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A. As we move into this sixth chapter of the Book of Revelation, we will consider significant things that are often overlooked. We will look into the reason that there will be a time of Tribulation which will come upon everyone whom will be present on the earth. We will look at the reason for there to be such an emphasis that God has placed upon Israel, as it relates to the Tribulation and the following Kingdom Age of the Millennial reign of Christ. We will also discuss whether any person or nation on earth will be the cause of the Tribulation. A discussion will also ensue that will examine the “who and who not” equation of those whom will be left on earth from the Rapture to dwell upon the earth while the Tribulation will be taking place. In future articles we will examine which groups of people will be present on earth, spiritually and mortally, during the the Kingdom Age and the following eternal state of the new heavens, new earth and new Jerusalem.
B. The opening video is very descriptive of things that will happen during the seal judgments of the Tribulation. The fact of the judgments being caused by Godly actions are severe. Some may wonder why God would be causing so much pain and suffering for “all whom dwell upon the earth;” we will learn of the reason for such Divine acts. We will also learn that it will be God, and only God, Who will be responsible for everything that will happen during the Tribulation. We will learn that the rapture of the church is based on God’s timing, and will have nothing to do with “any action” of mankind, whether individually or as a group. We will also learn that the relationship between God and Israel is the reason, and only reason, for the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Kingdom Age, and the Eternal State. We will learn why the word “mystery,” is key in this study of the end times, and why the key which unlocks the truth of the end times is “God’s love or Israel.” All of these issues will not be addressed in this article. However, a thorough study of each of these God-ordained factors will be addressed as we continue our study of the end times.
II. Translation Considerations. “The New American Standard Bible (NASB) translation was chosen for this, and other studies, because of two main reasons. First, the NASB capitalizes the first letter of pronouns that relate to God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit); not all Bible translations show that same respect for God. Second, the NASB has a history of correctness in translation.”
III. Text: Revelation 6:1-8.
The First Seal—Rider on White Horse
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.
The Second Seal—War
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.
The Third Seal—Famine
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.”
The Fourth Seal—Death
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.
IV. Comments. (RSB=Ryrie Study Bible; MSB=MacArthur Study Bible; SSB=Scofield Study Bible).
A. 6:1–19:21 This lengthy section details the judgments and events of the time of tribulation from its beginning with the opening of the first seal (vv. 1, 2) through the 7 “seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments” to the return of Christ to destroy the ungodly (19:11–21). (MSB)
B. 6:1 Here begins the first of three series of judgments in the book (seals, chap 6; trumpets, chaps 8-9; bowls, chap 16). The three series are consecutive, each succeeding one following the preceding one. (RSB)
C. 6.2 “he who sat on it.” Evidently a reference to the anti-Christ. His method of conquest at first does not seem to include warfare, since peace is not removed from the earth until the second seal is opened (v.e). This corresponds to the description of delusion in 1 Thes 5:3, [While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.”] (RSB)
D. 6:3-4 Everything about the second seal judgments bloodshed (e.g., “red horse, take peace from, sword.”) (RSB)
E. 6:5 “black horse.” Black signifies famine (cf. Lam. 5:8–10). Worldwide war will destroy the food supply which spawns global hunger. “pair of scales.” The common measuring device—two small trays hung from each end of a balance beam—indicates that the scarcity of food will lead to rationing and food lines. (MSB)
F. 6:6 “quart of wheat.” The approximate amount necessary to sustain one person for one day. “denarius.” One day’s normal wage. One day’s work will provide enough food for only one person. “three quarts of barley.” Usually fed to animals, this grain was low in nutrients and cheaper than wheat. A day’s wage provides enough for only a small family’s daily supply. “oil and the wine.” Although the point could be that these foods will not be affected by the famine, a more straightforward meaning is that bare staples—oil was used in the preparation of bread, and wine was considered necessary for cooking and purifying water—suddenly will become luxuries that have to be carefully protected.(MSB)
G. 6:6 A daily wage will buy food for only one person, who will have to share with his family. (RSB)
H. 6:8 “pale horse.” “Pale,” the Gr. word from which the Eng. word “chlorophyll” comes, describes the pale, ashen-green, pallor characteristic of the decomposition of a corpse. God grants this horseman the authority to bring death to 25 percent of the world’s population. “Hades.” See note on Luke 16:23. The place of the dead, which is identified as a common and fitting partner for death (20:13; see note on 1:18).
I. 6:8 “ashen” = a sickly, yellowish-green. Probably representing the inevitable result of disease that accompanies war and famine. “Death” claims the bodies, and “Hades” the souls and spirits of one-fourth of the world’s population in this single judgment.
J. Notice that each of these first four of the seal judgments are brought about by Christ (v.1,3,5,7), and not by Satan or the anti-Christ. Anyone who brings about any kind of persecution or judgment in the Tribulation is used as a tool of God for God’s purposes.
