Amen! Hallelujah! - A study of the Book of Revelation



Lesson 6
How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)
Text: Revelation 6:1-...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


                                 THE SEVEN SEALS
From this point on, Revelat...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


It seems natural, since Christ will ride a white horse later.
•


     Rev 1...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


THIS IS PROBABLY NOT THE SAME AS THE RIDER JOHN DESCRIBES IN REVELATION 19
•...
Document Title


       The rider in Revelation 19 is wearing many crowns that are totally different.
        Those crowns...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


         of the sky, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


•The      word for "red" is the Greek purros, which comes from the word for
...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


     priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Mal...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


      a balance in his hand. I heard a voice in the midst of the four living...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


•The    rider on the black horse depicts economic disaster in the wake of mi...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


       Thucydides used the word to describe the appearance of persons strick...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


    have no pity. A third part of you shall die with the pestilence, and wit...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


       Rev 20:14 WEB Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


•Notice that these souls are already under the altar in the heavenly scene o...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


         your faith, I rejoice, and rejoice with you all.
        2Ti 4:6 WE...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


•   Psa 79:10 WEB … Let it be known … That vengeance for your servants' bloo...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


     IN REVELATION 7 WE WILL SEE THEM ENJOYING RELIEF IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


•The     Song of Moses was the song Israel sang in Exodus 15 after they had
...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


      earthquake. The sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the wh...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


•   Zep 1:14-15 WEB The great day of Yahweh is near. It is near, and hurries...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


         ISAIAH 22 IS JERUSALEM'S DAY OF THE LORD AT THE HANDS OF BABYLON
• ...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


     ISAIAH 13 IS BABYLON'S DAY OF THE LORD AT THE HAND OF THE MEDO-PERSIANS...
Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1)


     Yahweh is near, in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon are
   ...
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Chapter 06 how long, sovereign lord (part 1)

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Chapter 06 how long, sovereign lord (part 1)

