Thursday, March 24, 2016

Revelation 6:1-2 comments: the Rise of the Beast

What follows is one of several accounts of the last 3 ½ years of human history, as we understand it, without God ruling directly in human affairs as being present in bodily form. The seals, trumpets, and vials do not have to happen one after another but the seals and trumpets can happen roughly in the same time frame as you will see with the vials occurring at the very end. If you try to make these events fall one after another like you would read the user’s manual for your computer or instructions on how to change the oil in your car you will get very confused. Look them over generally first as a larger picture before you break each verse down into pieces. See the painting in its entirety and then, and only then, appreciate the individual scenes it manifests. First, let’s read the entire chapter 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. 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.

    3 ¶  And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4  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. 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. 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. 7  And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 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.

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: 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? 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 fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. 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; 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. 14  And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 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; 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: 17  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

These accounts all flesh out what happens during the 3 ½ year reign of a character we often call, “The Antichrist,” although that name is not given in Revelation. Antichrist is used by John in two of his letters as a clear reference to the Gnostic tradition which denied that Jesus Christ had a physical body. There are even Christians today who deny that there will be a physical resurrection and that, contrary to all Biblical statements, we will have spiritual bodies only, without substance, in eternity.

1John 2:18  Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time…22  Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
1John 4:3  And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

2John 1:7  For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

The person about to be portrayed is called in Revelation the Beast. There are two beasts, actually, one a political ruler and one his religious promoter. The beast persecutes the Jews who will believe in Christ and drives them into the wilderness. He murders countless followers of Christ. This second beast, or false prophet, will require that the injured first beast be worshipped in his image and that all people under his authority be required to take a mark, God removes all believers and God’s wrath pours out on the beast’s kingdom.

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. 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.

Christ opened the first seal and thunder was heard. It is Christ who lets these things begin. This cannot happen without God’s permissive will. Satan has been prepared in every generation. He has had his Genghis Khan, his Napoleon, his Hitler, or some lesser figure ready but even he, as we should understand by what went on in Heaven prior to this, does not know when. Understand that God can unleash this on the world at any time. Are you prepared? Do you think you can ‘hold up’ in your house with your guns and fight this or expect the local police to protect you from what is about to happen? Think again, Sparky.

One of the beasts around the throne, and we don’t know which one, said to Come and see. John sees a white horse ridden by a conqueror carrying a bow. Who was the first Biblical character who is known as an archer?

Genesis 21:20  And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. 21  And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.

This is Ishmael, son of Hagar and Abraham, who resulted from Abraham’s lack of trust in God’s promise. Who is another Bible character who is known for being an archer?

Genesis 27:3  Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison; 4  And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die. 5  And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.

King Saul taught the use of the bow to the people of Israel and we know how Saul ended.

2Samuel 1:17 ¶  And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son:
18  (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)

Christ rides a white horse in Revelation 19.

Revelation 19:11  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.

But, this is not Christ. Christ is equipped with a sharp sword that proceeds out of His mouth.

19:15  And 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.

which is His word.

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The possession of the bow links this character in this seal to the rebellious Bible figures on the Old Testament. Here is explained how this conqueror, called a Beast later, arises and later we will find out from where he comes and under whose authority.

The following seals can be overlapped because they are taking place at roughly the same time during a period of 3 ½ years. War, death, famine, and disease are the primary collateral effects of a conqueror and the persecution of God’s people and the Jews are activities specifically of this conqueror. What is being reported is how it is revealed to John, not necessarily how events follow each other in real time.

Revelation 1:1 ¶  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2  Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

Acts 11:28  And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.

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