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Part 2 of 7

Chapter 2


The message that Christ had for the seven churches in Asia constitutes His message to all churches for all times. It would be a mistake to assume that the seven designated churches apply to seven different periods of time and that the present age is identified as the 'Laodicean" era. In spite of the Dispensationalists' loud claims to taking the literal interpretation of the Bible, they nevertheless insist that the seven churches in Asia should be spiritualized to mean seven different periods of time during the gospel age. Since such a view has to be "private interpretation," we dismiss it and cling to the traditional view that these churches did actually exist and that Christ's message is directed to them. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."

Asia is really a portion of Asia Minor, and the extent of the seven churches is a comparatively small area in what is known as Turkey today. Beginning with Ephesus and about 30 miles apart, they constitute a circular formation around to Laodicea. It is to be noted that Smyrna is the only church of which Christ does not register any complaints, and Laodicea is the only church that has nothing to be commended for. When Christ addresses each one of the seven churches, He greets them with a token of the authority given to Him in the first chapter-the resurrected Christ. In Ephesus, He greets them as the "one holding the seven stars in his right hand and the one who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks." This denotes the closeness and also the interest that Christ shows in each of the churches. While He praises them and commends them for many good things, He also points out their shortcomings. With the church at Ephesus, He finds fault with those who are false apostles. The main grievance He has is the loss of their first love. They no longer maintained the relationship with Christ that they once had. The loss is described as having fallen, and there is a double caution for them to repent lest they should lose the candlestick completely. They are commended, however, because of their hatred of those holding to the deeds of the Nicolaitans. The Nicolaitans were variously reported to hold to a defection of one of the deacons appointed in Acts 4. He was a proselyte named Nicolis, and some hold that he propagated some false doctrines. There are others who claim that the Nicolaitans were people who subscribed to the same doctrine as Balaam and permitted immorality and other sinful things to be practiced. The church at Ephesus took a firm stand against this and were commended for it, but at the same time they had gone back on their first commitment to the Lord, and unless they would repent and @restore this fellowship, they were in danger of being considered a backslidden church.

The church at Smyrna is greeted with a voice from the resurrected Lord, "The first and the last which was dead, and is alive." To them He says He knows "their works and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich)" (Rev.2:9a). Then He says to them "I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan" (Rev. 2:9b). It is worth. noting that the Jews are only mentioned twice in the entire Book of Revelation. There is so much written on the future superiority of the Jews in current literature and in much modern preaching that it should be emphasized that the last Book in the Bible does not mention them at all except to say they belong to the synagogue of Satan. We draw attention to the verdict of the risen Christ when He says, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." In the eleventh verse, Christ says the same thing that He says to all the churches: "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." We draw attention to the last statement concerning the second death. The immediate question is: What is the first death? The Bible gives a great amount of detail concerning the first death, which is to be dead in trespasses and sin. When a person is born again, he is raised from this spiritual death and given fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Over such, the second death has no power, and the statement here is that those who are faithful in serving the Lord in this world shall not be hurt of the second death, which is separation from the fellowship of God, eternally.

When Christ writes to the church at Pergamos, the credentials He uses are that He is the One who has the sharp, two-edged sword. In the first chapter, this is the sword that comes from His mouth. It is obviously not a literal sword in His mouth, but it is His Word, which cuts both ways. It rebukes and it also commends, so we pay heed to it here. Pergamos was a congregation that had the doctrine of the Nicolaitans; this was very repulsive to the Lord. It was something for which they had need to repent, and if they did not, He would fight against them with the sword of His mouth-His word. There is also evidence of the doctrine of Balaam. The Bible speaks of the way of Balaam. In 2 Peter it mentions the error of Balaam. In Jude I I and in Revelation 2:14 it speaks of the doctrine of Balaam. This threefold condemnation of Balaam indicates that it was a serious departure from serving the Lord, and the people at Pergamos were required to repent of this sin which, incidently did constitute sacrificing to idols and committing fornication. Idolatry and adultery are frequently compared with each other in the Bible. It is giving your love to someone other than the one to whom it belongs. Consequently, idolatry is adultery, in the spiritual sense, in that it gives to a lesser and inferior person the loyalty and obedience that belong to God alone. It is from the same word as adulterate, which means to dilute and give an inferior quality to. In addition to the commendations that Christ bestows on Pergamos, He indicates that He will give them the hidden manna and the white stone on which a new name is written. These things indicate that they have a source of strength available, and the white stone indicates that better things are in store for them if they will but seek them. The white stone was often given to a person who was exonerated before the court; his judge would give him a white stone to indicate that he was free.

