Today's reading included the seals and the trumpets. These signal the beginning of the end for the earth. I am always astounded to read this because I am amazed that God allowed John to see into the future and tell us about it – and that mankind as a whole doesn't take it seriously. The seventh seal contains the seven trumpets, and the seventh trumpet contains the seventh bowl.
The White Horse represents unparalleled world peace, ushered in by antichrists (anyone who is against Christ is by definition antichrist), culminating in the appearance of THE Antichrist. Some commentators think that this horse represents only the “big deal” antichrist. The rider has a bow, a symbol of war, but no arrows, showing that this peace is brought about through covenants and not battle. Daniel spoke of this as well.
“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.” Dan 9:24-27 (ESV)
The Red Horse represents war. The world will become even more violent than it is now.
The Black Horse represents famine which happens as a result of the war's destruction of our food supply. People will spend an entire day working for enough food to feed themselves (not their family). Violence will escalate as those who are hungry take from those who have food.
The Pale Horse. The Greek uses a word that is the basis for our word chlorophyll. This horse is pale, sickly green reminiscent of a corpse. This rider is permitted to kill 25% of the world's population.
The first four seals brought horses, false peace, war, famine and death. The fifth seal reveals praying saints asking God for vengeance. This represents the midpoint of the Tribulation and ushers in the Great Tribulation. God answers their prayers, but says that they have to wait a little longer, until a specific number of martyrs have been slain.
The Sixth Seal is the beginning of God's direct intervention. The previous seals allowed man to kill each other. Now God is using His creation to show man that He is serious – and man begins to fear.
When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Rev 6:12-17 (ESV)
People recognize that the judgment is coming from God, yet they choose to remain unrepentant. This seal begins the time that the Prophets called the Day of the Lord.
For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 1 Thess 5:2-6 (ESV)
Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the Lord of hosts in the day of his fierce anger. Isaiah 13:13 (ESV)
Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains a great and powerful people; their like has never been before, nor will be again after them through the years of all generations. Fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns. The land is like the garden of Eden before them, but behind them a desolate wilderness, and nothing escapes them. Their appearance is like the appearance of horses, and like war horses they run. As with the rumbling of chariots, they leap on the tops of the mountains, like the crackling of a flame of fire devouring the stubble, like a powerful army drawn up for battle. Before them peoples are in anguish; all faces grow pale. Like warriors they charge; like soldiers they scale the wall. They march each on his way; they do not swerve from their paths. They do not jostle one another; each marches in his path; they burst through the weapons and are not halted. They leap upon the city, they run upon the walls, they climb up into the houses, they enter through the windows like a thief. The earth quakes before them; the heavens tremble. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. The Lord utters his voice before his army, for his camp is exceedingly great; he who executes his word is powerful. For 7the day of the Lord is great and very awesome; who can endure it? Joel 2:1-11 (ESV)
The earth's inhabitants ask who can stand at the end of Chapter 6. In Chapter 7, we receve our answer – the 144,000 sealed Jews and their converts.
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Rev 7:9-14 (ESV)
The Seventh Seal brings an earthquake as well as the seven trumpet judgments (higher intensity judgments) and seven bowl judgments (highest intensity judgments). These judgments occur in the last 3 ½ years of the Tribulation.
First Trumpet – Fire (volcanoes?) burns up 1/3 of the world's trees and all of its grass.
Second Trumpet – Meteor falls; 1/3 of the oceans become blood; 1/3 of sea life and ships are destroyed.
Third Trumpet – Comet? 1/3 of fresh water polluted and many die.
Fourth Trumpet – 1/3 of stars, moon and sun dimmed. This will cause changes in the meteorology and biology of the entire planet.
Fifth Trumpet – demon invasion, stinging unbelievers and making them want to kill them but they will be unable to do so.
Sixth Trumpet – four angels released from captivity; 1/3 of mankind is killed. Sadly, even though all of this has happened...
The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. Rev 9:20-21 (ESV)
God gives us a respite from all the carnage, and in Chapter 10 we see an angel with two scrolls. One is a “mighty” scroll, and we don't know what was in it because John wasn't allowed to saw. He was told to eat the little scroll.
“Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.” Rev 10:9-11 (ESV)
It's been an exciting and revolting day. I know that God's Word is true, but it boggles my mind to know that people will see all of these judgments and still refuse to acknowledge the Creator of the universe.
May your Christmas celebration be filled with peace, joy and love – the kind that only comes through the love of Jesus Christ. Remember that it's HIS birthday! See you tomorrow.