(Compiled by Samson Warner and the MO Ed. Dept.)
1. KARL MARX WAS RIGHT. Although he claimed not to believe in God‚ he confessed in his "Design of History" to what he called the principle of History: A DRIVING FORCE BEHIND HISTORY WHICH REVEALED A PLAN FOR MAN; this Dialectics of Materialism, swinging to one way then the other, but always coming back to the middle and getting closer to the goal!
2. But if you confess to that‚ as logical thinkers you must realise that THERE HAD TO BE A DESIGN AND A PLANNER BEHIND THE PLAN. This driving Force then must be an omnipotent Power, A GOD BEHIND HISTORY, Who must have given a Plan and a Goal to History, and man is being driven to his ultimate goal whether he likes it or not!
3. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE BOOK OF REVELATION REVEALS: THE PLAN, THE GOAL AND THE PLANNER BEHIND IT ALL!
4. However, God did not wait until the late 1800s as Satan and Marx did to publish their counterfeit plan for man. Instead, GOD REVEALED THE TRUE PLAN FOR MAN NEARLY 2000 YEARS AGO! And it has happened and is happening and will happen just as He predicted! God gave His True Plan "before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe." (Jn.14.29)
THE SEVEN SEALS
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
5. RIGHT ABOVE "CHAPTER ONE" IN MOST BIBLES, THE TITLE READS "The revelation or Apocalypse of St. John the Divine." However, this title which was added by someone years later was not necessarily inspired because the first line of the prophecy says it is "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him‚ and He (Jesus) sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John." (vs.1)
6. THE FIRST FIVE CHAPTERS OF REVELATION, THOUGH THEY DO NOT CONTAIN ANY GLIMPSES INTO THE FUTURE, are extremely important in giving us the background of what is to come. They set the stage, so to speak, for the drama of the future which begins to unfold in chapter 6.
7. Therefore, since these background chapters are really all rather self–explanatory, we will give only a small commentary on each one to help prepare you for the astounding prophecy of the future which begins to unfold in chapter 6 as THE FOUR HORSEMEN THUNDER FORTH AND THE SEVEN-SEALED BOOK OF THE FUTURE IS OPENED!
8. IT IS FAIRLY CERTAIN THAT THIS JOHN WHO MERELY WROTE THE PROPHECY DOWN IS JOHN THE BELOVED. He was one of the youngest of Jesus' apostles and the only one, as far as we know, who did not die a martyr's death. However, that was through no fault of the Roman Empire. They tried to boil him in oil but he wouldn't boil, because the Lord still hadn't finished with him and had further work for him to do.
9. SO DOMITIAN, EMPEROR OF ROME AT THAT TIME, FIGURED, "WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A GUY LIKE THIS? We can't kill him‚ so we'll just stick him some place where he can't do much damage, can't preach or witness to anybody, and where he won't accomplish too much!"
10. So John tells us in his own account that HE ENDED UP ON "THE ISLE THAT IS CALLED PATMOS FOR (or because of) THE WORD OF GOD AND FOR THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST." (vs.9)
11. PATMOS WAS A 10–MILE LONG ROCKY ISLAND off the southwest coast of Asia Minor in the Aegean Sea, which adjoins the Mediterranean. It was big and inhabitable enough to have a little town on it‚ and of course the island is still there today.
12. JOHN WAS PROBABLY IN HIS NINETIES AT THE TIME OF HIS EXILE since Domitian's persecution against Christians occurred in the mid-90s A.D. So here he was, an old man sentenced by the Roman government to exile on a lonely island in order to keep out of harm's way and supposedly to keep him from doing any more damage with his revolutionary doctrines.
13. Instead of that, what happened? HE HAD A REVELATION OUT THERE ALL BY HIMSELF THAT HAS SINCE BEEN A WITNESS TO MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF PEOPLE and influenced more lives than he could ever have reached if he had stayed free.
14. SO NEVER THINK THAT JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE OUT ALONE SOME PLACE OR IN SOME LONELY PRISON CELL THAT GOD CAN'T WORK OR USE YOU because He may be preparing you for something in which you'll be a greater witness than you ever dreamed.
15. This is what He did with John. He just put him someplace alone so John could have time to pray and meditate. Then one day when he "was in the Spirit" (or tuned-in to God) he heard a voice behind him, "A GREAT VOICE, AS OF A TRUMPET, SAYING, I AM ALPHA AND OMEGA, THE FIRST AND THE LAST." (vs.10‚11)
16. When John "turned to see the voice that spake with" him, HE SAW "ONE LIKE UNTO THE SON OF MAN" standing "in the midst [of] seven golden candlesticks," with hair like wool and snow, eyes like fire‚ feet like brass burning in an oven and a voice sounding like many waters. In His right hand were seven stars, and a two edged sword proceeded out of His mouth and His face was like the sun. (vs.12-16)
17. The awesome appearance of this supernatural being so astonished John that he "fell at his feet as dead." But the Man said, "Fear not.... I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore‚ Amen; and have the keys of Hell and of Death." (vs.17,18) THIS, OF COURSE, COULD ONLY HAVE BEEN JESUS IN HIS HEAVENLY APPEARANCE.
