The Problem with Kings–We are the Four Horsemen

This was originally posted on October 4, 2019 on my first website,

I abandoned that project for a few reasons, and I’ve been thinking about that decision lately. I’m not sure that I made the right choice. In any case, I have decided to republish some of the articles from that website to this one and work out some kinks along the way.

The below series is the last one that I completed on, and I think that I need to republish it now.

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 1)

I have something heavy to share and I’m not happy to share it, although there is a sense of amazement I feel at the word of God along with many other emotions as you might also experience if what I write makes sense to you.

I’m not sure where to begin except to explain what just happened to me. If this or other cases of my sharing seems to be a kind of praying or doing things to be seen, I apologize and I hope you will see that I write these things in sincerity as someone who is trying to convey experiences and lessons learned, both for my good as I try to be a good steward of what the Lord gives and for the good of the brethren in Jesus Christ.

It’s no secret to the few who read this blog regularly that I have some on-going struggles, and they seem to be peaking lately. I’ve just spent the last few hours in prayer, which I’ve never done to this extent. In basic terms, I began by seeking the Lord with some personal problems. This led to self-assessment and conviction of the Holy Spirit, which led to seeking mercy from the Lord, thanking Him for showing me my errors, and asking for strength to do better. Nothing too out of the ordinary.

Then, something out of the ordinary did happen. Suddenly, the issue I have reminded me of the red horse in Revelation 6.

And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

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.

The struggles I have cause me to do things that further harden the hearts of some instead of encourage to righteousness. The things I struggle with fuel conflict and destroy peace at times. The things I struggle with kill someone I love spiritually. What do I mean by killing spiritually? You can read this, but basically this is aligned with the teaching of Jesus that says if we hate in our heart, we are killing others.

I am like the red horseman. Great. Or, at least I was. I believe that the Lord is working.

I went on to read all four of the horsemen, then I realized, I am or have been all of those too — and not just me — all of us are. All of us Christians are. Maybe not each and every one of us, but as a collective. Christianity today can be represented by the four horsemen.

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.

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.

And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

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.

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.

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.

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

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.

How does this relate to Christianity as a whole today? I want to write a series of articles about this, looking at each horseman in detail. In basic terms, we:

  • Go forth conquering in the name of Jesus, but we do so in an unrighteous and destructive manner.
  • Kill one another, and we use the word of God very often to do so.
  • Neglect righteous judgement.
  • Bring death.

I’m not saying this is the only way to interpret this prophecy. I believe that all prophecy has an application depending on the season we are in. There could be a more literal application to come, but for now, I’m asking you to consider these things spiritually according to the teaching of Jesus given during His sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7).

We need to consider ourselves and seek the Lord. If there is any way you can relate to these horsemen after doing so, repent. I believe these to be the very actions and mindsets that lead up to the desolation of Christianity and the arrival of the false Christ.

On a positive note, I also believe that in turning aside from these things, dying to the kingdoms of this world, and growing in the things of the kingdom of God, we will be spared from the great deception that consumes this world, both now and in the future. If we are hardened to this, we can ask Jesus to “open these seals” within our hearts as only He can do, and only Jesus can place the seal of God on us. We need to be sealed and in the right way. Not as one with a hard heart, but with a heart that is protected and secured in righteous doing as the world falls apart.

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 2)

In this article, I want to explore what might be revealed to us presently within the first seal. First, I need to back things up a bit.

What is Being Sealed?

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals (Revelation 5:1).

“Him that sat on the throne” is God the Father. What is the book He holds in His right hand? I cannot say for certain, but there are other instances in Revelation when a book is mentioned. Are these the same book?

In Revelation 10 a great angel appears with a “little book.” The book is opened, seven thunders utter mysteries and the mysteries are sealed. We are told that this “mystery of God” will be finished when the seventh angel sounds. John was then instructed to take the little book, now sealed, and eat it up. It was sweet in his mouth, but his belly was made bitter.

There is also the book of life, which is mentioned on multiple occasions throughout the scriptures. Then there is the written word of God.

We can speculate on the nature of the book in Revelation 5, and I’m not sure what my exact take is on the issue. I think in some capacity, there is only one real “book” and all knowledge is contained in this “book.” Therefore, what matters most is the knowledge written therein pertaining to life, especially concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We cannot understand the things that pertain to life without Jesus revealing these things to us.

This notion carries through to what is written next in Revelation 5. Who is worthy to open the book?

Why is Jesus the Only One Who Can Open the Book?

And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.

And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth (Revelation 5:2-10).

I don’t want to get into the depths of what is being discussed in the above scriptures at this time. If you’re curious or have insight and you would like to talk about these things, let me know. I’d be happy to. The point for now is this declaration: The Lamb that was slain is the only one found worthy to open the book and to loosen the seven seals. Of course, the lamb is Jesus Christ.

What Do Open Seals Reveal?

I think we can assume that the act of opening a seal is a symbol for revealing information. What kind of information is being revealed?

Here’s what I mean when I say that “the book” is only one book, and this includes the book of life: This book can contain all kinds of knowledge as revealed by the fullness of the Spirit of God. This knowledge can go two ways in the end: life or death. It depends on how the knowledge is received.

If the knowledge is received on “good ground” (the parable of the sower in the field, Matthew 13), then we are receiving life and we bear the fruits of life. We are also falling on the right side of that “two-edged sword” which is the word of God (Hebrews 4:12). If not, then that very same word, that very same knowledge that brings life to many, will bring death. This knowledge can be sweet as honey and it can be bitter at the same time, especially as we digest these ideas more fully.

So, when looking at these seals, we want to look at them as one who is being given knowledge pertaining to life.

However, as with a two-edge sword, we should be careful in how we handle this knowledge. We should be reverent, never taking such things lightly, because in so doing we also take the blood of the Lamb lightly. The blood of the Lamb also has a life and death application, depending on whether we drink His blood in a worthy or unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:29).

The First Seal

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.

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.

The one on the white horse reflects the coming of Jesus. Jesus will come on a white horse, as we see in Revelation 19. However, I do not think the person mentioned here in Revelation 5 is truly Jesus, but an imposter. Why do I believe this Christ figure is an imposter?

For one, a crown was given to him. That means this false figure received a kind of authority that is not innately his own. Since God grants all authority, but in Him is no darkness, we can determine that this authority is given by God through the prince of this world, or Satan. Another reason I believe this to be a false Christ is because we know that a false Christ must come (the son of destruction/perdition) before Jesus returns (Mark 13, 2 Thessalonians 2).

There are two ways I see this:

  • The false Christ figure is that final antichrist who will deceive the nations before Jesus returns.
  • The false Christ figure represents something spiritual within Christianity, both on a global scale and pertaining to many of us individually.

How do I come to these conclusions?

If not Jesus Himself, which I believe it not to be, then this figure on the white horse represents a person or persons acting in the name of Jesus. In the final sense, this could have to do with antichrist. In the present sense, this considers any who act in the name of Jesus falsely or with a mis-aligned intent.

Consider the totality of Christian history. Our history is riddled with people and ideas that go around “conquering and to conquer,” all the while doing so in the name of furthering the kingdom of heaven. This is why we have so many denominations, for example. These leaders and ideas become a sort of crowned “king” that lay law down, divide, and conquer.

These “kings” take many forms, dating all the way back to the first king of Israel, Saul. Beginning with Saul until now, when the people of God become king in place of the King of Kings, division follows. So does murder, as we will see in the second seal. There are many “kings” today. Many denominations, many religious leaders, many individuals who go around “conquering” in the name of the kingdom of heaven but going about it in the wrong way.

How do we know if a religious leader is acting in the name of the Lord in sincerity or falsely? Here are some indicators, though they can be hard to spot at times:

  • Unrighteous motivations like money, social status, and power.
  • Becoming overly dogmatic about a non-salvation issue, resulting in an approach that forgets love for the brethren.
  • Laying laws on people that do not promote inner righteousness, but outward legalism.
  • Laying laws on people that are oppressive and negligent of our Christian liberties.

What Does This Seal Mean for Us?

Beware of “kings” who go about establishing their own kingdom instead of furthering the kingdom of heaven. This begins with those of the faith. After we hold our own Christian leaders accountable, then we can look to other kinds of worldly “kings.” These “kings” are governments and social ideologies that go about conquering in the name of their kingdom (their idea of eutopia on earth).

These can include any social trend that calls evil good then tries to impose that evil as a virtue onto others while calling those who oppose unrighteous. Many such things are trending these days, but judgment begins at the house of God, so we should begin looking to our own wrongdoing first. After-all, history teaches us that it is the failings of God’s people that leads to oppression by worldly rulers in the first place.

We should look at ourselves first, always.

Since judgment begins at the house of God, this first means judging ourselves. Each individual is a temple, and we need to get our house in order. If we are not honest with ourselves, then we are at risk of judging others for things we do, and we become hypocrites. So, let’s consider. How do we set ourselves up as a conquering king, all the while thinking we are acting in the name of Jesus? If we are sincere in heart, the Holy Spirit will convict us and guide us to repentance. Jesus will forgive us.

However, we should not think we are above these things. Here are some examples (many based on my own failings):

  • Becoming so stern about an issue of doctrine or other non-salvation issue that we cause divisions among the brethren.
  • Trying to impose our sense of righteousness on others in a manner that does not consider the liberty of our brethren, but instead places unfair bondage or judgment on them.
  • Attempting to force someone into repentance through harsh words or actions.
  • Having a know-it-all mindset that considers any who oppose as an enemy or outsider in the faith.

In Conclusion

The only One who can open our hearts to the knowledge that brings life is Jesus Christ.

If we continue as one who is hardened to our sinful state and continue therein without repentance, then the love of the Lord is not truly in us. However, we all have blind spots, or seals, that we need opened. It’s always a good idea to pray that the Lord will continue to reveal the hidden darkness in our heart and give us the knowledge of life we need in order to overcome.

Both the knowledge of our sin and the knowledge of life are important. How we receive these things speaks to whether we will be found on the side of life or the side of condemnation and death.

What can we learn from the 1st seal today?

As Christians, our lives are meant to be lived in Jesus name. However, if we claim the title of Christian and go around doing things in opposition to the kingdom of heaven, instead fueling the kingdom of this world or our own agenda, then we are not acting like Jesus. Instead, we are a kind of antichrist. This is a hard reality, but again, there is none who is above this and if we acknowledge these shortcomings and repent, there is forgiveness. There is life.

No sincere Christian should look at themselves as a kind of antichrist, but as mentioned earlier, the way we handle the things of God matter. All of the warnings given through our history, the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles of the scriptures are given for a reason.

We should pay attention and be attentive to our salvation. If we are sincere, we should grow in reverence for the warnings we are given in the word and greatly appreciate the blood of Jesus that cleanses us. In so doing, we will grow in the knowledge of the Lord, and we will receive mercy, forgiveness, and life. Salvation that is neglected is revealed to be no salvation at all, only hard heart delusion and death.

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 3)

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 (Revelation 6:4).

Can you imagine a person, full of so-called righteous indignation, riding on a fiery-red horse of zeal while wielding the word (sword) of God? That’s what I see when I read this verse.

How easy it is to become this horseman.

As Christians, we are supposed to be zealous after the things of God, and there is a righteous form of zeal. However, there is an unrighteous form of zeal also.

For many of us, when we are converted to the Christian faith and begin to see how corrupt the world is, even the Christian world, we can become consumed with a desire to do something about it. Without love and wisdom however, we can become overly harsh and condemning. We can become as one who leads people away from Jesus, not to Him. We can begin to use the sword of God to smite our fellow servants. For more, read “Those Who Kill with the Sword.”

The most deceptive form of zealous indignation is one that is cloaked in righteousness, or the justification of righteousness. Those doing such things will think that they are doing the will of God, when in reality, they have fallen for the devices of Satan.

Remember what Jesus said, “many will kill you, thinking that they do God’s service.”

They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service (John 16:2).

Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved (Mark 13:12-13).

This is a dangerous place to be, and very often this is something that comes about after we place ourselves under some kind of false Jesus king as mentioned in the first seal. We have a ruler that seems to be of God, and this ruler has an agenda. He is conquering in the name of Jesus. So, we begin to kill one another with our legalism, hypocrisy, anger, and so on.

Much could be said about this seal. There are many life situations in which we find ourselves killing others spiritually. This can range from being too harsh with someone because of their sin to being too permissive, thereby enabling their sin. We can be full of so-called righteous indignation on either front. We see this today in Christian society.

Take any moral issue that people fight and “kill” each other over today. On both sides you have an extreme. You have the extreme opposition to the moral issue who lacks compassion and patience with those in bondage to sin, then you have the extreme enablers who twist the love and grace of Jesus to basically make sin permissible. Both use the word of God to do so, and both sides are killing the one in bondage to sin because both are following their own “king” instead of what Jesus really has to say about the matter.

And what does Jesus have to say about the matter?

You can consider any form of sin that is rampant and a source of contention today, and the way Jesus would handle it is going to be similar. Sin is not acceptable, no matter what the reason. However, there is a reason and we should be compassionate, because if we were in their place, we would do the same. We are no better, and any good thing in us came from God, not ourselves.

We should approach such a person with empathy and humility, rebuke the sin as a force of destruction in their life, then point them to the One who can forgive and redeem them: Jesus. Jesus can heal them from this sin. He can release them from it, literally.

However, if they will not hear us, then we move on. If the person claims to be a Christian and their sin is causing those weak in the faith to sin also, then they must be removed from us after ample rebuke is given by multiple Christians.

In either case, we should love our enemy and pray that the Lord will turn their hearts to Him. Harsh words harden hearts, never free hearts. Enabling sin also hardens hearts.

There is a middle ground that is righteous in the eyes of the Lord, and though there is a time for being stern and even removing people from us for the sake of others, we always use caution and keep love as the primary motivation. When we use the word of God (the sword) to do so, use it wisely, in context with the full counsel of the word of God, with humility, and with the hopes of persuasion—not murder or condemnation.

How do we overcome this?

We need to get back to What Matters Most. First, get out from under the rule of that “king” that is holding your mind and heart captive. This “king” is usually an idea, or an association of many ideas or social pressures that twist our perspective into something that is not of God, though we might think it is.

If we put Jesus first and ask Him to reveal our blind spots, He will. This process can take time, and it can feel strange at first and even a bit overwhelming as our world-view is turned upside down—or rather—put back in order of how it should be for a Christian.

Over time, we are made free from the “kings” of this world as Jesus takes the reigns of our heart. We will learn how to use His sword righteously, because the Holy Spirit will do the wielding. This I know of personally, and I’m still learning.

As this process takes place, we learn about righteous judgment—and that’s precisely what we will discuss as we look at the third seal.

Again, I want to mention that this is an interpretation of these seals for today, and this pertains to murder in the spirit by those among the Christian faith. In the final days, there will be murder again by those who claim to be of God. If we are doing these things now, what’s to stop us from doing these things then in a time of such great deception? Seek Jesus in truth now and turn away from murderous use of His word. He will forgive us and teach us a better way.

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 4)

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.

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.

Imagine a rider on a horse that is so black that the rider himself is shrouded in darkness. This blind rider holds a pair of balances in his hand, representing judgment. Is the judgment of the blind rider just? No.

Consider the full picture of the horsemen leading up to this point. First, we have a “king” that comes in the name of the Lord with a mission to conquer others. Secondly, this religious person, idea, or set of ideas spiritually harm others while using the word of God to do so. However, this misuse of the word only leads to spiritually famished Christians.

“A measure of wheat for a penny,” is a day’s wages for a comparatively small amount of wheat. Who can live in such a state as this without starving to death? Again, consider this spiritually. Such a scale is unjust, isn’t it? Such a scale leads to starvation.

 “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.”

It happens all of the time. A Christian that is held captive to a “king” is conditioned to cherry pick certain scriptures then use these out of context to support ideas that do not bring real healing and life. There is so much chaos in the Christian world today, and many don’t know where to go for proper instruction in the things of God.

“The battle of the warrior is with confused noise and garments rolled in blood.” Tons of noisy conquerors, spiritual murder, and starving sheep. That’s what we have today.

The sad thing is, many Christians are vulnerable to misuse of scripture because they have not studied themselves, and those who want to learn have few resources available of any substantial value. That’s why I recommend these studies.

Blindness is a curse of pride.

Famine in the word of God leads to famine in the knowledge of the Lord and blind judgment—especially when mingled with pride. A person under the power of these horsemen influences will undoubtedly have issues of pride. Pride thinks it knows it all already, assumes the best for others forcibly, and is unwilling to consider its own wrongdoing. Pride is a curse of blindness and unjust judgment.

How do we learn righteous judgment?

As with all things, we seek Jesus. All of us have more to learn about the righteous ways of the Lord, no matter how experienced we are in the faith.

For more on humility, righteous judgment, and how to effectively overcome evil in this world, you can read: Exercising in HumilityExercising in Righteous Judgment, and Overcoming Evil with Good.

In Conclusion:

In the third seal we see unjust judgment, spiritual famine, and blindness. These things naturally result from following the wrong “kings” and using the word of God in a murderous manner. Such corruption cannot thrive without pride, and God blinds the proud.

Blindness is a curse, and one that is not meant for the true followers of the Lord. Take comfort in this, remembering that many who claim Christianity are more like the tares sown among wheat like Jesus taught. The time of reaping will come, and the blind will lead one another to their own demise while the faithful are preserved.

We should always remember that it is the Lord who opens our understanding and who shuts the right way from the vision of the unjust. Even during the time of greatest wickedness and deceit, the Lord will preserve His word within the hearts of the faithful remnant. In the context of this interpretation, that’s what I think “hurt not the oil and the wine” represents.

Although God is the one who blinds and enlightens, it is necessary to make problems known. God uses fellow brethren to help us, and speaking these things is useful for the sake those who are currently confused by the “horsemen” of today. Refusal of rebuke is another symptom of a hard and prideful heart. The further blinding that results is just. God is just and He is also merciful towards those of a sincere heart.

For now, we all have a measure of blindness. Yet, we also have the Holy Spirit who reveals all truth to us. Seek truth earnestly, face the corrupt judgments we are all so prone to making, and in so doing we will become humbled and better fitted to the kingdom of heaven.

There is an epidemic of pride and “the blind leading the blind” within Christianity today.

What does corrupt judgment, spiritual famine, and the blindness of pride lead to? Only death and destruction—the fourth seal.

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 5)

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 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 (Revelation 6:7-8).

When I consider this horse and rider, what I see is the totality of the previous three. Let’s recap while considering these ideas:

  • The horse is the animal on which the horseman rides. This represents what carries or motivates the horseman.
  • The tool in the hand of the horseman ties into the action this horseman takes, and a crown represents authority

The First Seal: First, there is the white horse with the conquering king who carries a bow. The white horse and crown represent a pursuit of power that comes in the name of Jesus falsely.

The Second Seal: Next is the red horse and the rider who takes peace from the earth and is given a great sword. The red horse reveals a fiery, unrighteous zeal and the sword is the word of God. The rider is someone under the “king” mindset who uses the word of God to spiritually murder others, most likely under the misguided assumption of good intentions.

The Third Seal: The third is a black horse whose rider carries balances in his hand. The blackness indicates blindness and the balances represent judgment. This rider is blinded (most likely by pride) and therefore makes unjust judgements that result in spiritual famine.

False Christian kings (ideas, leaders, and the like) lead to murderous use of God’s word, unjust judgment, and spiritual famine. Such are motivated by self-serving power, unrighteous indignation, and the blindness of pride.

What do all of these things lead to? Death and Hell.

Hell in this context is a transliteration of the word hades which means the grave. So, think of it this way. These horsemen first lead to spiritual death, which then leads one to their grave.

For information on the different translations of hell in the Bible, visit this article.

A fourth part of the earth is killed with the sword (murderous use of God’s word), hunger (spiritual famine), death (spiritual death), and the beasts of the earth. What do the beasts of the earth represent? If we follow our method of interpreting this spiritually instead of literally, any ungodly person or influence could represent a kind of beast.

In Conclusion

It’s important to keep in some things in mind.

Many Christians fall under various horsemen influences. It’s common for us to use the authority of Jesus to promote ideas that are not truly of God. It’s common to be full of unrighteous indignation and to use the word of God unwisely and dangerously. It’s common to become prideful, blinded, and to make unjust judgements that harm others. However, death is not to be our end.

Jesus taught us that many would come in His name and destroy. Jesus taught that many claim to follow Him but without real sincerely. Jesus also teaches that we should not judge anything before its time.

There are many Christians among us who are children of Satan, not God. However, many of us would seem to be children of Satan too before the Lord works more fully in us. Many of us might identify with some of these horseman actions, and if we do, it’s not too late to seek Jesus and ask for forgiveness and the guidance we need to be free from these harmful mindsets.

Jesus will avenge all who are slain by the horsemen.

If we Christians turn to Jesus and leave the ways of the horsemen behind us, then we are not going to be condemned. However, many will not repent. Many will continue to kill fellow Christians spiritually, and Jesus will avenge their deaths. We see this theme in the fifth and sixth seals. We will look at these two seals in the next article.

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 6)

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

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

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 (Revelation 6:9-11).

The fifth seal transitions from the four horsemen to faithful Christians who are slain by the ideas and actions perpetuated by the horsemen. Why were they slain and in what manner?

They were slain for their faithfulness to the word of God and their testimony of Jesus Christ.

Contrast this with the horsemen who are not faithful to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

On one hand, there are those who follow a false idea of Jesus, who use the word of God negligently and murderously, who are blind and make unjust judgments, thereby leading many to their deaths.

On the other hand, there are those who follow Jesus in sincerity, who use the word of God responsibly, whose eyes are enlightened to make righteous judgment, thereby leading many to life eternal in Jesus Christ.

Some things to consider when interpreting this seal:

  • Although there is limitation on our judgment of other Christians, as far as whether they are sincere or not, there will come a time when the distinction is made clearer. This is that time of separating the wheat from the chaff, as Jesus teaches.
  • In the end, all who the Lord intends to save will be saved, and there is nothing the enemy can do about it. Jesus is faithful and true.
  • In the end, any who retain horsemen attributes without repentance and redemption, and thereby continue to kill others spiritually and literally are not the true children of God.
  • In the end, any who are killed spiritually by horsemen figures without redemption, and thereby face real death instead of salvation, are not the true children of God.
  • God is in control of all things, all things are working according to His good will, and all things are working together for the good of those who belong to the Lord.

These four horsemen are given authority from God as instruments of Satan. Their purpose is, in the final sense, to aid in the separation of sincere Christians from the insincere.

Those who act with horsemen traits repent. Any who belong to Jesus under the horsemen influence also repent. All are shown a truer way.

In the end, none who belong to Jesus of sincerity are harmed by the horsemen, at least spiritually. Many sincere Christians are killed in the flesh in the final days, but remember, we are looking at these seals as it applies to Christianity today. We are considering these ideas spiritually.

So, what manner of death are we seeing portrayed by those slain under the alter? Is this spiritual death or literal death?

For now, let’s keep with the spiritual interpretation.

Any who are faithful to Jesus out of a sincere heart, but are somehow led astray by horsemen, will eventually be redeemed. As mentioned above, the Lord will lead all who belong to Him towards a better understanding, repentance, and a truer pursuit of the Christian life.

This crying under the alter can indicate a feeling of confusion, hopelessness, and desperation often felt by sincere Christians as they try to find Jesus despite all of the commotion in the Christian world. These cry out to Jesus, asking for help and judgment. One in this state might cry out to the Lord:

  • Oh Lord, are you really there?
  • Oh Lord, how do I know if the name of Jesus is the only true way?
  • Oh Lord, which denomination is right?
  • Oh Lord, why do I feel so far from you? Aren’t I “saved” because I recited the sinner’s prayer?
  • Oh Lord, help me! This world is destroying me!
  • Oh Lord, which way is true; judge it all and show me!

Such as these are spiritually dead, and it is because of the horsemen. Yet, they will not remain dead. Jesus will give them white robes. Both those who act as horsemen and those slain by horsemen can be led to this point of desperation, and they will be if the Lord wills it. They will cry out to the Lord, Jesus will begin to reveal truth to them, they will repent, they will be healed. They will be given white robes. Then…

They will see their brethren killed in the same way they were once killed. They will see the confusion, the lies, and all manner of Christian corruption.

Many of us go from being one who is influenced by the horsemen of this world to one who cries out to Jesus. Then, we begin to see things more clearly. Yet, while we are yet babes in Christ and lack love and wisdom, we can find ourselves on the other end of things. We then become horsemen ourselves in one regard or another. We repent again. We learn to wait on Jesus while being better stewards of what Jesus gives us to do.

Jesus tells us, be patient, trust in me, “rest yet a little season.” It is not yet time to reap. The horsemen will continue killing until the purposes of God are fulfilled.

Then comes the sixth seal – the reaping has begun.

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 7)

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;

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.

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

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;

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:

For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6:12-17)

Interpreting the Sixth Seal

How we interpret this seal depends on what time we are in. At least, that’s how I see it.

I hope I can explain what I am thinking clearly.

As mentioned in the previous articles, as of now we are looking at these seals in a metaphorical or spiritual sense. I believe that in the final days, these seals will take on a more literal meaning – though the spirit of the meaning remains constant.

For this seal, the difference of interpretation for current, future, and final days is much more significant than the previous seals.

If we interpret this seal as the natural result of the interpretations of the seals we’ve looked at so far, then what we see in this sixth seal is not Jesus. It is the antichrist and his great deception. If we interpret this seal as the natural result of a final days’ interpretation of the previous seals, then the one coming in the sixth seal is Jesus, as stated in the scripture.

Why the distinction?

Consider our current interpretations of the seals in a spiritual sense as it pertains to Christianity today. Specifically, look back to the first seal. The one on the white horse is any man or idea who sets himself up as a leader while claiming authority from Jesus. In the final days, I believe this seal to be the greatest fulfillment of this idea. We have the rule of antichrist and his ideas. He comes exalting himself as God, but he is false.

If we follow through with the spiritual, present-day interpretation, we have to keep something in mind: The Lord, Jesus will not return at just any time. The son of destruction must come and be revealed first.

So, if we continue on the path of interpreting these seals spiritually and for today, then we cannot interpret this sixth seal as the coming of Jesus – but, we can interpret this as the coming of the false christ.

The Literal Interpretation: The Coming of Jesus Christ

The Lord, Jesus is patient and merciful, but His patience will come to an end. Why would there be a limit to the patience of Jesus? Jesus is just, and in His mercy towards those who are faithful, He will return and overthrow all who oppress and murder the children of God. This includes many who call themselves Christian outwardly, but do not truly submit to Jesus.

By the time Jesus returns, there will be a clear distinction between those who are sincere and faithful to Jesus and those who are not. The time in which Jesus says, “rest yet a little season” will be over, and now it is time for the Lord to establish His reign. In so doing, all the high and proud things of this earth are made low. We see this if we take the sixth seal literally.

How is the distinction between the faithful and unbeliever set? This distinction is made when the false Christ appears. When he appears, there will only be two options: Follow the true Jesus and face execution or follow the false christ under false promises of protection and life.

Learning from our History as God’s People

We can gain insight from the history of God’s people. There are patterns that we see in the old testament and they are seen again in in the new testament, particularly in Revelation.

There is a tendency for God’s people to follow the “kings” of the earth instead of God. Christians are not totally immune to this tendency. That’s the basis of the lesson we can learn from the horsemen, for example. When the hearts of Christians are more aligned with these “kings” instead of Jesus, what will happen?

If we are truly the children of God, we will suffer chastisement. As the Jews of the old covenant, God will send oppression, lead us into captivity, and call us back to Him.

This pattern continues. We see the ultimate example and fulfillment of this in the last days. Christians are not faithful to Jesus. Oppression comes by way of the false christ. We are threatened with destruction. Those who are not sincere will be consumed by the deception of antichrist. Those who are faithful are kept from this temptation, though they might have to give their life up.

Can we see shadows of this today? We certainly can. We can see the assault on Christianity in the West. We can see the pressure to join in with society and deny the teachings of Jesus. Why is this happening? Should we fault the world for doing what the world does, or do we have a part to play in this? Maybe we should be looking to what we have done wrong, how we have gone astray in our looking to “kings” and how we might return to the Lord so that we are among the faithful who are spared from the deception of the false Christ. We will consider these ideas in greater detail within upcoming articles in this series.

The Spiritual Interpretation: The Coming of the False Christ

Of course, the antichrist is not here yet—though as Paul the apostle wrote—there are many antichrists. The work of present-day “kings” provide some insight into what we can expect when that final deception, that son of destruction, is revealed.

Let’s see if we can take a look at the sixth seal and think about antichrists or “kings” today. What patterns are we repeating from our ancestors? How are we leading up to the coming of the antichrist?

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;

What happens when our light goes out and a Christian loses his way? In Genesis, God made a greater light to rule the day and a lesser light to rule the night. Of course, for the Christian, Jesus is our Light. He is as the sun: bright, powerful, and life-giving. As Christians, we are like the moon. Until Jesus returns, the world is in darkness. We are supposed to light the way through our Christ-reflecting behavior and teaching of the gospel.

What happens when the idea of Jesus is so corrupted that it is not light, but darkness? What happens when Christians are so given over to “kings” that they become murderous instead of light and life bringing? What happens when our sun is darkened and our moon turned to blood?

This is the path we are headed down as a whole, though Jesus will retain His faithful remnant as He always has.

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.

When I read this, my mind goes to future events. I have a hard time thinking of a present-day application. This passage hearkens to other passages in Revelation like the 5th trumpet events and the image of the dragon casting a third part of the stars of heaven to the earth in Revelation 12. I believe these events to be the coming of the antichrist and his army and false prophets.

I suppose we could stretch this into an interpretation for today. Stars are seen as a symbol for angels or messengers in Revelation 1-3. These stars could be any messenger (pastor, prophet, teacher, and the like) of Satan that presently deceives people.

In any case, when the sun is darkened and the moon is turned to blood we are prone to deception from false ministers of Satan. This applies now and in the last days. One naturally follows the other.

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

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;

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:

For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6:12-17)

When Christians are blind and under the rule of antichrist figures, can we find the kingdom of heaven? No. It is departed as a scroll when it is rolled together. What about when the false christ appears? Will the heavens appear to open as he makes his grand entrance?

When the antichrist and his army appear there will be a great show made of it that will cause many to fear. The mountains (a symbol for kingdoms) and their kings, great men, rich men, and all men, will hide themselves, thinking that Jesus has returned.

Keep in mind, we are looking at this as the natural result of our present-day interpretation of these seals. Jesus will fulfill this ultimately. When He returns, all of the oppressive “kings” and earthly authority of the false christ will be thrown down.

However, as mentioned earlier, the false christ must come first. He is that final fulfillment of the enemies of God as foreshadowed by old testament events and prophecies concerning the Assyrians and Babylonians. In-fact, in Revelation, we see the church described as the great whore of mystery Babylon.

As with the Assyrians and the Babylonians, the rule of this false christ has a purpose. The purpose is to chastise the people of God and to eradicate many who are not sincerely following Jesus. Those who are Christian in name only but do not take the teachings of Jesus to heart are as the foolish virgins with no oil in their lamp and those who are taken by surprise when the thief comes.

This will happen as Jesus taught in His parables. The sheep are separated from the goats, the wheat from the tares, and so on. Many professing Christians will be caught up in the false Christ deception because they lived their lives as one who is already blinded by the world and its “kings.”

Meanwhile, Jesus will do as God has always done. He will send prophets (the two witnesses aka the two candlesticks or churches in Revelation 2-3 not removed) to help us through this time. We will work together collectively and move towards perfection spiritually during this time. Many will return to the Lord also.

Ultimately, it is the “seal” of God that keeps us. We will not be deceived. We will hold on to the true testimony of Jesus Christ, even giving our lives for it if required.

Jesus will return at the seventh trumpet and we see that final application of the sixth seal. Once the people of God are sufficiently divided from the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon as they “come out of her my people,” Jesus will return and avenge the blood of His faithful remnant.

In Conclusion

Christians are supposed to follow Jesus, not the things of this world. Christians are also supposed to be diligent in their judgment of teachers, prophets, and pastors that come to us in the name of Jesus. There are many ministers of Satan, “kings” and “horsemen” out there. Western Christianity as a majority follows them in some capacity.

However, Jesus is merciful to those who belong to Him. If our hearts are sincere and want to follow Him, He will show us how and many misunderstandings we have are overlooked.

If we are not sincere but instead use Christianity self-servingly, then we will continue under the rule of earthly kings and false christs. The Jesus we follow is darkness and we ourselves are as blood.

As chastisement and ultimate deliverance from the kings of this earth and false christs, God sends deception. The blind continue in darkness and murder, and the faithful are given knowledge and strength that turns us towards the Lord, Jesus more fully.

We see shadows of this now. Being a Christian without giving into the world leads to problems socially and economically. Our Christian culture is being threatened. However, we need to understand something important. This is because we have fallen short. Instead of blaming the world for its evil, we need to search Christianity as a whole—and most importantly—search ourselves to see what has gone wrong. Many of us have, and many are taking the faith more seriously than ever.

If we don’t return to the Lord (and for the vast majority, we won’t), then the chastisement will continue in the form of the false christ.

Do you see the pattern? This is no new thing: God’s people have always done this.

It is human nature, and the scriptures will be fulfilled. Jesus said these things would happen, and what we have today is nothing new. Christianity has faced corruption time and time again throughout our entire history. Yet, as individuals, we can turn to the Lord, Jesus more fully. We can escape the rule of “kings.”

If going back and forth between differing interpretations of this seal is confusing, please leave a comment or send an email. In the next article, we are going to look at some passages from Revelation 7 and 8 concerning the seventh seal and the seal of God that is given to the faithful before the trumpets begin to sound.

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 8)

And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,

Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel (Revelation 7: 2-4).

Reviewing Key Ideas

As mentioned in previous articles within this series, we are told throughout the scriptures that Jesus can not come at just any time as some supposed today. First, the “son of destruction” must be revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, Mark 13:15-19).

We also discussed that the coming of this son of destruction has a purpose—even a purpose that is ultimately for the good of God’s children. As with God’s people in the Old Testament, this affliction is brought on because of our disobedience. We either adhere to worldly and religious “kings” and “horsemen” or we become these ourselves.

We become blinded by pride, lack sound judgment, and communicate things or behave in ways that lead others towards spiritual destruction. As Jesus taught, “those who lead into captivity will go into captivity. Those who kill with the sword must be killed with the sword.” Consider this spiritually. Jesus is faithful to His word.

Christians who were supposed to be the light of this dark world have become bloody because the light we follow is not really Jesus, but darkness. “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” We have followed the things of Satan—all the while thinking we are doing the will of God. All of this is demonstrated by the opening of the first six seals.

The coming of the false christ is the final fulfillment of all prophecy concerning the enemies of God’s people. Therefore, we can learn a great deal from Old Testament prophets and the history of God’s people in general. We can also see how mainstream Christianity is following the patterns of old to a large degree. More on that, as promised, in upcoming articles.

When we review our history, we can see that God sends affliction and captivity when His people go astray. We also see that there are His remnant who remain faithful and there are those who return to the Lord during these times of trouble.

When the false christ comes, it will be the same. However, since this time of affliction is more severe than any affliction this world has ever seen, the people of God will need help. If it were not for the mercy of the Lord and His knowledge, all would be deceived by the son of destruction (Mark 13: 19-20).

The knowledge of Jesus in Spirit will keep us safe from deception. This knowledge is the seal of God.

What is the Seal of God?

In Part 2 we discussed that opening a seal represents the giving of knowledge that was previously out of reach. As a Christian, what might a seal on our forehead mean? We know that the son of destruction brings great deception that overtakes the entire world. Those who are sincere and faithful children of God will not be deceived. Why not?

We will have the knowledge of Jesus and the gospel firmly rooted in our being. God will seal that knowledge up within us and no matter how confused the world gets, we will see the way. We will be the wise virgins who had oil in their lamps. When the world goes dark, we will be prepared.

What is the knowledge of Jesus? To know Jesus—or to pursue knowing Him—is to revere what Jesus taught and stands for. It takes more than reciting a prayer once in church or going through the motions within Christian society. It takes dedication and desire to grow in the things of the Spirit as one who is pleasing to God and pursuing a life remade in the image of Jesus. The horsemen and kings mentioned in previous articles work against this knowledge to a large degree, so it is good for us to learn about these things.

Who are the Sealed Tribes in Revelation?

There is debate among Christians in regard to the 12 sealed tribes or 144,000 of Israel in Revelation 7. When dealing with this, these scriptures should be considered:

They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham (John 8:39).

And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham (Matthew 3:9).

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

I think it’s reasonable to think that the people of Israel in the literal sense will have some part to play in the last days. I do believe that many more Jewish people will accept Jesus as the Messiah. However, speculation aside, there are ideas that are true. Those who do the will of God are Israel. As Christians who are sincerely following Jesus, are we not Israel?

We become so focused on Israel the nation that we forget Israel in the spiritual sense, and it is important that we understand the distinction. Israel the nation is most likely where antichrist will set up his domain. As Christians, we are spiritually Israel. In Christ, it is the heart of things that matter. In Satan, we look to the world and the outward of things. Does this make sense?

If we can consider Christians as Israel—or at the very least as those grafted into Israel as other scriptures indicate—then why the mentioning of specific tribes?

There can be more than one true way look at this, but here are my thoughts.

Although there are many denominations or tribes, the true body of Christ is not divided. There will be Christians of all kinds who receive the seal of God before the time of deception comes. When persecuted, it will not matter whether we are Baptist, Apostolic, Catholic, and so on. What was once scattered will be united under the seal of God—and again—this is a spiritual unity given by the Holy Spirit. This is NOT a structural unity that is forced by man: or Babylon. This is NOT literal or worldly Israel. This unity IS Spiritual Israel.

We can carry that thought through Revelation 7:9-14.

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

How we interpret the tribes is not what’s most important. What’s most important is that we pursue the knowledge of Jesus that will keep us from deception. Although the world will be swept away, many will be sanctified during the great tribulation. Christians will suffer and many will be killed, but Jesus will return, wipe away all tears, and lead us to everlasting life (Revelation 7:15-16).

How Do We Receive the Seal of God?

The knowledge of Jesus in truth that keeps our minds and hearts safe can only be given by God. The Lord sends us teachers and prophets to instruct us, but only Jesus can open our hearts to Him. If we love Jesus, put Him first, and sincerely want to know what is true, then the Lord will guide us towards that knowledge. He will cause things to happen in our lives that bring us closer to Him. He will send people to help us grow. He will help us become free from the “kings” aka “horsemen” of this world and within Christianity.

If we love sin, if we love ourselves, if we are blinded by pride and loyalty to our “kings,” then there are things standing in our way. Jesus can remove these things, but we have to want it. We have to take His sacrifice on the cross seriously and begin to pursue sanctification of the Spirit as promised by His resurrection. We have to die to self and be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 2:12).

Closing Scripture for Thought

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work (2 Thessalonians 2 8:17).

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 9)

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour (Revelation 8:1).

The Seventh Seal: What Does the Silence in Heaven Represent?

First, let’s recap a little. The sixth seal can represent the coming of the false christ. This represents a time in which Satan is given a more present dominion over the earth.

As mentioned in previous articles, the Son of Perdition or Destruction must be revealed first, and his coming is the natural result of the first 5 seals. For more read, We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 7).

In the final sense, the sixth seal represents the coming of Jesus, the true King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

What does the silence in heaven represent for each case?

Maybe it is best if we think events through depending on the way the sixth seal is interpreted.

The sixth seal as the coming of Satan:

The first five seals represent a spiritual state of depravity that occurs when Christians follow “kings” other than Jesus. As a result, when Satan comes as king many follow him. Before Satan comes, the servants of God are sealed. Once the servants of God are sealed, the first four trumpets sound. Satan inhabits the earth at the fifth trumpet. You can also see this event portrayed in Revelation 12.

If we look at the sixth seal as Satan, then the silence in heaven that occurs during the seventh seal could indicate God removing Himself while Satan has his hour of dominion, also known as “the hour of temptation.”

When Satan has dominion over the earth, will Jesus be found? Will the kingdom of heaven be heard? It seems that during this time, it will be as if God has turned His back on the world. However, this period of time is limited.

An hour is used in the scriptures to indicate a specific time that is ordained for a purpose. When the hour of Satan is come—or half hour—because “for the sake of His chosen, He has shortened the days,” it is as if God has forsaken the world.

Of course, those who remain faithful to Jesus are not forsaken. Any who call on the name of Jesus with sincerity will be heard, but since the majority of mankind will follow after Satan, it is fitting to say that heaven is silent.

Some scriptures that come to mind:

And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood (Isaiah 1:15).

Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble (Jeremiah 11:14).

The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous (Proverbs 15:29).

Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth (John 9:31).

The sixth seal as the coming of Jesus:

The first five seals represent a spiritual and literal state of the earth that results from following the false christ. The servants of God are already sealed at this point. This false christ is Satan, who comes during the fifth trumpet. The sixth trumpet could represent the army of Satan. Jesus returns at the seventh trumpet to overthrow Satan and to raise the faithful from the dead. This marks the event we call “the resurrection” and also “the transfiguration” which are ideas confused by “the rapture.”

For more on the resurrection, you can read, Considering the Resurrection.

What is the silence in heaven that the seventh seal represents? Before Jesus returns, the last of His faithful witnesses have been slain (Revelation 11). This silence in heaven could mean a couple things. The silence could again have to do with heaven being silent because the last who speak of heaven are killed. This silence could also be a calm before the storm, so to speak, marking the period before Jesus returns to avenge the blood of His prophets and saints.

In Conclusion

Does the silence in heaven shown in the seventh seal mean that heaven has turned away? Maybe not, but that’s how I see it. What about now?

If we turn our back on God, bow down to earthly powers and ideals, and deny the teachings of Jesus, then why should God hear us? Our minds are full of wickedness, so even if heaven did speak, we would not hear it.

I do believe there will come a time when it seems as though God is not found. Think of the Great Whore who says, “I sit a queen and am no widow.” Our God will seem to be dead. However, Jesus is not dead. He is alive and faithful to those who belong to Him.

In any case, we do not want heaven to be silent, do we? We want to pursue a relationship with Jesus that is meaningful and fruitful.

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:6-7).

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 10)

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion (Psalm 2:2-6).

If you’ve followed this series, then you might remember that we’ve been considering the horsemen depicted by the first four seals in Revelation 6.

For analogy of these horsemen or “kings,” the horses they ride upon, and the destruction they bring, you can look at Parts 1-5 of this series. Here are some quick links:

What are some examples of “kings” we can think about?

In this article, I want to stir up some thoughts about modern-day “kings.” The point is not to discourage or cause anyone to feel condemned, but to encourage productive reflection so that we can seek Jesus to prepare our hearts for deliverance from these forces.

In the most basic terms, a “king” is any being or idea we exalt above Jesus Christ. A “king” will want us to look to him instead of encouraging faith in Jesus. A “king” will encourage us to deny the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, cause pride to overshadow love for the brethren, and blind us on our journey towards obtaining the promises of Jesus through the gospel. This can include many things such as:

  • Christian denominations (including “non-denominational”)
  • Christian leaders, i.e. pastors, prophets, teachers, and priests
  • Political affiliations and government
  • Worldly ideas of morality
  • Sin and Self

Christian Denominations

How can a Christian denomination become like a “king?” Belonging to a particular denomination isn’t necessarily wrong, although there are those that are considered to be heretical by many. In any case, there are many sincere Christians found in all denominations.

What makes a denomination a “king” is when loyalty to our denomination becomes more important than a real love of what is true according to Jesus.

A “king” will do whatever it has to in order to remain an authority. This includes:

  • Discouraging Questions: What if we are faced with an issue of doctrine or Christian living that contradicts our denomination? Will we question what we are being taught or will we ignore the conviction we feel that tells us something isn’t right?
  • Poorly Answered Questions: In many cases, questions are not answered adequately and honestly. Contradicting scriptures are overlooked or explained away without considering the idea fully. Those who raise questions are often shunned and made to feel as if there is something wrong with them.
  • Leaders Bound by Tradition: What if you were a church leader and became aware of a teaching commonly held by your denomination that was untrue? Will loyalty to Jesus and truth win, or will you deny the truth in order to retain your position? Questioning the common practices of your denomination could be devastating for a church leadership career.
  • Division: A “king” will go to war with other “kings.” All other denominations are wrong, yet this one has the “truth.” This denomination contains the “real” Christians while the others are not. This denomination finds fault with others without considering their own short comings.
  • Self-Righteousness and Hypocrisy: All Christians have room to grow in righteousness, but some choose to single out certain outward sins while denying sins that are more easily hidden like pride, vanity, dishonesty, lust, and so on. This encourages Christians to put on an outward show of righteousness, justify their hidden sins, and look at the sins of others too harshly.
  • Justifying Sin: A “king” must keep his subjects happy. Why bother with pesky sin when we can take advantage of ideas like grace and forgiveness? Give the people what they want so they will come back and keep our bank account full. Who cares about all of the teachings of Jesus that warn against taking His sacrifice lightly?
  • Faithlessness: While sin is being justified, freedom from sin is seen as unobtainable. The Holy Spirit is denied. Trusting in Jesus is replaced by trusting in the church leaders. Many church leaders are more interested in money, status, and power rather than Jesus. Many church leaders are unbelievers.
  • Ordination by Man: Church leaders go to school to learn the ways of their “king.” They lead a church and their followers elect various “princes” to perform tasks within the church. Instead of men who are taught of Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit, our “kings” are products of man’s systemic approach to the church—a system that is riddled with false teachings, traditions, legalism, and various other forms of corruption. Are there sincere and good men of God within these structures? Absolutely.

Christian Leaders

You can see some examples of “king” Christian leaders above. In general, these leaders have their own interests in mind. What has attracted them to this position of authority in the first place?

Is it a love for Jesus and the brethren or is it power, status, and money?

Do they have a servant’s demeanor or are they prideful and act as if they have some kind of special relationship with God that others do not have?

Do they create well-formed Christians that are encouraged to grow into spiritual adulthood and fruitful relationship with Jesus, or do they create dependents who cannot think for themselves but look to the “king” for everything?

What is the fruit of their work in Jesus’s name? Do they encourage people to live a more righteous life that mimics Jesus himself, or do they grow rich and famous by diluting the gospel and the truth to make their preaching more lucrative?

Political Affiliations and Government

Should loyalty to a political group cause a Christian to forget love and compassion? No. Should loyalty to a political group cause angry discussions, name calling, and finger-pointing without personal accountability for wrong-doing? No. Should political affiliation be a source of pride? No.

Should political loyalty cause Christians to elect corrupt leaders? No. Should righteousness be forced upon the public using law? Jesus teaches otherwise, so no. This only leads to further rebellion and laws being passed in the opposite direction. This leads to a war on righteousness, not a furtherance of it.

Should trust in the government override trust in Jesus? No.

Worldly Ideas of Morality

Calling evil good and good evil is something the scriptures warn us about. What Jesus deems righteous will usually go against what the world wants because the world wants to gratify the flesh while Jesus wants to build us up in the things of life in the spirit.

There are many such cases of evil as good and good as evil in society today, even among Christians. These ideas become a kind of “king” because failure to adhere to these ideals can come with serious social consequences. Many Christians speak out against these evils, but there’s usually problems they are not addressing that led to the moral decline we see today in the first place.

In any case, the best person’s sin to look at is our own. We have a lot of Christians taking a stand against commonly praised sins and we have a lot of Christians enabling these sins. What we do not have a lot of is personal accountability and repentance. Instead of blaming the world for being worldly, we need to get our own life in order. We need to look at our sin honestly and seek Jesus to help us do better instead of looking at everyone else as worse sinners than ourselves.

More on this in the next article.

Sin and Self

Who is the biggest “king” of our lives? Sin. Sin is bondage and it is the strongest, most deceptive, most alluring leader of our life. Sin is also the most dangerous and damaging to our relationship with Jesus. All of the above “kings” encourage sin in some form, and few if any of them encourage freedom from it.

Why is that?

These worldly “kings” are not of Jesus, but of Satan. These “kings” want to destroy you, not lead you to life everlasting.

Jesus forgives sin, but he also provides freedom from it. As Christians, we are supposed to put Jesus first as the King of our life. In so doing, He will free us from all forces of destruction—especially the forces of sin.

Any “king” of this world that refuses this important and fundamental Christian truth is not of Jesus, but of Satan.

More on this in the next article.

In Conclusion

Any “king” that twists good into evil and vice versa, encourages pride, divides the brethren, takes the sacrifice of Jesus for granted, sugar coats the gospel or the teachings and character of Jesus, discourages the pursuit of sinless living through sincere change of heart, encourages righteousness through legalistic means that neglect the inner-self, or sets itself up as an authority in the place of trust in Jesus is not a king we should be following.

All of us have some kind of “king” in our life. However, we “cannot serve two masters,” so we should strive to be rid of these earthly “kings” and seek freedom that only comes when we submit ourselves to Jesus.

Considering the “kings” that rule us is important, but how do we escape them? We will consider that idea in the next article.

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 11)

This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you (John 15:12).

How does a Christian find freedom from the “kings” of this earth? For starters, we recognize that we are made free by the blood of Jesus Christ. The grace of God (the favor of God) provides us with all things necessary to overcome all destructive powers in this world.

The Grace of God Teaches Us

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world (Titus 2:11-12).

You might remember something Jesus teaches. If we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. The mountain symbol is used to represent earthly powers and kingdoms in the scriptures. With faith in Jesus and the power of His grace towards us, there is no mountain we cannot remove.

Sometimes great mountains are cast into the sea in an instant, as Jesus teaches. Sometimes we have to ascend these mountains with strength from the Lord, learning and growing as we traverse the rocky terrain and overcome obstacles. Though hard, we will reach the top. We will overcome these “kings” because Jesus is faithful and He has promised it. That is our faith.

The Problem with Kings

We are given power to overcome through the Son, Jesus. If we love Jesus, then we love the Father also. If we love the Father and the Son, then we want to be pleasing to God. We will want to keep the commandments of God—and this is His commandment—that we love one another.

The problem with “kings” is this: they love themselves, they love this world, and they hate the true things of God.

The tricky part is when these “kings” appear to be of God. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” They can quote the scripture. They can even speak of love—yet without revelation from Jesus—we don’t even know what love really means. Man’s ideas of love are self-gratifying, mingled with lust, and confused by the deceptiveness of sin in general.

You might consider some of the “kings” mentioned in the last article. Are these “kings” placing the love of Jesus and of the brethren first? What comes first are their ideas about what is true or best for others, not what Jesus really teaches. What comes first are their bank accounts, their status, their personal and career agendas, their pride. What comes first is themselves.

It’s so easy to see the “kings” that rule others. It’s so easy to blame the “kings” for doing that which is only in their nature to do. What’s most productive is to look at our own wrong doings and face the “kings” of our own hearts. With “kings” reigning over us, we are serving a master other than Jesus, and very often that master is sin and self. So, let’s not worry so much about what this world is doing and instead focus on Jesus. Let our “eye be single” so that our “whole body is full of light.”

Come into the Light of Jesus with Confidence

And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming (1 John 2:28).

Here’s the thing. All of us have a self-serving nature to greater and lesser degrees. With the understanding that Jesus is faithful and He is gracious to fulfill His promises to us by “giving us all things that pertain to life and godliness,” then we have confidence to enter into the dark places of our hearts. We have the confidence to look at ourselves honestly. We have the confidence to know that no matter how big our “kings” are, the love of Jesus will not depart from us—but will guide us and strengthen us—so that we can overcome these “kings.”

I write to those who have the love of Jesus. Many claim to love Jesus, but it will be revealed that they do not. There is no love of God in many professing the faith. However, if you’re reading this, then do not consider yourself as one who God does not love. Know there are those out there, but there is nothing good that can come from assuming this of ourselves. Respect God. Respect the sacrifice of the Son. Put your trust in Him.

In any case, to think that we are greater than these “kings” is to deceive ourselves. To think that we are not capable of fulfilling all the undesirable sides of Jesus’s parables is to deceive ourselves. In-fact, most of us have at some point.

At some point in our Christian walk, we have been like one who receives the knowledge of the Lord on stony ground or among thorns. At some point we have had the “kings” of this earth take the good things Jesus teaches and snatch it away. At some point we have been a sort of foolish virgin with no oil in their lamp. At some point we have resembled tares instead of wheat. At some point we have gone astray or begun to bury our talent in the earth.

Facing our potential for denying the things of Jesus and looking to “kings” instead is not pleasant, but it is powerful. Why?

The truth will make us free.

How can we be freed from “kings” if we do not recognize our captivity, or at least have an appreciation for our human nature that is so prone to following these “kings?”

Jesus is light, and in Him is no darkness, right? If we step into Jesus—if we step into the light—we will see all manner of sin. We will see the “kings” within ourselves. We will also see the “kings” of this earth so that we can avoid them.

Also know that we are not alone. All things we struggle with are common among our brothers and sisters in Christ. Once we overcome our “kings,” we have those “beams removed” from our eyes. We can then help others. We should seek to our own salvation and grow in freedom through Jesus so that we can be useful for establishing His everlasting kingdom. Then, when Jesus returns, we will not be ashamed or cast out of His presence.

Again, it all comes down to the commandment of Jesus. We should love God with all our might, and we should love one another.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:36-40).

If we love Jesus with all our might, we are in His light. If we are in His light, then we learn what love really means. If we learn what love really means, then we see that there is no love in these “kings.” We find freedom from them.

Again, finding freedom from these “kings” can be a long and tedious process. Like climbing a mountain, it takes time, energy, and a lot of work. There will be obstacles. There will be forces working against us, especially if the mountain is very tall and dangerous. Unlike ascending Mt Everest, however, we have an unshakable assurance and confidence found in the One who will ensure our success—so keep climbing.

Keep striving and one day, Jesus will return and all “mountains and islands are moved out of their places.” All of the “kings of the earth” will fear before the Son of God. We will be victorious over them, and we ourselves will be appointed as kings and priests unto God.

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth (Revelation 5:9-10).

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 12)

A lot has been covered within this article series, and there is a lot more that could be said. As a kind of conclusion to this series, I would like us to focus on trusting in Jesus Christ.

If we trust in Jesus and the ability of the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin, teach us, and strengthen us towards righteous doing, then why do we need “horsemen” and “kings?”

It is so easy to place regulations on people that mimic what we think righteousness is, but doing so is a lack of faith and it is foolishness because such a mindset neglects the liberty we are given in Christ—a liberty that allows us to better serve one another in love.

If we trust in Jesus and strive to put Him first, we will naturally learn what is most important for Christian living and we will grow in these things. We will cast off sin, little by little. We will cast off loyalty to all manner of “kings” as we learn humility and love that transcends these rulers. We will understand that God is in control of all things, even these “kings,” and all things are working together for our ultimate good.

We might not like what is happening in this world, especially within the Christian world. We might find it all confusing, become full of unrighteous zeal, and start taking matters into our own hands in an unproductive way. Instead, trust in Jesus and find the peace and patience of His good will and perfect timing.

Think about David and Saul.

Saul is the first “king.” Saul was not a king that God would have ordained, but he ascended to power as one appointed by men who wanted a wordly king instead of trusting in God. However, God did anoint Saul as king. David knew this. So, even when Saul was persecuting David, David trusted in the Lord. David even had an opportunity to kill Saul but refused because He knew that God had a purpose in Saul.

As sincere Christians, we should do the same. We do not want to be like Saul who is appointed of men and desires to take up kingship for ourselves according to the wisdom of men. We do not want to be like Saul who disobeyed God. We do want to be like David whose inner man contained a heart after God, who trusted in the Lord, who repented of sin, and who was appointed king after God destroyed Saul according to His perfect timing.

There will come a time when Jesus—the king of David—returns. He will overthrow the kings, and we will reign with Him as sons and joint heirs of the kingdom.

All things have a purpose. Instead of worry and fear or trying to fight what God has ordained, seek to our own growth. When we do this, we come into better union with the Spirit—not in denomination or some other worldly structure created by man.

Christian unity does not require the abolition of denominations because that likely results in a Babylonian, Whore-like church. Consider the distinction of Spiritual Israel and Physical Israel given in Part 8 of this series.

Our unity is given by a greater power, and though we do not easily see our unity, we know that all things are under the feet of our King and we are His people. We can disagree on things and have the same larger focus: growing in the things of Jesus and helping our brothers and sisters do the same.

We will help one another grow, not exalting some above others as “kings” over us, but as brothers and sisters in Christ we will build each other up according to the gifts we are each given.

We will patiently wait on the Lord to help us on our journey of spiritual growth, and we will patiently wait on the judgment of God towards those who are among us but not of us. We will not fall for the devises of Satan: The Accuser and Destroyer. We will follow after mercy, judgement, and faith as we continue to be examples of Jesus to a world that hates Him. Jesus will raise us up and defend us.

And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellers as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.

Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.

And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed.

For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen.

For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water.

And the strong shall be as tow, and the maker of it as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them (Isaiah 1:26-31).

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