Revelation Explained

This site contains my personal views on Revelation. I will be teaching through the book verse by verse. My teachings will be from a conservative evangelical background.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Fourth Horseman: Death

"When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, 'Come!' I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth." (Revelation 6:7,8 - New International Version)

We should keep reminding ourselves that these events will occur over a period of time. By the time the fourth seal is opened, we may be well into the second year of the Tribulation.

The rider of the fourth horse is death and hell follows him. During the period represented by this seal, one quarter of the world's population will die. The world now has over 6 billion people. This would mean the death of over a billion and a half people!

These people will be killed in one of four ways. There will continued fighting in many parts of the world in spite of the Antichrist's efforts to contain it. Famine will take a terrible toll. Disease (translated, death in the King James Version) will be at epidemic levels. Wild beasts will begin to roam the empty streets searching for prey as civilization crumbles.

The four horsemen of the Apocalypse picture a horrible time that is coming. This should make us understand how vain it is to build our hopes upon this world. This things of this world can be destroyed. Eternal treasures cannot.

The Revelation should also make us aware of how little time we may have left. Soon destruction may come, and many of those we know may die. We need to prepare them for the Tribulation by sharing the Gospel with them.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Third Horseman: Famine

"When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, 'Come' I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, 'A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.'" (Revelation 6:5,6 - New American Standard)

The third horse is black. The horseman carries scales for weighing food. The measure used is about a liter or quart. The denarius is equal to a laborer's daily wage. The prices here are about eight times what would have been normal.

So during this time, food prices will increase eight hundred percent. People will struggle to buy enough food to survive.

The last part of verse six is ironic. Oil and wine were luxury items in New Testament times. It seems that while most food will be much more expensive; the rich will still be able to afford their luxuries.

This famine will be a direct result of the war of the second seal. We have recently seen how volatile the world oil market can be. Any fear of disruption can cause a spike in the cost of oil.
The war of the second seal will be centered in the Middle East. Oil production will be effected. Oil fields will be set on fire. Refineries and storage facilities will be destroyed. Oil tankers may be sunk. World oil prices will sky rocket. There will be rationing and shortages of all petroleum products.

This will result in an economic collapse such as has not occurred since the Great Depression. The entire world will suffer. Many will not be able to purchase enough food to keep themselves and their families alive.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Second Horseman: War

"When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, 'Come.' And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him." (Revelation 6:3,4 - New American Standard)

The second horse is red and represents war. The peace treaty is broken and chaos follows. This war may be the one which Daniel describes in detail.

"At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Nubians in submission. But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many." (Daniel 11:40-44 – New International Version)

If this does describe the war of the second seal, then it will be Egypt which breaks the peace treaty. The Antichrist will mobilize an army to put down the Egyptian attackers. This might be either a UN army or an EC army. He will not be satisfied with just defeating the Egyptians; he will invade Egypt and rule North East Africa.

His treatment of Egypt will create such resentment in the Arab world that Jordan and Syria mobilize. This conflict could spread to include Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and even Turkey.
This war will be brutal. We do not know how many countries become involved. But we can guess at some of the effects.

By the time the fighting ends, the Antichrist has established himself as a hero and world ruler. The intense fighting in the Middle East will destroy much of the transportation structure and oil production facilities. Thousands will die in battle.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The First Horseman: Peace

"Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, 'Come.' I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer." (Revelation 6:1,2 - New American Standard)

When the Lamb opened the first seal, John saw a rider upon a white horse. This rider has a bow and was given a crown. We are told that he goes forth to conquer.

This rider symbolizes peace. The conquering is done by diplomacy not by might. When the second seal is broken, peace is taken from the earth. So the first seal must represent that peace. This interpretation also agrees with other prophetic Bible passages.

The Apostle Paul in First Thessalonians chapter five verse three is writing about the second coming of Christ. He states, “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.” (KJV)

When the Tribulation period starts, mankind will think that a new era of peace and safety has begun. But they will be mistaken. Peace will be replaced by war. Safety will be removed by world-wide natural disasters.

Old Testament prophecy gives us more information about this peace. Daniel's predictions are important for understanding Revelation. Daniel tells us that at the start of the seven year Tribulation a peace treaty will be signed.

"Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate." (Daniel 9:26, 27 – New American Standard)

This context for this passage contains Daniel's prophecy of seventy weeks. These weeks are weeks of years; that is, each week in the prophecy covers a period of seven years.

The first part of the prophecy deals with the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Daniel tells us that from the time the rebuilding of Jerusalem was ordered until the coming of the Messiah would be 69 weeks, which is 483 years.

There were four decrees relating to the rebuilding of Jerusalem between about 539 and 444 BC. We do not have time to deal with the complete interpretation of this prophecy. However, it is clear that the time period predicted by Daniel for the coming of the Messiah is, even from a historical and secular viewpoint, close to the actual time. Of course, by faith we believe that he was perfectly correct.

Daniel tells us that after the Messiah comes, he would be “cut off but not for himself.”

This predicts the death of Jesus for the sin of the world. He died for us.

After this, Daniel predicts the destruction of Jerusalem. This occurred in 70 AD. The Roman General Titus lead an army against the city, captured and leveled it.

This brings us to verse twenty seven which describes the last week of Daniel's seventy weeks. This week is the seven year Tribulation. Daniel's prophetic clock stopped with the death of Christ, and will not begin again until the Tribulation starts.

This verse begins with the pronoun he. This refers back to the prince in verse twenty six whose people destroyed Jerusalem. Jerusalem was destroyed by Roman soldiers. So this prince comes from the old Roman Empire, from Europe.

This prince confirms a covenant for seven years. This covenant is a peace treaty. The signing of this treaty marks the beginning of the Tribulation. It is the peace represented by the first horseman of Revelation. Later in our study, we will come back to this passage in Daniel because the remainder relates to the middle of the Tribulation.

Peace is a rare thing in this world. Peace in the Middle East especially is an illusive goal. However, peace could come soon. Daniel's prince will play an important role in the establishment of this peace treaty and will be hailed as a great world leader. However, the Bible calls him the antichrist.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Worship in Heaven

"And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song: 'You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.' Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: 'Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!' Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: 'To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!' The four living creatures said, 'Amen,' and the elders fell down and worshiped." (Revelation 5:8-14 - New International Version)

As soon as the Lamb takes the scroll, the throne room of heaven begins to praise and worship God and the Lamb. The four living creatures and the twenty four elders bow down before the Lamb. Each had a harp and each had a golden bowl full of incense. This incense represents the prayers of God's people: it is pleasant to God.

They then began to sing a new song. It is new because Jesus has now taken the scroll. In their song, they tell us that Jesus can break the seals because He has purchased man with His blood. Those who are His come from every group of people on the earth.

Every kindred means every extended family group. Every tongue means from every language group. Every people means from every culture. Every nation means from every nationality.

Christ has made the saved not kings and priests, but literally a kingdom of priests. Under the Old Testament, there was a certain group who were priests. Under the New Testament, all born again believers are priests of God. The Apostle Peter wrote, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God's] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (I Peter 2:9 - Amplified Bible)

Priests have two main duties. To represent men before God which includes worship. And to represent God before men. To tell people what God requires of them. Every Christian is to worship God and bring the needs of people before God in prayer. Every Christian is to tell others about God and what He commands them to do: repent and believe.

The creatures and elders sing that the redeemed will reign with Christ. What a glorious promise this is.

At this moment, a vast host of angels appears surrounding the throne of God numbering over a hundred million! Of course, we should not take this number too literally. John did not count them. There may have been billions of angels.

Now this vast host joins in the worship of God and the Lamb. They express a sevenfold statement of praise. Jesus has all power, all riches, all wisdom, all might, all honor, all majesty and all blessings.

However this worship is not sufficient to impress upon John's mind and ours how great this moment is. Jesus taking the scroll and preparing to claim what is His, demands even greater acknowledgment. The spiritual and physical universe now unite to praise the Lamb.

Now that we have learned of the heavenly activity that precedes the tribulation, we are ready to learn of the events that will occur on earth. Chapter six of Revelation begins the prophecy of the sever year Tribulation.