18. Many of the terms used here to describe Jesus may be very literal—for instance, "His face like the sun." This literally happened to Him on earth when He was transfigured on the mount where Elijah and Moses appeared to Him (Luke chapter 9). So, ALTHOUGH SOME OF THESE ARE DEFINITELY SYMBOLIC, THEY NEVERTHELESS REPRESENT REALITY—reality which is even greater than the limited symbols used here to describe Him.
19. For instance, THE SWORD GOING OUT OF HIS MOUTH IS SYMBOLIC OF THE "SWORD OF THE SPIRIT WHICH IS THE WORD OF GOD." (Ep.6:17) But this spiritual sword is so powerful that with it He shall literally slay millions of the wicked at His Second Coming: "by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh. And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other." (Is.66:16; Jer.25:33) It's symbolic, but very, very real!
20. THE SEVEN STARS AND CANDLE–STICKS ARE ALSO SYMBOLIC. The 20th verse of this same chapter says. "The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches; and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches."
21. Who are these seven churches? According to verses 4 and 11 of this chapter, THEY ARE "SEVEN CHURCHES WHICH ARE (OR WERE IN 90 A.D.) IN ASIA" and to whom the Lord told John to write. Chapters 2 and 3 contain these letters that John wrote to the seven churches.
22. AFTER THE LORD HAD HELPED JOHN TO RECOVER HIS SENSES A BIT, HE TOLD HIM THAT THE VISION HE WAS ABOUT TO RECEIVE WOULD SPAN THE ENTIRE PANORAMA OF HISTORY. "Write the things which thou hast seen (past), and the things which are (present, in John's day), and the things which shall be hereafter (future, after John). (vs.19)
23. THE GENERAL PATTERN FOR THE BOOK OF REVELATION IS A PROGRESSIVE PREVIEW OF HISTORY "from the things which are," or were in John's Day, to the "things which shall be hereafter." However‚ frequently, sometimes even in the middle of chapter, the Revelation goes back into the past to give some background into whatever subject it's dealing with before showing you their future and how they wind up.
24. CHAPTER ONE IS DEFINITELY PART OF THE "THINGS WHICH ARE" IN JOHN'S DAY and it is an introduction to the vision itself. It introduces Jesus, Who is giving the Revelation through His angel, and John who is writing it. It also shows us that it is going to be about the past, present (of John's day)‚ and the future.
7 LETTERS TO 7 CHURCHES IN ASIA
CHAPTERS 2 & 3
25. In verses 4 and 11 of chapter one‚ John named seven churches (groups of believers‚ not buildings) which were in seven Asian cities: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira‚ Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodecia. ALL OF THESE WERE NAMES OF EXPLICIT, DEFINITE CITIES OF ASIA MINOR, today known as Turkey. They were all within close distance of each other and only a short distance from the isle of Patmos.
26. The Lord undoubtedly told John to write to these particular seven churches because he wasn't far from them. Also, BEING ONE OF THE OLDEST DISCIPLES AND AN APOSTLE OF THE LORD, THESE CHURCHES NO DOUBT LOOKED TO JOHN FOR GUIDANCE AND LEADERSHIP, even in exile.
27. The letters reveal churches in different levels of obedience and/or apostasy, and give rebukes, guidance and promises from the Lord to each one. THOUGH WRITTEN TO LITERAL CHURCHES IN ASIA, WE CAN READ THE LETTERS TODAY AS WARNINGS‚ ADVICE AND COUNSEL regarding any situation existing in our selves or in our church and take it to heart.
28. The churches themselves do not symbolise different so-called church ages, but are examples of various kinds of churches which have existed throughout the entire church age. In other words, ANY ONE OF THE THINGS SPOKEN OF IN THESE SEVEN LETTERS COULD BE TRUE OF A LOT OF DIFFERENT CHURCHES, EVEN TODAY.
29. In this sense then, even though these churches were in Asia in John's day and are part of "the things which are," or were in 90 A.D., they typify all the churches which shall come "hereafter." THE PROMISES TO THESE CHURCHES HAVE HAD MANY FULFILMENTS THROUGHOUT HISTORY AND ARE NOW HAVING ULTIMATE FULFILMENTS IN THIS‚ THE LAST GENERATION.
30. Another example of prophecy being fulfilled in this manner is seen in the words Jesus spoke to His disciples 2,000 years ago, but which every ensuing generation of Christians has appropriated also for itself. And as we have seen these promises of the Lord given to His Apostles fulfilled in every generation, even so THE REBUKES, PRAISES AND PROMISES GIVEN TO THESE SEVEN CHURCHES HAVE BEEN FULFILLED IN EVERY AGE AND ARE NOW BEING ULTIMATELY FULFILLED IN THIS LAST AGE OF CHRISTIANS who fit the description of each church.
31. In fact, THE LORD HAS EVEN USED ONE OF THESE PROMISES‚ THE ONE TO THE CHURCHES IN PHILADELPHIA, WHICH HAS MY NAME IN IT, DAVID, AND PROPHESIED IT OVER ME ON THREE SEPARATE OCCASIONS in the late 1940's by three different prophets, none of whom I had ever met before! And this prophecy is certainly finding fulfilment now in our worldwide work. Read it! (Rev.3:7-13)
32. Of the seven churches, Smyrna and Philadelphia are without reproof. Sardis and Laodicea have nothing good said of them except that Sardis had a "few" undefiled believers left. Ephesus, Pergamos and Thyatira are part bad, part good. THE TWO GOOD CHURCHES‚ SMYRNA AND PHILADELPHIA WERE COMPOSED OF WILDLY WILLING WORKERS AND WERE FACING PERSECUTION FROM THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN, the false worship system of that day—and today!
33. THE TWO VERY BAD CHURCHES GREATLY RESEMBLE THE VAST MAJORITY OF SO-CALLED CHRISTIANS TODAY: materially rich and living it up with good times, but spiritually poor and dead—Sardis, whom the Lord "will come on as a thief," and Laodicea, whom the Lord will "spue out of His mouth."
34. THE REMAINING THREE WERE FAITHFUL IN CERTAIN RESPECTS but Jesus said‚ "I have a few things against thee." In Ephesus they were losing their first love for the Lord. In Pergamos they were tolerating false teachers and idolatry. In Thyatira they were swallowing the lies of the false prophetess Jezebel who was teaching that fornication with idols or worshipping Mammon and the System were acceptable.
35. READ THEM ALL AND SEE WHERE YOU FIT!
THRONE AND 7-SEALED BOOK
CHAPTERS 4 & 5
36. "After this I (John) looked, and BEHOLD, A DOOR WAS OPENED IN HEAVEN: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said‚ Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter." In chapter 1 we found out that Jesus had a voice "as a trumpet" (1:10), so this is Jesus talking to John.
37. Now‚ SOME FALSE PROPHETS HAVE ACTUALLY MISINTERPRETED THIS VERSE AS THE RESURRECTION AND RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH BUT IT ISN'T. It is Jesus telling John to come up so that He can show him the things which must be "hereafter." So far the Revelation has dealt only with "the things which are," or were in John's day; but now Jesus tells John He's going to show him the future.
38. In chapter 1, John was "in the Spirit" or tuned-in to God's Spirit, but here THE LORD TELLS JOHN TO "COME UP" INTO THE REALM OF THE SPIRIT WORLD to literally take a spirit trip into that mysterious dimension of eternal realities, so that John could get the whole view of that little island called Time and see its future!
39. Jesus just called John and "immediately." He said, "I WAS IN THE SPIRIT AND BEHOLD, A THRONE WAS SET IN HEAVEN, AND ONE SAT ON THE THRONE" (4:2), the throne of the Lord God Almighty—His central Headquarters.
40. GOD IS PICTURED HERE AS HAVING THE APPEARANCE OF A JASPER (or diamond) and a sardine (red) stone. Around the throne is an emerald rainbow and twenty-four elders clothed in white rainment, crowns of gold on their heads‚ and seated on twenty-four seats. "Lightning and thunderings and voices" issue forth "out of the throne," but a "sea of glass" symbolising peacefulness lies before it. And "in the midst of the throne and round about" it are "four beasts (a lion, calf‚ flying eagle, and some strange beast with a man's head) full of eyes before and behind."(vs.5,6)
41. I've never heard any of this explained to my satisfaction yet. MOST OF THESE THINGS ARE JUST BEYOND OUR UNDERSTANDING. It was beyond John's for sure. He just described what it looked like and that was all he could do. So we're not going to try to interpret this more than to say it's the throne of God. You'll probably just have to wait till you get there yourself to find out who the twenty-four elders and the four beasts are.
42. But John did see something there that we can understand, and it's in the Fifth Chapter. "I SAW IN THE RIGHT HAND OF HIM THAT SAT ON THE THRONE A BOOK WRITTEN WITHIN AND ON THE BACKSIDE, SEALED WITH SEVEN SEALS. And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood A LAMB as it had been slain. And He CAME AND TOOK THE BOOK out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne." (vs.1,6‚7)
43. THIS IS A DESCRIPTION OF THE LAMB OF GOD, JESUS CHRIST (Jn. 1:29), ASCENDING TO THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER to take a book with seven seals. This picture of Jesus taking the Book may even be going back in history a little bit from the time John received the vision (ca. 90 A.D.)‚ because Jesus ascended to God's right hand in 30 A.D. (Mk.16:19)
44. However, the Lord had promised to show John the things which shall be hereafter. SO THIS IS JUST A LITTLE BIT OF BACKGROUND TO INTRODUCE THE FUTURE, because when the Lord begins to open the seals of this book in the next chapter, the future begins to be revealed.
