Thursday, March 31, 2016

Revelation, chapter 9, comments: the world system being judged


1 ¶  And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.

Yet, another star falls from heaven. This star clearly represents a spiritual creature which points to stars previously referring to something other than physical entities. Remember that stars are angels in Revelation 1:20. This star is given a key to the bottomless pit. I believe that the bottomless pit is Hell itself.

What is a pit without a bottom? It is a sphere, like the center of the earth.

Matthew 12:40  For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Deuteronomy 32:22  For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.

Psalm 86:13  For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.

Revelation 20:3  And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Isaiah 14:15  Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

2  And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 3  And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4  And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. 5  And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. 6  And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. 7  And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. 8  And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 9  And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. 10  And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. 11  And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. 12  One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

Smoke from this pit comes up so thick that the sun is darkened even more by it. Locusts come through the smoke that have the power to sting like a scorpion. They are not to hurt anything other than people. They aren’t to kill them but just make them suffer for five months. Men wanted to die, the suffering was so horrible, but could not.

The description of the locusts shows that they are not ordinary locusts but creatures with faces like men, long hair, and lion’s fangs, wearing breastplates of iron, with wings that sounded like chariots and horses coming to battle. You can imagine the great noise of hooves and wheels this would create. The king over them when they appear, the angel of the bottomless pit, is named Abaddon in Hebrew and Apollyon in Greek.

Remember how Satan is referred to as a king over all the children of pride when God likens a dragon, the Biblical word for our modern dinosaur, to him in description?

Job 41:34  He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.

Satan is the prince of the power of the air, the prince of this world, and the god of this world.

Ephesians 2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

John 12:31  Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

2Corinthians 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Paul warned that our warfare is against spiritual powers not with earthly rulers.

Ephesians 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Both the names Abaddon and Apollyon mean destruction and destroyer, according to Strong’s dictionary. Paul referred to the Hebrews in the Exodus.

1Corinthians 10:10  Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

Remember who killed the firstborn of the Egyptians.

Exodus 12:23  For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.

John is seeing the spiritual world in a way that we cannot. The people suffering cannot see what is causing their suffering for real. This gives us a hint of what may be going on behind much suffering today. There is a physical cause for disease backed by a spiritual cause, perhaps. It is interesting to think about in light of modern materialism that only acknowledges the physical.

    13 ¶  And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14  Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. 15  And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. 16  And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. 17  And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. 18  By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. 19  For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. 20  And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 21  Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

There are now said to be four angels bound in the Euphrates. When they are loosed they will kill a third part of mankind. This is effected by an army of, again, strictly spiritual or visible, a question we need to consider, creatures numbering two hundred million, although this has typically been applied to the invasion by the kings of the east in preparation for Armageddon, mentioned later. The suffering caused by these creatures that, perhaps, unleashes an invasion represented in spiritual terms is referred to as these plagues, so we know they are spiritual forces behind physical destruction. The destruction does not make mankind repentant. They still worships their idols and do not repent of their murders, their sorceries, their fornication, or their thefts. So we have five things here of which mankind is guilty.

Idolatry literally here referring to worshipping actual physical idols might include in our modern understanding the veneration of religious statues or icons. Murder, we know, is to kill innocent persons who have not harmed or are not harming you.

Psalm 10:8  He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor.

Jesus defined the proscription against killing in Exodus 20:13 by His statement in Matthew 19:18.

Matthew 19:18  He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

Sorceries, in Revelation only, is a word that comes from the root for our modern word pharmacy. In other places it is translated from a word for magical arts. It is important to understand the use of hallucinogens in ancient rites of magic. A study of ancient Central America is very helpful in understanding how such drugs were used in the practice of magic.(16)  A study of the use of drugs in ancient magic rites will expand our understanding of the use of pharmacological drugs in the end time, perhaps as modern medicine uses them today, to control behavior and make people more compliant. The Soviet Union was known for this as is America where many children are drugged for being considered hyperactive, a nuisance. I look for the use of drugs for control to expand greatly as history moves forward.

Fornication is any sexual activity outside of a marriage between a man and a woman and it is important not to confuse a government sanctioned license with an actual Christian marriage. You are not married before God just because you bowed to the state’s authority to get a license if there is no commitment before God in a covenantal relationship with your wife or husband for life. Fornication is translated from the word from which we get pornography, porneia. It is linked with lasciviousness, uncleanness, and adultery. 

