Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 11
REVELATION 6, CONTINUED
Let’s go back to the horsemen of the Apocalypse in Revelation Chapter 6 for a quick review. First we have the appearance of the Anti-christ. He signs the seven-year treaty with Israel which gives them relative peace and safety. Then I feel you will have that great invasion of the red horde from the north, which in turn will precipitate a great demise in the food supply. That will trigger the famine (or the black horse in verses 5 and 6), as well as the pestilences. And remember that we showed you in Matthew 24 that Jesus foretold that these things were just the beginning of sorrow or travail. These are the beginning days of the Tribulation. It’s going to be the most awful seven-year period in human history. We will be seeing that, as Jesus spoke of it in Matthew 24. But now, turn to Revelation Chapter 6. Remember, these horsemen were also seals, and we have four of the seals off (there were seven seals on the scroll to begin with). Now He opens the fifth seal. And John, in his visionary experience, of course:
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:”
I have to feel he was making reference to the Tribulation martyrs. Later we’re going to show that, yes indeed, there will be multitudes of non-Jews who will have a salvation experience during this turmoil. But they will not live very long to tell about it, because it’s going to be a period of time where they are going to be martyred immediately. These are the ones I feel that John sees in a prophetic light, and these who have been martyred for their faith will cry:
“And they cried with a loud voice, saying, `How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?'” And, of course, we know that He’s going to.
“And white robes were given unto every one of them (that is, these that had been martyred for their faith); and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”
That’s all part of the fifth seal. Now we come to the sixth seal. Remember there’s only seven that are holding this scroll together, and Christ is the One that is opening it in order to be able to read that mortgage and pay it off. Okay, we’re coming back to that scroll that was in Revelation Chapter 5:
“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and , lo, there was a great earthquake;…”
In Matthew 24, that was one of the things that Jesus had mentioned, that there would be famine and pestilence and earthquakes in divers places. We’re already seeing a tremendous increase in earthquake activity; thousands of percent in the last twenty or thirty years. There’s so many earthquakes taking place every day that the media doesn’t even bother to report them. I read recently in one of the daily papers there where three or four earthquakes; not huge, but 4.6 or 5 on the Richter scale. There was one in China, one in Southern Russia and one in Iran. They’re taking place every day. This is contrary to history; it hasn’t always been that way. In verse 12 we’re approaching the mid-point of this seven years. We’re about at the end of 3 1/2 years as we get to the sixth seal.
“…and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;”
All you have to do is know the circumstances. When there’s tremendous earthquakes, there’s more than likely volcanic eruptions as well. As we know from the past, volcanoes can spew out so much dust that the sun can almost be blocked out. I think that’s what we have here. It isn’t that God all of a sudden is going to blacken the sun, per se. But as a result of all these activities on the planet, the sun will almost become like we’ve seen it at times, like a little red glow. And the moon became as blood, again because of all the pollution that has been blown into the atmosphere. Then verse 13. This is God dealing primarily with the Nation of Israel. Jeremiah said it was the time of Jacob’s trouble. I’ve pointed out over the years, for those of you who have been following from Genesis on, that whenever God was dealing with Israel in the land, the supernatural was commonplace. Beginning when Moses went into Egypt, the plagues were supernatural events that were under God’s control. The opening of the Red Sea was supernatural. The life and escapades of Samson were supernatural. And the appearance of the Angelic hosts at Christ’s birth was supernatural. The opening of the prison, when Peter was in captivity, by the use of a earthquake – what was it? Supernatural. So this is what I’m talking about. When God is dealing with that Nation of Israel, as He will be in these seven years, we’re dealing with the supernatural every day – things that are beyond the ordinary. In verse 13, we even have cosmic disturbances.
“And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”
In other words, tremendous earthquake activity. And this is only in the first half. The second half is going to be far worse. Even rulers and men in high places are getting shook up:
“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains (and they actually plead for death): 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:'”
Do you see for the last 1900 plus years, mankind has not seen the wrath of God. Now we know there has been a lot of calamity. We know that there has already been a lot of earthquake activity, and wars and famine and so forth. But that has not been the wrath of God. I’ve always maintained that the things that come upon the human race, that plague us, are not acts of God’s wrath. They are God permitting Satan to bring suffering and turmoil to God’s creation. God is not in the business tonight of pouring out His wrath. He’s a God of Grace, tonight. Paul says in Romans Chapter 5, that where sin abounded, what’s always greater? His grace abounds even more. But, grace has ended here with the out-calling of the Body of Christ just before the Tribulation begins. We are seeing the wrath of the Lamb being poured out. Verse 17, and it’s repeated twice in two verses:
“For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
Do you remember Psalms Chapter 2? We’ve used it so often coming up through the Old Testament. After mankind, Jew and Gentile, have rejected the King, they’re going to go into a period of perplexity and derision – and that’s where the world is tonight. They don’t know where to turn. And then what does the next verse say in Psalms Chapter 2?
“Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.”
It’s no longer the Age of Grace. All these events take us up to the mid-point of this seven years. We’ve had the appearance of the Anti-christ. We’ve had the permission (if I may use that word) for Israel to go back into Temple worship. She’s going to go back under the Law you might say. She’s getting closer to that all the time. Now back again to Revelation 6. As we come to the end of the Chapter, let me repeat verse 17:
“For the great day of his wrath is come: and who shall be able to stand?”
The Bible does not actually refer to the Tribulation as being the wrath of God until the last 3 1/2 years. The first 3 1/2 are going to be bad enough, but the last 3 1/2 years will be beyond human comprehension. Let’s go to Matthew 24 once again. I’ve said before, you can’t study Revelation without studying Matthew 24. Here Jesus is speaking of this very thing. Starting at verse 8, what does Jesus call all of these things that are taking place (the tremendous loss of life in that 1/4 of world has died – and all the pestilences and famine)?
“All these are the beginning of sorrows.” It’s not the wrath of God yet. Now verse 9:
“Then (that is in this first half) shall they deliver you up to be afflicted (remember at the close of the last lesson I took you to Jeremiah 30:7 because it is the time of Jacob’s trouble. This is right now primarily God dealing with the Nation of Israel, although it will be world-wide), and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.”
We see that this is already coming on the scene, where the hatred of the Jew is bubbling to the surface, and will keep on increasing.
“And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound,…”
Remember that the Church is gone from the earth. Today the Church is really the only break from wickedness across the world. It’s the Christian influence that still holds things in check. But at this time it will be gone. It will be like lifting a great dam out of a river; that reservoir will suddenly just wash down that river bed taking everything in it’s way. I think that will be the picture of iniquity and wickedness that will break loose as soon as the True Church, the Body of Christ, is removed. Now verse 13. This verse has been twisted and lifted out of context and mistaught too often.
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
This is not talking about salvation! We’re talking about physically surviving. Let’s go for a moment to the Book of Isaiah Chapter 24. We’ll come back to this later. This is exactly why Jesus said what He said. Those who are fortunate enough to have come through this whole seven years will see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down,..” We’re dealing with the Tribulation here.
“And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.” It’s even going to hit the super, super rich. Now verse 5:“The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” Now verse 6 and watch the language very closely:
“Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth (the reason for the Tribulation is to pay off the curse. The earth is going to be delivered from the curse), and they that dwell therein are desolate (because of the awful events that have taken place): therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned (I think there will be tremendous nuclear activity), and few men left.”
In other words, there will be survivors. Some are going to make it all the way through this awful seven years. Now come back quickly to Matthew 24. Remember Jesus is on the earth talking to the Twelve, during His earthly ministry. Now verse 14:
“And (what the next word?) this (speaking to that which was contemporary with His day.) gospel of the kingdom…”
Now a lot of people twist that and try to make it the Gospel of Grace. Some people will fly off the handle and accuse me of saying that there is more than one Gospel. Yes, I’ve said it for over 20 years and still do because the Book says so. They didn’t know the Gospel of Grace at this time. Christ hadn’t died yet, He hadn’t been raised from the dead yet. There could be no Gospel as we know it. It hadn’t been accomplished. But what Gospel did they know? The King is coming. The King is here. And it was called by Jesus over and over through the Gospels, the Gospel of the Kingdom. Good news, the King is ready to set up His Kingdom as it was being offered to Israel. Now then Jesus is using that back drop. The Kingdom Gospel that He and the Twelve had been preaching for almost 3 years now and He says:
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall (at a future time.) be preached in all the world for a witness unto (how many?) all nations; and then shall the end come.”
Now, you see how simple that is when you put it in the right prospective. I’ve had good friends of mine lift this verse out of context, and say we have to get the Gospel into every nation before the Lord can come. That’s not what Jesus was talking about. The Gospel of Grace is a calling out a people for His Name, absolutely. But it’s going to end, and the Tribulation is going to come in and then Jesus said, “The same Gospel of the Kingdom that He preached in His three years of ministry will be proclaimed again during the Tribulation.” Now can you keep that? Put that up here. Just stop and think. If that Good News is proclaimed to every nation on earth, that the King is coming, it will last for the whole seven years. Notice Jesus did not mention the Church Age and the Gospel of Grace. He skips over it from His ministry to the Tribulation. And that will be the message that the 144,000 young Jewish men will preach to the world. The King is coming, and indeed He will be!