Revelation 6 introduces the Seal Judgments. It’s still early in the End Times Scenario but already things are getting rough. The first four judgments are symbolized by the famous Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and before they’re finished 1/4th of the world will be adversely affected. Many will die as martyrs and there’ll be great signs in the heavenlies. Those who dwell on Earth will know that the Day of God’s Wrath has come.
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In this study we’re going to be talking about Revelation. We’re going to start in Revelation 6 because we left off last time in chapter 5 and so, chapter 6 will be a good place for us to start.
Right away we know that the great thing about chapter 6, most of it at least, has to do with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. We’re going to be able to spend some time getting to know these four horsemen better and trying to figure out who they are and what they mean to us.
You know from our previous studies that Revelation 1 was an introduction where the Lord came to visit John on the Island of Patmos, and where He told him to write down the things that He was going to speak to him.
He said, write down the things which you have seen, the things which are and the things which will be after this.
Chapter 1 is ‘the things that you have seen,’ we covered that in our first study.
Then we went to a two-part study of chapters 2 and 3, the Seven Letters to Seven Churches, which fulfilled the Lord’s categorization of the book under ‘the things which are.’ Because in the time that John was writing those seven churches all existed and they were all live, and viable congregations; they all had the problems that He was talking about, and they all received the instruction and admonition that He wanted them to. We talked at that time about the fact that those seven letters, though, are timeless. They are written just as much to us in our life and in our times as they were to them back in theirs. And so it took two sessions to cover all that, which we did.
And then we looked at chapter 4 which is where John is called up into Heaven, which is the model of the rapture of the Church, and from chapter 4 on to chapter 19 you don’t see any mention of the Church on Earth. Any time the Church is spoken of or referenced at all in the Book of Revelation between chapters 5 and 19 it’s always in Heaven because the book also separates all of humanity into two categories.
One is the Earth-dwellers and the other is those who dwell in Heaven, and that means where your heart is. The people whose heart is fixed on the things of this world are referred to in the Book of Revelation as the Earth-dwellers, those who dwell upon the Earth. It means not just where their physical location is, it means where their heart is, where they really long to be.
And then you have those who dwell in Heaven, that’s the Church and they, of course, are removed in chapter 4 to be hidden from the great judgments that are coming on the Earth through the Book of Revelation.
We saw the Church going into Heaven, we saw the Church receiving crowns and giving them back to the Lord in Heaven, we saw them singing the great hallelujah songs to the Lord during chapter 4.
Then we went to chapter 5 which I subtitled The Greatest Real Estate Transaction in History because that’s where Planet Earth changed hands again. It was lost, we talked about this in detail in chapter 5. It was given to Adam and then lost to Satan in the Garden way, way, way back when.
We saw Bible references to the fact that the Earth is under the control of the evil one and has been ever since. We also read in the New Testament that when Jesus went to the cross, He didn’t just go for you and me, He went to redeem the Earth as well as redeeming His people. And so, in chapter 5 (which hasn’t happened yet. Chapter 5 is still future to us) we saw that one day, when the time is right, the Lord will come and take possession of that which He has purchased and the thing we are talking about there is Planet Earth.
In Revelation 5 we saw what will happen at that time and it did show us the beginning of His obviously successful effort to repossess that which He has bought and paid for.
The reason He doesn’t just do it—because He can—when we get to the end of the Book of Revelation, you’ll see that when the time is complete in God’s view, all it takes to bind Satan is one angel and some chain. It doesn’t take all of the heavenly host, it doesn’t take this huge battle, it doesn’t take all these years and years of warfare until finally the Lord ekes out a victory. No, all it takes when the time is right is one angel—an unnamed angel, we don’t know who it is. One angel comes down with some chain, he binds Satan and he throws him into the abyss for a thousand years and that’s the end of it.
So, why does the Lord give us all this period of judgment in the meantime?
I think there are a couple of reasons for it. One of them is found in 2 Peter 3:9: He doesn’t want any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
He’s given the Church two thousand years here to come to faith and be saved. Many, many millions have done so and more will do so before the rapture and He takes us all away to be hidden from those end times judgments. But many, many more millions will not do so. Either they have not been taught that it is necessary, or they have rejected it or this or that has happened.
He uses these end time judgments for one reason and that is to try and convince those who did not come to faith through the Church age that they need to do that; to give them one final chance before He wraps everything up because, while it is our choice to be saved or not, He doesn’t want anyone to fail to make the right choice. And so He uses these judgments to show His power, to show what is coming, and to give those people who are left on Earth—the Earth-dwellers as the Book of Revelation calls them—to give them one last chance to decide to come to faith in Him and be saved.
It won’t be very much fun doing it that way. You’re going to be very glad when you see the alternative, that you chose Plan A, to choose Him by faith now, because Plan B, choosing Him during the Tribulation, is not going to be anywhere near as much fun as it has been for us; it is going to be a very difficult and very, very trying time. As we’ll see, as we read about these judgments, fully one-half of the world’s population will die during these seven years of judgment.
Now, that’s a fascinating number because I remember reading that we are closing in on six billion people on the planet today. One-half of them (3 billion people) perish during the Great Tribulation and the few years preceding it. Now, what does that mean? Let’s put that in a number we can do something about.
If you take the seven years and you divide it into the three billion people, what that means is, about 1.2 million people on average will perish every day during those last seven years. On average about 1.2 million people every day. Now, it’s not a straight line. There’re big judgments that cause great death and tonight we’ll see one of them that takes care of one-fourth of the world’s remaining population. Boom! Just like that. Think about that. Because you remember when that tsunami hit in 2004 and about 150,000 people were killed right away? They felt the aftereffects of it—the disease and everything that came along behind it which shoots the total up to maybe double that. I think it turned out that a little over a quarter of a million people perished either directly or as a result of that tsunami.
