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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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.


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