THE BEGINNING AND THE END
Revelation 1:8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Isaiah 46:9, Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.'
1). Following the Judgment seat of Christ, John now sees in Revelation 4:1-4, a rainbow encircled throne, with God seated on the throne (vv. 2b, 3). And surrounding this throne, John sees twenty-four other thrones with twenty-four “elders” seated (v. 4). In comparing Scripture with Scripture, we see that the rainbow appeared in Genesis following the completion of God’s judgment [the Flood], and the same thing is seen in Revelation 4:3 relative to the completion of the judgment of all Christians in chapters 1-3.
a). At this point in the Book, the search for a bride and determinations surrounding the judgment seat are complete, so the next order of events is now centered in bringing about the realization of that which is stated in ---
Hebrews 2:5, For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.
2). Revelation chapter four then moves from the judgment of all Christians, to that which relates to crowns and regality---
Revelation 4:4, Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. 5 And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
a). Surrounding the throne of God, John sees the twenty-four elders seated on thrones wearing white robes and gold crowns. “Crowns” have to do with ruling and reigning, and up to this point, angels have ruled over the earth from the heavens since the beginning of creation. The twenty-four elders depict the two-thirds of the holy angels who did not rebel with Satan against God. The fact that they are in God’s presence in heaven shows that they are not part of Satan’s fallen angels. In addition, the identity of these twenty-four elders is shown by their number. (Note that this number is symbolic, as God has myriads of angels; an innumerable amount, Hebrews 12:22).
b). When God initially created the government of the earth from the heavens, there were three sets of twelve, or thirty-six crowned angels ruling over the earth. The number “three” in Scripture is the number of divine perfection and the number “twelve” is the number of governmental perfection totaling thirty-six complete ruling angels. One-third (12) of the angels fell with Satan during his rebellion against God, when he sought to exalt his throne, with the other two-thirds (24) refusing to follow him (cf. Isaiah 14:12-14; Matthew 5:41; Revelation 12:3, 4). Therefore, these angels remaining with God who did not follow Satan would represent the twenty-four “elders” referenced here in Revelation 4:4.
e). Satan, though disqualified, will retain his crown and continue to rule until Christ arrives at the scene and is ready to ascend the throne. Then, Satan’s crown will be taken, given to Christ, and He, along with His faithful followers, will ascend the throne and rule in the stead of Satan and the angels who had ruled with him.
3). Revelation chapter four is the point in the book where this revealing of a new order of sons (firstborn sons) has its beginning and it begins here by the relinquishment of crowns. At this point in the book, the judgment of Christians, with a view to regality, will have just occurred; and, with a view to this same regality, Christ, following this, is seen as the One about to redeem the inheritance by taking the seven-sealed scroll (the title deed to the Earth) from God’s right hand and breaking the seals in chapter five. Redeeming the earth for the new rulers, by the transfer of the government of the earth from the hands of angels into the hands of man, is what the first nineteen chapters of the book of Revelation are about; and, as well, this is what all of Scripture preceding these nineteen chapters is also about ---- rulership in the 7th Day.
And I saw in the
right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and
on the back, sealed
with seven seals. 2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming
with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to
loose its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or
under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. 5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” 6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
a). Christ, of the lineage of Judah through David, is about to take the throne and rule the earth. At this point, He is being introduced as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (v. 5; cf. Genesis 49:10) because He is about to exercise the regal rights of inheritance, that seen through His lineage. And the climatic moment is seen in Revelation 5:7 when Christ comes to the throne and takes the scroll out of the right hand of God the Father. God is handing over the regality of the earth to His Son, that which has been God’s plans and purposes since before the foundation of the world ----
Hebrews 1:1, God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My
Son, Today (lit., for this Day) I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and
I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of
the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod
of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”
b). This day is the Day that God and His Son have been waiting for, when God will give the Kingdom to His Son for a thousand years, a Day in which the Son will be honored, His name will be hallowed, and He will be praised and worshiped.