45. The book is sealed and, except by prophecy‚ THE FUTURE IS IN A SENSE SEALED AND THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN UNSEAL IT OR REVEAL IT IS JESUS. "No man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon " but "the Lion of the tribe of Juda‚ the Root of David‚ hath prevailed to open the book and to loose the seven seals thereof." (vs.3‚5)
46. "All things that the Father hath are Mine," Jesus said (including this book of the future)," therefore said I, that He (the Spirit) shall take of mine‚ and shall shew it unto you," John had recorded that saying of the Lord many years earlier in his gospel (chapter 16 verse 15), and now years later, through the communication of God's eternal Spirit, JESUS IS ABOUT TO SHOW HIS BELOVED APOSTLE THE ENTIRE FUTURE OF THE WORLD!
TABLE OF CONTENTS OF THE FUTURE
47. 1st Seal—And I saw when THE LAMB OPENED ONE OF THE SEALS‚ and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, and one of the four beasts saying, Come and see." (vs.1)
48. "And I saw, and BEHOLD A WHITE HORSE; and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer."(vs.2)
49. THIS IS THE FIRST OF THE FAMOUS FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE who ride forth here in chapter six. "Apocalypse" is simply another name for Revelation, but it means the same thing- `to uncover.’ God uses these four horsemen to "uncover" His own viewpoints on religion, war and economics.
50. The main reason why this and every chapter in Revelation that deals with the System is draped in such heavy symbolism is because GOD'S VIEWS ARE SO EXTREMELY ANTI-SYSTEM THAT IF THE ENEMIES OF THE TRUTH HAD EVER BEEN ABLE TO PROVE WHAT THIS WAS ACTUALLY SAYING, THEY WOULD HAVE BURNED EVERY COPY LONG AGO. But since the game is almost over and the End is at hand, God is letting the cat out of the bag and giving the world the whole truth and letting the chips fall where they may—so we hope you can take it.
51. It doesn't say here who the first horseman is, but we find another picture of "a white horse" in the 19th chapter of this same book,"and HE THAT SAT UPON HIM (THE WHITE HORSE) WAS CALLED FAITHFUL AND TRUE... AND HIS NAME IS CALLED THE WORD OF GOD"—WHO OF COURSE, IS JESUS (JN.1:14) And following Him are the armies of Heaven (the resurrected saints) who are also riding white horses as they come down from heaven to defeat the forces of the Antichrist and take over the world at the Battle of Armageddon. (Rev.19:11-14)
52. Jesus' weapon is His bow or His Word (Ps.7:12). And He is the One Who has the "crown" or right to rule this world and will soon destroy His enemies who are resisting it and usurping His throne. Therefore THIS WHITE HORSE COULD ONLY BE JESUS AND HIS CHURCH, as they are the only ones in this world who are now conquering the world spiritually with the love of God. "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1Jn.5:5) All these other seeming conquerors are actually being overcome and conquered by the world and its "lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life." (1Jn.2:16) And the church will soon, with Christ, physically conquer the world and rule it for a thousand years! (Rev.5:10; 20:4)
53. 2nd Seal—"And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say‚ Come and see. And THERE WENT OUT ANOTHER HORSE THAT WAS RED: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword." (vs.3‚4) Well, who does this sound like? What takes "peace from the earth"?—WAR! THIS RED HORSE SYMBOLIZES WAR, the military and their war machines.
54. THE HORSE'S COLOUR IS VERY APPROPRIATE, REPRESENTING ALL THE BLOOD SHED IN MAN'S HELLISH WARS—wars for which God is not responsible, but which come from the pride, prejudices and avarice of man's own greedy heart. "From whence come wars and fightings among you?" James asks‚ "Come they not hence‚ even of your lusts." (Jam.4:11) The "great sword" given to him certainly symbolizes the great "improvements" in war machines and the greater frequency and greater extent of wars since the prophecy was given.
55. 3rd Seal—"And when he had opened the third seal‚ I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I BEHELD, AND LO A BLACK HORSE; AND HE THAT SAT ON HIM HAD A PAIR OF BALANCES IN HIS HAND. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny; and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." (vs.5‚6) The value of a "penny" in John's day represented an entire day's labour, as is seen in the parable of Jesus where all the labourers worked for "a penny a day." (Mat.20:2) A "measure" equals about one quart and ordinarily a penny could have purchased fifteen to twenty measures. Therefore, FOOD BEING SOLD IN SUCH SMALL QUANTITIES FOR AN ENTIRE DAY'S WAGES INDICATES FOOD SHORTAGE OR FAMINE, AND ALSO RESULTANT POVERTY FOR THE BUYER, as it is costing him everything he has just to buy his daily bread. Even the colour of the horse itself represents famine. "Our skin was black like an oven" Jeremiah said‚ "because of the terrible famine." (Lam.5:10)
56. "Oil and wine," however, throughout scripture are synonymous with abundance or luxury. The fact that they were "hurt not" indicates a situation where WEALTH AND LUXURY ARE EXISTING ALONGSIDE FAMINE AND POVERTY; not an unusual situation to say the least.