  1. 1. Amen! Hallelujah! - A study of the Book of Revelation Lesson 6 How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) Text: Revelation 6:1-17 Date: April 8, 2007 Authored By: Dale Wells Palm Desert Church of Christ
  2. 2. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) THE SEVEN SEALS From this point on, Revelation revolves around sets of seven – seven seals, • trumpets and bowls. Each set is broken into three. • Each begins with four images that are similar. The four are followed by two that are different from the first four. Then, there is a break, or intermission, of some sort, followed by the seventh image. In Revelation 6 the Lamb, the only one in the universe who is worthy, begins to • open the seven seals. THE FIRST FOUR SEALS Rev 6:1-8 WEB I saw that the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I • heard one of the four living creatures saying, as with a voice of thunder, "Come and see!" And behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow. A crown was given to him, and he came forth conquering, and to conquer. When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come!" Another came forth, a red horse. To him who sat on it was given power to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another. There was given to him a great sword. When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, "Come and see!" And behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a balance in his hand. I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, "A choenix of wheat for a denarius, and three choenix of barley for a denarius! Don't damage the oil and the wine!" When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living creature saying, "Come and see!" And behold, a pale horse, and he who sat on it, his name was Death. Hades followed with him. Authority over one fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword, with famine, with death, and by the wild animals of the earth was given to him. AS CHRIST OPENS FOUR SEALS, HORSEMEN RIDE ACROSS THE COSMIC STAGE •The first rides a white horse; the second, a red horse; the third, a black horse; and the fourth, a pale horse. •There are three approaches to understanding these riders. THE MOST COMMON APPROACH IS TO IDENTIFY THE FIRST RIDER AS CHRIST Page 2
  3. 3. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) It seems natural, since Christ will ride a white horse later. • Rev 19:11-16 WEB I saw the heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it is called Faithful and True … His eyes are a flame of fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has names written and a name written which no one knows but he himself … His name is called "The Word of God." … … He has on his garment and on his thigh a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." The others are Satan's efforts to destroy Christ's work using bloodshed (red • horse), economic oppression (black horse), and death (pale horse). ANOTHER APPROACH VIEWS ALL FOUR RIDERS AS THE MINIONS OF SATAN All four are seen as Satan's workers that he uses in his attempts to rout • Christians and destroy the church. This seems to flow naturally from the fact that the fourth rider is identified as • "Death" and that Hades follows him. Also, the fifth seal introduces the souls of dead saints, so the flow seems quite • natural. A THIRD APPROACH SEES THESE RIDERS AS A PARADE OF GOD’S POWERS Each is a weapon God uses on his enemies. • The four riders may be the same as the four winds of the earth that are held • back, awaiting God's permission before unleashing their destructive power in the next chapter of the book. Rev 7:1-3 WEB After this, I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree. I saw another angel ascend from the sunrise, having the seal of the living God. He cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to harm the earth and the sea, saying, "Don't harm the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, until we have sealed the bondservants of our God on their foreheads!" THE W HITE HORSE •Rev 6:1-2 WEB I saw that the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying, as with a voice of thunder, "Come and see!" And behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow. A crown was given to him, and he came forth conquering, and to conquer. Page 3
  4. 4. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) THIS IS PROBABLY NOT THE SAME AS THE RIDER JOHN DESCRIBES IN REVELATION 19 • Rev 19:11-16 WEB I saw the heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it is called Faithful and True. In righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has names written and a name written which no one knows but he himself. He is clothed in a garment sprinkled with blood. His name is called "The Word of God." The armies which are in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in white, pure, fine linen. Out of his mouth proceeds a sharp, double-edged sword, that with it he should strike the nations. He will rule them with a rod of iron. He treads the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God, the Almighty. He has on his garment and on his thigh a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." THE RIDER IN REVELATION 19 IS CHRIST •We'll focus on the points of identification when we examine that passage. •For now, it is enough to note that he is called "Faithful and True", his name is "The Word of God", the armies of heaven follow him, he judges and makes war in righteousness, and he has the name "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" tattooed on him. •It will be clear when we look at the details that John expects us to identify the rider in Revelation 19 as Christ. BUT IS THE RIDER IN THE FIRST SEAL CHRIST? •Proponents of identifying the rider in the first seal as Christ point out that both passages depict a rider on a white horse, and that each rider is wearing a crown. •But they overlook or minimize some very important differences between the descriptions in the two texts. THE RIDERS WEAR DIFFERENT CROWNS • The rider in the first seal is wearing a single crown; the rider in Revelation 19 is wearing many crowns. • The riders are wearing different kinds of crowns. The rider in the first seal is wearing a stephanos, which is the victor's crown - the kind worn by a victorious general, or by the winner of an athletic competition. It was typically a wreath, similar to those in pictures of Roman conquerors. We might compare it to a medal or a plaque. Page 4
