STUDY: PART 18
“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. 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. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 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” (Revelation 6:1-4).
V. 1. Now John sees the Lamb that was slain (Isaiah53:7). Let’s understand Lamb the way it’s meant here in Revelation. In Strong’s #721, we see that this Lamb is arnion (ar-nee-on). Its original meaning was of a smaller, tiny animal that was helpless to feed, water and shelter itself. This is not the context in which this word is used of Jesus. The devil is evil, harsh, and cruel in his dealings with people. Jesus our Lamb is meek and gentle. He is the loving, compassionate atonement for our sins. There is nothing small or weak about Him. He is the powerful victor over the gates of hell. He is the aggressive defender of the flock. He is the righteous One who will sit in judgment. Jesus was not the little Lamb led to slaughter for sacrifice, He was the mighty Lord who gave Himself willingly as our sacrifice. (John 15:13; Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”)
Jesus the Lamb is our eternal Bridegroom. On earth there are many denominations that draw Him this way and that, but what I am positive about is that in heaven there is no church division that will separate us by denomination. We will be one with God in Jesus, and we will be the Lord’s bride. Being as God wants us in a monogamous relationship on earth, seems in heaven Jesus will have only one bride, ALL of us!
We all are who He suffered and died for. His life and death broke down the barriers of separation between Jew and Gentile. “Prove it!” you say? Paul did that very nicely for us. He said, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; to make in himself of two one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you who were afar off, and to them that were near” (Ephesians 2:13-17). This Arnion, this holy, blessed Lamb is our heavenly Bridegroom. We must take care in preparing ourselves to marry Him and live with him forever. It took Esther one year of specially scented baths, massages and grooming to prepare herself to marry the king of Persia. (Esther 2:9) It takes us a lifetime to be ready to meet Jesus.
Now, this Lamb would open the first of the seven seals. This is done just before the beginning of His ministry of judgment in the earth. J. Vernon McGee says that most of us forget Revelation is divided into three parts. He says they are, 1- Revelation 1:19, “Write the things which thou hast seen” - that was the glorious vision of the glorified Christ as the Great high Priest amidst the lampstands, where He is keeping the light burning on earth. 2- “...and the things which are” - that was the seven churches which represent the total earthly experience of the church from the day of Pentecost, to the parousia (coming alongside and remaining with), from the upper room to the upper air, the total history of the church on earth. 3- “...and the things which will be hereafter [meta tauta (after these things)].
Up to this point, John was staring into the eyes of His beloved Jesus, but at the opening of the first seal, “one of the four living creatures”, the first which is the lion, called John’s attention away as he commanded the white horse and rider to “come” in the loud voice like thunder, and his vision changed from the throne room to the earth. (It is widely believed that the phrase “come and see” was actually only “come”, and meant the creature at the command of Jesus, was letting the horse and rider loose on the earth.) We know this is true by the words John spoke next.
V. 2. “And I looked, and behold...” This change of focus signifies the beginning of the Tribulation on earth. Chapters 6-18 are the Tribulation story.
What did John ‘behold’? He saw a being riding on a white horse that had been given the power to conquer nations. We know who will come riding in to conquer at the beginning of the Tribulation: The antichrist. He will come carrying a bow with no arrow indicating he will conquer in peace, making peace, but this peace will not last. The antichrist will be set in the position of power because of his ability to make all nations live in peace. When he achieves this position, his true self will begin to be revealed.
This peace treaty the antichrist will make with the nations will be a lie similar to the current peace treaties that mean absolutely nothing. Look at what’s going on in Syria. They agreed to a treaty of peace when they would cease killing their own civilians, yet they continue to bomb them even today. Thousands on thousands have died needlessly by the hands of their cruel regime. The U.N. political affairs chief told Reuters, “Fighting in Syria continues despite Syrian government assertions that it will comply with a U.N.-backed truce and has withdrawn troops and heavy weapons from cities and towns.” The U.N. Security Council is sending in 300 UNarmed military personnel to “monitor” the “shaky truce.” It’s considered one of the most dangerous assignments imaginable.
