With the Church safe in Heaven, the Day of the Lord arrives. As Jesus, the Lamb of God, opens the scroll that is the title deed to the earth, The Tribulation begins...
Have you heard the rumor? There are those who are tweeting that the Book of Revelation is hard to understand. But to them we comment Hashtag fail for you see the word itself. Revelation means something has been reveals, and the first words of this book tell us exactly who it is that's being revealed. It's the revelation of Jesus Christ, and God wanted us to read this book so much that he promised those who read and respond to it a special blessing.
And we find that in Revelation, chapter one, verses three, let's claim it together. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in it for the time is near. But God knew there would still be people who would say it's just too hard to understand. So to make it easy to understand, the Lord also included and easy to follow outline. And we find that in chapter one, verses 19, where Jesus gives John these instructions, write the things which you have seen that was the resurrected and glorified Jesus in chapter One.
Then write the things which are that relates to the Church age, which began around 32 Ad continues to the present day and his prophesied in chapter two and three. And then finally he told John to write the things which will take place after this future events that will unfold after the Church age ends. And those future events make up the third act of the Book of Revelation, which begins in chapter four, verses one, let me read it to you. After these things. I looked and behold a door standing open in heaven.
And the first voice which I heard, which was Jesus from chapter One was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, Come up here and I will show you things which must take place after this. And up John goes serving as a picture of the Church who will be taken up to be with the Lord, who takes all of chapters four and five to make sure that we do not miss the fact that the Church is up with Him before His wrath comes down upon the Earth that has rejected him in Revelation sinned 16 Those on the Earth reveal that they know and understand the source of their catastrophes, identifying it as the wrath of the Amen.
In the Bible, the Lamb speaks of who Jesus. Chapter One introduces us to the focus of Revelation Jesus Christ. Chapter two and three take us through the Church age up to the present day.
Then the Church goes up in chapter four, verses one, and we see her in heaven for chapters four and five before Rath comes down in chapter six, verses 16, there will be seven years of tribulation that continue all the way up to chapter 19, at which time Jesus will return to the Earth with his Saints in the event known as the Second Coming. And there'll be even more revealed in the amazing final chapters of the Book of Revelation when we get there. But for now, all you need to know is that if your faith is in Jesus, then your story will end with the words and they lived happily ever after.
In Revelation chapter five, we looked at the story of everything. We learned that there is a title deed to the Earth, and while God possesses it, Satan is currently managing the Earth, but the day is coming when Jesus will reclaim it.
By opening that title deed, the scroll which has seven seals, and when he does, the wrath of God will begin to be poured out upon the Earth. But we are not fearful because we know that those who belong to Jesus won't be on the Earth at that time. They'll be in heaven with the Lord watching as he opens the scroll. In our previous study, we saw the Royal priesthood of believers in heaven casting their crowns at the feet of Jesus and worship before Jesus even received the the scroll from his heavenly Father.
Some of you may recall that during his earthly Ministry there was a time when Jesus went into the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth and he read from the scroll of Isaiah chapter 61.
In our Bibles, that passage is a prophecy about Messiah, and it reads, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim Liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at Liberty. Those who are oppressed to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Then Luke's Gospel tells us. Then he closed the book and gave it back to the attendant and sat down.
And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on him and he began to say to them, Today, this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. I imagine the room fell silent after Jesus finished reading because everyone present would he understood that Isaiah 61 was a prophecy about Messiah? And they would have understood that by saying Today Scripture is fulfilled. In your hearing, Jesus was claiming that he was the fulfillment of Isaiah 61. He was claiming to be Messiah.
Not only are the verses Jesus quoted of note, but so is the fact that he stopped quoting Isaiah 61 before the end of the prophecy. Something else almost everyone in the room would have noticed as well. Look at what comes next in Isaiah 61, the line and the day of the vengeance of our God. Jesus first coming saw him Herald the acceptable year of the Lord, the dawning of the age of Grace. Jesus didn't read that next line of Isaiah 61 because it was not intended to be fulfilled through the Incarnation.
It wasn't intended to be fulfilled during Jesus's first coming to the Earth as a man. The day of vengeance is yet to come. And just as surely as Jesus fulfilled the first part of Isaiah 61, he will come again and fulfill the rest of Isaiah 61. And that latter program was initiated when Jesus received the scroll from his Father in Revelation chapter five, verse seven. Let's talk about the purpose of the tribulation.
We're just laying the groundwork for our study today. The tribulation is going to serve three purposes and I put them on your outline. Firstly, the tribulation is a final call to unbelievers. If the overwhelming evidence of the signs and wonders of the tribulation doesn't cause someone to turn to Jesus, then nothing will. It will be the final invitation to join God's family and he's gonna make it loud.
Now I must mention something because there are those who will hear this and think to themselves, well, then I'll just wait until the tribulation to get saved and do what I want. Until then, let me be blunt here. If you can't bring yourself to follow Jesus now in the age of Grace, when there's no real persecution in the Western world, whatever makes you think that you'll have the courage to begin following Jesus in a time when it will cost you your earthly life? Don't kid yourself. Don't kid yourself.
