The End of the World

Revelation Chapter 6
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Rev 6:1 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.
Rev 6:2 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.


Man tells us that the world is getting better; God say they will become increasingly worse. Man says that peace among nations is close at hand; God says there will be wars and rumors of wars, kingdom against kingdoms... Man expects to win the battle against disease, famine, and hardship; God says there is to be fearful judgments of disease, famine, and hardship.
The white horse brings a man of conquest. 
Noticewho is opening the seals of the scroll of the culmination of history: Jesus alone has the authority and right to do this. Each seal is associated with a living creature (zoa, one of the cherubim of Ezekiel 1 and 10) who calls out come (or, it could be translated "go forth") to each horseman. The rider on the white horse is not Jesus (we shouldn't be fooled just because he is on a white horse!), but a satanic dictator who
imitates Jesus. "The whole context and character of these seals absolutely forbid our thinking of this rider being the Lord Jesus, as so many affirm.His reign shall not bring war, famine, and strife in its train."
The idea of a Satanic dictator over men goes back all the way to Nimrod, the ruler over Babel in Genesis 10:8-14; it is said he was a mighty hunter before the Lord, in the sense of being a mighty hunter of men in the face of God, in an offensive sense. This final Satanic dictator over men will be the most terrible; he will rule over men as a false Messiah, and lead man in organized rebellion against God (in the pattern of Nimrod, his first predecessor); he is the one often called the Antichrist.
The political and social scene of today is certainly set for the emergence of such a political leader; all that is waiting is for the Lord to allow it in His timing - and after He takes His church out of the picture. And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.(2 Thessalonians 2:6-7). Significantly, the first seal opened brings this dictator to prominence; we are told that the seventieth week of Daniel 9 begins when this dictator will confirm a covenant with [the] many (the Jewish people).

Rev 6:3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
Rev 6:4 And there went out another horse [t
hat 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.
 
 The red horse brings war and conflict. All this rider must do is take peace from the earth; men do the rest of the destruction among themselves. Peace between men is a gift from God; it is not the natural state of relations between men. This authority is granted to the horseman; this is, directly or indirectly, the judgment of God. We live in the age of war and conflict; since World War II, there have been more than 150 wars of one kind or another, and right now there are some three dozen armed conflicts taking thousands of lives yearly. The nations of the world spend more than $1 trillion on military expenditures a year.
Rev 6:5 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.
Rev 6:6 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.




The black horse brings scarcity and inequity. The scales symbolize the need to carefully measure and ration food; it is a time of scarcity. The prices reflect food costs that are about twelve times higher than normal; it will cost a day's wage to buy the ingredients for a loaf of bread. This describes "A time of famine when life will be reduced to the barest necessities".
Yet, (comparative) luxuries will be available for those who can afford them; there will still be the oil and the wine, that should not be harmed. We see great famine in the world today; yet fewer people suffer from famine today than 100 years ago. However, understanding the ecological balance, it would not take much to plunge much of the world into the kind of scarcity and inequity mentioned here.
"Oil and wine": equivalent, in our culture, to toiletries, beauty aids and liquor. Luxuries. This is more than famine alone. It describes global rationing and controls. The Coming World Leader will control the economy (Rev 13:17). Cf. Amos 8:11.
  
Rev 6:7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.
Rev 6:8 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.




The pale horse brings death. There will be a tremendous death toll from the dictatorship, war, famine and other calamities. Our century has seen hundreds of millions killed by dictators, wars, and famines; yet this will pale in comparison to the death toll that comes in the wake of this ultimate dictator. No wonder Jesus could say For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.(Matthew 24:21)
Notice that power is given to the horseman; though all hell is breaking loose on the earth, God is very much in control.
 Rev 6:9 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:
Rev 6:10 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?
Rev 6:11 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 fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they [were], should be fulfilled.


