Revelation Blog No. 8

THE FIRST OF THE SEVEN SEALS

In our last blog of Revelation, blog 7, we marveled at the revelation of Christ as the Lamb of God, but also the supreme center of power of the entire universe. The symbolism is fantastic—our savior is a gentle lamb and a fierce lion.

What comes next, I admit, I do not fully understand. But these days when news headlines can jolt us to the core, it’s important to understand biblical prophecy. Roughly twenty-seven percent of the Bible is prophetic. Some of these prophecies have been fulfilled with the first coming of Christ. But many are yet to be fulfilled and are found in the book of Revelation. As we’ve discussed before, what the Lord has documented in His Word, we are to examine.

The Seals

In his book, the 50 Final Events of History, Robert J Morgan believes that chapter six begins the first half of the great tribulation. I tend to agree.

This chapter opens with Christ, the only worthy being in heaven and on earth, slipping His finger beneath the first of seven seals. One of the four living creatures (covered in Revelation blog #6) cries out in voice of thunder, “Come!”

Before we peer at what the living creature beckoned into earthly reality, I’d like to point out the significance of the number seven. The number seven is mentioned more than any other number in the Bible and represents God’s divine sovereignty, perfection, and rest (grace). The biblical accounts that contain this mysterious number-puzzle are almost endless. The heavens and earth were created in six days with God resting on the seventh; There are the seven I am’s of Christ listed in the book of John, with the writer of Hebrews using seven different titles for Christ in his writing. And of course, as we’ve already seen, the book Revelation is full of prophetic signs that include the number seven. The seven seals are significant of God’s sovereignty over what is about to take place on earth.

As each of the seals are broken, John’s vision moves from heaven to the events taking place on earth. When Christ breaks the first seal, John sees “a white horse and the one who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him; and he went out conquering and to conquer.”

Most scholars believe that though the rider of this white horse is given a crown, this is not Christ. Since our point of view has shifted from heaven now to coming events on earth, this crown was likely given to the rider by men. Also, the word crown in this passage is translated from the Greek word stéfanos—a perishable crown much like the olive leafed-garland placed upon the heads of the Olympian winners of the day. Christ’s crown is an everlasting crown of royalty translated from the Greek word diadema found in Revelation 19.

There is much internet speculation on who the rider of the white horse might be and speculation ranges from Christ himself to the horse and rider symbolizing the power of the Gospel moving forth across the world.

We’re only given this one sentence about the crowned horseman with a bow. But because we are looking at this prophecy from earth’s perspective, this symbolic rider could well represent the antichrist. The antichrist will look to us, at first, like a hero—a man who will take center stage during a time of worldwide conflict and crisis on earth. While this man will appear to have global, peaceful answers, in reality, he is a great deceiver.

I’m copying what the late Jack Kelly (Bible teacher), wrote in an article to further explain why I and others believe this rider represents the political arrival of the antichrist:

“The Lord’s weapon of choice is a sword. The reason he has no arrows is that he won’t use force to make his initial impact on Earth. He [the rider] comes as a peacemaker (Daniel 8:25). Since the Book of Revelation is filled with symbolism explained elsewhere in the Bible, I looked for a reference to a man with a bow, hoping to get an additional clue to this rider’s identity. I found it in Genesis 21:20, referring to Ishmael as an archer. It’s the Bible’s first mention of a man with a bow. Earlier God said Ishmael would be a wild donkey of a man with his hand against everyone (Genesis 16:12).”

It should be noted that Jack wrote this article in 2012 prior to his death in 2015 and eleven years after the tragedy of 9-11. In 2010 we witnessed the Arab Spring which was a pro-democratic movement among Arab communities that sought to end oppressive regimes. Today, the history of the Arab Spring is hallmarked by instability and oppression in many of the counties across North Africa and the Middle East. But those with radical Islamic views took center stage during the early 2,000s, seeking widespread control and also the removal of western customs from their own culture. It would make sense that during the writing of Jack’s article, Islam posed a threat to western ways of life and certainly to Christians around the world. And I can understand that through his biblical research, he concluded the rider upon the white horse could be from the world of Islam or a descendant of Ishmael.

Today’s threats on our Christian culture have multiplied, lining up with many of the prophetic signs found in Matthew 24. And with the prophesies of one great leader of nations found in Revelation 13 and Daniel 7, the timing is ripe for a supposed hero to come to the rescue of the worldwide crises knocking at our earthly doors. What the ethnicity or religious background of this leader is, I cannot say for certain. But Jack’s speculation of an antichrist coming out of the Islamic world is more than interesting.

Whomever occupies the saddle of the white horse, this person is given authority and power over mankind for a time.

Following the white horse, three more riders come forth as the next three seals are broken and things get very … well … apocalyptic.

Stay tuned for more and keep watch as events in our world unfold according to Holy writ.

It’s an exciting time to be alive.

And don’t forget for one second that Jesus is coming back.

If I perish, I perish,

LGW


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Published by lauriegreenwestlake

Writer of three award-winning novels, L. G. Westlake is a gifted communicator, born out of a very real and raw journey with Christ. Her quest includes serving as founding director of a Crisis Pregnancy Center in Texas and both long and short-term mission work in Equatorial Guinea, Honduras, Mexico, The Philippines, India and Guatemala. Today, L.G. serves as a manager of marketing and communications for an worldwide ministry that shares God’s Word with the world.

6 thoughts on “Revelation Blog No. 8

  1. Just read your comments in #8. On the first seal, the NIV translates it a little differently. Revelation 6:2 (NIV) I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. Notice the difference is he is not yet conquering, just riding out to do so. So is it with all riders, they are given power and authority but are not yet doing any damage. Another point is, in every other case where beings are involved through the seals, trumpets and vials, those beings are angels. Perhaps these riders are angels, and the first rider-angel is in charge. Also note the &our riders authorities are limited to 25% of the earth. Revelation 6:8 (NIV) I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth. I have more to say on this but for now I’ll stop here.

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  2. Hey Laurie,

    Good thoughts on the anti Christ. The Muslims believe that the 12th Imam, the Mahdi, will usher in the new age. This fits well with some anti Christ prophecy. Hi to Steve.

    Like

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