Suddenly there was silence. John watched intently as Jesus began to lift the first of the seven seals carefully from the parchment.
Then, harshly breaking the silence, the citizens of one of the four nations said in unison, “Come!” On it was the picture of a white horse, signifying a pure army; and on the horse was a rider who had been given the power to conquer the people on Earth for a season. “He was given a crown” (REV 6:2) and the charisma he radiated drew people to him.
There was but one person throughout history who was ever given a kingdom (by God), other than his son Jesus, which is recorded in the Bible. “you, O king, are the king of kings,” Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar in interpretation of the dream which had troubled the king for so long. “The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory in your hands he has placed mankind…” (DAN 2:36-38). The only thing which Nebuchadnezzar could never quite conquer was himself.
Then Jesus removed the second seal and the citizens of another country which stood by Christ said, “Come!” (REV 6:4). On this seal was the picture of a fiery red horse which represented the Media-Persian Empire. From the relative peace that was being experienced from Babylonian rule, God permitted this combined empire of the Medes and Persians to overcome King Belshazzar of Babylon and become the ruling empire.
As can be recalled from Book One (1.7.1) of this series of books, this is in direct relationship to the order of the empires about which Daniel envisioned and prophesied. When King Cyrus moved the combined kingdoms of the Medes and Persians against Babylon it opened the prophecy described in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the giant statue from its golden head to its silver arms and chest. There are two ways in Scripture to have evidence that Media-Persia is truly the next empire of prophetic importance. The first is explained best by Roy Allen Anderson in his book entitled Unfolding Daniel’s Prophecies which was published as a sequel to his book on The Revelation:
We would note in passing that when a heavenly messenger wrote on the palace wall, the interpretation said that the “kingdom is given to the Medes and Persians, not to the Medes alone as the critics claim. We have already noted the attempt to make Media the second of the four successive empires outlined by Daniel. But history shows that the Persians were untied with the Medes in their conquest. In fact the Persians were the stronger of the two kingdoms. (UDF pg. 37-38)
The other proof of Media-Persia being the second empire listed is through the parallelisms of the prophecies; either explained, or received and given by Daniel. As discussed in Book One (1.7.1) of this series of books the silver chest and arms of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream status was parallel with both the leaning bear of Daniel’s first vision and the two horned ram of his second one. Since the Archangel Gabriel identified that this ram was “the kings of Media and Persia” (DAN 2:20) then there remains no room for guesswork as to which country is intended in this successive line of world empires.
So now an extension to the charts offered the reader in Book One can finally begin to form which includes this vision of the Apostle John. That this is the accurate way to interpret these Scripture verses should be obvious when looking at the chart in Figure 4.6.0.
The very night that the handwriting appeared on the wall, King Darius of the Medes had Belshazzar assassinated and took over his kingdom. Media-Persia though, did not have the unity which bound together Babylon and, with two kingdoms within it continually vying for power, it was somewhat weaker than Babylon ever was
Jesus then took the third seal from the scroll and John heard the citizens of another of the nations which were with the Lord telling him to come. And when he went over he saw that the seal had on it a picture of a black horse. (REV 6:5)
“Black” is interpreted as meaning “evil” and most certainly the one riding the army of the Greeks could not be described any other way. Within eight years of setting out to do so, Alexander (“the Great”) had led Greece into world conquest and had formed a world empire out of it. But once it was over and he could see there were no more peoples (that he knew of) to conquer, Anderson reports that “He is said to have died of a fever at the age of thirty-three brought on by a drunken debauch. When asked on his deathbed to whom he would leave the kingdom, he replied, ‘to the strongest.” (UDP pg. 90)
It was through this sweep of the middle-east that justice was served to the Media-Persian Empire; but after Alexander died and during the years following while the four generals fought amongst themselves concerning which of them was “the strongest,” severe poverty struck the people such as had never before been known. Then John heard a voice coming from the midst of the four nations who stood with the Lord, saying, “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!” (REV 6:6)
A new type of power was emerging in this midst of poverty which before had not existed, that of economics. Oh, most certainly, there had been trading among the people before; but now, during this age of strife, the extreme power of wealth was beginning to be felt. Those who had it could make slaves out of those who did not, simply by withholding their needs if they did not perform. And anyone who tried to voice a word against this system was swiftly eliminated.
