TARSB: Revelation Chapter 6

Footnotes By Thomas Perez. Copyright On This Chapter; 2014.

CHAPTER 6

VI The Seal Judgments

A. The 1st Four Seals Opened – The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse

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. (Cr1)

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. (Cr2)

3. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. (Cr3)

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. (Cr4)

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. (Cr5)

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. (Cr6)

7. And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. (Cr7)

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. (Cr8)

B. The 5th Seal

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: (Cr9)

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? (Cr10)

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 fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Cr11)

C. The 6th Seal

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; (Cr12)

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. (Cr13)

14. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. (Cr14)

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; (Cr15)

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: (Cr16)

17. For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Cr17)


Cross References

Cr1. John 1:29, Rev 5:5-8, 12, 13:8. Cr2. Zech 1:8, 6:3, 11, Psa 45:4-5, Zech 6:11, Matt 24:5, Rev 3:21, 14:14, 19:11-12. Cr3. Rev 4:7. Cr4. Zech 1:8, 6:2, Mat 10:34, 24:6-7. Cr5. Ezek 4:6, Zech 6:6, Rev 4:7. Cr6. Rev 7:3, 9:4. Cr7. Rev 4:7. Cr8. Lev 26:22, Hosea13:14, Jere14:12, 15:2, 24:10, 29:17, Ezek 5:12, 17, 14:21, 29:5, Zech 6:3, Rev 1:18, 20:13. Cr9. Ex 29:12, Lev 4:7, John 16:2, Rev 1:2, 9, 12:17, 14:18, 16:17, 20:4, 8:3, II Tim 1:8. Cr10. Deut 32:43, Psa 79:10, Zech 1:12, Lk 18:7, II Pet 2:1, Rev 3:7, 10, 11:18, 19:2. Cr11. Acts 20:24, II Thess 1:7, II Tim 4:7, Heb 4:10, 11:40, Rev 3:4-5, 7:9, 14:13. Cr12. Isa 13:10, 50:3, Joel 2:10, 3:15, 31, Matt 11:21, 24:7, 29, Mk 13:24, Rev 8:5, 11:13, 16:18. Cr13. Isa 34:4, Rev 8:10, 9:1. Cr14. Isa 34:2, 54:10, Jere 4:24, Ezek 38:20, Nahum 1:5, II Pet 3:10. Cr15. Psa 2:2-4, Isa 2:10, 19, 24:21, Rev 19:18. Cr16. Hosea 10:8, Lk 23:29-30, Rev 9:6. Cr17. Psa 76:7, Isa 63:4, Jere 30:7, Joel 1:15, 2:1,11, Nahum 1:6, Zeph 1:14, Mal 3:2, Lk 21:36.


Footnotes

Vs. 1-8. The First 4 Seals: The Four Horseman. White horses are often depicted in various mythologies. They represent hero’s, fertility, and end time saviours. They are often associated with the sun chariot. There are various views concerning the riders on the 4 horses.

According to Hindu tradition we are living in the age of the Kali. It is the ending of the natural age. Hindu cosmology depicts four epochs. Each epoch will see a decline in dharma (behaviors), knowledge, wisdom, intellect, life expectancy, emotional, and physical strength. The epochs/ages or Yuga’s are as follows; 1. Satya Yuga: Human life expectancy 100,000 yrs at 21 cubits (31 feet 6 inches). Humanity at its highest virtues (a whole). 2. Treta Yuga: Human life expectancy 10,000 yrs at 14 cubits (21 feet). Humanity has 3 quarters of a whole of virtue. 3. Dwapar Yuga: Human life expectancy 1000 yrs at 7 cubits (10 feet 6 inches). Humanity has one half of virtue. 4. Kali Yuga: Human life expectancy 100 yrs – this will decrease down to 70, 60, 40, and 20 at 3.5 cubits (5 feet 3 inches). Humanity has 1 quarter of a virtue left. Man is in a state of deterioration. A time of disintegration and moral depravity. Each age or Yuga are destroyed once every 4 to 8.2 billion years which is considered one day and night (II Pet 3:8). According to the Laws of Manu (Manusmriti – Sanskrit) – a discourse given by Manu, the progenitor of mankind, upon which the earliest metrical work of the Dharmasastra of traditional Hinduism can be found, describe the length of the Yugas as 12,000 years for one arc or 24,000 years to complete a cycle (one equinox). This thought correlates with “The Holy Science.” The Srimad Bhagavatam disagrees with this, stating a longer duration of each Yuga. Satya being 1,728.000 years, Treta 1,296.000, Dwapar or Dvapara 864,000, and Kali 432,000 years (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.11.19). The long Yuga count is the most popular of the two views in Hinduism. The Satya Yuga is also known as the Golden Age. Each age is depicted as a cow. However, during the 1st Yuga the cow is depicted as standing on all four legs – hence the Satya Age – demonstrating spiritual stability and virtue. The Treta depicts the cow standing on 3 legs – the Treta Age, then 2 – thus the Dwapar Age, then finally one – thus the Age in which we live in, the Kali Age – the age where brother is against brother. An age of wickedness and departure into darkness. At the end of this cycle (the Kali) a Divine Being is to be born and reestablish virtues and righteousness lost – thus the beginning of a new Satya Yuga or Age. “Whenever there is decay of righteousness…and there is exaltation of unrighteousness, then I Myself come forth…for the destruction of evil-doers, for the sake of firmly establishing righteousness, I am born from age to age.” – Krishna- Bhagavad Gita- 4th discourse. The Vishnu Purana states the following; “Social status depends not upon your accomplishments, but in the ownership of property; wealth is now the source of virtue; passion and luxure are the sole bonds between spouses; falsity and lying are the conditions of success in life; sexuality is the sole source of human enjoyment; religion, a superficial and empty ritual, is confused with spirituality.” With this in mind, let us decipher the riders on the 4 horses according to Hinduism. The horses described here have the same meaning and interpretation as that of the Abrahamic faiths. We have the white horse and he who sat upon it – this is the meaning of a conqueror. We then have the red horse and he who sat upon him had a sword – this is the meaning of war. Then we have a black horse and he who sat upon it had a pair of balances in his hand – this is famine. And finally we have the pale horse and he that sat upon it was death – this is death itself, the great equalizer. In Hinduism, the white horse and he that sat upon it depicts Kalki, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. It is the 10th avatar. The last one (the 9th) being Krishna or Buddha – as thought in some circles. However, it must be understood that the name Kalki is symbolic. The name means “Time” or “Eternity.” Many translate the name to mean “destroyer of darkness,” “destroyer of ignorance,” and “destroyer of foulness.” The name comes from “Kalk” meaning “mud” or ‘sediment.” From this thought we can conclude that the rider on the white horse comes from the earth within a set time noted from eternity. However when we read of the rider on the white horse in Ch 19: 11-13, we see the riders origin as Heavenly, not of sedimentary ancestry. However, if we are to allow Biblical Christian interpretation to flourish then we must concede the rider as having both; a Heavenly and sedimentary ancestry. Perhaps John is writing of “The Piscean Age” as the starting point of the Apocalypse. After all, it was John who wrote of the “Word” that existed with the Father before anything that was created. John realized that it was indeed the close of what scholars would refer to as “The Age of Aries,” in favor of the new Age – “The Piscean Age” – the Age of Pisces – circa 360-present CE. John realized that the groundwork had been laid through the likes of Lao Tzu, Confucius, Gautama Buddha, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle – collimating with the purpose of the fish sign (the Christian symbol) teaching the instructed ego that religious development is not enough. The ego must be yoked through sacrifice and non-attachment. The word yoke in eastern religions mean “Yoga.” The fish (Pisces) suggests polarity – each going in opposite directions, as Jesus and Paul mentioned in Matt 26:41, Rom 7:19, Gal 5:17. It is the spirit and the flesh at war with one another. The polarity is also seen in the Incarnation, as the Christ was both God and man. “He was in all points tempted as we are, yet He was without sin” (Heb 4:15). Some scholars suggest that the current age of the sword (Pisces) will end about 2400 CE. This is debated. Naturally what follows; the red, black and pale horses are seen as a collective whole pertaining to Kalki’s appearing.

