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The Christian Counter

 



The Seven Seals – Part 1

 

Begin Text:

 

If you have been following the previous seminar segments on the Book of Life, then…

 

You know why the Book of Life was written.

You know what is in the Book of Life.

You know when the Book of Life was written.

You also know when Jesus was found worthy to receive the Book of Life.

 

Now, we need to examine the meaning of each seal and how the breaking of each seal produces a larger and greater revelation of Jesus Christ – both in Heaven and on Earth.

 

In brief, the seven seals are:

 

Seal 1: The message: Salvation through faith in Jesus

Seal 2: The translation and distribution of the Bible around the world

Seal 3: Message: Judgment of the dead has begun

 

Seal 4: Death (25%) and global destruction – judgment of the living

Seal 5: Martyrdom of the saints

Seal 6: Second Coming

 

Seal 7: At the end of the 1,000 years, great white throne judgment, Book of Life opened for everyone to see.

 

For now, please consider two things:

 

1.   The first three seals relate to the next three seals.

 

       ---1----2-------3---------------------------4-----5-----6--

 

      

2.   The first three seals have been opened.

 

          1      2         3                        4   

       --+-----+------+--------------x--+--

      1798 1800   1844           Today

 

Let’s review the first seal:

 

Revelation 6:1   I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a loud voice like thunder, “Come!”

 

Revelation 6:2   I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow [a winner’s ribbon], and he was given a crown [stephanos], and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

 

The English translation of these verses can mislead readers and artists. The Greek text indicates the horseman rode out of Heaven’s temple carrying a toxon that is a winner’s ribbon, an ornamental bow made of fabric. [this is not a weapon, that is, a bow for arrows] The rider also carries a stephanos, a crown of laurel, a crown of victory like an athlete would wear (the rider is not carrying a diadema which denotes authority or dominion). The Greek syntax also indicates the work of the horseman takes time and effort. Literally, the Greek says, “the rider went out overcoming that he might overcome.”

 

We established earlier in our study on the Book of Life that the four living creatures represent the Holy Spirit. The point here is that the Holy Spirit is sent throughout the Earth on a mission. The Holy Spirit is bent on conquest….

 

What is the Holy Spirit attempting to overcome? Would you believe the two greatest enemies of the truth about Jesus are arrogance and ignorance? According to Revelation 4:7, the first living creature has the face of a lion.

 

As you will see, this face appropriately describes the Holy Spirit as He left Heaven’s temple. He went out as “a relentless hunter.” The Holy Spirit was sent out to find people willing to learn the truth about Jesus. (See Numbers 23:24 for the characteristics of a lion.)

 

The Holy Spirit is still-hunting, He continues hunting for people who are willing to learn about Jesus. It’s an “uphill” battle. But, the success of the Holy Spirit will be revealed at the Second Coming when a large number of saints “go marching in!”

 

Listen carefully:

 

The first seal is not an event – it is a campaign – a campaign that began in 1798 and it will end with the seventh trumpet.

 

All who receive Jesus, as Lord and Master will be given this bow and crown! The Holy Spirit is on a mission to “win” people over to Jesus – to love and obey Him. 

 

Think of the seven seals as seven campaigns and each campaign has a set of unique disclosures, processes, objectives and results:

 

1.   Win souls (overcoming arrogance and ignorance)

2.   Resolve the sin problem (so that sin will not occur again)

3.   Exonerate the government of God (eliminating all doubts all doubts about the nature of God’s laws and governance)

 

In other words, as Jesus breaks each seal, He undertakes a new campaign that adds momentum and information to existing campaigns and all of these campaigns will eventually dovetail into a grand finale. All three objectives will be met.

 

1.   Billions of people will be saved.

2.   The sin problem will be perfectly resolved.

3.   The government of God will be exonerated.

 

As these campaigns progress, the reality of “all that Jesus is” becomes larger and larger and more important in the minds of people. Eventually, all of the honest in heart on Earth will worship Jesus and Jesus will receive the recognition, honor and praise He is due from the honest of heart!

 

When you consider the fact that Jesus is largely unknown on this planet and He is greatly hated by non-Christians, this will be a major achievement!