Follow Jesus today. Don't wait. You're deceiving yourself. The second purpose of the tribulation will be to wake up ethnic Israel. During the tribulation, Israel will finally recognize Jesus as her Savior, her long awaited Messiah.
But to bring her to that point, God is going to have to break her by leading her to the point of desperation through persecution as he did more than once in the Old Testament. In that moment of desperation, Israel will cry out to the Lord for deliverance and he will deliver her. Now the third purpose of the tribulation is to complete the Kingdom, because when those first two purposes are accomplished, everyone who is part of the family of God will be brought together to enjoy eternity in the glory of God's presence.
When the tribulation is all said and done, the Church will be with the Lord in heaven. Tribulation Saints will be with the Lord in heaven.
Old Testament Saints will be with the Lord in heaven and Israel that has been redeemed by God will be with the Lord in Amen, and the Kingdom will be complete. When you preach on God's Rass as a pastor, you very quickly become aware of how uncomfortable many people are, including Christians, with the concept Amen struggle to reconcile the idea of a wrathful God also being a loving God. This prompt questions like, how can a God of love pour out wrath? Let's see if we can shed some light on this.
I believe that the answer to this question can be found within each of us.
Charlene and I were once watching a documentary TV show called behind the Mask, which was about people who were mascots for sports teams. It was way more interesting than it sounds. Or maybe we're just old. But one of the featured characters on the show is a guy in his 20s who has fairly advanced autism. He suffered from panic attacks and crippling anxiety because of the brutal team, an abuse that he suffered at school as a child.
And as I was watching, I got choked up and I got really angry because all I could think was, Why was there nobody there to punch those bullies in the face? Why was nobody there to stand up for that guy when he was a kid when he was vulnerable? He didn't need somebody to share an encouraging word. After the abuse, he needed someone to step in and stop it. He needed someone to say this is not right and use force to stop it.
And because nobody did that for him, he grew up believing that he was not worth defending, not worth fighting for. If I'm honest, there are many situations I've heard of that make me wish I could have been there to lay hands on someone because some people will only stop doing evil when someone stronger than them forces them to. Do you have any idea how many people are in literal bondage around the world? How many people are in emotional bondage? How many people feel worthless?
Because there's nobody who will fight for them? Many of those people pray every day for someone to show up, who cares about what is right, who can and will pour out righteous wrath on those who are abusing them and make it stop. Are they wrong for wanting that? We know they're not? Because deep down, we all recognize that there is a desperate need for righteous wrath on the Earth.
The desire for justice that we feel is because we were created Imago day in the image of God. We've worked hard to mess it up, but there are still things built into the fabric of our being that reflect who God is. And one of those things is an innate desire for justice. We get that from our Heavenly Father. I believe that having one's own children dramatically changes your understanding of justice.
If anyone were to seriously harm or kill one of my children, their only hope would be getting the jail before I get to them. Because when you're a parent, you don't tolerate people messing with your children. We get that from God. That's how he feels about his children. That's how he feels about you and me.
In fact, even while he was on the Earth as the Lamb of God, Jesus felt this way about his brothers and sisters. In Matthew eight, six and seven, he said, whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depth of the sea woe to the world because of offenses for offences must come but woe to that man by whom the offence comes. Jesus says, Listen, those who abuse, who mistreat, who mislead, who deceive, who take advantage of my people, my brothers and sisters, my fathers, adopted sons and daughters.
He'd be better off dead than falling into the hands. My father, Jesus, feels strongly about his family.
We all recognize the need for a strong hand to bring justice to the Earth. Every prayer from every person who has been abused, tormented or enslaved has been heard by God. He's heard their cries across millennia, and he has always intended to respond. And when he finally does, that's what we call wrath, that's what it is. Let me pose this scenario.
Think of the person who means the most to you. Imagine they're kidnapped, abused in the most vicious way and then murdered. Now imagine being at the court case as the perpetrator is found guilty due to overwhelming evidence. But the judge goes on to say, this man is clearly guilty, but I believe in love. And because I'm a man of peace, I can't sentence this man to receive wrath, so I'm going to let him go.
We all have our issues and punishing this man would just perpetuate the cycle of negativity. Would you consider that judge to actually be acting in love? Would you call his actions loving? Of course not. Of course not, because there's a connection between love and justice.
And when wrath is poured out to bring justice, it's a right expression of love toward those who have been wronged one way or another. Whether we realize it or not, we all understand that righteous wrath is necessary to bring about justice. We all believe there are wrongs that need to be righted even by force. We recognize that there is a place and a time for wrath, and Jesus agrees. Most people are okay with the idea of Hitler receiving the wrath of God.
But they have a hard time with the idea that someone they consider to be a good person might potentially receive the wrath of God simply because they didn't choose to follow Jesus. And here's the problem with that line of thinking. When we talk about rejecting the invitation of the God who created you, who loved you and died for you, we're talking about the most serious crime any human being could ever commit. A lifetime of charitable deeds does not make up for the blasphemy of rejecting Jesus. And when we imply that good people shouldn't receive God's wrath for only rejecting Jesus, what we're really saying is rejecting Jesus isn't that big of a deal.
He shouldn't be that worked up about it, but it is that big of a deal. It is he's God, he's God. That's why rejecting him is such a big deal.
You Bible nerds may find it interesting. I'll just throw a Breadcrumb out here to contrast Ezekiel 14 with God's end times agenda in your own studies this week in there you'll find judgments much like the Four Horsemen. God's promise to deliver those who belong to him from his wrath on the Earth. God's plan to use judgments to turn Israel's hearts back to him. His promise to preserve a Jewish remnant through the Tribulation God promising that each person is responsible for their own response to him.
And more. Just going to throw that out for you to check out this week. You also need to be aware that the Day of the Lord is a phrase that occurs in the Bible around 35 times. You need to know what it is. The Day of the Lord describes the time period when God judges the Earth and those who have rejected him.
The Day of the Lord refers to the time period when God judges the Earth and those who have rejected him. It includes the tribulation. Then it takes a break for the thousand years of the millennial Kingdom resumes for the final Satanic rebellion and concludes with the Great White Throne judgment. Some suggest that the first five seal judgments should be considered preliminary with the Day of the Lord, actually beginning with the 6th seal Judgment, and that view stems from the cry of those on the Earth during the 6th Seal judgment in verses 17 of the chapter we're studying today, we talk about it a lot where people say during that 6th Seal judgment, the Great Day of His Wrath has come.
We can't be certain where each judgment falls in the Tribulation with regards to its timing, and that's okay because it doesn't really make a ton of difference.
It all happens during a seven year window. We know that and we also know it's all really, really, really bad. And that's the main point. If I were to take my best guess, I would place the first four seals in the first half of the Tribulation, the first three and a half years, the fifth seal beginning in the late first half and continue into the second half, coveting that middle period, and the 6th and 7th seals being opened in the second half of the Tribulation. As we enter the text, the Church is in heaven.
Those left on the Earth have thus far rejected Jesus. It's important to realize that every judgment that unfolds in chapter six through 19 is decreed by Jesus. Even Satan and his demons are going to be used as instruments of judgment by God for his own higher purposes. None of these horrors occur outside of God's sovereign control and will. They are his righteous judgments upon the Earth that has rejected him.
And first up are the famed Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Let's read Revelation chapter six, verses one John writes, Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like Thunder, Come and see, and I looked and behold a white horse he who sat on it, had a bow and the Crown was given to him and he went out conquering and to conquer. I'll do the big reveal upfront and then we'll investigate the details.
You can write this down. The first Horseman is Antichrist.
The First Horsemen is Antichrist. Over 30 different titles are used in Scripture for Antichrist such as Man of Sin and Son of Prediction, and second, Thessalonians two three. But the actual term Antichrist is only used in John's Epistles to describe a spirit. Contrary to what you may have heard, Antichrist doesn't mean against Christ. It means instead of Christ in place of Christ, it describes the Spirit that desires the praise and glory that belongs to Jesus.
And we've seen it in Amen across histories such as the Ten Caesars who persecuted the early Church and claim divinity. We've seen the Spirit in Hitler and Chairman Mao and far too many others. The man we think of when we refer to Antichrist will be the ultimate embodiment of that spirit, but it is not his title. However, the term Antichrist is just so ingrained in Church culture that we're just going to refer to him as Anti Christ or the Anti Christ just to avoid confusion, because everyone knows who we're talking about.
When we use that term, the two most common questions about anti Christ tend to be when will he appear and who is he?
Regarding the first question, when will he appear? He's making his entrance right here in chapter six, verse two, regarding the second question, who is he? We need to put something to rest right off the bat. The Bible specifically tells us that Antichrist will not be revealed. In other words, he won't rise to prominence until after the Church has been raptured.
Check out what Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers. He said, Let no one deceive you by any means for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first and the man of Sin is revealed, the Son of Perdition. Then he goes on to say, for the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will consume with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming.
You see, the forces behind Antichrist are already at work in the world, but they're being restrained, held back by something that is going to be taken out of the way. And only then can Antichrist the lawless one be revealed. The question is who or what is he who now restrains who or what is the force keeping Antichrist from being revealed and holding back his rise to prominence on the world stage? What is this person or thing that is going to be removed from the equation so removed from the Earth before Antichrist can take the stage?
In Joe chapter one, verses six through twelve were given a sneak peek behind the curtain into true reality, the supernatural realm.
And we learn that Satan's work on the Earth occurs only within parameters established by God. So Satan can't just do whatever he wants. He needs God's permission. God is the ultimate restrainer of Satan's earthly activities, but God's not going to be removed. In Matthew's Gospel, we see Jesus deputizing his disciples for lack of a better word, and by extension, deputizing the Church with a significant degree of his authority.
Jesus says, And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on Earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on Earth will be loosed in heaven. This is possible through the Holy Spirit, who takes up residence in every believer who's part of the Church. Wherever believers are, the Holy Spirit, is there the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is there. Therefore, when the Church is raptured, when the Church is removed from the Earth, the presence of the Holy Spirit on the Earth will dramatically decrease.
To put it mildly, while the the Holy Spirit will continue his work of calling nonbelievers to Jesus, there will be a tremendous change in the Earth's spiritual climate.
And while God will continue to be the ultimate restrainer, he will restrain Satan less after the Rapture. And as a result, Satan will finally have the operational latitude he needs to fuel Antichrist rise. Let me say it one more time. Antichrist will only be revealed can only be revealed after the Church has been raptured. And I realize this may devastate some of you because it means there's no point in playing that classic Christian game.
Guess the anti Christ, and it means the political party that you don't like is probably not being led by the anti Christ. If you belong to Jesus, you're going to be out of here before Antichrist takes the stage. Despite what I just said, I do also think it's possible that Satan has had an Antichrist candidate ready to go throughout the Church age because he has no idea when the Rapture is going to take place. He's just waiting for the restrainer to be removed so that he can move forward with his diabolical plants.
The Bible tells us that Antichrist is going to be an intellectual genius, a charismatic speaker, shrewd, politician, financial mastermind, forceful military leader, powerful organizer, and unifying religious guru.
He's going to be for a while universally adored. He'll be so well like that. Those who say something's wrong with that guy will be perceived as crazy. Let's look at these first couple of verses again, it says, Now I saw when the lamb opened one of the seals and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like Thunder, come and see. And I looked and behold a white horse.
He who sat on it, had a bow and a Crown, was given to him, and he went out, conquering and to conquer. In the Bible, white horses are symbolic of victory and conquering. People who look at these verses in isolation often assume this is Jesus because he's on a white horse. However, as we examine the company this Horseman keeps, it'll become clear this is not Jesus. Remember, Jesus is in heaven as the lamb opening the scroll, he's not the one released.
When the scroll is opened. We will find, however, that this rider resembles Christ to many people and that's likely by his own design. The Crown this Horseman wears is a Stephanos. In the Greek, it's a Victor's Crown, not the Royal diadem. And at the time was writing a victors Crown would have been made from all of branches, a well known symbol of peace.
But just like real olive branches, the peace this writer will offer will not last. And we're told that this Crown is given to him. When you study what the Bible tells us about antique Christ, I think it's clear that he will be given this Crown, given his authority by those who dwell upon the Earth because they will want him to rule over them. And then we also notice that he has a bow. And there are two main theories to the meaning of this, and I'll just share both with you.
Firstly, some scholars point out that the word used for bow is the same Greek word used in the Septuagint for Rainbow 913 where God tells Noah that the rainbow will be a symbol of peace between Amen and God, a Covenant promise from God to never again destroy the Earth with a flood. The Prophet Daniel prophesied this about Antichrist and Daniel 825 through his cunning, which likely means policy. So through his policy or policies, he shall cause deceit or literally craft. He will cause craft to prosper under his rule, and he shall exalt himself in his heart.
He shall destroy many in their prosperity.
And that's better translated, he will destroy many by peace. He shall even rise against the Prince of Princes that's Jesus, but he shall be broken without human means. In other words, he will be destroyed through supernatural means, not by human intervention. As scholars look at these verses and others that I'll share in a moment, many conclude that the picture that emerges has Antichrist rising the prominence on the world stage. Shortly after the Rapture.
By presenting an unprecedented peace plan, the world will view him as an amazing, enlightened man of peace, and many who have studied eschatology suspect that he will solve the tensions between Israel and the Palestinians. The Holy Grail of diplomacy. Now, how could that ever happen? Likely because the Jews will initially receive them as their long awaited Messiah. Remember, they don't yet believe that Jesus is Messiah.
Antichrist will show up and probably perform. By all accounts, one of the great signs that Jews today are expecting from their Messiah. He will pave the way for the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus was speaking of Antichrist when he said this to the Jews, his own people in John Five. I have come in my father's name, and you did not receive me.
If another comes in his own name, him, you will receive. But what about the Dome of the rock which currently sits on the Temple Mount? It's hard to imagine Muslims being okay with that being destroyed in favor of a Jewish temple. While it's contested, there are several archaeologists who pause it that the original temple site may have been next to the space currently occupied by the Dome on the rock, which doesn't take up the whole Temple Mount. And if this is true, this would allow the temple to be rebuilt without interfering with the mosque.
And I'm not saying this is a certainty. I'm just sharing this to point out there are solutions that we haven't even considered to conflicts that currently seem unsolvable. And if God says he do it, he has a million different ways to do it. It's also interesting to note the mission and work of the Temple Institute. They are a group of Israelis who have committed themselves to seeing the Jewish temple rebuilt on the Temple Mount, and they are building and gathering everything required for this task.
The furniture, the priestly robes, priests with the right bloodline red. Heifers everything, and they have most of it ready to go. At this point, the Bible teaches that the temple will be rebuilt and sacrifices will again take place there. In fact, Daniel prophesied about that, too. In chapter nine of his book, he said then he that's Antichrist shall confirm a Covenant with many for one week, that's seven years.
But in the middle of the week, three and a half years into it, he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering, and on the wing of Abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation which is determined is poured out on the desolate. And I know that sounds crazy if you haven't read it before, but we'll break it down over our study over the course of Revelation. Basically, after three and a half years, Antichrist will storm the rebuilt temple, declare himself to be God and demand to be worshipped.
When that happens, the scales will begin to fall from the eyes of Israel, and they will realize immediately this man is not Messiah, and that will begin a traumatic process, a breaking of Israel that will culminate in her finally recognizing and receiving Jesus as her Messiah. Those who hold this view also point out that the bow Antichrist bears has no arrows and should therefore be taken as a reference to a peace Covenant similar to the rainbow God showed Noah.
The second theory regarding the bow is equally compelling and points to the striking similarities between Antichrist and Nimrod, who shows up in Genesis Ten as the world's first Antichrist leader in Genesis ten, eight through nine. It says he that's Nimrod began to be a mighty one on the Earth. He was a mighty Hunter before the Lord. The word before is more accurately translated as against, which would render the phrase he was a mighty Hunter against the Lord. And as a Hunter, Nimrod would have been associated with the Bow.
Nimrod was the founder of Babylon and the Babylonian pagan mystery religion. In other words, Nimrod invented he founded paganism. He also got the world's Amen together and focused them on building the Tower of Babel. Genesis Eleven tells us their goal was to make a name for themselves, which sure sounds a lot like Satan's motivation in trying to take over Heaven. Remember how he put it.
I will be like the most high. If you dig into all the similarities, you'll soon see why many consider the Antichrist of revelation to be Nimrod, and we'll deal with Antichrist in greater detail when we get to Revelation chapter 13 so the word bow could refer to a weapon or a rainbow. Speaking of this peace treaty, I think both theories could be onto something because Antichrist, according to Daniel, is going to buy peace, destroy many. He's going to use peace as a weapon to subjugate the world.
What we do know is that the first Hosea is anti Christ and his ascension to global political prominence is the first major development on the Earth after the rapture.
I remember when Barack Obama won his first term as President. I'd never seen anything like it. The speech he made at a packed mile high Stadium in Denver to accept the Democratic nomination on a stage lined with Roman styled columns, the joy when he won the election in newspapers, on TV screens and on the streets of countries around the world. The widespread optimism that a new day of peace and enlightenment was dawning. You may recall that less than a year after taking office, he was presented with the Nobel Peace Prize not because of anything he had done, but because of what people assumed and hoped that he would do.
And as I watched all this unfold, I remember thinking, I know he's not Antichrist, but Amen. The world sure is hungry and the world sure is ready for anti Christ. The world was and is even more so today, longing for a man of peace to rise up with solutions to our ever increasing list of problems. If nothing else, Obama's rise proved that the world wants to believe that someone like that can exist. Now, imagine if Obama had been able to broke her peace in the Middle East.
Imagine the blind devotion that would have stirred up in the world's population. Imagine how eagerly most would have handed him unlimited power. The Antichrist will be all that and do all that and more. Let's clear up a common misconception regarding the end times timeline. The tribulation will not necessarily begin immediately after the Rapture.
The signing of a peace treaty created by Antichrist is what marks the beginning of the seven years of Tribulation, not the Rapture. How long will the gap be between the Rapture and the start of the seven years of Tribulation? We don't know, but it must be long enough for a relatively unknown Antichrist to rise to a position powerful enough to broker peace in the Middle East. But in today's world, that could honestly happen in a year, 18 months. Let's take a look at verses three.
When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, Come and see another horse. Fiery red went out, and it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the Earth and that people should kill one another. And there was given to him a great sword. Antichrist will come to power by peace, but he will soon be followed by the second Horseman. Who brings war.
Would you make a note of that? The second Horseman is war and not just local war. But we're talking about a spirit of war, a spirit of physical, militant armed conflict that begins to break out across the globe. Every ethnic and national tension that could flare up will murder rates will soar in the city and in the small town and in the country, and those who search for peace will not find it anywhere. People are going to be surprised by all this because they will really believe that Antichrist is ushering in a new age of world peace.
Were then told what all that war leads to in verses five, when he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, Come and see. So I looked and behold a black horse, and he who sat on it, had a pair of scales in his hand, and I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, A quart of wheat for a Denarius and three quarts of barley for a Denarius, and do not harm the oil and the wine. Write this down.
The third horsemen is Amen. Let's break down the details of his description.
Black is associated with famine at least three times in the Bible, and to eat bread by weight was a Jewish expression to describe a time of dire food scarcity. A Denarius was the standard days wage for a common man in the Roman Empire. At this time in history, a quart of wheat was enough to feed one man for one day. It was the daily ration given to every Roman soldier. So a quart of wheat for a Denarius describes an economy where the price of food is so high that the average man or woman must work all day just to buy enough wheat to feed themselves.
Barley was typically used to feed animals because it was not as filling as wheat. But people will be eating barley in this time because it will be the only way that they can feed their families. The text is describing disastrous famine and catastrophic inflation. Then we see the phrase and do not harm the oil and the wine. Oil and wine were luxury items in John's Day like expensive perfumes, vintage bottles of wine and gold covered steaks.
It's a thing like they are in ours. In the middle of this horrific food shortage and hyperinflation, there will still be an elite class who will be concerned about their supply of luxury items, as is always the case when tragedy and war strike the planet, the elites get richer and the poor become destitute. But God's judgment is coming for the rich as well. The tragedy of most Amen famines is that they occur because of politics, not because of scarcity. The scarcity tends to be brought about as the result of abuse of political power or political incompetence.
And that seems to be the case here with the third Horseman. With this third seal, Antichrist will still be rising and ruling as these other horsemen and seals wreak havoc on the Earth. In fact, Antichrist will control the world's economy and food supply. He'll control it. And we see that in Revelation 13, verses 16 through 17, where we read these infamous verses, speaking of Antichrist that says, he calls us all both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave to receive a Mark on their right hand or on their foreheads that no.
1 may buy or sell, except one who has the Mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name. He's going to have his hand in every single transaction that takes place, and everyone will have to go through him in order to get their food. One way or another, Antichrist is going to burst onto the scene with a miraculous peace plan, but he will shortly be followed by war. That war will lead to worldwide famine, and that leads to the fourth Seal, the final Horseman, verse seven.
When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, Come and see.
So I looked and behold a pale horse and the name of him who sat on it was death, and Hades followed with him, and power was given to them over a fourth of the Earth to kill with the sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the Earth. Write this down. The Fourth Horsemen. The fourth Seal, simply and terrifyingly, is death, and he will claim a quarter of the Earth's population a quarter. We're talking about the potential of a billion and a half people, a billion and a half people being killed by war and violence in just a few years.
The Greek word used for pale is the word Chloro chorus. From where we get our words chlorine and chlorophyle, it refers to a sickly bleached or green paleness like that brought on by death. In the book of Leviticus, it is the color of leprosy. The appearance of this pale Hosea is sickly and almost zombie like the grim reality. And I know this is morbid, but it's reality.
The grim reality is that when a quarter of the Earth's population a quarter, a billion and a half people die in a short period of time, it will be impossible to properly process all the corpses. They won't be able to bury them all or burn them all. And this will inevitably result in all kinds of diseases and plagues running rampant as rats go everywhere, feasting on the dead and bugs that carry diseases, feed themselves and breed more quickly in spread disease. And this is going to lead to even more death.
Death refers to the death of the earthly physical body.
Hades refers to the death of the eternal Spirit. So the idea is that this Horseman is killing people on the Earth physically and hates the destination of nonbelievers awaiting the Great White Throne judgment. Hades is immediately claiming their spirits. And so this is why it's interesting, because apparently those who are killed by this fourth Horsemen are only those who have rejected Jesus because they go immediately to His. Those who turn to Jesus before this time in the Tribulation will not be going to Hades.
They'll be going to heaven. So when it comes to this one, we don't know about the other ones, but we know the text seems to make it pretty clear. This fourth Seal judgment the Fourth Horsemen does not affect those who turn to the Lord and the Tribulation. When it talks about the beasts of the Earth. Some scholars point out that the Greek word Terrion applies to creatures of any size, including microscopic creatures.
And so they use it. This phrase could be referring to an epidemic plague, something like Ebola. They also see a parallel to Ezekiel 14, verse 21, where it says for thus says the Lord God, how much more shall it be when I send my four severe judgments on Jerusalem, the sword and famine and wild beasts and pestilence to cut off Amen and beast from it. Again, it would seem to make sense that diseases would run wild with exposed corpses all over the place. But on the other hand, this is God we're talking about.
While we know the broad details, we're speculating on the specifics, it's equally possible that Antichrist confiscate all personal weapons in the name of peace, of course. And then bears and Lions come down from the mountains and just start mauling people. My point is this, we need to remember that the Tribulation will be an unparalleled time of God's judgment and of supernatural activity on the Earth. We don't need to provide a naturalistic explanation for everything. If God wants wild animals to kill a billion people, it'll happen.
He's God. And with that, we wrap up the four horses Amen. But wait. There's more verses nine when he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held. The Word of God is also a title for Jesus.