Galatians 5:19  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Sexual immorality; homosexual and heterosexual temple prostitutes, and orgies as a part of worship, were an integral part of ancient religion so fornication is linked to idolatry.

Exodus 32:5  And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. 6  And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play…25  And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)

1Corinthians 10:7  Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

This is the logical reason that the Corinthian church insisted on their women having long hair, to distinguish them from the short haired temple prostitutes in nearby Acro-Corinth’s Temple to Aphrodite. Read 1Corinthians 11:1-16. Aphrodite was the Greek version of Astarte and Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of prostitutes and liberty, who came down to us through the ages and stands in New York’s harbor as a beacon to the world. There are references to them thoughout the Old Testament.

Why is the word theft included in this list? The great city, Babylon, is very wealthy, as we will see later. Theft, stealing other people’s material possessions, can also include stealing their labor.

James 5:4  Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

This also applied under the Law given to Moses.

Leviticus 19:13  Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.

I imagine you didn’t think you were being robbed by having your pay held back for a week, two weeks, or a month did you? Of course, our traditional use of the word, theft, is outright stealing.

Exodus 22:1 ¶  If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. 2  If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. 3  If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft. 4  If the theft be certainly found in his hand alive, whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep; he shall restore double.

Consider how powerful men in the past have preyed on the poor from the ancient world through the feudalism of medieval times, to the early days of capitalism’s abuse of the working poor, and into socialism where capitalists are just given government authority and power to back them up and the powerful men are also government, as in Red China today. God has always remarked heavily against the oppression of the poor, not the sluggard or slothful, but the working poor, as any eyes-open reading of Proverbs will show.

(16) Albert Hoffman, “Teonan├ícatl and Ololiuqui, two ancient magic drugs of Mexico,” Bulletin on Narcotics, Issue 1, 1971; 3-14 quoted on The Vaults of Erowid, https://www.erowid.org/plants/mushrooms/references/other/1971_hofmann_bulletin-narcotics.shtml. (accessed 12.30.2015).

A wicked world system is being judged.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Revelation, chapter 8, comments: Seven trumpets begin


1 ¶  And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

There is a space of time, relatively short, of quiet. Then, the seven trumpets begin. John has watched one account of the rise of the Beast, his murderous actions against God’s people, and the reign of God’s wrath on his kingdom after the removal of His people. Now, he sees an account of part of this 3 and ½ year period of time from the point of view of what is happening on earth in the form of natural and spiritual disasters. The sixth and seventh seals seem to be happening together and the events of the trumpets coincide with that time. The seals and trumpets happen quickly as the Beast takes power and kills believers, driving the Jews into the wilderness.

The events reported as a they are being revealed to John, as we will watch a repeat of events from differing perspectives.

2  And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. 3  And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

The prayers of the saints going through the murder of the Beast’s rule who are under the altar and their prayers are on the altar before the throne.

Revelation 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:

4  And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. 5  And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. 6  And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. 7 ¶  The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. 8  And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 9  And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.

Some say that if the volcano, Cumbre Vieja on La Palma in the Canary Islands, collapses a tsunami could seriously endanger the East Coast of the United States, though this would not cause world-wide destruction. (10) However, let’s look at whether or not this reference to the sea is a reference to all seas or just the Mediterranean. This is a great mountain on fire that causes a third part of the sea to become blood, killing a third of sea creatures, and a third of ships. These are general number as we have seen that numbers are not representing exact figures but general concepts of numbers.

A mega-tsunami hit the Mediterranean Sea in the fourth century with great devastation.(11)  Volcanoes like Stromboli in that area present a risk of a massive eruption at some future point. This scenario in Revelation is understandable based on our present knowledge and experience. There are many faults around the Mediterranean that could lead to a massive eruption, tsunami, and magma filling the sea so that could make the sea as blood, if God prepares it so. Is the following verse the key to understanding the reference to blood?

Revelation 16:3  And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. 

(10) Douglas Main, “US East Coast Faces Variety of Tsunami Threats,” LiveScience, November 15, 2012. http://www.livescience.com/24813-east-coast-tsunamis.html.


 


(11) “A Mega-Tsunami Could Strike the Mediterranean Anytime,” Softpedia, http://news.softpedia.com/news/A-Mega-Tsunami-Could-Strike-Mediterranean-Anytime-80609.shtml. (accessed 12.24.2015).


