Bible Lesson 91

END TIMES

The four horsemen of the Apocalypse

REVELATION CHAPTER SIX (#1 IN SERIES)

In this lesson, we want to look forward to the time of judgment, that time when God will call all things that we know today to an end, and when Jesus Christ will come again. This time when Jesus comes back it will not be as a suffering servant, this time it will be in His wrath and as the judge of the quick and the dead. We have lived in a time when God’s Grace that was manifested in the body and blood of His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, has been the focus of our lives, or at least it should have been. God’s grace will be withdrawn in the Day of Judgment and the wrath of God against men’s sin will be focused on those who were careless and did not seek the forgiveness of sin in the blood of Christ. There has never been a time when God did not hate sin and disobedience in His creatures. God created the first humans (Adam and Eve) in innocence and gave them a free will to choose in their relationship with Him.

We all know the account of how Eve disobeyed and caused Adam to disobey God. Their disobedience earned them the wages of sin, which is death. God did not surprise them and they did not surprise God. God knew that they would choose to disobey; because God knows every thought, deed, and scheme that each of us would or will have, throughout our lives and He knew it before He created the earth. Do I understand all about why God did not cause Adam and Eve to make different choices’ Absolutely not’..what I do know is that God never does anything wrong, never makes a mistake, never does anything that does not work out for the ultimate good of His creation.

God is the Creator, man is the creature, and man cannot plumb the depths of God’s mind or understand all that God has decreed. God has always been and will always be, but mankind as we know it, will one day cease to be, at least in the form that we know it today. Man will have a life after the judgment, but it will be in a form that has been fitted to enjoy the presence of God Himself. Those who have been chosen to be the adopted children of God, those who have been re-birthed or born again from above and have obeyed God in life will never die.

Oh, there will be a grave somewhere, unless you are alive when God comes back, but the grave for those who are obedient to God by faith in His Son Jesus Christ is only a door that leads from here to heaven, for eternity. The judgment is not something that Adam and Eve caused, because God had judgment in His eternal plan for the creation. As we said before, the first couple did not surprise God by their disobedience, He knew that they would disobey, and He knew that Jesus Christ would die to redeem those who would obey Him, and God also knew the names and faces of all those who would ever be a member of the true church. Mankind does not have the intelligence, nor the wit, nor the power to ever fool or deceive God!

We have begun to think that we can but that is because that we are so simple that we will believe anything that some preacher tells us, without regard for the truth of God’s Word. Yes, when God finished each of His steps in the creation and looked at His work and said ‘it is good’, He knew that sin would corrupt it all and that in the end the only way for any person to stand in the judgment, would be for God to pay the price to redeem them.

Judgment day will not be a great ‘pay-back for sin’, rather it will be the keeping of the promise that God made to our forefather Adam, that in the day that He disobeyed, he would die. Death comes in two forms, first is physical death, which Adam earned by his disobedience, and that meant that his body would gradually play-out and he would cease to have life. If Adam had obeyed God’s one commandment, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would still be alive today. Death also has another connotation, and that is eternal separation from the presence of God, in hell. We worship a God of second chances and Adam had a second chance to get it right with God, just as you need, and have a second chance with God unless you have been born again and are obedient already. Judgment and Judgment day will not be God getting even, but God fulfilling a promise that He made to mankind in the Garden of Eden. The question now becomes are you ready for the judgment’ There will not be any remediation after the judgment, the only hell for eternity and incidentally contrary to modern-day thought, hell is hot and full of darkness and pain and torment, and it lasts forever.

To fully understand the coming judgment and the end-times, we must begin at the beginning of the unveiling or the revealing of things that must come to pass, and we find that in the last book of our Bibles, that we call Revelation. We do not refer to it in the plural sense since it concerns one unified account of what will occur in the end, and it is all about what Jesus Christ will be doing. The Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle John to write this account. It was originally written in Greek and is titled ‘Apokalypsis Ioannou’ or revelation of John.

It is often referred to as being Apocalyptic (referring to an uncovering). Throughout the Bible, God warns us about sin and disobedience, warns us about entering the wrong gate and following the wrong way, warns us about being careless and not heeding the truths of the Word of God, the Bible, and even warns us about men and women who teach things that are not of God. Now, here in this last chapter of the Bible, God opens up or uncovers the scenario that will occur on the last day or the end times.