The church at Thyatira is addressed by the Son of God, "Who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass." The church at Thyatira was under the scrutiny of the Son of God. They measured in good works more than they did in spiritual achievements. The risen Christ points out to them that they had suffered that woman "Jezebel which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols." Apparently, in the early days of the church, the temptation of the world was exceedingly great and the number who fell for the temptations of the flesh were numerous. The punishment and the admonition of the Lord was always in direct relationship to the crime or sin committed; consequently, those who violated the obedience to Christ suffered accordingly. There were some good things to be said about those who belonged to the church at Thyatira, and Christ gave them credit for every good thing they had done. The reward of those who had distinguished themselves as overcomers was their advancement in victory and power. It was not temporal power or positional power but spiritual power in victory over circumstances.

Sardis was a wealthy town and at one time it was the richest city in that entire area. It was also built on a very high hill; consequently, it was thought to be impregnable against attack. This caused the citizens to be very careless about their alertness against any enemy. This is the reason we find that the council given by Christ on more than one occasion is to watch, and concerning their spiritual condition-that their garments should not be soiled. History records that the city of Sardis was overcome twice because of the failure of the guards to watch for enemies who came up a secret pathway. This led to their total ruin without defending the city at all. The lesson is very clear- Christ commands us to be alert and watchful at all times. He also commands us to be zealous for His cause. To rely upon ease and to live in luxury is dangerous, and the Christian attitude is to be ready at all times to oppose sin and weakness caused by yielding to the temptation of ease. Sardis had the reputation of being alive, but in reality it was dead-spiritually dead. Its only hope was to repent and to yield to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and recover its spiritual condition; however, it failed to do this.

When we come to the city of Philadelphia, we find that the greeting in verse seven is as follows: 'These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth." Let us ponder first of all what it means to have the key of David. History takes us back to the time of King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. Some foreign agents paid Hezekiah a visit and he was flattered by their interest. Hezekiah showed them all the things that were around the temple and allowed them to see all the works of wealth and spiritual significance in the temple and Jerusalem. When the Babylonians went back home, the Prophet Isaiah came to him and asked him who these people were, and Hezekiah told Isaiah what is related in 2 Kings 20. Isaiah asked Hezekiah what they had seen in his house and Hezekiah said, "They have seen everything in my house. There is nothing in my house that they have not seen." Isaiah then pronounced a very stern judgment on Hezediah. He said the time will come when these people from Babylon will carry everything in his house over to Babylon. Now this seems like a very harsh judgment for which there must be a reason, and there is. The temple in Jerusalem was sacred to the God of Israel, and Hezekiah had no right to permit any Gentile into the temple. Therefore, he had committed a great sin by opening the doors of the temple and allowing the Gentiles access to all of the treasures. No Gentile was permitted to go into the temple, which was reserved for Jews and worshippers of the true God. It is because of this transgression of Hezekiah that we read, "I shall place on his shoulder the key of David," adding, "He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth" (Rev 3:7). This is an indication that Christ is the Door into the Church or the Family of God. He alone has the power to present to us an open door, and if we refuse, the door is closed and no man can open it.

In addition to stressing the door that no man can shut, He encourages the church there to enter this open door because they have kept Christ's words and have not denied His Name. In the ninth verse, He says once more, "I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie." This is the second time the Jews are mentioned in the Book of Revelation and also the second time in which they are said to be of the synagogue of Satan. In other words, the Jews in the New Testament are the ones who are Jews at heart, spiritually, as defined by Paul in the second chapter of Romans as well as other places. God deals with the Israel of God and not with the nation of Jews that go by that name today (Rom. 2:28,29). Reference is made to the new Jerusalem which comes down out of heaven from God. We will return to this at a later time.

We have now come to the last church that is mentioned in this passage of scripture-the Laodicean church. This church has nothing to recommend it to the Lord, and consequently, all that is related is negative and censure. They are a lukewarm church. They claim to be rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing, but it says, "and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked." We should perhaps examine what it means to be naked. Of all the creatures in the universe, man is the only one that is born without natural covering. All animals have skins or pelts, fish have scales, birds have feathers, but man is naked and needs to be clothed. The normal remedy for this lack is for a man or woman to buy such clothing as they require; however, this was not God's remedy. When Adam and Eve were created in Eden, they did not have clothes, but they were not naked. They had the light of God as their garment. This was similar to the experience of Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration where He was transfigured before the three apostles of the Lord. They described Him as being clothed with a radiance beyond anything of an earthly nature. Strictly speaking, this is the clothing that God provides for each person who is born again. They have a wedding garment and they will be clothed with this righteousness which He confers on them so that they will not be naked.

This is the condition of the church of Laodicea. They were devoid of clothing that made them acceptable in God's sight. Consequently, they were told, "buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see" (Rev. 3:18). Laodicea was famous for its eyesalve, and while they had a certain degree of fame for their wealth, their raiments and their salve, these were the very things that they were lacking in spiritual content. The nineteenth verse says, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent." Then we have one of the loveliest verses in the Bible-verse 20: "if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Rev. 3:30). This is the inspiration that gave Holman Hunt his beautiful masterpiece which is in St. Paul's Cathedral in London, England- