. Rev. 19:12]. This rider is Satan’s man. His weapon is a bow; Christ’s weapon is a sword.

He the rider of chapter 6:2 comes imitating Christ and offering peace, but he is as false as is the peace he offers. When this wicked one appears, “God shall send them (those who have rejected His Son) strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” [ref. 2Thes. 2:11]. When this rider appears he shall deceive many [ref. Mt. 24:5], and have all in subjection to himself [ref. Rev. 13], but it will not be for long. He is but acting under the divine mandate. The authority he displays “was given unto him” [ref. Rev. 6:2, 4]. It is by the permissive will of God that he comes forth “conquering.” “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast (Antichrist) until the words of God shall be fulfilled as per Scripture,” [ref. Rev. 17:17].

This rider on the white horse sheds no blood. His is a bloodless conquest for we see from verse chapter 6:2. He has a bow but no arrows. He corresponds to the false Christ of Mathew 24:5. His method is deception; he comes with a promise of peace to offer.

The world that rejected God’s son Jesus Christ is ready to receive the devil’s Christ [ref. John 5:43]. After the church has been translated, this political leader and military strategist will put in his appearance and deceive the entire world. Appearing as a great ruler of men, he will be but a servant of God to carry out the divine purpose in the earth as all previous world leaders have been.

He will be the last man to attempt to bring peace, but his efforts will only prove that there can be no peace without the presence of the Prince of Peace our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

The Second Seal:
Revelations 6:3-4~Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ broke open the second seal, delegates’ authority to the second living creature (beast) to send forth a red horse and its rider. The red horse represents a bloody warfare. The effort to bring universal peace apart from Christ will fail, and this failure will result in strife, violence, and bloodshed.

The devil is called the “great red dragon” [ref. Rev. 12:3], and “He was a murderer from the beginning” [ref. John 8:44]. The rider on the red horse has a sword. He proceeds to take peace from the earth and to kill. At first the Antichrist seems to be a man of peace, but “When they shall say, Peace and Safety; then comes sudden destruction upon them [ref. 1Thess. 5:3]. We must keep in mind that the restrainer, The Holy Spirit, is at the time taken from the earth, so that the slaughter is infused into men by Satanic power [ref. 2 Thess. 2:7].

Our Lord and Savior said, “And ye shall here of wars and rumors of wars-for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” [ref. Mt. 24:6-7]. Peace pacts will be meaningless for those last perilous days men will be “trucebreakers” [ref. 2 Tim. 3:3). The phrase, “that should slay one another” inclines war within each nation, class wars, religious wars, race wars. “Every man’s sword shall be against his brothers” [ref. Ezk.38:21].

These scriptures depict scenes prophetic, not yet having been fulfilled. The rider on the red horse, most likely the same person astride the white horse, now reveals him self at the end of vs. 6:4, his true identity. He is not the Prince of Peace, but Satan’s counterfeit, and imposter.

The Third Seal:

Revelations 7:5-6~and when our Lord and Savior broke the third seal the third living creature said to the black horse, “come”. The same rider appears upon a black horse, this time he holds no weapon of warfare in his hands, but a pair of scales. This balance, like the black horse, inclines scarcity to the extent of famine. Scriptures relate that, “They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger” [ref. Lam. 4:9]. Black follows Red; Famine follows war; Famine is symbolized in Scripture by the color black. “Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine” [ref. Lam 5:10]. John tells us of the extent of the famine in vs. 6:6 for the cost of a meal or three meals will be a day’s wages “a denarius.” A man will work a full day’s labor for just enough to feed himself for that day, with needing to divide the same with his family and most will have one. This condition exists while the war lords enjoy plenty for verse 6:6 say’s, “the oil and wine” are not to be harmed. These are the possessions of the few rich who hold the masses in slavery, and therefore they are not to be measured out to the famine-stricken. The rider with the balances speaks of food conservation. That black day is coming.

The day of famine will appear upon the earth. Now we know why this period is called “The Tribulation.”

The Fourth Seal:

Revelation 6:7-8~and when our Lord and Savior broke open the fourth seal, the fourth living creature said, “Come.” John looked and beheld another horse and the same rider was sent forth to the earth. The rider is called Death; and Hades was following him. This horse is pale or ashen, meaning livid and corpselike, being still more terrible in its symbolic meaning.

Under the three previous seals, a false peace was followed by war and then famine on the earth. Now death dealing plagues its fury is depicted in its wide spread effects, killing one fourth of the earths population. This is a result of the foregoing judgments, which God calls, “My four sore judgments” [ref. Ezk.14:21].

Death the final claimant and custodian of the body with Hell (or Hades) followed after him to gather the souls of the victims. Hades, the abode of the unregenerate souls that leave the body at death, is a path to death. Hades is the abode of departed spirits between death and resurrection. It is temporary, in contrast to the lake of fire which is forever [ref. Rev. 20:13-14].

The believer priest can take courage. Because he is in Christ he need not fear. Our Lord said, “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore Amen; and have the keys of hell and death” [ref. Rev. 1:18]. After all unredeemed men have heard the final word of judgment, “Death and hell were cast into the lake of fire” [ref. Rev. 20:14].

The Fifth Seal:

Revelation 6:9-11~Our Lord and Savior breaks the fifth seal, and John tells us he saw underneath the alter he was being shown the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God. This reveals to us that there will be many saved during the tribulation period. These will also pay with their lives. Our Lord says, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and they shall kill you and you shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake: [ref. Mt. 24:9]. These are the martyrs of the tribulation days. Having heard the gospel of the kingdom, thousands will believe and receive it, but they will be persecuted by the beast (Antichrist). We are not told precisely of what means God effects this work of faith in them. We do know the Holy Spirit is the effectors of conviction to salvation. The Holy Spirit has been removed as the restrainer of evil for the time, but is ever at work for the completion to salvation.

The tribulation martyrs “were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held.” The Scriptures always exalt Christ. He is their theme throughout. Thus in the tribulation there will be a continuing testimony to Him. This will provoke the Antichrist and his followers to hatred, to the extent that they will kill these who hold to the Scriptures and to the Christ of whom they testify.

We see here in verse 6:10 the martyrs are actually calling for vengeance against their persecutors. The attitude of the tribulation marks the change of Age.

The Tribulation saints will be living in the Age of Judgment, thus they pray according to the ruling principle of that period of time in which they live and died. The cry, “How long?” is the familiar Jewish cry during the time of Jacob’s trouble [ref. Psa. 74:9-10; 79:5; 80:46; 94; 3-4]. The persecuted Jew in that day will seek vengeance upon their murderers without any sense of guilt for doing so. It is the time of judgment. The judgment throne is set.

In response to their prayers, “White robes were given unto every one of them.” The robe is an assurance that they are God’s redeemed ones and that God will care for His own. Then they are told to wait patiently until the rest of the number of their brethren and fellow servants are slain for their faith. There can be no response to their cry until the martyred band is complete.

The Sixth Seal:

Revelations 6:12-17~As John was watching our Lord and Savior brake the sixth seal, the result is catastrophe on a world-wide scale. This is not the final judgment; it is not the end of the world.

There are three great earthquakes mentioned in Revelation (6:12; 11:13; 16:18-19). This is the first of three. The judgments of the first four seals were at the hands of the Antichrist, but with the opening of the sixth seal, the judgments are supernatural and come from Heaven.

The disturbances under this sixth seal judgment were foretold by our Lord when He said, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven will be shaken” [ref. Lk.21:25-26].

The words of our blessed Lord mean precisely what they say. The people who will be living on the earth at that time will actually see the fulfillment of the astronomical signs in connecting with the heavenly bodies. Christ then tells the time element of these happenings, “and then shall ye see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” [ref. Lk. 21:27].

That dreadful day will reveal that God is no respecter of persons. All men:
Kings….great men….rich men….chief captains….mighty men, and every bondsman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains.

All are gripped with one common terror. All are helpless before “the wrath of the Lamb.” The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. The very earth rulers, rulers that
Frightened the people with persecution and death under the fifth seal are now themselves frightened into helplessness and despair. O, you who still reject Him, turn to Christ at once. Receive Him while there is yet time, for the day of His judgment must surely come.

Already there are signs indicating that the end might be near. Your only hope is a right relation to the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ. Accept Him at once, and you can rejoice with the redeemed that ye shall be taken out of the earth before that great and dreadful day of the Lord. May God awaken us all to see the horror of the coming tribulation and thereby quicken us to prayer, giving, and a renewed effort to reach the lost with the gospel?