10  And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; 11  And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

A recent UK Guardian article was entitled, “Risk of comet hitting Earth is greater than previously thought, say researchers.”(12) The effects of such a disaster can only be reasonably assumed but it is clear that such an event is waiting to happen. Earth is being held off from certain horrible events, and it seems held off for a purpose, if we believe the Scriptures. It is not amazing that terrible things happen but that they don’t happen more often is amazing.


 


Wormwood is supposed to be what the word Chernobyl in Russian or Chornobyl in Ukranian means. The town of Chernobyl was named after the plant which was said to have supernatural properties in folklore.(13)  Will this poisoning of the waters have anything to do with a man-made nuclear disaster, though? It doesn’t appear so, from a literal reading of the Bible, as this is a great star from heaven and on fire. Even if this is calamity is from the spiritual world it clearly comes from someplace else. It falls on the waters.


 


Fountains of waters may refer also to underground water, perhaps aquifers and fresh water supplies, or even oceans of water.


 


Genesis 7:11  In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.


 


Some scientists believe there is more water in the earth’s crust than on the surface, which would be where the flood waters receded to after the Great Flood. “Earth’s Mantle Holds an Ocean’s Worth of Water,” was the title of a recent Scientific American article.(14) Another article, this time in the Christian Science Monitor, reports that all of the water under the ground could cover the continents in 600 feet of water so we are blessed that God said He would never unleash that sort of destruction again.(15)


 


Genesis 9:11  And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.


 


 


(12) Risk of comet hitting Earth is greater than previously thought, say researchers,” The Guardian, December 22, 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/dec/23/risk-of-comet-hitting-earth-as-bad-as-asteroids-or-worse-say-researchers.


(13) Mary Mycio, “Wormwood: Biblical Botany,” in Wormwood Forest: An Natural History of Chernobyl (Washington D.C.: Joseph Henry Press, 2005),  Kindle ed. chapter one.

(14) Becky Oskin, “Earth’s Mantle Holds an Ocean’s Worth of Water,” Scientific American, March 12, 2014. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/rare-diamond-confirms-that-earths-mantle-holds-an-oceans-worth-of-water/.

(15) Lucy Schouten, “Scientists Tally Earth’s Hidden Mega-stashes of Groundwater,” Christian Science Monitor, November 17, 2015. http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2015/1117/Scientists-tally-Earth-s-hidden-mega-stashes-of-groundwater#.

12  And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. 13  And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

In a prophecy against historical Babylon an interesting statement is made.

Isaiah 13:10  For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. 11  And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

Remember the opening of the sixth seal in Chapter 6, verse 12?

Revelation 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;

And the verse in Joel?

Joel 2:10  The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:

These events coincide with the events of the sixth and seventh seals as they are revealed to John, not as events as recorded in a newspaper from day to day.

But, things are going to get even worse.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Revelation, chapter 7, comments: the Sixth and Seventh Seals, part 2


Remember, John is still seeing scenes from the sixth seal.



1 ¶  And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2  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, 3  Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4  And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 5  Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 6  Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. 7  Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. 8  Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. 9  After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10  And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11  And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12  Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.



    13 ¶  And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14  And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15  Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16  They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17  For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.



This seal opens in chapter 6, verse 12, with a great earthquake and the sun turning black with the moon turning red.



Joel 2:31  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.



There is an astronomic disturbance and a tremendous meteor shower, perhaps, although there are possible spiritual meanings of this passage about the stars of heaven. This is a world shaking event that takes place, an earthquake that is devastating and things falling from space. It is so bad that the great men and the lowly men of the earth hide in places that would not be where you would go in a regular earthquake, hoping to be hidden from Christ’s wrath. Perhaps, in their hatred of God they view this kind of death as an escape from the physical destruction. They admit that no one can stand against Christ in this absolute disaster.



Do the stars of heaven signify spiritual beings from what we call outer space but what God calls the firmament of the heaven coming to earth?



Genesis 1:15  And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.



Psalm 115:16  The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.



Ephesians 2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:



Ephesians 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.



Notice the day of Christ’s wrath is come. There are multitudes in heaven who have come out of great tribulation. Christ is said to have spared the church from the wrath to come.



1Thessalonians 1:10  And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.



7:1 opens with four angels standing on the four corners of the earth preventing any wind from blowing. What is the significance of that? It is important to understand that great disaster and tragedy in the world as we know it is a direct function of God holding back judgment and when a great calamity happens He has unleashed something waiting to happen. Great evil comes through people who choose to be conduits for it, not having any control over how bad it will get.



Matthew 18:7  Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!



 Are the four corners of the earth a reference to literal places or is that just a phrase referring to every direction as in the four winds in Matthew 24 or Jeremiah 49?



Matthew 24:31  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.



Jeremiah 49:36  And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come.



I suggest that four corners of the earth represent every possible direction and every possible location.  We know it is a figurative statement because the Bible says the earth is a circle and doesn’t have four physical corners just like it says that there is a huge empty space in outer space and that the earth hangs in space and is not resting on a giant’s shoulders or the back of a turtle as in some mythologies.



Isaiah 40:22  It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:



Job 26:7  He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.



It is then that another angel tells them to wait until God has sealed Jewish servants He has chosen for His purpose. There are 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes but a tribe of Joseph is mentioned in place of Ephraim.



Joshua 14:4  For the children of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim: therefore they gave no part unto the Levites in the land, save cities to dwell in, with their suburbs for their cattle and for their substance.



Joshua 16:4  So the children of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, took their inheritance.



Ephraim was a troublesome tribe, which you can see by a search of the Old Testament but still, while not mentioned by name in Revelation, his brother’s tribe is, and there is a tribe of Joseph mentioned here along with Manasseh’s tribe. Once before, the phrase, tribe of Joseph, referred to Manasseh, and Ephraim was named;



Numbers 13:8  Of the tribe of Ephraim, Oshea the son of Nun...11  Of the tribe of Joseph, namely, of the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi.



So, I would not make too much of the substitution other than, perhaps, God’s dissatisfaction with Ephraim as tribe of Joseph may be a reference to it. However, the tribe of Dan is not mentioned, which is why Irenaeus, referred to earlier, believed that the Beast would arise from the descendants of that tribe. The absence of Dan must be significant but we don’t have enough information to go on to make a certain determination.



These servants number 144,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. This has nothing to do with how many people wind up in heaven. I believe these are whom Satan makes war on when he cannot destroy the Jews who have fled to the wilderness.



Revelation 12:15  And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16  And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 17  And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.



There is a great multitude before the throne that have come out of great tribulation.   They are all arrayed in white robes, which we know symbolizes righteousness. It’s a lot of people who, along with the four beasts and the elders, praise and worship Christ with seven more exaltations with thanksgiving being added.



An elder asks John a rhetorical question and John throws it back to him. These are all people who it is said came out of great tribulation. Here is the translated church in Heaven. They will serve God who will live among them. They will never hunger or thirst or suffer the heat of the sun. Christ, the Lamb of God, will lead them and all their tears will be wiped away.



The angels, the ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, in Revelation 5, signify the presence in heaven, even now, of all saints throughout history from the time of Christ’s resurrection. After the translation which includes the resurrection of the saved dead physically and bodily they are the great multitude of verse 9.



Remember what an angel is.



Isaiah 63:9  In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.



Psalm 104:4  Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:



Hebrews 1:7  And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.



Matthew 18:10  Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.



Hebrews 12:23  To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,



While a believer is here on earth he or she also has a presence in heaven, an angel…



Ephesians 2:4 ¶  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6  And hath raised us up together [past tense], and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.



… with which they will be united in the first resurrection which consists of the church, living and dead, being translated to heaven, receiving a new body, as Paul stated in 1Corinthians 15…



1Corinthians 15:51 ¶  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.



…and in 1Thessalonians.



1Thessalonians 4:13 ¶  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.



When will this literally happen? Certain things will happen first. Notice in the following verses from 2Thessalonians by parallel phrasing we see the definition of the day of Christ as the same event as our gathering together unto him.



2Thessalonians 2:1 ¶  Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.



3 ¶  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4  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. 5  Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

Now, let’s move on to the seventh seal, remembering that this is how they are shown to John but that these events are happening together. I have an enormous book on military history that, for instance, for World War II outlines every campaign in Europe, has a break in the action, and then starts over again outlining every campaign in the Pacific over the same time frame. The events are related in the order they are being shown to John. This is not a movie or a TV show.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Revelation 6:12-17 comments: the Sixth and Seventh Seals, part 1


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?



Here, God’s wrath is being poured out on the Beast’s kingdom. The sixth and seventh seals appear to be happening either at the same time or very close to each other. What we have just seen here is the rise of the Beast and his kingdom, a great conqueror whose power comes from Satan. This is an overview but specifics are coming. Chapter 13 also gives us details about his reign, its spiritual origin, and how long it will be. This destruction that comes from God during the Beast’s reign is what Paul promised that the church would be delivered from; God’s wrath, not the Beast’s wrath whom we popularly call the Antichrist.



John the Baptist asked this question of the self-righteous religious leadership of his day.



Matthew 3:7  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?



Paul assured the church they would not face this wrath of the Lamb.



1Thessalonians 1:10  And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.



Here is chapter 13 about the Beast’s reign which will be discussed later.



Revelation 13:1 ¶  And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. 2  And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. 3  And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. 4  And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 5  And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. 6  And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7  And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8  And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 9  If any man have an ear, let him hear. 10  He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.



    11 ¶  And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12  And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13  And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14  And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15  And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16  And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17  And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18  Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.



As we will see, the Beast, who is wounded and may not be even able to talk and stand, is worshipped by order of his evil coworker, the second Beast, through an image. Perhaps in the need to cement an authority that God’s wrath is making almost impossible to maintain, he creates this mark. It is a matter of control. We’ll discuss these verses in 13 in detail later.



Who is calling down these horrible judgments?



Revelation 11:1 ¶  And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 2  But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.



    3 ¶  And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days [42 months], clothed in sackcloth. 4  These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5  And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 6  These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. 7  And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8  And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9  And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10  And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 11  And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12  And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 13  And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.



    14 ¶  The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. 15  And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. 16  And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, 17  Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. 18  And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. 19  And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.



By the sixth seal, the description of the Beast’s kingdom in chapter 13, and the two witnesses ascension we see when a translation/resurrection will be; just before the wrath of God annihilates the Beast’s kingdom. The last trumpet is in verse 15 of chapter 11.



1Thessalonians 4:16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:



1Corinthians 15:52  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.



More on this later. What is happening to the Jews during this 3 ½ years, this 42 months? Here is the history of Satan’s action against them as symbolized by the 42 chapters of Job’s suffering, ending in his restoration.



Revelation 12:1 ¶  And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2  And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. [Christ] 3  And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 5  And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. [Christ’s two advents mentioned in one passage] 6  And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. 7  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8  And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10  And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.



    12 ¶  Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 13  And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14  And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, [3 ½ years] from the face of the serpent. 15  And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16  And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 17  And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.



The Beast, a great conqueror operating under the power of Satan, builds his kingdom on war and conquest resulting in famine, disease, and death. He persecutes and murders Gentile and the Jews who believe, the latter fleeing to the wilderness, the former being murdered wholesale. God’s wrath is brought to bear on him at which time God’s people are removed to heaven. The false prophet, the Beast’s right hand man, after the Beast is wounded, perhaps by a stroke or an assassination attempt, causes the Beast to be worshipped and the mark to be taken. Now, we go into detail about those 3 ½ years we call The Great Tribulation.




Saturday, March 26, 2016

Revelation 6:5-11 comments: victims of the Beast


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.



The third seal is famine, riding a black horse. So far, we have a conqueror with a bow, war, and famine which follows both. A third of Germany’s population in the Thirty Year’s War in the early 1600’s perished, mostly by famine and disease, as armies raged over the land. Famine typically follows war.



A penny represents a day’s wages.



Matthew 20:2  And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.



In a famine the price of food goes up. If we imagine a loaf of bread requiring a day’s wages we can see, for a minimum wage worker today that loaf of bread would cost about $60.(9)



Luxury items are not affected, perhaps? The oil and the wine are not affected?



Proverbs 21:17  He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.



War affects the poor and working class in horrific ways because they do not have the wherewithal to survive in times of want caused by conflict.



Let’s move to the fourth seal.



(9) Wayne Croley, “Revelation 6:6: The End Times Cost of Food Part 1. “ Prophecy Proof. http://www.prophecyproof.org/2011/02/revelation-66-the-end-times-cost-of-food-part-1/. (accessed 12.16.2015).




 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.