These souls are the Fifth Seal, and they are all those who have become believers during the Tribulation up to this point and been martyred for turning to Jesus. So write that down. The fifth is martyrs of the Tribulation. If you've been keeping score and haven't figured it out yet, things are going really, really badly on the Earth. And when that happens, people tend to want someone to blame.
In the days of the black plague, one out of every four people died, only one group of people were spared the Jews. Today we know that it was because they were following Old Testament hygiene laws that protected them from the virus. But suspicious people at the time became convinced that the Jews weren't being affected because they were the cause of the plague, and so they persecuted them. The same thing will likely happen in the Tribulation as people begin to notice that those who turn to the Lord are not being affected by some of these plates.
As they begin to notice that this is the Lord who is doing this, the wrath of man will become directed toward Christians, those who turn to Jesus after the Rapture, because as everyone understands that God is judging the Earth, they will hate those who choose to worship and follow God.
How much will they hate them? Well, they'll kill them for it. Once again, John describes something he sees in heaven, and as we've discussed in our last few studies, heaven is a place with greater dimensionality than Earth. It's a Fuller reality that is beyond our current comprehension, and John can only do his best to describe it for us, using his earthly vocabulary and life experiences, which are both inadequate for this task. John's description here is centered on an altar in heaven with our earthly paradigms.
Most of us read this and immediately imagine a multitude of cramp to people reaching their hands out from underneath a regular sized altars like prisoners trapped in a small cage. But that's not what's going on here. Whatever this altar is, it's huge and comfortable, and these souls are happy to be there even as they long for God's Justice to be worked out on the Earth. So make sure you don't get a weird picture in your head of this verses ten and they cried with a loud voice saying, how long?
Oh, Lord, Holy and free until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the Earth, they're crying out for God to execute justice on the Earth.
They're asking God to make things right and pay back those who dwell on the Earth who killed them and their families. They're asking God to display his wrath. When Jesus was dying on the cross, he cried out, Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do. When Steven, the first Apostle to be martyred, was being stoned to death, he cried out, Lord, do not charge them with the sin. But here in verses ten, the martyrs are crying out, how long?
Oh, Lord, Holy and true until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the Earth. Why? Because the time of Jesus the Lamb is over and it's now the time of Jesus the lion. The window of Grace has almost closed and the window of wrath has been flung wide open. Verses Eleven Then a white robe was given to each of them, and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who would be killed as they were, was completed.
Just as there is an appointed time for the Rapture, there is an appointed number of Gentiles who will be saved in the Tribulation. When that number has been reached, Jesus will return to the Earth at the second coming and avenge the Tribulation Saints, among other important activities. Jesus comforts these souls with this information. There's a time appointed for that, and it's coming. And so he encourages them to be patient because this time gap is only being allowed so that more people might be saved.
Verses Twelve I looked when he opened the 6th 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 in island was moved out of its place. Write this down. The seal consists of supernatural events in the natural universe.
The six cell consists of supernatural events in the natural universe. But what does it all mean? What are these verses talking about? Many commentators read this the 6th Seal, and they see a nuclear winter, the after effects of nuclear war. Others suggest that these will be literal events without any earthly cause.
And we always want to be open to that possibility. God is God. And as we said earlier, we're not offered. We're not obligated to offer naturalistic explanations for everything he does or promises to do. There's no reason to not take the great earthquake literally.
And if this is indeed a global event, it would have tectonic plates slipping all over the place, causing volcanoes to erupt across the Earth, spewing enormous amounts of ash into the in a way we've never seen before. But we do know that volcanic ash for massive eruptions is more than capable of blotting out the sun and causing the moon to appear blood red. And so these two signs seem to be connected, I suspect, through volcanic activity with regards to the stars of heaven falling to the Earth.
It could very well refer to meteors pummeling the Earth. But I suspect personally this may be referring to the expulsion of all those who interact with the Divine Council and are not allies of the Lord.
This may be the time when those the Bible refers to as the corrupt gods of the nations, and indeed Lucifer himself are removed from the Divine Council and have their access revoked. And if you're like, what is Jeff talking about? Corrupt gods ruling the nations. Go and study Psalm 82. Go and study Daniel chapter Ten.
We actually see this use of the term stars used to describe supernatural beings being cast out of heaven. We see it in Isaiah 14. We see it in Revelation Nine. We see it in Revelation Twelve as well. When John says the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, it may be referring to the dissolution in some way of the veil that current it conceals the supernatural dimension from earthly view.
So right now we can't see into the supernatural dimension. But when it talks about the sky rolling up like a scroll, it may be referring to those on the Earth suddenly being able to see supernatural beings to see Satan, the power of the Prince of the air. And I suspect that because of other events that are going to unfold in the tribulation that we're going to read about in later judgments become increasingly supernatural in nature. And this may be why Hosea 34 four describes the same event and says, all the host of heaven shall be dissolved and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll.
There's one thing we know with certainty regarding the 6th seal.
It's not something that can be explained away solely by natural or manmade developments. You know, you take a look at the first four judgments, the Four Horsemen, and it's still possible for those on the Earth to stubbornly refused to credit God as the cause. They could still dismiss them as and made or possibly natural things. But when we get to the 6th seal, we find that even those on the Earth who hate God give him credit for this sign. They don't say, oh, we need to rethink our nuclear policies.
Look at how they respond to the 6th seal in verses 15. And the Kings of the Earth, the great Amen, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty Amen, every slave and every free man. Everyone hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains. They didn't have a word for doomsday bunker back then verses 16 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 while the events, as we said of those first four seals, could be attributed to natural and human causes.
Something changes dramatically when the six seal is opened and verses 16 makes it clear that those on the Earth are no longer confused about who or what is causing these catastrophes.
Most of the world's leaders and citizens will not cry out to Jesus for deliverance in the Tribulation. Faced with His awesome power, they will still refuse to repent. They will have no case to make before Jesus when they are judged. In Revelation 19, they knew Jesus was God, and yet they refused to worship Him as God. So deceived are those who dwell on the Earth at this point that they still don't understand the eternal nature of their own spirits.
They're facing the supernatural wrath of God on the Earth, and they're still clinging to philosophical naturalism as they ignorantly look to physical death to escape the judgment of God, which is not going to help them at all. Did you notice that verses 15 referred to every slave? And that's interesting because apparently slavery well once again become mainstream in the Tribulation. If you know anything about Islam and Sharia law, then you know that slavery is permitted and in fact encouraged in the Quran. In fact, there are many territories in the Middle East, in Africa currently controlled by Islamist extremist groups that have reinstituted public slave markets.
Even more allegedly developed nations like Qatar and Dubai have massive problems with slaves being sold and traded on social media. Verses 15 could be referring to the adoption of these types of Islamic practices, or it could be that in this time of extreme famine, people are selling themselves into slavery just to survive. Revelation Six concludes with the people of the Earth crying out the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand? Revelation Seven is going to answer that question by revealing the identity of the mysterious 144,000 if you've been paying attention, then you may have noticed that only six of the seven seals have been opened.
The 7th seal will be opened when we reach Revelation Chapter Eight.
It's as though the Lord felt that after reaching the 6th seal, you need to take a breath and so he'll give us a chapter with more detail about something else in Revelation Seven, and then he'll come back to that 7th seal in Revelation Eight. When we reach that 7th seal, we'll find that it consists of seven sub judgments known as trumpet judgments, and after the 6th trumpet Judgment, there will be another pause for several chapters before we return for the 7th trumpet Judgment. Do we'll find that it, too, consists of seven sub judgments known as the seven Bowls of wrath.
The idea is that like birthpangs, God's judgments during the seven years of the Tribulation will also increase in frequency and intensity as the Second Coming approaches. What do we take from Revelation Chapter Six?
If you're not saved, if you haven't given your life to Jesus and decided to follow Him as your Lord and Savior do it right now. Hebrews Ten says it clearly, if we sin willfully after we've received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Hebrews also says this, if you know the truth, you know what the gospel is. You know who Jesus is and you reject them. You have no reason for hope only to expect judgment.
And you should recall that according to Hebrews 1031, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God and not be right with God. For those of us who are saved. I'd argue that for a good portion of our study into the Tribulation, there won't be any practical life lessons for believers because we'll be in heaven with the Lord during the tribulation. And so our takeaway should be gratitude. It should be gratitude.
We should be moved to praise God for the gracious and glorious truth of first Thessalonians five nine. God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain Salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. And as the world increasingly falls apart around us, we should find ourselves increasingly prompted to thank the Lord that our destiny is in heaven Witham around His throne. And we should want to bring as many people with us as possible. Let's pray.
Would you buy your head and close your eyes, father, thank you so much as always for the clarity of your word. And that because you love us. You desire to share your plans with us, that we might not be surprised that we might understand that there is something good happening even as the world falls apart. And so, Jesus, we don't place our hope in earthly political systems. We don't place our hope in new laws or initiatives or technology.
We place our hope in you, the author and Perfector of our faith. We're saved because of you and we are sustained because of you. And we thank you, Jesus, that we do not have an appointment with wrath. We've been appointed to spend eternity with you in your presence, Lord, and we cannot wait for that. I pray for anyone who is not given their life to you right now.
I just pray in the name of Jesus. They would. He overwhelmed by the conviction of your spirit. And they would turn to you and say, Jesus, save me, be my Lord, and be my God. And if you're doing that, if you're giving your life to Him for the first time right now, he is doing that.
He is saving you. He is coming into your life, taking up residence in your life. And he desires to fill you with joy and peace and hope and love and truth and all those good things. And so if that's you and you're doing that for the first time, please go to gospel city CA gospel and learn more about what it means to be safe to receive Jesus so Lord we love you. We bless you we praise you?
It's in your mighty name? We pray Amen.