The Islamic signs of eschatology are similar to that of Hinduism. The Islamic Hadith (Traditions, deeds and sayings of Muhammad – written 200 years after Mohammed) describe the end times more specifically than the Qur’an. The 75th Sura in the Qur’an speaks of the resurrection, but the Hadith speaks of the tribulation a period in Christian eschatology to be that of a seven year period as described in the introduction to this book (Revelation). The Hadith speaks of the tribulation more so than the Qur’an. Islamic scholars such as Ibn Kathir (1301-1373) al-Ghazali (10581111) al-Bukhari (810-870) Ibn Majah (824- to circa 887-889) and Ibn Khuzaymah (223-311) all speak of the tribulation in their expositions. It is also known as The Last Day, The Hour, The Day of Judgment and The Day of Reckoning. Like all the other Abrahamic faiths, Islam teaches a great tribulation, a resurrection of the dead, and the judgment of all, where eternal separation will occur between the righteous and unrighteous. The righteous are given Jannah (Paradise – the word means Garden) while unrepentant sinners are given Jahannam (the Islamic concept of Hell – The Abyss, The Blazing Fire, and That Which Breaks Into Pieces – Sura 101:9, 2:119, 104:4). Sunni Muslims believe that unfaithful Muslims will eventually be forgiven. This is called Barzakh (which means “hindrance,” “Obstacle,” “barrier,” or “Separation.”) similar to Catholicism’s Purgatory. Evangelicals reject the teachings of Purgatory and therefore also reject Barzakh when compared and examined. Barzakh is mentioned three times in the Qur’an; Sura 23:99-100, 25:53, 55:19-20. The Day of Judgment and the Resurrection are considered one of the six articles of Muslim faith. There are major and minor signs (please see ’Major and Minor Signs of Islamic Eschatology). Four major figures accompany these signs. The Mahdi (a guided one. A redeemer who will rule for 7, 9, or 19 years according to different interpretations) and Isa (Jesus) who appears after Mahdi’s tenure to destroy Masih ad-Dajjal (The False Messiah-antichrist) who comes before the Yawm al-Quanah (Day of Resurrection). This is similar to the Christian Futuristic Antichrist and the Jewish Anti-Messiah called Armilus – a Jewish medieval interpretation. The Mahdi will receive help from Isa against the Masih ad-Dajjal. The Mahdi doctrines are derived from both Shia and Sunni Islamic traditions. This belief is more predominate in Shi’ite Islamic traditions. The Shi’ite’s maintain that there were 12 successors to Muhammad – this is called the “Twelver Imams,“ also called “Khalifah Iiahi.” The 12 (Shi’ite leaders) belong to the Ithna-’ashariyyah school of Islamic law. Eleven have come and gone. The 12th disappeared and is in, what they call, occultation (hidden), but will soon appear as the Mahdi. Other Shi’ite’s, such as the Ismaili, Nizari, and Zaidi reject the occultation doctrine. Sunni Muslims belong the Hanafi Islamic law. The difference between the two sects/laws are more of a matter of designation or blessings given by Muhammad when he died rather than doctrinal differences. The Shi’ite’s believe that they were given designation of rule (the true Caliphs – title ruler) from Muhammad to their first ruler Ali. While Sunni’s believe that such designation of leadership – their Caliphs – had the majority vote. Thus the division – Shi’ite’s recognize the Caliphate of Ali, while Sunni’s follow the first four Caliphs. Regardless of their differences, the Mahdi doctrine is shared by both today. Moreover, the Mahdi is seen by some Muslims as “he who sat upon the white horse who went forth conquering and to conquer.” Ka’ab al-Ahbar (A Jewish Rabbi who converted to Islam during the medieval period) quoting the Hadith, made this correlation. Perhaps it is a type figure: A John the Baptist, Elijah, or Enoch? Other Islamic scholars reject the Mahdi doctrines all together, claiming only the promise of Isa’s return as truth. Perhaps the Kalki, the 10th avatar of Lord Vishnu, and the Shi’ite’s 12th Imam are one and the same. The only difference seem to be the manifestation of said persona’s. One persona being of the spiritual nature and the other of the physical. Both respective religions teach that these personalities will bring an end to evil, darkness, chaos, and ignorance. Both are said to come during an all time low concerning their respective faiths. The Qur’an will be forgotten and all Islamic knowledge will be lost. During this chaos, all Buddhist teachings, writings, and ideologies will also be lost or destroyed setting up the arrival of Maitreya who is considered to be Rahmatu lil-‘alameen / Muhammad in Islam – but in this case it would be his successor Mahdi.

The Christian perspective varies according to their various schools of thought concerning the four horsemen and the rest of the seals that are opened by the Lamb (Jesus Christ).

Preterism, or “realized eschatologists” view the four horseman as that which transpired already. Preterist’s identify the horsemen as pertaining to certain events which occurred in the first century. The white horse is symbolic of the Parthian forces. The Parthian Empire consisted of four separate dynasties; The Achaemenid Empire 55-330BCE, the Seleucid Empire 312-63BCE, the Arsacid Empire 247-BCE-224CE, and the Sasanian Empire 224-651CE. Some Preterist’s associate Vologases I of Partha who made war with Rome during his reign in 51-78CE as he who sat upon the white horse. The Parthian war with Rome is mentioned by Tacitus in his Annals 13.9 and 55. A major battle was fought in 62CE (seven years before the fall of Jerusalem in 70CE). A date that is very important to the Preterist position as we have read in our introduction. For more on the fall of Jerusalem see Matthew 24, mark 13, and Luke 23. Moreover, the Parthian was often depicted riding on white horses holding a bow and arrow. It should be noted however, that the rider on the white horse has no arrow. Curious to say the least. Other Preterist’s view the horseman as Artabanus. Still others declare the symbol to be that of the Roman Empire under Nero as the antichrist – who began to suppress the 1st Great Jewish revolt in 66-73CE. The red horse symbolizes what follows during Vologases’ or Nero’s reign – “war.” The black horse (3rd seal) indicates a time when grain was scarce while oil and wine were in abundance (Vs 6). There was famine in the land that lasted for 22 years (44-68CE). Under the 4th horseman there were approximately over a million Jewish deaths – adding that with the Parthian-Roman wars, we get an even larger estimate.