A peace treaty, or truce, is only as good as both sides of the agreement. The antichrist will not honor his end of the bargain any more than Syria is honoring its part.
The rider on this white horse is far different than the one in Revelation 19. In Revelation 6, the rider is out for himself. In 19, the Rider is Faithful and True. So the one in 6 is indeed the antichrist, and the one in 19 absolutely is the Christ. Both Christ and antichrist ride a white horse whose symbolic interpretation is peace, yet their purposes are totally opposite each other.
Let’s take a look at Revelation 19:11-16. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 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. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Paul Kroll, Personal Correspondence Department, Worldwide Church of God, says, “As Revelation can be thought of as a tale of two cities—Babylon the Great and the New Jerusalem—it is also a tale of two systems. There is a false system represented by its messiahs who think they can bring peace through conquest (as did the Roman Empire). But only Christ can bring in lasting peace and eternal life in the kingdom of God. “
V. 3, 4. When Jesus opened the second seal, John heard the second living creature, the calf, command, “Come,” and the second horse and rider was sent into the earth. This horse was the bright red of war. The false peace the antichrist set up is now in shambles (There is no peace, sayeth God, to the wicked - Isaiah 57:21).
“For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For 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 Thessalonians 5:3).
Reading the Bible makes it very clear to us who receives peace on earth. “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land” (Leviticus 26:3-6). This whole world is so far from keeping God’s ordinances that most can’t even see them anymore. They call good evil and evil good.
This rider has in his hand the great sword of death and destruction to people. He pit one nation, one people, against the other, and civil war broke out. The wars this rider brings are for that time after the church has been removed, and the antichrist is set up. It will be the most massive all-encompassing war ever. Every nation will be affected. The people will not only kill each other, they will butcher each other. And there will be no peace till Jesus comes on His own white horse for the final victory over the enemy of God.
Reading the news headlines makes me understand somewhat how bad it will be. Parents are nuking their newborns, drowning their children and killing them in various ways. Children are killing their parents and each other in record numbers. Neighbors are killing each other over minor insults. And, as we read above, nations are slaughtering their own civilians. During the Tribulation, this kind of thing will be magnified many times over. The one nation that will be most cruelly treated, as usual, will be Israel. But God will protect them when the time comes. Praise His holy Name!
STUDY: PART 19
Let’s see the difference between the horses and riders in Zechariah 1:8-11 that the horses here in Revelation. “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. 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. 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. 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.”
In Zechariah the horsemen are sent out to check up on the earth and report its condition. The report given to the angel in trees was the message of restoration for Israel. In Revelation, the horses and riders will bring desolation to everyone on earth.
“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. 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. And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 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” (Revelation 6:5-8).
V. 5, 6. Notice that John uses the words “heard” and “behold” to remind us yet again that he is still within this vision. Now the third living creature shouted the “come” message as the third seal was broken and the black horse, black indicating mourning (Malachi 3:14), with his rider were set free on the land to bring hunger and famine. The scale in his hand is symbolic of rationing during a famine. (Jesus warned of this in Matthew 24:7.) This famine was prophesied in Leviticus 26:26, where is reads, “And when I have broken the supply of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and you shall eat, and not be satisfied.”
What John saw here was not something new, but a punishment Israel had faced before when Jerusalem was under siege. The weighting of the grain in Leviticus, Revelation, and other places in the Bible is where the phrase a day’s pay for a loaf of bread comes from. This denarius they must pay is a full days wage for a working man. Today it might be $60.00 or $100.00 dollars per loaf. This will cause many to suffer famine, but not necessarily starvation. There will be food, just in short supply, and for overly inflated prices. I read that a denarius will purchase only enough wheat to feed one adult, where it will buy enough barley to feed three.
“Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment: That they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity” (Ezekiel 4:16, 17).
We see that the horse and rider was warned not to harm the wine and oil. Wine and oil are precious commodities and only the wealthy will afford them. Their protection might indicate that the Lord has set a limit on the amount of destruction this horse and rider will cause. There were three products the people of John’s day considered basic necessities of life, grain, wine and oil. Of the three the horseman was only allowed to affect one of the products, grain (Deuteronomy 7:13, and others). As usual, it will be the poor who will suffer most from the famine.
J. Vernon McGee recounts how during WWII, the wealthy people still ate their T-bone steaks while Pastor McGee and his family ate tongue. It’s already like that for some of us. The wealthy by T-bones or rib eye steaks at $9.00 or $10.00 per pound, and the poor get 80% hamburger for $3.29 a pound. The wealthy buy their breads in bakeries of the finest quality. The poor go to the bread discount stores. Those who are wealthy shop at the grocery store. The poor shop at the dollar store. No, I'm not advocating the Obama mantra of taking the money form the rich to give it to the poor. I do advocate Scripture that tells us to take care of the poor.
This rider and his horse are going to cause a corruption to the economy as never has been seen before. Remember unjust scales spoken against by God in Leviticus 19:36? I feel sure they will be used during this time of great need. As we learned in the Book of Amos, the rich will prey heavily on the poor to keep them rich. One of my peeves right now is the food producers who are cheating us legally. They downsize their cans and packages, but never their prices. Now to make a recipe, you have to by two of a product and are stuck with the rest. One commodity poor people rely heavily upon is peanut butter. The large jar of WalMart’s off brand this week was $5.24. Not bad, you say? Two months ago it was selling for $3.99. That’s quite an increase in such a short time.
Famine isn’t only coming in the Tribulation. It’s already here. Have you ever read a story about the Filipinos who dig for food in garbage dumps? They go every night to rifle through the garbage the restaurants throw away. These are chicken bones people already ate from. They call this recycled food “pag pag.” I watched a story about an older Filipino opening the garbage bags and declaring the food good as it has pieces of meat still on the bones. She sold the food the next day, and I watched as a young mother bought a bag “for a day’s wage” of 5 cents to feed her children with. This is only one example of the many countries whose people live in famine, pestilence, and disease right now. Sadly, in the Tribulation, it will be even worse than this, if you can believe that.
Do you know what the famine is in this world right now? It’s the famine of the Word of God. In II Timothy 2:15, it reads, “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Unless we read and study the Word, we cannot feed our spirit with the truth of God, so then our spirit starves. We need contact with Jesus, “the Word who was made flesh” if we want to thrive in our Christian walk. Don’t starve your spirit. The Word is readily available: Feast on it.
V. 7, 8. The fourth seal is now opened and announced by the fourth living creature. Let’s see what Paul Kroll says about this, “The pale horse has a rider called "Death," and "Hades was following close behind him" (6:8). The Greek word for "pale," chloros, elsewhere in Revelation describes the yellow-green of vegetation (8:7; 9:4). The word is the root for the English "chlorine." It is here used for the tell-tale and sickly look of death due to a virulent pestilence. The hue or tint in view here is probably to be understood as the color of a corpse—of death.”
J. Vernon McGee said that in that day there won’t be enough medicines to counteract all the diseases that will be rampant. One fourth of the earth’s population will be wiped out. To give you a vague idea of how many will be affected, in today’s population that would mean that at least 1 billion people would die. Now we can understand what Jesus was saying in Matthew 24:22, “And except those days should be shortened, there should be no flesh saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” Those are the elect saved out of the Tribulation.
Look at who came riding in on that putrid looking horse. Death and Hades are his riders. The death spoken of in this verse is the physical death of people’s bodies. In I Corinthians 15:26, Paul says, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” That will take place at the Great White throne Judgment of Revelation 20:14.
Hades, the grave, is where the souls of those who died separate from Jesus Christ go to await the judgment, and the final death, eternal separation from God in hell. In their rebellion, the people suffered all these things, the famine, the pestilence, the sickness and pain, yet did not call upon the name of the Lord to be saved. Unfortunately, Hades has been given other names and said to be a place where souls wait as others pray for their redemption so they can one day rise to heaven. This is not so. When the body dies before the person has made a decision for Christ, the soul is separated from the body, and it is gone forever.
Notice the progression the opening of the seals took with these horses and riders. First we have nations conquered. Then there is war. Then as is usual following war, we see famine and hunger. And finally we see sickness and disease that comes from hunger which leads to death and burials.
These, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, at satan’s commands and using sword, famine, pestilence, and wild beasts, will come forth on the earth as Ezekiel prophesied. “So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee: and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the Lord have spoken it” (Ezekiel 5:17).
God never makes idle threats. If He said it, and He did, He will certainly see to it that it happens.
STUDY: PART 20
“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: 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? 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” (Revelation 6:9-11).
V. 9-11. Who do you suppose the martyrs are in verse 9 when the fifth seal is broken? They are every person from Able to the Tribulation saints who were martyred for their faith in God. Jesus warned that all who believed in Him would be persecuted and that in the end times the families of the Born-Again Christians would be turning them in to be killed thinking they are doing God a service.
“But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. And the gospel must first be published among all nations. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Mark 13:9-13).
The Spirit of God spoke these words of warning through Jesus when He was alive on earth to be recorded in history. It is our responsibility to point out this information so people can understand that accepting Jesus now will prevent them from actively being part of the Tribulation persecution. They will be ready when Jesus comes for His “glorious church not having spot of wrinkle“(Ephesians 5:25-27). “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him” (John 16:2). Remember please that the church in the Tribulation will be a church of martyrs.
“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” (Revelation 13:7).
“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” (Revelation 11:7).
What were the martyrs killed for?
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
They were preaching and teaching the gospel. But the hard-hearted unsaved populace will think this is sin and believe that by killing the heretics, they are pleasing God. We have seen a minuscule example of what the unsaved during Tribulation will do in what’s happening in this country. The unsaved have taken prayer out of school because of the cries of one woman. They took God’s sovereignty out of our country’s courtrooms so that neither the criminals nor the witnesses have to swear in God to tell the truth. Now politicians of this country are using the book that teaches hate and killing of Jews and infidels (US) to swear to serve our country. And they are interfering in our rights to have a Bible preaching church by not allowing pastor to preach truth from the pulpit without fear of retribution. Praise God we don’t live in China, Iran, or Korea! Christians are already being tortured and killed for the gospel in those countries and many others.
During the Tribulation, the saints of God will be seen as a people group and will be treated the same no matter what tribe, tongue, or nation they are from. In Revelation 20:4, says J. Ramsey Michaels, "Those who 'lived and reigned with the Christ for a thousand years' are described not simply as 'the church,' or as those who 'believed in Jesus,' but as 'the souls of those beheaded for the testimony of Jesus'" (Interpreting the Book of Revelation, p. 136).
J. Vernon McGee believes that the blood under the altar is that of the Christ. He states, “This altar is in heaven and is evidently where Jesus Christ offered His blood for the sins of the world. I take the position that His literal blood is in heaven.” He then says this can be proven with Hebrews 9:23, 24. Let’s read that now. “It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us…”
In other words, Animal sacrifices were a poor substitute for the blood of Jesus. Only His blood totally cleanses and makes new. So the “copies” (things on earth) were purified with animal blood, but the “heavenly things” with the pure blood of Jesus.
Now pay attention to this fact. The souls of the martyred saints are crying out, urgent, demanding. This is not the activity of souls asleep in the body in their graves as some people teach. These souls of the saints are very actively seeking for God to avenge their deaths. They are not spirit as some conjecture, or they would not be able to wear robes. They actually are in bodies in heaven. When the first resurrection comes, they will be given their resurrection bodies.
Does their calling for vengeance mean the saints who were, and will be martyred are filled with hate for their killers? No. Jesus and Stephen are great examples of this. They cried out for mercy for their killers. But the saints know that God’s justice will not be complete until the day He destigmatizes the work of the cross by removing the mark of disgrace that has become attached to it. We are currently seeing this mark forming against the cross as I mentioned above with the removal of God from all things public.
John sees the martyrs crying out, and then he sees them receiving a white robe. The white robe is one of purity and righteousness. This white robe signifies that they did not die in sin, but in service to God and in holiness. No matter how this reads, I believe the saints under the altar were happy because they now were under the permanent protection of Jesus their Lord. No sin or trouble could come against them again. Also, I believe that the white robes are given to the Old Testament saints who died for the Lord. Now there is no separation between Jews and the born- again martyrs. They all suffered the same fate, and all are having the same rewards.