c). But before Christ (the second Adam) can exercise His regal rights, He first must redeem the forfeited inheritance, (forfeited by the first Adam in Genesis chapter three, due to his fall [cf. Romans 8:20-22]). And to do this He must act in the capacity of “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (cf. Revelation 5:6; 13:8).
d). For nearly 6,000 years, the earth has been in a forfeited and
unredeemed state and Revelation Chapter five takes one
to the point where the inheritance (the earth) is about to be
redeemed, allowing the earth to be “delivered from the bondage of
corruption,” with a new order of Sons then holding the
Romans 8:19, For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but 21 because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
e). So not only must man be redeemed, but the earth must be redeemed as well. That which God requires for both man and the earth must be brought to pass in each instance, so that both may enter into a new age, an age where Righteousness dwells. Man’s redemption is brought about by and through Christ’s finished work at Calvary; and the earth’s redemption is brought about through subsequent actions of the only One qualified to act in the realm of redemption --- by Christ breaking the seals of the seven-sealed scroll that He is seen taking from His Father’s right hand in Revelation 5:7 (rf. Revelation 6:1ff).
f). Scrolls in the Old Testament had to do with title deeds to sections of land and contained the terms of redemption for those sections. In Revelation chapter 5, Christ is seen purchasing the earth, having previously paid the price at Calvary that allowed Him to take the scroll from God’s right hand and open the scroll.
g). But we would have to understand that there are two aspects to that which occurs by the opening of the seals on the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation
chapter five — redemption of land, and a corresponding marriage--- just as in the Book of Ruth.
h). This redemption of
the inheritance is inseparably connected to marriage — the
marriage of God to Israel, and the marriage of Christ to His Bride.
The man and the woman in the type were to ascend the throne
together, as one complete being, and rule the restored
earth. And so must it be in the antitype.
There can be no future reign of Christ over the earth apart from
God again taking Israel as His wife and the Son, as well, taking a
wife. And both are inseparably tied to the opening of the seven
(complete) seals on this scroll.
4). The judgments contained in the seven sealed scroll will be cast during the Tribulation and are primarily to effect repentance on the part of national Israel, whom the Lord divorced due to their harlotry, unbelief and disobedience. The terms contained in the seven sealed scroll outline the judgments and will finally bring Israel to a state of repentance, allowing for the cleansing of the nation and their restoration to their land as head of the nations.
a). The entire process of redeeming the forfeited inheritance is seen occurring in Revelation chapters five through nineteen, revealing the judgments and events during the time when the seals are being broken and these terms are being carried out. Then, near the end of this time, the wedding festivities of the Lamb are seen occurring in Revelation 19:7-9, with a view to the redeemed Bride becoming Christ’s wife once the work surrounding the redemption of the inheritance has been completed (seen in Revelation 19:11-21).
a). “Four” is a number having to do with the earth, particularly in relation to mankind on the earth. And this is seen in the breaking of the first four seals of the scroll, having to do with the earth and with the process of redeeming the earth, particularly in relation to mankind on the earth, in complete keeping with the way numbers are used elsewhere in Scripture, evident in Genesis 1:3-19 with the restoration of the earth.
b). The number “five” is the number for “grace” and the breaking of the fifth seal has to do with the martyrs (primarily saved Gentiles) who had been slain for the Word of God whose souls are now seen under the altar of God in heaven (denoting a place and time of grace). And comparing this with the fifth day in Genesis 1:20-23, we see that God created the creatures of the sea on that day (“sea” referring to the Gentiles).
c). “Six” is the number for man (the sixth day in Genesis 1:26-31, man was created), and when the sixth seal is opened, Christ will return to the earth to restore man (Israel) and put a new spirit in man, just as a new spirit was put in Adam.
d). “Seven” is the number of completion for that which is in view, and when the seventh seal is broken, the redemption of the inheritance will be completed, and this parallels the 7th Day in Genesis 2:1-3, the Day of Rest, the Millennial Kingdom.
e). Christ’s future work surrounding the redemption of the inheritance will begin to occur through judgments seen when the first seal on the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation chapter six is opened. And this redemptive work will continue from that point until all of the remaining six seals have been broken and all of the judgments have been brought to pass.
6). Pertaining to the timeline of the redemption of the inheritance, the book of Daniel forms a companion book with the book of Revelation. The redemption of the inheritance will occur during the last seven years of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy (referred to as the Tribulation). Following Christ’s crucifixion and Israel’s rejection of the second offer of the Kingdom of the Heavens, God set aside His dealings with the nation of Israel, bringing in the creation of the Church. God stopped Israel’s “time clock” so to speak, until the future Tribulation. And following this present 2,000 year dispensation, God will once again resume the time clock, the 70th week of Daniel’s Prophecy, and complete His dealings with the nation of Israel. Then, this redemption will finally be completed through events occurring immediately following Christ’s return, before the ushering in of the Millennial Kingdom. [Read Daniel 9:24-27]
a). The break in time in Daniel’s prophecy, in Daniel chapter nine, occurs in the middle of verse twenty-six, between Messiah’s death and “the people of the prince who is to come,” who shall destroy “the city [Jerusalem] and the sanctuary” [the rebuilt Temple].” Therefore, this 2,000-year dispensation in which God deals with the Church is a period unseen in Daniel’s prophecy but occurring between the sixty-ninth and seventieth week. And when the Church is removed from the earth into the heavens God will allow “time” in the prophecy to resume, fulfilling the final seven years, “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7).
b). The event marking the beginning of Daniel’s Seventieth Week (the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation) is marked by the signing of a covenant between “the prince who is to come [Antichrist]” and “many” in Israel (Daniel 9:26, 27). And, another way of marking the beginning would be to see this period beginning with the breaking of the first seal in Revelation 6:1, 2 ---
The Rider on a White Horse
1 Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and
I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like
thunder, “Come and see.”
7). The breaking of the first four seals in Revelation chapter six summarizes the revealing and work of the Antichrist and his rule, from the beginning of the Tribulation until the end. It depicts four horsemen — beginning with a rider on a white horse [the first 3 ½ years], and continuing with a rider on a red horse, a rider on a black horse, and a rider on a pale horse [the last 3 ½ years, the Great Tribulation]. And as each rides forth, certain things are stated about their separate activities, which correspond with the things signified by the different colors of the four horses (Revelation 6:1-8).
a). All of that being depicted is dealt with in imagery, figures of speech, and figurative language. And, over the years, even the world deals with this matter in a similar way when referring to “the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.”
b). Though there are four different horses, the rider on each horse should not be thought of as a different person. As will be shown, it will become evident when reading and studying the text that the rider on the first horse is seen riding forth at a later time on a second horse, then a third, then a fourth.
c). Since the first four seals clearly deal with the Antichrist during the Tribulation, the rider in the four different horses mentioned cannot be anyone else except the Antichrist in all four horses. Each time the Antichrist rides forth a certain type horse, it depicts his actions against the nation of Israel. And as he continues to ride the following horses at different times, the conditions that arise are a result of his previous actions. That which is depicted when he rides forth on the fourth horse at a later time is the inevitable consequence of the first three.
d). All four horsemen are inseparably connected, in this manner. And seeing that brought about through the actions of one man, occurring at different times, depicted in the imagery used (four horses, each of a different color), appears evident from the way Scripture depicts and handles the entire matter.
e). This is undoubtedly a reference to the actions of Antichrist as
seen at the beginning of the Tribulation and continuing for at least
the first three and one-half years of this time. He is seen at the
beginning wearing a crown (Greek: stephanos
f). This man’s aspirations — worldwide dominion — evident from both related Scripture and the type crown which he is seen wearing at the very beginning (a crown depicted by the word stephanos), will be achieved by the middle of the Tribulation (after three and one-half years). Only after he has achieved this dominion can he be seen wearing a crown depicted by the word diadema (a monarch’s crown, a crown worn by one actually seated on the throne and ruling over a domain). And this man is ultimately seen wearing such a crown later in the book of Revelation, in chapter 13 verse 1.
g). And, as previously noted, this man will achieve worldwide dominion through a means that Scripture depicts as a rider on a white horse with a bow in his hand, but no arrows for the bow. Commentators make the mistake of stating that this rider is Christ because He is riding on a white horse and is wearing a crown. But the symbol of the white horse and the crown simply refer to the present “prince of this world” and the means in which he will first attack Israel. The fact that this leader is holding a bow with no arrow indicates that at this time he is not conquering by force, but rather by other means.
h). To understand how this man will accomplish his objective through this means, one need only turn from Revelation 6:2 to Daniel 11:21 (comparing Scripture with Scripture), written over five hundred years before John wrote Revelation and over two and one-half millennia before the corresponding prophecies are to be fulfilled. And one can know that Daniel 11:21 is dealing with the rider on the white horse in Revelation 6:2 because the person in Daniel is said to be “the prince of the covenant” (v. 22, 28, 30-32), who can only be “the prince who is to come” from Daniel 9:26, 27, where this covenant is first mentioned in Daniel’s prophecy ---
Daniel 9:27, Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week (7 years)
8). Antichrist appears on the scene in the book of Daniel through various dreams and visions, each one showing him arising from one of the four generals of Alexander the Great’s kingdom and he is referred to as the fourth great beast (the fourth power) and the “little horn.” -----
Daniel 8:8, Therefore the male goat (Alexander the Great) grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven. 9 And out of one of them came a little horn (Antichrist) which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land (Israel).
a). The word “horn” is a metaphor that refers to a “king” or “ruler.” This man, the little horn, will arise from the northern division of Alexander the Great’s kingdom in the Middle East, north of Israel. He comes to power after the untimely death of his predecessor and in Daniel 11:21, we are given further commentary on this man---
21 And in his place shall arise a vile person [paralleling Daniel 8:8, 9], to whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably [depicted by the rider on the white horse], and seize the kingdom by intrigue [depicted by the rider possessing a bow, but no arrows].
b). The first part of the verse describes the person in God’s eyes — “a vile [‘a despicable’] person”; the second part of the verse — “to whom they will not give the honor of royalty” — has to do with this man obtaining his power through a means other than honorable. And the remainder of the verse deals with the means through which he will obtain this position of power — “by intrigue” (KJV: “flatteries”).
c). The Hebrew definition for the word “flatteries” (KJV) in this verse (also vv. 32, 34), has to do with being smooth or slippery in a beguiling or scheming manner. This reveals that he will devise his plans through deception as his means of gaining power and riches.
d). In Daniel 7:25, it is apparent that much of his power will occur through his eloquence--
25 The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces. The ten horns are ten kings (ten kingdom federation) who shall arise from this kingdom. And another (little horn) shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings.
g). He will appear as a man of peace, one who seemingly has the answers for Middle East peace, a peace that has eluded man over hundreds of years; and, as previously seen, he will deceive the masses by and through his eloquence. And it is this type of setting that will allow him to make a covenant with “many” in Israel-
Daniel 11:21, And in his place shall arise a vile person, to whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue. 22 With the force of a flood they shall be swept away from before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant. 23 And after the league (alliance; uniting together) is made with him he shall act deceitfully, for he shall come up and become strong with a small number of people. 24 He shall enter peaceably, even into the richest places of the province; and he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his forefathers; he shall disperse among them the plunder, spoil and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the strongholds, but only for a time.
h). This man shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule – he will deceive the nations and grow wealthy by them, something no other leader has ever been able to do. For three and one-half years this man will continue his conquest in this manner (seen in Daniel 11:22ff), until the day arrives when his true colors are seen by and through that which is depicted by the same man riding forth on the red, black, and pale horses.
i). Following three and one-half years, in the “the middle of the
week,” Antichrist breaks his covenant with the Jewish people.