57. This inequality in the world's wealth, however, was not created by God. True, He does many times stop the rain or smite the harvest to scourge nations in order to get them to repent, but believe it or not, THE MAJORITY OF FAMINE AND ITS RESULTANT POVERTY IS CREATED BY MAN HIMSELF through his wars and greed!
58. When God originally made the world, before anybody was rich or poor, everybody had about the same amount of land and food and things with which to build their houses, beasts to plow and carry burdens, etc. What happened then‚ was that A FEW BEGAN LEARNING A LOT OF EVIL THINGS CALLED MAN'S "WISDOM" and they began tricking, robbing, lying to and killing others so that they could get more than their share. The people who began doing this became known as the rich and powerful. These are the big multi-millionaire manufacturing merchants and money manipulators, or ruling classes of the world today.
59. Could this black horseman's rider with the "pair of balances in his hand" symbolise these rich merchants? Yes! Only ONE OTHER VERSE IN ALL THE BIBLE PICTURES A MAN HOLDING BALANCES IN HIS HAND: "He is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress."(Hos.12:7) Another Prophet, Amos, also said that these merchants "set forth wheat, making the ephah (or measure) small, and the shekel (or price paid) great‚ and falsifying the balances by deceit...that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail." (Am.8:4-6)
60 The black horse, then, represents famine and poverty maintained by the rich capitalists, of whom the rich, recognised system church is comprised in great number. THIS HORSE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR TODAY'S ECONOMIC SITUATION- a ghastly paradox in which children starve to death in Africa and Asia while American cattlemen shoot their livestock and leave them rotting to protest high feed prices.
61. 4th Seal—"And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked and BEHOLD A PALE HORSE: AND HIS NAME THAT SAT ON HIM WAS DEATH, AND HELL FOLLOWED WITH HIM. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword‚ and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth." (vs.7,8)
62. IN THE ORIGINAL GREEK THE WORD "PALE" ALSO MEANS A SICKLY YELLOWISH-GREEN COLOUR LIKE THE VERY COLOUR OF DEATH ITSELF, which is the Devil's due, and hell follows it for all his children. According to God's laws, because of the disobedience of all from Adam on down, we all have to die because of disobedience and sin. Death is the penalty of physical sin and we all have to suffer the penalty of physical death.
63. The Devil is like the executioner; Paul said that Satan "had the power of death" (Heb 2:14) ALTHOUGH THE DEVIL GETS TO FULFILL THE LAW TO EXECUTE US AND TAKE OUR LIFE PHYSICALLY, THE MOMENT WE, AS CHRISTIANS, DIE WE'RE INSTANTLY FREED SPIRITUALLY. At death the Devil's children go to Hell to be with their father, and we go to Heaven to be with ours. (ML#324:15–17)
64. The Devil, with God's permission, executes death over all the earth, not only on land but in the sea and air! But here it says death and Hell only had power over 1/4 of the earth. So THIS MUST REPRESENT SOMETHING MORE THAN LITERAL DEATH AND THE HELL that follows for Satan's followers. It becomes pretty clear what it represents, though, when you consider two facts:
65. This death and Hell of the fourth seal must therefore represent not just literal death and Satan's `underground' spiritual Hell, but also his `surface' operation, or his control over the governments in this world—his Hell on Earth. TO BE A FOLLOWER OF SATAN (AND IT'S EITHER HIM OR GOD) IS A LIVING DEATH AND HELL-ON-EARTH RIGHT NOW! About the closest thing I can think of on Earth to the wicked's spiritual Hell hereafter would be the zombie–like, monotonous, pointless lives that the wicked people of the world lead even now! (See ML#262:20,46)
66. The devil's power over the kingdoms of this world and his relationship with its rulers are so close that REVELATION PICTURES SATAN AND HIS KINGS AS ALMOST IDENTICAL TWINS. The devil is presented as a "dragon‚ having seven heads and ten horns" (Rev.12:3,9), and the government as "a beast...having seven heads and ten horns" (Rev.13:1; Dan.7:17).
67. And you may find this shocking, but GOD WOULD RATHER EVEN HAVE COMMUNISM, OR ROME‚ OR GREECE, OR BABYLON OR ANY KIND OF ANTI—GOD, ANTI-CHRIST, DEVIL–INSPIRED PAGAN GOVERNMENT RULE THAN HAVE NO GOVERNMENT AT ALL! Because when there is no government, then absolute iniquity and absolute horror of sin reigns rampant like in the days of Noah. So there has to be some government to keep law and order and to keep iniquity somewhat in check. Since they won't have God's government, then He has to give them the Devil's government. So we have had the beast and dragon working together and ruling the world from Egypt till today!
