by Mike Ratliff
Those with discernment from God know that the “Church” is very sick because it has been deceived through decades of bad theology and spiritually weakened by leaders who are bent on ministering via pragmatism. As I write this, there are so-called Christian leaders who are proclaiming a new Golden Age for the church with millions of people each year coming to Christ in their ministries. These proclamations, however, fail to note the tragic turnover rate in their pews whereby those “millions” of converts each year exit their churches to be replaced by new “seekers” who continue to fuel the revolving door that brings in new faces while those who did not find what they were really looking for exit never to be seen again. Those making the claims of gigantic growth turn a blind eye to this problem. Why? Are they blind to what is really going on? Could it be that a worldwide deception is taking place right before our eyes? Let’s look at what the Bible says.
1 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.” 2 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 (NASB)
The “I” in v1 is John the Apostle. He wrote the book we call The Revelation. The actual title to this book in Greek is ΑΠΟΚΑΛΥΨΙΣ ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ which is translated as the “The Revelation of John. However, the first three words in v1 of Chapter 1 are Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, which is translated as “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” The word Ἀποκάλυψις (apokalypsis) is where we get our word “apocalypse.” It means, “an uncovering,” “an unveiling,” or “a disclosure.” What is being revealed? What is being unveiled or disclosed? Actually, there are many things that this book “unveils” that were covered. Christ’s real glory is revealed, spiritual truth, who the sons of God are, and Christ’s second coming, However, Christ’s real glory is the paramount message from this book. We see how John received this message in Chapter 1. We also see the purpose of this book from 1:19, as Jesus in is glorified form reveals Himself to John whilst He stands amidst the Seven Golden Lamp stands.
19 Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things. Revelation 1:19 (NASB)
So, John was to write what He had seen, which was Jesus Christ in His glory. He was also to write the things that are. That message we find in Chapters 2 and 3 with Jesus’ letters to the seven churches in Asia. Lastly, John is to write the things that are in the future. That is, the future from John’s perspective. After writing to the seven churches the message from our Lord, John’s vision moves him through a door in Heaven. From there the future events he is to “reveal” are laid out before Him. In Chapter 4 we have the Throne Room in Heaven with God the Father in all His glory on His throne. In Chapter 5 we have the Lamb being the only one found worthy to open a scroll that is in the hand of the Father. This scroll is the Title Deed to the Earth that when put into effect will purchase back the Earth from our enemy through God’s righteous judgments. Then the Lamb takes the scroll. In this post we will look at chapter 6 as John witnesses the Lamb beginning to open the scroll.
As the Lamb opens the first seal, John sees a white horse with a rider who had a bow, but no arrows. He also has a crown. This crown is from the Greek word “stephanos.” This is not a kingly crown, but the crown of victory in games, of civic worth, military valor, nuptial joy, or festal gladness. It was made of woven oak, ivy, myrtle, olive leaves or flowers. It was used as a wreath or a garland. If this rider were a king his “crown” would be the Greek word “diadema.” No, this rider is not a royal king, but instead, is victorious in pursuits of peace via covenants and agreements. John tells us that with the crown he went out conquering and to conquer. This rider is portrayed as a man of peace. The insinuation is that the crown given him endows him with the ability to draw the whole world after him in this drive for peace. He will conquer the entire earth in a bloodless coup. This is deception. The way this rider comes on the scene and is able to do this seemingly unopposed tells us that those who should be able to see through the masquerade are blinded or deluded into accepting this man of peace and his ways. Could it be possible that the totally unprecedented fall into apostasy by the Church in our day is part of this “delusion?”
Is this rider already on the scene? If that is so, then is the first seal already broken?
3 When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” 4 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 (NASB)
You would have to be living in a closet with no access to newspapers or any other media to think that we are living in a time of peace. Terrorism is blanketing the Earth. I was in the blast zone of the Federal Center Bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995. There were terrorist attacks that preceded it and there have been hundreds since. The US State Department released a report in 2007 stating that terrorist attacks went up 25% the year before. Those attacks killed hundreds. There is a huge rise in senseless killings in our time. In v4 we see that the peace that is taken away will cause people to kill one another. The reasoning behind school shootings and the like are not reasonable at all. It is as if these people want to kill other people for sake of killing. The sword given to this rider is not a great battle sword. The one described here is a short, easily maneuvered one that assassins used. Its usage here tells us that the second rider brings killing through assassination, revolt, massacre, and wholesale slaughter. This is bad, but it isn’t the total war that we will see later. Instead, this rider brings exactly the type of seemingly senseless killing that we see in ever increasing frequency in our time. These attacks and killings from the second seal are only part of the birth pangs of what is to come.
Is this rider already on the scene? If that is so, then is the second seal already broken?
5 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. 6 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 (NASB)
I saw a documentary yesterday that spoke of 10 unprecedented plagues that have hit the World right now all at the same time. That should get our attention because these plagues include locusts and diseases that are incurable.
Is this rider already on the scene? If that is so, then is the third seal already broken?
7 When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” 8 I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth. Revelation 6:7-8 (NASB)
The word translated as “pale” in v8 is where we get our English word “chlorophyll.” This describes the pale, ashen-green pallor characteristics of the decomposition of a corpse. This rider is given authority by God to bring death to 25% of the world’s population. Wouldn’t this be the natural consequence of worldwide famine? The word “Hades” in v8 is the place of the dead. As I write this, we can honestly say that we have not experienced this…yet. Therefore, we don’t have to ask if the pale horse with its two riders is on the scene. However, if the third rider is here already, could the fourth be far behind?
9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. Revelation 6:9-11 (NASB)
We must remember that the seals are the birth pangs of what is coming. What follows the seals is much worse than these birth pangs. Most Bible scholars who have exposited Revelation agree that the fifth seal marks either the end of the first half of the seven-year Tribulation or the events that begin the second half which is the Great Tribulation or the Day of the Lord. In any case, the fifth seal describes the force of the saint’s prayers for God’s vengeance for their persecution and death. There have been martyrs killed for the word of God since the Church began. I read an article not long ago that stated that in the 20th Century more Christians were martyred than all of the centuries previous combined. What’s makes us think that the 21st Century will be any better? I believe that these crying out under the altar are all those who have died for their faith in Jesus Christ. What are they told? They should rest for a little season until their fellow servants, also their brethren, that they should be killed as they were. Those who claim that the Church will be snatched away before the first seal is broken need to carefully read this. More Christians will be added to their number who will be killed for being Christian. We should not fear this. No, we shouldn’t go looking for martyrdom, however, the time is coming when it will come looking for us. Let us prepare ourselves by living holy lives separate from the world in obedience to our Lord and Saviour in all things, even unto death.
12 I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16 and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” Revelation 6:12-17 (NASB)
We have reached the end of the birth pangs. The sixth seal describes overwhelming fear. Who is afraid? It looks like everyone. The first 5 seals involved people being used by God for His purposes. However, the sixth seal is God beginning to intervene directly. The earthquake mentioned here is massive. Humans have never experienced one like this. It is so strong that it opens up every fault causing volcanic eruptions, which will spew ash and debris into the atmosphere causing the moon to appear red like blood. The stars falling to earth could possibly be a massive asteroid or meteor shower. All of these catastrophes will somehow cause the sky to be altered from what we have now. It appears to roll up and disappear. The mountains and islands moving could possibly be from the massive plate shifting from the earthquake causing the continents to realign. The Day of the Lord has come with the opening of the sixth seal. The people actually recognize that it is the wrath of the Lamb that they are experiencing.
There is one more seal, but we’ll stop now because this is the end of chapter 6 of Revelation. The seventh seal contains the seven trumpets and the seven bowls which will make up God’s Righteous Judgment on the world and the world system. These first six seals are the birth pangs that will bring the world into the Day of the Lord. I believe that we are already in the birth pangs. We must ask ourselves and examine ourselves to see if we are ready to face these things. Seek the Lord while He can be found. Draw near unto Him. Seek His face, repent and be cleansed then walk before the face of God in obedience in the power of the Holy Spirit. Do not fear these things if you are in Christ. However, it is a wise thing to be prepared by becoming the Spirit-filled believer God wills for you to be.
Soli Deo Gloria!