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The Devil's Dragoons of Disaster

Rejoicing through Revelation  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  59:16
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When the judgment of God comes to sweep men and women into hell for eternity, there is one spot that is safe.

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Introduction:

Illustration -
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In the days of the pioneers, when men saw that a prairie fire was coming, what would they do? Since not even the fastest of horses could outrun it, the pioneers took a match and burned the grass in a designated area around them. Then they would take their stand in the burned area and be safe from the threatening prairie fire. As the roar of the flames approached, they would not be afraid. Even as the ocean of fire surged around them there was no fear, because fire had already passed over the place where they stood. [Michael P. Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 207.]
When the judgment of God comes to sweep men and women into hell for eternity, there is one spot that is safe. [Michael P. Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 207.]
Main Thought: Thoughts of God’s wrath on sinners should be disturbing to your “comfort zone.”
Sub-intro:
Note - I here defer to Dr. Thomas Strouse’s eloquent summary of the immediate context for review:
a
Chapters four and five focused on the Throne Room in heaven, and allowed for a transition between the local church age on earth, and the Tribulation on earth known as “Jacob’s trouble” (cf. ). With chapter six, and going to nineteen, Daniel’s seventieth week (a unit of seven years) begins, as God uses Seal, Trumpet, and Vial Judgments to deal with both Israel and the nations (cf. ) concerning “the things which shall be hereafter” (). According to the OT prophet Daniel, the Roman prince (i.e., Antichrist) “shall confirm the covenant with many for one week, and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease…” (vv. 26-27). The Lord Jesus Christ expounded on the Tribulation period in response to His disciples’ queries, giving details of the sequence of events of this “one week” (cf. ; vide also ; and ). In , Christ listed characteristics of the first half of the Tribulation, and in verses 15-28 he listed descriptions of the second half. He built His eschatology upon Daniel’s prophecy concerning the mid-point of the Tribulation and “the abomination of desolation” (v. 15; cf. ).878 To the Saviour, recognizing the mid-point of the Tribulation was the pivotal hermeneutical principle for those in the Tribulation to understand the “when” and “what” of the Lord’s coming (cf. ).
With Daniel’s prophecy as a foundation, the Lord Jesus Christ gave His complementary explanation of events of the Tribulation (.) which John received (). For instance, both passages give in the same order the following: war (; ), famine (; ), death (; ), martyrdom (; ), cosmic activity (; ), and judgment (; ; ). Further, Christ divided the Tribulation period into the two halves to which Daniel (cf. ; ) and John ( et al) alluded, 1) “the beginning of sorrows” (), the intervening mid-point with “the abomination of desolation” (), and 2) the “great tribulation” (). The Lord’s Olivet Discourse () harmonized with the [Apocalypse] that the Apostle John received from the Saviour (.).
873 Luther called it der Angst in Jakob and the Vulgate rendered the Hebrew as tribulationis est Iacob.
874 Cf. Strouse, But Daniel Purposed in His Heart: An Exegetical Commentary on Daniel, pp. 137-143.
875 The Saviour constantly employed the temporal adverb to,te (“then,” vv. 9, 10, 14, 16, 21, 23, 30 [2], and 40), the temporal conjunction o[tan (“when,” vv. 15, 32, 33), and the temporal adverb euvqe,wj (“immediately,” v. 29) to emphasize the chronological development of events.
876 The Lord did not believe Daniel’s prophecy was fulfilled in Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164 BC).
877 The Greek to. bde,lugma th/j evrhmw,sewj also occurs in . Christ borrowed the term “abomination[s] from ; ; .
878 Apparently, the Saviour knew that during the Tribulation “many shall run to and fro” attempting to find a copy of the Book of Daniel, and that “knowledge [eschatological] shall be increased” ().
879 Scripture employed various ways to express either half of the Tribulation. For instance, the expression “forty and two months” (; ) is the same as “a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (; ), or “a time and times and the dividing of time” (), or “a time, times, and an half” (), or “a time, and times, and half a time” (). Apparently, the Tribulation calendar will be based on the thirty day month, albeit Antichrist will attempt to change the times (cf. ), perhaps based on a sexagesimal six-day week (cf. ; ).
880 The Tribulation is “as a woman that travaileth” (), and Matthew’s Greek expression wvdi,nwn is the equivalent to Isaiah’s Hebrew !Wl+yxiy> hd"ÞleAYK. Since the warning of wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes () is included in the first half of the Tribulation, these are not “signs” for church age saints prior to the Rapture!
[Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 255–257.]
Body:

I. THE FALSE MESSIAH ().

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The Lamb, the one worthy to open the seals, has taken the scroll. As the seals are opened, they progressively expose and inaugurate God’s final plan to rid the world of evil. Yet these are preliminary judgments, as the scroll will not be fully open until all seven seals have been released. When the Lamb opens each of the first four seals, one of the four living beings from 4:6–8 calls forth the famous “four horsemen,” showing that every part of these events comes by order from the throne of God. The theme of this section is the absolute depravity of humankind. Each of the horsemen demonstrates the descent of humankind deeper and deeper into sin, and together they show the self-destructive nature of sin. Yet three times in this section God gives authority to the riders (6:2, 4, 8), showing God’s absolute power over the entire process. Even the forces of evil act only by divine permission. [Grant R. Osborne, Revelation: Verse by Verse, Osborne New Testament Commentaries (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), 122–123.]

A. Heaven's Messiah ()

Revelation 6:1 KJV 1900
1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

1. The Crucified (1a)

Revelation 6:1 KJV 1900
1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
See above verses in chs. 4-5 concerning the “Lamb, standing, as it had been slain...”

2. The Conqueror (1b)

Revelation 6:1 KJV 1900
1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
See also above chs. 4-5 concerning John’s weeping and the Lamb’s prevailing to open the book...

3. The Call (1c)

Revelation 6:1 KJV 1900
1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
Note - “and see” rightly belongs in the text. Barnes Notes does justice to what John may have “seen”:
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And I saw, and behold. A question has arisen as to the mode of representation here: whether what John saw in these visions was a series of pictures, drawn on successive portions of the volume as one seal was broken after another; or whether the description of the horses and of the events was written on the volume, so that John read it himself, or heard it read by another; or whether the opening of the seal was merely the occasion of a scenic representation, in which a succession of horses was introduced, with a written statement of the events which are referred to. Nothing is indeed said by which this can be determined with certainty; but the most probable supposition would seem to be that there was some pictorial representation in form and appearance, such as he describes in the opening of the six seals. In favour of this it may be observed, (1) that, according to the interpretation of ver. 1, it was something in or on the volume—since he was invited to draw nearer, in order that he might contemplate it. (2) Each one of the things under the first five seals, where John uses the word “saw,” is capable of being represented by a picture or painting. (3) The language used is not such as would have been employed if he had merely read the description, or had heard it read. (4) The supposition that the pictorial representation was not in the volume, but that the opening of the seal was the occasion merely of causing a scenic representation to pass before his mind, is unnatural and forced. What would be the use of a sealed volume in that case? What the use of the writing within and without? On this supposition the representation would be that, as the successive seals were broken, nothing was disclosed in the volume but a succession of blank portions, and that the mystery or the difficulty was not in anything in the volume, but in the want of ability to summon forth these successive scenic representations. The most obvious interpretation is, undoubtedly, that what John proceeds to describe was in some way represented in the volume; and p 138 the idea of a succession of pictures or drawings better accords with the whole representation, than the idea that it was a mere written description. In fact, these successive scenes could be well represented now in a pictorial form on a scroll. [Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament: Revelation, ed. Robert Frew (London: Blackie & Son, 1884–1885), 137–138.]
Note - How one interpret’s the identity of this first rider matters greatly:
...one’s viewpoint of the first horseman seems to be determinative for identifying whether the basic agency of all four is divine or satanic. Respective advocates of each view cite an impressive array of Scriptural evidence and logic; ironically, those holding opposing viewpoints often use the same O.T. and N.T. Scriptures for support and seek to bolster their argument with parallels from antiquity. [Gwyn Pugh, “Commentary on the Book of Revelation,” in 1, 2, 3 John & Revelation, ed. Robert E. Picirilli, First Edition., The Randall House Bible Commentary (Nashville, TN: Randall House, 2010), 229.]
one’s viewpoint of the first horseman seems to be determinative for identifying whether the basic agency of all four is divine or satanic. Respective advocates of each view cite an impressive array of Scriptural evidence and logic; ironically, those holding opposing viewpoints often use the same O.T. and N.T. Scriptures for support and seek to bolster their argument with parallels from antiquity. [Gwyn Pugh, “Commentary on the Book of Revelation,” in 1, 2, 3 John & Revelation, ed. Robert E. Picirilli, First Edition., The Randall House Bible Commentary (Nashville, TN: Randall House, 2010), 229.]
Gwyn Pugh, “Commentary on the Book of Revelation,” in 1, 2, 3 John & Revelation, ed. Robert E. Picirilli, First Edition., The Randall House Bible Commentary (Nashville, TN: Randall House, 2010), 229.]
Note - I tend to agree with Grant Osborne regarding whether or not these judgments are sequential (as Strouse) or parallel:
...there is debate among interpreters about the relationship between the seals, trumpets, and bowls. Many believe that these three sets of judgments should be understood as successive, with the seventh of each set encompassing the next set, which flows out of it. In this case, there would be 21 successive events during the last phase of human history, called “the great tribulation” after 7:14 (“come out of the great tribulation”). One drawback to this approach is that it does not explain the exact repetition in the order of the first four trumpets and first four bowls, which parallel each other in progressing from earthly to oceanic to fresh water to heavenly body judgments (8:6–12 = 16:2–9). It also does not explain the fact that the seals, trumpets, and bowls all seem to end at the eschaton. It is more likely that these are not successive events but three parallel cycles that recapitulate one another. This means that they symbolize a series of judgments in which God will be pouring out these natural catastrophes in increasing severity throughout this great tribulation period. [Osborne, 120–121.]
Grant R. Osborne, Revelation: Verse by Verse, Osborne New Testament Commentaries (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), 120–121.]
Thunder is the precursor of a storm. Before a rain storm comes, we hear thunder. When the first seal was opened, the sound of thunder forecast a storm of judgment on the earth. [John G. Butler, Analytical Bible Expositor: Revelation (Clinton, IA: LBC Publications, 2010), 414.]
John G. Butler, Analytical Bible Expositor: Revelation (Clinton, IA: LBC Publications, 2010), 414.]

B. Hell's Messiah ()

The preferred interpretation is that the first horseman of represents the Antichrist or else a trend or movement of which he would certainly be the chief example. [Daniel K. K. Wong, “The First Horseman of ,” ed. Lin M. Williams, Bibliotheca Sacra 153 (1996): 222.]
The preferred interpretation is that the first horseman of represents the Antichrist or else a trend or movement of which he would certainly be the chief example. [Daniel K. K. Wong, “The First Horseman of ,” ed. Lin M. Williams, Bibliotheca Sacra 153 (1996): 222.]
Daniel K. K. Wong, “The First Horseman of ,” ed. Lin M. Williams, Bibliotheca Sacra 153 (1996): 222.]
John 5:43 KJV 1900
43 I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.