68. JESUS SAID SATAN WAS "A MURDERER FROM THE BEGINNING." (Jn.8:44) That is exactly how he runs his kingdoms: killing with "sword" (war), with hunger (famine), with death (all kinds,) and with beasts of the earth literally, as Rome did in the coliseum, or spiritually through systemite false prophets or politicians who devour you with lying words—"wolves (or beasts)...in sheep's clothing" as Jesus called them. (Mt.7:15)
69. THIS PALE HORSE OF THE FOURTH SEAL, THEN, REPRESENTS THE DEVIL'S RULE IN THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD. He designs them, man builds them, and their end is death and Hell—total destruction both now and forever!
70. 5th Seal—"And when he had opened the fifth seal, I SAW UNDER THE ALTAR THE SOULS OF THEM THAT WERE SLAIN FOR THE WORD OF GOD, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying‚ How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the Earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their brethren‚ that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." (vs.9-11)
71. FIRST COMES THE PROCLAMATION OF THE WHITE HORSE'S MESSAGE and the conquest of many souls. THEN THE OPEN REJECTION BY THE UNBELIEVERS of the other three horsemen crystalises into open antagonism resulting in these "souls of them that were slain for the Word of God." This is the way it's been all throughout history!
72. THESE MARTYRS, THOUGH, ARE ACTUALLY GOD'S EXCEPTIONS, JUST EXAMPLES OF THE DEDICATION OF HIS WITNESSES. The majority of God's Children have usually lived to help carry on the work. But even they too must "die daily" as Paul said, because serving Jesus really kills your pride, your self, your selfishness, your egotism‚ and may even cause some considerable physical sacrifice and strain. So really, all of God's true Children are slain for their testimony.
73. This seal shows us that the System will continue to persecute and kill God's Children until the time ordained by God for the last saint to be slain should be fulfilled. Then HE WILL AVENGE AND VINDICATE HIS PROPHETS BY POURING OUT HIS HORRIBLE, VIOLENT WRATH UPON THE WICKED, described under the next seal.
74. 6th Seal—"AND I BEHELD WHEN HE HAD OPENED THE SIXTH SEAL, AND, LO‚ THERE WAS A GREAT EARTHQUAKE; and the Sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the Moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven (or meteors) fell unto the earth...And the heaven departed as a scroll...and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
75. "And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men‚ and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne‚ and from the wrath of the Lamb: For THE GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH IS COME; and who shall be able to stand?" (vs.12-17)
76. Here we have the ultimate goal of 6,000 years of history: THE GLORIOUS SECOND COMING OF THE LAMB OF GOD‚ JESUS CHRIST (Jn.1:29) to mete out His violent wrath upon the wicked and rescue the saints of all ages by the miracle of the resurrection and rapture.
77. Despite all the wrath of bestial man against the Children of God, the day is coming "when THE LORD JESUS SHALL BE REVEALED FROM HEAVEN WITH HIS MIGHTY ANGELS, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2Th.1:7‚8)
78. And when He comes, John said, "EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM, and they also which pierced Him (even in Hell those who crucified Him will be able to see Him coming): and all kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of Him." (Rev.1:7)
79. "And then shall He send His angels, and SHALL GATHER TOGETHER (RESURRECT AND RAPTURE) HIS ELECT (the saints) from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the Earth to the uttermost part of Heaven." (Mk.13:27)
80. What we have actually seen, then, under these six seals is a panorama of history from John's day up to the very end. Then, AT THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST, THE WHITE HORSE AND THE RESURRECTED MARTYRS EMERGE AS VICTORS OVER THE OTHER THREE HORSEMEN: the kings (pale horse)‚ the rich men (black horse), and the captains (red horse). This is also presented in more detail in Rev.16 and 19.
81. IN FACT EACH ONE OF THESE SIX SEALS ARE REALLY ONLY CAPSULE HISTORIES ON CHARACTERS THAT THE VISION IS YET TO COVER, or rather uncover, in greater detail throughout the remainder of the Revelation. In other words, these first six seals are a "Table of Contents" for the rest of the vision. The following gives each seal and the main chapters, or parts of chapters, where they are more greatly expounded:
SEAL — SUBJECT — CHAPTERS
1Church & Jesus7; 11; 12; 14; 19–22
2War & Military8; 9; 19:19
3Capitalism & Rich13:11-16; 17; 18
4Rulers & Satan12; 13; 19:19-21; 20:7-15
5Martyrs11:7; 12:11; 13:7; 20:4
6Wrath & Rapture10:7; 11:15-18; 15; 16; 18; 19
82. Though the characters under each of the first five seals were around before the Ascension of Christ, the Biblical picture both here and elsewhere is that EACH OF THESE FORCES TOOK ON GREATER POWER SOME TIME AFTER THE ASCENSION.
83. THE CHILDREN OF GOD RECEIVED GREATER POWER ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST, seven days after the Ascension when they were baptised with the Holy Ghost. Just as Jesus had told them, "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." (Ac.1:8) THE FORCES OF EVIL ALSO RECEIVED GREATER POWER AT THIS TIME, as Paul said, "evil men and seducers (the Red, Black and pale horsemen) shall wax worse and worse." (2Tm.3:13)
84. Jesus predicted in His famous Endtime discourse of Mt.24 that THERE WOULD BE AN INCREASE IN WAR, FAMINE, PESTILENCE AND EARTHQUAKES, LEADING EVENTUALLY TO "AFFLICTION, SUCH AS WAS NOT FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE CREATION," and that these calamities would get so bad that "except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's (or Christians') sake‚ whom He (God) hath chosen, He hath shortened those days." (Mt.24:7,21,22; Mk.13:19‚20) In other words, Jesus was saying that one day man would reach such an impasse that letting him continue unchecked would result in the destruction of everyone on Earth. However, WHEN MAN FINALLY REACHES THAT SUICIDAL POINT, HE SAID GOD WOULD SHORTEN THE DAYS, which in the Greek literally means to stop the days, or stop those days of man's suicidal attempts to destroy the Earth. And the way God will stop it, Jesus said, was by His own Second Coming to punish the evil doers, take over the world, and rule it the way God wants.
85. ONLY WITHIN THE LAST THIRTY YEARS HAS THE HUMAN RACE DEVELOPED THE POTENTIAL TO DESTROY ITSELF. The military (Red Horse) have their nuclear bombs, satellites and intercontinental missiles. It fact, they right now have enough atomic bombs to over kill the earth's entire population several times. The rich (Black Horse) in their pursuit of the almighty dollar are finally succeeding in polluting the entire earth—a by–product of twentieth century technology! The rich (especially the U.S.) have been responsible for starting this century's great wars, and their hoarding and wasting of their riches is threatening another one! And it is their unchecked greed which will be responsible for the worldwide famine that even the scientists are predicting will occur by the late 1980's!
86. Meanwhile governments (Pale Horse) have become bestial monsters destroying whole nations in their pursuit of power, and martyring whole nationalities‚ races and creeds who don't agree with them or their devilish policies!—Yes, TODAY MAN HAS ALMOST FINALLY REACHED THAT HORRIBLE TIME WHICH JESUS SAID WOULD IMMEDIATELY PRECEDE HIS SECOND COMING. However‚ the worst is not here yet. So don't worry, the coming of Christ isn't going to happen any minute—Ha! HE IS COMING SOON, BUT HE IS NOT COMING BEFORE ALL THE SIGNS ARE FULFILLED WHICH HAVE TO PRECEDE HIS COMING.
87. As the Apostle Paul said, "Now we beseech you, brethren‚ by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together (Resurrection and Rapture) unto Him." (Notice he said "the coming," showing there is only one coming to rapture the Church, not two.) "That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word nor by letter as from us (nor, we might add, from some churchy false prophets of today) as that the day of Christ is at hand!" (2Th.2:1,2) in other words, DON'T LET ANYBODY DECEIVE YOU INTO BELIEVING THAT THE DAY OF CHRIST OR THE SECOND COMING AND RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH CAN HAPPEN AT ANY TIME BECAUSE IT IS NOT "AT HAND!"
88. "For that day shall not come, except there come a FALLING AWAY FIRST, AND THAT MAN OF SIN BE REVEALED, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God...That Wicked...whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of His Coming!" (2Th.2:3‚4,8)
89. This means that THE DAY OF CHRIST, WHICH WILL CUT OFF OR SHORTEN THESE AND THE COMING DAYS OF HORRIBLE EVIL, CANNOT HAPPEN TILL TWO THINGS COME FIRST.
90. According to the Book of Daniel chapter 9 verse 27, HE WILL MAKE A COVENANT WITH MANY OF THE RELIGIOUS PEOPLE of the world for one "week" or seven years—(each day representing a year. See the class "Daniel 9," by Moses David, Letter No.348)
91. During the first 3 1/2 years, he will allow them to have their religious freedom. BUT IN THE "MIDST OF THE WEEK," AFTER 3 1/2 YEARS, HE WILL BREAK THE COVENANT, causing their religious freedom to cease and setting up an "abomination of desolation"—an idol or image of himself—and demanding all to worship it or be killed.
92. Jesus said, "WHEN YE THEREFORE SHALL SEE THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, SPOKEN OF BY DANIEL THE PROPHET, STAND IN THE HOLY PLACE (the soon-to-be-built Jewish Temple on Mt. Moriah, Jerusalem)‚ then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."(Mt.24:15‚21)
93. When will you see it?—In the midst of the week, or seven years, Dan.9:27! THIS GREAT TRIBULATION, THEREFORE, WILL BEGIN IN THE "MIDST OF THE WEEK" and will continue throughout the remaining 3 1/2 years of the "seven year" covenant!—"Until the consummation (or completion of the seven years), and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."