A lot of people wrote to prophecy websites like mine and said, ‘Does this mean we are in the end of the age? Is God judging the world?’
I looked at that and I said, “Okay, let’s put it in perspective. Three-hundred-thousand people represents .005 (or five one-thousandths of one percent) of the world’s population perished in that tsunami. Five one-thousandths of the world’s population. Compare that to one-half of the world’s population and that gives you some perspective on it.
If 300,000 people only comprise that small a percentage of the population, think of how it will be in the Great Tribulation when about four times that many people on average die every day. The world is going to be a way, way different place than you and I are used to, yet that’s what it’s going to take for some people to make the decision that, maybe God is telling us the truth here when He said that He wants to save us from all this, maybe we’d better get to it.
Okay, that took us through Revelation 5. Now in Revelation 6 and from Revelation 6 through 19 this is essentially an expansion, an amplified view, of what is called Daniel’s Seventieth Week—the last seven years of human history on Earth before the Millennial Kingdom comes along.
If you remember that in the prophecy from Daniel 9 the Lord said that He would give the Jews 490 years—seventy periods of seven years each, a total of 490 years. Four-hundred-eighty-three of those years came and went and then the Lord was crucified just as Daniel’s prophecy said He would be, and the clock stopped. It has remained stopped to this day, but there are seven years left of that prophecy yet to be fulfilled.
That seven last years is known as Daniel’s Seventieth Week. It is a ‘week’ of years, seven years just like seven days is a week of days, seven years is a ‘week’ of years. And that seven years is yet to happen.
Starting in Revelation 6 it will begin. Then we will see, between Revelation 6 and Revelation 19, what is going to happen on Earth during those seven years. We will also get quite an interesting view of things that are going on in heaven at the same time.
But for now, for tonight, just understand that when this Revelation 6 comes along, the last seven years of human history have begun. And so, we’ll see what this has to say to us.
Let’s start now with Revelation 6 and we’ll read verse 1 which says:
I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals.
Remember from our last session that the seven seals were on a parchment; a piece of parchment, a scroll that God handed to His Son. It is actually the title deed to Planet Earth. He gave it to Him; and He was qualified to open the scroll and as He opens each seal, some judgment takes place on Earth. So, these seven seals are now being opened one by one.
I watched as the Lamb
(That’s the Lord Jesus, of course.)
opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures
Now, you know we’re doing these studies every month and so maybe you forget in the meantime who these players are in this scenario. You remember the four living creatures are the four cherubim who guard the throne of God. They are there and they are sort of announcing to the world what is happening as the Lord opens each of these seals.
So John hears a voice like one of the four living creatures:
Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
Here is the first of the Four Horsemen, the Rider on the White Horse.
It is amazing to me how many people view this as a representation of the Lord. I guess if you stop to think about it, it could be a confusing thing because we grew up in a culture where (I’ll say I did, maybe you guys aren’t old enough for this) but I grew up in a culture where we spent our afternoons and our weekends watching western movies. My favorites, my heroes when I was a little kid, were always cowboys, and guess what? In every Western movie I ever saw as a little kid, the good guy always showed up on a white horse, didn’t he? And so, that’s probably got us confused because here’s the first one coming out on a white horse.
I remember one of my favorite stars way back then was Hopalong Cassidy. Does anybody remember? Okay. He was all dressed in black, but he had a white horse. And so you had this, the good guy always rode a white horse. And I think that’s part of what’s confusing here. Because we say, “Okay, white horse? That must be the good guy. Who’s the good guy? Must be the Lord!”
Then you see that he’s got a crown on his head and he’s given authority to conquer. Well, isn’t that what we want the Lord to do? We want Him to conquer the evil in the world and make it a nice place again for everybody. But I want to show you some things that demonstrate that he is an imposter.
Because, you see, the word “antiChrist” is kind of a misnomer. It came about as a result of John’s letters really, first, second and third John. He mentions the spirit of antiChrist, and what he meant by that is a spirit in the world that was opposed to the things of the Lord.
In fact, in 1 John 5:19 he says:
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
He shows the two as being in opposition to one another; the things of God are being opposed by the things of evil. But when the actual, physical embodiment of this man comes along, he is never called the antiChrist; he is called by forty-two other names in Scripture but none of them is antiChrist. Because what he really is, is a false Christ. I call him the ‘pseudo-Christ’ because he looks like the Messiah, and at the beginning he acts like you would expect the Messiah to act. It’s not until he has gotten the world pretty much under his control that he turns out to be a bad guy.
So rather than think of him as the antiChrist—and I know this is going to be a hard stretch for you because that’s the only name you’ve ever heard attached to him—Paul, in 2 Thessalonians, calls him the ‘son of perdition.’ The son of evil if you will, that’s a much better name for him. But just think of him as the pseudo-Christ. He’s a false, a phony, a fake Christ.
In order to be a false, or phony or a fake something, you have to look like the real thing, right? A counterfeit has to look like the real thing. So when he comes out on a white horse he looks like the real thing. But here are some things that you can look at that show you that he’s not authentic.
First of all, the writer says that he held a bow. Anywhere in Scripture where you see Jesus coming as the conquering King you never see Him with a bow; He’s not an archer, He has a sword, right? He has a ‘double-edged sword’ that is so quick and so sharp that it can separate bone from marrow, spirit from soul. That’s the weapon that the Lord Jesus uses. This man has a bow. And guess what? He doesn’t have any arrows, he only has a bow. And you see, what this means is that he conquers without war. He doesn’t come on the scene as a warrior; he comes on the scene as a great peacemaker.
Let’s turn to Daniel 8 for a minute and I’ll show you what I mean. Let’s start in Daniel 8:23. Daniel is being shown this vision of the progression of kings that will come on the face of the Earth and he gets all the way down to the end of this progression.
In verse 23 he says:
“In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power.
(In other words, he’ll have some supernatural power. We’ll see what that is.)
He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.
Now that verse (the last half of verse 25) says, “when they feel secure, he’ll destroy many.” I really prefer the King James translation there because it’s a little more accurate view, in my opinion, of what’s actually going to happen. Because the King James Version says, “by means of peace he will destroy many.”
To me that’s a much clearer representation of what’s going to happen here. The antiChrist comes on the scene not as a warrior but as a peacemaker. I believe he comes on the scene as a result of a major battle that takes place on Planet Earth in the Middle East. He comes with a peace plan to bring peace, not only to the Middle East but thereby to the rest of the world because you know that if something that blows up in the Middle East is going to affect everybody on earth pretty quick. And so, he comes as a great peacemaker.
And he comes to confirm (as Daniel 9 tells us) he comes to confirm a peace treaty, a covenant that allows that part of the world to live in peace again. It allows the construction of a temple, it allows the Jews to worship their God in the manner that they have been told to worship Him. And he brings peace to the Middle East, which brings peace to the world. Now, once he gets the peace idea across and everybody sees him that way, then he begins to consolidate his power.
Look one chapter over, Daniel 9 (or in my Bible it’s one page over but it might be more in yours). Let’s look at Daniel 9 and we’ll start in verse 25. Daniel 9:25.
There it says this:
“Know and understand this:
(This is the angel Gabriel talking to Daniel.)
“Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’
What the angel Gabriel is telling Daniel is, “When you see a decree being issued that permits the rebuilding of Jerusalem,”—Now see, Daniel’s in Babylon at the time. Jerusalem has been destroyed for seventy years. The Babylonians just burned it right to the ground seventy years earlier, and it’s been lying there abandoned ever since then. The weeds have grown up, the briars and brambles and nobody has lived there for seventy years.
But Gabriel said to Daniel, “When you see a decree being issued to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, then start counting.” And the Messiah (He’s called the Anointed One here) the Messiah will come after forty nine ‘sevens’ (or seven periods of seven years each) plus sixty two periods of seven years each. A total of 483 years. So from the date of the issuing of that decree until the Messiah makes His appearance there will be 483 years. And that is exactly what happened.
The issuing of the decree was given by Artaxerxes Longimanus, who was a Persian king. He gave it on March 14th 445 B.C. We know this from secular history. Four hundred eighty three years to the day from then was the first Palm Sunday when Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, the only day in His life that He permitted Himself to be hailed as Israel’s Messiah. The prophecy was fulfilled to the day, and just as Daniel said it would be.
And then he says, it would be built in ‘times of trouble’ which describes the fact that when the Jews were released to go back from Babylon into Israel to begin rebuilding the city, they had a great deal of trouble.
The Book of Haggai is all about that, the trouble they were having. Ezra mentions the trouble they were having in his book and Nehemiah in his book. So these three were involved in prophecy during the time of this rebuilding. They all talk about the difficulty the Jews had in getting their city rebuilt.
Finally, Artaxerxes issued this decree and permitted them to build the wall around the city and to get the city built again and then he actually issued this decree so that the other kings of the neighboring countries would leave the Israelites alone and let them do this. And finally, it got done.
But next it says:
After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’
(In other words, after that second period.)
the Anointed One will be put to death
and will have nothing.
The Hebrew there, the word that we translate cut off means executed; to be cut off was to be executed.
The words translated have nothing can also be translated but not for Himself. In other words, He would be executed but not for anything He did.
None of the Messianic promises that were given Him at the time of His birth, from Gabriel to Mary, none of those Messianic promises had been fulfilled. He was not the King, He didn’t sit on David’s throne, He didn’t rule over everybody with peace and righteousness, He didn’t establish peace on Earth from that time forward and forever. None of that has ever happened.
Daniel says that the Messiah is going to come, he tells them exactly when He’s going to come and he says, but when He does, instead of fulfilling all of the Messianic prophecy He is going to be executed before He can do anything. And of course, that’s exactly what happened.
Then he says:
The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.
That is exactly what happened, too. Thirty-eight years after Jesus was executed, the Romans came and once again the city of Jerusalem was burned to the ground, temple destroyed.
It goes on to say:
The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.
Verse 27 is where we are headed. Verse 27 says:
He will confirm a covenant
If you are an English teacher or a student of grammar you understand that a pronoun always refers back to the previous noun. If you ever see a pronoun and you want to know who is the pronoun referring to, you go back to the closest previous noun. The closest previous noun to this pronoun is “the people of the ruler who will come.”
And so, they’re talking about a ruler who is going to come at the end of the age and confirm a covenant. Now, where does the ruler come from? He comes from among the people who destroyed the city and the temple in 70 A.D. That’s the Romans. So from somewhere out of the Roman Empire at the end of the age this ruler will come and he is going to confirm a seven year covenant, or treaty, with Israel.
Do you know there are two seven year treaties with Israel on the table right now? The Oslo Accords is a seven year treaty and it’s just in limbo, just laying there. It hasn’t been enforced.
Also, the European Union has as one of its primary leaders a man named Javier Solana, I think his last name is. He is, for all practical purposes, he is the chief executive of the European Union. He has proposed a seven year economic treaty that would cover the Middle East and bring peace to the Middle East, and that has not been implemented yet.
This writing here in the Hebrew says that this ruler will confirm a treaty. The same word that is translated “confirm” also is translated “enforce.” So to those of us who study this, it does not mean that he will draft this treaty, it doesn’t mean that he will come forward with a great new idea. It means that he will come forward and enforce a treaty that has, perhaps, already been drafted.
So, you’ve got these two choices. You’ve got the one that the Oslo Accords includes, and you’ve got this European Union treaty. Both of them are designed to bring peace to the Middle East; neither one of them has been enforced yet because they can’t get the two parties to agree. Both treaties are there, they’ve all been drafted, they’ve all been approved by everybody except the parties who count—Israel and the Muslim nations that surround her.
