Key Precept: Liftng seals releases safeguarded contents.
Stepping Stone on the path to eternal life: Recognize prophecy coming to pass and respond like a follower of YHVH.
“And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” (John 14:29)
This is standard practice throughout the entire Bible, not just Revelation.
“The word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it. So Hanameel mine uncle’s son came…and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth…the redemption is thine…Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 32:6-8)
The reason it was so important for Jeremiah to recognize the word of the LORD was because Jeremiah’s response to this event was absolutely contrary to common sense. In the first place, Jeremiah knew that Judea would shortly be captured by Babylon, so it would seem he was throwing his money away. In the second place, the priests in his home town of Anathoth were conspiring to kill him, so even if he could figure he would be one of the people left behind by Babylon to maintain the land, as did indeed happen, Anathoth would be the last place he would want to go.
However, against his common sense and weak faith, Jeremiah being the good servant of God that he is, obeys the word of the LORD.
“And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it…And I charged Baruch before them, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days…
Now when I had delivered the evidence of the purchase…I prayed unto the LORD, saying, Ah LORD God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee…the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name, Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men…
- Behold the mounts / siege towers, they are come unto the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans, that fight against it,
- And thou hast said unto me, O Lord God, Buy thee the field for money, and take witnesses;??? for / even though the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans???
Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, Behold, [You said it!] I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?…fields shall be bought in this land…for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 1:1, 32).
In other words, Jeremiah was being told to put his money where his mouth was. Action speaks louder than words. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Jeremiah – and all true followers of God – would win more people over to trust in YHVH’s promises by his actions than by his words.
YHVH’s Savior certifies the events recorded in Revelation with the same signature found on all his previous writings.
“I am the LORD: that is my name…new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.”(Isaiah 42:8-9)
Jeremiah’s sealed / safeguarded land title proved, at its unsealing, that Jeremiah’s prophecy of the restoration of Jewish possession of the land was true. That provides a basis for trust in Jeremiah’s prophecies yet to be fulfilled.
Likewise, as the events documented in the past by John unfold in the future exactly as foretold, they will prove that God’s word is true, and most importantly, reliable, during a time in history when people desperately need to trust God’s word.
People who identify themselves as “New Testament” believers in Jesus Christ so toss out Old Testament prophecies won’t be able to understand the Revelation and respond appropriately to the challenges they face. Doesn’t this prospect warrant a serious study of the entire Bible – not a favorite Christian teacher’s limited interpretation – on this subject?
Every biblical promise is grounded in verifiably historically identical ways that are unmistakable proofs of the identity / name of the same God returning to rescue his people once again, despite the passing of thousands of years and massive culture shifts.
An event in the life of King David provides a good example of the repetitive pattern of God’s interactions with humans.
“And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel…And God was displeased with this thing…And the LORD spake unto Gad, David’s seer, saying, Go and tell David, saying, Thus saith the LORD,
I offer thee three things: choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee…
- Either three years’ famine;
- or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee;
- or else three days the sword of the LORD, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel.
And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of the LORD; for very great are his mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man.
So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men. And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it:
Form and Function of God’s Weapons
“the sword of the Spirit…is the word of God:” (Ephesians 6:17)
- and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the Lord stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.
- And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem…
- Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.
- And David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spake in the name of the LORD.
- And the LORD commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof.” (I Chronicles 21)
Pay attention to David’s involvement in this whole scenario. We have no problem recognizing that his lack of faith in God’s protection led to chastisement, but we shouldn’t miss his same involvement in stopping the plague. If David had not obeyed God’s word, do you think God would have commanded the angel to sheath his sword?
Compare with the angel passing over the houses in Egypt on which the blood of a sacrificed lamb had been spread over the doorposts in obedience to God’s word. He sees a house on the block without the blood. Do you think the Death Angel just shrugged off the failure to apply the blood and skipped the house?
Humanity’s partnership with God matters.
YHVH’s Savior does not reclaim dominion single-handedly.
Ever since God gave dominion to humanity in Genesis chapter 1 the battle has been for humanity to get back what humanity gave away. The God-man YHVH’s Savior redeemed mankind, but that was just the beginning of the fight.
The redeemed of the LORD fight with him! How? Using the same weapon – God’s Word!
“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy…they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:2
“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee…I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do… I have manifested thy name /way unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world…For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them…As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world…Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” (John 17:1-21)
“walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called…Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit…One Lord…One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all…For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones…This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church…Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might… For we wrestle…against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 4-6)
The battle against spiritual wickedness in high places is the background for the first mention of “the end”, found in Deuteronomy 32, and conveniently includes a reference to “seal”, providing all the background we need to understand what is happening in Revelation 6.
Who / Characters:
- “I will publish the name / ways of the LORD:
- ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock,
- his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment:
- a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
- The nation of Israel, YHVH’s ambassador nation to the other nations,
- have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children:
- they are a perverse and crooked generation.
- Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?
- Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee. When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
- For the LORD‘s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance…As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock...“
What / Action:
- “But Jeshurun waxed fat…fat…fat…
- then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
- They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods,
- with abominations provoked they him to anger.
- They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up…
As with all covenants, not just the Lord’s Supper, this is confirmed by a shared cup of wine.
- And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters. And he said…
- I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
- They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities:
- I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
- For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
- I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them.
- They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction:
- I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.
- The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs…
O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!…
their Rock had sold them.
- For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah…
Clearly a reference to being grafted into the hybrid paganism of wicked Sodom and Gomorrah.
“I am the true vine…ye are the branches…If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and…burned.” (John 15:1-5)
- Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.
As detailed in an earlier post, every sale among ancient peoples was struck through bargaining. God is forced to turn over possession of his people to the gods they chose to serve, but he strikes a hard bargain to minimize his loss and ensure the opportunity to reclaim them. Think militarily. During war, what is more strategic in a parley than weapons?
A straightforward reading of the text states that in exchange for his people God gets the poison of dragons and venom of asps.
- Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures?
- To me belongeth vengeance and recompence;” (Deuteronomy 32)
When these weapons are “sealed up” they are locked up, safeguarded, in the treasure house / armory along with the other weapons of war like hail.
“thou has heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly, and shalt thou be delivered…? king of Babylon sent letters [requesting an alliance]…unto Hezekiah…And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them…all the house of his armor and all that was found in his treasures [demonstrating his military might]...
And weapons shared with allies of convenience are inevitably turned / reversed against the giver when alliances shift.
The [Taliban’s] blindingly fast sweep through most of Afghanistan netted it billions of dollars’ worth of U.S. military equipment and weaponry given to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, which collapsed in the 11 days before the Taliban seized Kabul, the capital, on Aug. 15…
“This is ghanima,” said one uniformed Taliban fighter: war booty. With a gloved hand, he snapped up the night-vision goggles on his ballistic helmet, looking like the very model of an Afghan soldier the U.S. had tried to help create to eliminate people like him.
Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners have transferred American-made weapons to al Qaeda-linked fighters, hardline Salafi militias, and other factions waging war in Yemen,in violation of their agreements with the United States…
The weapons have also made their way into the hands of Iranian-backed rebels battling the coalition for control of the country, exposing some of America’s sensitive military technology to Tehran and potentially endangering the lives of US troops in other conflict zones.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, its main partner in the war, have used the US-manufactured weapons as a form of currency to buy the loyalties of militias or tribes, bolster chosen armed actors, and influence the complex political landscape, according to local commanders on the ground and analysts who spoke to CNN…
The revelations raise fresh questions about whether the US has lost control over a key ally presiding over one of the most horrific wars of the past decade…
Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah…Hear the word of the LORD. Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon [as war booty].” (II Kings 19:11, 20:12-18)
There is another aspect of God’s ID that is often overlooked, but is a key that will open up Revelation.
“The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth:
the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.” (Psalm 9:16)
This practice is reported early on in scripture as detailed in the post Days of Thunder. Night vision goggles – viewing action through lens that pierce the darkness – will help discover the workers of darkness.
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye…yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh…in the night. For 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. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” (I Thessalonians 5:1-5)
Form and Function of the Seals
We understand that the form and function of the sword of the Spirit is the word of God, speaking something into action.
Can we therefore understand that the function of the seals on the book held by the Lamb in Heaven is to prevent God’s word from being spoken into action.
What about the form of the seals? We can’t possibly believe that a circular impressed blob of wax or any other substance can possibly prevent God’s word from being spoken. This must simply be a visual aid for us four dimensional viewers of multidimensional realities. We can’t view the sound waves of God’s voice, but we know they exist. Likewise, there is a spiritual forcefield,
“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.” (Revelation 5:1-4)
There are two ways to interpret this book. First, that it is an entirely new construct never before mentioned in scripture.
It is not unreasonable to see the scroll as a sort of “title deed to the universe”…This theory explains John’s consternation when no one was found worthy to open the scroll…it is the document that proves God’s ownership of the universe….Happily, Jesus was worthy to open it, being perfect in justice and in mercy, in authority and in humility.
This kind of theorizing and substituting sermonizing for exegesis is what happens when Christians unhitch the New Testament from the Old.
Our second option is to, well, let’s just go wild here and assume that God is making good on a promise he made earlier to reveal the contents of a specific sealed book, especially since there is no other place in scripture where he lives up to that commitment.
“In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long…
- at that time…there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time:
- and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
- And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake…
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end…when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people…for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” (Daniel 10-12)
The timing and associated circumstances are right to open the book, and the events unleashed are a repetition of God-directed events documented earlier in scripture. I honestly do not know why this is so hard to figure out.
The reason John is weeping is that he knows the contents of the book from reading Daniel. As Jesus described it and as any pregnant woman can tell you, the birth pangs are good reason to cry. They signal the beginning of an excruciating ordeal, yes, but more than that are a welcome sign of the end of an era of escalating misery in addition to the blessed expectation of finally experiencing the joy of embracing the long-anticipated new life!
According to a straightforward understanding of what the elders proclaim, Jesus Christ’s death won redemption for other humans who, in performing the key role of all rulers – join him in the fight to retake dominion. It should be obvious from the 2,000 years since his death that his death in itself did not win back dominion.
This is a whole different perspective of salvation from simply living a life of ease in a mansion in heaven forever!
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order:
- Christ the firstfruits;
- afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
- Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.” (I Corinthians 15:22-24)
There is really only one explanation for the delay in Christ’s return – the failure of his people to get in line behind him!
“Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou [equivalent to Washington, the people in government, people, not a location] that killest the prophets...I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:37-39)
And that includes us Gentiles who are grafted in to Israel.
When / Time: The latter end. Hmm. Isn’t that an oxymoron? No. Not when we recognize the cyclic, repetitive nature of the end of God’s patience with his people. The book of Judges documents this happening over and over, and the major and minor prophets document this happening through Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Greece and Rome. Daniel fixes Rome as the last empire at the “latter” end of the latest cycle of, first turning to, then away from, God’s authority.
All of our most common time measurement systems we use in daily life are cyclical:The repetition of 60 seconds into a minute, 60 minutes into an hour, 24 hours into a day, seven days into a week, (roughly) four weeks into a month, (roughly) three months into a season, and four seasons into a year…
Until recently, the lives of agricultural, nomadic, and even urban peoples were governed by the endlessly repeating seasonal round…well-documented calendar systems don’t become common in the archaeological record until within the last 5,000 years…
Our modern lives are almost ridiculously structured by linear time and its precise measurement. However, our human ancestors, and some of our relatives today, live by a different understanding of time, one that it is cyclical, circadian, and rhythmic.
It was not uncommon in ancient times for a seal to be removed and replaced. In a letter quoted by Josephus the writer names the bearer and describes the seal to guarantee against the letter being surreptitiously opened and reclosed with another seal to conceal the sabotage (Josephus P 322) Since Paul’s letters were passed around the seals on his scrolls would have been lifted off and and replaced frequently to physically protect the written material in transit. Accordingly, Paul, like Jesus, used his signature rather than a stamp on the seal as proof of authenticity.
There is both biblical and historical evidence that the seals of this book in heaven are removed, only to be replaced, over and over, before the final time. So let’s consider a cyclical “coming to pass” perspective of the seal events in Revelation 6, providing an opportunity for Christ to return which, up to now, has been sabotaged by the failure of his people to get behind him.
God’s plans are irrevocable…hence, what is to pass is none other than the outcome of a declared decision of God’s…
This explanation is consistent with the foundational truth of all of scripture.
- “And God said…and it was so.” (Genesis 1)
- “my word…that goeth forth out of my mouth…shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
The things which must come to pass then are known to us already. They are God’s intentions previously declared by him. In other words, Revelation is the climax to the entire story beginning in Genesis 1.
“God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion.” (Genesis 1:26)
the term shortly signifies…that every detail is executed within the shortest possible period and without the least tardiness or waste of time, and is immediately followed by the execution of the next detail in systematic order.
Shortly is translated from the Greek word Tachos from which we get tachometer – speed, and is also translated hastily, immediately, quickly.
We find God’s intentions declared by his prophets, such as Daniel, often with the time, place, and characters established in order to understand the context of the action. For example:
- Time: in the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar, ruler of the Babylonian Empire
- Character: me Daniel,
- Place: at Shushan in the palace [which is in Persia as noted above in Esther’s account, so Daniel is one of Babylon’s embassy staff to Persia], which is in the province of Elam; I was by the river of Ulai.
- Action: a vision appeared unto me after that which appeared unto me at the first…I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.
John provides the same contextual information at the beginning of his Revelation.
Time: in the Spirit on the Lord’s day. This is not Sunday or any day of the week designated for worship referenced obliquely in religious tolerance for Christians, Jews and Moslems. At the time John’s vision occurred the assembly of believers was still a Jewish sect meeting on Saturdays in synagogues or houses. This is in the hyper dimensional eternal, accessed by John’s hyper dimensional spirit connection with the Holy Spirit, as had occurred with Ezekiel.
“the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to...” (Ezekiel 8:3)
The Lord’s day is the day of the LORD’s punishment, wrath, anger, indignation. See the post The Day of the LORD for details. Keep in mind especially that “judgment must begin at the house of God.” (I Peter 4:16-18)
“Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations,
- and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter.
- And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. For my sword shall be bathed in heaven:
For it is the day of the LORD‘s vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.
- And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and
- the dust thereof into brimstone, and
- the land thereof shall become burning pitch.
- It shall not be quenched night nor day;
- the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.
Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.” (Isaiah 34)
- “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,
- which God gave unto him, to shew unto his [God’s] servants things which must shortly come to pass; and
- he [God – stick with the subject, don’t switch to the object of the preposition “of”] sent and signified [authenticated] it by his [God’s] angel [messenger, his son Jesus Christ] unto his servant John, Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.” (Revelation 1:1-2)
The chain of custody of this evidence, and the sterling credentials of the expert witness giving testimony, makes this revelation unique from any other revelation purported to have been given by God or an angel since then. John was the last living witness of the Word that was in the beginning with God and was God and was made flesh therefore in whom only is the knowledge of God (John 1), and who was the firstborn of the resurrection.
In other words, John was the last of the apostles certified to be witnesses of Jesus Christ the unique Son of God, on whose testimony everyone since then must rely on for our own hope of resurrection to eternal life.
Place: the isle that is called Patmos, where John has been exiled for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ the Rock of Salvation.
Action: heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet…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…in heaven.” (Revelation 1, 4:1-2)
The only way we are going to understand John’s vision from Revelation 4 onward is to get the setting right. That is to say, interpret the time, place, characters and actions as the outcome of a previously declared decision by God.
Hermeneutics is the art and science of interpretation. Each view attempts to interpret Revelation according to the laws of hermeneutics…The idealist approach believes that apocalyptic literature like Revelation should be interpreted allegorically…The preterist views Revelation as a symbolic presentation of events that occurred in 70 A. D. while the historicist school views the events as symbolic of all western church history.
The futurist school believes Revelation should be interpreted literally. In other words, the events of Revelation are to occur at a future time.
This presentation is based on the eternal perspective of scripture. This means that while a futurist straight timeline is the only sightline we four dimensional humans have, it can be misleading. Awareness of past events “coming to pass” as prophetically announced are also valuable.
Time: things which must be hereafter, i.e. after 90 AD.
Place: earth looking down from heaven
Characters: Like a program in a play, the following list compiles all the main characters in one list.
- behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald…[who] hast created all things…And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
- And…there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
- And…in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. [Similar description of Ezekiel’s Cherubim.] And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
- And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold…The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou has created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
- and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne…the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof…And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb… and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever…And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
- And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
So now that we have established
- the time – end of,
- and place – heaven and earth,
- and characters – humans, spirit beings
of the setting in Revelation, we can move on to the actions.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
The four horses and their riders described in Revelation 6 are not unique to the end times.
“These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the LORD of all the earth.” (Zechariah 6:5)
Their function is to set up such chaos and desperation that even hard-core anarchists are ready for a strong leader.
“if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day…The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke…because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.
- The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee
- The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust:
- The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies..
If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, The LORD Thy God.” (Deuteronomy 28)
They were repeated by Jeremiah.
Thus saith the LORD unto this people…the LORD…will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins…I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.” (Jeremiah 14:1-12)
These four horsemen detail a linked sequence of events common to every catastrophic breakdown of society. A ride through history gives a broad overview of this pattern, enabling us to recognize future recurrences even before the next step in the sequence unfolds. Forewarned is forearmed.
962 BC – 911 BC (I Kings 3:1, 4:21, 11:9-40, 14:25-30, 15:16)
- White Horse – Solomon makes leagues with Egypt and a multitude of surrounding nations, inevitably including marriage as part of the contract. And when one theocracy makes a league with another theocracy, the gods are never left out. “But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites: Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods…Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites…Chemosh, the abomination of Moab…and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.”
- Red Horse – Egypt wars against Israel . Note as we proceed that each deliverer becomes the next oppressor.
- And the LORD sent…bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it.” (II Kings 24:2)
- Black Horse – Famine implied as part of war
- Pale Horse – Death resulting from war, understood
911 BC – 736 BC (I Kings 15:16-21, II Kings 12:17, 15:37)
- White Horse – Judah makes league with Syria / Aram to defend against Israel. The Kingdom of Aram-Damascus reached its height in the second half of the 9th century BCE, during the reign of king Hazael.”
- Syria wars against Judah
- Black & Pale Horses understood as part of war
736 BC – 692 BC (II Kings 16, 18:13, 19:29-35)
- White Horse – Judah makes league with Assyria to defend against Syria and Israel
- So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me…And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king’s house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria…And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus…And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent…And when the king was come from Damascus…the king approached to the altar, and offered thereon [as his god’s representative, vicar, manifestation, priest-king].
- Red Horse – Assyria attacks Judah
- Black Horse – famine during seige
- Pale Horse – death from plague
Are you catching the pattern? The nation with whom God’s chosen – but unrighteous – people make a league always betrays the league! Can we see God’s signature here?
“The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.” (Psalm 9:16)
The wicked are those who trust in humans rather than Almighty God.
“The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)
The righteous are those who put their trust in Creator YHVH even through – especially through! – mortal death, believing his promise for everlasting life through connection / identification with him.
“O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about.” (Psalm 17:7-9)
These horse-drawn episodes continued to repeat, escalating each time, when they do not achieve their objective of driving the remnant – a critical mass number – back to their Rock.
692 BC – 586 BC
- White Horse – Judah makes league with Babylon to defend against Assyria (Isaiah 39:1-2)
- Red Horse – Babylon attacks Judah (II Kings 24:1-2, 25:1-2)
- Black Horse – Famine (II Kings 25:3)
- Pale Horse – Death (Ezekiel 5:12)
~ 520 BC
The Four Horsemen are formally introduced by Zechariah. We can line up his vision with world events unfolding at that time with the rise of the Persian Empire.
“And I [Zechariah] turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.
- In the first chariot were red horses; – color of blood for killing
- and in the second chariot black horses; – black is the color of famine
- And in the third chariot white horses; – conquering through political means without force
- and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses – corpse pale, death.
Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord? And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the LORD of all the earth.
I would point out that, just as cherubim are mighty angels with animal bodies rather than humanoid, so these horses can be real spirit beings as well, inspiring humans to act in tandem with them.
- The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country [famine in Asia Minor during the Persian Wars];
- and the white go forth after them [some Greek city states forge political alliances with Persia];
- and the grisled go forth toward the south country [death as Cambysis ruthlessly subjugated his only rival superpower, Egypt].
- And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth [death expands its reach from the breakdown of commerce, trade, law and order during world war conditions.]
We have now reached more well-documented historic eras allowing us to match up John’s expanded details of the horsemen with Daniel’s overview of history during the Times of the Gentiles.
“And I saw...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”.
A strong man promises to bring peace through strength to a chaotic world. The imagery of a bow without an arrow, and a crown given, not seized, portrays a Prince of Peace who conquers the hearts of his subjects and is granted authority by his power base.
- Alexander the Great rose to power during the decline of the Persian Empire. Beginning at the age of 20 he led a much smaller army to victories against the mighty Persian army across Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without suffering a single defeat to conquer the perpetual enemy of Greece. At the age of 25, in 331 BC, he became ‘great king’ of Persia after emerging victorious from the Battle of Gaugamela, in what is now northern Iraq. He inspired loyalty in his Greek warriors and his new subjects by identifying himself as one of them, and as one with their gods.
- Approaching Jerusalem, “when he saw the Multitude at a Distance, in white Garments; while the Priests stood clothed with fine Linnen; and the High Priest in Purple and scarlet Clothing, with his Miter on his Head, having the golden Plate, whereon the name of GOD was engraved; he approached by himself, and adored that Name, and first saluted the High Priest. The Jews also did altogether, with one Voice, salute Alexander, and encompass him about…And when he had…given the High Priest his right Hand; [ancient sign of friendship – no weapon in hand – in this context offering a political alliance.]…he came into the City. And when he went up into the Temple, he offered Sacrifice to God, according to the High Priest’s Direction; and magnificently treated both the High Priest and the Priests.” What just transpired at Jerusalem is what would transpire shortly after in Egypt. These are theocracies, remember. When the High Priest allowed Alexander to offer sacrifice, he was being accepted as the son of the God of the nation, the manifestation of God himself, just by different names in different languages. This was most certainly a sacrilege at Jerusalem.
- the Seleucid Kingdom of Syria…[was one of the] successors of Alexander the Great’s broken empire… Antiochus IV came to power c. 170 B.C.E…Antiochus sought to bring about a sense of cultural uniformity…embracing the Hellenistic way of life and the worship of the Greek pantheon, especially Zeus. By taking the epitaph Epiphanes (“God Manifest”), Antiochus even claimed to be Zeus incarnate.
- The Maccabees [successfully won freedom from Antiochus’ oppression of the Jewish religion], then founded the Hasmonean royal dynasty and established Jewish independence in the Land of Israel for about one hundred years, from 165 B.C.E. to 63…They consolidated their power by…combining the office of king and High Priest although the Hasmonean’s were not descended from Moses’ brother, Aaron the first High Priest and [a royal priesthood was not legitimate according to Mosaic law.] Ironically, the election was performed in Hellenistic fashion…
- Julius Caesar rose to power as the Roman Republic was in a rapid decline. A genius military commander and politician, he conquered the biggest threat to Rome at the time – the Gauls and almost all of Western Europe, gaining him broad support and popularity among the common people as well as the undying loyalty of his soldiers, who supplied him with the necessary muscle to seize power during a civil war. Following the law of the Republic designed to restore order during a crisis, Caesar made himself first consul with total power.
- The Jewish Sanhedrin proclaimed Caesar their king at the trial of Yeshua of Nazareth, son of David.
- Tariq bin Ziyad took the Iberian peninsula from the Visigoth successors of the Romans in 711-720 AD, establishing the Western-most reach of Islamic territory. The Muslim period in Spain is often described as a ‘golden age’ of learning where libraries, colleges, public baths were established and literature, poetry and architecture flourished. Both Muslims and non-Muslims made major contributions to this flowering of culture.
- Following the Islamic conquests of the 7th century, successive waves of Jewish refugees migrated from North Africa and the Middle East onto the Iberian Peninsula, attracted by the country’s reputation as a land of opportunity and rich potential. Living with both Moslems and Christians, Sephardic (Hebrew for Spanish) Jews would develop as a unique branch of the Jewish people—multilingual, multitalented, and also deeply attached to a place where they lived for over a thousand years. Sephardic Jews were inspired to craft unique forms of self-expression in poetry, philosophy, science, and monumental legal codes by the co-existence of the three cultures in one territory and a veritable Golden Age of Jewish culture occurred. Moses Maimonides, the foremost example of Judaic and classical traditions, harnessed Aristotelian thought to rabbinic Judaism.
- Isabella and Ferdinande: The Making of the First World Power: The marriage of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon united two powerful kingdoms into the Kingdom of Spain, which was promptly expanded by conquering and expelling all Moslems from Granada in 1492, a feat no other Christian ruler had been able to accomplish in the last 700 years. Spain became a major voice on the European continent, and Isabella became one of the most formidable monarchs in Europe and the most powerful woman in the world just when the nations of Europe were breaking out of the dark ages to discover a world rich with resources and luxury goods. Isabella’s funding of Christopher Columbus’ exploration of a new trade route in 1492 was the crowning achievement of the age and the beginning of a new empire.
- Most of the Jews of Spain lived predominantly under Muslim rule until 1147, when they fled to Christian Spain for protection from harsh Moslem restrictions.
- Napoleon Bonaparte rose to power through unprecedented opportunities during the chaos and instability of government throughout the French Revolution of 1789 – 1799. Like Alexander and Julius Caesar, he was a brilliant military commander who led an increasingly admiring and loyal army to stunning victories, defeating the Italians and the Austrians then menacing the growing British Empire in Egypt. With calculated timing he returned to France where, greeted with adulation as a potential saviour, he led a short and bloodless coup against an unpopular regime. Establishing a Roman republican government recently resurrected by America in 1776, he became, like Caesar, first consul with dictatorial powers, then Emperor of the still existing Western Roman Empire.
- In Austria, Chancellor Metternich wrote, “I fear that the Jews will believe (Napoleon) to be their promised Messiah”.
- Otto von Bismarck – rose to power in the Prussian legislature as an ultra-conservative royalist. He was determined to unite the German states into a single empire…With Austrian support…he provoked the Franco-Prussian war…and in 1871 created the Second German Reich with Wilhelm I of Prussia as Kaiser / Caesar / Emperor.
- Jews have lived in Germany for over 1700 years…In the nineteenth century, the Reform Jewish movement began…which saw the assimilation of many German Jews into the cultural and intellectual life of the wider society.
- Adolf Hitler rose to power in the chaos of the catastrophic aftermath of losing the Great War. When Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated and fled the country, the resulting power vacuum sucked in all manner of revolutionaries. What, in a calmer time, would have disqualified Hitler completely from being taken into the world of acceptability, triggered support from desperate segments of the population. One of the world’s most influential orators, in 1932, 37% of the electorate gravitated toward Hitler, so the President allied with him by appointing him to be Chancellor. His leadership skills were matched only by few in the world, unmatched oratory skills, brilliant strategic military expansions and economic growth plans.
- The Jews in Germany and Poland provided convenient scapegoats to shift the burden of blame for the hardships suffered as a result of WWI.
“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.”
The same strong man who promised peace and prosperity to his followers at home seizes the resources to do so from the enemy.
- Alexander the Great’s legacy was the War of the Successors which split Alexander’s empire into Macedonia, the Seleucid Empire in Asia Minor, Syria and Mesopotamia, and the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt. For centuries these three fought each other for the hegemony of the Levant and the Eastern Mediterranean, until defeated by the Romans.
- The Hasmonean dynasty sought the protection of the rising power of the Romans against the Greeks, which was accorded by the Roman Senate c. 139 B.C.E.
- Julius Caesar’s legacy: played the critical role in the death of the Roman Republic resulting in two civil wars and the creation of an imperial system in the outward form of the Republic.
- substantial evidence of Jews in Spain comes from the diaspora that ensued from the Roman conquest of Judea. “When Titus prevailed over Jerusalem, his officer who was appointed over Hispania appeased him, requesting that he send to him captives… the second influx of Jews [enslaved captives] into Spain [occurred] shortly after the destruction of Israel’s Second Temple.
- Isabella of Spain’s legacy was war throughout the New World. “Colonial warfare became prevalent in the late 15th century as European powers increasingly seized overseas territories and began colonizing them… generally considered to have ended following the conclusion of the Portuguese Colonial War in 1974…invading powers often directed actions against indigenous non-combatants and local economies. This included the burning of villages, theft of cattle, and systematic destruction of crops…In extreme cases, some powers advocated for genocide…The first major colonial wars in North America were fought by Spanish conquistadors.”
- the entire Jewish community, some 200,000 people, were to be expelled from Spain.Tens of thousands of refugees died while trying to reach safety…at the same time religious expulsion from Austria, Hungary and Germany stimulated a widespread Jewish migration to the much more tolerant Poland…about three-quarters of all the Jews in Europe lived in Poland by the middle of the 16th century.
- Napoleon Bonaparte: 23 years of warfare by one of the greatest military strategists in history, during which he created an empire that stretched from the River Elbe in the north, down through Italy in the south, and from the Pyrenees to the Dalmatian coast. The Napoleonic Wars devastated Europe.
- In countries that Napoleon Bonaparte’s ensuing Consulate and French Empire conquered…The emancipation of the Jews exposed them to a new form of political antisemitism.
- Bismarck: The Great War / WWI from 1914-1918. As chancellor of the new Germany, Bismarck made the German empire the most powerful in Europe through alliances with Austria-Hungary, Italy, and England against Russia and its allies France and Great Britain. When the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist…Russia, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Serbia had lined up against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and the first global modern war had begun. Russia’s simmering instability exploded in the Russian Revolution of 1917 which ended czarist rule. Massive permanent social upheaval was generated by millions of women entering the workforce to replace men who went to war or never came back.
- Hitler: 6 years of World War II involving more than 50 nations and 100 million soldiers deployed
- The Jews of Germany, Poland and other conquered territories were treated as enemies of Germany and conquered through confiscation of wealth and consignment as slave labor in concentration camp factories and mines. Six million Jews were killed in the Final Solution of the Jewish Problem.
“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.”
The rich get richer during crises, especially the corrupt military-industrial complex, while for the average person “a man’s daily wages would be but just enough to buy himself bread, without any thing to eat with it; and when he would have nothing left for clothes, and other things, nor anything for his wife and children:”
The Black Horse is not simply famine but dreadful living conditions, not just for combatants but civilians in homelands diverting resources for war and in lands devastated by war, earthquakes and other natural disasters experiencing a break down of law and order, and homeless refugees in camps fleeing battlefields and genocide.
- Alexander the Great’s legacy: Famine as part of warfare raging for years in Judea not only from attacks by Seleucids but civil war between the Hasmoneans.
- Caesar’s legacy: Procurator Florus despoils the temple at Jerusalem, revolt breaks out. There is desperate famine in besieged Jerusalem.
- Isabella’ legacy: “The large pre-Columbian population sustained itself through farming…By knowing how much agricultural land is required to sustain one person, population numbers can be translated from the area known to be under human land use. We found that 62 million hectares of land, or about 10 percent of the landmass of the Americas, had been farmed or under another human use when Columbus arrived..After being wiped out by contact with Europeans, there were simply not enough workers left… previously managed landscapes returned to their natural states, thereby absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. The extent of this regrowth of the natural habitat was so vast that it removed enough CO₂ to cool the planet…This explains the drop in CO₂ at 1610 seen in Antarctic ice cores, solving an enigma of why the whole planet cooled briefly in the 1600s. During this period, severe winters and cold summers caused famines and rebellions from Europe to Japan.
