Saturday, May 9, 2020

Revelation: Seals


Revelation Seals Live meeting

When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoever reads, let him understand:) (Matthew 24:15)

We were told by our Lord that we should look for and recognize this event as being close to persecution and His return to rule and reign. Discussing the events surrounding the return of our Lord should invigorate the body of Christ. After all, we are all expectantly waiting for this time. Unfortunately, instead of uniting us as a body working for the Kingdom of Heaven, it often creates division and strife.

As we continue looking into the Book of Revelation, please remember that what we choose to believe concerning the return of the Lord doesn’t affect our salvation. We are all brothers and sisters, adopted into the family of God. If what you believe doesn’t line up with what I believe, that is okay. We can agree to disagree and celebrate the fact that one day, we will all know the truth!

Daniel’s Week


Previously we established a timeline of defined events that will happen in the final week before God’s wrath is poured out, just before Jesus returns. In this chapter of the Bible, past events are described in “weeks” which actually happened in that many “years.”

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate… (Daniel 9:27 AKJV)

We know that when this final week comes, the return of our Lord is at hand, even right at the door. When will this week begin? Are the seals connected to it?


1st Seals


...the Lamb opened one of the seals… And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given to him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. (Revelation 6:1-2 AKJV)

Most scholars agree that the person on the white horse is the Antichrist. The defining characteristics are:

      riding a horse - a symbol of power
      white - symbolic of self-righteousness
      bow - used with arrows which are words so his words will be weapons
      crown - symbolic of royal power and authority.

The Antichrist will come in power, seeming righteous, but only after self interest. He will be cunning with words and he is not a member of royalty but is “given a crown” so he is given the power and authority of a king even though he wasn’t born into it.

Timing

We must closely examine the scripture to see when this occurs. After Daniel’s week is described in chapter 9, some time later  he is given a prophecy of the rulers to come which will affect Israel, the final accounts centering around the rulers of Syria. All have been fulfilled except the final ruler:

And in his place or office [in Syria] shall arise a contemptuous and contemptible person, to whom royal majesty and honor of the kingdom have not been given. (Daniel 11:21 AMPC)

“In his place or office” is referring to the royal leadership role of Syria. A person assumes that place of authority but isn’t royal by birth. The American King James Version states it this way: “obtain the kingdom by flatteries.” It is not a godly person, but vile, who is manipulating behind the scenes. This perfectly fulfills the first seal. If we continue reading, we see there is more to happen before the seven year peace agreement is made:

Before him the overwhelming forces of invading armies shall be broken and utterly swept away;

yes, and a prince of the covenant [with those who were at peace with him] also [shall be broken and swept away]. (Daniel 11:22 AMPC)

This scripture has two parts: invading armies being swept away and a peace covenant. Syria has been in a constant of the turmoil from invaders since Israel was established as a nation.  The Antichrist will assume power, then the armies invading Syria will be “utterly swept away.” The Hebrew words for this mean the invading great armies are overcome or destroyed with great strength. AFTER this happens or possibly as it happens, a peace agreement is made.

We know Daniel’s week begins with the signing of a peace treaty with many. The first seal is about the Antichrist coming in power, which happens before the peace treaty. This means that the first seal could have already been broken.

I am not intimately aware of Syrian politics. I cannot tell you if there is a new player rising to power by manipulation behind the scene. I’m not sure if anyone could. But one thing we do know, the first seal isn’t necessarily the signing of the treaty, but the Antichrist coming into power, before that time. The verses that follow aptly describe not only what we know the enemy will do from prior studies and give additional information as well.

And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. (Daniel 11:23 AKJV)

He shall enter peaceably even on the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yes, and he shall forecast his devices against the strongholds, even for a time. (Daniel 11:24 AKJV)

He will first become popular with regular people, then the rich and powerful will align with him to gain more wealth. Finally after waging war and winning for a while, he loses when others come against him. Enraged at the loss he shows his true colors:

And armed forces of his shall appear [in the holy land] and they shall pollute the sanctuary, the [spiritual] stronghold, and shall take away the continual [daily burnt offering]; and they shall set up [in the sanctuary] the abomination that astonishes and makes desolate. (Daniel 11:31 AMPC)

This description fits with what we know the Antichrist will do in the middle of the seven year peace agreement. He causes the daily sacrifices to cease and rails at Heaven, God, and everyone there while declaring himself to be god.

With confidence, we can now place the first seal before Daniel’s Week. We can continue looking at these events, knowing that they will all happen during Daniels week.

Second Seal


And when he had opened the second seal... there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given to him a great sword. (Revelation 6:3-4 AKJV)

The next seal releases a horse of a different color with a different purpose:

      red: anger, war and destruction
      horse: power
      sword: words and strife with a long reach

War will come with great destruction. If we refer back to Daniel 11 we see that this could occur before or after the week begins because the Antichrist subdues the enemies of Syria before the covenant and then goes to war shortly after it is signed. 


Where will this war occur?
And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him. (Daniel 11:25 AKJV)
The countries directly south of Syria are Saudi Arabia and Iran. There is great wealth there that many desire: oil. He promises the wealthy more riches. What better place to find them in the day and age.



Antichrist Exploits 

At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter. (Daniel 11:29 AKJV)
  • After victory and riches gained, he begins turning against Israel
  • He goes out to attack again
For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. (Daniel 11:36 AKJV)
  • Chittim = ships of the Mediterranean Sea (Westerners) 
  • Sacrifices and offerings are taken away and Holy Place is polluted
When the Antichrist goes to war a second time, some of the Antichrist allies will not stand by him as he begins to attack God's people. However, some will be fooled and the next few verses who why:
And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. (Daniel 11:32 AKJV) 
And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. (Daniel 11:33 AKJV)
If you do not know God’s ways and are not walking in them, you may be corrupted by the nice things the Antichrist is saying. Those that hold strong will be persecuted and many will die. The leader of the enemies forces becomes bolder:
And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. (Daniel 11:36 AKJV)
As Christians are overcome and killed while those who don't know God's ways flock to the Antichrist, we know from other studies that:
  • Antichrist will declare himself to be god 
  • Happens at Mid-trib (Daniel 12:11-12)
These actions of the Antichrist will happen as the remaining seals are broken.

Third Seal

And when he had opened the third seal…  a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the middle of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see you hurt not the oil and the wine. (Revelation 6:5-6 AKJV)

Following war is famine. A severe shortage of food leads to astronomical prices for food. At the time this was written, it is estimated this meant that one days wage would pay for a loaf of bread.

The oil and wine are two ingredients used in healing at the time this was written. Oil is also symbolic of the anointing and wine represents the blood of Jesus. Perhaps God will still be miraculously providing for His people during this time. We will discuss the rapture and where Christians will be later.

During Daniel’s week there is an event that could explain when the seal is broken:

These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. (Revelation 11:6 AKJV)

When the two witnesses are prophesying and giving testimony, God gives them the power to:

      cause a drought during the 3.5 years they are prophesying.
      turn waters to blood
      smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will

Two anointed people will be prophesying and giving testimony as God instructs them to. With no water, a drought could limit the amount of food. If the water is turned into blood, how will crops grow?

This seal could easily occur 1 year or more into Daniels week.

Fourth Seal

And when he had opened the fourth seal…  behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given to 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. (Revelation 6:7-8)

Death quickly follows famine for we see hunger is one of the tools used for death to take life. It is interesting to note that only one-fourth “part of the earth.” Since it is part of the earth and not a percentage of mankind, it is likely that only some countries will experience the effects of this seal.

When the seven year peace treaty is signed, how will you prepare for what is to come? Don’t wait! The time to prepare is now. If we remain close to God, learn to hear from Him, then we will be ready.

      Jesus fed thousands with a couple of fish and a loaf a bread
      He turned water into wine

If we learn His ways now, learn to hear from Him, we will be ready for whatever happens.

Fifth Seal


And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, do you not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? (Revelation 6:9-10 AKJV)

This seal is about the persecution of Christians who will die resisting the Antichrist. There are two anointed witnesses prophesying and calling down disastrous plagues. This will create a hostile atmosphere for Christians.  When push comes to shove, where will you stand when God’s ways are being declared with force behind it? When suffering comes because of testimony given, will you side with man or God?

We are warned that there will be a great “falling away” before the Lord returns:

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first... (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

If God’s anointed declare a plague where your brother, sister, or mother lives and they are affected, what will your response be? Those who stand by their faith in Jesus may well lose their lives.  There are two verses that can shed some light on when this seal may be broken:

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives to the death. (Revelation 12:11)

We know that Christians are killed before the halfway point of Daniel’s week or as some call it, mid-tribulation (mid-trib), because that is what is necessary for Satan to be overcome and cast down to the earth at the mid-trib point.

 And white robes were given to every one of them; and it was said to them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brothers, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Revelation 6:11)

The “waiting for a little season” could refer to the rest who would be killed when Satan is cast down to the Earth at the mid-trib point.

Let’s continue looking at the seals: the sixth one will bring more clarity.

Sixth Seal

...when he had opened the sixth seal... there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. (Revelation 6:12-13)

The Greek word aster is translated “stars.” It is the same word used earlier in the same manuscript where it is actually defined for us:

The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches… (Revelation 1:20)

Stars of Heaven falling to earth is now clearly seen as Satan’s army being kicked out of Heaven. We know when this event will happen from prior studies:

And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three score days. (Revelation 12:5)

We can say with certainty that the sixth seal will be broken in the middle of Daniel’s week. If we continue reading, we see the seriousness of the earthquake that accompanies this event:

And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. (Revelation 6:14)

If every mountain and island are moving then this is a serious earthquake. Will this calamity be enough to convince the world to go to a paperless system? The next verse shows the state of the hearts of men:

And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every slave, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6:15-17)

The earth and the hearts of man will be shaken as the sixth seal is broken.


7th Seal

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. (Revelation 8:1-2)

The seventh seal is the seven trumpets. Trumpets sound a warning or announce that something is coming. In this case, they are announcing that God’s wrath will be poured out! They are not God’s wrath, they are a warning that it is coming.



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