So, this ruler will come and enforce that treaty which will bring peace to the Middle East. I went into all this with you because I want you all to see that when this antiChrist (this pseudo-Christ) comes on the scene he comes on the scene as a great peacemaker.
Now, why would the world want a great peacemaker at any particular moment in time?
Because you’ve just had a big war. That’s the most obvious time when you’re looking for a peacemaker, right? Because if all the world is already at peace you don’t need another peacemaker, you’ve got your peace already.
But if you’ve just come through a big war and it scared the you-know-what out of everybody, you are looking for a peacemaker that will make sure this never happens again. And if I read the Bible correctly, the Battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39 talks about a really horrendous war in the Middle East in which, many people believe, there has been an exchange of nuclear weaponry. This will shock the world to such an extent that they will want to make sure that that never, ever could happen again.
This is when the antiChrist comes on the scene and makes peace. His peace includes as one of its provisions permission for Israel to build a temple. Why would Israel want a temple? They don’t want one today, that’s the last thing they want today. I don’t know if you know this or not—only about one out of four citizens of Israel is a Jew by religion. They are all (or many of them) are Jewish biologically, you know, inherited. Being Jewish is like being Italian, you know. It is a nationality. You inherit it. Your parents are Jewish, so you become Jewish. But being a Jew also has a religious connotation. Only one out of four Jews are religious today. And of the one out of four that are religious, they are split about the temple. Some say that the people have to build the temple so the Messiah can come. The rest say the people can’t build the temple because the Messiah is going to bring the temple with Him when He does come.
And so, even among the one-fourth that are religious, they are split as to whether you get a temple or not. Something huge has to happen in order for all of Israel, the religious and the non-religious, to unite behind the desire for a temple. To become so adamant about it that they actually have it written into a peace treaty giving them permission to do it.
If you read the last few verses of Ezekiel 39—let me just take you there for just a minute. Ezekiel 39 is only a book back from Daniel, and 39 is toward the end. At the very end of Ezekiel 39 (actually, it says it twice) and verse 22 is the one I’m going to look at, Ezekiel 39:22.
Just to set the scene for you, 38 and 39 describe a battle between Israel and a coalition of enemies from the surrounding areas. When this battle takes place, the enemy is so overwhelmingly superior in force that it does not look like Israel has any chance at all of winning. But God intervenes in the battle and causes a supernatural victory; destroys Israel’s enemies. And in verse 22 it says:
From that day forward the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God.
In other words, this battle will be so overwhelmingly won by the Lord Himself that even Israel— who has a very, very high regard for its military strength—even Israel will have to admit that they didn’t do it, that it was the Lord who did it. At that point, they will recognize that their God, the God of their forefathers, has not abandoned them but has come out on their side once again.
It says in verse 23:
And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their offenses, and I hid my face from them.
“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will now restore the fortunes of Jacob and will have compassion on all the people of Israel,
Down at verse 28 He says:
Then they will know that I am the Lord their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind.
He uses this battle to, in effect, reintroduce Himself to His people and they will respond because He has just saved them from certain destruction.
When the Jews are reintroduced and reunited with their God, they go immediately into what is called the Old Covenant relationship again. This introduction, this reintroduction of God to the Jews does not happen through the Messiah. That happens later toward the end of the Book of Revelation.
In Zechariah He says:
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child,
That’s when Israel is reintroduced to the Messiah; it happens very close to the end of the Great Tribulation. This battle happens well before the Great Tribulation.
And so, the first reunion, if you will, of Israel with God is in the Old Covenant relationship—and the Old Covenant relationship requires a temple. As a matter of fact, if they went straight into a relationship with the Messiah, not only would a temple not be necessary, a temple would be an opposition to their relationship with the Messiah.
The Book of Hebrews is all about the fact that once you come to Christ, the temple is done with, the Law is done with, all the old provisions and conditions are done with. Now it’s just between you and the Lord. So, Israel’s only entre, if you will, back into the presence of the Lord comes in an Old Covenant relationship. We know this because they demand a temple.
In Daniel 9:27 it says:
He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering.
That conclusively demonstrates that a temple is constructed because of this; because the phrase “sacrifice and offering” is locked to the existence of a temple. There has not been any sacrifice and offering among the Jewish people for two thousand years because there has been no temple. Their religion requires a temple for them to worship and be in fellowship with their God under the provisions that He has given.
And so, what’s the point? The point is that this antiChrist, this pseudo-Christ, comes on the scene as a peacemaker and somehow he is able to permit (enforce) a treaty that includes the construction of a temple in Israel.
Can you imagine what the Arab world would say today if somebody started building a temple in Israel? I mean, just the rumor that the Temple Mount Faithful is about to bring a cornerstone somewhere near the location of the Temple Mount starts huge riots and the Israeli police go out and stop them. They try this every year. There’s an organization in Israel called The Temple Mount Faithful. A friend of mine heads it, his name is Gershon Salomon and every year they try to bring a cornerstone to the temple to just place it on the Temple Mount. The Arabs go crazy. The Israeli police come and take them away. Every year. They won’t permit it because they know the problems it would cause in the Arab world if they did this. But somehow, this great peacemaker is able to pull this off, to allow them not just to bring a cornerstone but to build an entire temple.
Now I personally believe that one of the great things that facilitates this is the fact that the Lord Himself has just wiped out the Arab armies, so they really aren’t in a position to do anything about it at this point. At the end of the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39 the Lord says He has decimated Israel’s enemies.
You know that the Roman Empire had two divisions, right? There was a western division; there was an eastern division. At the beginning, the pope was always in the eastern division because when the Roman Empire was Christianized under Constantine, he had his capital in what we call Istanbul today. It used to be called Constantinople. So, it used to be that the popes were in the eastern division in Constantinople.