Jesus begins the revelation by dictating seven letters to seven churches of that time and warning them of problems that they must correct or face immediate judgment. In this first chapter of the revelation, Christ identifies Himself as the ‘faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, the ruler over the kings of the earth, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, and the One who is and was and who is to come, the Almighty, He who lives, and was dead, and is alive forevermore, the One who has the keys of hell and death’. Jesus identifies Himself in this chapter as the Almighty, God! At His first coming, Jesus was identified (in the gospels) as the suffering servant of mankind, in humiliation; but Revelation identifies Him as coming in exaltation, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the righteous judge.

The seven letters were to be written and delivered to the seven churches in Asia. These letters stand as a stark warning to those churches and the churches of our day. Many writers like to point out the Christ was praising the churches for their good points but warning them about their failings. I believe that Christ was merely setting the example to point out the failing of each church; because each of the problems pointed out in these letters were things that marked the life of true worshipers of Christ.

Keeping Christ first in everything we do, faithfulness, uncompromising, incorruptness, spiritual life, are marks of the true Christian and the church that manifest any or all of these failings are in trouble with God. Think for a moment about what Christ saw in the Laodicean church. They were a lukewarm church, a church that was neither hot nor cold. They must have been like many churches in our day, satisfied to just play church, be present sometime, carry a Bible sometime (but know nothing about it), agree with anything and everything, and just go along to get along.

If you have read the third chapter of the Revelation, you know that God does not like luke-warmness, in the church, and God said that He would vomit them out of His mouth. God says in effect here that He had rather have you on the wrong side of the fence, than on the fence! I think God gave most humans that same kind of feeling for those who waiver and are blown about by every wind of doctrine. I hope some of our politicians are reading this!

Christ is the head of the church and Christ is concerned about the church, so it makes good sense that He would begin the revealing of the end time judgment to those who called themselves Christians. Some would say that the seven churches and their particular failings reflects the seasons, so to speak ,of the church over time and I agree with that, but the church in our day for the most part has all of the problems and failings that we find in these six churches (the church of Philadelphia was faithful). It is important that we mention verse 10 of chapter three of the revelation, since Christ shares a secret with us there when He tells this faithful church at Philadelphia that, because they had kept God’s command to persevere (patiently obey), that He would keep them from the hour of trial, which would be the seven years, that we know as the Tribulation period. God did not say that to any of these churches except the faithful church.

I believe that the church of 2009 needs, desperately, to hear what God is saying in these first three chapters of the Revelation. God speaks to them and to us today and says, you are many but you are not much, you are a mile wide but only skin deep, you are religious but not Christian, and only those who meet the Biblical standard will be spared the Tribulation. It is past time that we who call ourselves Christian remember that we are saved, and set free, in order to be slaves to God. When Christ comes back this time, He will not call for the church rolls of any denomination, God knows those who are His, He has His own rolls and if you are not born again and obedient to Christ, your name is not on it and you will not be saved (John 10:27-28; John 13:18-20; 2nd Timothy 2:19).

It is critical that we who call ourselves Christians come to know the truth about the word. We must know that God has foreordained a day of judgment for the sin of ignoring His gift of eternal life in the body and blood of His Son Jesus Christ, who came and substituted Himself on the cross for those who would obey Him (Hebrews 5:8-9). Christ came in the past some 2000 years ago and He came then as a suffering servant, destined to be crucified and humiliated, by being nailed to a cross to shed His blood and die in the place of those who were chosen before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-6). In Chapter six of the Revelation, we find the beginning of the promised judgment of this world and those who have rejected the gift of God.

Chapter six begins a long account of what will take place as God begins what we know as the Tribulation period. This occurs as the opening of seven seals, trumpet, and bowl judgments that will precede Christ’s second coming to destroy the ungodly. Now, without a doubt, there will be many who read this account, who will be offended by the idea that Jesus Christ would come, in His wrath, to not only take the lives of those who have ignored the only way of salvation, but to send them into eternal torment. That is to be expected, because we have no idea about fairness, justice, holiness or godliness. Our lives have been taken up with sin, and the pleasure of the flesh in the here and the now and we have never thought about an Almighty, Creator God who has promised not only Salvation to some but eternal punishment to all who do not meet His standards as laid out in the Bible. None of our protests or attempts to justify our malfeasance during the time God has given us on this earth will amount to anything. Judgment is certain, death is immanent and hell is hot, so now is the time for all of us to examine ourselves in light of God’s Word the Bible.

The first thing that is called to our attention here in Chapter six of the Revelation is a white horse. The man seated on that horse has a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out with a mission from God, to conquer. This white horse represents a time of peace on the earth. Is this Christ coming back to the earth to usher in a time of peace before Judgment’ No, this figure and the other figures on the horses that come after this white on are more than likely times or seasons of specific pressures that come on the earth. We can certainly consider the first rider to be leading this take over of the hearts and minds of Israel to be the Anti-Christ but the whole world will follow him to destruction. We in America and other great nations of the world have a hard time realizing that the end times will be focused in and on Israel, but will affect the entire world.