Then Jesus took the fourth seal off the scroll. When John obeyed the beckon to “Come,” he saw on this seal the picture of a pale horse. On the vestment of the rider was written his name entitling him as “Death” and “Hades” (HELL – KJV) was on a horse (army) close behind him. (REV 6:7)
After the struggle between the four generals had been resolved which had been the four heads of the leopard-like beast of Daniel’s vision (DAN 7:6), Lysimachus acquired the northern region of Alexander’s empire which included Thrace (Italy) and part of Asia Minor. Though he had not conquered the other three, this division among them made it possible for Lysimachus to establish an empire later called Rome which did overcome these other general’s kingdoms. (UDP pg. 90)
This parallel of Rome with Hell, or the grave, is quite striking recognizing the fact that at one time during the height of her rule she controlled approximately one-fourth of Earth’s land masses which contained most of the world’s population at that time. With just one word the emperor could cause a renegade against Rome to be put to death or to be cast into a den of vicious animals. They even learned the “art” of biological warfare by intentionally transporting persons with deadly diseases into enemy camps or cities in order to begin a plague to help eliminate their enemies.
The Romans were notorious for being vicious fighters: Militant in all phases of their existence. They made sport out of death and were not satisfied in their games except someone had to be buried. The description John gives of the pale horse is quite an adequate one of Rome.
And, again, Jesus removed a seal from the scroll. But this time no beacon to come was issued but rather John saw a scene enacted before him of the souls of people who had been martyred who appeared to be awakening from a sleep and asking God, “How longs, sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” (REV 6:10)
An angel then went over to them and, as he was giving them pure rich robes of righteousness, Jehovah said to them to “wait a little longer, until the number of (your) fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.” (REV 6:11)
God’s plan evidently called for a certain number of believers to be used in a special way very soon. That time was fast approaching with the Roman plight of death upon the followers of God. But until the time that the last ones had entered the grave who were to be among these special laborers, none could exit it.
Then John saw Jesus open the sixth seal; and suddenly he felt as though he was on Earth again with quaking beneath his feat. The sun had been eclipsed and the moon looked as though it were on fire. Symbolically this was emphasizing to John what was occurring on Earth at that time when Jesus lived on the planet of mankind. God and his radiance of Spirit had been made out to be evil by the force of the cultish, Babylonian religion which centered itself now in Rome. It was to Rome that the people looked to for guidance; it was the Caesars that they worshipped—yes, even many of the Hebrew nations had been duped. Large groups of people who had once worshipped the true God now flocked to this one who’s sinfulness hid the glory of God and used it as a false aura for his own glory.
Rome proceeded to grow to the point of Jesus death and resurrection. Then the signs which John had just saw were experienced by the world in actuality (MAT 27:45. 51. 54’ MAR 15:33; LUK 23:44-45). And the heavens opened to receive those who had gone before who had been innocently slaughtered. Jesus first, then the righteous believers were raised from their places in the graves to be with him (MAT 27:52-53). This was the event which shook the powers of Rome and caused it to fall. Let the historians say what they say; though the seeds of defeat were in Rome from its inception as Augustine said in his book, The City of God (TCG bk.2, ch.21), no event except the realization that the grave could not contain their enemies could ever have stopped the Caesars’ empire.
Through their system of kings, princes, generals, and servants; and through the support which they obtained through the rich and mighty and the worship which they demanded from the slaves and free persons alike in their land, there was nothing else which could overcome their power of fear which they held over the people than to remove the source of fear —- the grave. This Jesus did through his resurrection.
Oh, most certainly there were attempts to overthrow the Roman government as there are any government; and one was evidently in progress during this time. But as God knows in his dealing with Lucifer who has chosen to follow Satan (Lesson #12.36.1—“The Creation of Satan”), there are always ways to deal with a renegade.
What fear must have been cast into the hearts of those who, themselves having ruled Rome by fear, realized that the power the grave once had to control people had been diminished. Uncounted numbers of them came to the believers, the followers of Jesus, and said to them to “Cover us up and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (REV 6:16-17)
Who, indeed! Could the Caesars stand? Could Rome? They lost their power quickly after believers realized the value of being willing to lay down their lives for the purpose of establishing the Kingdom of God on Earth and the freedom Christ had to offer. Who could fight against this formidable power which could raise the dead from their graves and give its followers the hope of eternal life even if put to death?—WHO?—NONE!—And Satan knew this. But he had to try.
Now it became a Spiritual battle in the fullest sense for the devil. He had to fully attempt to stop this religion centered around Jesus or give up. This latter choice he was not willing to do. He had tried too long to prevent the birth of this Jesus to stop now. He had attempted murder more than once on the progenitors of this leader’s seed, but failed. He had set the stage for war after war to slaughter the race of people who carried Christ’s seed, but failed. He had tried to persuade women that they were barren, but failed. He had finally succeeded in killing Jesus, himself, and had placed him in a grave; he had even been successful in getting guards placed over him; but he failed in keeping our Lord there.
He had lost the war with God. But even though he had lost it, as can be seen is normal with those of dictatorial mentalities such as Hitler, he could not admit it to himself. As the spirit of darkness he had to continue fighting this Jesus or commit suicide by allowing the light to flood his kingdom. He did not want, nor could he conceive of doing that. But even he shall not stand against the “wrath of the Lamb” forever! (REV 6:16-17)
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