Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Revelation - Chapter 6

A Study of the Book of Revelation
Chapter 06

This chapter is a summary of the Revelation and of the Tribulation.  Immediately following the rapture of the church there will be the seven years of Tribulation.

The Holy Spirit will be gone from the earth in the church capacity at the rapture, and He will no longer be holding back the coming of the anti-Christ (2 Thess. 2:6-9).  The anti-Christ will arise after the rapture.

So the question is: how long will the Tribulation last?  We can read Daniel 9:24-27 for this answer. In verse 25, the first 69 weeks of Daniel’s 70 weeks are divided into two parts “seven weeks, and three score and two weeks” for a total of 69 weeks.

The word for week is hebdomads and means seven.  

The week of years was known as sabbatical week of seven years.

One week represents seven years, thus seven weeks would be 49 years.  Every 50th year, the Jews celebrated the year of jubilee, 69 weeks would be 483 years.

God promised the Jews 70 weeks in the land or 490 years.  This was cut short 7 years by the cross of Christ.  69 weeks have already been fulfilled and the 7 years of Tribulation will complete the 70 weeks.

The 7 year Tribulation is the last period of Jewish history.  Prior to the Jews being in Babylon for 70 years, they were to observe the sabbatical year in their land, but failed to do so.  

God let them cool their heels in Babylon for 70 years.  This was God’s way of getting His time, this was for the time prior to captivity.  He had promised them 490 years in the land.

After the captivity, God gave them another 490 years in the land.  It was cut short by the cross, and God will tack the remainder on at the last and the period will be called seven year Tribulation.

The last week of 7 years is divded into two halves (Dan. 9:27).

In Daniel 7:25, the last half is called a time, times and the dividing of time.

In Revelation 11:2 and Revelation 13:5, it is called 42 months.

The anti-Christ will be revealed after the rapture and will have world power.  In the middle of the Tribulation, he will set himself up in the temple in Jerusalem and demand the world to worship him.  In the last part of the Tribulation (42 months), he will have total power.

In Revelation 6:2 the rider on the white horse is not Christ, but the anti-Christ.

This is the only chapter in Revelation that deals with the first 3 ½ years of the seven year Tribulation.

The remaining chapters deal with the last 3 ½ years of the seven year Tribulation. Chapters 7 – 11 deal with it from a Gentile standpoint and Chapters 12 – 18 deal with the same period from a Jewish standpoint.

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. 

At the opening of the first seal by the Lamb of God, the first of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse is revealed to John.  The rider held a bow, wore a crown, and went forth as a conqueror.

Lamb – Jesus opening the seals.  This is the sealed book in Revelation 5:1.
Noise of thunder – warning of the coming judgment.

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. 

The appearance of the white horse makes one think of the white horse in Revelation 19:11.  But the rider revealed by the first seal cannot be Christ, for He is the one who holds the scroll and opens the seal.  No this is not Christ, but one who comes in the name of Christ (Matt. 24:5), masquerading as the Christ.  He is the Antichrist and therefore comes saying, “Peace, peace,” offering a plan of world peace and promising a false Millennium.  But remember that Paul said, “When they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape (I Thess. 5:3). This false Christ (II Thess. 2:3-12) is the Man of Sin, the covenant-making prince of Daniel 9:26.

White horse – Roman dictators always rode white horses.  This was a sign of victory.

He that sat on him – This is not Christ.  Christ is in Heaven opening the seals.  This is the dictator of the revived Roman Empire.

Bow; and a crown – No arrows, just a bow, the crown is counterfeit.

Conquering, and to conquer – This is the dictator bringing the world together with internationalism.

The four beasts are the four living creatures.

Notice the crown was given to him.  Christ earned His crown.

3. ¶ And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 

With the opening of the second seal a red horse appears.  This signifies the second phase of the reign of the Antichrist.  Having come in peace, he soon plunges the whole world into bloodshed.  The peace plan offered by the Antichrist, and so readily accepted by the nations of this world, will now be withdrawn, and he will cause worldwide war and bloodshed.

Here Christ opens the second seal.

Second beast – another of the same kind.

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. 

Red horse – This is bloodshed and war. The one on the red horse is the principle of war.

Take peace from earth – There will never be peace until Christ comes.

Kill one another – bloodshed world wide.

Great sword – speaks of war equipment.

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. 

When the third seal is opened a black horse appears and its rider has a pair of balances in his hand.  Following closely on the heels of war will be famine and starvation.  The balances suggest that a system of rationing will be enforced (Rev. 13: 16-17).

In the New Testament times a denarius or penny was one day’s wages and bought only enough for one person (Matt. 20:2,9). Because of the devastation of war, the production of grain will be greatly curtailed and the whole world will have to ration its food.  It is evident that we are rapidly heading for the program even today.

Here Christ opens the third seal.

Black horse – speaks of famine. He that sat on the horse is the principle of hunger.

Balances in hand - to lack of food.

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. 

A measure of wheat for a penny – A measure is less than a quart and a denarius is a day’s wage.  Penny is 18 cents.

Three measures of barley – This speaks of world wide hunger, starvation and famine.

Hurt not the oil and wine – food for the leaders and the wealthy.  Poor get poorer and rich get richer.

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

Here the Lord opens the fourth seal.  Remember the book containing the seals was taken by the Lord Jesus back in Revelation 5:1.

Voice of the fourth beast – one of the living creatures.

Come – John was invited to see the happenings.

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 last horseman of the Apocalypse rides a pale horse, and the rider’s name is Death.   Actually the word “pale” (Gr chloros) means green-like, as a corpse.  

This rider, Death, will exterminate those living on the earth by four means:
(1)   the sword (war)
(2)   hunger (famine)
(3)   death (plagues which accompany famine)
(4)   wild beasts (which will roam unrestrained in that day of destruction)

John is going to see the opening of the fourth seal.

Pale horse – death.  Death and destruction follows this seal.

¼ of the world destroyed – millions and millions.

Sword – speaks of war.

Hunger – famine.

Notice the power he had, was given to him.

Beasts here speaks of wild beasts.

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: 

The fifth seal depicts the souls of those slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.  These cannot be the martyrs of the Church Age, for they were raptured before the holocaust of the opening of the seals.

They must be those martyred for their faith during the first months of the Tribulation.  Their being under the altar is symbolic of the fact that these people have been purchased by the blood of Christ.

Here Jesus opened the fifth seal.  Notice the picture changes.

Here we come to believers, the martyrs.

In the first four horses only unbelievers were killed.

Here, these are killed for the Word of God and for the stand they had taken.

The altar in this verse refers to the cross.

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? 

When those who have been slain for the Word of God inquire how long it will be until the Lord avenges their blood, they are told to rest with their fellow servants and brethren, for many more will yet join the ranks of the slain.

Here we find the prayers of the martyrs.

And they cried with a loud voice – They are the saints of God praying.

The prayer was in a question form.

Judge and avenge our blood – Fulfillment of the kinsman redeemer.

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. 

Here the saints are killed and given a white robe.

White robes – speaks of purity.

Rest for a little season – they were with Christ waiting until God’s plan unfolded.

Fellowservants also and their brethren – the rest of the saints would be killed.

This is during the last half of the 7 year Tribulation.

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; 

With the breaking of the 6th seal havoc is unleashed on the earth and the Lord’s wrath brings cataclysmic judgment.  Six literal, catastrophic events will occur:

1.      a great earthquake
2.      the sun becomes black
3.      the moon becomes reddened like blood
4.      a universal meteor shower of stars falls to earth
5.      the heavens part as a scroll revealing God on His awesome throne
6.      every mountain and island are moved when the heavens roll back. 

The result will be panic and fear.

In Daniel 9:24-27 God had promised the Jews 490 years in the land.  This time period was cut short by the cross seven years.  The seven years Tribulation is the 70th week of Daniel.  This is the last period of Jewish history.

In the first 12 verses of Chapter 6, we have 6 seals opened.  Verses 1 & 2 is the first seal.  This is the dictator riding the white horse and here politics reaches its maximum.  

The king of the west is a ten nation confederation eventually ruled by one dictator that was riding the white horse.

Then we have the king of the north and he is the ruler of the Russian block.  

The king of the south represents the Arabs and Africa, the king of the east represents the Oriental block.

In verses 1 & 2, the rider of the white horse is the dictator of the revived Roman empire.  He is talked about in 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 13:1-10 and again in Revelation 17 and in parts of Daniel 8 and 9.

He has a bow and a crown and will conquer through warfare.  The crown he is wearing indicated his coronation by Satan.

This crown is the one Satan offered Christ in the temptation and Christ refused it.

In verses 3 and 4, the second seal – this is the rider of the red horse. This is warfare, man cannot maintain peace, the only one that can is Jesus Christ.

In verses 5 and 6, the third seal – the black horse and this is famine. Balances and scales are for weighing grain.  This speaks of hunger.

In verses 7 and 8 – the fourth seal – the pale horse speaks of death.  Death of unbelievers, one fourth of all unbelievers in the earth will be killed.

In verses 9 through 11, the fifth seal – this is the killing of believers.  These are gentile believers.
Remember six is the number of man. Now we have the opening of the sixth seal. 

Here the great earthquake comes.

During the Tribulation, it will be a radical change in nature. (Mark 13:8; Matt. 24:7, Rev. 8:5; 16:18).

God is using nature to judge here.  God will blot out the sun and the moon will become as blood.

It may be because of the earthquake and volcanic ash that will fill the heavens.

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. 

Here we see the judgement of God in nature.

Stars falling like figs from a tree.

Stars here refer to celestial bodies.

14. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 

Here we see great turbulence in the heavens.  God is demonstrating His great power in the earth as moving mountains and islands out of their place.

Great fear now fills the earth.

This may be some nuclear activity.

This is right at the end of the seven year Tribulation.

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; 

Here we see the reaction of the people on earth.

Men can’t use political power to stop this judgement.

Rich men cannot bribe their way out.

Here is the largest prayer meeting service to ever gather.

There are seven classes of men gathered here:

Kings of the earth – that is rulers
Great men – those are political men – men of influence.
Rich men – money hordes of the world.
Chief captains – they are the military leaders of the world.
Mighty men – these are men of great physical strength.
And every bondman – this is the working class of the world.
And every free man – this is the white collar class.

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: 

And said – this is the prayer they will pray

This is right at the end time.

This is the second coming of Christ.  It is described in detail in Revelation 19.

Christ came the first time in the spirit of salvation.

Christ will come the second time in the spirit of wrath.

17. For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Here is the judgement of Christ, the Lamb.  The only two New Testament writers to refer to Christ as the Lamb were John and Simon Peter.

Great day because of the terrible judgement of God.

Who shall be able to stand? No one!

So there will be a seven year Tribulation and at the end of the Tribulation, Christ will come and history will come to an end.  Christ will set up his 1,000 year reign.

Chapter 6:13 – a summary of the Revelation and beginning in chapter 7, the details are filled in.

Before the opening of the 7th seal some additional information about this period of tribulation is provided for us in Chapter 7.  The narrative is not advanced; supplementary material is simply added.

Here John sees four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth.

The activity of these angels does not follow the opening of the the 6th seal but rather begins before the opening of the 1st seal.  

Therefore Chapter 7 provides information about the whole of the Tribulation Period.  This information is provided from the perspective of salvation, not history.

Thus far, 6 seals have been opened and the 7th seal is opened in chapter 8.

Clark, Neal. Survey of the Book of Revelation. Pensacola, Florida: Thee WFBI Press, 1999. Print.
Falwell, Jerry. Liberty Commentary on the New Testament. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty Press, 1978. Print.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Revelation - Chapter 5

A Study of the Book of Revelation
Chapter 05

In chapter 4, John saw five things:
1.      Jesus seated on the throne.
2.      The 24 elders.
3.      The double judgement.
4.      The church at rest.
5.      The four living creatures – select angels.

The sixth thing John is going to see is in chapter 5.  He is going to see a book.  This book contains the judgement.

There are several books talked about in the Bible.  The 7 sealed book (Rev. 5:1), the book of life (Rev. 3:5, 19:15, 22:19), the Lambs book of life (Rev. 21:27), the book of works (Rev. 20:12), the book of remembrance (Mal. 3:16), and the book of the living (Psalm 69:28).

1. ¶ And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 

Here we have another majestic sight.

Here we have both God, the Father and Jesus, the Son on the throne.

In the days of the Apostle John, books were usually scrolls (Gr biblion) rather than bound books such as we have today.  When a scroll was completely filled with writing, it would be rolled a little ways, a seal would be placed on it, and then it would be rolled a little more and sealed again.  When it was completely rolled, seven seals would secure its message.  To unroll the scroll and reveal the contents, one must break the seals successively.

“Book written within and on the backside.” – this books contains 7 chapters.  It had 7 seals and when one seal was broken, you could read the next seal.

“Written” – this is in the perfect tense and means it will remain written just in that form forever.

The book contains the judgements of the seven year Tribulation, the sum total of perfection and divine completeness.

The seals mean that the book is not to be opened until the church is removed from the earth.  We are now in the church age, next is the rapture and then the Tribulation.  The Tribulation is the time of the seven sealed book.

This book contains the title deed to the earth.

This sealed scroll recalls the ancient Jewish custom of the kinsman-redeemer (Ruth 4).

Under the law, when an owner of property allowed another to take possession of it, a sort of mortgage deed was given to the original property owner.

This was a sealed scroll which stated that at some future date a representative kinsman could reclaim that property if the purchase price were met.

The landowner’s representative must be a legal kinsman, and be worthy of the right to purchase the property.  When he had paid the stated purchase price, then, and only then, could he break the seals on the scroll.

This worthy seal-breaker was called the “redeemer,” for he had regained the property from the hands of another.

Adam sold the human race out, lost it to sin. Jesus bought it back.  He is our kinsman redeemer.

            The kinsman redeemer was to buy back the inheritance that was lost or mortgaged. (Lev. 25:25)

            The kinsman redeemer was to redeem brothers from bondage. (Lev 25:49).

            The kinsman redeemer was to marry the widow and raise up seed to the dead. (Ruth 4:4-5).

            The kinsman redeemer was to avenge the blood. (Num. 35:19-35).

2. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 

Strong angel – means a capable angel. One with a strong, loud and clear voice.  No man of human race is worthy to break the seals.

Since this is the title deed to the universe and only the purchaser of redemption can receive it from the hand of God, an intensive search is made to discover a man worthy to open the scroll.

3. And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 

Though the heavens, the earth, and the netherworld are searched, no man worthy is found.  By sin all men have forfeited any worthiness they might conjure up to open the scroll (Ps. 14:1-3; Eccl 7:20; Rom 3:10, 23).

No man is worthy to open the book.  No one in Heaven or earth.

4. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 

This caused John to fall into uncontrollable despair and much weeping.  No man was found worthy.

I wept – this is imperfect active indicative and means John just kept on crying, heartbroken.

No human was worthy to open the book.  This book contains the title deed to this world, all that Adam lost in the Garden of Eden.

If this book remained sealed, Satan would be in total control of the earth.

The subject of the book is redemption and judgement.

5. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. 

One of the elders said to quit crying. John’s weeping turned to joy.  

Lion of Juda is Jesus.  He is worthy, speaks of humanity.

Root of David is Jesus, speaks of diety.  Jesus is worthy to open the book and to judge the world.  He has overcome and prevailed.  He can and will break the seals and this world will be judged by the perfect God.  Perfect justice will prevail.

6. ¶ And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 

Then John looked up and in the midst of the throne, among the four living creatures, and among the 24 elders…

Stood a lamb – this is perfect tense.  It means He stood and He will stand forever.

Throne – judgement seat.

Four beasts – means 4 living creatures, four endowed angels.

Christ had been seated, but now stands to judge in the Tribulation.

Lamb as it had been slain – refers to the fact that Christ received death on the cross.

Seven horns – reference to perfect power – 7 = perfection; horn = power – perfect power.

Seven eyes – Eyes stand for intelligence, seven is perfection.  He knew everything.

Seven spirits – refers to His character, His total essence.  This speaks of the perfection spirit of God.

The one to open the seals will be perfect.

7. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. 

He is referring to Christ.  Christ takes the book out of the hand of the Father.

The lamb, our kinsman redeemer will open the book.

8. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 

Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, claims those for whom He died, and immediately the four living creatures and 24 elders sing a new song, a song of praise to the Redeemer.

Christ takes the book.  

Four beasts – these are four living creatures (angels).

All fall at His feet in praise.

Harps speak of praise.

Vials are bowls – full of the prayers of the saints.

9. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 

Here is the largest choir ever assembled.

This is a new song never sung before.

We don’t have the melody, but we do have the lyric.

We have the message – words form a message and a song is not much unless you understand the words.

Melody appeals to the emotions.

Words appeal to the intellect.

10. And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. 

Song on His labeling of us.  Song of the 1,000 year reign.  Song of the redeemed to the Christ of glory.

11. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 

Even the angels, ten thousand times ten thousand strong, who could not sing the new song of redemption, join in the celebration of praise to the one worthy to receive the scroll by saying with a loud voice.

This is the chorus of the song.  Notice the number in the choir.

Finally, every creature in heaven, on earth, and under the earth sings honor and blessing to the Lamb.

Yes, Christ Jesus humbled Himself, came to earth in the form of a man, and died for mankind.

12. Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 

The Lamb is worthy.  The Lion of the tribe of Judah has met the qualifications to open the scroll.  

This is none other than the Lion (Gen 49:10) from between the feet of Judah, the Root of David (Isa 11:1), the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6-7), the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29).

This is Jesus Christ the Lord.  Now the Lord Jesus makes another appearance and the heavenly hosts sing, Worthy is the Lamb.

Notice the seven things Christ was to receive:

Power             riches              wisdom                       strength                      honor 
Glory              blessing

This means Christ is worthy to receive complete praise.

This speaks of the total character of God.

The title deed is in the hand of God and only Jesus has paid the purchase price.  He has purchased all things by His death on Calvary.  Since Jesus Christ alone has paid the price for redeeming God’s property, He is the only one who is able to take the scroll out of the hands of God.

On the cross the title to the redeemed souls of the universe was purchased with Christ’s blood and now He steps up and receives the scroll in one of the most dramatic scenes in history.

13. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 

Every creature joins in praise to God.

Praise is to God and the Father and unto the Lamb.

The sum total of all praise the Lord.

The whole universe, including the church in Heaven joins in on the chorus.

14. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

Amen – means I believe it.

The four living creatures sanctioned it.

The 24 elders joined in the praise and worship.

Beginning with the 6th chapter, and continuing all the way to Chapter 19, the Apostle John is permitted to view the Tribulation Period.  

Within these important chapters is a series of three judgments: the seals (ch. 6), the trumpets (chs. 8-9), and the bowls (ch. 16).

Between the record of each judgment is a parenthetical chapter or chapters which provide additional information about each judgment.

Clark, Neal. Survey of the Book of Revelation. Pensacola, Florida: Thee WFBI Press, 1999. Print.
Falwell, Jerry. Liberty Commentary on the New Testament. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty Press, 1978. Print.