The Revelation Part 1

Rightly Dividing
The Revelation...Part 1
                                                                                                  By Pastor F. M. Riley
                                                                                                  May 15, 2010
                                                                                                  Revised August 25, 2014
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    About the Time of the End, a body of men will be raised up who will turn their
attention to the Prophecies, and insist upon their literal interpretation, in the midst of
much clamor and opposition.   
                                                                   Sir Isaac Newton…..1642 - 1727

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    “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass;  and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John:
    Who bare record of the Word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 
    Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the Words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein:  for the time is at hand.”

                                                                                        Revelation 1:1-3

INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF REVELATION

I.        The Revelation of Jesus Christ   1:1
          A.     Revelation [apokalupsis
                   1.     This Greek word is used 17 times in the New Testament
                   2.     This word means “to reveal, unveil, or make known”
          B.     Given to the Lord Jesus Christ by God the Father  John 5:20  12:48-50
          C.     John was not the author of this inspired book
                   1.     John was only the scribe chosen to write the vision  1:1-2
          D.     Revelation is the only book in the Bible given to the inspired
                   writer directly from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself   1:1-2  1:17-19
II.      Given to Show God’s Servants   1:1
          A.     The children of God; true believers
          B.     This Revelation was not given to lost people
1.      Spiritual truth is spiritually discerned   1 Corinthians 2:11-14
         John 6:44-45   Matthew 16:17
          C.     Given to reveal the future to God’s people   1:1   2 Peter 1:19-21
III.     A Book of Signs   1:1
A.            Sign-i-fied [semaino]
                      1.     This Greek word is used 6 times in the New Testament
2.       This word means “to reveal by a sign or symbol”
B.            Signs or symbols in God’s Word always convey literal truth
IV.     A Book of Prophecy   1:3
A.             Prophecy [propheteia]…..Not history
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                      At the time this vision was given to John everything in
the vision was future except the introductory first chapter  
           B.       A question of authority
                      1.     Who will you believe? God’s inspired Word?  
                              Or…..man’s uninspired opinion?
V.       A Book of Blessings   1:3
           A.       A special blessing pronounced upon those who:
                      1.     Read [anaginosko]   Means “to learn; to know well”
                      2.     Hear [akouo]   Means “to give ear; heed; listen attentively”
                      3.     Keep [tereo]   Means “to keep; watch; observe”
           B.       Urgent attention required   “the time is at hand”
                      1.     Time [kairos]   Means “fixed time; appointed season”

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    What follows will be an exposition of the Book of Revelation, chapters four through twenty-two.  This exposition will be based upon my deep conviction that the inspired Scriptures are to be taken at face value for what they literally and actually say, and not on what some men would like to make them say.  
    I make no claim as to originality nor infallibility for the truths which I will be setting forth in this exposition.  Many true men of God have gone before me in proclaiming and writing about these great truths, preparing the way for this exposition.  I thank God for each one of them and for the truths for which they faithfully contended and passed down to us who are living today.
    Those readers who want to know the literal truth about what is staring humanity in the face right now, should carefully read this exposition.  Those who do not want the literal truth facing mankind upon the earth might as well stop reading right here.  It is my intention in this exposition to expound the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth set forth in the prophetic Scriptures, about what mankind upon the earth, who has “forgotten God” and turned away from our Creator is right now imminently facing, Psalm 9:17.        
     My prayer is that God my Father, the Lord Jesus Christ my Savior, and the blessed Holy Spirit my indwelling Comforter and Guide, will be pleased and glorified in and through this exposition of His Word.  In Jesus name…..

STUDY NOTES:


















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THE THREE INSPIRED DIVISIONS OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION

     “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.  And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me,  Fear not;  I am the first and the last:
    I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore,  Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
    Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.”     
                                                                             Revelation 1:17-19

    The revelation was divided into three divisions by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.   Outlined and illustrated below are the three divisions set in place by the Lord.

PAST                                                PRESENT                                            FUTURE

“the things which                       “the things which are”                       “the things which
thou hast seen”                                                                                       shall be hereafter”

CHAPTER ONE                    CHAPTERS TWO – THREE                CHAPTERS FOUR
                                                                                                                     THROUGH         
                                                                                                                  TWENTY-TWO
                                                  
      1:4-5;18                                       Ephesians 3:2                                          4:1
The personal ministry               The Dispensation of Grace                 Rapture of the saints
of Christ.  His death,                        The Church Age
burial, and resurrection.    
         1:1-3 1:9-20                                 2:1 – 3:22                                      4:2 – 19:21
John on the Isle of Patmos         Prophetic preview of the               The Tribulation Period
His vision of Christ in the                    Church Age                                of Seven Years
   midst of the churches.                 1.   Ephesus                                 Two periods of three
John instructed to write                 2.   Smyrna                                     and one-half years
this vision in a book and                3.   Pergamos                                    in each period. 
   send it to the seven                     4.   Thyatira                               The Antichrist will rise
     churches in Asia.                      5.    Sardis                                     to power during the 
                                                       6.   Philadelphia                         first half, and will reign
                                                       7.   Laodicea                                 during the last half.
                                                                                                                   20:1-15  
                                                                                                      The 1,000 years Millennial
                                                                                                     Kingdom of Christ upon  the
                                                                                                      earth, followed by the Great
                                                                                                         White Throne Judgment.
                                                                                                                  21:1 – 22:21
                                                                                                          The Ages to Come!
                                                                                                  New Heavens and a New Earth.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                         Ephesians 1:10   2:7
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    No man [or woman] can ever “rightly divide” the Book of Revelation, and ignore, explain away, or outright deny, these three inspired divisions of the Book of Revelation which were set in place by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  Right division of this inspired book of prophecy cannot be accomplished unless these three divisions are acknowledged, respected, and upheld.   
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THE LETTERS TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES

Revelation 2 – 3

A Divinely Inspired Prophetic Overview of Christianity as a Movement

CHURCH               PERIOD               MEANING OF NAME                          THEME
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EPHESUS                 70……170 A.D.      To let go; to relax                             Backsliding
SMYRNA                  171…..312               Bitterness                                           Chastised
PERGAMOS             313…..605               Marriage                                     Compromising
THYATIRA              606…..1520             Burning incense                                Idolatrous
SARDIS                    1521….1750            The escaping one                                       Dead
PHILADELPHIA     1751….1948             Brotherly love                                       Revived
LAODICEA             1949…..????             Judgment of the people                        Rejected

Discerning between the True and the False

    A careful study of the church letters reveals that in every century from the personal ministry of the Lord until the end of this present dispensation, there have always been true churches and true believers who NEVER identified with Paganism, Romanism, or Protestantism.  Such true churches and believers will still be in existence when the Lord calls His bride to meet Him in glory, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Colossians 3:4; Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 2:19-22.  The true will be caught up to glory, but the false will be left on the earth, rejected and vomited out by Christ, to enter the Tribulation.  Take heed! 
CHURCH              THE TRUE                                            THE FALSE
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EPHESUS              “hast not fainted”                                    “deeds of the Nicolaitanes”

SMYRNA              “thou art rich”                                        “synagogue of Satan”

PERGAMOS         “thou holdest fast My name”                  “doctrine of Balaam”
                                                                                               “doctrine of the Nicolaitanes”

THYATIRA           “as many as have not this                       “Jezebel”
                                doctrine, and which have                        “them that commit adultery
                                not known the depths of Satan”               with her”
                                                                                                “her children”

SARDIS                  “a few names even in Sardis                   “thou hast a name that thou
                                 which have not defiled their                    livest, and art dead”
                                 garments”  

PHILADELPHIA   “thou hast….kept My Word,                   “synagogue of Satan”
                                 and hast not denied My name”

LAODICEA            “if any man hear My voice,                   “thou art lukewarm”
                                  and open the door”                              “I will spue [vomit] thee out”

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The Salutations in Each Church Letter

EPHESUS                “These things saith…..He that holdeth the seven stars in His right
                                    hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks”   
                                    
SMYRNA                 “the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive”

PERGAMOS            “He which hath the sharp sword with two edges” 

THYATIRA             “the Son of God, who hath His eyes like unto a flame of fire, and
                                    His feet are like fine brass”

SARDIS                    “He that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars” 

PHILADELPHIA    “He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David,
                                     He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no
                                     man openeth”

LAODICEA              “the AMEN, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of
                                     the creation of God”

The Promises to the Overcomer in each Church Letter

EPHESUS                  “To him that overcometh…..will I give to eat of the tree of life,
                                       which is in the midst of the paradise of God”

SMYRNA                   “shall not be hurt of the second death”

PERGAMOS              “will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a
                                       white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no 
                                       man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” 

THYATIRA                “and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power
                                       over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron;
                                       as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even
                             as I received of My Father” 

SARDIS                      “the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not
                                       blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess
                                       his name before My Father, and before His angels” 

PHILADELPHIA      “will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall
                                       go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My
                                      God, and the name of the city of My God, which is New
                                      Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God:
                                      and I will write upon him My new name”

LAODICEA              “will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also
                                      overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne”


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THE DRAMA OF REVELATION ILLUSTRATED
                                                     Approximate timing of events in
Revelation 4:1 through 20:3