When they don their white robes, the Lord asks them to rest, be at peace, and let Him handle everything. They have done their part: The rest is up to Jesus. All the dead in Christ can rest for eternity. There is now no more pain, tears, suffering, or remorse. There is for them now only joy and peace. John hears the Lord ask them to be patient a little longer because there are still others who will find salvation and be martyred. Until the plan is fulfilled they can rest under His loving care. When the time is ripe, vengeance will be His (Romans 12:19), and it will be complete.
The question, “How Long?” which the martyrs were crying out to God is not unique to Revelations. Many have asked that of the Lord. Some examples are:
“Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate” (Isaiah 6:11).
“How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?” (Psalm 13:1).
“Lord, how long will You look on? Rescue me from their destructions, My precious life from the lions” (Psalm 35:17).
“O LORD, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save” (Habakkuk 1:2).
Neither is the cry for vengeance unique to the throne of God. Jesus tells us the parable of the Persistent Widow. “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8)
STUDY: PART 21
“I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:12-17).
V. 12 - 17. So far in chapter six we have seen the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse released to do their dirty deeds. Each one caused much death and destruction to the population of this earth. But none was as devastating as this that is seen happening in John’s vision now. In his book, Our Mobile Earth, Professor R. A. Daley says that in the last 4000 years, 13,000,000 people were killed by earthquakes. Many times more than that will be killed in the one great quake to come.
This sixth seal is the beginning of the last half of the Tribulation Period. I can’t even imagine how terrible this vision was for John as he watched God’s judgment let loose on the earth. God is not vindictive, causing these things to happen out of spite. God is righteous and holy, hating all things that come against His holiness. His judgment is righteous. If no one was ever punished for being evil (Isaiah 13:9, 10), we would not have needed a Savior. But Jesus, the Lamb, chosen before the beginning of time (Rev. 13:8) for this purpose, came and died to save us. J. Vernon McGee made one thing very clear when he said that God did not choose the lamb because it had the characteristic of Jesus the Christ, God created this animal to represent Christ. Clearly Jesus is not a type of lamb as He is commonly called, but rather is the original Lamb.
Let me go off our chartered course here for a moment. Let’s look at the lamb verses the Lamb. All throughout the Old Testament people were told to offer up, “... a lamb without blemish” (Exodus 12:5) as a peace offering (Leviticus 3:6, 7; 9:3) or as a sin offering (Leviticus 4: 31, 32). It had to be a first born sheep of the flock which had not been sheared or used in any way; pure and clean. Jesus was the Lamb, the first born of the flock who was offered as the peace offering and the sin offering in our behalf (I Peter 1:19) Lamb is one of the staples of the Jewish diet. The Jews were taught that the “life of the flesh is in the blood” and not to drink the blood. Blood is the substance of atonement (Leviticus 17:11). In Matthew, when Jesus initiated Communion for the saints, He told us we are to eat the body and drink the blood of this Lamb (Matthew 26:26-28). The wine represents His blood, and is for the cleansing of all impurities. Eating the bread and drinking the wine is the new Covenant and symbolizes Jesus in us, the hope of glory, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory, ”(Colossians 1:27).
Earthquakes are not a new phenomenon. In the Old Testament, on Mt. Sinai, when God called Moses up to receive the Commandments, “The whole mountain trembled violently” (Exodus 19:18). Other references to look at are Isaiah 2:19 and Haggai 2:6. We also see earthquakes mentioned several times in the New Testament.
Let’s read Joel 2:10; 30, 31:
“The earth quakes before them, The heavens tremble; The sun and moon grow dark, And the stars diminish their brightness.”
“And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.”
“The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.”
Matthew 24:29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
And Revelation 6:12-14, “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 stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”
Do you see how these verses agree?
Can you imagine the destruction the stars would cause if they actually reached the ground when they fell? I believe these will be meteorites that fall.
