Thursday, March 06, 2014

The Book of Revelation: Chapter 6: vs. 5 – 17

Third seal

As we continue chapter six, which introduces the Tribulation hour upon earth, a word of explanation is in order concerning the placement of signs.

{vs. 5-6} Verse 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. Verse 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 wine. 

Famine and inflation usually follow war. 

The rider on the black horse produces these tragic twin sorrows upon earth.
Ezekiel prophesied this hour:
And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time thou shalt eat it. Thou shalt drink also water by measure... behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care (Ezekiel 4:10, 11, 16). 
Leviticus 26:26 states: 
... Ye shall eat, and not be satisfied
This is pictured by the pair of balances in our text. 
The angel in Revelation 6:6 also cries, 
A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny
In Bible times laborers received a denarius, or one penny, as an entire day's wages (see Matthew 20:2). A measure would be sixteen of our American ounces.
Think of it! An entire day's wages for a loaf of bread! 
No wonder Moses said, 
Ye shall eat, and not be satisfied. 
A man will have to spend everything he has just for the necessities of life. What about the oil and wine? These items were luxuries in Bible times, and we find that there are those who still possess them during the Tribulation. Nevertheless, the general picture is that of hunger stalking the world.
Inflation, the leading economic culprit, becomes so bad during the Tribulation that precious metals actually become worthless.  
Those who think that it will help to hoard diamonds, gold, or silver should beware! During this period of time, inflation will skyrocket and the Antichrist's numerical program, 666, will replace gold, silver, and paper money.  
Because of the situation, they shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed:
... their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord... (Ezekiel 7:19). 
James adds in chapter 5, verses 1 and 3,
Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.. .your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
Earthly treasure, then as now, brings nothing but sorrow and tears in the last days. One had better do what he can for the Lord while he can. Why leave it behind for the Tribulation hour or keep it until it becomes valueless?  
Every Christian should serve God with material blessings, winning souls to Him for all eternity.  
Jesus said, 
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21). 
One can either let go-give it to God and store it up on the other side-or hang on, keep it, and let greedy, unsaved relatives share it, losing it both here and forever. One must make his choice-either for the here and now, or for eternity.

Fourth seal

Let's move on to the next rider, on a pale horse, 
who aggravates the conditions begun by the rider on the black horse. The third seal unleashes hunger and inflation upon the earth, but the fourth seal produces mass starvation.

{vs. 7-8} Verse 7: And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. Verse 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. 

This horse is described as pale. 
The Greek word is chloros from which we get the term chlorine gas. In other areas of the New Testament, we find that chloros is translated "green" (see Mark 6:39 and Revelation 9:4).
The fourth rider is the deadliest. 
This is why his name is Death and why Hell follows with him.  
He destroys the body, then Hell swallows up
the souls and spirits of those he kills with sword, hunger, and the beasts of the earth-probably AIDS, produced by the green monkey virus. One-fourth of the world's population dies through his brutality-more than one billion, seven hundred fifty million people at today's population figures.  
This could easily happen
given the capability of mankind's atomic, hydrogen, and neutron bombs. Today's armies have the means to reduce population figures by tens of millions within hours. Their arsenals include chemical warfare and test tubes filled with germs for the greatest biological and bacteriological attack ever. 
The aftereffects of such a battle could easily dwindle earth's population by twenty-five percent. God help us when it happens!
Fifth seal

Next, the opening of the fifth seal brings forth the cries of slain martyrs. 
Jesus spoke of this hour in Matthew 24:9, 10. Hear Him:
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
Please read chapter 4 again. 
Rediscover that this reference is to Tribulation saints composed of elect Israelites and those Gentiles converted by the preaching of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists. These persecuted saints and martyrs are not part of the Church-the body of Christ and the bride of the Saviour-already in glory (chapter 4, verse 1).
{vs. 9-11} Verse 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: Verse 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? Verse 11: And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. 