THE SCENE              RAPTURE                                        REVELATION
                                     !     1260 Days       !      1260 Days     !
                                     !                             !                             !
         ACT 1                 !                             !                             !                                                                         
The Seven Seals           !                             !                            !
      4 – 5                       !..                           !                             !  Heavenly Scenes
      6                             !   ………………..!                             !  Six seals opened
The 144,000                 !                             !                             !
      7:1-8                      !                              !                            !  Saved, sealed, sent to
                                     !.............................!                             !  minister the Word
      7:9-17                     !   ………………..!............................!  Great multitude saved
       ACT II                  !                              !                            !
The Seven Trumpets    !                              !                            !     
       8:1-5                      !                              !............................!  7th seal opened
       8:6 – 10:11            !..…………………!                            !   Six trumpets sound
      11:1-6                     !..............................!                            !  Two Witnesses minister
      11:7-10                   !                              !.                           !  Two Witnesses killed
      11:11-14                 !                              !..                          !  Two Witnesses raised
      11:15-19                 !                              !  ………………..!  7th trumpet sounds
                                      !                             !                             !
 PARENTHETICAL    !                             !                             !  
   (details filled in)        !                              !                            !
      12:1-12                   !                            ..!............................!  Satan cast down to earth
      12:13-17                 !                              !..………………..!  Israel persecuted
      13:1-10                   !                              !............................!  First beast rises to power
      13:11-18                 !                              !............................!  Second beast empowered
      14:1-5                     !                              !............................!  144,000 in heaven
      14:6-11                   !                              !............................!  Angels preach the gospel
      14:12-13                 !                              !............................!  Believers martyred
      14:14-20                 !                              !............................!  The wicked harvested
                                      !                              !                            ! 
          ACT III               !                              !                            !
        15:1 – 16:1           !                              !..                          !  God’s wrath prepared
       16:2-21                  !                              !  ………………..!  God’s wrath poured out
                                      !                              !                            ! 
PARENTHETICAL     !                              !                            !
       17:1-10                  !...............................!                           !  Mystery Babylon rides
       17:11-18                !                               !.                          !  The whore destroyed
       18:1-24                  !                               !...........................!  Literal Babylon’s doom
                                      !                               !                           ! 
EPILOGUE                  !                               !                           ! 
       19:1-16                  !                               !                          .!. The return of Christ
       19:17-21                !                               !                          .!.  Armageddon
       20:1-3                    !                               !                           !.  Satan chained    



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NOTES ON THE PRECEDING CHART

DANIEL’S 70TH WEEK

    The Book of Revelation, chapters 4 through 20:3, covers the entire seven year Tribulation period; the same period of time often referred to as Daniel’s 70th Week, Daniel 9:24-27.  The Tribulation is a period of seven years which the Word itself divides into two periods of 3 ½ years, 1,260 days, or 42 months in each period.
    Today there are many who fancy themselves to be “prophecy teachers” who are denying that the Tribulation period is seven years in length, primarily because they cannot find the exact statement, “seven year Tribulation,” anywhere in God’s Word.  Ho boy!  Big deal!  What a dumb reason for rejecting the truth of God’s Word.   Ignorance gone to seed!
    I think I can safely say that none of these fellows can find the words automobile, airplane, television, computer, or a thousand other things that mankind uses every day, mentioned anywhere in the entire Bible either, but they don’t seem to reject the reality of those things existing.  In fact, I highly suspect that any of these fellows, when they want to get from point A to point B, will climb in their automobile and drive there.  Hasn’t anyone ever told them that their automobile doesn’t really exist because the word is not found in the Bible?  Sic! 
    Is it also just too much of a “strain on the brain” for these fellows to add 1,260 days for the first half of the Tribulation [Revelation 11:3], and forty two months [Revelation 11:2…1,260 days] for the second half of the Tribulation,  and come up with 2,520 days for the length of the whole Tribulation, which is 7 years of 360 days to the year?  I would like to give expositors of the Scriptures credit for having some intelligence, but I find that hard to do for those who come up with “dumb” arguments like these!  Hello! 
    Then there are those who absolutely refuse to believe that the seven year Tribulation is the same as “Daniel 70th Week,” because, according to them, Christ fulfilled the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week by His personal ministry, so there are only 3 ½ years remaining to be fulfilled by the Tribulation.  This claim is another crock of unscriptural garbage. There is no way that Christ fulfilled the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week by His personal ministry.  In spite of the assumption that many make today, the personal ministry of Christ Jesus WAS NOT 3 1/2 years in length, and this can easily be demonstrated by the Scriptures.  See my study entitled The Seven Year Tribulation.  It will be sent to any reader upon request.
     The seven year Tribulation and Daniel’s 70th Week are one and the same period of time, and it is well established by the Scriptures as being seven years in length.  PERIOD!

A GREAT DRAMA
   
     What many prophecy teachers fail to realize is that John’s vision of this seven year period is set forth in God’s Word in the form of a drama, prophesied to be played out in reality in human history.
     The obvious reason it is set forth in the form of a drama is due to the amount of material being covered.  Due to many events going on at the same time, both in Heaven and in the earth all over the world, it would have been impossible to show John everything that was happening in  consecutive order.  Therefore the Lord revealed these events to John in the form of a drama (a three act play), with the different scenes depicting only one series of events at a time.  The first two scenes [the seals and the trumpets] overlap.  The last scene [the vials (bowls)] is confined to the last half of the Tribulation period.   
    Between the three major scenes omitted details are filled in with what is commonly called “parenthetical passages.” In other words, details of other things that are going on while the seals are being opened, the trumpets are being blown, and the vials (bowls) are being poured out. These parenthetical details give God’s people who are seriously studying John’s vision, the needed information to tie the whole vision together into a logical sequence of events. 
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    In addition to the three main acts in this drama, there is also a fourth act which the Lord has chosen not to reveal until the Tribulation actually occurs.  The fourth act is the events which will occur in connection with the sounding of the seven thunders, Revelation 10:3-4.  No!  Your favorite preacher DOES NOT KNOW what occurs when the seven thunders sound, regardless of his or her claim.  The Scripture are quite plain that these events are “sealed,” 10:4.  The judgments brought by these seven thunders WILL NOT be known until they occur. PERIOD!  Believe what God’s inspired Word says!   Read Deuteronomy 29:29. 
    Notice that when the 7th seal is opened, 8:1-5, the 7th trumpet is sounded, 11:15-19, and the 7th vial [bowl] is poured out, 16:17-18, the exact same events occur; “voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.”   This suggests that each of these “sevens” ends at exactly the same time.  This is indicated on the chart. 

