The Seventh Seal

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. (Revelation 8:1)

How long is half an hour in heaven? Is it the same as half an hour here on Earth? Have you ever experienced half an hour in complete silence? I do not think I ever have; there are always some audible sounds even in the quietest times: the sound of the wind, bird songs, distant traffic sounds, etc. I cannot imagine total silence for even a short time, much less half an hour. I imagine it would be rather unnerving.

The Lamb has opened six seals to this point and unleashed all kinds of havoc around the globe. The white horse introduced the Antichrist. The red horse brings war to the earth. The black horse introduces worldwide economic collapse along with extreme inflation. The pale horse adds death from hunger, disease, and pestilences. The fifth seal introduces us to the Tribulation saints that have been martyred for their faith in Christ. The sixth seal brings down heaven in the way of falling space rocks, the darkening of the sun and moon, and an earthquake that shakes the entire planet. The whole world reels from the judgments that have come upon the planet.

Now, the Lamb opens the seventh seal and there is total silence in heaven for half an hour. All of heaven stands still. As if in shock from the past judgments, those in heaven are awestruck at what is about to come. If you thought the first six seals were bad, you have not seen anything yet. The worst is yet to come.

“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets” (Revelation 8:1-2, emphasis mine). The seven trumpets herald seven more judgments far worse than those seen so far. Arguably, by this time we are at the midpoint of the Tribulation and entering a time of “Great Tribulation.” Of this time, Jesus said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21, emphasis mine). No wonder the prospect of what comes next causes silence in heaven.

Now John looks “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand” (Revelation 8:3-4, emphasis mine). The writer of the book of Hebrews informs us that the Tabernacle, and subsequently the Temple, was constructed after the pattern of that which was in heaven.[1] In the Tabernacle and in the Temple, there was an altar before the Holy of Holies upon which incense was burned continuously. The sweet-smelling smoke of the burning incense represented the prayers of the people going up before God. Here, in the heavenly temple of God, the prayers of the saints constantly rise before the Lord. John does not specify whether the prayers are those of the Tribulation saints who remain on the earth, those of the martyred saints beneath the altar,[2] or the saints of all time. Regardless, it is comforting and encouraging to know that our prayers are constantly before the throne of God. The priest responsible for bringing our prayers before God is none other than Jesus Christ. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

In the model prayer, Jesus said, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). That particular prayer is about to be answered in full. “And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound” (Revelation 8:5-6). Brace yourself for what comes next!

Reader, are you prepared for what is coming to the world? You do not need to go through the Tribulation, God’s wrath, that is coming upon the world. Read my page on “Securing Eternal Life,” and ask Jesus to save you from the wrath to come.

Notes:


[1]  Hebrews 8:5

[2]  Revelation 6:10

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The 144K

And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. (Revelation 7:4)

The first six seals[1] release unprecedented havoc upon the earth, and the seventh seal is next in line. Meanwhile, John shifts the focus from the judgments taking place on earth to the grace and mercy that God continues to offer the inhabitants of Earth. Even in these times, God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

John says, “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads” (Revelation 7:1-3).

John sees four angels that control the wind currents from the four points of the compass. As such, they have power over the weather on Earth, and they are prepared to unleash their fury on Earth. However, another angel appears from the rising sun (translated as “east”) to temporarily halt the next judgment. John says that this angel has “the seal of the living God.”

This “seal” is probably something like a stamp, brand, or signet ring that carries with it the authority of God. John does not elaborate on the mark, but I wonder if it could be the Hebrew letter shin (שׁ). One of the names of God is El Shadday – “Almighty God.” The initial of this name is the Hebrew letter shin. At the dedication of Solomon’s Temple, God said, “… I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually” (1 Kings 9:3, emphasis mine). The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is geographically cradled above three valleys that come together in the shape of the letter shin (שׁ) when viewed from the air. I find that intriguing.

Perhaps the shin is the symbol on the seal that the angel carries. Some suggest that the angel with the seal of God is Jesus. They come to this conclusion because he seems to have the authority of God by way of the seal. However, it is not beyond God to delegate His authority to His angels. Arguably, Jesus controls all the events concerning the Tribulation, and He holds the scroll and opens the seals. It makes sense that He is directing this angel and has delegated His authority to this angel for the sealing of His servants. Also, there is the point that John describes this angel as “another angel” (7:2) like those holding the four winds. So, in my view, this is not Jesus.

The angels holding back the four winds are temporarily restrained from unleashing their judgments until “we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads” (7:3). “And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel” (Revelation 7:4, emphasis mine). These 144,000 who are sealed are Jews, not Jehovah’s Witnesses. There are 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel and are listed in the verses that follow.[2] The tribes listed are as follows: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.[3] For those who pay attention, there is an apparent discrepancy between the Revelation list and the lists found in the Pentateuch (Genesis-Deuteronomy). This list includes Joseph from whom the two “half tribes” originated: Manasseh and Ephraim. Here, Joseph is listed as a stand-alone tribe and Ephraim is omitted from the list. The tribe of Dan is also missing.

The reason for their omission is due to a specific sin of idolatry that they allowed in their territories after the kingdom of Israel split under the reign of Rehoboam, successor to Solomon. Before entering the Promised Land, God issued a warning and a curse to anyone who led Israel into idolatry. “The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven. And the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law” (Deuteronomy 29:20-21). Dan was the first to lapse into idolatry. “And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land” (Judges 18:30, emphasis mine). After the kingdom split, Jeroboam, king of the northern kingdom, had two golden calves made, and he placed one in Ephraim and the other in Dan.[4] Granted, all 12 tribes of Israel continually had problems with idolatry, but these two seem to be the first of the overt violations of God’s warning and may be the reason for the omission of these two tribes from the list of the 144,000.

These 144,000 Jewish sealed servants of God seem to be partly responsible for the conversion and salvation of innumerable souls during the Tribulation. John reports, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9-10, emphasis mine). As we have seen before, the “white robes” represent the righteousness of Christ that is imparted to them who have placed their faith and trust in Him (7:14). John records the celebration for these saints. “And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 7:11-12). Jesus said, “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10), and here we see millions upon millions.

One of the elders approached John and asked the same question we might ask. “What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” (7:13). John had no answer, so the elder explained, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (7:14, emphasis mine). They have come out of “great tribulation.” These are Tribulation saints; they are not the Church that was snatched out at the Rapture before the Tribulation begins. This is the amazing thing to me about this time. Even though God is unleashing His great wrath upon a sinful world, He still makes opportunities for people to be saved. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

We will see later on that God sends two untouchable Old Testament prophets to preach, and He even sends an angel to proclaim the Gospel around the earth. God is not willing that any should perish, but with all of His effort, we know that the greater majority will continue to reject Him. Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Matthew 7:13, emphasis mine).

For all who enter through the “strait (narrow) gate” there is this promise: “Therefore are they [those ‘who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb’ (7:14)] before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 7:15-17).

Reader, are you prepared for what is coming to the world? You do not need to go through the Tribulation, God’s wrath, that is coming upon the world. Read my page on “Securing Eternal Life,” and ask Jesus to save you from the wrath to come.

Notes:


[1]  Revelation 6:1-17

[2]  Revelation 7:5-8

[3]  Genesis 49:1-27; Exodus 1:2-6

[4]  1 Kings 12:25-33

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The Sixth Seal

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (Matthew 24:29)

The first seal,[1] the white horse, introduced the Antichrist. The second seal,[2] the red horse, brought global wars. The third seal,[3] the black horse, brings economic collapse. War and economic collapse result in famines and pestilences. The fourth seal[4] releases the pale horse bringing death by way of war, hunger, and pandemics. These will not be start and stop events. Once the start, they will progress throughout the Tribulation period. The fifth seal brings persecution and death to those who profess Christ during this time. These Christians are not the Church which was raptured before the beginning of the Tribulation. These are those who come to faith in Christ during the Tribulation. They are the “Tribulation Saints” who are seen under the altar of God in heaven.[5]

“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places” (Revelation 6:12-14, emphasis mine).

It is difficult to determine from this passage exactly when these events occur. We know the Tribulation is seven years from Daniel’s prophecy,[6] but within that period of time, pinpointing the specific events presents a challenge. The seventh seal that follows presents seven trumpets that herald more severe judgments.[7] The seventh trumpet (that seems to come at the midpoint (3½ years into) of the Tribulation[8]) announces the seven bowl judgments[9] that occupy the final 3½ years of the Tribulation and are even more severe. When the judgments of the final bowl are completed, Jesus returns to earth with all of His saints, i.e., the Church.[10]

Jesus said that earthquakes, the sun darkening, the blood moons and stars falling from the sky would take place during the Tribulation,[11] but He did not specify a time sequence. Perhaps in His humanity, He was not privy to that information. Remember He said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36). However, now in His resurrected body, in His place at the right hand of the Father, He surely knows every detail, which He then reveals to John.

My guess is that the sixth seal judgments begin one or two years into the Tribulation. We already experience an increase in seismic activity all around the globe, even in places where these things rarely happen. Eastern Turkey and northern Syria have been continually shaking since February 6, 2023. In the same time frame, other Magnitude 5+ earthquakes have been reported around the Mediterranean Sea along the coast of Lebanon, Israel, Cypress, and others. This, along with the looming world economic collapse, wars and rumors of wars, and the efforts of globalists to bring in a one-world government, is what Jesus called the “beginning of sorrows,” i.e., “labor pains.”[12]

The sixth seal also brings astronomical events. Jesus predicted these too. On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse crossed the United States from the northwest, beginning in Washington state, to the southeast, exiting the South Carolina coast. On April 8, 2024, another total eclipse will cross the southern border of Texas, just below the Big Bend along the Rio Grande, and will take a path northeastward and exit around the middle eastern border of Maine. Its trek will intersect the previous eclipse path at Carbondale, Illinois, which lies in the New Madrid Seismic Zone.[13] Minor earthquakes frequent this area; however, in the winter of 1811-1812, it experienced an earthquake estimated to be between magnitude 7 and 8, and geologists predict another big one in the future.[14] From 2017 to 2024 is seven years – a biblical number of completion. Could 2024 bring a devastating earthquake where X marks the spot that further removes America from end-times prophecy? It is certainly possible. What we do know from Scripture is that earthquakes will play a major role during the Tribulation.

Jesus and John both predict stars falling from the sky. The Greek word translated “star” is astēr, and it refers to any luminous celestial body – a star, a planet, a comet, a meteor, etc. Some have suggested that what John saw were modern incoming missiles falling from the sky. They do look like “falling stars” – meteors. However, neither Jesus nor John employ simile (“like” or “as”) in their descriptions of these falling objects. So, where we can assume that they are not actual stars or planets which would obliterate the earth, we can conclude that these are meteors or asteroids. They do light up when they enter our atmosphere and they do have the potential to cause severe damage. The possibility concerns NASA enough to keep watch on asteroids crossing earth’s orbit.[15]

With all the chaos taking place on the earth during the Tribulation, I am dumbfounded by the attitudes of the people going through these judgments. “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 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?” (Revelation 6:15-17, emphasis mine). They fully understand the source of these judgments and still they persist in their sin and refuse to repent. Later on, when things get even worse, they not only hide, but they blaspheme God knowing that the judgments come from Him.[16]

Before the seventh seal is broken, there is an interlude that explains what else is taking place on earth during this time. I will examine that later.

Reader, are you prepared for what is coming to the world? You do not need to go through the Tribulation, God’s wrath, that is coming upon the world. Read my page on “Securing Eternal Life,” and ask Jesus to save you from the wrath to come.

Notes:


[1]  Revelation 6:1-2

[2]  Revelation 6:3-4

[3]  Revelation 6:5-6

[4]  Revelation 6:7-8

[5]  Revelation 6:9-11

[6]  Daniel 9:27

[7]  Revelation 8:1-2

[8]  Revelation 11:15

[9]  Revelation 16

[10]  Revelation 19:11-16

[11]  Matthew 24:29

[12]  Matthew 24:8

[13]  The New Madrid Seismic Zone | U.S. Geological Survey (usgs.gov)

[14]  New Madrid Fault Line Could Unleash Catastrophic Midwest Earthquake (prepforthat.com)

[15]  Asteroid Watch (nasa.gov)

[16]  Revelation 16:9, 11, 21

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The Fifth Seal

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. (Matthew 24:9)

The first seal,[1] the white horse, introduced the Antichrist. The second seal,[2] the red horse, brought global wars. The third seal,[3] the black horse, brings economic collapse. War and economic collapse result in famines and pestilences. The fourth seal[4] releases the pale horse bringing death by way of war, hunger, and pandemics.

“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” (Revelation 6:9, emphasis mine). Who are these “souls … slain for the word of God?” With minimal effort, we can infer that these are martyred Christians. We make that conclusion based on a verse that follows. “And white robes were given unto every one of them…” (Revelation 6:11).

There are some students of end-times prophecy who use these verses to reject the doctrine of the Rapture of the Church. They use these verses to prove that the Church will go through and suffer persecution in the Tribulation. Hear what these martyrs cry. “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?” (Revelation 6:10). We know from Verse 9 that they “were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.” No doubt they are Christians who have died for their faith, and they plead for God’s vengeance on the earth-dwellers that caused their suffering. From the response given to them, we understand that other Christians still remain and suffer on earth. “And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (Revelation 6:11, emphasis mine). Obviously, there are Christians going through the Tribulation with the expectation that they will be martyred.

This would be a solid no-Rapture argument if these verses are the only verses used to make the case. However, making a case based on only a single passage is poor hermeneutics. We need to examine the whole counsel of God’s Word.

I hold the pre-millennial/pre-tribulation view of eschatology. The Pre-millennial view holds to a seven-year Tribulation period before Christ returns to establish His 1000-year reign on Earth.[5] The pre-tribulation side says that Jesus will come to receive His Bride – the Church – prior to the Tribulation. I covered some of these points in my article “The First Sight.” However, here it may be worth the extra time and space to support that stance.

First of all, the time of Tribulation is for the purpose of restoring Israel and God fulfilling the promise He made to Abraham to make him a great nation and give him a land (the land of Israel) as an everlasting covenant or promise.[6] God must keep His promise otherwise none of the promises He makes to us can be trusted.

The prophet Daniel laid out the time determined for Israel. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy” (Daniel 9:24, emphasis mine). The Hebrew word translated as “weeks” is shebû‛âh, which is a period of seven (years in this case). By applying simple multiplication, we conclude that Israel was given 490 years until the anointing of “the most Holy,” i.e., Jesus Christ. That time started when Cyrus gave the command for the Jews to return to Judah and for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple.[7] Obviously, more than 490 years have elapsed. However, Daniel’s prophecy breaks up the timetable so that after 483 years, “shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself” (Daniel 9:26). Several biblical scholars have calculated the time and have verified the accuracy of the prophecy determining that Jesus was crucified (“cut off”) exactly 483 years to the day as predicted by Daniel. That leaves seven years (“one week”) to complete Israel’s timetable. Daniel immediately transitions to the final week which begins when “the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” (Daniel 9:26, emphasis mine). This “prince,” we conclude, is the Antichrist. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:27, emphasis mine). Antichrist, a.k.a. “the beast,” shows up on the scene and promises peace for Israel for seven years (“one week”).

Again, the timetable seems to fail. Considering that the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was “cut off” in AD 30 (arguably), the 70th or final week would have concluded in AD 37; but the Temple was not destroyed until AD 70. However, the Bible is NEVER wrong, so why have almost 2000 years gone by since the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ with no fulfillment of the 70th week? Enter the Church.

Part of Israel’s responsibility as God’s chosen people was that they should be a “priest” nation to the rest of the world. “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 19:6, emphasis mine). They failed in this responsibility by adopting an exclusionary attitude toward other nations, i.e., Gentiles. Furthermore, when their promised Messiah revealed Himself, they rejected and crucified Him. However, God’s plan has always been for the redemption of all people. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, emphasis mine).

God has temporarily set aside Israel and temporarily replaced it with the Church to accomplish His plan of spreading the Gospel, the “good news,” around the world. John reminds us that “… Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:5-6) However, He is not done dealing with Israel. Paul is clear on this matter:

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. (Romans 11:25-32, emphasis mine).

Let me highlight some important points in the passage above. In addressing the church in Rome, Paul declares God’s dealing with Israel a “mystery.” He addresses some of these things in bits and pieces in other parts of the letter to the Romans,[8] but here the message is concise. First, Israel is spiritually blind in that they do not recognize their Messiah. This spiritual blindness will continue until the time of the Gentiles, i.e., the Church, is completed. Second, all Israel – at least all that survive the Tribulation – will be saved. This happens when Jesus returns in His second coming. God says through the prophet Zechariah, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me [God/Jesus] whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10, emphasis mine). That has not happened; this event is yet future. Third, there is the promise of a Deliverer coming out of Zion[9] that will turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Israel). The Deliverer came but He was rejected; so, this promise is yet future. Fourth, Israel (Jews) are enemies of the Gospel for our sake, the Gentile Church. However, they are still “elect” for their fathers’ (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel) sakes, and “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance,” i.e., God is not going to change His mind about it. Finally, God has concluded or determined this in order that all may receive mercy.

So far, I hope, I have established that the time of Tribulation is for the sake of restoring Israel so that God can fulfill His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel). The final week of Daniel’s prophecy is intended for Israel “to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy” (Daniel 9:24). This time is not meant for the Church. In speaking of “the Day of the Lord,”[10] which will come “as a thief in the night,” Paul assures us, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9, emphasis mine). The Church is not appointed for the wrath of God. That time is reserved for the spiritual restoration of Israel.

Even now, the Church is experiencing persecution around the world. Christians are being killed for their faith in all of the Muslim countries, including China, in India, and in several African countries. In many western nations, including the United States, “soft” persecution is taking place where Christians are being “canceled” by social media and other media outlets. Laws are being enacted that declare much of the Bible, particularly those portions speaking against sodomy, as hate speech. Pastors that speak against such topics are in danger of being arrested. It is happening in Canada, and it will soon come here. But that is the wrath of man, not the wrath of God. The Church will not face the wrath of God.

Jesus promised to take His Bride home to be with Him.[11] That event, known as the Rapture, will take place in an instant. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, emphasis mine). John gave us a glimpse of this when he says, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne” (Revelation 4:1-2, emphasis mine). To the church of Philadelphia, Jesus promised, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10, emphasis mine).

The Tribulation is not for the Church. The Bride will be with the Bridegroom during this awful time on earth. So, who are these souls under the altar that were killed for the Word of God and for their testimony? These are those that missed the Rapture and had to go through the Tribulation. Perhaps they were CINOs (Christians In Name Only) who were not saved but retained enough Bible knowledge to recognize what was taking place. At that point, they will truly believe in the Gospel, but it will cost them their lives. Others will be those who came to faith by the witness of those who are being saved. Still, others will believe because of the preaching of the 144,000 witnesses described in Revelation 7, 14 or from the preaching of the two witnesses in Jerusalem.[12] If that is not enough, God sends a Gospel angel to preach the Word to all the world.[13] As Peter said, God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). These will be saved, but it will cost them their lives. To these, Jesus said, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9).

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14, emphasis mine). I am constantly amazed at the love of God for a sinful world. He gives every opportunity for people to repent, ask forgiveness, and place their trust in Jesus Christ who is the only Way, Truth, and Life.[14] Even so, many who will recognize that all the judgments that will follow come from God, will still refuse to repent and will curse God instead.[15]

Reader, are you prepared for what is coming to the world? You do not need to go through the Tribulation, God’s wrath, that is coming upon the world. Read my page on “Securing Eternal Life,” and ask Jesus to save you from the wrath to come.

Notes:


[1]  Revelation 6:1-2

[2]  Revelation 6:3-4

[3]  Revelation 6:5-6

[4]  Revelation 6:7-8

[5]  Revelation 20:1-10

[6]  Genesis 12:2, 7; 13:14-17; 15:18; 17:4-8; 18:17-18

[7]  Daniel 9:25

[8]  Romans 9:27; 10:1-4, 19-21; 11:2

[9]  Paul quoting Psalm 14:7

[10]  1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

[11]  John 14:1-3

[12]  Revelation 11:1-14

[13]  Revelation 14:6-7

[14]  John 14:6

[15]  Revelation 16:21

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The Pale Horse

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. (Matthew 24:7)

The first seal,[1] the white horse, introduced the Antichrist. The second seal,[2] the red horse, brought global wars. The third seal,[3] the black horse, brings economic collapse. War and economic collapse result in famines and pestilences. Enter the pale horse.

“And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth” (Revelation 6:7-8, emphasis mine).

The Greek word translated “pale” is chlōros, from which we derive our English word “chlorophyll,” the chemical in plant leaves that gives them their green color. Green is the color of rotting flesh as in gangrene. It stands to reason that this horse brings death. The “Hell” that follows is hadēs, which is sometimes translated as “the grave” or the abode of the dead. This horse is given power over a fourth of the earth. This probably includes both humans and animals. Our current earth’s population is over 8-Billion people. A fourth of that would be a staggering 2-Billion people. With all that death, much of it brought on by the red and black horses, the living will be overwhelmed in efforts to bury all the dead. The rotting human and animal corpses will contribute to the spread of diseases, pestilences, and pandemics.

The pale horse also kills with hunger. With wars devastating farmlands and disrupting supply chains, and the economic collapse brought on by the black horse, food scarcity will kill many who cannot buy “A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny” (Revelation 6:6).

Much of the suffering brought on by the pale horse can be seen today. Covid-19, a man-made pathogen unleashed on the world, arguably on purpose, killed many millions. The worldwide shutdowns stymied supply chains around the globe with their effects felt to this very day. Store shelves remain sparse and often empty. Long waiting periods abound for electronic parts (from China mostly) needed for manufacturing electronic devices of all kinds. And even though the pandemic has mostly subsided, the powers that be continue to foment fear of new variants. (They relish the power that such fear gives them over the populous.)

There is more to come. Just this week I learned about a new bat-borne virus discovered in Western Africa (Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon), which is deadly and for which there is no known cure.[4] This is only the beginning.

In his Wednesday night sermon this week,[5] Pastor Jack Hibbs described the wars and rumors of wars that the mainstream media strategically omit from their reports. Most of us know about the Chinese balloon that floated over the entire United States spying on our military installations. Do not be deceived; China is testing our defenses to discover our weaknesses. North Korea also continues to test our resolve. Russia is looking for an excuse to attack the United States. Putin has not been vague in his threats to use nuclear weapons on any who oppose his assault on Ukraine. Russia has brought charges against the US with the UN for blowing up the Nord Stream pipeline. (Yes, we did blow it up.) Another rumor of war about which we hear little is the strife between Pakistan and India – both nuclear powers.

Jesus assured us that “… ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” (Matthew 24:6-7, emphasis mine). Very recently two 7.5 magnitude earthquakes followed by many strong aftershocks (5.0+ magnitude) rocked Eastern Turkey and Northern Syria. Over 42,000 deaths have been recorded to date and many more are expected. We do not hear much about them, but earthquakes of 5.0+ magnitude are happening all over the world. However, Jesus said, “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). We are not experiencing the Tribulation yet. The reason I know that is that the Church is still on Earth and the Antichrist has not been revealed. What we are experiencing are just the early, sporadic birth pangs, but they are increasing in frequency and intensity. The Greek word translated as “sorrows” is ōdin meaning “the pain of childbirth, travail pain, birth pangs.”

The four horses of the apocalypse are saddled. Their riders are ready to mount as they await their order to ride. For those who have placed their faith and trust in Christ, all this is good news. It means that our Lord’s return is closer than ever before. Before the first seal is broken, “… the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, emphasis mine).

Reader, are you prepared for what is coming to the world? You do not need to go through the Tribulation, God’s wrath, that is coming upon the world. Read my page on “Securing Eternal Life,” and ask Jesus to save you from the wrath to come.

Notes:


[1]  Revelation 6:1-2

[2]  Revelation 6:3-4

[3]  Revelation 6:5-6

[4]  Equatorial Guinea confirms country’s first Marburg virus disease outbreak -WHO | Reuters

[5]  (4) Now Arriving – YouTube – Watch/listen to the whole sermon. It is well worth your time.

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