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week, But in the
middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
j). Part of Daniel’s prophecy was seen being fulfilled when Israel returned to their land in 1948 but without a Temple, even to this day. It is evident from Daniel’s prophecy that part of the covenant Antichrist will make with Israel will be to allow the rebuilding of the Temple on the Temple Mount. The Jews will restore the Mosaic priesthood and sacrifices in the new Temple. As impossible as it may seem today to re-build the Temple on the Temple Mount where the Moslem mosque currently stands, the Antichrist will make it possible at the beginning of the Tribulation. At this time, it may be possible that part of Antichrist’s covenant with Israel will involve bringing a false sense of peace between the Jews and the Moslems by allowing the Temple to be rebuilt if Israel gives up some of their land to the Moslems. This will allow not only Antichrist and the Gentile nations to become very wealthy, but also Israel. In his deceiving ploy to get control of the people of Israel and their territory, Antichrist will go to the heart of the matter --- Israel’s desire to regain their Temple. But then, in the middle of the Tribulation, after three and one-half years, the Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel and things will begin to change rapidly.
k). And it is apparent that many in Israel will be comingled with Antichrist’s kingdom, and will adhere to this deception of peace ---
Jeremiah 6:13, Everyone is given to covetousness; And from the prophet even to the priest, Everyone deals falsely. 14 They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace.
1 Thessalonians 5:2, For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
l). This false prince of peace will convince and deceive the people of Israel and the world through his power, signs and lies. And because of Israel’s disobedience and unbelief towards God, God will allow them to believe the lie and the liar ---
2 Thessalonians 2:9,
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of
Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all
unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not
receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for
this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should
believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not
believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
m). The coming of the lawless one (Antichrist) is according to the working of Satan. Satan has been trying to destroy man since his creation, since Adam and Eve in the Garden. And he succeeded, through deception, bringing about their fall and their spiritual death. Following, he attempted to thwart God’s plan for man by sending his fallen angels to earth to procreate with human women. They bore the Giants/Nephilim (part man/part evil spirit). Again he succeeded, bringing about the Flood and the destruction of all mankind except Noah and his family. Throughout the generations thereafter, Satan, his angels, and his demons have continued in their plan to destroy mankind, particularly God’s people. This resulted in many antichrists, leaders of nations (like Hitler) trying to accomplish Satan’s goal. And during the Tribulation, the same thing is seen, except in a much more horrific manner, as Satan will send his only begotten son, Antichrist (part man and part evil spirit), to bring about this destruction and he will give his son all of his power and authority to accomplish his deceiving and horrific plans.
9). However, at the same time, God will send two witnesses from heaven down to earth to carry the message of salvation to the Jewish people in Jerusalem. Their ministry will be for exactly 1,260 days, the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation.
And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. (Revelation 11:3)
b). As soon as the two witnesses finish their testimony and convert the 144,000 Jews, after three and one half years of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will break his covenant with the Jewish people. At this exact time the Antichrist will be allowed to kill the two witnesses. Their dead bodies will lie unburied for three and one-half days in the streets of Jerusalem (known as “the great city” which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified; Revelation 11:8). And all of the unrepentant Jews and unsaved Gentiles will rejoice over their death, because these two witnesses had tormented them with the message of truth and had powers over them, powers such as fire that proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies (Revelation 11:5).
c). Following the celebration of the death of these two witnesses, the unsaved will praise and worship “the beast” (Antichrist) who killed them. But then, after three and one-half days, their celebration will come to a halt when the breath of life from God enters the two witnesses, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them (Revelation 11:11). The work and ministry of these two witnesses will be finished, and they will ascend into heaven by the command of God saying to them, “Come up here” (Revelation 11:12).
And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake [shaking], and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. (Revelation 11:12a, 13)
10). The rider is now seen riding a red horse, taking peace away from Israel and the world. This is the beginning of the Great Tribulation, the last 3 ½ years. But this will have to wait until next time, if the Lord is willing...