ACT I   SCENE 1

    This scene is set forth in chapters 4 – 5.  It begins with the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of New Covenant believers in 4:1, and their “catching up” to Heaven in 4:2.  John’s description perfectly harmonizes with the description given by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:50-52, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, and Philippians 3:20-21. 
    Then in his vision John begins describing the very first scenes in Heaven which every true New Covenant believer is going to see immediately after the Pre-tribulation rapture has occurred.
     What a day of rejoicing that will be for every true believer, and a time of praising and worshiping our Heavenly Father and our precious Savior.  John first describes seeing our Heavenly Father sitting on His throne in glory in 4:3. 
    Then John describes seeing the 24 elders sitting on 24 thrones round about the throne of the Father in Heaven, 4:4.  These 24 elders are symbolic of the raptured New Covenant believers, including the Lord’s New Covenant church.  This is obvious for several reasons…..
    [1]   The 24 elders are sitting on thrones.  The Greek word translated as “seats” in this Scripture is “thronos,” which literally means “thrones.”  Check it out for yourself in your Concordance or Lexicon.  Thus these 24 elders represent the Lord’s New Covenant people and church, of whom the Lord promised that we New Covenant believers would “rule and reign” with Him over His coming Millennial Kingdom.  Study the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:1-30, the Parable of the Pounds in Luke 19:11-27, and John’s own inspired statement in Revelation 1:4-6.
    [2]   True New Covenant believers are saved “by grace through faith,” Ephesians 2:8-10.  The Bible number which signifies “Grace” is number 5.  The Bible number which signifies “faith” is number 19.  These two numbers, 5 + 19, add up to 24.  Hello!
    [3]    Notice that in John’s description the 24 elders are clothed “in white raiment,” and they  have “crowns of gold” upon their heads, clearly indicating that they are kings.  Compare Revelation 19:7-8 and 19:14.  Our readers might also want to notice Zechariah 14:5 and 1 Thessalonians 3:13. 
    [4]   The 24 elders themselves, as they worship the Lord who redeemed us, sing “a new song” in 5:8-10, explicitly saying to the Lord, “Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” 
    It should be glaringly obvious to any reader willing to deal honestly with the Scriptures that there are far more than 24 kindreds and tongues and peoples and nations on this earth.  Therefore the number 24 is symbolic of those raptured saints who were saved by grace through faith, and has nothing to do with the total number of those raptured.  Notice they specifically state in their victory song, that they have been “redeemed…..out of” the kindreds, tongues, peoples and nations.  How are we “redeemed?”  By “grace through faith” in the finished work of Christ on the cross in our behalf.  5 + 19 = 24.  This also makes it clear that these 24 elders are no longer
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on the earth when they sing this new song of redemption.  They are in Heaven singing, rejoicing,
 praising, and worshiping the Lord.   So how do they get there?  They are “caught up” to glory in the Pre-tribulation rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.  This is the glory that is awaiting every true New Covenant believer today.  Glory to God!  Praise the Lord!  Do not ever allow any man to steal your “blessed hope,” Titus 2:11-15.   
     These Heavenly scenes introduce the Seven Sealed Book in chapter 5, which the Lord, after taking the book from the Father, begins to open in chapter 6.  This seven sealed book is the Title Deed to this entire earth.  Notice that John at first wept bitterly because “no man” had been found worthy to open that book, 5:1-4
     I would remind our readers that this entire earth was given to Adam by our Lord at the dawn of human history, Genesis 1:26-30.  But Adam lost possession of it by his disobedience and transgression, Romans 5:12.  This earth passed into the possession of Satan, 2 Peter 2:19.  This is why the inspired Word explicitly states that Satan is presently “the god of this world,” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.   God gave this earth and everything in it and on it to the “man,” Adam.   Therefore, according to God’s Law, it is only “a man” who is a Kinsman, and who has any “legal” right to look upon and call for the Title Deed to redeem the earth that was lost.  John knew this truth, and wept bitterly, because if no “man” could be found to fill the role of the Kinsman Redeemer, the earth would forever remain in the possession of, and under the dominion of, wicked old Satan, the enemy of God and righteousness and everything that is  good and just and right.  Looking at what this world has become over the past 4,000 years since the flood, with Satan running the whole world system, [1 John 2:15-17] I can easily understand why John wept.  As wicked and violent as this world is today, just consider what it would be under Satan’s continued domination in another thousand years.  God have mercy! 
    But one of the 24 elders assured John that He who is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” had prevailed [conquered; overcome] to open the book and loose the seals on the book, 5:5.   John then saw the risen living “Lamb of God” standing in the midst of the whole congregation assembled before God’s throne in Heaven, and watched Him as He came and took the book out of the Father’s hand, 5:6-7.  Glory to God!  Praise to the Lamb! 
     When Christ Jesus takes the book as our Kinsman Redeemer, then a great time of rejoicing begins in Heaven, ascribing to the Lord Jesus Christ the honor and glory due to Him as the Redeemer and the Creator, 5:8-14. 

ACT 1   SCENE 2

     This scene is set forth in chapter 6.  Each of these seals on the book, when opened, contain the terms for redeeming the earth, and restoring it back to its rightful owners.  Notice that each seal, when opened, brings forth a judgment.  Remember this when you study about the opening of the seals.  Sin and rebellion can only be paid for “legally” by the terrible price of “death,” Genesis 2:16-17; Romans 6:23.   Either the death of Christ Jesus on our behalf will be received into the heart and soul of a repentant believing sinner, or those who refuse to repent and receive Christ will have to face judgment and death for themselves.  That is the terms of redemption for the earth and all that is in it, under each of the seals that are on the book.  Compare 6:8. 
      Each time the Lord opens one of the seals in Heaven, an important event occurs on the earth.  The opening of these seals by the Lord literally portrays our Kinsman-Redeemer granting authority for these judgments to come upon mankind on the earth.  The Lord is in charge and none of these events can or will occur before the time that He calls for them to “come.”  These judgments which occur upon the opening of each of the seals are the natural consequences  of the course which God hating, Christ rejecting, mankind upon the earth is following today.  These judgments which occur as these seals are opened are for the purpose of “testing” or “trying” mankind on the earth to see, if under the most terrible circumstances which mankind has ever experienced in human history, men will seek after the Lord when these trials come upon them.  Compare the statement of the Lord in Revelation 3:10.
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    The opening of the FIRST SEAL has to do with the coming of the prophesied anti-christ on the world scene, 6:1.  John briefly describes the appearance of the anti-christ in 6:2.
    The anti-christ is briefly described as riding upon a white horse, and carrying a bow.  John further says that “a crown was given to him.”  In other words, he DOES NOT appear on the world scene with a crown on his head.  Rather, the crown is given to him sometime after his appearance on the world scene. This indicates that he will become a political figure, even though he first appears as a “holy man” as signified by his riding a white horse.  For centuries conquerors and kings have rode white horses in their triumphal entries to signify their intentions to rule over their conquered subjects in purity and with justice and judgment for all.  Sic!
    Much silly speculation has been made by “prophecy teachers” over his carrying of a bow.  Some claim it to be a long bow, others a cross bow, with which he can quietly slay his opposition.  And much silliness has been attached to the fact that no arrows are mentioned.  But what if his “bow” is not a weapon at all?  There are different kinds of “bows” in the world.  What prominent world figure living today carries a “bow” with him every time he appears in public?  And what kind of “bow” is it that he carries?   Think about it!   Hello! 
     I have previously written two Bible studies on the identity of this rider on the white horse in this 6th chapter of Revelation.  I will be glad to send both or either of those studies to any reader requesting them. 
    When the SECOND SEAL is opened, a rider on a red horse appears on the world scene, 6:3-4.  Folks, when we seriously consider these first four seals which are opened, it is glaringly obvious that a progression is being made by the opening of each seal.  Therefore the rider on each horse is the same person introduced at the opening of the first seal.  In other words, what is set forth in the opening of these first four seals is the coming of the anti-christ on to the world scene, and his  progressive reign over humanity left on the earth after the pre-tribulation rapture has occurred and the Tribulation has begun. 
    I would point out to our readers that a wicked man who claims to be a “holy man” can only fool the people for a limited amount of time.  At some point the people are going to see through his disguise.  Then, just like all despotic rulers before him, he will have to resort to brute force in order to keep himself in power. 
    This red horse signifies WAR and BLOODSHED.  It is clearly stated that this rider was given the power “to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another, and there was given him a great sword,” 6:4.  Why does WAR break out shortly after the anti-christ comes on the world scene?  I can immediately think of two logical and  Scriptural reasons for it…..
    [1]    Immediately following the rapture, there will be thousands [millions?] of lost people left on the earth which will realize that the pre-tribulation rapture, preached by us today who are presently regarded as “fanatical Christians,” really did occur, and that the Bible really is true.  Hundreds of thousands of lost people, out of every nation on earth, will then turn to the God of the Bible in repentance and faith, seeking salvation and placing their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word.  In fervently reading the Bible they will also recognize that the so-called “holy man” on the world scene, is not a “holy man” at all, but rather is the anti-christ, whom the inspired Word prophesied would come.  Those who become believers at that time will then resist this so-called “holy man,” and will begin to expose him to the whole world as the “counterfeit christ.” 
     This will absolutely infuriate the anti-christ, and he will issue a command to destroy every person on earth who has become a believer in the God of Israel and in the Savior set forth in God’s inspired Word; the Holy  Bible.  He will also, as the Roman religion has attempted to do in the past, seek to find and destroy every copy of the Bible on the face of the earth.
    [2]    Notice that it is explicitly stated that “there was given to him a great sword.”  I have realized for years that at some point in the future the Roman religion and the Islamic religion would have to make a compromise with each other, simply because they are the two largest religions on the face of the earth and both of them seek to dominate the whole religious world.
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    Therefore these two evil world religions will have to make a compromise, or else go to war seeking to destroy each other.   Now what religion on earth today still emphasizes the power of “the sword” and uses it as the preferred method of execution for all of their enemies?  And how do they preferably execute their enemies?  By beheading them!  Now what does the inspired Word say about the killing of those who become martyrs for Christ during the coming Tribulation period?  Read Revelation 20:4.  
    Folks, I have no doubt that right at the time when this second seal is opened, the Roman religion and the Islamic religion will make a deal and come together as the prophesied one-world religious system headed up by the Papal system in Rome.  The anti-christ will then be given the “great sword” of the Muslim religion, for the wicked Muslim leaders will reason that they are doing a service to Allah by cooperating with the Papal system.  Their “great sword” will then be exercised against every soul on earth who turns to the God of Israel and the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation during the Tribulation period.  Now read 6:9-11 and connect the dots. 
     If one wants to understand and “rightly divide” the Revelation, and the world events leading up to it, then they need to get serious, and the key word is “STUDY,” 2 Timothy 2:15.
    Now we move on to the opening of the THIRD SEAL, where we see the anti-christ riding a black horse, 6:5-6.    
    Folks, when war prevails in a country, or as in this case, all over the earth, the fields cannot be plowed and prepared for sowing seed.  No crops can be produced or gathered in.  Food will become the most valued and sought after commodity on earth.   Famine will spread all over the earth, effecting all of mankind left on the earth after the pre-tribulation rapture. 
     To make matters even worse, the government of the anti-christ will seize all known food supplies by force  Yes, I do mean that government thugs will come right into the homes of those left on earth, and seize any food supplies they have stored or hoarded.  The food will be taken to a central location selected by the government, and the people will have to look to the government for whatever food they will be allotted.  World wide food rationing will be imposed on humanity. This is clearly indicated by the “balances” [scales] being used to weigh out only a certain amount of food and no more, 6:6.   Enough wheat to bake one loaf of bread will be SOLD by the government for a day’s wages.  Those who don’t have a job or money to pay for the food will starve.  Millions of people will starve to death.  I highly suspect that the elderly and little children will suffer the worst.  Cannibalism will become common on the earth as humans kill and eat each other in an effort to survive.  Welcome to the New World Order which will be ruled by the anti-christ.
     Oh, remember that the anti-christ here is riding a black horse.  Why the color black?  For two reasons I can think of…..
    [1]   The favored color of the Roman Babylonian whore religion has always been black.  Isn’t that the color worn by her priests throughout the past 1,700 years, and the color they wear even to this day?   Scripturally speaking, black normally represents darkness and evil! 
    [2]   When a person dies of starvation, their body actually turns black.  The small blood vessels in the body, being deprived of nourishment, begin to break down releasing the blood they normally carry into the body cavity, and it literally turns the skin on the body black.  It doesn’t matter what color or race one is, the bodies of all who starve to death during the Tribulation will turn coal black as they die from starvation.     
    Then the FOURTH SEAL is opened, and the anti-christ comes forth riding upon a pale horse, 6:7-8.  At this point during the Tribulation, the rider is given a name and a companion.  His name is “Death,” and his companion who follows him is “Hell.” 
     As the Lord Jesus Christ during His personal ministry came to be identified as the source of   “life,” [John 1:4], and those who believed upon and received Him were certain for eternal life, John 3:16,  so in direct contrast, the anti-christ over the course of his rise to power and his reign over humanity during the Tribulation period, shall come to be identified as “death,” and those who are deceived by him are certain for eternal damnation in ”hell,” 14:9-11.   
    Sadly, “a fourth part” of mankind presently populating the earth will die and be claimed by
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“Hell” during the rise and reign of the anti-christ, 6:8.  Those today who keep track of such information, tell us that the population of the earth is now nearing nearly 8 billion people.  This means that in the next seven years some two billion people are going to be killed, brutually and viciously, and their souls swept into eternal damnation in “Hell.”  Why?  Because they prefer to listen to and be deceived by the anti-christ, rather than adhering to God’s Word and believing upon the Lord Jesus Christ.  Read 2 John 1:7-11. 
    Notice that it is clearly stated in 6:8 how these billions of people are going to perish.  The anti-christ will be using the “great sword” that he was given under the second seal to literally slaughter all whom he decides are non-productive “useless eaters,” and those whom he thinks may be opposed to his reign.  The anti-christ, being in charge of whatever food supplies exist at that time, will also withhold food from the people, so that millions will die of starvation.  Because of the abundance of dead bodies lying unburied all over the earth, pestilence and disease will abound, and millions will die of terrible diseases.  Also, due to a total lack of rain on the earth during the first half of the Tribulation period [11:6], food sources for both man and animals will be cut off.  Normally domesticated animals will revert to their wild nature and attack and kill and eat their owners in order to survive, and normally wild animals will lose their fear of men and invade cities and homes searching for food.  The animals will certainly survive better than people, for the animals will find an abundance of dead bodies to feed upon, or people too sick and weak from hunger to resist their attack and being killed and eaten  by them. 
     Folks, I am not writing about a fantasy or a “horror” movie.  I am writing about the REALITY that is staring unbelieving humanity in the face RIGHT NOW.  Every reader of this study who is lost in sin and unbelief, right at this time still has an opportunity to confess your unbelief and sin to the Lord God and call upon Him for the salvation of your soul, BEFORE the pre-tribulation rapture occurs and these terrible judgments come upon all humanity left upon the earth following the rapture.   Won’t you hear?  Won’t you take heed?  Every reader has been warned!  It is no real consolation to me, for I grieve for those who are lost in sin and unbelief, but my hands are free from your blood.  Read Ezekiel 33:1-9.
    Then the FIFTH SEAL is opened, 6:9-11.   We see under the altar in Heaven, the souls of those first  repentant Tribulation believers on the earth who will turn to Christ in the days and weeks following the rapture, and then will be viciously slaughtered by the anti-christ and his followers.  
    Notice that they are crying out to the Lord for revenge upon those who slaughtered them.  They absolutely are not New Covenant believers as some shallow “prophecy teachers” would make them out to be.  How do I know this?  Because it is forbidden for New Covenant believers today to seek vengeance against their enemies.  Rather, we New Covenant believers are explicitly instructed by  the Lord Jesus Himself to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you,” Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28-29.  Therefore, it should be glaringly obvious that these believers whose souls are under the altar in Heaven were saved in a different “time period” [dispensation] than the one we are living in today, Acts 17:26; Revelation 1:19; 4:1-2. 
     Notice that “every one” of them are given “white robes” and told to “rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”  There should then be no question that these are people, who right after the Tribulation begins, realize that the rapture really did occur, and turn to the Lord in repentance and faith for salvation, and the Lord hears their prayers and saves them.   Dear readers, many left on the earth following the rapture will come to realize what has happened, and will call upon the Lord for salvation and will be saved.  But their faith placed in the Lord at that time, will not deliver them out of the Tribulation, or keep them from having to face a cruel martyr’s death.    Why oh why, will some not realize these truths today, while there is yet time to be saved and escape the terrible Tribulation that is RIGHT NOW staring unbelieving humanity in the face?
     Yet if any reader is “willfully” waiting to see if the pre-tribulation rapture really occurs before you believe, yes you will come to know that the rapture has occurred, but you will not then
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believe and be saved.  Rather, you will be lost eternally!   Why?  Because you will not be able to believe!  If you “willfully” refuse to believe before the rapture, the Lord God will send upon you “strong delusion,” causing you to believe on the anti-christ who is “the lie.”   Read it for yourself in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, and this time pay attention to what you are reading; every little detail stated!  Folks, “God is not mocked,” and will not be “mocked.”  The Lord God knows what is in every human heart on the face of this earth, Jeremiah 17:9-10. If one “willingly” refuses to believe [a total lack of faith] the Lord before the rapture, then what makes them think the Lord will allow them to believe after the rapture?  Take heed!  “…..now is the day of salvation,” 2 Corinthians 6:2.
    Now we move forward to the opening of the SIXTH SEAL, 6:12-17.  These seals have been opened throughout the first half of the Tribulation period.  Each seal judgment required a certain amount of time to be fulfilled before the next seal was opened.  This sixth seal then will be opened JUST BEFORE the middle of the Tribulation period arrives.  We can know this for certain, because “the great day” of God’s “wrath” begins at the middle of the Tribulation, and extends throughout the last half of the Trib, 6:17; 14:6-7; 14:9-13.
    When this sixth seal is opened, the first thing stated in the Word is that there is “a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood,” 6:12.  This is a fascinating statement.  It is a literal fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel 2:30-31, even to occurring just before the last half of the Tribulation; “…the great and terrible day of the Lord…”  The last half of the Tribulation is particularly the time when “the wrath of God” will be poured out upon all of Christ rejecting humanity on the earth, and therefore it will be the most terrible time in the history of mankind, 15:1; 15:7-8.   It will be when God Almighty does “His strange work; and brings to pass His act, His strange act,” Isaiah 28:21.  This literally means an act of God that is not in harmony with God’s normal character.  What is God’s normal character?  It is plainly stated in 1 John 4:8, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”  The normal character and course of action followed by God is to “love” those whom He has created, and seek to bring them to a saving knowledge of Himself, Isaiah 45:21-22; Ezekiel 18:23; 18:31-32.  Yet at the time this sixth seal is opened, there are different circumstances involved, causing God Almighty to do “His strange act.”
    Keep in mind the progression that has occurred through the first half of the Tribulation.  The seals have been opened and the trumpets blown, yet the majority of mankind on the earth who have been “tested” by these judgments have not repented and turned to the Lord, 9:20-21.  This is where the prophecy of  Psalm 110:1 comes into force to be fulfilled during the last half of the Tribulation, “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.”  This amounts to the simple truth that after 3 ½ years of “testing” under the “wrath of the Lamb,” 6:16,  humanity has still not repented, the Heavenly Father flies into a rage, and makes His statement to the Lord Jesus.  The last half of the Tribulation is explicitly stated to be “…the hour of His judgment,” and “…the wrath of God,” 14:7; 14:9-10; 15:7-8.  Folks, when He who is “love” flies into a rage and begins to pour out His “wrath” upon wicked, unbelieving, un-repentant, mankind, it will be the most terrible event which has happened in the entire history of humanity.  You have been warned!
     At this time “the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood,” 6:12.  This is the exact fulfillment of the prophecy stated in Joel 2:31.  First, the entire earth will be plunged into pitch darkness for a period of time.  The inspired Word does not tell us how long this will last.  It may be just a few hours, or it could be a day or more.  But it will be a terrifying experience for those living on the earth at that time. 
     NOTE:   On Friday, August 22nd, ABC World News showed an artist conception of the Sun with gigantic solar flares exploding from the surface all over the Sun.  The commentators then reported that it has been determined by scientists and astronomers, that just such explosions will occur on the Sun on August 21, 2017, and the Sun will be plunged into total darkness for an undetermined period of time.  The news report did not explain how these scientists and astronomers had determined this will happen and the date it will happen, and I haven’t got a clue,
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so don’t bother asking me.  I did hear the broadcast and see the artist conception with my own eyes, so I am not reporting a rumour.  When the report was given I certainly took notice, for this “date” will be shortly BEFORE the middle of the Tribulation period, exactly as stated in Joel 2:31.  God’s Word is alive and well on Planet Earth.  Take heed!            
     John in this vision was also shown an asteroid shower striking the earth unlike anything previously seen in human history, 6:13.  All over the earth thousands of red hot stones will fall out of the heavens upon the earth.  Not only will the stones break down houses and buildings and kill many people, but the red hot stones will set fires all over the earth, burning up the bone dry grass and trees and vegetation at the end of 3 ½ years of extreme drouth over the whole earth, 11:6. 
     But then the greatest event mankind will have ever seen since Israel was at Mt. Sinai 3,400 years ago, will occur.  The heavens will roll back, 6:14.  This literally means that earth’s atmosphere which normally reflects the light of the Sun and prevents mankind from seeing out into space during the daylight hours will part, rolling back in the sky above the earth as if one was rolling up a scroll.  And what will men on the earth then see?  They will literally and visibly see “the face of Him that sitteth on the throne,” and the angry face of the Lamb standing or sitting beside Him, 6:16. The sight will so terrify every wicked person on the earth that they will literally cry out for “…the mountains and rocks” to fall upon them and hide them, 6:15-16.  Compare Isaiah 2:19-22.  What wicked men do not realize is that there is no hiding place from Almighty God, Amos 9:2-6. 
    While all of this is occurring, the most terrible world wide earthquake ever recorded in human history will be shaking the entire earth, “…and every mountain and island were moved out of their places,” 6:14.   Can our readers even imagine the gigantic tsunamis and tidal waves which will occur at that time as God Almighty rearranges the topography of the whole earth? 
     But all that has been described here is just a prelude to what is yet coming during the last half of the Tribulation, “For the great day of His wrath is come [the appointed time has arrived]; and who shall be able to stand?” 6:17.    
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     Dear readers, you have now read the first part of this series expounding the great prophetic truths set forth in The Book of Revelation.  I hope every reader will take these truths to heart, and “make your calling and election sure,” 2 Peter 1:10; 2 Corinthians 13:5.  The things about which I have written in this exposition are staring humanity in the face RIGHT NOW!  I do not know the “date” when the rapture will occur, but I do know from the revelation of God’s prophetic Word, and watching current world events, that the rapture will occur VERY SOON!   I truly hope and pray that every reader of this exposition will meet me in glory when our Lord and Savior calls for us to “Come up hither,” 4:1.  Please don’t disappoint me! 

IF AND AS THE LORD PERMITS
TO BE CONTINUED
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     Permission is granted to any true believer or Bible believing Christian ministry to reproduce this study to share with others, or to quote from it in context as written.  
     I thank God for every reader who has been led of the Lord to support this ministry with your prayers and gifts.  Thank you so very much.  You will have a part in rejoicing over every soul which has been saved when we believers arrive in glory, and over every true believer who has been encouraged and built up in the faith.  Praise the Lord! 
     Please address all comments, questions, and correspondence to:  Pastor F. M. Riley, Last Call Gospel Ministry, 184 County Road 108, Harrisburg, Missouri 65256. 
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