These martyred saints are seen under the altar. 
In the Old Testament, the altar always referred to the place where blood had been sacrificed. Souls will be saved during the Tribulation hour the same way souls are saved today-through the precious shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Because the believers of the Tribulation hour proclaim Christ crucified, they lose their lives. 
At this point every twenty-first century believer should ask himself the question, 
"Would there be enough evidence to convict me as a Christian during this period of time were I present?" However, in this age of grace, we also will be the losers if we attempt to be secret disciples, never testifying of our faith in Christ Jesus.  
The Saviour said,
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my father which is in heaven (Matthew 10:32, 33).
Please listen to this next statement carefully. 
These slain martyrs are crying.  
They are not in an unconscious state. The doctrine of "soul sleep" is not taught in the Bible. Some denominations teach that all believers sleep until the resurrection morning. 
Not so! 
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:8,
To be absent from the body [is] to be present with the Lord.
The "soul sleep" adherents can never find a time when they are absent from their bodies. If the soul remains in a state of sleep in that body until the morning of Christ's return, the two are never separated. 
The Bible teaches that they are separated. 
The body is asleep in one place (the grave), whereas the soul is alive in another place (heaven or hell). For the Christian, to be absent from the body means to be present with the Lord.  
That is why Paul said, 
To die is gain (Philippians 1:21).
It is also the reason that, when Christ returns at the Rapture, He brings those who sleep (the dead) with Him:
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him (1 Thessalonians 4:14). 
Now, how can the Lord bring the dead with Him and still come after the dead in 1 Thessalonians 4:16?  
It's because the dead are in two places! 

The souls and spirits are with the Lord (absent from the body and present with the Lord), but their bodies are in the grave. 
Hence, Christ brings the dead-the souls and spirits already in His presence-with Him, so they may come to get their bodies. That's why the dead in Christ rise first. But all this pictures' the Rapture. The text under investigation describes a later time-the Tribulation hour. 
It is then that the spirits of the martyred Tribulation saints cry. They also wear white robes. Lifeless spirits cannot cry or wear white robes.
The solution ? 
The spiritual being has a temporary covering. 
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved [dead], we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Corinthians 5:1). 
We may not understand everything about the spirit world, but one thing is certain- being in spirit form does not mean unconsciousness.
Spirits move, talk, cry, and even wear white robes.  
Demons also are spirits. 
They spoke on many occasions in the Gospels.
Spirits live! 
Away with the doctrine of "soul sleep" in any dispensation! Our loved ones are with Jesus if they died trusting in the merits of the shed blood. They are also under the altar, just as these Tribulation saints will be. Soon they will come forth for their eternal covering, their bodies.
Now, since we have learned that it is possible for the dead to cry because the spirit never ceases to exist, we next discover that their cry is one of vengeance. 
They are not under grace, the love covenant. Instead, they want blood. Stephen, under grace, cried, 
Lord, lay not this sin to their charge (Acts 7:60).
But this is a different dispensation-the fulfillment of the hour mentioned by David when he spoke of the actions of Jehovah, saying,
This group of saints knows that prophecy is being fulfilled, and they wonder how much longer their loved ones, still alive, must suffer. The Lord speaks to them about having a little more patience. There will be one more wave of persecution in chapter 20, verse 4. Then they will live and reign with Him for 1,000 years.
Sixth seal

In verse 12, we see a great earthquake. 
{vs. 12-17} Verse 12: And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sack-cloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; Verse 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. Verse 14: And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Verse 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; Verse 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: Verse 17: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

There are four quakes in the Book of Revelation

It is interesting to note
that the judgments of the first four seals were under the jurisdiction of the Antichrist. The opening of the sixth seal, however, begins the administration of supernatural judgment from heaven. One cannot conscientiously interpret these events figuratively. The judgments occurring in this portion of Scripture are to be taken literally. 
And why not? 
Do you know that earthquakes have accompanied the judgment of God throughout history? 
Mount Sinai quaked when God descended upon it in fire: 
And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly (Exodus 19:18).
Rocks were smashed to smithereens through earthquakes in Elijah's day: For, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord (1 Kings 19:11).
There was also a great earthquake when Christ died at Calvary: 
Behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose (Matthew 27:51, 52). 
If all these quakes were real, why wouldn't the scene before us be literal? 
It is exactly what Jesus predicted for the Tribulation hour. He said,
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken (Luke 21:25, 26).
At this time the earthquakes and convulsions upon earth are so great that 
the stars of heaven fall like figs being shaken out of a tree prematurely. Strong winds, possible tornado's, and hurricanes also wreak great havoc. 
The devastating quakes cause mountains and islands to be moved from their foundations. 
No wonder one-half of the world's population dies through the manifold catastrophes that bombard the earth.  
The scene is so terrifying that kings, great men, rich men, chief captains, mighty men, bondmen, and all free men hide in dens and mountains for safety.  
Now we understand Christ's statement: 
Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth (Luke 21:26). 
The situation becomes so unbearable that humanity pleads to die, begging for obliteration and annihilation by crying to the mountains and rocks saying,
Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6: 16, 17).
Thank God, the Church is in heaven during this calamitous hour!