 

Bible prophecy teaches that Jesus has been exalted to the highest position in the universe. The Father ordained thousands of years ago that once Jesus was exalted, He must be exposed for all that He really is – both to the angels in Heaven and to the people on Earth. Jesus has a gospel that He wants Earth to hear. He wants to win the hearts and affections of people because He alone can save us from the penalty and consequences of sin!

 

John 3:14   “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,

 

John 3:15   that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

 

The “campaign promises” made by Jesus are written in the Bible. Jesus invites us to put our faith in Him. Of course, there are several differences between putting faith in a politician and putting faith in Jesus.

 

When we put our faith in a politician we believe that he will do good things for us. Most people don’t stop to think that after the election is over, politicians become our lawmakers. In other words, politicians aren’t only asking for our vote, they are really asking us to exalt them to the position of “law maker.” It has been said that Congress enacted more than 10,000 laws during the past century. When will there be enough laws? Who can remember 10,000 laws? As I said, putting faith in Jesus is different than putting faith in a politician.

 

When a person puts faith in Jesus Christ, he believes five things:

 

(a)   that the wages of sin is death and that all human beings have sinned

 

(b)   God made a way for sinners to be saved through Jesus. He was our perfect substitute. He died in our place.

 

(c)   that Jesus enables His disciples, through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit., to live in harmony with His strange teachings. [strange, that is, contrary to the ways of the world.]

 

(d)   that at the appointed time, Jesus will keep His word. He will return to Earth and gather up His children and destroy the wicked.

 

(e)   When we give our hearts to Jesus, we allow Him to become Lord and Master of our life.   “His will, not ours, be done.”

 

The followers of Jesus believe that His demands are righteous and true and they must be obeyed at any cost. This is the meaning of faith in Jesus.

 

John 3:16   “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

 

What did “believing in Jesus” mean to Nicodemus, the Jew, when Jesus spoke these words?

 

Jesus meant:

 

1.   You have to give up your religion. You have to reject what your leaders say about me.

2.   You will have to abandon your culture, with all the rules and its regulations.

3.   You will be ostracized for your faith by your family and friends.

4.   You will not be able to worship in the temple.

 

The price for believing in Jesus can be very expensive!

 

Matthew 10:36   “A man’s enemies will be members of his own household.”

 

Matthew 10:37   “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;

 

Matthew 10:38   and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

 

Finding people who will put their faith in Jesus is no small task, but the Holy Spirit was given the task when the first seal was broken and a campaign to reveal Sovereign Jesus to the world in 1798.

 

As each seal is broken open, a new campaign begins and more about Jesus becomes known and understood – both in Heaven as angels watch and on Earth as humans learn.

 

Profound:

 

The breaking of the seven seals produces “The revelation of Jesus Christ.”

 

A “new aspect of Jesus” is revealed when each seal is broken.

 

After Jesus was found worthy to receive the Book of Life in 1798, Jesus immediately broke the first seal and the Holy Spirit went out from Heaven’s temple carrying a bow and a stephanos. He was bent on conquest and this conquest and this conquest continues at the present time.

 

A few words about religion on Earth in 1798….

 

When it comes to the topic of salvation, Christianity had been “locked up” in a dungeon of great darkness. For 1,260 years, the Roman Catholic Church had threatened and controlled kings, prices and paupers with the doctrine that salvation came through the sacraments of the church. This doctrine teaches that the church, the pope specifically, the authority to determine the salvation or condemnation of human beings. [The Catholic Church reaches this self-serving conclusion by distorting the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:19]

 

In other words, the church took the place of Jesus. [This is blasphemy.]

 

The church became man’s Savior and the people did whatever they could to keep the pope and the priests happy. Eventually, protestors arose. On the basis of Scripture, they disagreed with some of the teachings of the church and conflict began. The Protestant reformation began with a conflict over the topic of salvation.

 

By 1793, the conflict reached a boiling point and erupted into open warfare in France. Secular forces joined the Protestant movement and eventually, the authority of the papacy over Europe was terminated in 1798.

 

While the French Revolution was taking place on Earth, Jesus received the Book of Life in Heaven and as the dust settled on Earth; He immediately initiated a campaign on Earth to overcome the arrogance and ignorance of this world.

 

The Holy Spirit did this through a small number of Protestants who had set free from the Catholic doctrine. Now that persecution for disagreeing with the Catholic clergy was over, the gospel of Jesus could be preached throughout the Earth with a great deal of freedom.

 

For 1,260 years the Catholic Church did its best to keep the Word of God out of sight and away from people. The Church exalted its traditions; Protestors exalted the Bible that was a forbidden book. But, a change was in the making. Because the printing press had been around since 1455, and after religious freedom was won in 1798, Bibles suddenly became readily available and many people began to understand that salvation came through faith in Jesus.

 

 Against all odds, two things enabled Protestantism to develop prior to 1798. First, the discovery of the doctrine that salvation comes through faith alone in Jesus Christ made the traditions of the church worthless. Second, the luxuriant excesses of the priests, their heavy handed demands for money and a callous indifference for the spiritual and physical needs of the laity produced growing contempt for the clergy of the church. When the time came to remove the Catholic Church from power in 1798, Protestants were primed and ready to go preach the Word of God throughout the world. With God, timing is everything!

 

Let’s review a bit of history.

 

Notice how the seed of truth started growing. Here is a tiny list of notable men that were raised up by the Holy Spirit to preach salvation through faith in Christ alone!

 

1.   John Huss (1369-1415)

2.   Martin Luther (1483-1586)

3.   John Calvin (1509-1564)

4.   John Cotton (1584-1652)

5.   John Wesley (1703-1791)

6.   Adam Clark (1762-1832)

7.   Dwight Moody (1837-1899)

8.   Billy Sunday (1862-1935)

9.   Billy Graham (1918 - ?)

 

History confirms that these men were champions of God’s grace; they openly and widely taught that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ. You might ask, “How can “salvation through faith in Jesus Christ” be a new campaign in 1798 if salvation through faith in Jesus has been proclaimed ever since Jesus returned to Heaven?”

 

The answer may surprise you. The confirming power of religion keeps people from considering ideas that are religiously different. Moslems can’t tell Baptists about God and Mormons can’t tell Episcopalians about God, etc.

 

You may say, “But, the idea that salvation comes through faith in Christ wasn’t a new revelation in 1798.” Church history says otherwise. When one surveys the history of the Christina Church, the doctrine of salvation through faith in Christ is missing for more than a thousand years.

 

As I said, the Catholic Church substituted “faith in Jesus” with “faith in the Church.” This subtle but deadly deflection from the truth began in the fourth century A.D. For centuries, the truth about salvation was buried in the traditions and teachings of the Church and it wasn’t until the authority of the Catholic Church was broken by military power in 1798 that the truth about salvation through faith in Christ could be widely proclaimed to the world!

 

You may recall that in 1776, just twenty-two years earlier, God raised up a new nation that would eventually be called the United States of America.

 

This nation was founded by sincere and honest men who were seeking religious liberty and even though they strongly believed in God, they were deeply committed to founding a government that would be free of church control.

 

Thus, the country prospered because there has been a wall of separation between church and state. This country was primarily settled by Protestants. This is the nation that “helped the woman” in Revelation 12.

 

Since 1798, the United Stated has produced more Christian missionaries, gospel workers and literature exalting salvation through faith in Christ than any other nation in Earth’s history. Of course, the Holy Spirit is still pushing “the good news” of salvation through faith in Jesus even though Protestantism has mutated into a deep and horrible apostasy. Protestantism has lost its love for and fidelity to the Word of God. During the 20th century, Protestantism in the United States became weak and confused because it lost its love for Jesus and Bible truth.

 

Protestantism has largely displaced the teachings of Jesus with the traditions and teachings of man. Our nation has become an idolatrous nation. We have focused on God’s gifts rather the gift of God’s Word. We are consumed with the acquisition of money, wealth and the pursuit of happiness and pleasure. Sexual immorality is rampant in America. Perplexities and social problems are on every horizon. Politicians are speaking evil against each other. The Spirit of America has faded because the Spirit of God has been grieved.

 

In spite of our nation’s corporate apostasy, the gospel of Jesus is still alive. Although weak, the cry of the reformation still rings true:

 

“Salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ alone.”

 

The devil has corrupted the Protestant cry. Once again, He has cleverly disguised the truth about salvation: Today, millions of people have been led to believe that salvation comes through an intellectual assent to the truth: that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.      

 

James 2:9   You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.

 

But, God’s promise still stands: There is “a crown of victory and a winner’s ribbon” for everyone who OVERCOMES the world.

 

Soon, during the campaign of the fourth and fifth seals, the over comers will be counted and the cry of “salvation through faith in Jesus Christ” will swell and fill the whole Earth! Watch for this.

First Seal

 

The breaking of the first seal in 1798 resulted in the empowerment of the Protestant movement. The Holy Spirit clarified the gospel and men and women began to preach it. The first seal was a great start, but six more campaigns are necessary! The revelation of all that Jesus is must become brighter and clearer. And this process grows as these campaigns unfold and dovetail together.

 

Revelation 6:3   When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!”

 

Revelation 6:4   Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.

 

For reasons that follow, I believe that Jesus broke the second seal around the year 1800. Specifically, at that time, Jesus gave the Holy Spirit the sword of Truth and sent Him to Earth on a campaign to enlighten the world with two essential doctrines that will be presented shortly.

 

This endeavor takes a lot of strength. Perhaps this is why the face of the second living creature looks like an ox. (Revelation 4:7) As the truth about Jesus becomes clearer and more powerful, man’s resistance to it will become more determined and rebellious. How much “new truth can you stand to hear until you don’t want to hear anymore? How much “new truth can you stand to hear before getting angry and defensive? Eventually, during the fifth seal, when wicked people will deliberately kill those who love Jesus and obey His commandments.

 

Jesus warned His disciples about the response and revenge of the carnal heart saying, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the Earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34) What kind of sword did Jesus bring? A physical sword to kill people?

 

No, His sword of truth will kill lies and superstitions.

 

According to Rule Three (remember, there are four rules governing the interpretation of prophecy), we have to use parallel language from other Bible texts to clarify passages that are cryptic if parallel language exists. Since the second seal is somewhat cryptic, consider the following words of Jesus.

 

“All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known  the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you….” (John 16:1-4)

 

Why did Jesus warn His disciples about their upcoming persecution and death? Why did Jesus indicate that conservative religious people would persecute His disciples? Jesus made these comments because He wanted His disciples to understand the nature of religion. When religious people are confronted with the sword of truth, they react in one of two ways.

 

If they are honest in heart and pierced in their hearts with Holy Spirit driven conviction, they will confess their sins, repent and rejoice in the Lord. Those who love truth are happy to submit to truth.

 

Or, when pricked in their conscience, they become defiant, angry and hostile and when circumstances permit, they will literally pick up a sword of persecution. God’s truth is called a double-edged sword in Hebrews 4:12 for a reason:

 

Hebrews 4:12   “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even the dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

 

Hebrews 4:13   Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

 

The Bible is very clear. It says that during the Great Tribulation, God’s saints will be persecuted and put to death because of their loyalty to the Word of God. (Revelation 6:9-11; 13:5-7) Therefore, the campaign of the second seal has something to do with the death of many saints after 1798.

 

Revelation 6:4   “….Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.”

 

Speaking of the Great Tribulation, John wrote, “I saw that the woman [the great whore] was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished.”

 

“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the alter the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.” (Revelation 6:9) Notice the relationship between the second and fifth seals:

 

    Bible                           Slain because of the Bible

         I------------------------- I

--1—2—3----------------4—5---6—

 

These and other texts in Daniel and Revelation indicate that a time will come when the Bible will become a matter of deadly conflict. Lucifer and his wicked followers will kill those who obey God’s law and the wicked will think they are doing God’s will by killing the saints! Before we continue to examine the second seal, I need to discuss a very important topic:

Our true Position and Condition Before God

 

The gift of salvation is the best news a person can hear after he understands his true position and condition before God. Our true position and condition before God is revealed through the teachings of Jesus, there is no other source of truth on this subject.

 

Jesus said, “… I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 

Our position before God is that of a condemned sinner. (Romans 3:23)

Our condition before God is one of natural hostility. (Romans 8:7,8)

 

The verdict declared in God’s Word is clear. We are under the curse of sin and we cannot save ourselves from it. The good news is that through the atonement of Jesus, there is a way of escape from the penalty of sin. We have to be born again and through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, we can be victorious over our hostility toward God and man!

 

Thoughtfully process the contents of the following sentence because it is a hard sentence to swallow: When salvation through faith in Jesus is separated from the teachings of Jesus, the gift of salvation becomes “an opiate,” a sweet nothing,” “a theological fantasy” which may be wonderful to believe, but practically worthless for overcoming the temptations and trails of the human experience.”

 

On the other hand, when the doctrine of salvation through faith in Jesus is aligned with the other four essential doctrines taught by Jesus, our receipt of the gift of salvation reflects the transforming power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us. 

 

When we surrender our will to God’s will, we submit to wearing the armor of God. Paul wrote,

 

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, and against the powers of the dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

 

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your guard, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:12,13)

 

John wrote, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

 

When the doctrine of salvation through faith in Christ is separated from the four essential teaching of Jesus, discipleship suffers and Christianity disintegrates. If you don’t believe me, look at Christianity today.

 

Many Christians have been led into idolatry without realizing it. They worship an icon of Jesus without actually knowing Jesus! The often asked question, “What would Jesus do?” is not a search for truth, it is a smear tactic created by the devil to rob Jesus of His sovereign authority For what it’s worth, the bible not only tells what Jesus did through out the ages of the Old Testament, it tells us what Jesus is going to do to this Earth during the Great Tribulation!  

 

Consider this sinister process: when the assurance of salvation is separated from or exalted above the importance of being submissive disciple to the teachings of Christ, human nature will quickly diminish the consequences of sin. When sinful behavior is excused, Christians – people who claim to be followers of Christ – soon begin doing the very things that offend God.

 

Sexual immorality and idolatry are twin sisters. When you see one, you know the other identical twin is close by. They are never far apart. When Christians separate the salvation of Jesus from the teachings of Jesus, Jesus becomes a religious icon instead of the Lord and Master of our lives.

 

Jesus said that we cannot receive salvation without giving ourselves over to His dominion as an obedient disciple. “If anyone would come after me [for salvation], we must deny himself and take up his cross [of responsibilities which I will assign] and follow me [my teachings].For whoever wants to save his life [for eternity] will lose it [that is, will lose control of his life], but whoever loses [gives up control of] his life for me for the gospel will save it [for all eternity].” (Mark 8:34,35, insertions mine)

 

Notice how the apostle Paul summed up the relationship between faith and works,

 

“During the days of Jesus’ life on Earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although He was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” (Hebrews 5:7-9)

 

When salvation through faith in Christ costs nothing, it produces nothing. The problem is that salvation and discipleship are inseparable. Here is a true paradox:

 

Salvation is totally free through faith in Christ, but discipleship will cost you everything you possess. Therefore, true discipleship keeps faith alive.

 

Timing

 

For reasons presented earlier, the first seal was broken in 1798. The second seal has to occur after the breaking of the first seal, so when does Jesus break open the second seal? The year 1800 appears to resolve the question of timing. Here’s why:

 

When the second seal was broken, the Holy Spirit “rode out” of Heaven’s temple. He immediately began a campaign to translate and distribute the Bible (the sword of truth) throughout the world. The Holy Spirit motivated Protestants to form numerous Bible societies in Europe and in the United States.

 

Starting in 1800, Protestants in Europe and the United States gave sacrificially and generously toward the translation and distribution of the Bibles because they well knew their victory over the Church of Rome came through the exaltation of Bible truth. 

 

Because the Bibles became increasingly accessible, laymen could study “the Good Book” and as they investigated the Word of God, they began to understand the deep apostasy of Rome for themselves. Prior to the fall of the papacy in 1798, ownership of a Bible was rare in Europe because of expense, or in some countries, the possession of it was forbidden by the Church.

 

Today, this context seems so foreign. Even the Church of Rome publishes Bibles, albeit in the archaic Douay Version. What produced this marvelous transition from the Bibles to many Bibles? I can find no better reason than the opening of the second seal. From 1800 to 1844, the Bible (or portions of it) was translated into approximately 112 translations. By 1944, one hundred years later, the number of translations exceeded one thousand. Today, the number of translations exceeds 1,500. Look again at the second seal:

 

Revelation 6:4   Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.”

 

As Protestants began to read the Bible, various ideas about the teachings of Jesus sprang up. Because nineteenth century Protestants were a diverse group of people from many nations of Europe and the United States, Protestantism fractured into several distinctive denominations after 1798 under the leadership of various godly people. This is what Jesus wanted. He does want one church to rule over the thinking of mankind again. 