1. Rider of Deception ()

Revelation 6:2 KJV 1900
2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
a
Note - the importance of the passivity of the agency here:
Joseph L. Trafton, Reading Revelation: A Literary and Theological Commentary, Rev. ed., Reading the New Testament Series (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, 2005), 70.]
The first horse is white; its rider has a bow and “was given” a crown (6:2). The expression “was given [edothe] to him” reflects the common Jewish idiom called the divine passive—that is, God is understood to be the unexpressed subject of the verb. This is the first of many such divine passives in the book that have to do with something being “given” (6:4, 4, 8, 11; 7:2; 8:2, 3; 9:1, 3, 5; 11:1, 2; 12:14; 13:5, 5, 7, 7, 14, 15; 16:8; 19:8; cf. 20:4). God is ultimately in control. The rider goes out “conquering and to conquer” (6:2). [Joseph L. Trafton, Reading Revelation: A Literary and Theological Commentary, Rev. ed., Reading the New Testament Series (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, 2005), 70.]
Rev. 6:2
Note - Christ’s Prophecy concerning Israel’s deception:
Matthew 24:4–5 KJV 1900
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Note - Dr. Constable’s agreement as to the identity of this rider:
The rider carried a bow (cf. ) symbolizing victory, but no arrows. The absence of arrows probably indicates a bloodless victory. The rider threatens war (cf. ; ; ), but it never occurs, probably because he accomplishes victory through peaceful means. Someone, evidently God, gave him an imperial crown (Gr. stephanos) anticipating an authoritative career (cf. 9:1, 3, 5; 13:5, 7, 14, 15). The sovereign God is the only one who can give human rulers authority to rule (cf. ). [Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), .]
Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), .]
Note - Dr. Strouse’s encouragement toward sound Scriptural exegesis as pertains to the identity of this rider:
The four colored horses[896] and their respective riders, the famous “four horsemen of the Apocalypse,” are a visual unit and must be interpreted as such. Treated as a literary and theological unit, the four horsemen (“the dragoons of disaster”), led by the horseman on the white horse, will bring destruction to the earth at the outset of the Tribulation so that the fourth part of the world’s population will be killed (cf. ). In contrast, Christ’s coming and reign at the end of the Tribulation will bring peace and prosperity in its retinue ().[897] Using the Lord Jesus Christ’s hermeneutical guide to understanding the Tribulation (i.e., ), the rider on the white horse must be the Roman prince (i.e., the Antichrist []) who shall confirm some sort of peace[898] covenant with the Jews, deceiving them by saying “I am Christ” (cf. ). This false peace will be shattered by the next three horsemen—wars, famines, Death and Hell (cf. ).[899]
[896 Although Zechariah referred to four colored horses (; cf. 1:8), their number, circumstance and purpose were different. There were several horses of each color connected to chariots to bring Jehovah’s judgment exclusively on the Gentile nations. This contrasts widely with .]
[897 Christ’s crown is different from the rider (diadhma [royal crown] versus stefanos [victor’s crown]), His weapon is different (romfaia ovxeia [“a sharp sword”] versus toxon [“bow”]), and His purpose is different (retribution versus conquest). Since the Lamb is Christ, and He opens the seal, it would be incongruous for the Lord to be both the One opening the seal and the Personage within the first Seal Judgment. The Antichrist’s offer of false peace on a white horse contrasts the Ultimate Victor Who will offer true peace as the “Faithful and True” (cf. ).]
[898 The pseudo-peace that the Antichrist will establish will be soon taken away by the wars waged through the second horseman (cf. v. 4). Isaiah said succinctly, “There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked” ().]
[899 These horsemen and their respective horses may be demonic creatures over their respective domain, and similar to the demonic horses and men in .]
[Strouse, 260–261.]

2. Rider of Destruction ()

Revelation 6:3–4 KJV 1900
3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
Matthew 24:6–7 KJV 1900
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
Mt. 24:6-7
Peace from the earth. Rome was said to have achieved peace (pax Romana “Roman peace”) under Caesar Augustus. The rider here may be deliberately depicted as removing the peace Rome thought it had. [Craig A. Evans and Craig A. Bubeck, eds., John’s Gospel, Hebrews–Revelation, First Edition., The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary (Colorado Springs, CO; Paris, ON; Eastbourne: David C Cook, 2005), 367.]
Craig A. Evans and Craig A. Bubeck, eds., John’s Gospel, Hebrews–Revelation, First Edition., The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary (Colorado Springs, CO; Paris, ON; Eastbourne: David C Cook, 2005), 367.]

3. Rider of Dearth ()

Revelation 6:5–6 KJV 1900
5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.
Matthew 24:7 KJV 1900
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
Note - Though this word is translated elsewhere as “yoke”, the AV translators wisely chose Tyndale’s rendering here based on context:
A pair of scales was made up of a crossbeam suspended by a hook with a pan suspended from each end of the crossbeam. Weights placed in one pan were used to determine the weight of commodities placed in the other pan. Balance scales are mentioned several times in the Old Testament, often with the protest that they were rigged to cheat customers (; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; Aune, 396). Daniel tells King Belshazzar that he has been “weighed on the scales and found wanting” (). [Evans and Bubeck, 367.]
Craig A. Evans and Bubeck, 367.]
Note - “penny” is a good translation so long as we define it the way the AV translators did:
...the word translated “penny” speaks of a coin that at that time was a day’s wage for the typical worker. The amount of food was very small—some say it was what was given a slave. At any rate inflation soared and poverty soared because of the extremely high prices that always come during a famine. Not only does the lack of food ravage the body but the inflated prices ravage the economy of the society until like Egypt in Joseph’s day “money failed” (), and eventually the people had to resort to extreme actions (selling themselves) in order to get food to live. [Butler, 417–418.]
James 5:1–3 KJV 1900
1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
John G. Butler, 417–418.]
James 5:1
Note - Consider Rod Mattoon’s timely exhortations [barring his comments on “Global Warming”]:
a
We are already seeing signs of famine now, even in the USA. Presently, out of about 180 countries in the world, only about four produce more food than they actually consume. They are the USA, Canada, France, and Argentina. As the population of the world continues to increase, famine continues to rise in under-developed or oppressed countries. The United Nations claims that 30 million people in Africa are at risk of dying from famine. The North American grain reserves are at their lowest levels in decades. Massive changes in weather patterns are also contributing to a shortage of food. Property development is turning farm fields into shopping malls and parking lots. Overgrazing, deforestation, and poor farming methods are ruining the land and crops. By 2025, it is estimated that one million child deaths per month will come from starvation.
Because of food concerns, attitudes and actions of cleansing and controlling the population have been implemented for years. New Age and New World Order publications suggest that the earth can only sustain a population between one to two billion which is not true. They believe the world has four billion people too many. Baby girls are killed in countries like China, India, and Northern Korea because of limitations placed on the size of the family. Famine and population control measures will both increase in intensity in the future.
The world population in Jesus' day was about 250 million. In 1500 it was about 500 million. In 1850 it reached around 1 billion; 1900 was around 1 1/2 billion; 1950 around 2 1/2 billion; 1980 around 5 billion; we are at the time of this writing around 6.2 billion. The world population rate of growth is 220 thousand per day or around 80 million per year. The catalyst for continued famines in the future will be greed, lust for power, government red tape, political corruption, and the judgment of God. [Rod Mattoon, Treasures from Revelation, Treasures from the Scriptures (WORDsearch, 2014), .]
Rod Mattoon, Treasures from Revelation, Treasures from the Scriptures (WORDsearch, 2014), .]

4. Rider of Death ()

Revelation 6:7–8 KJV 1900
7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
Matthew 24:7 KJV 1900
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
Note - Parallel Passages for consideration:
Jeremiah 14:12 KJV 1900
12 When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.
Jeremiah 15:3 KJV 1900
3 And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the Lord: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy.
Ezekiel 14:21 KJV 1900
21 For thus saith the Lord God; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?
Jer. 14:12
Ezekiel 33:27 KJV 1900
27 Say thou thus unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; As I live, surely they that are in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and they that be in the forts and in the caves shall die of the pestilence.
Ezekiel 5:12 KJV 1900
12 A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.
Ezekiel 5:17 KJV 1900
17 So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the Lord have spoken it.
Note - The demonic forces that could be implied within the notion of “hell” here:
Hades, in this passage, is put by synecdoche for the inhabitants of Hades, the demons who so intensely hate Christ and his people. We are, without doubt, witnessing some of the developments of these supernatural agencies in spiritualistic works; works hated by God and to be feared by men, tending directly to the excitement of the foulest passions dwelling in the human breast. Hideous in its deformity as it now is, it has not yet sounded the depths of its awful depravity; but when this seal is opened the system will have reached its maturity. It is by these agencies “some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white.” “They shall fall by sword and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil many days,” under the “vile person’s” persecution. (.) [Josiah Litch, A Complete Harmony of Daniel and the Apocalypse (Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger, 1873), 138–139.]
Matthew 24:7 KJV 1900
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
Ma
Josiah Litch, A Complete Harmony of Daniel and the Apocalypse (Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger, 1873), 138–139.]
Note - Constable’s vivid imagery:
Perhaps John saw Hades following Death as a man on foot follows a mounted warrior grimly gathering in his victims, or as a hearse follows a horse. [Constable, .]
Tom Constable, .]
Note - Quotable Quote:
It is significant that “Heaven” was not following “Death” because these calamities will be directed toward the world of wicked mankind that missed the Rapture and are subsequently left on earth. [Strouse, 269.]
Note - Again, Rod Mattoon’s alarming comments particularly regarding “pestilence”:
a
The sexual perversion of men will continue to plague mankind. The number one killer is AIDS. It is spreading like a forest fire in July especially in countries like Africa. Over the next decade, 250 million Africans could die of AIDS. The CIA calculated that 75% of Africa's population south of the Sahara is infected which is over 13 million people. South Africa is being wiped out! Dr. John Seale, British expert on AIDS calls AIDS, "the molecular biological equivalent of nuclear war." He said, "If my hypothesis is correct, and we wait 20 years before we take drastic, preventive action, half of the Western world will be wiped out." He is shocked at the media's disinformation about it. AIDS is highly contagious. The Atlanta Center for Disease Control has isolated the AIDS virus in tears and saliva.
What is driving this disease is sexually active adults in these countries who will have anywhere from 25 to 100 different sexual partners every year. In Thailand, 96% of the prostitutes have AIDS and infect 500 men every night. Infected, immoral, married men give the disease to their wives who in turn give it to their children when they are born. There are over 53 sexually transmitted diseases today that cause sterility, pain, and death. Statistics state that 40% of single, sexually active men are infected with some kind of sexual disease.
Diseases are also being spread by pollution, chemicals, and flea-infested rats. In Southwest USA, deadly strains of diseases are being carried by a population explosion of rats. In April, 1997, the World Health Organization issued a warning that "at least 30 NEW infectious diseases with no known treatment, cure, or vaccine have emerged over the past 20 years. Air travel, urbanization, and poor sanitation are spreading these diseases. Old diseases are also making a comeback including "bubonic plague, cholera, malaria, small pox, yellow fever, and diphtheria." Over-use of antibiotics are producing new strains of these diseases. One virus known as the Ebola virus actually eats the flesh of people. How horrifying! The World Summit for Children reported that every day:
• 1400 children die from whooping cough.
• 4000 children die from measles.
• 2150 children die from tetanus
• 2750 children die from malaria
• 11,000 children die from diarrhea.
• 6000 children die from pneumonia.
This is every day, folks! In the Tribulation, pestilence will take its toll on mankind. [Mattoon, .]
Rod Mattoon, .]
Note - See Wilmington’s brief yet insightful summary:
6:1–2 First seal: A man on a white horse. When Christ opened the first seal on the scroll of Tribulation judgment, John saw a man on a white horse who will conquer, apparently without bloodshed—a picture of the Antichrist (see exposition on 13:1–10) as he subdues the world through peaceful deception (see ).
6:3–4 Second seal: Bloodshed and rebellion. When the second seal was opened, John saw a rider on a red horse, who will bring war upon the earth. The peace of the Antichrist will prove counterfeit and temporary.
[Strouse, 269.]
6:5–6 Third seal: Worldwide famine. The opening of the third seal brought a rider on a black horse and scenes of worldwide famine, so bad that a loaf of bread will cost a full day’s wages.
6:7–8 Fourth seal: Two pale horses. The fourth seal revealed two horsemen, named Death and Hades, who through various means will kill a fourth of all the world’s population—destruction far greater than World War II, when an estimated 1 in 40 humans died. [H. L. Willmington, Willmington’s Bible Handbook (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1997), 799.]
[H. L. Willmington, Willmington’s Bible Handbook (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1997), 799.]

II. THE FAITHFUL MARTYRS

A. The Place of these Martyrs ()

Revelation 6:9 KJV 1900
9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
Note - SIDE NOTE CONCERNING MISINTERPRETATION BY CULTISTS:
a
Clear passages must interpret the obscure.
A third important principle of Bible interpretation is that clear passages must interpret the less clear. False teachers disregard this principle by building their peculiar doctrines from difficult and obscure passages and using such verses to overthrow the teaching of many clear ones.
For example, Seventh-day Adventists build their doctrine of “soul sleep” on a few verses in the Old Testament. They point to , for example, which says that the breath is the spirit. They then say that since the breath is the spirit, man does not have a spirit that can live after he dies. Thus, when man dies, he is simply dead and non-existent until the resurrection. But when we look at the clear teaching of other verses, we see that man is a three-part being (body, soul, and spirit) and the spirit of man lives after he is dead. Compare and . The Seventh-day Adventists also use , which says the “dead know not any thing.” They claim that this supports their doctrine that the dead merely sleep in the grave until the resurrection, but they ignore the rest of the Bible which teaches that the dead are conscious. For example, compare ; ; and . [David Cloud, AN UNSHAKEABLE FAITH A Christian Apologetics Course (Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org http://www.wayoflife.org, 2011), 52.]
David Cloud, AN UNSHAKEABLE FAITH A Christian Apologetics Course (Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org http://www.wayoflife.org, 2011), 52.]