- Napoleon Bonaparte’s legacy: Throughout the 19th century, the monarchies of Europe, fearing what had happened in France at the end of the 18th century, became more and more suppressive with heavy taxation…Urban workers had no choice but to spend half of their income on food, which consisted mostly of bread and potatoes…In the years 1845 and 1846, a potato blight caused a subsistence crisis in Northern Europe…Harvests of rye in the Rhineland were 20% of previous levels…the cost of wheat more than doubled in France and Habsburg Italy…There were 400 French food riots during 1846 to 1847…Revolutions of 1848 remains the most widespread revolutionary wave in European history…Over 50 countries were affected
- Bismarck’s legacy: In the catastrophic aftermath of losing the Great War Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated and fled the country. Hyperinflation from 1918 to 1923 wiped out the entire middle class, followed by the stock market crash of 1929 and the world-wide Great Depression that lasted until 1939. What, in a calmer time, would have disqualified Hitler completely from being taken into the world of acceptability, triggered support from desperate segments of the population. One of the world’s most influential orators, in 1932, 37% of the electorate gravitated toward Hitler, so the President allied with him by appointing him to be Chancellor. His leadership skills were matched only by few in the world, unmatched oratory skills, brilliant strategic military expansions and economic growth plans. Meticulous planning by Hitler has in some way, shaped the power politics of the world that we see even today.
- Hitler’s legacy: “Savage Continent…a world without institutions. No governments. No school or universities. No access to any information. No banks. Money no longer has any worth. There are no shops, because no one has anything to sell. Law and order are virtually non-existent because there is no police force and no judiciary. Men with weapons roam the streets taking what they want. Women of all classes and ages prostitute themselves for food and protection. This is…a history of Europe in the years directly following World War II, when many European cities were in ruins, millions of people were displaced, and vengeance killings were common, as was rape.” The Netflix series The Defeated does an excellent job of presenting these unimaginable circumstances.
“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.” – massive death rates from all causes.
- Alexander’s legacy: The Ptolemy rulers of Egypt and Seleucids of Asia Minor battle Rome for control of the lands surrounding the Mediterranean and eastward to India in centuries of warfare with uncounted numbers of deaths.
- Caesar’s legacy: as above, in battling for supremacy
- in the 70 AD war 20,000 Jews killed in a pogrom in Caesarea, 10,000 Jews killed in Damascus in one day, 600,000 – 1,200,000 Jews died in siege of Jerusalem
- Isabella’s legacy: Our new data-driven best estimate is a death toll of 56 million by the beginning of the 1600s — 90 percent of the pre-Columbian Indigenous population and around 10 percent of the global population at the time. This makes the “Great Dying” the largest human mortality event in proportion to the global population, putting it second in absolute terms only to World War II, in which 80 million people died — 3% of the world’s population at the time.
- Napoleon’s legacy: One estimate is that 5,000,000–7,000,000 died overall, including civilians
- The emancipation of the Jews…exposed them to a new form of political antisemitism. It was secular, social, and influenced by economic considerations, though it often reinforced and was reinforced by traditional religious stereotypes….As religious confession became subsumed in European political culture by national identity and nationalist sentiment, a new series of stereotypes that reinforced and was reinforced by older prejudices fueled antisemitic politics:
- Bismarck’s legacy: World War I took the lives of more than 9 million soldiers; 21 million more were wounded. Civilian casualties numbered close to 10 million. The two nations most affected were Germany and France, each of which sent some 80 percent of their male populations between the ages of 15 and 49 into battle.
- The severe effects that chemical weapons such as mustard gas and phosgene had on soldiers and civilians during World War I galvanized public and military attitudes against their continued use. The Geneva Convention agreements, signed in 1925, restricted the use of chemical and biological agents in warfare and remains in effect today. Look at the pattern of actions in history, not what governments say! The Geneva Convention will not be honored any more than the League of Nations restrictions on war.
- The first global war also helped to spread one of the world’s deadliest global pandemics, the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 20 to 50 million people.
- Hitler’s legacy: World War 2 is the biggest mass war known to man.
- “Some 75 million people died in World War II, including about 20 million military personnel and 40 million civilians, many of whom died because of deliberate genocide, massacres, mass-bombings, disease, and starvation.”
- 80% of Soviet males born in 1923 didn’t survive World War 2. That is the vast majority of a whole generation.
- The Jewish population of Europe was about 9.5 million in 1933. In 1950…about 3.5 million. In 1933, 60 percent of all Jews lived in Europe. In 1950, most Jews (51 percent) lived in the Americas (North and South combined).
Have you recognized all the patterns?
- First, the lauded Peacemaker always bringing massive war.
- Next, the Jews are lured into a promised haven which becomes the next killing fields.
Notice the the four horsemen of the apocalypse don’t actually go anywhere. They simply ride in a in a macabre merry-go-round. These dire circumstances are the inevitable results of un-right-eous choices by men in power. They create such social chaos that otherwise independent humans are driven to a strong desire for, belief in, and subjugation to a savior. However, when the savior is un-right-eous, nothing changes but the faces, fashions and fatality potential of the weapons. This interminable cycle of events only ends when righteous people call for the righteous savior.
With the concept of “coming to pass” firmly in mind, please understand that I am not pointing the finger at any person or event as being fulfilment of prophecy, simply as being one of a host of obvious recurrences of prophecy bringing the end looming into view. As you go round and round the views of the food stalls, the plunging roller coaster, the horror house, etc. stay the same, while only the individuals in each fleeting view change.
My purpose is to update our static Sunday School pictures to heart-pounding current events. For now I just want to expand our awareness that what has been before will be again, and vice versa – known history brings past history to life. Alexander the Great and the Seleucid Kings certainly rode into power on the Four Horsemen, as did Julius and Augustus Caesars and their successors in the Fourth Kingdom, regardless of the use of the title Caesar or location in the city of Rome.
If you can acknowledge the recurring cycle of events, then you must acknowledge that the powerful US Presidents fit perfectly into the pattern of the Horsemen. Promising peace and prosperity through political deals, they have led America and the world from one catastrophe to the next. The following is just a brief sampling.
America Is Caught Up In The Apocalyptic Events
George Washington during the Napoleonic Era
- White Horse: led the American Revolution, a visionary which has led America to become the super power it is today. Inspired the French to free themselves from tyrannical French kings and freed colonialists from British taxation.
- Red Horse: Immediately, over 1,500 wars, attacks and raids on Indians, the most of any country in the world against its Indigenous people. In the long term, America has been at war 93% of the time since its birth in 1776.
- Black horse: Dreadful living conditions, poor nutrition and pandemics for the majority with the a small minority of wealthy benefitting from all the resources of the continent. Plains Indians were unable to hunt buffalo since they had been deliberately exterminated. Instead, they had to rely on government rations that could be withdrawn at any time for poor behaviour. Since they could not leave their reservations they were reduced to a subsistence life. Indian children were forcibly taken from their homes and sent to school. In 1889 the federal government opened lands in the Oklahoma Territory that were formerly reserved for Indians, to white settlement, triggering a massive land grab. Starvation was common, and living in close quarters hastened the spread of diseases brought by white settlers.
- Pale horse – massive death rates from all causes. By the close of the Indian Wars in the late 19th century, fewer than 238,000 Indigenous people remained from the estimated 5 million to 15 million living in North America when Columbus arrived in 1492. Those statistics are even worse than the Holocaust.
Abraham Lincoln in Bismarck’s Era
- White Horse: led the country through the US Civil War, conviction, humility, oratory skills Freed the slaves.
- Red Horse: The U.S. Army underwent an enormous expansion during the Civil War (1861–65), growing from 16,000 troops in December 1860 to 1,000,000 by 1865 plus another 500,000 Confederate troops at its height, resorting to conscription to maintain their vast armies. The Army Reorganization Act of 1866 provided for a standing army which saw almost constant combat in the Indian Wars, the Mexican American War, the Spanish American war, and the Philippine American War. When war came again in 1917, the U.S. Army was well prepared.
- Black Horse: “Destruction, hunger, lawlessness and violence in the South, one million plus homeless African American refugees, white male population decimated by the war, governments in many places ceased to exist, cities in shambles, farms destroyed, new labor arrangements of tenant farming and sharecropping became a way for wealthy whites to continue dominating society and keep blacks repressed well beyond the Civil War, poor African Americans and some whites routinely convicted of vagrancy or other crimes then sentenced to prolonged periods of forced labor leased to mines and plantations cheaper than slaves (In Alabama, convict leasing constituted 73% of the state’s revenue in 1898), lasted for almost 60 years. Redeemers passed Black Codes that sidestepped the 14th Amendment by passing Jim Crow laws at the local and state levels. Paramilitary groups like the Ku Klux Klan used intimidation, threats and attacks on people and property to preserve white supremacy.”
- Pale Horse: “The Civil War was America’s bloodiest conflict. The unprecedented violence of battles such as Shiloh, Antietam, Stones River, and Gettysburg shocked citizens and international observers alike. Nearly as many men died in captivity during the Civil War as were killed in the whole of the Vietnam War. Hundreds of thousands died of disease. Roughly 2% of the population, an estimated 620,000 men, lost their lives in the line of duty. Taken as a percentage of today’s population, the toll would have risen as high as 6 million souls.” In addition, there were 50,000 civilian deaths during the war, the overall mortality rate for the South exceeded that of any country in World War I and all but the region between the Rhine and the Volga in World War II. The American Civil War produced carnage that was often thought to be reserved for the combination of technological proficiency and inhumanity characteristic of a later time.
Theodore Roosevelt In Bismarck’s Era (America presidents have shorter terms than European rulers)
- White Horse: led the country into Imperialism throughout the 1890s, increasingly relying on its military and economic power to pursue foreign policy goals Freed workers from exploitation by Industrialists and began noble policy of furthering the Progressive agenda around the world.” Roosevelt believed that the United States had emerged as a world power, and he sought ways to assert America’s newly-eminent position abroad by involvement with European conflicts and strengthening ties with Great Britain.
- Red Horse: through his successor Woodrow Wilson: Wilson was the first U.S. president to visit Europe also the first to claim the U.S. role of making the world “safe for democracy.” American involvement in World War I tipped the victory to the allied side and caused Britain and France to falsely declare the Germans guilty of starting the war, rub its nose in defeat with heavy war reparations, and grab German and its losing allies’ colonies overseas. Woodrow Wilson demanded that the German king, Kaiser Wilhelm II, abdicate. All of these post-war depredations paved the way for the rise of the hyper-nationalist and jingoistic Hitler.”
- Black Horse: Before World War I, the global economy was growing robustly. There were no limits on immigration and no need for passports. Governments were small and kept their budgets balanced…after World War I countries imposed restrictions…protectionism set the stage for the Great Depression. Countries dropped the gold standard. Governments learned their people would submit to taxation and conscription if it meant protection from outside forces. The U.S. top tax rate rose from 7% in 1915 to 77% in 1918, rising above 90% in 1944. Lenin called the rise of government influence during the war as “wartime socialism.” He used it as the basis for the Soviet Union. The German government printed money to pay for the war. It increased the number of Deutschmarks in circulation from 13 billion to 60 billion. Germany’s sovereign debt went from 5 billion to 100 billion marks also printing money to meet the 132 billion marks of Treaty of Versailles’ reparations. As a result, Germany experienced hyperinflation. Production collapsed, leading to a shortage of goods, especially food with the price of everyday items doubling every 3.7 days. Sandwiched between the giddy 1920’s and World War II, the 1930s saw a huge disparity in the lifestyles of the common man and those considered High Society. on “Black Friday”, October 29, 1929 the stock market crashed. Within a year 5,000 banks collapsed and six-million workers lost their jobs. By 1933 more than 15-million people – one-quarter of the workforce – were unemployed. The Great Depression was partly caused by the great inequality between the rich who accounted for a third of all wealth and the poor who had no savings at all…For the vast majority the 1930s was a time of misery. But for many American dynastic families, parties helped to escape the reality on the street and the grander the better. While storefronts stood empty, the 47-storey Waldorf-Astoria Hotel opened in 1931 at a cost of $42 million ($600 million today)…The Ritz was another favored venue for extravagant celebrations…Barbara Hutton, grand-daughter of the dime-store magnate Frank W. Woolworth, made her debut there in 1933. Costing more than $60,000 ($1million today)…on the West Coast even greater excesses were witnessed, at a time when most Americans could not afford to feed their family.
- Pale Horse: Troops movement in WWI helped the spread of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Worldwide, one out of three or 500 million people got sick. Of those, 50 million died, some within hours. In the United States, one out of four got sick. Of those, 675,000 died.
Franklin D. Roosevelt & Harry Truman in Hitler’s Era Transfer Staging of World War from Europe to America
- White Horse: strategically led America through WWII to take a world power from Great Britain and Germany. Conquered fear – of the Great Depression which he ended, of WWII which he won, and of world isolation which he overcame by making America the world leader by fighting and winning WWII.
American Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy
Red Horse: The Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States and their respective allies, generally considered to span the 1947 Truman Doctrine to the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, as each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars. Thus America has been permanently fighting overseas wars since WWII, with the exception of a 3 years hiatus after the debacle of ending the Vietnam War, and two other 1 year pauses.
During World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union fought together as allies against the Axis powers. However…Americans had long been wary of Soviet communism and concerned about Russian leader Joseph Stalin’s tyrannical rule of his own country. For their part, the Soviets resented the Americans’…delayed entry into World War II, which resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of Russians. After the war ended, these grievances ripened into an overwhelming sense of mutual distrust and enmity…
In his famous “Long Telegram,” the diplomat George Kennan (1904-2005) explained the policy: The Soviet Union, he wrote, was “a political force committed fanatically…” America’s only choice was the “long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies…” This…would shape American foreign policy for the next four decades…
The containment strategy also provided the rationale for an unprecedented arms buildup in the United States. In 1950, a National Security Council Report…called for a four-fold increase in defense spending.
In particular, American officials encouraged the development of atomic weapons like the ones that had ended World War II. Thus began a deadly “arms race…”
Space exploration served as another dramatic arena for Cold War competition. On October 4, 1957, a Soviet R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile launched Sputnik (Russian for “traveling companion”), the world’s first artificial satellite and the first man-made object to be placed into the Earth’s orbit…In the United States, space was seen as the next frontier, a logical extension of the grand American tradition of exploration, and it was crucial not to lose too much ground to the Soviets. In addition, this demonstration of the overwhelming power of the R-7 missile–seemingly capable of delivering a nuclear warhead into U.S. air space–made gathering intelligence about Soviet military activities particularly urgent…
what came to be known as the Space Race was underway. That same year, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a public order creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a federal agency dedicated to space exploration, as well as several programs seeking to exploit the military potential of space.
Presidents JFK, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan – Cold & Proxy Wars in Korean, Viet Nam, Afghanistan…
- Black Horse: famine and poverty throughout the world touched by US wars.
- At the end of 2000, violent conflict and its aftermath had left nearly 24 million people in 28 developing and transition countries and territories food insecure and in need of humanitarian assistance.
- In addition, some 35 million war-affected refugees and internally displaced persons showed high rates of malnutrition. Armed conflict leads to the destruction of crops, livestock, land, and water, and disrupts infrastructure, markets, and the human resources required for food production, distribution, and safe consumption.
- Combatants frequently use hunger as a weapon: they use siege to cut off food supplies and productive capacities, starve opposing populations into submission, and hijack food aid intended for civilians. Even after wars have ceased, landmines continue to exact high costs in terms of human life, economic and social development and agricultural production. Safe removal of 60-70 million unexploded landmines from 70 poor countries could expand agricultural lands; by 88-200 percent in Afghanistan.
- Pale Horse: deaths
- Over 12 million people have been killed by American troops in The Korean War, The Vietnam War and wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Each of these three conflicts have something in common: they were wars fought in the name of making the world “safe for democracy.” A particular horror was the largest use of chemical weapons against civilians since World War II, the massive use of Agent Orange against Indochina where it continues to poison people today. It may take Vietnam and Laos thousands of years to recover. In the case of Iraq, American spy satellites helped Saddam Hussein use use poison gas against the troops of Iran.
- “Millions of people, both civilians and military personnel, lost their lives…where United States and Soviet Union proxy wars took place.
- Because so many nuclear weapons were stockpiled during the Cold War, the chances of an intentional or accidental nuclear strike were dramatically increased.
The Soviet Union fought an increasingly frustrating war in Afghanistan throughout the 1980s while the Soviet economy faced the continuously escalating costs of the arms race. Dissent at home grew until the Berlin Wall came down in 1989-90, borders opened, and free elections ousted Communist regimes everywhere in eastern Europe. In late 1991 the Soviet Union itself dissolved into its component republics. With stunning speed, the Iron Curtain was lifted and the Cold War came to an end.
At the beginning of the Cold War, there were two superpowers, the U.S. and Russia. By the end of the Cold War, only one superpower remained, the U.S.
George W. Bush Rides the Next White Horse Into A New World Order
- White Horse: led America through 9/11/2001 to become greatest military power in world history. Conquered fear of vulnerability against terrorism – “No president in the history of Gallup’s approval ratings has seen a higher rating than Bush did right after the attacks.” Two weeks afterward, nearly 9 in 10 Democrats and independents approved of the Republican president, with Democratic approval trailing Republicans by only 10 percentage points.
- As much of the nation was just starting the day on the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 terrorists hijacked four East Coast flights, crashing three of the airplanes into targets in New York and Washington, D.C., with the fourth plane slamming into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers fought back.
- In the end, 2,977 people died…prompted President George W. Bush to declare a global “War on Terror” military campaign, in which he called on world leaders to join the U.S. in its response…“Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists…”
I’m not even discussing the possibility that 9/11 was an inside job for the purpose of rallying the American people behind their President, with spectacular results. Just saying, “A 2016 study from Chapman University in California, found more than half of Americans believe the government is concealing information about the 9/11 attacks.“
Presidents Bush Sr, Clinton, Bush Jr, Obama, Trump, Biden
- The Red Horse
The War on Terror is a permanent state of war in which the US is directly involved. “Our war on terror…will not enduntil every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.”“(1) the U.S. government’s deadly foreign policy of interventionism to kill “terrorists”would inevitably generate a constant supply of terrorists who would be seeking to retaliate; and (2) the U.S. national-security establishment would wield the omnipotent, non-reviewable power to determine who is a “terrorist” (or a “bad guy”), a power that would enable it to always have a steady supply of “terrorists” all over the world.” Today, the…Cold War and the war on terrorism have coalesced to ensure a permanent state of crisis and emergency and, of course, ever increasing budgets and power for the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.”
The United States launched the war in Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks… Investigators determined the 9/11 attacks—in which terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes, crashing two into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, one at the Pentagon near Washington, D.C., and one in a Pennsylvania field—were orchestrated by terrorists working from Afghanistan, which was under the control of the Taliban, an extremist Islamic movement. Leading the plot that killed more than 2,700 people was Osama bin Laden, leader of the Islamic militant group al Qaeda. It was believed the Taliban, which seized power in the country in 1996 following an occupation by the Soviet Union, was harboring bin Laden, a Saudi, in Afghanistan…
In his first few months of office, President Donald Trump authorized the Pentagon to make combat decisions in Afghanistan, and, on April 13, 2017, the United States dropped its most powerful non-nuclear bomb, called the “mother of all bombs,” on a remote ISIS cave complex.
In August 2017, Trump delivered a speech to American troops vowing “we will fight to win” in Afghanistan. “America’s enemies must never know our plans, or believe they can wait us out,” he said. “I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.”
The Taliban continued to escalate its terrorist attacks…Still, the United States and Taliban signed a peace agreement on February 29, 2020, although Taliban attacks against Afghan forces continued, as did American airstrikes…
The fourth president in power during the war, President Joe Biden, in April 2021, set the symbolic deadline of September 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, as the date of full U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan…But By August 2021, the Taliban regaining power two weeks before the United States was set to withdraw all troops from the region. Overall, the conflict resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and a$2 trillion price…
The conflict lasted two decades and spanned four U.S. presidencies, becoming the longest war in American history.
- Black Horse:
the number of hungry people in the world is on the rise.In 2016, 815 million people were undernourished, an increase of 38 million people from 2015. Almost 500 million of the world’s hungry live in countries affected by conflict.
• The number of people who are acutely food-insecure (in need of emergency assistance) rose from 80 million in 2016 to 108 million in 2017—a 35 percent increase in a single year.
• Over 65 million people are currently displaced because of violence, conflict and persecution—more than any other time since World War II.
• Increased migration and the spilling of conflicts beyond borders has led to a proliferation of, and interest in, “fragile states”—states defined by “the absence or breakdown of a social contract between people and their government.”
• By 2030, between half and two-thirds of the world’s poor are expected to live in states classified as fragile. While a decade ago most fragile states were low-income countries, today almost half are middle-income countries.
Meanwhile, the international system of governance, as defined by the nation state, is evolving. A main “weapon” of modern conflict is information, allowing non-state actors to undermine traditional nation states in more consequential ways, attacking their legitimacy rather than their military power. Non-traditional security threats—like food insecurity—can serve as drivers of recruitment for non-state actors, furthering destabilization. Such threats cannot be addressed through military responses alone.
Many political and military leaders, acknowledging this new reality, have recognized the importance of “smart power” in the form of foreign assistance, especially food assistance and agricultural development. “Show me a nation that cannot feed itself,” remarked Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), “and I’ll show you a nation in chaos.”
American investigative journalist Alfred Henry Lewis (1855-1914) famously said, “There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy.” …What he means is that hunger dispels the illusions of a polite society and unleashes the desperate animal-like nature that lurks inside all human beings. A starving man trying to feed his starving children will at some point abandon all law and order, doing anything necessary to keep himself and his children alive, including engaging in robbery, assault and murder.
- Pale Horse: Death on a massive scale
“A series of new reports document an alarming escalation of civilian casualties caused by U.S. operations in Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia — and with it, a pattern of U.S. denial about the scale of the problem. The result is a global war on terror that persists in killing and injuring civilians — including children — in ever rising numbers.…
ISIS claimed the city of Raqqa, in north-central Syria, as the capital of its so-called “caliphate” in January 2014…But it was the U.S.-led bombing campaigns in Raqqa for which civilians and their city paid the highest price…The assault was relentless. “One U.S. military official boasted about firing 30,000 artillery rounds during the campaign — the equivalent of a strike every six minutes, for four months straight — surpassing the amount of artillery used in any conflict since the Viet Nam war,” the report…documented 1,600 civilians killed by U.S.-led airstrikes on the city, limiting their count mostly to those the organization and its partners were able to reasonably verify on the ground. “Raqqa’s soaring civilian death toll is unsurprising,” the report concludes, “given the Coalition’s relentless barrage of munitions that were inaccurate to the point of being indiscriminate when used near civilians…”
in Afghanistan…more civilians had been killed by U.S. and U.S.-backed forces than by the Taliban or ISIS….Eighteen years of war and occupation haven’t eliminated the Taliban — while the U.S.-backed Afghan government fades under a morass of corruption and incompetence...
The largely invisible U.S. war on Somalia…have included Special Forces and other ground troops hunting for al-Qaeda, al-Shabab and other militant organizations. Beginning under the Obama administration, the main focus has been an air war carried out largely by drones…“The toll from bombs, drone strikes and firefights is only the tip of the iceberg.
Not included are the hundreds of thousands killed in war zones around the world by U.S.-imposed economic sanctions, by hunger stemming from food system disruption, and by disease resulting from the bombing of water treatment facilities, hospitals and clinics…And they are being killed by the very soldiers and pilots, bombers, National Security Councils, congressional war-funders, parliaments, prime ministers and presidents who claim to be liberating them.” “Around 90% of all deaths in war are civilians.“
“All these [four horsemen events] are [just] the beginning of sorrows.”
“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 fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” (Revelation 6:9-11)
More than 340 million Christians – one in eight – face high levels of persecution and discrimination because of their faith, according to the 2021 World Watch List compiled by the Christian advocacy group Open Doors.
It says there was a 60% increase over the previous year in the number of Christians killed for their faith. More than nine out of 10 of the global total of 4,761 deaths were in Africa…
The World Watch List ranks 50 countries in which Christians face persecution and discrimination, with North Korea in the No 1 spot as it has been for the past 20 years.
China has re-entered the top 20 for the first time in a decade, and India and Turkey have also reported an increase in government authoritarianism and nationalism.
The report says Christians in numerous countries in Africa and Asia have been refused Covid-related aid…
In China, the government has increased surveillance, with facial recognition systems installed in state-approved churches in some areas and online services monitored. The government’s campaign to “sinicise” Christianity has meant crosses and other Christian imagery have been replaced with pictures of President Xi Jinping and national flags, and Communist officials selecting church leaders, the report says.
In India, the Hindu nationalist government has fostered a climate in which attacks and harassment of Christians and Muslims have increased. Foreign funding of Christian-run hospitals, schools and church organisations has been blocked.
Across sub-Saharan Africa, Christians have faced 30% higher levels of violence than last year at the hands of Islamist militant groups who took advantage of lockdowns and governments weakened by the crisis, the report says. In Nigeria, the number of Christians killed has nearly tripled to 3,800 recorded deaths.
YHVH allows persecution of people who claim to believe in his Savior to force us to make a decision in a crisis: trust in
- the word of the human powers of this world for increased length of mortal life or
- the word of the Creator of this world for immortality after death.
This weeds out the fair weather friends from the true. If people aren’t willing to follow Jesus into battle, what makes them think they’ll follow him into his kingdom?
“Behold, a sower went forth to sow…
- some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up – When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.
- Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away – he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
- And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them – he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
- But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold – he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit.” (Matthew 13)
“The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” (John 12:23-27)
“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus…Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ…Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory…It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:” (II Timothy 2:1-12)
“thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (II Timothy 3:10-12)
It is only because of Jesus’ identity as a human that his death can be applied to humans, yes? And the reverse is also true. We can only be saved from judgment for sin by our identity as Jesus himself.
And what is that identity? Shocker. It is not Christian.
Most historians agree that Jesus or his followers established a new Jewish sect…The first followers of Jesus were essentially all ethnically Jewish or Jewish proselytes. Jesus was Jewish, preached to the Jewish people, and called from them his first followers. According to McGrath, Jewish Christians, as faithful religious Jews, “regarded their movement as an affirmation of every aspect of contemporary Judaism, with the addition of one extra belief-that Jesus was the Messiah…“characterised by combining the confession of Jesus as Christ with continued observance of the Torah and adherence to Jewish traditions such as Sabbath observance, Jewish calendar, Jewish laws and customs, circumcision, kosher diet and synagogue attendance, and by a direct genetic relationship to the earliest followers of Jesus.
[They] regarded Jesus to be the Messiah, the promised king who would restore the Jewish kingdom and independence. Jewish messianism has its root in the apocalyptic literature…promising a future “anointed” leader or messiah to restore the Israelite “Kingdom of God“, in place of the foreign rulers of the time. This corresponded with the Maccabean Revolt directed against the Seleucid Empire. Following the fall of the Hasmonean kingdom, it was directed against the Roman administration of Judea Province, which, according to Josephus, began with the formation of the Zealots and Sicarii…(6 CE), although full-scale open revolt did not occur until the First Jewish–Roman War in 66 CE…
it is increasingly accepted among scholars that “at the end of the 1st century CE there were not yet two separate religions called ‘Judaism’ and ‘Christianity'”.
Those who take on Yeshua’s name and identity are identified with the Jews, caught between a Rock and a hard place, violently rejected as heretics by both the Orthodox Jews and pagan Gentile Christians.
“ye, [Gentile] brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus / Yeshua haMashiach: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus / Yeshua, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us;” (I Thessalonians 2:14-15)
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh…ye were without Christ / Mashiach, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus / Mashiach Yeshua ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ / Mashiach.” (Ephesians 2:11-13)
“godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come…For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” (I Timothy 4:8-10)
For a long time Christianity regarded itself as part of Judaism. It had its center in Jerusalem (Irenæus, “Adversus Hæreses, i. 26); its first fifteen bishops were circumcised Jews, they observed the Law and were rather unfriendly to heathenism (Sulpicius Severus, “Historia Sacra,” ii. 31; Eusebius, “Hist. Eccl.” iv. 5; compare Matt. xv. 26), while they held friendly intercourse with the leaders of the synagogue (see Grätz, “Gesch. der Juden,” iv. 373 et seq.; and Ebionites, Minim, and Nazarenes). Many a halakic and haggadic discussion is recorded in the Talmud as having taken place between the Christians and the Rabbis (see Jacob the Gnostic). Probably the Christian Congregation, or Church of the Saints, did not distinguish itself in outward form from the “Ḳehala Ḳaddisha” at Jerusalem, under which name the Essene community survived the downfall of the Temple (Ber. 9b; compare Eccl. R. ix. 9: ‘Edah Ḳedoshah)…
The founder of Christian theology…the Apostle of the Gentiles never ceased to consider himself a Pharisee…he was “educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the Law.” Gamaliel was…so learned that the Jews, who keenly honor scholarship, called him “the beauty of the Law,” and gave to him first, as to only six men after him, the title of rabban, “our master.” From him and others Paul learned that shrewd and subtle…manner of Biblical interpretation…he remained to the end a Jew in mind and character, uttered no doubt of the Torah’s inspiration, and proudly maintained the divine election of the Jews as the medium of man’s salvation…
Until 68-70 AD/CE believing & non-believing Jews coexisted, sitting in the same synagogue, and attending the same temple. Early believers kept all the Feasts of God…Jerusalem was between 1/3 & ½ believers in Yeshua before the destruction of the Temple…While many Jews did not agree that Yeshua was Messiah, they respected the believers for their lifestyle & devotion.
The first major split occurred between 68-70 AD/CE. Believers…heeding Yeshua’s words in Matt 24 [to flee the city in advance of the Roman attack caused them to be labeled]…as traitors in the eyes of many Jews [for not helping defend Jerusalem].
Between 70 – 100 AD/CE another major change began, as large numbers of gentiles accepted Jesus…Before 70 AD/CE all leaders in Jerusalem were Jews, after, all were Gentiles.
It was during the last struggle with Rome in the days of Bar Kokba and Akiba [136 AD] that, amidst denunciations on the part of the Christians and execrations on the part of the Jewish leaders, those hostilities began which separated Church and Synagogue forever, and made the former an ally of the arch-enemy [emphasis added]…
The growing schism of Gentiles from the Jewish believers Christianity is evident in 190 when Ephesus’ bishop, St. Polycrates, held a council to consider The Quartodeciman controversy.
Polycrates emphatically stated that he was following the tradition passed down to him: We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord’s coming … All these observed the fourteenth day of the Passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people[a reference to the Jews]put away the leaven...
nevertheless the Ephesian Church soon conformed in this particular to the practice of all the other Churches…the Council of Nicaea (325), confirmed for Ephesus its ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the whole “diocese” or civil territory of Asia Minor, i.e. over the eleven ecclesiastical provinces…the Council of Constantinople (381) formally recognized this authority.
“by the early 4th century all Christians were celebrating Easter on a Sunday….Emperor Constantine I…rejecting the custom of the Jews, who had crucified Jesus...first of all, it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul…Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd…withdraw ourselves from all participation in their baseness…Why then should we follow those who are confessedly in grievous error?
When we base our faith and practice on scripture, there is no question about it. The core of the gospel of the kingdom is Jewish, with continuity of the city of Jerusalem and temple worship.
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ / Yeshua Mashiach, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee…and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the [new] covenant…And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years…For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed…John did…preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins…Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:1-3; Malachi 3:1-6; Mark 1:4-15)
Most of all, there is hard core demand for righteousness and holiness.
“if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant…ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” (Exodus 19:5-6)
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers / newbies scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy…ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God…abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;” (I Peter 1-2)
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles…without Christ / Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus / YHVH’s Anointed Savior ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ / Messiah…who hath made both one [equal citizens in the commonwealth of Israel]…Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God…built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets [like Isaiah and Jeremiah], Jesus Christ / Yeshua Mashiach himself being the chief corner stone…In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:12-22)
“The words of Jeremiah…To whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah…unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month…saying...I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations...I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:1-5)
“Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days…At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.” (Jeremiah 3:14-17)
“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book [As a guarantee, like the deed to a house or title to a car or warrenty for repairs]…The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee…For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel…for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him…Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah… this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people…Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord.” (Jeremiah 31:31-37)
“I [Paul] say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew…at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” (Romans 11:1-5)
Germany’s Churches during the Nazi Holocaust are the perfect examples of Gentiles who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ choosing, or not, to identify with “the Israel of God”.
Germany’s 45 million Protestants were…members of the Lutheran, Reformed, or United Churches…differed not only in their religious practices but also in their political views. A few openly opposed the Nazis, while others saw themselves as neutral. Still others actively supported Nazism, calling themselves “storm troopers of Jesus Christ…”
The Nazi government ushered in key changes to the Protestant churches in Germany. First, the Nazi leadership supported the German Christian movement, a group of Protestants who wanted to combine Christianity and National Socialism into a movement “that would exclude all those deemed impure and embrace all ‘true Germans’ in a spiritual homeland for the Third Reich.”
Second, the Nazi leadership urged Protestants to unite all regional churches into a national church under the centralized leadership of Ludwig Müller, a well-known pastor and Nazi Party member, who was appointed as Reich bishop. Many German Protestants embraced these changes…In a national vote by Protestants taken in July 1933, the German Christians were supported by two-thirds of voters, and Müller won the national election to lead them.
The German Christian movement made significant changes to German Protestantism to bring it in line with Nazi racial ideology. Instead of classifying people as Christians or Jews based on their faith, as the Protestants had always done, German Christians began to classify people by racial heritage, as the Nazis did. Therefore, church leaders whose parents or grandparents had converted from Judaism to Christianity were considered Jewish and, according to the 1933 civil service law, no longer officially permitted to serve in those positions.
By January of 1934, Müller was vowing to purge Protestant churches of all “Jewish influence,” including removing the Old Testament from their bible because it is based on the Hebrew bible. A public appeal released by German Christian leaders claimed that “the eternal God created for our nation a law that is peculiar to its own kind. It took shape in the Leader Adolf Hitler, and in the National Socialist state created by him. This law speaks to us from the history of our people. . . . It is loyalty to this law which demands of us the battle for honor and freedom . . . One Nation! One God! One Reich! One Church!”…
In response to the growing power of the German Christians, another Protestant faction was formed called the Confessing Church. Its slogan was “Church must remain church,” and its members sought to protect their religion from the grasp of politics and the Nazi government. For instance, the Confessing Church considered that anyone baptized in the faith was a Christian, regardless of his or her racial descent. Also, the members of the Confessing Church opposed the German Christian movement’s changes to the bible…
Despite their opposition to the German Christian movement, the Confessing Church did not object to most elements of Nazism, and some people within the movement were Nazi Party members. The disagreement between the two groups was focused on how much influence the Nazi government should have over how they practiced their faith. Early on, Confessing Church member Martin Niemöller and two Protestant bishops met with Hitler and his top aides. The religious leaders reaffirmed their support for Hitler’s domestic and foreign policies and asked only for the right to disagree on religious matters. Hitler did not compromise, and after the meeting both bishops signed a statement of unconditional loyalty to Hitler; Niemöller did not. As a result, Niemöller was increasingly targeted by the Nazis and was eventually imprisoned for seven years in concentration camps.
Although about 7,000 of the nation’s 16,500 Protestant clergymen openly supported the Confessing Church, they limited their opposition to defending church teachings against Nazi influence. One member of the Confessing Church, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, did resist the actions of the Nazis more broadly. In April 1933, he professed sympathy for Jewish victims of Nazism and argued that National Socialism and Christianity were incompatible. He later became an important symbol of resistance to Nazi Germany and was executed for his role in a plot to assassinate Hitler in 1945.
In general, Protestants in Germany found a way to be both believers in Christianity and supporters of Nazism. In contrast, Jehovah’s Witnesses struggled under the new regime…their faith often prevented them from serving in the army, swearing allegiance to the state, or uttering the words “Heil Hitler,” by this time a common way of saying hello and goodbye…The Nazis destroyed their national headquarters, outlawed their church, and sent many thousands to concentration camps or prisons, where more than 1,000 were killed.
In 1934, as the Protestant Church attempted to come to terms with the Third Reich, [Karl] Barth was largely responsible for the writing of the Barmen Declaration (Barmer Erklärung). This declaration rejected the influence of Nazism on German Christianity by arguing that the Church‘s allegiance to the God of Jesus Christ should give it the impetus and resources to resist the influence of other lords, such as the German Führer, Adolf Hitler. Barth mailed this declaration to Hitler personally. This was one of the founding documents of the Confessing Church and Barth was elected a member of its leadership council, the Bruderrat.
He was forced to resign from his professorship at the University of Bonn in 1935 for refusing to swear an oath to Hitler…The newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung carried his 1936 criticism of the philosopher Martin Heidegger for his support of the Nazis. In 1938 he wrote a letter to a Czech colleague Josef Hromádka in which he declared that soldiers who fought against the Third Reich were serving a Christian cause.
But did that do anything to help the Jews, as well as the other victims of Nazi inhumanity?
When Karl Barth wrote the Barmen Declaration, a statement from pastors who did not want the Nazification of the Church, there were no mention of the Jewish problem or condemnation of other injustices in Nazi Germany, it was merely a theological statement…
At an institutional level the Confessing Church did not provide much resistance to the Nazi deportation of Jews because of the worry that resistance would cause the Confessing Church to collapse and fail. Individuals did act, but as an institution the Confessing Church failed to make a stand for the Jewish people, or to even make a strong statement against the Nazi treatment of Jews. Bonhoeffer, in order to project the Confessing Church, cut all ties with the church before he joined the Abwehr to actively resist Hitler and the Nazi Party. Bonhoeffer was concerned that his resistance could lead to his arrest and that the Nazi’s would turn their focus towards destroying the Confessing Church and leaving the Reich Church as the only Protestant Church in Germany…their fear that the Confessing Church would be disbanded and there would be no Christian institution to protect true Christian values in Nazi Germany paralyzed them from offering resistance to Hitler’s rule…
During the holocaust the individuals have more of an impact because they were more willing to act, and they were motivated to act for different reasons. For individuals who resisted some were pushed by a religious cause. Others, often the non-Christians were motivated for a different reason but one connector between all the instances of resistance was they were helping people they knew…
The Ten Booms were a very religious family, Kasper Ten Boom would often read chapters of the Bible to his children both in the morning and at night…In response to seeing Jews being arrested in the town square Corrie expressed worry and pity for the Jews who were being led away. Her father also felt pity to the Germans because he said they have touched the apple of God’s eye, which would surely lead to their downfall…To understand the motives behind the actions of the Ten Boom’s it is important to understand…they wanted to serve God and their faith by serving and caring for others in a time of need and despair…Their response was not to save an institution or an established church either. They simply acted how they felt they should act with little thought to how they might be impacted because the Jews and others needed their help.
Also in the Netherlands was…Miep Gies…a self- described Christian. She would become famous as the woman who hid Anne Frank…While she was a Christian her first motive for helping was not a religious one. The action was out of kindness to a friend…This willingness to act had an impact…it was the effort of resistance that mattered. Both women acted…
The cost of resistance was high…People who decided to resist had to give up their way of life. They could no longer live freely and worry free, at least to the extent they could while being in a country controlled by Nazi Germany. There was the constant threat being raided or having your home destroyed and being separated from loved ones. The Ten Boom’s had to face these as their family was arrested. Kasper died ten days into imprisonment, while Corrie and Betsie were sent to a concentration camp for women called Ravensbruck where Betsie would eventually die because of disease. Corrie herself would be released at the very end of 1944, only weeks after Betsie had died.
Faithfulness in identifying with YHVH’s Savior through great tribulation even unto death results in one last surge of witnessing and opportunity for salvation of unbelievers. If you consider that this includes our own loved ones, isn’t it worth it?
We can catch a glimpse of how people will react to the catastrophic event of the 6th seal by reviewing Americans’ response to 9/11.
people turn to religion in times of crisis and instability. The terrorist attacks on September 11 certainly shattered the stability and comfort of American’s lives, leading to a surge in church attendance and Bible sales immediately after the attacks. But what is the lingering effect of the attack and continued tension on people’s religious beliefs and practices?
- Concern for the Future increased.
- Political and Religious Identity Remains Unchanged
- Belief in Absolute Truth Radically Decreased. Trusted sources of guidance regarding moral decisions by Americans are
- feelings (25%)
- lessons and values they remember from their parents (14%)
- the Bible (13%).
- Measures of Religious Belief Changed Minimally
- Those who view God as “the all-powerful, all-knowing perfect Creator of the universe who still rules the world today dropped from 72% to 68%.
- Attendance at Religious Activities Remained the Same
George Barna, who directed the study, explained that, “after the attack, millions of nominally churched or generally irreligious Americans were desperately seeking something that would restore stability and a sense of meaning to life. Fortunately, many of them turned to the church. Unfortunately, few of them experienced anything that was sufficiently life-changing to capture their attention and their allegiance. They tended to appreciate the moments of comfort they received, but were unaware of anything sufficiently unique or beneficial as to redesign their lifestyle to integrate a deeper level of spiritual involvement. Our assessment is that churches succeeded at putting on a friendly face but failed at motivating the vast majority of spiritual explorers to connect with Christ in a more intimate or intense manner…” Emphasis added.
“Christian churches have had two incredible opportunities to instigate serious transformation in people’s this year. Earlier, the faith-based initiative proposal by President Bush afforded a great chance to impact millions of lives, but that opportunity was squandered. The September 11 tragedy was another amazing opportunity to be the healing and transforming presence of God in people’s lives, but that, too, has now come and gone, with little to show for it…”
“These two events are a wake up call to church leaders, emphasizing the particular need to enhance their efforts in the areas of outreach and discipleship. We may never again have such grand opportunities to reach the nation for Christ – but then, we may have an even greater opportunity tomorrow. How many churches have leaders and believers who are poised to take advantage of such a pending opportunity?”
I’ll leave you to mull that question over and pick up the sequences of events from the 6th seal, which for purposes of simplicity and applying Occam’s razor rule I will treat as a nuclear war rather than an astronomical catastrophe. In any case, the destructive force and human reactions are the same.
God lifts the seal of protection from his people when they choose to serve false gods / seek prosperity and protection through alliances with ungodly theocracies. And this is our current situation with the Christian Religious Right backing Donald Trump. See the post The Schizophrenic Church for details.
Only a remnant of true believers recognize the works of darkness lurking behind the false savior on a white horse promising peace and security to his followers. When they refuse to ally, they are persecuted, even to death.
“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 24:29-30)
“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake;” (Revelation)
Both in China and Byzantium in 530 A.D., Halley’s comet was recorded to last for an unusually long time, followed in both China and Europe documented unusual earthquakes, black clouds, crop failures, frost, and dust veil over the sun. This describes a sequence of events common to a variety of natural disasters from volcanoes to meteors which could have happened any time in the past 2,000 years. The most plausible hypothesis for the 530 AD series of disasters is that it was triggered by a comet or a meteorite that hit the Earth.
The deadliest earthquake in recorded history struck Shensi province in China in 1556, killing about 830,000 people. The 1976 magnitude 7.8 earthquake which struck Tangshan, China killed somewhere between 250,000 and 800,000 people. In 2003, the magnitude 6.5 earthquake in Bam, Iran killed more than 40,000 people.
The full description of this event also fits the intentional explosion of an atomic weapon. Keep firmly fixed in mind the context of the seals – mankind’s own evil inevitably comes crashing back down on the perpetrator – as we pick up the sequence of events at the 6th seal.
The amount of seismic energy released by a 8.0-magnitude earthquake equals about 15 million (or mega) tons of TNT. For comparison, Russia’s Tsar Bomba, the most awesome nuclear weapon ever detonated, had a yield of 50 million tons, which was was ten times more powerful than all of the ordnance exploded during the whole of World War II. The detonation in 1961 created a mushroom cloud was 25 miles wide at its base and 60 miles wide at its top, and at 40 miles high penetrated the stratosphere. Everything within 40 miles of the impact was vaporized, but severe damage extended to 150 miles radius—enough to entirely annihilate any modern major city, including suburbs. The only beneficial result of the Tsar Bomba’s world-threatening display was the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of August 5, 1963, signed by the United States, the Soviet Union and Great Britain. Even today, however, the power of the Tsar Bomba—and much more—lies within easy grasp of every nuclear-capable nation.
- and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair
- caused by massive amounts of smoke in the atmosphere veiling the sun. In 1780 the sky had darkened to midnight blackness by noon, causing Americans, still in the throes of a protracted war of independence, to light candles and tremble at thoughts of the Last Judgment. A recent study has shown that vast forest fires in the Algonquin Highlands of southern Ontario and elsewhere in Canada brought this eerie event upon the Puritan lands. The scientists have discovered “fire scars” on the rings for that year, left when the heat of a wildfire has killed a part of a tree’s cambium. Dendrochronological evidence also points to a drought that year. An easterly wind and low barometric pressure helped force smoke into the upper atmosphere.
- and the moon became as blood;
- The moon’s coloration is affected by refraction off particles in the air, but since it is closer than the sun can still be seen through pollution and on cloudy days when the sun cannot be seen at all.
- 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.
- these can be satellite-based or rocket-delivered weapons of mass destruction
- And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together;
- and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”
Current nuclear bombs are 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Do we really believe that a megalomaniac world leader could resist using nuclear weapons? Would Hitler have dropped one if he had had it?
In March 1945, Allied forces poured over the Rhine River…On March 16, the German army’s last offensive of the war, Operation Spring Awakening in Hungary against the Red Army, collapsed. For the Führer the impending defeat proved that Germans were simply neither strong nor ruthless enough to do what was necessary to achieve victory. Deeming Germany a failure of a nation Hitler prepared a decree that would seal the country’s collapse with catastrophic finality…
On March 19, Hitler then promulgated a special decree titled “Destructive Measures on Reich Territory.” Otherwise remembered as the “Scorched Earth Decree” or “Nero Decree,” for the brutal Roman Emperor Nero (ruled 54-68 C.E.), the order mandated the destruction of Germany’s infrastructure.
Nothing was to be spared that might potentially aid the Allies. “Our nation’s struggle for existence forces us to utilize all means,” Hitler proclaimed, “to inflict lasting damage on the striking power of the enemy.” The order applied to all production, communication, and transportation facilities. Railroads, bridges, communication lines, docks, public utilities, factories and mines were to be demolished…There were to be no exceptions.
The “Nero Decree” also throws additional light on Hitler’s Social Darwinism and fanaticism. Faced with his regime’s downfall, he preferred the total crippling of Germany’s economy.
SCIENCE• 23 Dec 1983• Vol 222, Issue 4630• pp. 1283-1292• DOI: 10.1126/science.222.4630.1283
subfreezing land temperatures may be caused by fine dust raised in high-yield nuclear surface bursts and by smoke from city and forest fires ignited by airbursts…in which dust and smoke are generated and encircle the earth within 1 to 2 weeks, average light levels can be reduced to a few percent of ambient and land temperatures can reach -15° to -25°C… even in summer…for months…radioactive fallout…of days to weeks can lead to chronic mean doses of up to 50 rads from external whole-body gamma-ray exposure, with a likely equal or greater internal dose from biologically active radionuclides…When combined with the prompt destruction from nuclear blast, fires, and fallout and the later enhancement of solar ultraviolet radiation due to ozone depletion, long-term exposure to cold, dark, and radioactivity could pose a serious threat to human survivors and to other species.
There is a space of time following the massive shaking of the earth during which humanity is experiencing a world in chaos, without government, clean water, food supplies or basic human decency. Watch any apocalyptic movie to get a sense of the average person’s quality and length of life in these circumstances.
The pattern of sealing documented in scripture continues to play out in Revelation. God seals those who turn to him for protection.
“And after these things…”
That would be the events up through the 6th seal. Given the pattern of history and the seal events as mankind’s experience of the consequences of their own wicked decisions, I personally believe this is, inevitably, nuclear war.
“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. 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…”
These are the remnant whose response to World War III is not to trust in America, but to turn to YHVH.
“After this I beheld,
The phrase “after this” provides the clue that the narrative has jumped forward in time from the sealing of the 144,000. This is a well-established literary device known as prolepsis or flash-forward, interjecting the report of a future event into the current timeline of the story. This is done when information important to the story, but as yet unknown, needs to be brought to light.
“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…And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest [because I sure don’t!]. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
The reason John was stumped to see all these nationalities in heaven along with the remnant of Israel is because at his time of 90 AD there weren’t that many Gentile believers yet, and those who had accepted YHVH’s Savior had joined a sect of Judaism. It was not until 135 AD that Gentiles outstripped Jews in numbers of converts. In the early church, most of the persecution was suffered by the Jews at the hands of either the Pharisees trying to stamp out the Messianic sect, or the Romans crushing all Jews as revolutionaries.
It would take a lot more time than John was hoping would have to play out before the uncountable number of Gentile martyrs would stack up to what he was seeing. After John digested this revelation, the deduction that Jesus Christ would not be returning any time soon would rise up in his gorge, and could well be part of the bitterness of the message he had to take back to the suffering believers.
- Therefore are they 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)
I’m not going to take the time to collate them here, but the blessings these obtain are the fulfillment of the promises made at the beginning of Revelation in chapters 2-3 to the churches and anyone who will listen. By this we know that the sealing is not to avoid death at the hands of the adversary.
Who cares about physical death when it just means escaping this world?
“For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” (Philippians 1:23-24)
The faithful servants of God are sealed, as always, with the Holy Spirit of promise guaranteeing eternal life after death.
“Having made known unto us the mystery of his will…That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth…
- In whom ye also trusted,
- after that ye heard / responded to the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation:
- in whom also after that ye believed,
- ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Which is the earnest / downpayment of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession.” (Ephesians 1:9-14)
“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.
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.”
Can we not see the partnership between God and his people here?
When do we pray? When we are in trouble.
“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 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 6:12-17)
Don’t believe it!
The Sixth Seal Is Not The Wrath Of The Lamb
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come…saying, I am Christ / the promised Savior in your belief system; and shall deceive many…all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
- nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom- Red Horse
- and there shall be famines – Black Horse
- and pestilences – Pale Horse among squalid living conditions of war victims and refugees
- and earthquakes – plural
All these are the beginning of sorrows.
- many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
- BUT! as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be...” (Matthew 24)
The end doesn’t come until human complicity with the Beast from the sea, in the recurrence of the unique events during the days of Noah, force God to once again end the current world system.
Keep the backstory of the seals in mind. We established that God lifts his seal of protection from his people when they fall away, commit apostasy. He does this by allowing the consequences of their own misbehavior to, inevitably, hurt them to the point of realizing their need for a savior.
True salvation requires the individual to take responsibility for their own sin. False salvation scapegoats an enemy and allows the sinner to not only continue in sin, but to become further entrapped to a point of no return.
You don’t like the word sin? Can we all agree that Nazi Germany sinned, progressing further and further down a heinous criminal road from scapegoating, criminalizing and murdering Jews and other undesirables?
I think we all agree that Hitler is a good example of a false Christ.
So is Donald Trump.
In When at Times the Mob Is Swayed: A Citizen’s Guide to Defending Our Republic, Burt Neuborne mostly focuses on how America’s constitutional foundation in 2019—an unrepresentative Congress, the Electoral College and a right-wing Supreme Court majority—is not positioned to withstand Trump’s extreme polarization and GOP power grabs…as many Holocaust survivors have said, few Germans or Europeans expected what unfolded in the years after Hitler amassed power…
“Give Trump credit…He…became the twenty-first-century master of divisive rhetoric…The Nazis did not overthrow the Weimar Republic. It fell into their hands as the fruit of Hitler’s satanic ability to mesmerize enough Germans to trade their birthright for a pottage of scapegoating, short-term economic gain, xenophobia, and racism. It could happen here…”
20 serious points of comparison between the early Hitler and Trump:
Neither was elected by a majority.
Both found direct communication channels to their base…—the Nazi Party gave out radios with only one channel, tuned to Hitler’s voice, bypassing Germany’s news media. Trump has an online equivalent… tweets…
Both blame others and divide on racial lines…Again and again, Trump uses “racially tinged messages calculated to divide whites from people of color.”
Both relentlessly demonize opponents.
They unceasingly attack objective truth. “Both Trump and Hitler maintained a relentless assault on the very idea of objective truth,”
They relentlessly attack mainstream media.
Their attacks on truth include science.
Their lies blur reality—and supporters spread them.
Both orchestrated mass rallies to show status.
They embrace extreme nationalism.
Stay on point. The sixth seal is still operating as God’s protection being lifted away as his people fall away. His own people still have a chance to acknowledge their sin, and turn from their wicked ways. In America today, the wicked way is the the Religious Right trusting in a Republican warmongering president to save them from their scapegoats.
God’s battle strategy is the opposing actions of standing against vs falling away to the forces of evil in a vicious spiritual conflict. Paul uses the same familiar Roman imagery in another of his epistles describing the face-off between the Seeds’ armies. Do you think Paul gets across the need to STAND?”
“…my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might…1) stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to 2) withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to 3) stand. 4) Stand therefore
The weapons and kit are the opposing powers of truth & righteousness vs lies & unrighteousness
- having your loins girt about with truth, and
- having on the breastplate of righteousness; And
- your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
- Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
- And take the helmet of salvation, and
- the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel…” (Ephesians 6:10-19)
Spirit-filled followers of Jesus Christ are what keeps evil at bay! Can we not look around us and recognize that evil is spreading across our world like a visible black cloud? What is the underlying root cause? Apostacy and failure to fight against evil with the Word of God – not in politics, but in everyday holiness by individual anointed ones.
“And when he had opened the seventh seal...I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.” (Revelation 8:1-2)