Sunday, June 19, 2011

Revelation Chapter Six, Part 1 of 6

6:1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
Judgment has begun. John was an eyewitness not only to Jesus Christ’s first advent, humility, crucifixion, death and resurrection; he would also be privy to witness Jesus as Judge over this world. If we go back again to John’s gospel we find Jesus telling His disciples, “If I will that he (John) remain until I come, what is that to you?” John 21:22. John did indeed remain until Jesus came again to visit him; this time with His revelation. It is not only a revelation of judgment on the earth, the nature of the Tribulation that will come on this earth and the kingdom that follows, but it is a revelation of His character. Chapter one of Revelation is most descriptive and informative. John is exiled on Patmos, and on this rocky, isolated isle Jesus visits the disciple whom He loves in glory. The images that John uses to describe Jesus at this point are deliberately taken from the Old Testament prophets; vivid descriptions that the prophets used when they saw the Lord of hosts, Jehovah.

Judgment does not commence until the first seal is broken. The first seal is not broken until the one who is worthy to take the scroll and to reign does so. As we enter chapter six we enter the portion of Revelation which does not directly concern Christians. We, the body of Christ, the church that was established on the day of Pentecost and has been growing since, will not be here. I say again: the church will not enter the Tribulation period. Christ has saved us from the wrath to come. No previous generation of saints had to endure God’s wrath by being left here while He punished a godless, Christ rejecting world; it is absurd to think that a particular generation has to suffer what none other did.

Chapter one of Revelation defines the person of Jesus Christ. Chapters two and three are the church letters, and it is here that Christians ought to be most interested, for in these letters our Lord graciously defined the nature of spiritual illnesses within the professing body of Christ and how they are to be remedied. We are presently living, to put it plainly, in chapters two and three of Revelation. These chapters address the church age. We are in the pause of time between Daniel’s sixty ninth and seventieth week, before God calls up His church to Heaven and resumes His dealings with rebellious Israel; and through them the world. Chapters four and five reveal the heavenly rejoicing of saints finally home with their God and Savior, and amongst a great and countless company of fellow believers. As the church we shall be privy to be witnesses in Heaven when the Lamb of God begins to break the seals that will commence the darkest period of earth’s history there will ever be: the Tribulation.

Here is what the prophets said regarding it:

Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come, Joel 1:15.

The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers, Zephaniah 1:14-16.

For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse, Malachi 4:1, 5-6.

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened, Matthew 24:21-22.

6:2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
There is some rampant speculation about the identity of this first “horseman.” Some believe that since he sits on a white horse this is the Lord Jesus Christ coming to begin His conquest of the earth. I am inclined to believe this is the Antichrist, Satan’s champion and the greatest Jesus replica he could manufacture. It seems that he will hail from the boundaries of the former Roman empire (Daniel 9:26), but since Rome’s borders stretched such a vast distance in ancient times speculation regarding his birth place and youth before his public advent is not only pointless but dangerous. Too many have spent a lot of time trying to deduce the identity of the Antichrist and every effort has, of course, been futile. It is like date setting for the Day of the Lord; some things God simply has withheld from us because we do not need to know them.

Paul addresses the arrival or revealing of the Antichrist, who he calls the “man of sin.” He informs Christians what hinders his arrival, and what condition must be satisfied before the Antichrist can publicly appear on the world stage.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved, 2nd Thessalonians 2:3-10.

The “falling away” referred to in this passage may not necessarily be an apostasy, but the Rapture of the saints to Heaven. The Greek word “apostasia” from which we derive the term “apostasy,” has two root words: “apo” which means “from or away” and “histemi” which can mean “to stand.” So apostasia can simply mean “to stand away.”

Considering this possibility, let us see what the passage reveals to us. The “falling away” or Rapture must precede the man of sin, the Antichrist. He will appear on the world stage and declare himself to be God, sitting in the Jewish temple and demanding worship from the world, which he shall by and large receive. “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship [the Beast], whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, Revelation 13:8. He mirrors the first deceit of Satan, his benefactor by trying to show himself that he is God, Isaiah 14:14.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Ian.

    I don't believe the Antichrist will attain full power until after the rapture, but we may see the basic framework in place and experience a lot of persecution as a result.

    I believe the Antichrist will portray himself as the savior of the world and many will accept him as such. The white horse portrays that perception.

    ReplyDelete

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