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TRIBULATION  SEALS

 

Rev. 6:1-2

"And I saw when the LAMB opened one of the SEALS, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the 'Four Beasts' saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a WHITE HORSE: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer."

When the LAMB broke the "FIRST SEAL,"
the first, or "Lion-like Living Creature" cried with a voice of thunder--"COME." The words "and see" are omitted in many manuscripts, and in the Revised Version. John had no need to "come" for he was already there. The command then of "Come" was to the "Rider" of the White Horse. When he appeared, John says--"And I saw, and behold a WHITE HORSE; and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer."

Who is the "Rider" upon this White Horse? He is not Christ, as some claim, for Christ, as the LAMB, is holding the "Seven Sealed Book" and breaking its "Seals." Christ does not appear as a White Horse Rider until chapter 19:11-16, when He comes with the armies of Heaven to engage in the Battle of Armageddon. Then He is called "Faithful and True," and on His head there is a many "Diademed Crown," and He is clothed in a vesture dipped in blood, and His name is called the "WORD OF GOD," and there is no weapon of warfare in His hand, but a sharp sword comes out of His mouth, and the effect upon His enemies will he swift and terrible.

This "Rider" has a "bow," no arrow is mentioned, and he is not crowned at first, but a crown will be given to him later, the "Stephanos" or "Victor's Crown," as a reward for his victories which are prolonged and bloodless. This is the picture of a brilliant, strategical, and irresistible conqueror, whose victories will dazzle the world, and elevate him to a leadership that will place him at the Head of the Ten Federated Kingdoms of the revived Roman Empire. As a subaltern, like Napoleon I, he will rise from the ranks until a crown will be given him. His triumphs will be due to his skilful diplomacy. Like Antiochus Epiphanes, his prototype, he "will come in peaceably, and obtain the Kingdom by flatteries." Dan. 11:21. As the "Tool of Satan" he will be endowed with wonder working powers, and when he comes, he will find the world ready to receive him, for God will send upon its inhabitants a "strong delusion" that they will believe a LIE, or "THE LIE," for that is what he will be. 2. Thess. 2:9-11.

In other words this White Horse Rider is the ANTICHRIST. He is the "PRINCE WHO IS TO COME" of Daniel's Vision of the "Seventy Weeks," and who will confirm the Covenant for "ONE WEEK," the last or "Seventieth Week," with Daniel's people the Jews. Dan. 9:27. This Covenant will probably be the privilege to return to Palestine and rebuild the Temple and re-establish their sacrificial form of worship, and national existence, in exchange for the financial assistance of the Jewish bankers of the world in his schemes of establishing world wide commerce, and the formation of a gigantic corporation, with its commercial centre in the rebuilt city of Babylon, so that no one can buy or sell unless they have his "MARK," (the "Mark of the Beast," Rev. 13:16-17), for we are told in Dan. 8:23-25, that "through his policy also he shall cause CRAFT (manufactories) to prosper in his hand."

The rise of this White Horse Rider necessarily antedates the beginning of the "Seventieth Week," or the "SEVEN YEARS" of his reign, for he must have reached a position of power to make a Covenant with the Jews at the beginning of the "WEEK," but he does not become "THE BEAST," as described in chapter 13:1-8, until the "Middle" of the WEEK, that is, until after Satan is cast out of the Heavenlies and incarnates himself in him. His rise to power and the rebuilding of Babylon will take time, so the Rapture of the Church will doubtless antedate the beginning of the WEEK by some years.

But while the establishment of the Antichrist's power will be comparatively peaceful, that peace will be shortlived as is evident from the breaking of the "Second Seal."

This "White Horse Rider" will be Satan's "SUPERMAN." The Scriptures clearly teach that there is some day to arise a human being who shall be the embodiment of all Satanic power. He will be known as the "WILFUL KING" because he shall do according to his own will. He will be the Czar of Czars. He will have no respect for sacred things or places. He will cause a throne to be erected in the Most Holy Place of a Temple that the Jews will build at Jerusalem, and, seating himself upon it, he will proclaim himself God, and men will be commanded to worship him; and Satan will give unto him his power and his seat (Throne) and great authority. All this will be fully brought out under the "Sixth Personage," the "Beast Out of the Sea," Page 103.

 

Rev. 6:3-4

"And when He had opened the 'SECOND SEAL,' I heard the 'Second Beast' say, Come. And there went out another Horse that was RED: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a GREAT SWORD."

There is no need to tarry long with this SEAL. When it was broken John heard the second, or "Calf-like Living Creature" say, "Come," and a "RED HORSE" appeared and went forth, whose Rider was given a "GREAT SWORD," and who had power to take peace from the earth, and cause men to kill one another. The symbolism is very clear. Red, the color of the Horse, is a symbol of BLOOD, and the Sword is a symbol of WAR. The time is clearly that prophesied by Christ--"And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars . . . for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom." Matt. 24:6-7. This seems to imply that the Antichrist will not have everything his own way, and that his Autocratic methods will lead to insubordination and civil wars among the nations under some great leader represented by the Rider of the Red Horse, whose "Great Sword" is symbolical of the awful destruction of human life that will follow.

This is a fulfillment of 1. Thess. 5:3. "When they shall say PEACE and SAFETY; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." We learn from this "Seal" that wars are likely to break out at any time and that there will be no peace on the earth until the return of the "Prince of Peace."

Rev. 6:5-6

"And when He opened the 'THIRD SEAL,' I heard the 'Third Beast' say, Come. And I beheld, and lo a BLACK HORSE: and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the Four Beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny: and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine."

When the "THIRD SEAL" was broken John heard the third or "Man-like Living Creature" say--"Come," and a "BLACK HORSE" appeared and went forth, whose Rider held in his hand a "pair of balances," and John heard the voice of an invisible person in the midst of the "Four Living Creatures" say--"A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny, and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." The "BLACK HORSE" signifies famine, and the Rider the "Conserver of Food." When all able bodied men are drafted for war, and no one left to sow and harvest the crops, then famine is sure to follow. So great will be the famine, that it will take a "denarius" a day's wages, to buy a "choenix" (2 pints) of wheat," the daily ration of a slave. What is meant by not hurting the oil and wine, may be, that as the Olive tree and grapevine do not bear their fruit until some months after the wheat and barley harvest, and grow without much attention, their crops would not be so much affected by war, and therefore the Olive trees and grapevines were not to be ruthlessly destroyed by invaders for they were needed for medicinal purposes.


Rev. 6:7-8

"And when He had opened the 'FOURTH SEAL,' I heard the voice of the 'Fourth Beast' say, Come. And I looked, and behold a PALE HORSE: and his name that sat on him was DEATH, and HELL (Hades) followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with SWORD, and with HUNGER, and with DEATH, and with the BEASTS OF THE EARTH."

When the "FOURTH SEAL" was broken John heard the fourth, or "Eagle-like Living Creature" say--"Come," and a "PALE HORSE" appeared and went forth. Note the "corpse-like" color of the Horse. We are not surprised then when the Rider upon the "PALE HORSE" is called "DEATH," and that "HADES," the "Grave," not "Hell," follows after "Death" like a great "Voracious Monster" to swallow up the victims of "DEATH." It is worthy of note that the Riders of the first three Horses are not named, but it will be very clear when the events they chronicle occur, who and what is meant. Here however the Rider is personified and called "DEATH," and his consort is called "HADES," they are inseparable companions. The reference here is clearly to some great PESTILENCE that shall come upon the earth. After a devastating war, followed by famine, during which the dead are left unburied, a PESTILENCE is sure to follow. The "fourth part of the earth" over which the Pestilence shall sweep will probably be that part of the Eastern Hemisphere covered by the revived Roman Empire. See Map of the Old Roman Empire. So great will be the destruction of human life in the days of the "Fourth Seal" that HADES will have to enlarge herself and open her mouth without measure, as foretold in Isa. 5:13-16. The means of destruction mentioned--the SWORD, HUNGER, DEATH, and the BEASTS OF THE EARTH, are the "FOUR SORE JUDGMENTS" of Ez. 14:21, that are to fall upon JERUSALEM--"For thus saith the Lord God: How much more when I send my 'FOUR SORE JUDGMENTS' upon JERUSALEM, the SWORD, and the FAMINE, and the NOISOME BEAST, and the PESTILENCE, to cut off from it man and beast." Those will be awful times to those who must pass through them. But the Church will not be in them having been "caught out" before as promised. But awful as those days will be, they will be only the "BEGINNING OF SORROWS" for those who are left. Matt. 24:6-8. And the worst thing about them will be that they are "Hardening Judgments," and instead of the people repenting and calling upon God, they will call on the mountains and rocks to hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the Throne. Rev. 6:15-17.

Rev. 6:9-11

"And when He had opened the 'FIFTH SEAL,' I saw under the 'Altar' the SOULS of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, Holy and True, dost Thou not judge and avenge our BLOOD on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them: and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a 'little season,' until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled."

When the Lamb had opened the "FIFTH SEAL," John saw under the "Sacrificial Altar," corresponding to the "Burnt Offering Altar," the "SOULS" of them that were slain for the "Word of God" and for the "testimony they held." The fact that their "SOULS" were under the "Sacrificial Altar" is proof that they had been offered as a "Sacrifice," that is that they were MARTYRS. But they were not the Martyrs of the Christian Church, for they had been resurrected and taken up with the Church. These Martyrs' are those who will be killed for the "Word of God" and their "testimony" after the Church is caught out.

According to Christ (Matt. 24:9-14), a persecution will be brought about by the preaching of the "GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM." When the Church is caught out the preaching of the "GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD" (Acts 20:24), which is being preached now, will cease, and the preaching of the "GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM" will be revived. It is the Gospel that John the Baptist preached, "Repent ye: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Matt. 3:1-2, and that Elijah the Prophet when he returns will preach. Malachi 4:5-6. It is to be preached in all the world for a witness; and then shall the "End," the End of this Dispensation, come. It will be preached by the Jews, and will be the announcement that Christ is coming back to set up His Earthly Kingdom, and rule over the affairs of men. This will be exceedingly distasteful to the Kings of the Earth, particularly to Antichrist and the Kings of the Ten Federated Kingdoms, and the outcome will be a "Great Persecution" of those who preach and accept such a Gospel, and the "SOULS" that John saw under the "Sacrificial Altar," are the souls of those who shall perish during that time of persecution. That there is no such thing as "Soul Sleep," and that disembodied SOULS are conscious and can speak and cry, is clear from what John saw and heard, for these "SOULS" cried with a loud voice--"How long, O Lord, Holy and True, dost Thou not judge and avenge our BLOOD on them that dwell on the earth?" The character of their cry is' further proof that they are not the Martyrs of the Christian Church, for they would not cry to be avenged, but like Stephen would say--"Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." Acts 7:60. Their cry is that of the Imprecatory Psalms (Psa. 35, 55, 59, 94, etc.) and indicates that these Martyrs whose SOULS are seen are mainly JEWS. This is still more likely when we consider that the "Gospel of the Kingdom" is to be preached to the NATIONS, and Israel has never been numbered among the Nations. Num. 23:9.

To these martyred "SOULS" white robes were given. This does not mean that they were resurrected, that is, given glorified BODIES, and then robed, but that they in their "Soulish" or "PSYCHICAL" bodies were given white robes, for while the "Spirit" of man loses its earthly, or FLESHY body, at death, it still has a body, its SOULISH body, that can see, hear, speak, etc., for how could a SOUL "cry" if it did not have a form and physical senses. For a full exposition of this see the Author's Book on "Dispensational Truth," the Chapter on the "Spirit World."

These martyred SOULS were comforted, and told that they should rest for a "little season," about 3½ years, until their fellow servants also, and their brethren (Jews) that should be killed, as they were, should be fulfilled. This promise is fulfilled in Rev. 20:4-6. These are the Saints of the Most High that Daniel foresaw would receive the Kingdom. Dan. 7:27.
 

 

Rev. 6:12-17

"And I beheld when He had opened the 'SIXTH SEAL,' and, lo, there was an earthquake: and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood: and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bond man, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, FALL ON US, and HIDE US from the face of Him that sitteth on the Throne, and from the WRATH OF THE LAMB: for the great day of HIS WRATH is come; and who shall be able to stand?"

When the "SIXTH SEAL" was broken John tells us that there was a "GREAT EARTHQUAKE," and the "SUN BECAME BLACK AS SACKCLOTH OF HAIR," and the "MOON BECAME AS BLOOD," and the "STARS OF HEAVEN FELL TO THE EARTH," and the "HEAVEN DEPARTED AS A SCROLL," and "EVERY MOUNTAIN AND ISLAND WERE MOVED OUT OF THEIR PLACE." It will not do to say that these things prefigure and symbolize the overthrow of the Powers of the Earth by great social and political convulsions. These are nothing more or less than great physical convulsions that shall shake the earth, and that have been foretold by the Prophets and by Christ Himself. Such physical phenomena and changes have happened before. We must not forget the "GREAT DARKNESS" that for 3 days overspread Egypt in the days before the Exodus (Ex. 10:21-23), nor the "DARKNESS" that settled over Jerusalem and Calvary on the day of the Crucifixion of Christ. Matt. 27:45.

The Prophet Zachariah speaks of a day that shall not be "clear" or "dark," and he associates it with an earthquake at the time of the return of the Lord. Zech. 14:1-7. On May 19, 1780, there was in New England what is called in history the "Dark Day." It was not an eclipse of the sun, and yet it was dark enough to make the stars visible, and the chickens went to roost. The cause of that darkness has never been explained. In the prophecy of Joel we read--"I will shew wonders in the heavens, and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be TURNED INTO DARKNESS, and the moon into BLOOD, before THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE DAY OF THE LORD COME." Joel 2:30-31. In Isa. 13:9-10, we read--"Behold the 'DAY OF THE LORD' cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate, and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall NOT GIVE THEIR LIGHT, the sun shall be DARKENED in his going forth, and the moon shall not CAUSE HER LIGHT TO SHINE." In Isa. 34:4 we read--"All the host of heaven (the stars) shall be dissolved and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth from the vine, and as falling fig from the figtree." This corresponds to the "stars of heaven" of this "SEAL," and probably refers not to the constellations and heavenly bodies (stars), they are too far away to be affected by judgments on the earth, but to our own atmosphere, and to "meteors" and "shooting stars," similar to the "shooting stars" of November 13th, 1833, when they fell for 3 hours during the evening, and so terrified the people that they thought the end of the world had come. These physical convulsions will be the earth's "TRAVAIL PAINS" as she labors to bring forth the NEW CREATION of the Millennial Age. Christ refers to this period in Matt. 24:29, where He says--"In those days shall the SUN BE DARKENED (that is, its light obscured), and the MOON SHALL NOT GIVE HER LIGHT, and the STARS SHALL FALL FROM HEAVEN, and the POWERS OF THE HEAVENS (the Principalities and Powers of the Heavenly Places (Eph. 6:12), not the Powers and Kingdoms of the Earth), SHALL BE SHAKEN." All these startling physical changes and convulsions will cause a great fear to fall upon all classes and conditions of men (7 classes are named), who will no longer attribute such changes merely to natural law, but will see the "HAND OF THE ALMIGHTY" in it all. To them the "DAY OF JUDGMENT" will become a reality, and in their fear and terror they will hide themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains, and say to them--"FALL ON US, AND HIDE US FROM THE FACE OF HIM THAT SITTETH ON THE THRONE, AND FROM THE 'WRATH OF THE LAMB,' FOR THE GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH IS COME, AND WHO SHALL BE ABLE TO STAND?" What a prayer? Instead of repenting and crying for Salvation, they will call on the mountains and rocks to bury them from the sight of the Almighty.

 

Rev. 8:1

"And when He had opened the 'SEVENTH SEAL,' there was SILENCE IN HEAVEN ABOUT THE SPACE OF HALF AN HOUR."

We must not forget that the "SEVENTH SEAL" includes all that happens during the sounding of the "Trumpets," and the pouring out of the "Vials," and so extends down to the ushering in of the Millennium. To illustrate, a rocket fired into the air may burst into "seven stars," and one of these stars into "seven other stars," and one of the second group of stars into a third group of "seven stars." So the "Seventh" Seal includes the "Seven Trumpets," and the "Seventh" Trumpet includes the "Seven Vials."

The "SILENCE" that followed the breaking of the "Seventh Seal" was preparatory to what was to follow during the sounding of the "Trumpets," and the pouring out of the "Vials." This "SILENCE" was something remarkable. The Four and Twenty Elders ceased their harp-playing; the angels hushed their voices, and the Cherubim and Seraphim and all the host of Heaven were silent, and so great was the silence that all Heaven was awed by it; and to add to the noticeableness of it, John added that it lasted for "HALF AN HOUR." Now a "half an hour" is not long when engaged in some pleasant employment, but it causes a nerve breaking tension when we do not know what is going to happen, and when a life is at stake a minute, or even a few seconds, seem to be hours. The suspense of the half hour of SILENCE in Heaven was intense. But why that half hour of silence? What did it portend? It was the period of silent preparation for the awful judgments that were to burst forth in the earth under the "Trumpets" and "Vials."

 

 

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