Death, the fourth horseman, follows famine, war, and a conqueror as it often has throughout history. A fourth of the world’s population is killed with weapons of war, hunger, disease, and the natural world’s resurgence. The plague of Justinian in 541 and 542 killed between 25-50 million people in the Eastern Roman Empire, the Persian Empire, port cities around the Mediterranean Sea, and in the East African trading cities. This and the climate change that came in the same time destroyed the ancient world and ushered in the beginnings of the modern world.



A couple of notes here. For killing with death see comments on chapter 2, verse 23. This suggests a plague or plagues.



It is well-known that in some parts of the United States, at least, natural predators are on the rise again due to laws restricting the hunting of them. Mountain lions, coyotes, and wolves are coming back. We will learn why our forefathers killed them if this keeps up as our livestock, pets, and even our children become their prey again. If you recall God warned the Hebrews about to conquer Canaan about one of the consequences of disobedience…



Leviticus 26:22  I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate.



…and how, if they were obedient, why the process of conquest would be gradual.



Deuteronomy 7:22  And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.



There is a conqueror, war on the earth, famine, and a plague or plagues and wild animals killing large numbers of people.



Now, for the fifth seal.



    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.



The fifth seal opens with martyrs made so by the Beast crying out from under the altar asking why God has not taken vengeance on their murderers. Prophets in the past have asked why the wicked were allowed to pursue their goals for so long.



Jeremiah 12:1  Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?

The martyrs were given white robes.

Revelation 19:8  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

They are told to chill because there are more of them to be killed. God has previously told someone that a promise would be fulfilled later when something was complete. The translation or rapture of the believers, the first resurrection of chapter 20:5,6 which are those who are Christ’s at His coming in 1Corinthians 15:23, will not take place until their number has been filled. Here is proof that the souls of the saved dead are in heaven and not in some state of sleep. Notice this in Paul’s writing.

2Corinthians 5:6  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

The Beast has risen in conquest and slaughter with famine and disease following. He makes martyrs of millions. Let’s move on to the sixth seal.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Revelation 6:3-4 comments: the Rise of the Beast continues


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.



Keep in mind that these events are occurring in a relatively short time span of 3 ½ years.



The Beast’s reign;



Revelation 13:5  And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.



The Jews flight to the wilderness as prophesied by Christ in Matthew 24 and Luke 17 mentioned previously (1260 days or 42 months of 30 days each are 3 ½ years);



Revelation 12:6  And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.



And the ministry of the two prophets of God in Jerusalem as the rebuilt temple is misused and abused (see Jesus comments about the abomination of desolation mentioned previously);



Revelation 11:2  But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

3 ¶  And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.



The focus on the tribulation manifested in Revelation is a 3 ½ year period of time. Students of the Bible have derived a seven year tribulation from several Old Testament and extra-Biblical sources such as Daniel as the 70th week of his prophecy;



Daniel 9:27  And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.



And some have insisted that the translation of the church, or rapture, must take place before the seven year period starts because of extra-Biblical information such as Michael Satlow’s book, Jewish Marriage in Antiquity and comparing Jacob’s seven day celebration after his wedding celebration of a week with Leah before he could have Rachel in Genesis 29 with a required seven year marriage supper of the Lamb mentioned later in Revelation. There are other references to seven day celebrations, as well, such as in Esther. Some Islamic groups have an end-times prophecy of a person called the Mahdi, who will rule for seven years and destroy Christianity. This person would be equivalent to the Beast of this prophecy. However, in Revelation, literally, in the text, the reference is the 3 ½ years as great tribulation so if there is a specific 3 ½ years of peace prior to that time it is not mentioned. The Beast comes in with a fury of conquest and slaughter and that characterizes his short reign on earth. I’m not arguing against traditional evangelical interpretation of these events. I am simply saying be careful of what you cannot prove from the text but surmise by association. Cross-referencing verses is important for Biblical understanding but must be done very carefully to keep from error. Think of Hitler's six year position of power after being elected to power contrasted with six years of war that destroyed him and 60 million other people.



The opening of this seal released a red horse. Obviously, there is a rider on the horse and he has power to cause war. This is not the red horse rider in Zechariah as he is observing the world, not causing war.



Zechariah 1:8  I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white 9  Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. 10  And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. 11  And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.



We have a conqueror and then war over the earth. Killing by the sword is a characterization of war and not necessarily referring to a specific weapon as people are killed in war by catapults, spears, knives, and clubs among other weapons. Don’t get hung up on God not mentioning AK-47’s or hand grenades which would have meant nothing to most readers throughout history.

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.