  5. 5. Document Title The rider in Revelation 19 is wearing many crowns that are totally different. Those crowns are the translation of the Greek word diademnos, which is a ruler's crown. THE RIDERS CARRY DIFFERENT WEAPONS •The rider in the first seal carries a bow; the rider in Revelation 19 has a sword coming out of his mouth. The sword was a favorite weapon of the Romans, but it was not the weapon of their enemies. Their mortal enemies, the Parthians, used the bow as their favorite weapon. •This rider appears to parallel the others. He is not distinct, as one would expect if he was Christ, and the others were the agents of Satan trying to destroy his kingdom. THIS GROUP OF FOUR RIDERS HAS AN OT BACKGROUND • Zec 6:1-8 WEB … I … saw … four chariots came out from between two mountains …. In the first … were red horses; in the second … black horses; in the third … white horses; and in the fourth … dappled horses, all of them powerful. Then I asked the angel who talked with me, "What are these, my lord?" The angel answered me, "These are the four winds of the sky, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. The one with the black horses goes out toward the north country; and the white went out after them; and the dappled went forth toward the south country." The strong went out, and sought to go that they might walk back and forth through the earth: and he said, "Go around and through the earth!" So they walked back and forth through the earth. Then he called to me, and spoke to me, saying, "Behold, those who go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country." AS IN ZECHARIAH 6, THE RIDERS ARE AGENTS TO DISCIPLINE GOD'S ENEMIES • In Zechariah's vision, the Lord is the one who controls history. He will conquer the nations that oppress Israel. Since his chariots claim victory in the north, total victory is certain. The chariots are vehicles of God's judgment. • In Revelation 7 they are seen again as four winds God is going to use to discipline the Roman Empire. Zec 6:4-5 WEB Then I asked the angel who talked with me, "What are these, my lord?" (5) The angel answered me, "These are the four winds Page 5
  6. 6. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) of the sky, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth." THE HORSEMEN IN REVELATION 6 ARE THE WINDS IN REVELATION 7 • Rev 7:1-3 WEB After this, I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree. I saw another angel ascend from the sunrise, having the seal of the living God. He cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to harm the earth and the sea, saying, "Don't harm the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, until we have sealed the bondservants of our God on their foreheads!" • The Bible makes it clear that God is in control of the destinies of nations. Act 17:26 WEB He made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the surface of the earth, having determined appointed seasons, and the boundaries of their dwellings THIS GROUP OF RIDERS SUGGESTS HOW GOD WORKS IN THE DESTINIES OF NATIONS •God has a hand in the destinies of nations. •He has brought other nations to their knees before - great and powerful nations like Assyria, Babylon, Edom, Egypt and even Israel. •So John's vision sequence begins with God parading various aspects of his power to bring down nations at his will. THE FIRST RIDER RIDES A WHITE HORSE •This is the horse of the conquering general, who rides it in the triumph after he has been victorious over his enemies. •Rome was used to having its way with its enemies by riding out into battle and conquering them in great military campaigns. •The rider on the white horse is God's way of telling Rome that it would, itself, be conquered, in part by military invasion. THE RED HORSE •Rev 6:3-4 WEB When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come!" Another came forth, a red horse. To him who sat on it was given power to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another. There was given to him a great sword. THE SECOND RIDER RIDES A RED HORSE Page 6
  7. 7. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) •The word for "red" is the Greek purros, which comes from the word for "fire" (Greek pur). Literally, the color is "flame-colored". Red is the color of bloodshed. •The rider is given "power to take peace from the earth …" Taking peace from the earth includes inciting men to slaughter. Hence, the reference to men slaying one another. Note that it is humans engaging in slaughter, not the riders, or angels, slaughtering men. THIS RIDER IS SENT BY THE DIVINE VOICE REMINDING OF JESUS' WORDS: •Mat 10:34 WEB "Don't think that I came to send peace on the earth. I didn't come to send peace, but a sword. •Revelation uses the same word here that Jesus used in the above statement. •Greek had two words for "sword". THE RHOMPHAIA WAS THE DOUBLE-EDGED BATTLE SWORD JOHN ATTRIBUTES TO JESUS • Rev 1:16 WEB … Out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword. • Rev 2:12 WEB "To … Pergamum write: "He who has the sharp two-edged sword says these things: • Rev 2:16 WEB Repent … or else … I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth. • Rev 19:15 WEB Out of his mouth proceeds a sharp, double-edged sword … • Rev 19:21 WEB The rest were killed with the sword … which came forth out of his mouth … • The rhomphaia was wielded with two hands by a soldier. Jesus, he wields the sword with his mouth! Thus is the strength of the conquering Christ! THE RIDER ON THE RED HORSE CARRIES A DIFFERENT SWORD, THE GREEK MACHAIRA •The machaira was a short sword that could be carried in a sheath at the girdle. •It was the kind of sword Peter used in defending Jesus. •Joh 18:10 WEB Simon Peter … having a sword, drew it, and struck the high Page 7
  8. 8. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. THE MACHAIRA WAS MORE LIKE A KNIFE THAN A SWORD Herodotus used machaira to describe the close-combat dagger of Greek • soldiers. The fact that this word refers to a small knife is evident in the fact that a • common word for "razor" was machaira mia ( "single knife") and the word for "scissors" was machaira diplee ( "double knife"). In the Iliad, Homer used machaira to describe a knife used to slaughter animals • and a knife used by a surgeon to cut out an arrow from a wounded man. Aristophanes, and Euripides used machaira of a knife used for cutting up meat. • Plato used machaira of a pruning knife. • IN THE SEPTUAGINT, MACHAIRA DESCRIBED THE SACRIFICIAL KNIFE •Gen 22:6 WEB Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. He took in his hand the fire and the knife. They both went together. •Gen 22:10 WEB Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to kill his son. IN THE NT, MACHAIRA ALSO DESCRIBED THE SWORD OF GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITY •Rom 13:3-4 WEB For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you desire to have no fear of the authority? Do that which is good, and you will have praise from the same, (4) for he is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he doesn't bear the sword in vain; for he is a servant of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil. •Significance: Governmental authority includes power to kill THE RIDER ON THE RED HORSE RIDES ON THE HEELS OF THE WHITE HORSE •He represents bloodshed, which is essential to military conquest that has already been figured in the rider on the white horse. •He also may represent bloodshed as a part of civil unrest – or even civil war – among people subject to such a military conquest. THE BLACK HORSE •Rev 6:5-6 WEB When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, "Come and see!" And behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had Page 8
  9. 9. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) a balance in his hand. I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, "A choenix of wheat for a denarius, and three choenix of barley for a denarius! Don't damage the oil and the wine!" BLACK IS THE COLOR OF MOURNING In several Old Testament passages, the word "mourn" or "mournfully" is literally • "in black". Jer 4:28 WEB For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; • because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and I have not repented, neither will I turn back from it. Jer 8:21 WEB For the hurt of the daughter of my people … I mourn; dismay has • taken hold on me. Mal 3:14 WEB You have said, 'It is vain to serve God;' and 'What profit is it that • we have kept his charge, and that we have walked mournfully before Yahweh of Hosts? HOWEVER, IT IS NOT ONLY THE COLOR OF THE HORSE THAT IDENTIFIES THE RIDER •The rider carries in his hand a pair of scales, symbolizing a time when food is doled out by weight, due to the scarcity of food during siege. •Lev 26:26 WEB When I break your staff of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver your bread again by weight: and you shall eat, and not be satisfied. THE RIDER IS CARRYING SCALES, ON WHICH TO WEIGH OUT FOODSTUFFS •John hears the prices. A denarius will buy a quart of wheat or three quarts of barley. •A denarius was a day's pay for a laborer. Mat 20:2 WEB When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. •A single man could buy a day's ration of food (wheat) for a day's pay. •But a family man would have to make do with coarser cattle feed (barley) to make his money go as far as possible toward feeding his family. •That left nothing for any other of life's needs, like clothing or shelter. •It certainly left nothing for such luxuries as oil and wine. •Food may have been available, but it was only available at black market prices. Page 9
  10. 10. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) •The rider on the black horse depicts economic disaster in the wake of military conquest. THIS SOUNDS LIKE GOD'S DESCRIPTION OF SIEGE CONDITIONS IN JERUSALEM • Eze 4:8-17 WEB Behold, I lay bands on you, and you shall not turn you from one side to the other, until you have accomplished the days of your siege. Take for yourself also wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make you bread of it; according to the number of the days that you shall lie on your side, even three hundred ninety days, shall you eat of it. Your food which you shall eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shall you eat it. You shall drink water by measure, the sixth part of a hin: from time to time shall you drink. You shall eat it as barley cakes, and you shall bake it in their sight with dung that comes out of man. Yahweh said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their bread unclean, among the nations where I will drive them. Then said I, Ah Lord Yahweh! behold, my soul has not been polluted; for from my youth up even until now have I not eaten of that which dies of itself, or is torn of animals; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth. Then he said to me, Behold, I have given you cow's dung for man's dung, and you shall prepare your bread thereon. Moreover he said to me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with fearfulness; and they shall drink water by measure, and in dismay: that they may want bread and water, and be dismayed one with another, and pine away in their iniquity. THE PALE HORSE •Rev 6:7-8 WEB When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living creature saying, "Come and see!" And behold, a pale horse, and he who sat on it, his name was Death. Hades followed with him. Authority over one fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword, with famine, with death, and by the wild animals of the earth was given to him. THE FOURTH RIDER RIDES A PALE HORSE •The word "pale" translates the Greek chlooros, which was the yellowish green color of a corpse. •The text tells us that the rider is Death, personified, and that Hades (the realm of the dead) is following along and picking up the corpses. BUT THIS IS NOT JUST ANY KIND OF DEATH - IT IS DEATH BY PLAGUE • Chlooros, used of a person, is "pale" or "pallid". Page 10
  11. 11. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) Thucydides used the word to describe the appearance of persons stricken with the plague. Homer used it to describe a person becoming pale from fear. • In LXX, Greek thanatos normally translated "death" sometimes has the idea of plague or pestilence. Jer 14:12 WEB … I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence. Jer 21:7 WEB … I will deliver Zedekiah … and the people … in this city from pestilence, from sword, and from famine, into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar … IN OUR OWN HISTORY, "DEATH" HAS BEEN USED IN A SIMILAR MANNER •In the Fourteenth Century, an Oriental plague was called "Black Death". •So it is possible that we should read the name of the fourth rider as "Pestilence" or "Plague" rather than "Death". •Just as bloodshed and economic disaster accompany military conquest, so also disease and death follow in its wake. THE FOUR HORSEMEN REMIND US OF THE SCOURGES DESCRIBED BY THE PROPHETS • Jer 14:11-12 WEB … Don't pray for this people ... When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and meal-offering, I will not accept them; but I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. • Jer 15:1-3 WEB … Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind would not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth. It shall happen, when they tell you, Where shall we go forth? then you shall tell them, Thus says Yahweh: Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for captivity, to captivity. I will appoint over them four kinds, says Yahweh: the sword to kill, and the dogs to tear, and the birds of the sky, and the animals of the earth, to devour and to destroy. EZE 5:11-17 WEB • Therefore, as I live, says the Lord Yahweh, surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things, and with all your abominations, therefore will I also diminish you; neither shall my eye spare, and I also will Page 11
  12. 12. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) have no pity. A third part of you shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of you; and a third part shall fall by the sword round about you; and a third part I will scatter to all the winds, and will draw out a sword after them. Thus shall my anger be accomplished, and I will cause my wrath toward them to rest, and I shall be comforted; and they shall know that I, Yahweh, have spoken in my zeal, when I have accomplished my wrath on them. Moreover I will make you a desolation and a reproach among the nations that are round about you, in the sight of all that pass by. So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment, to the nations that are round about you, when I shall execute judgments on you in anger and in wrath, and in wrathful rebukes; (I, Yahweh, have spoken it;) when I shall send on them the evil arrows of famine, that are for destruction, which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine on you, and will break your staff of bread; and I will send on you famine and evil animals, and they shall bereave you; and pestilence and blood shall pass through you; and I will bring the sword on you: I, Yahweh, have spoken it. MORE PASSAGES FROM EZEKIEL •Eze 14:21 WEB For thus says the Lord Yahweh: How much more when I send my four sore judgments on Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the evil animals, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and animal! •Eze 33:27-29 WEB Thus shall you tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: As I live, surely those who are in the waste places shall fall by the sword; and him who is in the open field will I give to the animals to be devoured; and those who are in the strongholds and in the caves shall die of the pestilence. I will make the land a desolation and an astonishment; and the pride of her power shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, so that none shall pass through. Then shall they know that I am Yahweh, when I have made the land a desolation and an astonishment, because of all their abominations which they have committed. THESE FOUR HORSEMEN ARE GOD'S AGENTS Some translations say power was given to "him" (e.g. Death), but the best • Greek texts say it was given to "them" (e.g. the four horsemen). Rev 6:8 NIV … They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth. Even though these are God's agents, don't get the idea that they are angels. • Later, we're going to see Death (the fourth rider) and Hades cast into a lake of fire. Page 12
  13. 13. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) Rev 20:14 WEB Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. GOD USES – THEN PUNISHES – THE GODLESS (E.G. SARGON & SENNACHERIB) • Isa 10:5-7 WEB Alas Assyria, the rod of my anger, the staff in whose hand is my indignation! (6) I will send him against a profane nation, and against the people who anger me will I give him a command to take the spoil and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. (7) However he doesn't mean so, neither does his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy … • Isa 10:12-13 WEB … when the Lord has performed his whole work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the willful proud heart of the king of Assyria, and the insolence of his haughty looks. (13) For he has said, "By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I have understanding: and I have removed the boundaries of the peoples, and have robbed their treasures. … I have brought down their rulers. GOD'S AGENTS WAIT TO BE RELEASED TO DO THEIR WORK •These are the agents God uses to bring down any nation that becomes his enemy: military conquest, bloodshed, economic disaster, and plague, leading to death. •But these riders don't do their work just yet. They await a command from the one on the throne. •For now, the Lamb continues opening seals. THE FIFTH SEAL •Rev 6:9-11 WEB When he opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been killed for the Word of God, and for the testimony of the Lamb which they had. They cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, Master, the holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" A long white robe was given to each of them. They were told that they should rest yet for a while, until their fellow servants and their brothers, who would also be killed even as they were, should complete their course. THE FIFTH SEAL IS THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE ENTIRE BOOK •When the Lamb opens the fifth seal, John sees the souls of the martyred saints. Page 13
  14. 14. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) •Notice that these souls are already under the altar in the heavenly scene of Revelation 4-5. •The question is which altar? •Within the Holy Place inside the tabernacle, was the altar of incense, on which the priests burned incense daily. •Outside the tabernacle proper, yet within the courtyard was the altar of sacrifice. THERE IS GOOD REASON TO BELIEVE THIS IS THE ALTAR OF SACRIFICE The connection between life and blood. • Lev 17:11 WEB For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes atonement by reason of the life. The blood of sacrificial animals was poured out at the sacrificial altar • Lev 4:7 WEB The priest shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of sweet incense before Yahweh, which is in the tent of meeting; and he shall pour out all the blood of the bull out at the base of the altar of burnt offering, which is at the door of the Tent of Meeting. THE READER CAN HARDLY MISS THE SACRIFICIAL SYMBOLISM OF THE PICTURE The one opening the seals is himself a sacrificial lamb who was slain, and yet • lives. Rev 5:6-14 WEB I saw … a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain … Now when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty- four elders fell down before the Lamb … They sang a new song, saying, "You are worthy to take the book, And to open its seals: For you were killed, And bought us for God with your blood, Out of every tribe, language, people, and nation, And made them kings and priests to our God, And they reign on earth." I saw, and I heard something like a voice of many angels … saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who has been killed to receive the power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing!" … THESE MARTYRS HAVE FOLLOWED THE EXAMPLE OF THEIR LORD •Their blood has been poured out at the base of the altar because of their loyalty to the word of God and their testimony. Phi 2:17 WEB Yes, and if I am poured out on the sacrifice and service of Page 14
  15. 15. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) your faith, I rejoice, and rejoice with you all. 2Ti 4:6 WEB For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure has come. THIS IS MORE LIKELY THE GOLDEN INCENSE ALTAR IN THE HOLY PLACE •Exo 30:1-10 WEB "You shall make an altar to burn incense on. You shall make it of acacia wood. … (3) You shall overlay it with pure gold, its top, its sides around it, and its horns; and you shall make a gold molding around it. … (6) You shall put it before the veil that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with you. (7) Aaron shall burn incense of sweet spices on it … a perpetual incense before Yahweh throughout your generations. … (10) … It is most holy to Yahweh." ELSEWHERE IN REVELATION THE ALTAR IS THE INCENSE ALTAR IN THE HOLY PLACE • Rev 8:3-5 WEB Another angel came and stood over the altar, having a golden censer. Much incense was given to him, that he should add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. (4) The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand. (5) The angel took the censer, and he filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it on the earth ... • Rev 9:13 WEB … I heard a voice from the horns of the golden altar which is before God … • Rev 11:1 WEB A reed like a rod was given to me. Someone said, "Rise, and measure God's temple, and the altar, and those who worship in it. • Rev 14:18 WEB Another angel came out from the altar, … saying, "Send forth your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for the earth's grapes are fully ripe!" • Rev 16:7 WEB I heard the altar saying, "Yes, Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are your judgments." • In the picture, the prayers of the saints are for God's vindication of the martyrs. THEY REMEMBER GOD'S PROMISE TO VINDICATE AND AVENGE HIS PEOPLE • Deu 32:43 WEB Rejoice, you nations, with his people: For he will avenge the blood of his servants, Will render vengeance to his adversaries… • 2Ki 9:7 WEB You shall strike the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of Yahweh, at the hand of Jezebel. Page 15
  16. 16. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) • Psa 79:10 WEB … Let it be known … That vengeance for your servants' blood is being poured out. • Luk 18:7-8 WEB Won't God avenge his chosen ones, who are crying out to him day and night, and yet he exercises patience with them? (8) I tell you that he will avenge them quickly. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" NOW, THE MARTYRS HAVE A COMPELLING QUESTION •They want to know just how long God is going to put up with his enemies and how long it is going to be until he judges the earth and vindicates their blood. •Recall that judging the earth does not need to be taken literally. •Their question has to do with the judgment of the godless Roman Empire that has made its mission the destruction of the church. EACH MARTYR IN THE PICTURE WAS GIVEN A WHITE ROBE •That identifies them. They are overcomers - faithful Christians who were promised a white robe in Revelation 3. •Rev 3:5 WEB He who overcomes will be arrayed in white garments, and I will in no way blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. THEY WERE ALSO TOLD TO WAIT A WHILE • Others will die before God brings the persecutor down. Their question is "How long?" God's answer is "wait a little longer." That is not a message we like to hear, but it is God's message, nevertheless. • The message to 1st Century Christians is that there has already been persecution, and there will be more, but God will act, and the persecutor will be destroyed. God's name will be vindicated! God's people will be avenged! • We’re going to see these people again in Revelation. Page 16
  17. 17. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) IN REVELATION 7 WE WILL SEE THEM ENJOYING RELIEF IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD • Rev 7:9-17 WEB … behold, a great multitude, which no man could number, … standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes … One of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are arrayed in white robes, who are they, and from where did they come?" … "These are those who came out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes, and made them white in the Lamb's blood. Therefore they are before the throne of God, they serve him day and night in his temple. He who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will never be hungry, neither thirsty any more; neither will the sun beat on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shepherds them, and leads them to springs of waters of life. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." WE WILL SEE THEM IN REVELATION 14 WITH THE LAMB ON MOUNT ZION • Rev 14:1-5 WEB I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him a number, one hundred forty-four thousand, having his name, and the name of his Father, written on their foreheads. I heard a sound from heaven, like the sound of many waters, and like the sound of a great thunder. The sound which I heard was like that of harpists playing on their harps. They sing a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the one hundred forty-four thousand, those who had been redeemed out of the earth. These are those who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are those who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed by Jesus from among men, the first fruits to God and to the Lamb. In their mouth was found no lie, for they are blameless. WE WILL SEE THEM IN REVELATION 15 HAVING CROSSED OVER THE SEA • Rev 15:2-4 WEB I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who overcame the beast, his image, and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are your ways, you King of the nations. Who wouldn't fear you, Lord, And glorify your name? For you only are holy. For all the nations will come and worship before you. For your righteous acts have been revealed." THEY ARE BY THE SEA THAT SEPARATED THE ELDERS FROM GOD IN REVELATION 4 •They are singing the Song of Moses and of the Lamb. •That tells us they have been delivered. Page 17
  18. 18. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) •The Song of Moses was the song Israel sang in Exodus 15 after they had passed through the Red Sea and the Egyptian army had been drowned in it. It was their song of deliverance. •Likewise, the "song of the Lamb" in Revelation 15 is the song of deliverance by the Lamb. WE SEE THEM REJOICING IN REVELATION 19 BECAUSE GOD HAS AVENGED THEM • Rev 19:1-6 WEB … I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Hallelujah! Salvation, power, and glory belong to our God: for true and righteous are his judgments. For he has judged the great prostitute, … and he has avenged the blood of his servants at her hand." A second said, "Hallelujah! Her smoke goes up forever and ever." The twenty- four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne, saying, "Amen! Hallelujah!" A voice came forth from the throne, saying, "Give praise to our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, the small and the great!" I heard something like the voice of a great multitude, and like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of mighty thunders, saying, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns! FINALLY, IN REVELATION 20, WE SEE THEM REIGNING WITH CHRIST • Rev 20:4-6 WEB I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as didn't worship the beast nor his image, and didn't receive the mark on their forehead and on their hand. They lived, and reigned with Christ for the thousand years. The rest of the dead didn't live until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over these, the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with him one thousand years. REVELATION IS ANOTHER EXODUS, NOT UNLIKE THE EXODUS OF THE OT •In the Old Testament, God's people were delivered from their enemies by God's power. They were sustained through all sorts of hardships in the desert while they were on their way to promised land. •In the Book of Revelation, God's people are also delivered from their enemies. They, too, are sustained by God on their way to their ultimate reward in heaven. THE SIXTH SEAL • Rev 6:12-17 WEB I saw when he opened the sixth seal, and there was a great Page 18
  19. 19. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) earthquake. The sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became as blood. The stars of the sky fell to the earth, like a fig tree dropping its unripe figs when it is shaken by a great wind. The sky was removed like a scroll when it is rolled up. Every mountain and island were moved out of their places. The kings of the earth, the princes, the commanding officers, the rich, the strong, and every slave and free person, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains. They told the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of his wrath has come; and who is able to stand?" THE SIXTH SEAL DESCRIBES CATACLYSMIC EVENTS •It sounds like the end of the world, but it's not! •The vision includes people fleeing and trying to hide from the destruction. When the final coming arrives, there will be a “sudden destruction” of the wicked, and there will be no time to hide in caves. 1Th 5:2-3 WEB For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night. For when they are saying, "Peace and safety," then sudden destruction will come on them, like birth pains on a pregnant woman; and they will in no way escape. THE FIGURES USED HERE ARE COMMON IN THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS •What is in view is the Day of the Lord as described by the prophets. •The prophets used descriptions like these to portend the fall of a nation at God’s hand. •Several prophets used this kind of language to describe the Day of the Lord for wicked nations •Jesus even used similar language to describe the Day of the Lord for Jerusalem THE DAY OF THE LORD IS A DAY OF TERROR WHEN GOD PUNISHES HIS ENEMY • Even if that enemy was Israel or Judah. • Amo 5:18-20 WEB "Woe to you who desire the day of Yahweh! Why do you long for the day of Yahweh? It is darkness, and not light. (19) As if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him; Or he went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a snake bit him. (20) Won't the day of Yahweh be darkness, and not light? Even very dark, and no brightness in it? Page 19
  20. 20. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) • Zep 1:14-15 WEB The great day of Yahweh is near. It is near, and hurries greatly, the voice of the day of Yahweh. The mighty man cries there bitterly. (15) That day is a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, ISAIAH 34 IS EDOM'S DAY OF THE LORD •Isa 34:1-17 WEB … (4) All of the army of the sky will be dissolved. The sky will be rolled up like a scroll, and all its armies will fade away, as a leaf fades from off a vine or a fig tree. (5) For my sword has drunk its fill in the sky. Behold, it will come down on Edom, and on the people of my curse, for judgment. … (8) For Yahweh has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the cause of Zion. … HOSEA DESCRIBES SAMARIA'S DAY OF THE LORD AT THE HAND OF THE ASSYRIANS •Hos 10:1-8 WEB … (5) The inhabitants of Samaria will be in terror … (6) It also will be carried to Assyria for a present to a great king. Ephraim will receive shame, and Israel will be ashamed of his own counsel. (7) Samaria and her king float away, like a twig on the water. (8) The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, will be destroyed. The thorn and the thistle will come up on their altars. They will tell the mountains, "Cover us!" and the hills, "Fall on us!" NAHUM 1 IS ASSYRIA'S DAY OF THE LORD AT THE HAND OF THE BABYLONIANS •Nah 1:1-6 WEB An oracle about Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum … Yahweh is a jealous God and avenges. Yahweh avenges and is full of wrath … Yahweh has his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea, and makes it dry, and dries up all the rivers … The mountains quake before him, and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, yes, the world, and all who dwell in it … His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken apart by him. ISAIAH 2 IS JUDAH'S DAY OF THE LORD AT THE HAND OF THE BABYLONIANS •Isa 2:1-22 WEB This is what Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. … For there will be a day of Yahweh of Hosts … Men shall go into the caves of the rocks, And into the holes of the earth, From before the terror of Yahweh, And from the glory of his majesty, When he arises to shake the earth mightily … To go into the caverns of the rocks, And into the clefts of the ragged rocks, From before the terror of Yahweh, And from the glory of his majesty, When he arises to shake the earth mightily. Page 20
  21. 21. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) ISAIAH 22 IS JERUSALEM'S DAY OF THE LORD AT THE HANDS OF BABYLON • Isa 22:1-25 WEB … (4) … Don't labor to comfort me for the destruction of the daughter of my people. (5) For it is a day of confusion, and of treading down, and of perplexity, from the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, in the valley of vision; a breaking down of the walls, and a crying to the mountains." … (8) He took away the covering of Judah; and you looked in that day to the armor in the house of the forest. … (12) In that day, the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, called to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to dressing in sackcloth: (13) and behold, joy and gladness, killing cattle and killing sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine: "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we will die." (14) Yahweh of Armies revealed himself in my ears, "Surely this iniquity will not be forgiven you until you die," says the Lord, Yahweh of Armies. … ZEPHANIAH 1 DESCRIBES JUDAH'S DAY OF THE LORD AT THE HAND OF BABYLON • Zep 1:1-18 WEB … (14) The great day of Yahweh is near. It is near, and hurries greatly, the voice of the day of Yahweh. The mighty man cries there bitterly. (15) That day is a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, (16) a day of the trumpet and alarm, against the fortified cities, and against the high battlements. (17) I will bring distress on men, that they will walk like blind men, because they have sinned against Yahweh, and their blood will be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. (18) Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them in the day of Yahweh's wrath, but the whole land will be devoured by the fire of his jealousy; for he will make an end, yes, a terrible end, of all those who dwell in the land. JEREMIAH 4 IS ALSO JUDAH'S DAY OF THE LORD AT THE HAND OF THE BABYLONIANS •Jer 4:23-29 WEB I saw the earth, and, behold, it was waste and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I saw the mountains, and, behold, they trembled, and all the hills moved back and forth. … For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and I have not repented, neither will I turn back from it. EZEKIEL 32 IS EGYPT'S DAY OF THE LORD ADMINISTERED BY THE BABYLONIANS •Eze 32:2-11 WEB Son of man, take up a lamentation over Pharaoh king of Egypt, and tell him … When I shall extinguish you, I will cover the heavens, and make the stars of it dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light. All the bright lights of the sky will I make dark over you, and set darkness on your land, says the Lord Yahweh … For thus says the Lord Yahweh: The sword of the king of Babylon shall come on you. Page 21
  22. 22. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) ISAIAH 13 IS BABYLON'S DAY OF THE LORD AT THE HAND OF THE MEDO-PERSIANS • Isa 13:1-22 WEB The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw: … (9) Behold, the day of Yahweh comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger; to make the land a desolation, and to destroy its sinners out of it. (10) For the stars of the sky and its constellations will not give their light. The sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine. (11) I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity. … (13) Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place in the wrath of Yahweh of Armies, and in the day of his fierce anger. … (17) Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who will not value silver, and as for gold, they will not delight in it. … (19) Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans' pride, will be like when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. … ZECHARIAH 14 DESCRIBES THE DAY OF THE LORD FOR UNBELIEVING NATIONS • Zec 14:1-21 WEB Behold, a day of Yahweh comes, when your spoil will be divided in your midst. (2) For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city will be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city will go out into captivity, and the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. (3) Then Yahweh will go out and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle … (7) It will be a unique day which is known to Yahweh; not day, and not night; but it will come to pass, that at evening time there will be light. … (12) This will be the plague with which Yahweh will strike all the peoples who have warred against Jerusalem: their flesh will consume away while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will consume away in their sockets, and their tongue will consume away in their mouth. … MATTHEW 24 IS JERUSALEM'S DAY OF THE LORD AT THE HAND OF THE ROMANS •Mat 24:1-51 WEB … (29) But immediately after the oppression of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; (30) … Then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. (31) He will send out his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together his chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. … THE DAY OF THE LORD IN THE BIBLE IS GOD'S JUDGMENT ON A GODLESS NATION! •It may not be the end of the world, but it is always the end of someone's world! •Joe 3:14-19 WEB Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of Page 22
  23. 23. Lesson 6—How Long, Sovereign Lord? (Part 1) Yahweh is near, in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon are darkened, And the stars withdraw their shining."Yahweh will roar from Zion, And thunder from Jerusalem; And the heavens and the earth will shake; But Yahweh will be a refuge to his people, And a stronghold to the children of Israel." … THE 6TH SEAL COMES FROM JOEL'S DESCRIPTION OF A LOCUST PLAGUE Joe 1:1-3:21 WEB … What the swarming locust has left, the great locust has • eaten. What the great locust has left, the grasshopper has eaten. What the grasshopper has left, the caterpillar has eaten … (2:1) Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain! … for the day of Yahweh comes, for it is close at hand: (2) A day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness. As the dawn spreading on the mountains … (4) The appearance of them is as … horses, and as horsemen, so do they run. (5) Like the noise of chariots on the tops of the mountains do they leap … (7) They run like mighty men. They climb the wall like warriors. They each march in his line, and they don't swerve off course. (8) … they march everyone in his path, and they burst through the defenses … (9) They rush on the city. They run on the wall. They climb up into the houses. They enter in at the windows like thieves. (10) The earth quakes … The heavens tremble. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. (11) Yahweh thunders his voice before his army … (31) The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Yahweh comes … JOEL USES THE DESCRIPTION OF A LOCUST PLAGUE FOR JUDAH'S DAY OF THE LORD •The earth quaking with the whirring of millions of wings •A spreading cloud darkening the sun and obscuring the stars •The moon looking like blood through millions of wings •Revelation uses the same terms to describe the Day of the Lord for the enemy of God in the First Century – the Roman Empire! Page 23

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