The western church in Rome was not nearly as powerful. They went back and forth for generations until finally, the western division of the empire gained the power, and the popes came from there ever since.
The eastern division became what we know of today as the Greek Orthodox Church. Up until just a few years ago, the pope and the patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church never spoke. They had their first conversation after two thousand years just a few years ago. They still haven’t agreed on anything, but they’ve spoken to each other for the first time in two thousand years. And so, it’s possible.
Much of what was the eastern division of the Roman Empire is today what we call the Arab Middle East. They are not all Arab, they are Muslim, that’s what unites them. If you look at the genealogies, very few of them are actually biologically Arab. They are not Semites; most of them are of another nationality or another heritage. But they are all united under their religion, Muslim. It’s not ‘Jew vs Arab’; it is ‘Jew vs Muslim’ that’s going to bring the great confrontation at the end of the age.
So, this antiChrist could come from the eastern division of the Roman Empire. We don’t know. We’ve always thought he comes from the west because we come from the west and that’s the way we’re sort of oriented, and the western part of the Roman Empire is the one that’s survived, and it’s been the important one. It’s been the big one and everybody has looked to the Catholic Church as being the fulfillment of the prophecies about the revival of this empire. But it could be something different altogether and we begin to see this now that it could come from the eastern component. But the point is, whoever it is, he makes peace and that peace permits the building of a temple.
When we get a little further into the Book of Revelation, we’re going to see that there is a temple there. John is told to go measure it. And so, before we get to the middle point of the last seven years, we know that there is a temple there. Paul, in 2 Thessalonians, said that this ‘son of perdition’ (as he called him) would stand in the holy place (that’s the temple) and proclaim himself to be God. That is what kicks off the Great Tribulation. So, there is lots of evidence that there will be a temple in place at the end of the age. It happens because this person, this pseudo-Christ, is able to enforce a treaty, one of whose provisions is the building of a temple in Israel.
All right, now we actually got started on this because of the fact that we saw the antiChrist coming out here on this white horse with a bow but no arrows.
(Comment from audience)
Now, I’ll tell you one of the things that can lend a little credence to your idea here is that, who is the first one in Scripture to be called an archer? Let’s look in Genesis 21 for the answer and see if this lends a little credence to your view there, Jim. Genesis 21. I hadn’t planned to do this, so I’ve got to find it myself but I think I’m heading you toward the right place.
In Genesis 21:20 it says:
God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.
Do you know who that boy was? Ishmael, his mother was Hagar. Ishmael is the father of the Arab nations. And so that could just be a little hint that leads us in that direction, we don’t know. All we know is that this ruler at the end of the age comes out of a revived version, a reformed version, of some component of the Roman Empire. Which, as you stop to think about it, gives you a lot of room to guess because all the Western hemisphere basically can trace its origin back to the Western component of the Roman Empire. Most of the Arab world around the Middle East can trace itself back to the Eastern component of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire was huge. Americans come from the English; the English was a part of the Roman Empire. And so it’s all there. In fact, the most popular current candidate is Bill Clinton. And so, there you go, try that one.
I don’t think he meant to do this, but I think Billy Graham spoke some prophecy when he was giving his last crusade there in—Madison Square Garden (thank you). He’s giving his last crusade and Bill and Hilary Clinton came on the stage to congratulate him and he said to Bill, you remember what he said to Bill? He said, “Bill, you should go off and run the world and leave the running of the U.S. to your wife!” I think he spoke some prophecy there; I don’t think he intended to, but I think it might just turn out that way.
But he has been called by, this past year (2005) Esquire Magazine nominated Bill Clinton, according to their surveys and things, the most influential man in the world today. And so, who knows where this could all lead to. He’s a candidate who fits the requirements I believe. But we’ll see.
So, anyway, the rider (we’re in verse 2 here already) the rider holds a bow but no arrows and here’s your second clue. He’s given a crown. Well you say, “Wait a minute! Jesus wears a crown. He’s the King of the Universe, doesn’t that mean this has got to be the Lord?”
Well, if you know your Greek, it doesn’t and here is where people have come to me in frustration about this.
Because they’ve said, “Our Bible is in English. There is no distinction here. A crown is a crown; why does the Lord make us go back to the original language to discover some of these things? Do you have to be a Hebrew and Greek scholar to do this?”
Well, as a matter of fact, you don’t. All you have to have is one book and you can even get it online, you don’t even have to buy it now. The book is called Strong’s Concordance and there are several websites that contain Strong’s Concordance. Bible Gateway is one, Blue Letter Bible is another. They are free websites, and they have every word that is in the Bible tied back to its original word (whether it’s Hebrew in the Old Testament or Greek in the New).
It tells you the meanings of the word and how often each meaning is used and what it’s likely the meaning is in the context it’s given. So, you get your Strong’s Concordance, or you get online, and you go to Revelation 6 and you go to verse 2 and you click on the word ‘crown’ and what you find out is it’s one of two Greek words for ‘crown.’ And it happens to be the Greek word stephanos, the crown of the victor, or the overcomer. It is the crown that the Greeks awarded to the winners of the Olympic contests.
In their day it was a crown of ivy. It was a ceremonial thing, it wasn’t meant to convey any kind of royalty or any kind of political power. It was a symbol of victory just like the gold medal is a symbol of victory today. It’s the stephanos.
Now, what’s the other Greek word for “crown”? It is the word “diadem” and it’s the word that they always use when they are describing the crown that Jesus wears because the diadem is the golden crown of royalty.
And so, this is another indication that this person here on this white horse, while he is a victor of sorts, while he is an overcomer of sorts—he is not the king because he does not wear the crown of a king. He wears the crown of a conqueror, an overcomer; the winner, if you will, in the race.
Now, that leads me to another little issue here. In Matthew 16:18 (I’ll just review this for you quickly because you’re probably familiar with the passages and you probably can look it up when you get back home. We won’t take the time to do it tonight) but in Matthew 16:18, you have what’s called ‘Peter’s confession of Christ’ right?
Jesus is there with the disciples and He says to them, “Who do people say that I am?” and they say, “Well, some say You are John the Baptist. Some say You’re Elijah, some say You are one of the prophets.”
Then He looks at them and He says, “Well, who do you say that I am?” and Peter says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
And Jesus said, “Blessed are you because flesh and blood did not discover this.”
In other words: “You didn’t think this up yourself, but it was given to you by My Father in heaven.”
And He said “On this rock I will build My church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”
Not ‘overcome it’ in other words.
Okay, so what’s the rock? We’ll get that one settled right off the bat. A lot of people think, “Peter’s name in Greek is Cephas and Cephas means Rock so it must be, ‘on Peter’. So that’s how a Jewish married man became the first Pope of the Catholic church because the Catholic church, for instance, views that it was Peter who was given the then headship of the Church and he is claimed by the Catholic church to be the first Pope. So next time you are in a discussion with one of your Catholic friends, ask them if they can remember the Jewish married Pope they had once, because that was Peter.
But it wasn’t what Jesus was saying at all. It wasn’t the name that He gave to Peter that was on which the Church was being built, it was the confession on which the Church was being built. You see, the Church is built on the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. That is the foundation of the Church.
And Jesus went on to say, “The gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
But, if you get over to Revelation 13, talking about the antiChrist, you’ll discover in Revelation 13:7:
It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.
Now let’s back up to (verse) 7. So, first of all it says, everybody on Earth except those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life would worship this antiChrist. But back up to verse 7.
He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And you say, “Well, gee! Aren’t the saints the Church?” Well, not necessarily.
There were saints in the Old Testament before the Church, there are saints during the age of the Church and there will be saints in the Great Tribulation after the Church. This verse tells us that. Why can’t these saints be the Church? Because Jesus said, the gates of Hell would not overcome the Church, and yet this antiChrist is given power to overcome whatever saints there are on Earth in the Great Tribulation. So, this tells us that this overcomer, the one who is given power to conquer, is given power to conquer believers who are on Earth during the Great Tribulation. It can’t be the Church because Jesus promised he would never be able to overcome the Church.
So, you have the first of the Four Horsemen. The ‘man on the white horse’ as they say, the ‘pseudo-Christ’. And his entre into the world is as a great peacemaker.
Now let’s get down to (chapter) 6, verse 3:
When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.
The red horse has always been, by almost everyone, seen as the spirit of warfare. So, this says a great war breaks out on Earth and this one is actually given a ‘great sword’ and he is given the power to take the peace that the antiChrist brought to Earth and remove it and begin a great war. And so that fulfils Daniel 8’s description that when people feel secure, then he is going to cause astounding devastation.
Now verse 5:
When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
What this says here is that there is going to come a situation on Planet Earth where the average person will work all day just for enough food to live on. Because it has been estimated by those who know a lot more about these things than I do, that a quart of wheat or three quarts of barley are about enough to sustain a person for about a day. And so, most people will work all day just for enough to eat. Now this is an indication of a great inflation on Earth, this means that the world’s currencies have all gone berserk. There isn’t enough backing of the currency to cause them to be stable in any way.
How many remember the currency of the Weimar Republic right after World War I? The inflation was so bad that they paid the workers in the morning every day and then they gave them time to go shopping because if they couldn’t go shopping until the end of the day, by evening the money would only be worth half of what it was in the morning. Inflation was running at 1,000 percent per month, in some cases over there. They were carting around—literally carting around—wheelbarrows full of money just to buy a loaf of bread. This is the kind of situation they are talking about here.
But look, it says:
do not damage the oil and the wine!”
That is a reference to the wealthy. What you see here is great inflation which, by the way, the wealthy always benefit from. If you look through history, the wealthy always benefit from great inflation. It’s the poor who suffer during periods of inflation. So, you’ve got the concept here with this black horse here of famine in the midst of plenty. Always, following war, comes famine, right?
When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
There are two ways you can look at this, and I frankly have seen good arguments on both sides. This ‘fourth of the Earth’ can apply to one-fourth of the population; it also can apply to the fourth of geography. You could say, a fourth of the world’s land mass is involved in a big war. Or you could say, that a fourth could be involved that it will be destroyed, a fourth of the land mass will be destroyed or rendered uninhabitable. Or you could say, a fourth of the world’s population is destroyed through this. Could be either, could be both.
But again, the Pale Horse, the actual Greek there is a sickly green. The pale horse represents death by warfare, by famine, by pestilence. Of course, these are natural events that follow warfare. First you have a war and immediately it causes famine and then because of the famine, great pestilence. And so these things follow on and on.
If you’ve ever been watching things in Africa in Darfur and other areas over there in Africa today, you see exactly that’s what’s happening. Warfare causes famine which causes pestilence and great, great, and tragic death. About 35,000 children died today from preventable diseases including malnutrition. Thirty-five thousand children. This doesn’t include the ones that were aborted, this is living, after they were born, children who died from preventable causes. Most of it due to malnutrition. Thirty-five thousand. It’s true, every day. Thirty-five thousand, day in and day out, every day, around the world.
