Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 11
PROPHECY: THE WHITE HORSE OF REVELATION 6
Let’s turn to Revelation Chapter 4 and begin an in-depth study of the Book of Revelation. It’s a book I think is thrilling. It’s not that hard to understand, though I know there have been a lot of people instructed to shy away from it (leave it alone, you can’t understand it anyway). In fact, as we were driving up to the studio this morning I remembered when I was still farming in Iowa, we had a home class and were teaching the Book of Revelation one winter. As that part of the country is prone to, there came a tremendous blizzard, and many stranded travelers came in to spend the night.
It just so happened that this situation occurred and a couple got stranded near the home of a couple who had been attending my classes. During that storm, while locked up within those four walls together, the couple from my class shared what they had been learning from the Book of Revelation. As it turned out, one of the stranded couple was a pastor of a large denomination. When he heard the word “Revelation,” he said, “We never pay any attention to that Book, we don’t feel there’s anything in it that’s appropriate, and so we have no interest in it. At the time it shocked me a little bit, but not really, because I know this is a trend in a lot of peoples’ thinking. Nevertheless, the Book of Revelation starts out with:
“Blessed is he that readeth,…”
And that means you and I. Studying the Book of Revelation is exciting and revealing. Remember that it is all symbolism, but every symbolic teaching in Revelation comes back to a literal meaning and truth. All we have to do is search the Scriptures and it comes out clearly. Since we are dealing primarily with the future aspect of the Nation of Israel and the Tribulation period as we see it coming on the scene, I’m going to skip the Seven Churches. I don’t like to do that, but for the sake of time we will and catch them at a later time. Go all the way to the last verse in Chapter 3:
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
This is the last time the word Church appears in the Book of Revelation until you get to the closing verses. So from Chapter 4 verse 1, all the way through to the end, there is nothing of what we know as the Church Age. I think it is evident then that the Church will be gone when the Tribulation begins. And again it is symbolically pictured in John’s own experience in Chapter 4 verse 1.
“After this (after what? After the Church Age has been completed. The previous three chapters.) I looked, and behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me;…”
Be careful as you read Revelation. It doesn’t say the voice was a trumpet, but rather like a trumpet. I’ve had people try to refute the whole aspect of the Rapture because it is associated with the trumpet call. They say only Israel was called with a trumpet. That limits God. Yes, Israel was called by a trumpet for assembly for war and other assemblies. But God has His own trumpets as well. He also has his angelic trumpets. But here John hears a trumpet from heaven, which calls, “Come up hither.” I like to picture that as a symbolic view of what is going to happen to the Church. It too will hear a trumpet call. And the Archangel will give a shout, and suddenly all of us that know the Lord will be gone.
I’m aware that there are many who refute what we call the doctrine of the Rapture. The first thing they like to point out is the word Rapture is not in the Bible. True, it is not in the English, but the German translation does use the word Rapture – a calling out. As we have stressed before, it is so clear in the earlier translation in II Thessalonians Chapter 2 that before the Man of Sin can be revealed, before the Anti-christ can come on the scene, there has to be the departure. That’s the departure of the Body of Christ. We too, will hear the trumpet call to come up. That’s that blessed hope the Apostle Paul talks about in Titus Chapter 2:
“…which said, `Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.'”
After what? After the Church Age is ended. The Church is over and all these things are going to be left on the scene. Now verse 2:
“And immediately (John says) I was in the spirit (he didn’t go to glory bodily. Remember he is exiled on the Island of Patmos, so evidently he just went up to heaven in the spirit.): and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.”
“And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.” Beautiful beyond description. I don’t think John could begin to put it into words the beauty of the throne room in heaven. Now verse 4:
“And round about the throne were four and twenty seats (or thrones): and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.”
There has been lots of controversy. Who are the twenty-four elders? The Bible doesn’t tells us, so why speculate. We just don’t know. Like I told a lady who called yesterday morning, who had several questions. I told her to remember that the Bible doesn’t tells us everything we would like to know. It just tells us everything we need to know. But we do know they are sitting there on the twenty four seats, or smaller thrones, in the very throne room of heaven. And they are wearing their crowns of gold. Now verse 5:
“And out of the throne (the very presence of God) proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”
The best way I can define the seven Spirits of God are attributes of the Holy Spirit. So we need to go to the Book of Isaiah Chapter 11. And remember in Revelation it talks about Christ having the seven Spirits. Well here is what I think it is referring to:
“And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him (in this case it’s the Branch in verse l who of course is the Son, the Christ.), the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;”
Remember the Book of Proverbs tells us the fear of the Lord is wisdom. So there you have the Seven attributes of the Holy Spirit as they function within His role as a member of the Godhead. Come back to Revelation Chapter 4. These seven-fold aspects of the Holy Spirit are round about the throne as John is being introduced to it:
“And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.”
Now be careful. Don’t envision some horrible looking wild animals. A better translation is “living creatures.” These are angelic beings of a sort. I’ll show you in a bit where I get the word creatures, but for now lets read verse 7 and 8. Here are some beautiful illustrations again as to how Scripture fits together. Even though this is written by John in about 90 A.D., we are going to see it fits the picture of Christ in the four Gospels, and it’s going to picture the exact description of Ezekiel back in the Old Testament. Let’s finish these two verses and we will go back and look at it.
“And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf (or ox), and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.”
Here in Revelation we have creatures like a lion, ox, a face as a man, and an eagle. Turn back to Ezekiel Chapter 1. I told you several lessons ago there were three books in our Bible written outside the Nation of Israel by Jews: Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation. They are all written in symbolic language. So now we can see that Ezekiel and Revelation have a perfect correlation.
“Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance;…” Now to get all four together go to verse 10:
“As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.” So here we have the same four that we have in Revelation 4:7.
Let me ask you, “How is Christ pictured in the Book of Matthew?” Matthew depicts Him as King. Mark depicts Him as Servant, Luke depicts Him as the Son of Man. John’s Gospel depicts Him as the Son of God, His Deity. What am I trying to show? That all of the Scriptures are depicting Christ from the same view point. He is first and foremost the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Servant as Mark depicts Him. He washed the disciples feet, for example. He lowers Himself to that. And then Luke depicts Him as the Son of Man, His humanity. Then John shows us that indeed He was the Son of God.
So these angelic creatures spoken of by Ezekiel, as well as what John sees in Revelation, are all living creatures that are depicting one of these four attributes again of Christ as we see Him in the Gospels. To me, that shows how perfectly it fits together. It’s so beautifully tuned. I’m reminded of a letter we got recently from a gentlemen in Pennsylvania. He said, “Les, the Bible is finally beginning to run like a fine-tuned machine.” I like that. He was a farmer and we are aware when a machine is running right you don’t hear anything except that steady hum of a fine-tuned machine. And that is what this Book is. It is so fine-tuned. So it disturbs me when we hear people say it is full of contradictions and errors. No it isn’t. When there is a seeming contradiction, it is just a difference in programs. Naturally what the Bible says to the Nation of Israel under the Law is going to be different than what He says to us under Grace. That’s not contradiction, but simply a change in operations. Now back to Revelation for a few moments. And as John sees the living creatures. Verse 8:
“And the four beasts (or creatures) had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, `Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.'”
What does that speak of? From His eternity past, to the present, to the future, He’s the same Eternal Sovereign God of the universe.
“And when those beasts (or creatures) give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever (now the four and twenty elders get involved), The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, `Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power (why?): for thou hast created all things (He created it all. It didn’t just happen. But every thing was created by the Creator), and for his pleasure they are and were created.”
Someone called me awhile back and said, “Before I became involved with your class I didn’t really read every word. I was taught that when we get to glory we will take our crowns and cast them at His feet. But all of a sudden I realized this is the verse we get that from, and it’s the twenty-four elders that are doing that and not us.” We may cast our crowns at His feet, but the Scriptures don’t say we will. You see it is so easy to take a verse of Scripture and lift it out of context and make a statement from it. Like I said, we may indeed. We certainly should be worthy of not keeping those things for ourselves. All I’m trying to show you is the Scriptures don’t say we will do that, but the twenty-four elders do. Now to Chapter 5. I just want you to be careful with what you read, and how you read it. It makes all the difference in the world.
“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book (or scroll is a better word. It was rolled up and sealed) written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.”
Just picture a scroll rolled up and then sealed with seven seals. On the outside are written details. This is alluded to in the Old Testament economy, going back to Israel. They had every right to mortgage their property. Some may think mortgages are strictly twentieth century, but mortgages are not something new. Even at the time of Ruth and Boaz, they could mortgage their property. If they got in a bind and the mortgage was due, and they couldn’t pay, they would either lose their property, or could go to a next of kin for help. If the next of kin had the funds, and wanted to, then the mortgage could be paid off. There you have the three requirements for paying off a mortgage. Next of Kin, Able, and Willing.
This was the whole idea in Israel, that the families would keep their inheritance. Now we have the same picture here of a mortgage. It says it was written inside as well as on the outside. The private details that were not for public scrutiny were written on the inside. But the things that needed to be made public were written on the outside – for example, who the property belonged to. We still do that at the court house today, so it’s not that much different. The lesson here is, there is a mortgage involved, sealed with seven seals, but only One can open the scroll and pay it off.
“And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, `Who is worthy to open the book (or scroll), and to loose the seals thereof?’ And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book (or scroll), neither to look thereon.”
No one seemingly had the next of kinship, who had the wherewithal in wealth, and who was willing. And John says in verse 4:
“And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book (or scroll), neither to look thereon.” Look at verse 5:
“And one of the elders saith unto me, `Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.'” And who is the Lion of the tribe of Juda? Christ.
“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts (or creatures), and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb [I mentioned a few lessons ago, that if I’m not mistaken (and I’m always willing to have people check me out) the Book of John is the only one that uses the expression, the Lamb of God.] 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 (the Lion of the tribe of Juda, Israel’s King, the King of kings, the Son of God) came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.”
We have to bring the Trinity into view again here don’t we? We have to place God the Father on the throne, because Christ is not on the throne tonight, you are all aware of that I’m sure. It says He ascended to sit at the right hand. So in order to get the language, we picture God the Father as on the throne, God the Son at the right hand, and when John gets all shook up that no one can open the scroll, then God the Son comes before God the Father and what does He say? “I’ll do it. I’ll pay off that mortgage.” He is depicted throughout the Old Testament as the Son of David, the Son of God, and so in kinship He can fulfill all of those demands.