Yes, in the Tribulation, God will be bringing it all to an end, and at the same time be dealing with His chosen nation, Israel. God has never forgotten His chosen people even though He has had them under punishment for failing to recognize His Messiah back some 2000 years ago. In this time, the Antichrist will hold sway over the hearts and minds of a willful and sinful world and they will follow him into eternal hell-fire. This will be a peace based on ‘felt needs’ of a disobedient world. It will entail all that most societies in this day and time are yearning for, things like wealth, prosperity, false unity, even as they pursue a religion that does not come close to Christianity. They will have their peace but only for a very short time. We know that this is not Christ on this white horse; because this person has only one crown, while Christ has many crowns.

About the time that everyone in the world thinks that they have their choice for messiah, they will find that he will promise a lot but will not be able to produce much. Most of them will be like so many people in America a year or so ago, when they demanded change, without knowing what kind of change they wanted. We are, without a doubt already in the end-time and have been here since the cross. God does have a schedule for the end-time but we are not able to know it exactly since God does not work on our time schedules. God is eternal and a day to Him as is a thousand years and a thousand years as a day (2nd Peter 3:8-9). Jesus Christ, self limited Himself concerning the end of the world and only The Father knows; we have to be satisfied to observe the signs that are found in the Bible and be ready to meet Christ in an instant (Matthew 24:35-42; Matthew 13:41-50). This white horse and its ‘false Christ rider’ will appear after the rapture of the true church. At that time, people will be even more gullible about their leaders than they are today, and all it will take is a promise that there will be free medical care, increased or continued social security and special relief for each individual class of people, and people will follow this leader like dumb sheep!

The fact that the end is coming closer every day should not surprise anyone, because we have over the past few years elected our leaders with our feelings rather than with common sense and clear information about the individuals. Think for a moment about a few years ago, when America re-elected a man who we knew, by his own admission that he was an adulterer. This man meets the legal definition, as far as I can determine, for being guilty of sodomy (unnatural sex). Sections of America have supported homosexuals for public office and continue to reelect them every cycle.

Slowly but surely we have set aside the teachings that have made us a people that are able to know the difference between good and evil. We have begun to tolerate things that our Creator God has said that we must not do and we have even embraced the murder of our unborn children, lifting the ‘rights’ of the mother above life itself. The worst part of it is that we do these forbidden things now as if God had said that we must do them. We have learned tolerance in the extreme and we tolerate things that God will not tolerate in us. This is one of the marks of the end times ‘.., remember, Jesus said in Matthew 24:36-42, that it would be just like in Noah’s time before the flood.

People were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day that Noah entered the ark. We are also told that we must be careful not to be deceived; because many would come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ, and will deceive many’. Jesus also said, nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places’and Christ also says that the world and the worldly will deliver up Christians to tribulation and will kill them, and cause them to be hated by all nations for Jesus’ name sake (Matthew 24:4-14).

If you cannot see many of the signs of the end times, then you are just not awake and aware. God inspired the Apostle Paul to write to Timothy and to us who read and believe the Bible today, about how men would be acting in the last days. God inspired Paul to write ”But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, unthankful, unholy, unloving unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power”and God tells us to turn away from those who act this way.(2nd Timothy3:1-5).

Just stop for a moment and really look at many of the people that you know. Know anyone who is narcissist’ That’s the guy who spends too much time admiring himself and telling others how utterly good looking and great he is. Do you know anyone who loves money to the point that they look at everything that as how much money it will bring them. I have known grown men who loved to carry a roll of green-backs in their front pocket and they loved to pull their roll out and flash it at every opportunity. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding some traitors that you can point out. If you can’t, let me help you by pointing to the majority of the congress and the senate of our country.

They are not only traitors to our country, but they are traitors to our families and our very religion. How else can we title people who are so blind and unheeding to the people, that they have bankrupted our nation and its people with foolish thing that will affect us through our great, great grandchildren’ Whether you can see it or not, we are living in the last days, the end time, the time when God’s justice is poised to wash over the world and completely destroy sin and sinners.

Remember, this time will begin with the promise of peace, but it will be a false peace, brought by the father of lies, and it won’t last as long as a snowball in hell. Just about the time they will all be congratulating themselves about their wise choice, another seal is broken in heaven, and there appears another horse and rider. This horse is as red as blood and he brings a period of war or conflict. Peace will disappear and there will be much blood-shed, but that will be our study in the next lesson’.till then ‘think on these things . . .

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob