Revelation Episode 6

Beth's Notes

1 I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2 I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.  3 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword. 5 When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. 6 Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!” 7 When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8 I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth. 9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed. 12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14 The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
Prayer: Holy Spirit open our eyes to your Truth O Lord and guide us. Give us wisdom and understanding of your Word and help us to apply it to our lives for your glory. Make it come alive to us.
We are now at the beginning of the great day of God’s wrath. There is a war going on for the souls of men – between God and Satan – as there always has been since the fall of Adam and Eve. God desires to be our choice. We are not robots – we have free will. He will not force us to be saved. Satan and his evil demonic forces are already defeated foes – they always have been - and they know their time is short. They battle for victory and we battle from it. Yet, they continue to foolishly and menacingly war with God for the souls of men and, Scripture states, they will do so until the end. For those who follow them, the end will be bitter.  For those who follow the Lord Jesus, the end will be gloriously wonderful – beyond all human understanding.
It is our wisdom to be careful lest we are deceived in so great a business as our salvation. There is no harm in being careful, since presumption and neglect may betray us to misery and despair, Amen? Satan wins many souls by silencing their reason. The noise, business, clamor and busyness of worldliness drowns out the voice of reason. When we are alone with ourselves – be it in the light of day or the middle of the night – we are to remember soberly that God is ever-present, time is hasting to an end, and judgment is at hand when we must give account for our life. If Satan can’t keep us from being saved, he certainly seeks to keep us from being used. We must not let the devil divert us from these serious considerations either by pleasures or worldly business. It matters greatly how one lives their lives.
We are now beginning to launch out into the deep, and our task is not so much to fathom the depths as it is to let down our nets for a catch.  Asking God for wisdom as we mine for gold in the treasury of His Word.
In Revelation, expositors generally agree that there is some relation between the events at the end of the age and Daniel’s seventieth week, to be understood as the last seven years of Israel’s program prophesied in Daniel 9:27:
27 “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”
Israel’s program, concluding in the 70th week of Daniel, is best understood as related to the scenes here described in Revelation. God’s program for His chosen people will come into fruition in Revelation.
Jesus also tells us in Mathew 24:
1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” 3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. 9 Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. 15 So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel--let the reader understand-- 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time. 26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. 29 “Immediately after the distress of those days ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’  30 At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. 32 Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 36 No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. 42 Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. 45 Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
The order of the events in Revelation 6 and the order of the events in Matthew 24 are strikingly similar: (a) war – Matthew 24:6-7 and Revelation 6:3-4; (b) famine - Matthew 24:7 and Revelation 6:5-6; (c) death – Matthew 24:7-9 and Revelation 6:7-8; (d) martyrdom – Matthew 24:9-10, 16-22 and Revelation 6:9-11; (e) the sun and the moon darkened with stars falling – Matthew 24:29 and Revelation 6:12-14; (f) divine judgment - Matthew 24:32-25:26 and Revelation 6:15-17.  It should be obvious that the events of Revelation have their background in previous prophecies, which aids in interpreting John’s symbolic revelation. The evidence points to the conclusion that it describes the final period climaxed by the second coming of Christ to set up His kingdom.
The Lord encouraged His disciples to keep watch, be alert, because they could not know on what day the Lord would come. While Believers are to be ready for the Rapture, in this portion of Scripture the Rapture has already occurred and now our Lord is warning those in the Tribulation who will become believers. The limits of the Tribulation period are known to God, for the Seventieth Week of Daniel will have a definite starting time and a definite ending time. But the people living then will only know in generalities the limits of the time. Therefore watchfulness is important. If a person knows the approximate time a thief may come to break into his house, he takes precautions and prepares accordingly. Likewise, those who become believers in the Tribulation, who will be looking forward to the Second coming of the Lord of glory, should be alert. They will know generally, from the signs of the end, when He will return, but they will not know the exact time.
According to Scripture, during the Tribulation there will be another period of martyrdom; as there will be a great revival particularly among the Jewish people with the 144,000 Jewish evangelists; the Gospel will spread throughout the world; and there will be much terror and great cosmic signs.