The Historicist sees the rider on the white horse as the Person and Majesty of Christ, similar to the Kalki of Hinduism and the Imam of Islam. This frame of thought may be due to the fact that the rider has no bow, but yet he conquers (Rom 16:20, II Tim 1:10, II Cor 15:26, Col 1:18, Heb 2:14 Rev 5:4-5, 12). Scholars who have held the historicist position (with variations) include Albert Barns, Adam Clarke, E.B. Elliot, Matthew Henry, Fred P. Miller, Robert Caringola, Steve Gregg, and John Gill. Many historicists draw inspiration from Gibbons work, “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” Other Historicists see the rider on the white horse as the Pax Romana (peace & posterity – thus the bow with no arrow). A period that lasted from 96CE- circa180. It is considered the “Golden Age” of the Roman Empire. During this stage in history, emperors Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius reigned, and the period came to an end under Commodus – ending the Nerva Antonine dynasty with his death in 192CE. Obviously the Pax Romana did not last long – giving way to various civil wars. Many emperors of Rome were either killed by battle or assassination. There were renegade armies everywhere. The second rider is seen as the Palmyrenic (260-273) and Gallic (260-274) empires respectively, thus giving way to the 2nd horsemen – “war.” As a result of these empires and their civil wars, food became scarce due to inadequate cultivation caused by fighting within and by foreign invaders without. Other historicist’s view the 2nd seal as beginning in 64 or 98CE, ending with Diocletian in 305CE. Still others view it as the rise of Islam in 622CE and the Arab-Byzantine wars (629-1050CE). Eventually, wars and civil unrest lead to the 3rd horsemen – famine/economic collapse. Historicists place the 3rd seal as transpiring during Septimius Severus (193CE) to Alexander Severus (235CE). Some identify the seal with the Byzantine Papacy (537-752). But before the rise of the Byzantine Papacy the seal had already commenced, more or less, under Valentine III (425-455CE). Under this period, Byzantine traders picked up where Valentine left off. They took control of the Roman economy. This take over resulted in other traders being forced out, thus causing famine. This in turn brought sickness, plague, and death – the 4th horsemen – killing about one-fourth of the empire’s inhabitants. Some interpretations view the 3rd horsemen coupled with the 4th rider. Other Historicist’s view the 4th horsemen as being emperor Diocletian (284-305). Diocletian’s persecutions against Christians are considered to be fiercest of all. The persecutions lasted for 10 years. Under his reign the empire was divided into two parts, which in turn was divided into another two parts. Still others believe the 4th seal as having been opened and transpiring during the years 248-268CE under the reigns of Decius, Gallus, Aemilianus, Valerian, and Galliennus. Many Historicists hold to the opinion that the second coming of Christ, the resurrection and the final judgment as future events.

The Futurist place the four horsemen in a time yet to come. They do this based on what is said in Ch 1:19. Anything after Ch 3 is set to the future (Ch 4-22). Futurist’s hold to the theory that the 1st rider on the white horse is the antichrist. In this interpretation; war, famine, and death are seen as literal after effects of a would be conqueror. Dispensationalists hold to this theory also. During this time all wars pertaining to the antichrist will end with the bowl judgments and the literal coming of Jesus Christ (Rev 16:2-17, 19:11-16, II Thess 1:7-10). However, the emergence of the antichrist here and his reappearance more predominately in Ch 13 (which corresponds to Daniel 7:21-28) seems a bit redundant. Futurists claim the onset of the great tribulation as commencing in Ch 6 – starting with the Antichrist, his wars, the resulting famine and nature of his wars, and the eventual deaths and persecutions of those who are slain by the antichrist for the testimony of Jesus Christ. The saints are those who “Came out of the great tribulation” – Ch 7:13-14.

The Idealist Perspective holds to the theory of the rider being that of the conquering Gospel (Ch 5:5, 19:11-16). Others maintain that the imagery of the horsemen are various social injustices, such as slavery, a caste system, imperialism, political states based on radical theories of ethnic conquest, cleansing, bigotry and hate. Each of these vices are seen as representing what man is. A creature of desire, want, greed, ignorance, vanity, pride, and a lover of materialism. Man conquers through greed (the 1st seal). Greed breeds war (the 2nd seal). War breeds famine (the 3rd seal). Famine breeds death (the 4th seal). The Idealist/Spiritualist chooses not to ignore the injustices done onto the less fortunate, like the poor and destitute. They get involved in human rights, liberties, and proper justice through what is considered as the Social Gospel.

Vs 9-11. The 5th Seal.

The Preterist view verses 9-11 as leading up to the martyrdom of saints who were persecuted and put to death after the death and resurrection of Christ up to the fall of Jerusalem in 70CE. According to Preterist’s, the city of Jerusalem is synonymous with persecution during this time – often leading to death either by the hand of the Sanhedrin or Roman authorities who were aligned with the established religion of Judaism. They view the fall of Jerusalem by the Romans as a direct judgment against the Jews for their rejection of Jesus. They were also judged for their unbelief and persecutions given by them to the saints.