1. Defending the Truth (9a)

Revelation 6:9 KJV 1900
9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

2. Declaring their Testimony (9b)

Revelation 6:9 KJV 1900
9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
Note - Though I disagree with his interpretation of the rider on the white horse here meaning Christ, nonetheless, these are thoughtful observations concerning this fifth seal by Newell:
To Moses was given a pattern of the things in the heavens (). Therefore, there was an altar in heaven, or rather there is an altar. It was possibly thither that our Lord was going in to present Himself, according to , as the Great High Priest. Underneath this altar in heaven are seen the souls (yet disembodied) of God’s martyrs, evidently from Abel on. Their martyrdom has cried to heaven, as did Abel’s blood, for vengeance. These souls give expression now to the change of dispensation from grace to judgment: “How long, O Master, the holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” The answer is, that God is delaying judgment—not for salvation purposes, but that the rest of the martyrs may join their fellows!
“There was given them to each one a white robe (manifested righteousness) and it was said unto them, that they should rest (note this—they are at rest, personally) yet for a little time, until (1) their fellow-servants also and (2) their brethren, who should be killed even as they were, should have fulfilled their course”—(keep these two classes in mind).
This fifth seal exhibits especially three things: First, the patience of God—“He proceeds slowly and reluctantly from mercy to judgment.” Second, the change of dispensation evidenced in the character of the prayers of these martyrs for vengeance. Third, the utter wickedness of the earth which is plainly expected to go on martyring the full complement of God’s saints.
[William R. Newell, The Book of Revelation (Chicago: Moody Press, 1935), 107.]

B. The Prayers of these Martyrs ()

Revelation 6:10 KJV 1900
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

1. Appeal to Holiness (10a)

Revelation 6:10 KJV 1900
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

2. Avenge our Blood (10b)

Revelation 6:10 KJV 1900
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
Note - Parallel Passages to Consider:
2 Kings 9:7 KJV 1900
7 And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezebel.
Psalm 79:10 KJV 1900
10 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God? Let him be known among the heathen in our sight By the revenging of the blood of thy servants which is shed.
Deuteronomy 32:43 KJV 1900
43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: For he will avenge the blood of his servants, And will render vengeance to his adversaries, And will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.

3. Afflict the Enemy (10c)

Revelation 6:10 KJV 1900
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

C. The Provision by the Master ()

Revelation 6:11 KJV 1900
11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

D. The Promise to the Martyrs ()

Revelation 6:11 KJV 1900
11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
God made clear to these martyrs that their sacrifice was an appointment, not an accident; and that others would join them. Even in the death of His people, God is in control (); so there is nothing to fear. [Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 589.]
Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 589.]

III. THE FEARFUL MULTITUDE ().

A. All the World Experiences Christ's Wrath ()

Revelation 6:12–14 KJV 1900
12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
Note - God’s Judgment is certain:
We need to recall the words of the German poet, Von Logau,
The mills of God grind slowly, But they grind exceeding small; Though with patience He stands waiting, With exactness grinds He all.
Law writers tell us that laws restrain crime only as punishment is speedy and certain. An Old Testament writer anticipated their wisdom: "Because sentence against an evil deed is not speedily executed, the hearts of evil-doers are fully set in them to do mischief." Shakespeare, in Hamlet, makes "the law's delay provocation for suicide. So the lesson of Paul is hard: "Avenge not yourself – give place to God's wrath; if thine enemy hunger feed him, if he thirst give him drink, and by doing so heap coals of fire on his head."
God's delay in avenging is explicable by the facts:
1. No criminal can escape.
2. No bribery, perjury, or technicality can avail.
3. The sufferer is trained in patience by tribulation.
4. No witness can abscond.
5. The punishment will be complete and exactly proportioned to the heinousness of the offense.
6. God delays to punish that there may be space for repenting. (See , ; ; , , ) [B. H. Carroll, An Interpretation of the English Bible - Revelation, vol. 17, An Interpretation of the English Bible (Baker Book House, 1948), 126–127.]
B. H. Carroll, An Interpretation of the English Bible - Revelation, vol. 17, An Interpretation of the English Bible (Baker Book House, 1948), 126–127.]
The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in a.d. 79 resulted in the darkening of the sun for several days (Pliny, Ep. 6.16.17; 6.20.15; Dio Cassius, Roman History 66.22.4; 66.23.4–5; Aune, 527). [Evans and Bubeck, 368.]
Dio Cassius Second-third century a.d. Roman historian; his Roman History is only partly extant. [Evans and Bubeck, 368.]
Note - Parallel Passages to Consider:
Isaiah 13:10 KJV 1900
10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: The sun shall be darkened in his going forth, And the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
Craig A. Evans and Bubeck, 368.]
Is. 13:10
Ezekiel 32:7–8 KJV 1900
7 And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. 8 All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord God.
Joel 2:10 KJV 1900
10 The earth shall quake before them; The heavens shall tremble: The sun and the moon shall be dark, And the stars shall withdraw their shining:
Joel
Joel 3:15 KJV 1900
15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, And the stars shall withdraw their shining.
Joel 2:31 KJV 1900
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, Before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.
Note - See Isaiah’s Prophecy:
Isaiah 34:4 KJV 1900
4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, And the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: And all their host shall fall down, As the leaf falleth off from the vine, And as a falling fig from the fig tree.
Job 38:19 KJV 1900
19 Where is the way where light dwelleth? And as for darkness, where is the place thereof,
Job 38:16 KJV 1900
16 Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? Or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?
Job 38:15 KJV 1900
15 And from the wicked their light is withholden, And the high arm shall be broken.
Job 38:14 KJV 1900
14 It is turned as clay to the seal; And they stand as a garment.
Job 38:13 KJV 1900
13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, That the wicked might be shaken out of it?
Job 38:17 KJV 1900
17 Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? Or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?
Great earthquakes accompany significant Divine action. There are three great earthquakes in (; ; and 16:18, 19). There was an earthquake at the giving of the law (), during Elijah’s day () and an earthquake in Philippi that freed Paul and Silas from prison (). The Bible also reports an earthquake during King Uzziah’s reign (), an earthquake at the crucifixion () and resurrection of Christ (). Christ predicted earthquakes for the end times (). [Butler, 422–423.]
Isaiah 34:4 KJV 1900
4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, And the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: And all their host shall fall down, As the leaf falleth off from the vine, And as a falling fig from the fig tree.
John G. Butler, 422–423.]
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Note - Consider and apply to the lukewarm “christianity” of today John Bunyan’s remarks concerning “Untimely Figs”:
Fruit out of season, and so no fruit to God’s liking. There are two sorts of professors subject to bring forth untimely fruit: 1. They that bring forth fruit too soon; 2. They that bring forth fruit too late.
1. They that bring forth too soon. They are such as at present receive the Word with joy; and anon, before they have root downwards, they thrust forth upwards; but having not root, when the sun ariseth, they are smitten, and miserably die without fruit. These professors are those light and inconsiderate ones that think nothing but peace will attend the gospel; and so anon rejoice at the tidings, without foreseeing the evil. Wherefore, when the evil comes, being unarmed, and so not able to stand any longer, they die, and are withered, and bring forth no fruit. ‘He that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the Word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the Word, by and by he is offended’ (, ). There is, in , mention made of some ‘whose glorious beauty shall be a fading flower,’ because it is ‘fruit before the summer.’ Both these are untimely fruit.
2. They also bring forth untimely fruit that stay till the season is over. God will have his fruit in his season; I say, he will receive them of such men as shall render them to him in their seasons (). The missing of the season is dangerous; staying till the door is shut is dangerous (, ). Many there be that come not till the flood of God’s anger is raised, and too deep for them to wade through; ‘Surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him’ (). Esau AFTERWARDS is fearful: ‘For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears’ ().
So the children of Israel, they brought to God the fruits of obedience too late; their ‘Lo, we be here’ came too late (); their ‘We will go up’ came too late (). The Lord had sworn before, ‘that they should not possess the land’ (, ). All these are such as bring forth untimely fruit (; ). It is the hard hap of the reprobate to do all things too late; to be sensible of his want of grace too late; to be sorry for sin too late; to seek repentance too late; to ask for mercy, and to desire to go to glory too late.
Thus you see, 1. That fruit smitten in the growth, that withereth, and that comes not to maturity, is no fruit. 2. That hasty fruit, such as ‘the grass upon the house-top,’ withereth also before it groweth up, and is no fruit (). 3. That the fruit that is vile, and ill-tasted, is no fruit. That wild fruit, wild grapes, are no fruit (). That untimely fruit, such as comes too soon, or that comes too late, such as come not in their season, are no fruit. [John Bunyan, The Barren Fig-Tree, vol. 3 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2006), 567.]
John Bunyan, The Barren Fig-Tree, vol. 3 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2006), 567.]

B. All the Worldling's Experience Christ's Wrath ()

Revelation 6:15–17 KJV 1900
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
Note - Quote Thomas Boston [who viewed the “white horse” here as the “gospel”:
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Thomas Boston, The Whole Works of Thomas Boston: An Illustration of the Doctrines of the Christian Religion, Part 1, ed. Samuel M‘Millan, vol. 1 (Aberdeen: George and Robert King, 1848), 520.]
Note - Parallel Passages to Consider:
Isaiah 2:10 KJV 1900
10 Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, For fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty.
Is. 2:10
Isaiah 2:19–21 KJV 1900
19 And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, And into the caves of the earth, For fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, When he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. 20 In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, Which they made each one for himself to worship, To the moles and to the bats; 21 To go into the clefts of the rocks, And into the tops of the ragged rocks, For fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, When he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
Is. 2:19
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Jeremiah 4:29 KJV 1900
29 The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; They shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: Every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein.
Note - Contrasting Illustration concerning the “Face” of the Lord:
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THE FACE OF THE LORD.
"Hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the Throne" (). "My heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek" ().
What a startling contrast have we here in these two Scriptures! The first depicts a scene of unparalleled horror. There is nothing more awful in Holy Writ or in any other literature. Men and women crying out in terror for nature to hide them "from the face of Him that sitteth on the Throne," and crying in vain. But the second introduces us to a scene of peace and bliss. The blackness and the darkness have given way to the light of a bright summer morn. Instead of the anguishing cry of fear and dread, there is the wooing and soothing notes of worship. The same face to one company an unspeakable horror, but to the other an exquisite delight; the one fleeing from that holy countenance, the other seeking the same with wholehearted and earnest endeavour. What a startling contrast! How is it?
"No man can see Me (My face) and live" (). Such was the Lord's word to Moses. This certainly does not mean that He desires to hide himself from us. Away with such a thought. Why, He bids us seek His face! It simply means that the face of Jehovah, as involving the full blaze of His manifested glory, no mortal could bear, as the sight would overpower and shatter his frame. We have known instances of the sudden and unexpected sight of the long-lost face of son or daughter to so fill with joy the invalid parent that the transport shattered the feeble frame, and death intervened. For this reason in cases of this nature we speak of the wisdom of "breaking the news." Such a preparatory work is needed concerning the sight of the Lord's face. This is forcibly illustrated in the two Scriptures before us. The fact that "they shall see His face" (), by and by, is counted by believers as an inexpressibly privilege, because they are passing through the preparatory stages down here; whereas the mass of the mere worldlings are terrified at the prospect of beholding Him, because they are consciously unfit and unprepared. The best preparation for beholding His face by and by is to gaze into it here and now. How is this possible?
The first and most important preparatory step is the one Moses took, viz., the step to the Cleft Rock (). There is another Rock, riven by a more awful storm, a Rock cleft by a thunderbolt of Divine justice- it is the Rock of Ages, that Rock which is Christ. [Dr. James Smith and Robert Lee, Handfuls on Purpose: For Christian Workers and Bible Students, n.d., .]
Dr. James Smith and Robert Lee, Handfuls on Purpose: For Christian Workers and Bible Students, n.d., .]
Note - Litch’s summary of the effect of this seal’s opening:
We are informed in verse 11 that the day of vengeance will not come until the full number of martyrs is made up. But under the sixth seal, as in verse 17, we are told that “the great day of his wrath hath come.” Consequently the events of the sixth seal are subsequent to all the others, and are the signal that the persecutions of the saints are at an end. The war of the little horn will then have terminated. Therefore the scene here described is the “coming of the Ancient of Days.” It is “the sign of the Son of Man in heaven,” which is to “immediately” follow “the tribulation of those days.” (.) Then the dominion of the little horn over the saints will be taken away. But it by no means follows that he will cease to exist and reign over the conquered nations. For he will do so until the battle of that great day of God Almighty, which will not take place until Christ shall have come in the clouds of heaven and taken his people to himself; celebrated the marriage supper of the Lamb with them in the new Jerusalem; and then returns with the armies of heaven to conquer a peace, and cast the beast alive into the lake of fire. This scene, and , , will be seen by the attentive reader to be identical; the last clause of verse 30, “and they shall see the Son of Man coming,” &c., properly belonging to verse 31.
The scene here described is panoramic in its nature.
1. The great earthquake levels and removes all obstructions to vision—“mountains and islands”—by removing them from their places.
2. The “lights” of the world are hidden in the darkness of night, that only the coming scene may be witnessed.
3. The curtain of the heavens is rolled up, and the judgment sitting in heaven exhibited to all the earth—“The sign of the Son of Man.”
The description here given is more definite and full than that given by Christ. He said, “Then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn.” But here we are shown how it will affect them. “The kings of the earth,” &c., “hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?”
The world will then be satisfied of the truth of the doctrine of a day of judgment, and that Christ is coming in person—a doctrine at which many, if not all of them, will have mocked and derided. [Litch, 141–143.]
Josiah Litch, A Complete Harmony of Daniel and the Apocalypse (Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger, 1873), 141–143.
Note - Parallel Passages to Consider:
Note - See Isaiah’s Prediction:
1 Kings 22:19 KJV 1900
19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
, ,
Isaiah 2:12 KJV 1900
12 For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, And upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:
2 Chronicles 18:18 KJV 1900
18 Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left.
Psalm 47:8 KJV 1900
8 God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.
Isaiah 2:19 KJV 1900
19 And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, And into the caves of the earth, For fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, When he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
Isaiah 6:1 KJV 1900
1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
Ezekiel 1:26–27 KJV 1900
26 And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. 27 And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.
Isaiah 2:21 KJV 1900
21 To go into the clefts of the rocks, And into the tops of the ragged rocks, For fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, When he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
Ps.
Hosea 10:8 KJV 1900
8 The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: The thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; And they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; And to the hills, Fall on us.
Sirach 1:8 NRSV
8 There is but one who is wise, greatly to be feared, seated upon his throne—the Lord.
Just as Adam and Eve “hid themselves” from Jehovah after their sin (), so will lost mankind hide in the time of judgment for unrepentant sinners... John revealed the “prayerful” conversation of wicked mankind ([they] “said”), who will address the inanimate objects of the mountains and rocks, as if they were addressing “mother nature” or the earth goddess Gaia. The days of evolutionary atheism will be over, as mankind will recognize that the ultimate deity is the biblical God. [Strouse, 287–288.]
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Note - Word’s of Wisdom from one of our greatest Hymnwriter’s in his discourse on this passage:
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Remarks on This Discourse
I. “What a wretched mistake is it, to imagine the great God is nothing else but mercy, and Jesus Christ is nothing else but love and salvation.” It is true, God has more mercy than we can imagine; his love is boundless in many of its exercises, and Jesus his Son, who is the image of the Father, is the fairest image of his love and grace. His compassions have heights, and depths, and lengths, and breadths in them, that pass all our knowledge; . But God is an universal sovereign, a wise and righteous governor: There is majesty with him, as well as grace; and Jesus is Lord of lords, and King of kings: He bears the image of his Father’s justice, as well as of his Father’s love; otherwise he could not be the full brightness of his glory, nor the express image of his person; .
And besides, the Father hath armed him with powers of divine vengeance, as well as with powers of mercy and salvation. . He has put the rod of iron into his hands, to dash the nations like a potter’s vessel. . and 19:15. He is the elect and precious corner stone laid in Zion; . But he is a stone that will bruise those who stumble at him, and those on whom he shall fall, he will grind them to powder: . He is a Lamb and a Lion too: He can suffer at Jerusalem and mount Calvary with silence, and not open his mouth; . and he can roar from heaven with overspreading terror, and shake the world with the sound of his anger. See that his mercy be not abused.
1024 The English expression occurs 8x in the KJV (; ; , ; ; ; ; and )
II. “The day of Christ’s patience makes haste to an end.” Every day of neglected grace hastens on the hour of his wrath and vengeance. Sinners waste their months and years in rebellion against his love, while he waits months and years to be gracious: But Christ is all-wise, and he knows the proper period of long-suffering, and the proper moment to let all his wrath and resentment loose on obstinate and unreclaimable sinners. Oh may every one of our souls awake to faith and repentance, to religion and righteousness, to hope and salvation, before this day of our peace be finished, and gone for ever. . Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. There was once a season when he saw the nation of the Jews, and the people of Jerusalem wasting the proposals of his love; they let their day of mercy pass away unimproved, and he foretold their destruction with tears in his eyes. , . He beheld the city, and wept over it; alas, for the inhabitants who would not be saved! He was then a messenger of salvation, and clothed with pity to sinners; but in the last great day of his wrath, there is no place for these tears of compassion, no room for pity or forgiveness.
III. “When we preach terror to obstinate sinners, we may preach Jesus Christ, as well as when we preach love and salvation, for he is the minister of his Father’s government, both in vengeance and in mercy.” The Lamb hath wrath, as well as grace, and he is to be feared, as well as to be trusted; and he must be represented under all the characters of dignity to which he is exalted, that, knowing the terrors of the Lord, as well as the compassion of the Saviour, we may persuade sinful men to accept of salvation and happiness;”—. [Isaac Watts, The Works of the Rev. Isaac Watts, vol. 7 (Leeds; London: William Baynes; Edward Baines; Thomas Williams and Son; Thomas Hamilton; Josiah Conder, 1813), 126–127.]
Isaac Watts, The Works of the Rev. Isaac Watts, vol. 7 (Leeds; London: William Baynes; Edward Baines; Thomas Williams and Son; Thomas Hamilton; Josiah Conder, 1813), 126–127.]
Note - Consider the present need of sinners to receive propitiation from Christ to escape the coming Wrath of God:
1025 This is the hithpael (reflexive) stem of the imperfect verb ab'x.
During the Tribulation, it will become obvious that there will be only two choices for one’s absolute deity—the Lord Jesus Christ or the Antichrist. Most of those who side with the biblical Saviour will be martyred; those who side with the Antichrist will receive his indelible mark of 666. Mankind’s greatest fear is not death or the pain of death, but the dreadful terrors of their personal encounter with the holy and just Creator—the Lord Jesus Christ. John described His “eyes like unto a flame of fire” (), and according to Paul’s affirmation, “our God is a consuming fire” (). The wicked have every reason to fear the Lord, since David asserted, saying “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day” (). In Christ’s propitiation, He has satisfied the wrath of God (; ). Those that refuse His propitiation must face the wrath of God with no remedy!1039
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1029 Atheism has never been a major threat to the Judeo-Christian faith.
1039 The unsaved will hear the Lord Jesus Christ condemn them to Hell, saying, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” () and fulfill His promises, as He said, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (v. 46).
The New Testament doctrine of propitiation like that of the Old Testament depends upon the concept of the wrath of God as requiring satisfaction. The wrath of God is expressly mentioned in ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; and 19:15. These references to wrath using the Greek term orgē are also supported by another word thumos, meaning anger or wrath, mentioned frequently in the New Testament in such passages as ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , and , ; , ; , ; and 19:15. The New Testament doctrine of propitiation is God’s answer to the problem of His righteous judgment upon the sinner. [John F. Walvoord, Jesus Christ Our Lord (Galaxie Software, 2008), 173.]
[Strouse, 287–288.]
Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 288.
Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 291–292.
John F. Walvoord, Jesus Christ Our Lord (Galaxie Software, 2008), 173.]
Note - Parallel Passages to Consider:
Joel 2:11 KJV 1900
11 And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: For his camp is very great: For he is strong that executeth his word: For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; And who can abide it?
Nahum 1:6 KJV 1900
6 Who can stand before his indignation? And who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? His fury is poured out like fire, And the rocks are thrown down by him.
Joel 2:
Malachi 3:2 KJV 1900
2 But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
Note - Consider McGee’s stirring thoughts on the paradox in the phrase “the wrath of the Lamb”:
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There are those on the earth who are praying to the rocks and to the mountains to fall upon them, because they want to be hidden. Hidden from whom? From the wrath of the Lamb. This is the great day of the wrath of God.
“The wrath of the Lamb” is a paradoxical phrase. The wrath of God is the Day of the Lord, that day that is spoken of all the way through the Old Testament prophets, a day that is coming upon the earth and is yet future. It is called here “the wrath of the Lamb”—that is a strange statement.
The Bible is filled with paradoxes, and I am sure that you have discovered that. A paradox is a proposition which is contrary to received opinion; that is, it is that which is seemingly contradictory. On the surface the assertion seems contradictory, but closer examination reveals it is factual. For example, here are several paradoxes. The farther an object goes from you, the larger it gets. That is not true, but it is true. When a balloon goes up, it gets smaller to the eye, but the balloon is getting larger all the time as the atmosphere gets thinner. Another paradox is that water flows uphill in Sequoia National Park. You may not believe that, but there are tons of water flowing uphill there. The Sequoia National Park is filled with giant redwood trees, and those redwoods are pulling up tons of water all the time. They call it osmosis, which is a scientific word which means they don’t really know what is happening. A third paradox is that the closer you get to the sun, the hotter it is. But out in the Hawaiian Islands, a tropical climate, if you look up on the top of Mauna Kea, there is snow up there although it is closer to the sun than you are. May I say to you, there are a lot of paradoxes that are true.
Here we have “the wrath of the Lamb.” The lamb is a familiar figure of Christ. Suppose a little lamb, which is noted for gentleness and meekness, did get angry? What then? It is like a tempest in a teapot. From the days of Abel to those of John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus is depicted as a lamb. The apostle John calls Him “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (). In other words, God did not choose the lamb because it possessed characteristics of Christ, neither did He choose it for the sacrificial aspect. God created such an animal to represent Christ. Christ is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world, before any lamb was ever created.
The Lord Jesus Christ has the qualities of a lamb. He was meek—“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (). He was gentle—“… Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (). He was harmless—You never see a sign saying, “Beware of the lamb.” You see “Beware of the dog,” but not of the lamb. He was humble—Christ washed the feet of His disciples. This is a tremendous thing. He is One whose life was marked by winsomeness. His life was like the perfume of a lovely and fragile flower. His coming was a doxology. His stay was a blessing. His departure was a benediction. Even the unbelieving world has been fascinated by His life. The lamb sets forth His sacrifice. Abraham said, “… God will provide himself a lamb …” (), and God did provide Himself a Lamb.
But what about “the wrath”? Wrath is strange and foreign even to the person of God, is it not? God loves the good. God hates the evil. He does not hate as you and I hate. He is not vindictive. God is righteous, God is holy, and He hates that which is contrary to Himself. He says that Jehovah is a man of war. He is strong and mighty. He is mighty in battle. The gospel reveals the wrath of God. Paul said, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (). Look at this world we are in, my friend. It already reveals the wrath of God, the judgment of God.
It is like mixing fire and water to bring wrath and the Lamb together, but all the fury of the wrath of God is revealed in the Lamb. When the Lord Jesus was on earth, He made a scourge of small cords, and He drove the moneychangers out of the temple. Was He bluffing? He was not. He called the religious rulers a generation of vipers, whited sepulchres. He cursed the fig tree. He said, “Woe unto thee, Chorazin and Bethsaida” (see ). Christ rejected Jerusalem, but He had tears in His eyes when He did so. He still controls the forces of nature, and He uses them in judgment. God has declared war against sin. I say, Blessed be His name. He will not compromise with that which has brought such havoc to the human family! There is a day coming when the wrath of the Lamb will be revealed. Somebody says, “I thought He was gentle and would not punish sin.” My friend, God said, “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (). [J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary, electronic ed., vol. 5 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 946–947.]
J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary, electronic ed., vol. 5 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 946–947.
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Conclusion:

During the Tribulation, it will become obvious that there will be only two choices for one’s absolute deity—the Lord Jesus Christ or the Antichrist. Most of those who side with the biblical Saviour will be martyred; those who side with the Antichrist will receive his indelible mark of 666. Mankind’s greatest fear is not death or the pain of death, but the dreadful terrors of their personal encounter with the holy and just Creator—the Lord Jesus Christ. John described His “eyes like unto a flame of fire” (), and according to Paul’s affirmation, “our God is a consuming fire” (). The wicked have every reason to fear the Lord, since David asserted, saying “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day” (). In Christ’s propitiation, He has satisfied the wrath of God (; ). Those that refuse His propitiation must face the wrath of God with no remedy![1039]
[1039 The unsaved will hear the Lord Jesus Christ condemn them to Hell, saying, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” () and fulfill His promises, as He said, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (v. 46).]
[Strouse, 291–292.]
Illustration -
In the days of the pioneers, when men saw that a prairie fire was coming, what would they do? Since not even the fastest of horses could outrun it, the pioneers took a match and burned the grass in a designated area around them. Then they would take their stand in the burned area and be safe from the threatening prairie fire. As the roar of the flames approached, they would not be afraid. Even as the ocean of fire surged around them there was no fear, because fire had already passed over the place where they stood.
When the judgment of God comes to sweep men and women into hell for eternity, there is one spot that is safe. Nearly two thousand years ago the wrath of God was poured on Calvary. There the Son of God took the wrath that should have fallen on us. Now, if we take our stand by the cross, we are safe for time and eternity.727 [Green, 207.]
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