Can you also imagine how cold this old earth would be if the sun was completely blocked out? “The sun became black as sackcloth of hair…” means the sun will be so well covered it will give no light or warmth whatsoever to earth. (Talk about a frosty situation!) Once the sun is covered, the moon will lose its glow and will no longer give light at night. Do you want an idea of what the world will look like, day and night? Close your eyes and tie a black cloth around them. That pitch blackness is what the earth will suffer. We see this warning also in Matthew 24:29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.”
My fanciful mind goes all over the place as I try to picture what would happen on earth if the sky were rolled up as a scroll (also mentioned in Isaiah 34:4). Does this predict that the covering of the people, their protection, will be removed? It could mean just that, and that could be why the men of this world will hide in caves.
Why are the people hiding in caves and under rocks? It is because the day of the Wrath of the Lamb had arrived. This is the one and only time this phrase, “Wrath of the Lamb” is used. It was spoken to explain the terror and destruction the people of John’s vision were under. This is the Lamb to whom it was given to judge the earth (John 5:27). But notice this. In all their dreadful fear and trembling, do they call on Jesus to save them from eternal destruction? No!!! They call on the mountains to save them from Jesus! They would rather suffer a crushing death and eternal damnation than give in and give themselves up to God Almighty and to Jesus. Sin and corruption is so deep in their hearts that they cannot recognize Jesus as the One who died to redeem them (John 3:16, 17). “The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly” (Zephaniah 1:14).
There are seven types of men mentioned in verse 15. There are: 1. kings, 2. great men, 3. rich men, 4. commanders, 5. the mighty men, 6. slaves, and 7. free men all hiding from God. These seven types cover all the echelons of the earth. The day of the sixth seal will be the great leveler of humanity, for a time.
When we look around us now, we can almost believe that we are in the midst of the Tribulation as the mid-tribbers would have us think. Sin is rampant in all countries. At one time we looked at countries like Sweden and Denmark and shook our heads at the level of sin they had reached. Now, not so very long after, we can look in our own country and see the same debauchery in our streets. The soul of man (his mind, will and emotions) has become depraved and seeks after fleshly lusts. A really good example of that is the “gay pride” parades that take place all over the world, even in California and other American states.
We can measure the level of immorality by looking at the secular newspaper headlines or listening to secular news stations on radio or television. You can rest assured that the boy who spends his time mowing lawns for the elderly, free of charge, will NOT be mentioned. You can count on the lack of coverage for the teenaged girl who mentors girls her own age to come up higher and find Jesus. You will see the young boy who is gay being plastered all over the headlines because someone made fun of him and now they must pay, usually a Christian or a Christian group.
The “gay” rights agenda is a “moral” conflict going on in this country with many civil rights groups backing them. But we have to look very hard to see anyone championing the straight people who are being persecuted, openly now, for their faith in Jesus. There are a few Christian legal firms such as Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) who defend Christians. They are inundated with cases, but we don’t hear about them on television very often and rarely in the news. Fox News does feature Mr. Sekulow sometimes.
Have you noticed how many killings are reported daily? Have you noted the relationship of the killers to their victims? We no longer have to watch only for maniacal serial killers that roam the world. We now have to be alert within our own families.
We are not in the middle of the Tribulation. None of that will occur until after the catching away of the saints. Then the antichrist will rear his ugly head and it will be downhill from there. These, I believe are the birth pangs Jesus warned about.
Who can stand? Only those who have accepted Jesus as their blood sacrifice for salvation of their eternal souls. Only those who have become the righteousness of God in Christ (II Corinthians 5:20, 21) can and will stand. How will the Christians survive during the Tribulation live through all the catastrophes that will take place? It’s like the Passover when Israel was covered in the blood of the lamb on their doorposts and lintels. Christians who are truly in the Christ are covered with the eternal protecting Blood.
God warned in Joel and is warning us now, “And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil” (Joel 2:13).
This sixth seal is the beginning of the end of the world as we know it. But there is a period of time yet before everything written in Revelation comes to pass. The trumpets must blow, the Bowls must be emptied out, and the seventh seal must be opened. After God has visited judgment on the earth and evil is overcome, satan still need to be bound and gagged for 1,000 years. Not till after all these things are fulfilled will the Lord bring the New Jerusalem down to be inhabited.