Today it appears that the enemy is winning; but God will have the last word. [Hatred of the world: Rom 8:7; Gen 3:15; Rev 12] Intolerance by the ungodly is increasing, especially among the so-called "liberals." In seeking to be abreast of the times they have adopted the oldest errors with the most recent masks. The challenge, "Yea, Hath God Said?" echoes still. The ungodly are united with Cain in their hatred of a sacrifice of blood. God announced in Eden, "I will put enmity between... thy seed and her seed..." (Gen 3:15).
The fifth seal brings forth the cry of the martyrs. That these souls are under the altar emphasizes that their life blood has been poured out as an offering to God; it draws from Leviticus 4:7:And he shall pour the remaining blood at the base of the altar of the burnt offering. It is probably best to see this as the cry of allmartyrs for God's truth; not merely believers persecuted by the coming world leader. Their cry to God for vengeance might sound strange coming from the lips of God's people; but is completely right and justified. The blood of Abel cried out from the ground for vengeance (Genesis 4:10), as did the blood of un-avenged murders in the land of Israel (Numbers 35:33).
These saints are instructed to wait; until the number (or, perhaps the character) of the martyrs is fulfilled. It is the way that you live that makes you a martyr, not the way that you die.

Rev 6:12 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;
Rev 6:13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
Rev 6:14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
Rev 6:15 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;
Rev 6:16 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:
Rev 6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
The sixth seal brings cosmic disruptions. In the Bible, celestial disturbances are frequently associated with the return of the Messiah: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Zephaniah and Jesus Himself all describe such phenomenon. Example: The great day of the Lord is near; it is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the Lord is bitter; there the mighty men shall cry out. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and alarm against the fortified cities and against the high towers.(Zephaniah 1:14-16). Or, as in Joel 2:10-11: The sun and moon grow dark, and stars diminish their brightness . . . for the day of the Lord is great and terrible; who can endure it?
It is best to regard these pictures as real, but poetic; John isn't using technically precise language, but simply describing what he sees. All people will be brought equally low by this manifestation of God's wrath; it is all the more awesome because it is thewrath of the Lamb. "It is the wrath of love, the wrath of sacrificial love which, having done the absolute utmost for us and our salvation, tells us as nothing else could the certainty with which evil awaits its doom at the hand of God." They hide not only from the terror of the judgments, but from the face of Him who sits on the throne; "What sinners dread most is not death, but the revealed presence of God".
Summary
Revelation 6 vs. Matthew 24
  • White horse rider (v.1-2)----------False Christs (v.4-5)
  • Red horse - war (v.3-4)-------------------Wars (v.6)
  • Black horse - famine (v.5-6)--------------------Famines (v.7a)
  • Pale horse - death (v.7-8)-----------------Death (v.7b-8)
  • Martyrs (v.9-11)------------------------Martyrs (v.9)
  • Worldwide chaos (v.12-17)---------------Worldwide chaos (v. 10-13, 29f)
Isa 23:9: The Lord of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, [and] to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth.
Observations: How do the seals fit in? There has been much conjecture and debate about these matters, but it seems that the seals, trumpets, and bowls are not strictly sequential events - chronologically, the trumpets do not follow the seals and the bowls do not follow the trumpets. The first six seals are "a summary of the judgments distributed over the whole book; a brief summary of what will occur in 'the day of the Lord,' up the time of His actual Apocalypse or Unveiling in chapter 19." In that span, it begins with the revealing of the Antichrist (the first seal) and it concludes with the revealing of the face of Him who sits on the throne (the seventh seal).
Do the seals represent conditions immediately beforethe end, or more general conditions prevailing over a more extended period, up until the return of Jesus? There is a sense in which we can say that the they represent both - dictators, war, famine, death and persecution have been familiar throughout all history, but not to the magnitude and severity with which they will be present in the Great Tribulation. "The wars and famines predicted in the second and third seals are not unfamiliar events in the history of the world, but never before since the time of Noah has a judgment so devastating been consummated as to destroy one-fourth of the earth's population at one stroke." 
As far as the seals are concerned, it will be anintense amplification of "business as usual"; God will give mankind over to his fallen-ness -and more. This is not the case with some of the trumpet and bowl judgments of later chapters; they are completely unique manifestations of God's judgment. The sixth seal concludes with a valid question: Who is able to stand? Only the believer, who is justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand
I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which you also received and in which you stand (1 Corinthians 15:1) Testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand
The believer may stand because Jesus bore the wrath the believer deserved.
We should be inspired with the urgency of our witness to the world:
Do you want our friends, our neighbors, to go through the terrible scenes here described? Are you withholding the truth from those whose eternity can yet be altered? (John 3:36)

1 comment:

  1. I finally read it Rach! lol... It seemed pretty long at first, but as the plot thickened, it was fascinating :) I only wish those wise men who sat down to write the Bible, Mahabharata and the rest of it had been a bit easy on the symbolism and riddles.

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