 

The Holy Spirit was sent on a campaign to see that the Bible was translated and widely distributed because there is no other authoritative source on the teachings of Jesus. For the past two hundred years, the Bible has been progressing throughout the world, one book at a time. The Bible tells us what sin is and it presents our true condition and position before God. Soon, a time will come when Bible truth will cause wicked men to slay the saints! And wicked people will think they are doing a service for God!

 

The ultimate deception is to make people think that wrong is right and right is wrong. During the Great Tribulation, when the devil appears on Earth, masquerading as Almighty God, billions will honor him and obey his evil commands.

 

Revelation 13:15   And he [Lucifer] had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

And a third of mankind will be killed. (Revelation 9:15)

 

Third Seal

 

Revelation 6:5   When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand.

 

Revelation 6:6   Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

 

For reasons forthcoming, this seal was broken in 1844.

 

At just the right time, the Holy Spirit was sent from the throne room on a campaign to inform the world that Jesus had begun to judge the dead. The face of the third living creature is like that of a man. (Revelation 4:7) This faces indicates the Holy Spirit has an intelligent message from Jesus that mankind needs to understand.

 

The scales in the hand of the rider indicate judgment”… the court was seated and the books were opened.” (Daniel 7:10) The breaking of the third seal marks the beginning of the judgment bar of Christ!

 

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

 (2 Corinthians 5:10)

 

Remember our discussion about the cleansing of Heaven’s temple at the end of the 2,300 days? Remember our earlier discussions about the doctrine of soul sleep? The third seal merges soul sleep, the worthiness of Jesus and the pre-Advent judgment into one comprehensive prophetic fulfillment.

 

Of course, if a person does not understand the doctrine of soul sleep or God’s use of parallel temples or the four rules of interpretation, the breaking open of the third seal in 1844 will make very little sense.

 

The doctrine of parallel temples teach that long ago, God set a date, near the end of the world, for Jesus, our High Priest, to begin cleansing the temple in Heaven. The temple in Heaven needs cleansing because a record of our sins has defiled that temple. We have discussed the prophetic precision of 1798 and 1844 at length. We have closely examined the date Jesus was found worthy to receive the Book of Life and we have examined the breaking of the first two seals.

 

The orderly progression of the historical matrix is unmistakable if you understand the five essential doctrines and the four rules of interpretation. The cleansing of Heaven’s temple is accomplished by transferring the guilt of each person to its final destiny. Notice how it works: Upon investigating the records of each dead person, Jesus decides if that person is wicked or righteous. After making this decision, the sinner’s guilt either remains on the head of that wicked person, or if that person is found to be righteous person because of his faith in Christ, his guilt is transferred onto the head of the scapegoat. The scapegoat is Lucifer.

 

Remember the two goats that were slain on the Day of Atonement? The Lord’s goat (represented Jesus) because He provided atonement for the penalty of sin (Leviticus 16:21). The scapegoat represented Lucifer who is responsible for sin. (Leviticus 16:22) 

 

Jesus said that Lucifer is the father of sin, as such; he bears full responsibility for it. (John 8:44) The doctrine of soul sleep teaches that the dead are not judged at the time of death, nor do they go to Heaven of Hell at the time of death. We also know that the righteous dead will be the first to meet Jesus in the air at the Second Coming (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17) and we know that the wicked dead will be resurrected at the end of the thousand years (Revelation 20:5,6).

 

So, the remaining question for the third seal concerns timing. When are the dead judged? The answer to this question is resolved by the alignment of two essential teachings of Jesus (the doctrine of soul sleep and the parallel temples) and the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation tell us when the judgment of mankind begins.

 

Daniel 8:14 tells us the judgment bar of Christ began in 1844, and the breaking open of the third seal in Revelation 6:5,6 perfectly aligns with this date.

 

The Holy Spirit departed the throne room around 1844 on a campaign to inform the world that the judgment of the dead had begun. The scales in the hand of the rider on the horse indicate the time for the judgment of mankind has arrived. “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:14)

 

Remember the mysterious words written on the walls at Belshazzar’s feast? Daniel told the Babylonian king, ”…You have been found weighed on the scales and found wanting.” (Daniel 5:27) God weighs the actions of nations as well as individuals. Jesus weighs our actions and our knowledge of right and wrong in judgment.”