Chapter Six marks the beginning of the Tribulation and we see in verses one and two the Lamb of God opening the first of the seven seals. John describes a white horse whose rider held a bow and was given a crown riding out as a conqueror bent on conquest. In ancient times victors rode on white horses. This rider is Satan’s masterpiece the counterfeit of all Christ claims to be. He is the anti-Christ and he is made to emulate Christ and desires to be worshiped. He will take many forms as needed to gain control over all nations but at this time he wears the crown of a victor and not that of a sovereign. He begins his exploits by beginning to be a great peacemaker - hence the white horse and no arrow with the bow. He will have great victories bringing the nations together. This world ruler will show up again in Chapter Thirteen. He seeks to bring all the kingdoms under himself without bloodshed indicating that the world government he establishes is accomplished without warfare. This future world government begins with a time of peace but is soon followed by destruction.
As the Lamb opens the second seal, John observes another horse and rider with the power to disrupt peace and cause people to kill one another, as indicated by the “great sword” given to the rider.  God allows the second rider to be given a large sword. There is nothing that will occur during the Tribulation (or ever) outside of the permissive will of God. God is in control – always. During the tribulation we are getting what we said we wanted – freedom from God, wanting to choose whatever god of our fancy, including ourselves. Muck akin to the Israelites in ages past who chose the idols of their world to worship rather than God and God gave them over to their own poor choices. The hope of permanent peace by means of the United Nations or any other human efforts are doomed to failure. There will be great wars on the earth.
In the aftermath of war a great famine is revealed. The third seal occurs and John records that he sees a black horse the rider holding a pair of scales or balances in his hand to weigh differing commodities. This is describing severe starvation – a day’s wages for a loaf of bread type of scenario. The symbolism indicates a time of famine when life will be reduced to the barest necessities. As stated, famine is almost always the aftermath of war. The somber picture is emphasized by the color of the horse – black, being the symbol of suffering.
With the opening of the fourth seal, we discover a dramatic picture of divine judgment upon the world continue to unfold. John was overwhelmed by what he saw. As indescribable as the glories of Heaven were, so are the horrors he is now witnessing on earth. The horse is described as being pale with the rider’s name of death. The color of the horse was so grotesque it has been described as the color of a decomposing corpse, the yellowish green of decay, the pallor of death. It recalls a corpse in the advanced state of corruption. The rider is pictured as Death and that which follows on its heels is Hades, the abode of the dead. These riders have startling power over one-fourth part of the earth to kill with the sword, hunger, wild animals, plagues even government or military. Whichever, it will add to the misery of the earth’s darkest hour.  
Jeremiah, Joel and Daniel speak of how horrible this time will be and even Jesus said in Matthew 24:21-22:
21 “For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”
In the fifth seal John is switched back to heaven and sees under the altar the souls of men who had been slain because of the Word of God and the testimony they had maintained. The timing and place of this part of the vision directly after the fourth seal certainly implies that these martyrs came out of the great Tribulation during the first four seals and perhaps afterwards. Clearly their cry is for those being martyred on the earth.  They know how dreadful it is. This ongoing persecution will be heart rending to those who have personally witnessed the Tribulation and who were themselves martyred. The Tribulation martyrs had been Christ rejecting people before the Tribulation and consequently their suffering will be more severe.  
With the sixth seal comes a great earthquake. The sun will turn black and the moon to blood red. The stars in the sky fall to the earth like late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken. The sky will vanish like a scroll being rolled up and every mountain and island will be removed from its place.  Isaiah tells us  in Isaiah 40:4-5:
4 “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
The great day of the wrath of God and of the Lamb has come, and “who can stand?” Only those robed in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus, availing themselves to the grace of God.  We must all turn to God in this hour of His favor. When this begins it will be too late to escape the horror.  It will soon be made clear that no one can “hide from the face of Him who sits on the throne”. After this period twenty-five percent of the worlds population will be dead and the anti-Christ will be in control.  
The Book of Revelation discredits those who teach that God is so loving and kind that He will never judge people who have not received His Son.  Though the modern mind is reluctant to accept the fact that God will judge the wicked, the Bible clearly teaches that He will. The Scriptures reveal a God of love as clearly as they reveal a God of wrath who will deal with those who spurn the grace of Christ. This is a solemn passage that there is inevitable judgment ahead for those who will not receive Christ by faith in the here and now. As Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 1 As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
These are Beth’s personal notes, due to this fact sources are not often stated.

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