94. AND "THAT DETERMINED" IS THE WRATH OF GOD which Revelation describes as seven vials poured upon the wicked, and which begins at the Second Coming of Christ to gather together or Rapture His saints.
95. All that to say this: THERE ARE SOME DEFINITE SPECIFIC EVENTS THAT HAVE TO TAKE PLACE BEFORE CHRIST CAN COME BACK. There is this seven-year Covenant, for one, and the Abomination of Desolation resulting in 3 1/2 years of Great Tribulation of the Church‚ for another. There is the Antichrist world dictator who must yet arise to place this Abomination, which means we need a world government, which means we've got another World War yet to go!
96. ALL OF THESE EVENTS MUST HAPPEN BEFORE THE EVENTS DESCRIBED UNDER THE SIXTH SEAL, THE WRATH AND SECOND COMING, CAN OCCUR. Since these first six seals present the whole span of history from the Ascension to the Second Coming, they are in a sense like God taking a camera and doing a real quick "pan" of history from the beginning to the very end‚ just like they often do in movies to give the setting for the story they are about to tell us.
97. THEN WITH THE SEVENTH SEAL, WHICH OPENS IN THE EIGHT CHAPTER, GOD TAKES HIS CAMERA AND ZOOMS IN FOR A CLOSE-UP of the last few years of this period, the central theme of the Revelation containing the story of the Great Tribulation‚ the Second Coming, and the ushering in of Christ's Millennial Kingdom on earth.
98. CHAPTER SIX, THEN, IS A TABLE OF CONTENTS OF THE MAIN CHARACTERS yet to be uncovered in the remainder of the Revelation‚ presented as a brief summary of history from the Ascension to the Second Coming of Christ!
SAINTS SEALED FOR GREAT TRIBULATION
99. THE SEVENTH SEAL WHICH BEGINS THE GREAT TRIBULATION IS SOON TO BE OPENED IN CHAPTER 8. But before it happens God, in order to preserve His Children and His witnesses during this Tribulation period, is going to "seal His saints" so that they will not be hurt by His judgments against the wicked.
100. "And after these things I (John) saw four angels...holding the four winds of the earth. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And THERE WERE SEALED AN HUNDRED AND FORTY AND FOUR THOUSAND OF ALL THE TRIBES OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL."(vs.1-4) Verses 5-8 list the names of the twelve tribes of Israel‚ 12,000 from each tribe being sealed.
101. THESE 144,000 WHICH RECEIVE THE SEAL OF GOD ARE NOT PHYSICAL ISRAEL. THEY ARE THE TRUE SPIRITUAL ISRAEL. As the Apostle Paul said, "They are not all Israel, which are of Israel. That is They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise (those who accept Jesus) are counted for the seed." (Rom.9:6-8)
102. THESE 144,000 ARE THE SAME 144,000 OF REVELATION CHAPTER 14, WHO "FOLLOW THE LAMB WHITHERSOEVER HE GOETH." In other words, they obey and follow, and if you think Israeli Jews are obeying the Lamb, you need to take another look at how they are mistreating their neighbours, the poor Palestinian refugees, a large number of whom are Christians!
103. THE 144,000 ARE THE LEADERS OF "THE GREAT MULTITUDE‚ WHICH NO MAN COULD NUMBER, of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues which came out of Great Tribulation." (vs.9–14)—And in the original that means the Great Tribulation, the one that precedes the Second Coming of Christ!
104. Whether the 144,000 is a symbolic or literal number we don't know, but we do know this: THEY ARE GOING TO BE GOD'S CADRE DURING THAT HORRIBLE TRIBULATION PERIOD TO LEAD THE REST OF THE CHURCH THROUGH IT and to stand up and witness against the Antichrist System unto the very end.
105. THE DEVIL, WHO IS THE GREAT COUNTERFEITER, IS GOING TO BE OUT SEALING HIS CHILDREN TOO at this time, putting a mark in their right hand or forehead, which is the famous MARK OF THE BEAST (the Antichrist dictator and his government)—666. (Rev.13:15) And all those who refuse to bow down to him will be killed.
106. So though the 144,000 are going to be sealed against being hurt by God's judgments on the wicked, THE WICKED ARE GOING TO BE HURTING THEM AND EVEN KILLING SOME OF THEM. BUT TO DIE FOR CHRIST IS GAIN and they shall stand "before the throne of God‚ and serve Him day and night in His temple...and they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more;...and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." (Rev.7:15-17)
107. BUT WHOSOEVER SHALL RECEIVE THE MARK OF THE BEAST, "THE SAME SHALL DRINK OF THE WINE OF THE WRATH OF GOD, which is poured out without mixture...and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb...and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever"! (Rev.14:9-11)
108. WHOSE BRAND ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE? WILL YOU DIE FOR THE TRUTH AND LIVE FOREVER? Or will you live for the lie and die forever? If you don't drop out and serve Jesus now, tomorrow may be too late!