 

“Anyone, then, who knows the good that he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins…. If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” (James 4:7; Hebrews 10:26,27)

 

The scales in the hand of the Holy Spirit indicates the time for judgment has come, this judgment is not a judgment of nations, but of individuals. “The court was seated and the book were opened.” (Daniel 7:9,10)

 

Perhaps Jesus began with Abel, the first man to die. For the past 164 years, Jesus has been reviewing and passing judgment on each dead person. Of course, Jesus does not need 164 years to judge the records of the dead, but the angels and the twenty-four elders need this lengthy period of time. The ongoing judgment scene in Heaven is for their studied benefit.

 

In effect, the angels and the 24 elders have been getting a “college education” on the dimensions of God’s government. They are studying, observing and learning about God’s constitution, His branches of government, His grace, wisdom, mercy and most of all, how love is the balance between mercy and justice. Their lectures include a real-time demonstration of God’s justice and mercy as they observe the judgment bar of Christ.

 

Every record presented before Jesus is a unique story. The angels and the 24 elders are beholding the close and careful scrutiny that Jesus applies to every record. They have never seen anything like this and the Father predetermined long ago that all of Heaven would benefit from observing this courtroom-classroom drama.  

 

This is why “thrones were arranged and the Ancient of Days took His seat…. And ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him….” As billions of heavenly beings silently observe our High Priest at work, Jesus decides who shall be saved and who must be destroyed. Because Jesus knows every person intimately, this is not very easy for Jesus to do. Because the angels understand the incalculable value of eternal life, they watch with greatest interest.

 

They also watch closely for another reason. Those granted eternal life will become their rulers. The redeemed from Earth will be elevated above the angels! (Revelation 1:6) Therefore, the angels are very curious to see who will rule over them. This is why they have to attend this special convocation.

 

Once they understand the full dimensions of God’s government and salvation, they know they have nothing to fear from the exaltation of victorious sinners from Earth.  Each judicial case reveals a unique expression of God’s justice and mercy.

 

Will Work For Food

 

The commission given to the Holy Spirit in 1844, at the breaking of the third seal, consists of a campaign to educate the world that the judgment bar of Jesus has begun. Because there are many Bibles (thanks to the second seal), this campaign is “mission impossible.”

 

As the Holy Spirit prepared to leave the throne room, Jesus spoke these words to Him, “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

 

Wages! These words are a promise of wages. Wages, in the form of “good” food, oil and wine is promised to those who will enter God’s service to promote this special message and I can personally testify after 20 years of endeavor, that the Lord’s promise has proven faithful and true.

 

Rule Three encourages us to look for parallel passages in the Bible to determine the intended meaning of apocalyptic prophecy and there is a very good parallel in the Old Testament concerning the use of wheat, barley, oil and wine as wages!

 

King Solomon offered Hiram, king of Tyre, an enormous quantity of good food if Hiram’s servants would gather up materials for the construction of the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem.

 

“I will give your servants, the woodmen who cut the timber, twenty thousand cors of ground wheat [125,000 bushels], twenty thousand cors of barley [125,000 bushels], twenty thousand baths of wine [115,000 gallons] and twenty thousand baths of olive oil [115,000 gallons].” (2 Chronicles 2:10, italics mine) 

 

Solomon offered Hiram food because food was of greater value than silver or gold. The building of the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem would be an enormous undertaking and Solomon did not have the building materials, but he had much food. So, he was willing to pay Hiram’s workmen with something more desirable than gold if they would do his bidding. At various times in human history, food has been the currency of choice between nations.

 

The parallel here, is that since 1844, Jesus has been offering wages to those who are willing to put their shoulder to the wheel and build up the knowledge of His heavenly temple on Earth. The Bible is a very comprehensive book and God’s ways are vast. Teaching the Word of God, if done well, is not a simple or easy task. Again, I testify from personal experience, this is the most difficult assignment I have ever had. But, the food is good. : - )

 

An offer of wages goes with the breaking of the third seal to attract workers because Jesus wants the world to know that He is judging the dead and the judgment of the living is coming soon.  Jesus wants the news spread far and wide and Hw is willing to pay good wages “in food” to anyone willing to carry the news!

 

Thus far:

 

Seal 1:   Salvation through faith in Jesus

Seal 2:   The translation and distribution of the Bible

Seal 3:   Judgment has begun

 

End Text:

 

 

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