The Historicist view the 5th seal as the era after Diocletian, and before emperor Constantine’s rise to power and his conversion to Christianity. Constantine’s subsequent abolishment of fierce persecutions suffered in the Church since the 1st and 2nd centuries, are viewed as the stepping stone upon which the Church finally prevailed.

The Futurist view the 5th seal as Christians being martyred during the Great Tribulation for not bowing the knee to the rule of the antichrist. It is seen as the final solution for those who do not submit to the kingdom and global economic currency of the time. The world wide currency is seen as the pivotal point in which many would be forced to either accept its mark literally by way of micro-chipping or symbolically adhering to a political system and an almost world wide governmental dominance.

The Idealist/Spiritualist view this opened seal as a given fact. Believers have, do, and will continue to suffer during tribulations. The tribulation started with the 1st advent of Christ and His crucifixion. It will reach or complete its course at the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ. The tribulation is seen as stretching throughout the course of history. The kingdom of God is here (Lk 17:21), but it is not of this world nor of its histories – thus our sufferings and tribulations during this age (Jn 18:36, Matt 13:21, James 1:2-4, 12, I Pet 4:12-13,16). Here we see bits and pieces of Preterism, Historicism and Futurism all rolled up into one.

Vs 12-15. The 6th Seal.

The Preterist view these verses as events transpiring during the destruction of Jerusalem. They identity the 6th seal with Galba (68CE). They claim that the language used in verses 12-15 are borrowed from the Hebrew Scriptures (Isa 13:10, 50:3, Joel 2:10, 3:15, 31, Isa 34:2-4, 54:10, Jere 4:24, Eezk 38:20, Nahum 1, Psa 2:2-4, Isa 2:10,19, 24:21) as a symbolic allegory fulfilling Jesus’ literal prophecy (Matt 24:1-2, Rev 6:15-16). The indication of many hiding to escape death during the siege and destruction of the holy city alludes to the Jews who hid themselves in caves and under the ground – as described by Eusebuis of Caesarea (263-339CE) in his “Theophania.”

The Historicist see the “great earthquake” as the collapsing of the old Roman order and the rise of Christianity under the emperor Constantine the Great, who made Christianity the official state religion. Moreover, the sun becoming black and the moon turning red like blood are taken to be the former religions of paganism extinguishing under the light of the Gospel causing the Heavens to open like a scroll and moving every mountain and island out of their places. The mountains and islands are viewed as the old ways (seers and priests of the old Roman religions) persecuted until it existed no more. This included kings, slaves, rich, poor, great and small. They were cast down, like the stars that they were, to the earth. Others see it as pertaining to the invasion of the Goths and Vandals (375-418) which resulted from various political instabilities and upheavals within Rome, collimating with the collapse of the Roman Empire. Yet others see this as the great meteor shower of 1833. However, it must be understood that there are at least 57 known meteor showers. All of them are active on a yearly basis. We don’t always see them because they are products of comets. Comets make their visitations when scheduled. Halley’s comet makes it appearance every 76 years. Other comets appear more often. Halley’s comet is believed to have been spotted since 240BCE by the Chinese. When they travel to close to the sun comets produce debris – meteors – sometimes forming clusters of meteors called showers when the earth coincides with a comets orbit. They originate from the asteroid belt, though some may come from Mars or the moon. Meteor showers all have names: I.e., Draconid, Eta Aquarids, Germinds, Leonids, Lyrids, Orionid, Perseid, Quadrantids, Quadrantids, and Ursids, etc. The names are based upon their given locations in the constellations when the showers are taking place. It is called the point of origin – its radiant. The earliest recorded comet was made by the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046BCE). Comets were observed more than 360 times during the Yin period of the Shang dynasty. Tails of comets were recorded in 635BCE. Aristotle, Plutarch, and Tacitus all wrote of comets. All of these celestial events took place before the book of Revelation was written and certainly before 1833. Meteors can occur any time of the year. Other dates include; the solar eclipse and meteor shower impact over India (2708BCE), the Leonids showers in 1799, 1866, 1966, 2001, Lyrids 1803 and 1922, the Hungarian meteor shower of 1866, the shower and comet of 1862, and so forth.

The Futurist see verses 12-15 as a the result of nuclear weapons (as caused by the 2nd rider) or vast tectonic plate movements that causes earthquakes – which in turn causes volcanic destruction – spewing fiery red dust particles into the atmosphere blocking out the sun and causing the moon to appear like blood. A literal cosmic disturbance. But of course the Church will not see these things. It is believed that they will be taken to Heaven before these calamities commence through what they call the “rapture” – a literal resurrection of dead believers before the rapture and a translation and removal of the physical body of believers during that time into Heaven (similar to Enoch and Elijah) – taking place before the resurrection of unbelievers in Ch 20:12-15. The events of Ch 6:12-15 are often referred to as the 1st three and a half years of the seven year tribulation period (See I Cor 15 and I Thess 4:13-18 for the various interpretations of the resurrection and our Universal Hope).

The Idealist/Spiritualist view this rider to be symbolically representing cosmic upheaval. Righteousness is to be rewarded. But one must wait for that day. The unrighteous receive their just rewards.

Other Perspectives: In Zoroastrianism, the antichrist/Masih ad-Dajjal is the “destructive spirit” called Angra Mainyu. In an ancient text called Gathas (a text of 17 hymns/238 stanzas – circa 1200BCE) the name is twofold – mainyu means “spirit,“ “mind,“ “mentality,” etc. While Angra means “destructive,” “malign,” “inhibitive,” etc. In Zoroastrianism this spirit or antichrist, if you will, is considered the absolute antithesis of who God is (Yasna 45.2). Similar to positive theology (Cataphatic theology) and Negative theology (Apophatic theology). The antithesis is the aka mainyua word for evil, evil spirit, evil mind, and evil thought. It is contrasted with the “Bounteous Spirit” – Spenta Mainyu – the part in which Ahura Mazda (The Highest and Uncreated Spirit) created all that there is. Others like William M. Branham 1909-1965) held to the belief that the four horsemen represent 4 stages by Satan to destroy the Church. The Watchmen’s interpretations are a bit broader in scope, believing that the seals are the beginning of birth pains (Matt 24:7-8). The horses and riders are different leaders. Moreover, they represent the 4 fours winds of Heaven (Zech 6:1-6). The Watchmen’s are a contemporary independent nondenominational group founded in 1979. Their primary focus is to maintain proto-orthodoxcal creeds and evangelize those in esoteric beliefs systems contrary to the orthodox positions. Both of them (Branham and the Watchmen) interpret prophecy similar to the historicist. Their eschatological exegesis are different from one another. But they both fall under the categories of Historicism and Futurism, often placing dates, matching them with history (Branham’s view) and setting events described in the Book of Revelation as things yet to come.

