Things to Come, Lesson 15, The Great Tribulation, Part 3,
We have learned from our study that Daniel was told to seal up the book concerning the details of things to come and that book seal was kept until God told the Apostle John to write in a book those things that were kept from Daniel.
The vision of Revelation was given to John on the island of Patmos around AD95, a time when John was an old man.
Revelation 1:9-11, I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10I was in the Spirit on the Lordís day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia;
So that which God commanded Daniel to seal, has been opened to us in the book of Revelation as written down by the disciple that Jesus loved.
Godís love acts and so it did in Johnís life by him being given the privilege of writing what he was to see, resulting in this great book called Revelation.
We skip over the first chapters of this book for it concerns the history of the church and move to Revelation 5:1-5 where John was given to see a book with seven seals.
And 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. 2And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
Again we see seals. Daniel was told to shut up the words and seal the book.
And now again we are given to see a book appear in the right hand of him that sat on the throne, sealed with seven seals.
John weeps for it seems that he too, like Daniel, will not be allowed to know what is in the book.
But along with John, we are given to see a Savior, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David who steps forth to break the seals of Revelation to John.
John saw not the lion or the root of David but he saw in the midst of the throne a Lamb as it had been slain who took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
And great worship rang out in heaven for the seals were about to be broken and Godís will was about to be exercised.
And John beheld: ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
It is easy to see that this event evoked great joy in heaven for a culmination of events was about to take place.
God was about to act to bring things to a close and to open up his glories to the earth.
It is easy to believe that John was dumbfounded upon being witness to such things for he had been chosen to bring to the earth that which was to come forth on the earth.
The seals were about to be broken and John was called by one of the four beasts to Come and see!
THE FIRST SEAL
Revelation 6:1,2, And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2And 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.
So here, upon the opening of the first seal, we are given to see what takes place at the beginning of the seventieth week.
It opens with the sight of a white horse mounted by a rider.
As each of the first four seals are opened you will see a horse, first a white horse, followed by a red horse, then a black horse and lastly a pale horse.
In common parlance, not of the Bible, these are known as the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Apocalypse translated literally from the Greek refers to a revelation of something hidden.
Today it is commonly used in reference to any prophetic revelation or so-called end time scenario.
Now as to the first horse we are not to jump to the conclusion that this rider on a white horse is our Lord Jesus Christ.
Remember Antichrist means against Christ but it also means alongside Christ.
This rider on a white horse is the Antichrist, copying the Christ who will indeed later come on a white horse and that later time is gloriously described in Revelation 19:11-16.
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
God is the Creator, Satan is the imitator and can simply counterfeit the true Messiah by coming on a white horse with a bow and a crown.
Compare that with the description of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ upon whose head were many crowns, with a vesture dipped in blood.
The Antichrist is described with a bow, no arrow, and a crown that was given him.
Our Lord is described with a sharp sword, used to smite the nations.
The rider on the white horse is described as going forth conquering and to conquer.
I believe this describes what the world is getting ready for.
The world is longing for leadership and this one who comes in the name of Satan, this one known as the man of sin, who will cater and in fact glorify the basic nature of man will be given power and authority gladly, for he will promise heaven on earth.
He will conquer without bloodshed, through flattery, guile and superhuman promises.
The problem with Israel will be solved by his great convincing words and a covenant will be made with the people of Israel.
We are seeing in our time rampant chaos, turmoil, confusion and disruption but what we see is only a taste of what is to come
For these conditions will provide a platform for this leader to rise to the top and be gladly chosen by the world to lead it forth into peace and prosperity.
Satanís man will offer such wise solutions to the problems of the world that he will be given the crown of the earth to rule and reign upon it.
And for the first three and a half years the world will enjoy a period of peace.
But here again we see Satanís counterfeit where he claims prince of peace status, for Satan claims for himself everything belonging to Jesus.
So great will be the appeal of this false prince of peace that we are told when he sits in the temple announcing himself as God the people will worship him as God.
THE SECOND SEAL
Revelation 6:3-4, And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4And 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.
So God brings to our view with the opening of the second seal another horse with rider, again emphasizing the color of the horse.
The first horse was white and was ridden by a weaponless rider who was given victory.
The first horse was white denotes peace and safety.
The second horse is red which is always connected with blood and the shedding of blood.
This is verified by the fact that this rider had power to take peace from the earth, bring mass killing, destruction and violence.
The fact that there was first peace and then the peace was taken places these horses chronologically, one after the other as far at a time reference is concerned.
Peace first, then war.
The second horse rider is not weaponless for he carries a great sword, the sword of course being a symbol of war.
The first rider was given a crown and a false peace reigned upon the earth.
The second rider was given power to take peace from the earth and this begins upon the ending of the first half of the Tribulation period.
Jesus refers to the last half of the Tribulation period in Matthew 24 as great tribulation.
Peace for three and a half years and then the world flows with blood.
This seems to imply that the Antichrist will not have everything his own way, and that his methods will lead to insubordination and civil wars among the nations.
Notice the result of this horse and rider who take peace from the earth.
Notice that phrase, "that they should kill one another."
Now men have been killing one another throughout history but this is talking about the intensity of a worldwide slaughter.
Are we seeing the firstfruits of this as we are witness daily to suicide bombings, assassinations of innocents, wanton murder at the hands of terrorists?
This is what will take place as hatred among men is stirred up with the predictable results that they should kill one another.
THE THIRD SEAL
Revelation 6:5,6, 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. 6And 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.
What the color black portends is opened to us by what the rider is given to hold in his hand.
He is given a pair of balances.
And the use of that pair of balances is connected to wheat, barley, oil and wine.
This is the horse that announces the effect of the bloodshed upon commerce, specifically the production and distribution of food.
Black is the color of the horse of famine.
The tiller of land, the harvester of grain, the distributor of food are engaged in death instead of life for they are engaged in killing one another.
Fields will be neglected and unplowed, food will become scarce and there will be such famine in the earth as has never been known before.
Food will be rationed and because of its very limited supply its price will be extremely high.
In Jesus day a penny was a dayís wages for a soldier or a laborer.
Imagine paying a dayís wage for a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk.
The oil and the wine will be so carefully handled and valued so the instruction goes forth: See thou hurt not the oil and the wine for its value is now above gold.
All the gold that is bought today will change hands for a mere pittance of food in that day.
So the opening of the third seal reveals a world in famine, a world in hunger that cannot be satisfied for commerce will be destroyed.
THE FOURTH SEAL
Revelation 6:7,8, And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8And 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.
War and famine have had their way and there must be a pale horse to deliver the results of such destruction, so we are given to view the opening of the fourth seal, where the rider of the pale horse is named.
That riderís name is Death and of course Hell accompanies this rider for those who have been taken by war and those who have been taken by famine are delivered to Hell by Death.
Death is the taxi and Hell is the destination.
These two, Death and Hell, have been given custody of the bodies and souls of those killed during these terrible days of war and famine.
These souls will be prisoners for one thousand years while the earth is a place of peace and safety during the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ.
By reading ahead in Revelation 20:13-15, we know that hell is but a temporary abode for these dead.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
THE FIFTH SEAL
Revelation 6:9-11, 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: 10And 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? 11And 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 fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.