K. In 16:1, the bowl judgments begin. The words, “the seven bowls of the wrath of God,” are taught by some to indicate a pre-wrath rapture. Such a late catching up of believers in Christ would have those who accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, prior to the Tribulation, to remain on earth during each of the seal and trumpet judgments, then be raptured to Heaven. But, as Andy says in his sermon, Christ is not going to beat up on His bride “on the way to the Marriage.” Also, as Andy Woods states in his referenced sermon of this article, all of the judgments (seal, trumpet, bowl), are God’s wrath. As I have stated many times in my previous articles, “there is no reason for the church to go through the Tribulation, which was designed to bring Israel to saving faith in Christ ( Mt 23:39, Zech 12:10). If the church were to be left behind from the rapture, none of the judgments could make the saints (whom are as spiritually pure as Christ) to become any more righteous by being subjected to the judgments that God will cause to be poured out on a world of unbelievers (cf. 3:10).
L. In order to understand the Tribulation, it is important to understand the two key parties, whom are the anti-Christ and Israel. For most Christians, John 3:16 is supreme, and the end of the road. But, when we view God’s plan for the ages in its completeness, there are other key verses that tell of such Divine design, and completion.
M. Matthew 3:2 offered the promise of the Kingdom to Israel. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Conditions of the Kingdom were taught in Isaiah 65:25. 698 B.C. (SSB). Notice that peace will reign in Israel during the Kingdom. “The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the Lord.”
N. Christ taught the Jews about the Kingdom; He went to the Jews: (John 1:11) “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” If the Jews had accepted Christ as Messiah, they would have gone immediately into the Kingdom Age of the Millennial reign of Christ…..and….. we wouldn’t be here today.
O. The message of Christ to the Jews dealt with the Kingdom. The Kingdom, in relation to national Israel, was given in the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants. But, in order for any Jew to be able to enter the Kingdom, “they must have been born again;” they must be spiritually cleansed by God’s Holy Spirit. 1. See the following prophecy (Ez 36:24-29) from 587 B.C.(Scofield Study Bible). 2. John 3:3-5 is taught by many as being a requirement for Christian baptism. But, in verses 5-8, Christ explains that the new birth is a spiritual act of God, which is similar to Ez 36:24-29. The teachings of Ezekiel 36 and John 3 were addressed to the Jews about personal entry into the Kingdom age. The church didn’t even exist in either times of those teachings. 3. Paul also addressed the new birth in 2 Cor 5:17, in regard to Spiritual regeneration. Paul’s teaching deals with the Kingdom age of the Millennial reign of Christ, which will follow the Rapture and Tribulation. 4. It is important to know that the new birth guarantees those whom have been born again, an eternity with Christ in the Eternal State (Rev 21:1-3).
1. Ezekiel 36:24-29
24 For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. 28 You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God. 29 Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not bring a famine on you.
2. John 3:3.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
3. 2 Cor 5:17.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
4. Rev 21:1.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.
P. Consider the following verses that relate to Christ’s teachings about the Kingdom.
Matt 4:17, From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Matt 4:23, Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom…”
Q. In the sermon on the mount (Matt 5-7; Luke 6:20-49), Christ’s teachings (to Jews) were about the Kingdom age.
R. There was no prophecy of the church in the Old Testament. When the church was first mentioned in the New Testament, per Eph 5:32 “This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church,” it was discussed as a mystery because the church had not been mentioned by the Old Testament prophets. [Rom 11:25 note: “In scripture, a mystery is not a truth difficult to understand, but a truth previously unrevealed (and therefore unknown), which is not publicly proclaimed.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament.]
S. Going back to John 1:11, it was Christ’s mission to tell the Jews about the good news of the Kingdom (the Gospel of the Kingdom). In John Chap 4, Christ engages a Samaritan woman in conversation, and identifies Himself to her as being the Messiah (John 4:25-26), but does not discuss the Kingdom. Samaritans were the northern ten tribes that broke from the southern Kingdom in 931 B.C. (1 Kings 12:25); they were conquered by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. (2 Kings 17:6). The people of the northern tribes were taken from their land and carried them away into Assyria. The Assyrians moved non Jews into the vacated Jewish lands. When thode displaced Jews began to return to their former lands, they intermarried with the pagans who took the Jews’ lands. Therefore, the more pure Jews of the southern Kingdom had great disdain for their northern “half breed” Jewish relatives. (Everybody remembers the story of “the good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37).
T. In John 12:20-26, Greeks who were attracted to Judaism, and worshiped in their synagogues, and attended Feasts but were not proselytes, asked to see Jesus; but He denied their request.
U. The Jews had been taught about the Abrahamic covenant’s promise of a promised land, which will extend from the Nile River in Egypt to the Euphrates River in Iraq (Gen 15:18-21). They had also been taught about the Davidic covenant, where the Messiah would rule and reign in the Kingdom from Jerusalem (2 Sam 7:12-16). The Jews had been taught about the conditions of the Kingdom (Isa 2:1-4). Christ taught the Jews about the Kingdom on the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7, Luke 6:20-49).
V. The Jews were fully expecting a Kingdom of Jews, that would be ruled by a Messiah, also a Jew. But, in Matt Chap 8:11, they were probably astonished when Christ, being all-knowing said to them, “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” Christ knew that the Jews would reject Him as Messiah, and that Gentiles would accept Him as Messiah. (Ryrie note: Gentiles will be included in the blessings of the millennial reign of Christ on this earth.)
W. Despite the prophecies of the Messiah, and the personal teachings of Christ, we see His being rejected by Israel in Matt 21:1-23:39. The words of Christ to the Pharisees were very pointed:
1. 21:43: “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.”
Ryrie note. “taken away from you and given to a people, i.e., taken from the Jews and given to the church, which is composed largely of Gentiles (1 Pet 2:9).
2. 23:39, For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
Ryrie note. “from now on you will not see Me. I.e., I will no longer teach publicly. “until you say.” At the second coming of Christ, Israel will recognize and welcome their rejected Messiah (Zech 12:10).
X. Throughout Christ’s time with the Jews, His message to them was based on Old Testament prophecies. He should have been known by the Jews as, “God with you,” (Isa 7:14, Matt 1:23).
1. Micah 5:2. born in Bethlehem. Fulfilled in Matt 2:5-6. John 7:42.
2. Isaiah 7:14. born of a virgin. Fulfilled in Matt 1:23.
3. Psalm 118:22-23. rejected by His people. Fulfilled in Matt 21:42-43.
4. Isaiah 53:5. died for Israel’s spiritual healing. spoken to Israel (Isa 1:1), “our” “our” “our” (53:5). Fulfilled in Zech 12:10.
5. Isaiah 53:12. suffered for Israel, and for Gentiles through the Abrahamic covenant (Gen 12:3).” Fulfilled in Matt 27:38. Mark 15:2. Luke 23:32-33.
6. Isaiah 35:5-6. performed miracles. Fulfilled in John 11:47. Luke 7:21.
7. John 14:9. a direct statement to Jews of Christ’s deity. “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”
Y. It is important to keep in mind that the Old Testament of the Bible, which includes the four Gospels and Acts 1, relates to Israel. The New Testament has not pushed God’s chosen people aside (Deu 14:2; Rom 11:1, 29). Gentiles will be blessed through the Jews (Gen 12:3). 80% of the Bible is OT, and covers 4000 years; 20% is NT, and covers about 62 years. I used a page count from my 1977 NASB, which has few notes on each page, to determine the percentages of OT vs NT. This is not to say that we are under the Law. If you will read the sermon on the mount you will see OT teachings. With that in mind, consider whether you believe that we are held to Luke 6:30, “Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.” Here is food for thought. Consider going to a John Deere dealership and demanding a tractor, based on Luke 6:30.
A. We opened this discussion of Matt 3:2, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” From that point forward, if the Jews had accepted Christ as Messiah, Israel would have gone into the Kingdom Age. The scriptures show that Gentiles had noting to do with Israel accepting, or rejecting, Israel’s gift of the Kingdom; it was all about Christ and the Jews.
B. When Israel rejected the gift of the Kingdom, the door became open for Gentiles to “also” inherit the Kingdom, which will come from a combination of: (1) the rapture/resurrection and, (2) the return to earth with Christ after the Tribulation, which Christ discussed in Matt 24:3-31.
C. Because the Kingdom has been set aside for the Jews (Matt 21:43), the Tribulation will be used by God to draw Jews to saving faith in Christ (Matt 23:39), at which time the Jews will enter the Kingdom and will be governed by Christ (Zech 12:10, 13:9, 14:9, 2 Sam 7:10, 16).
D. The Tribulation is seen in a capsule view in Matthew 24. The expanded view of the Tribulation is seen in Revelation 6-19. The Millennium/Kingdom Age, is seen in Revelation 20, Zechariah 14:8-21, and other Old Testament scriptures.
VI. Information on Rev 6:1-8 can be found in a sermon of Dr. Andy Woods (Th.M., J.D., Ph.D.).
A. See YouTube: Revelation Episode 23 – Our Deepest Longing. Revelation 6:1-8
B. Dr. Andy Woods has a law degree from Whittier College and a PhD in Bible Exposition from Dallas Theological Seminary. He was a Full-Professor of Bible and Theology at the College Biblical Studies in Houston, TX (2009-2016). He is currently the President of Chafer Theological Seminary and Pastor of Sugar Land Bible Church. Andy also speaks on a variety of topics at Christian Conferences worldwide. Credentials of Dr. Woods can be found on my Equipping Site Page, “About Sources.” I encourage everyone to purchase Andy’s book, “The Coming Kingdom (Andrew M. Woods). Andy’s videos provide provide a great understanding of the Bible, as they have given me many fresh thoughts that have entered into articles that I have written.
VII. Video Details Of This Article.
A. The Four Horsemen of the Bible | Revelation 6
B. The Bible and the Earth
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