In retrospect: Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, even political ideologies like Communism, Marxism and Fascism all share/shared a common belief in some form of utopia. But according to all of the aforementioned, and then some, before this utopia can transpire there must be a cleansing. We must be cleansed or saved. This is where the danger lies . Who is doing the cleansing? Who’s religion will triumph? For Judaism, it’s the king – the line of David, for the Christian, its Christianity and their Messiah – a combination between Jesus and the line of David and for the Muslim, its Islam, etc. Moreover, what political ideology will prevail? There are so many. Will they require their own form of ethnic cleansing? God help us. This is what the “Age of Aquarius” offers us. The Age of Aquarius is an astrological new age belief system, a utopia. A utopian brotherhood of genius, science, revolution, and possibly immortality. This utopian, or new age belief, is a by-product of Theosophy, a spiritual mystical esoteric mind set. It mixes European and Asian traditions together based on the belief or premise that all religions are one and share a common truth. Theosophy was spear headed by Helena Blavatsky in 1875 (for more on theosophy and deism see the Introduction to Revelation, Matthew 24, Luke 23, and Mark 13). Sweet and lovely are the concept of all faiths sharing a common interest, truth and one mind in the upcoming New Age of Aquarius. But there is a danger. The danger of Globalization. The eradication of the self and of ones individualism. Gone will be the way we view nationalism and tribalism (a futuristic outlook ). We will have to distinguish what is the right form of mind and essence. Humanity would have to determine what exactly is a utopian government or society – what is it build upon? There are many forms of government; Aristarchic, Autocratic, Monarchic, Pejorative. Authoritarian, Democratic, Oligarchic, Republican, Federalism, other power structures – Anarchism, Adhocracy, Bureaucracy, Tribal, Banana republic, Maoism, and Theocracy (religious government). All of the aforementioned governments have their attributes and subcategories. Moreover, utopianism must involve a collective humanity. The Age of Aquarius promises us freedom. Freedom from religious dogma and politics. It will be a freedom based on the brotherhood of man. But since Aquarius offers us freedom, that freedom of choice may not reflect upon the wants and desires of another. Utopia will be difficult to reach. For after the white horse cometh war, famine, and death. The only viable solution is a free world charter. But it will come with a great price. Man must learn how to neglect two vices; the boy who is ignorance and the girl who is want (Dickens). Social upheavals must commence through the power of love and equality. We must do away with our caste systems, social boundaries, and give way to the Lord God and His Kingdom revealed upon the earth. Whether it be literally or allegorically, His Universal Kingdom will be shared by all in perfect harmony – where “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and young lion and the fatling (a young calf or lamb fatted for slaughter) together; and a little child shall lead them” (Isa 11:6). Perhaps it will be a world where various religions will continue to exist – where they will not be annihilated. However, its vices will be eradicated. The rhetoric of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and its judgmental doctrines will be a thing of the past. But its greater virtues of perfection and love will persist. They will thrive within the crux of Universalism, or one faith if you will. A worldwide religious transformation. Judgments were, are, or will be handed out like those given to the seven churches of Asia (Ch 2-3) – many will be left warring (war – the red horse) until they are hungry (famine – the black horse) for truth – a better way of spiritual worship. It has, and will, continue to come to pass until death (the pale horse) comes as a result to clear every division away. Where God can be ALL and in ALL (I Cor 15:28, Eph 4:6, Col 1:17). It is the only probability if all faiths are to be victorious. For God is not a respecter of persons (Lev 19:15, Pro 24:23, Acts 10:34, Rom 2:11, I Tim 5:21, James 2:1-13). But if religion is abandoned and annihilated, then truly we will see Him as He is. There would be no need for faith and hope, but only perfection and holy love. Even righteousness will be a thing of the past because there would be no need to live a righteous life as opposed to an unrighteous life. Righteousness will simply “BE.” All of this is similar to a futuristic outlook, howbeit, a positive outlook. We live in the present with constant aspirations for a better tomorrow. I’m sure the Preterist position would fully agree with the position of a better world as opposed to not doing nothing. As opposed to not pulling their weight or being good stewards. But unfortunately for the futurist and their particular view points or their religion, it is an opportunity to usurp their authority as to who is right and who is wrong. Who will win and who will lose. Who will live and who will die. Regardless of the religion/faith that they may aspire to, that way of thinking is most unfortunate for them.

2 thoughts on “TARSB: Revelation Chapter 6

  1. Thomas I agree the many opposing views are complex and confusing, especially the futurist position. I think I fall into the idealist/spiritualist category on eschatology, though I will qualify that with a perception that all people of belief in Christ as both man and God have an expectation of these promises being truth to them in their time frame of life here on earth. Therefore as all men and women expect to be reconciled to him eventually whether past present or future. It follows that as John’s gospel states and demonstrates through manifestation of the Logos through the Spirit is Christ’s preferred method of fulfillment to all of faith. Why wouldn’t his presence in each of us sanctify and signify that which was, is, and will be his perfection in that Logos? (Word) Thanks for the article and for listening!

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