Friday, August 21, 2009

Revelation 6: 3-8 Seals #2-4

Verses 3-4 “And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given 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 second beast now speaks and calls forth the next rider. While the first horse was white in imitation of the horse that Christ rides, this second horse is red - red from the blood that will be spilled by this seal. The second sign of the Lord’s coming was wars and rumors of war, nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. We see that this rider is given the power to take peace from the earth. In other words, he stirs up wars so that people will kill each other-nations against nations. These signs are in the same order and correspond exactly to the signs Christ gave the disciples. Christ knew in advance what these seals were and deliberately gave the disciples the same exact order of events that he would outline here in Revelation, so that we could make the connection between the two and be able to fit these events in Revelation into a reliable timeline. It has been said that there is not a time when there is not a war going on somewhere on the planet. It has been this way for hundreds of years. However as the time of the end approaches, all of these signs escalate, just as the pangs of labor increase in intensity and come faster when a woman is in childbirth, which is what Christ was referencing when he made the comparison by calling all of these things "the beginning of sorrows." Thus the number of wars between nations and ethnic groups will increase in frequency and intensity as we get closer to the end.

Verses 5-6 “And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. 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 third beast calls forth a rider on a black horse. Why black? Possibly it stands for the dark time that follows, possibly because we think of black as being the color of mourning and death. Or possibly because, as shall be shown, this has to do with finances and commerce, and somebody is getting rich (or will be in the black) from gouging people who are desperate to survive.

Following the outline in the gospels, the next sign would be famine. Famine is often one of the after-effects of war. This rider does seem to carry famine with him, as the price of a measure of wheat and barley indicates a highly inflated price for food. In fact this represents a day’s wages for a few pints of food. This rider represents more than famine though. He has a pair of balances in his hand. This would represent commerce and trade. Not only a food shortage may occur, but inflation will be incredible. Prices will become outrageous, and the rich will become richer off the poor. While the staples of life become increasingly scarce and more expensive, the rider is told not to hurt the oil and the wine. This oil refers to olive oil. Olive oil is also a type of staple, but wine is an intoxicant. I do not believe that the Lord preserves wine, as some have said, so that man may drink away and forget his problems. It has a greater importance. It is a crucial component in observing Jewish festivals such as the Passover. (One day I will get into whether or not God allows and approves of the drinking of alcohol - but that is for another Bible study.) The difference in these two food sources from others has to do with the amount of time it takes to grow them. Grains are annual crops. They can be planted year after year, so if one year fails they can still be grown the next year. Olive trees take years to grow and reproduce fruit. The same is true with grapes. These two fruits are of great importance to God and are too valuable to be allowed to be destroyed, as they are too difficult and take too long to reproduce after having been decimated. This rider represents more than just one major famine. This is the many famines that have been occurring throughout the world for years. They have thus far not been on a worldwide basis, but as things get worse the closer we get to the Lord’s coming, this may become worldwide.

While I am not telling people to have a bunker mentality, if you are able to move to the country and have some land to grow food, it may be a good idea. While our future and survival lies in the Lord's hands, when we know things in advance, we may be expected to take some action on our own behalf. Joseph knew that God was going to send a seven year famine, and seven years of plenty beforehand. He took advantage of that knowledge and stored up grain. It was the same with Noah; God told Him to prepare. Likewise, if the Lord tells us things in advance, He expects us to use that knowledge wisely. Doing things to survive is not, as some have said to me, failing to have faith in the Lord to provide. It is called listening to Him and acting accordingly. The provision He might be making is telling us in advance so we can prepare, although you cannot force something that God does not want you to do. You need to pray and see what God wants you to do. He may want you to do nothing, as He is planning to provide miraculously for you. Or you may find that He does it all for you at the last minute, which has often been my experience. That way you know it is of Him and from Him and He gets the credit, plus you do not waste your own time and money. Of course if doing something like moving to the country is totally impossible, the Lord will provide in some way, and you should not stress over it thinking you have to do it yourself. It is a delicate balancing act between going off the deep end and doing something that the Lord does not want you to do, wasting both time and money; and not doing anything when He does and thereby not being prepared as He intended. It requires much prayer and listening to His will, and taking advantage of opportunities that He does provide.

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

The fourth beast now calls forth the last rider. This rider has a specific name-Death, and he rides a pale horse. The word pale is the Greek word "chloros" from which we get the word chlorophyll. As everyone knows that is what makes plants green, so this horse is a pale sickly green color. That would make one think of illness and death.

In the gospels, the next sign the disciples were given was pestilence. Pestilence generally follows in the wake of war and famine. In this case it does not say specifically that the rider kills with pestilence, although the sickly green color would make you think of illness. It says that the rider kills with all means of death, including repeating the earlier seals - war (with the sword), possibly execution (also the sword), and hunger (famine). Added to those would be pestilence and wild beasts, among other forms of death such as from weather phenomena (hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.). Today we have pestilences and pandemics which supposedly have originated with wild animals. There is also the problem of wild animals beginning to wander into populated areas as man encroaches upon their land. As food becomes scarce for people, it will be even more scarce for animals, and they will attack people to assuage their own hunger. Death will be tremendously widespread. So many die that Hell follows after Death. A fourth part of the earth is affected with this seal. It is uncertain as to whether this fourth part of the earth refers to population numbers or a quadrant of the earth. Either way it is a lot of people. As of today the population was listed at 6.779 billion or roughly 6.8 billion. If one fourth of the population is meant that would be 1.7 billion people. If a quadrant is meant, it would be impossible to guess at how many that would be, but it would still be a large number. The question must also be asked, if this refers to a quadrant of the world, is it merely that most of these things would be ongoing there for a long period of time (as we know the seals are opened before the 70th week begins)? One thinks of Africa with their constantly ongoing ethnic cleansings and wars, famines, AIDs epidemics, wild beasts, killings of Christians by Muslims, etc. Is this the area to which the quadrant is referring? It is hard to say exactly what is meant here, but that particular continent seems to fit this description quite accurately.

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