So, now we have the Four Horsemen. We have the White Horse, the pseudo-Christ, who comes as a peacemaker but soon plunges the world into war, that’s the Red Horse. The war causes famine, that’s the Black Horse. The famine causes death by pestilence and other means and that’s the Pale Horse. And those are the Four Horsemen; this is the first of three cycles of judgment to come on Planet Earth during the time of this so-called Seventieth Week, this last seven years of human history.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”
I’m reading verses 9 and 10. These are the martyrs. This is the first crop, if you will, of martyrs, Christian martyrs, who have died for their faith since the rapture of the Church and who have come into the presence of the Lord. They are being visualized here, as their souls, under the altar and if you know the Old Testament, you know that every time an animal was sacrificed on an altar in the temple, its blood was drawn off quickly and that blood was poured at the base of the altar. And it ran down into the ground because, underneath the altar, they didn’t pave the area directly underneath the altar. They left the stone free so that the blood could go down and run down into the ground. This is what is being depicted here. This is the blood of the saints, the blood of the faithful has been shed and is being pictured here as the souls of dead believers, martyred believers under the altar. And he says, “How long is it going to be until you avenge our blood?”
Now, this is an interesting term because, in the Hebrew the “avenger of blood,” the same term is translated “Kinsman Redeemer.” So, the same person who is the Kinsman Redeemer, who is responsible for buying back whatever the relative has lost—you remember we talked about this in our last session. The same term is also translated avenger of blood because it was also the next of kin’s responsibility to bring justice to a murderer of a member his family.
They didn’t have an organized police force in those days. What happened was, if you came and killed a member of my family it was my job to hunt you down and kill you in return. An eye for an eye, the Law said, and a life for a life. So, instead of going to the police and swearing out a warrant and having a bunch of suspects rounded up and having an interrogation and trial to see if the guy is guilty, and then having the state merit out whatever punishment was deserved, in those days it was much more direct: you killed my brother, my job is to go and kill you. I am the avenger of blood, because that’s the way the Lord originally set it up.
Who is your avenger of blood? Jesus. He is your Kinsman Redeemer; He is also your Avenger of Blood.
Because, who killed you? Satan. That’s right, Satan. As man fell in the Garden, immortality stopped, right? From that point on, everybody dies. The first murder in Scripture was not Cain and Able, the first murder in Scripture is when God told Adam and Eve, “Do not eat of this tree because as soon as you eat of this tree, the day that you eat the fruit of this tree, you will surely die.” And what did the deceiver, the serpent say to Eve?
“God was lying. You’re not going to die. He just doesn’t want you to eat this because He wants to have control over you. Here, take some.”
And she, seeing that it was good-looking and beneficial as food, ate some. At that moment she ceased to be immortal. She turned and handed some to Adam who was there with her and saw all of this. When he ate, he ceased to be immortal. They both died. Now, it was just a matter of time until they keeled over, but they were dead at that moment. And so were all of their progeny.
When Jesus takes off and destroys Satan, He is acting as our avenger of blood. And that’s what these people under the altar are saying: How long are You going to let this go on until You avenge our blood?
What He says is in verse 11:
Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.
In other words, the Lord is going to allow a certain amount of martyrdom here. When He is finished, then He’s going to become the Avenger of Blood and He’s going to take action.
I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the 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 their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”
This is the beginning of God’s wrath. Don’t let anybody tell you that God’s wrath begins with the third cycle of judgments, the Bowl Judgments. God’s wrath is being poured out from the very beginning, and they have indicated so in this passage.
Now, let me close up here with this because we’ll be out of time here in a couple of minutes and also because I would like you to do some extra credit study here.
How many of you (I think we’ve talked about this before here) but how many of you remember us talking about the magnetic polar reversal that is scheduled for 2012?
By the way, since we had this discussion last, the magnetic north pole has moved 183 miles into Siberia and it’s heading south because many scientists (I won’t say all) many scientists believe that we’re in the process of a magnetic polar reversal.
What that means is, that eventually the magnetic north pole will move far enough to create enough momentum that it will cause a shift and the North Pole will become the South Pole and the South Pole will become the North Pole.
Science says that this has happened before but never in the life of humans, let’s say. They see traces of it in the world (in the Earth) and the way they can tell is because the iron ore deposits line up according to the magnetic pole. They can see traces where these iron ore deposits have changed direction. They’ve bent, in other words. This will be the fourth time if this happens as it’s described.
Now, what happens when the North Pole becomes the South Pole? It’s not just that your compass turns around backwards; it’s that it upsets the whole balance on Planet Earth. Do you know that the frequency of undersea earthquakes has risen in the last three years by 88 percent? This was brought to light from this recent tsunami. People started studying big undersea earthquakes because of the devastation caused by this and they just discovered that they’ve become much, much more frequent. Volcanic eruptions are running 20 percent ahead of historical frequencies. And they see this happening.
Do you know that at the same time the sun is for some reason becoming much warmer? Do you understand that the issue of global warming is more political than scientific, but there is global warming taking place. Thirty percent of it has been attributed to the fact that for some reason, the sun has suddenly become hotter. It’s not because of any change in the atmosphere and not because of the ozone layer, the greenhouse gases, you can’t attribute it to that. The actual heat from the sun is elevated. It turns out that the sun is headed for a magnetic polar reversal at the same time as the Earth is scheduled—2012.
Now, you can go on the internet and read all about this. You don’t have to take my word for any of this. You don’t see it in the news here much because for this country, global warming is a huge political issue. There’s a whole lot of undercurrent surrounding it that turns out as you study it, to be fallacious. The average temperatures are going up, that everybody agrees on. You can measure that. Five out of the ten hottest years on record have happened in the last five years, and this year is set to be hotter than the previous years. The record is 1999. None of them has achieved the hot of 1999 but they’re all, they’ve all been warmer than the average.
Some of it is cyclical. They’ve been able to measure that and determine that the Earth goes through cycles, up and down measurements. Some parts of the Earth are actually colder than average, while other parts of the Earth are actually warmer than average. But as far as I want to go with this tonight, is to tell you that nothing you hear or read in your news or on television or in the magazines you get, none of that should be taken at face value. You should take all of it with a grain of salt and you ought to study the phenomenon and find out what is really going on. Because, while it’s true that the temperatures are going up, it would be much more interesting if you knew why. It turns out that our behavior by the gas and the fossil fuels (which are not fossil fuels by the way but that’s another story) the gas and oil and stuff that we burn up can only account for a fraction of one percent of this. The overwhelming majority of the fact is the fact that the sun is simply getting hotter.
Now, of course, the Book of Revelation propheies this, and when we get down in the book a little bit, we’ll understand that the sun is going to keep getting hotter until it gets so hot that people spontaneously combust when they walk outside. This is going to be one of the judgments that will take place later on in the Book of Revelation.
But, for now, understand that the Earth and sun are both headed for a magnetic polar reversal at the same time which is a unique, in all of recorded history, phenomenon. Some people say that when this happens, you will see Revelation 6:12-15, which I just read to you, you will see the fulfillment of this prophecy.
Now that, friends, puts Revelation 6 only about five years away if that is true (or seven years away, I’m sorry, if that’s true). And so, if this is all true (and this is all speculative at this point) but if it is all true, that means that time is very short for us. It means that suddenly, my conviction that I won’t ever die takes on a lot more validity because I don’t plan to die in the next five or six years.
But I want you to see this, not because I want to make some big alarmist proclamation here. I want you to see this because I want you to get educated on the things that are happening in what’s called our natural environment that were predicted by prophesy and that can validate not only the Word of God as being true (if you need some kind of validation of that) but also can help you prepare so that as you see these things begin to happen in our world, you can take notice and you can do the thing that we’ve been called to do all along but that most of us don’t do and that is, you can start telling your friends that they’d better get their lives straightened up.
Because pretty soon it is going to be too late. And probably the real sign that they’ll get that it’s too late is you will disappear. They’ll be standing here looking around saying, “What happened?”
Now, if you have talked to them or if you’ve handed them a Bible, or even to the point of being obnoxious tried to convince them that it’s time for them to take a look at some of this stuff, hopefully they’ll remember that and they’ll do something about it. It will be too late for them to be part of the Church, but it won’t be too late for them for their eternal destinies to be changed because the Lord is giving them this final opportunity in that last seven years to make things right with Him.
As you know, all it takes to make things right with the Lord is to admit you’re a sinner and ask Him to be your Savior. That’s all it takes; it’s very simple. It doesn’t take any big behavioral change. We don’t get saved because we’re so holy, we become holy because we’ve been saved. It’s the effect, not the cause. But we’ve got to take the gloves off a little bit. As a friend of mine said for a long time now: we’ve got to stop tiptoeing through the tulips about the Savior business. And believe me, some people might get a little upset at you now, but when they’re up there with you later, they’ll come and look you up and they’ll thank you for it (as if you needed it).
And so, some people believe that this magnetic polar reversal—and there are several websites devoted to it. The ones that I’ve read have some pretty good, solid foundations. You know, there’s always the kooks out on the fringe that are saying all these crazy things like you’ve heard me say here tonight [laughs] but there’s some really good science behind this. You don’t hear about it much in our news because we’re too hooked-in to the fact that global warming is being caused by too many people driving SUVs. That just simply isn’t the case.
If it’s true that we are headed for this polar magnetic reversal, it could cause such foundational changes to life on Earth today, that you would not be able to recognize it when compared to your present life.
I don’t think that this is going to happen before the Church leaves. In other words, I think the Church is going to be gone before things like this happen. But that’s only a thought, that’s only an idea. Nobody knows for sure. I’d rather be prepared for something that doesn’t happen than to not be prepared for something that does.
And so folks, the study of prophecy in my opinion now is a lot more than just some fun little study to kind of give us a glimpse of the future, to give ourselves a little extra knowledge that the rest of the world doesn’t have, so we can sort of laugh at them as they go floundering along through life.
In my opinion, the study of prophecy has become a very critical part of the study of Scripture and perhaps it’s time for it to do the thing that it was intended to do all along, I think, and that is to galvanize us into action. The reason I (and it gets harder and harder for me to do this, by the way) the reason I drive up here from Mexico every month to give this study to this small group is because I feel very passionately about the fact that one day we’re going to do this study up there and it’s not going to be very long before we do. And I’d like to see us take a few more with us while we have the time. And if I can somehow motivate you to talk to friends of yours like I’m talking to you; if I can equip you here through this study to do this, then I can say when I get up there, “Well Lord, I tried.” And that’s the best any of us can do!
Isn’t it wonderful that the Lord only holds us responsible for effort, not for results? All He asks us to do is say, “Jesus loves you, and He wants to save you. Won’t you let Him?” Whether the guy believes you and takes action on it, that’s his problem. All He wants us to do is talk about it. Like a friend of mine once said, “You know, if you knew the cure for cancer you wouldn’t keep it secret. You’d go running around telling everybody to listen.” Well, you’ve got a much better cure than that, you’ve got a thing that would cure somebody’s eternal life. So, let’s start talking about it a little more.
Shall we have a closing prayer?
Father, we thank You for this study tonight and for all the things you’ve brought forth here. And we thank You for the way in which You have written this Word for our learning and saw to it that it got preserved through all these centuries so that it would be here for us. Because Lord, it’s becoming more and more obvious that You wrote this Book for this generation. As Paul said, “These things are written down as admonition for those upon whom the end of the age has come” and that would be us.
And so Father, we thank You for writing it. We thank You for preserving it. We thank You for all the lives that were sacrificed so that we might be able to read this book publicly, without fear of persecution or punishment. We know there are lots of places in the world, Lord, where meetings like this could not take place today, and we want to give You a special thank you for permitting us to live in a place where we are free to talk about these things.
And to that end Lord, we ask You to keep these thoughts secure in our hearts so that we can share them and perhaps draw others to You as well. In any case Lord, we give You thanks. We pray that You have been blessed here as we have and we ask You to dismiss us in peace now in the name of our Lord Jesus.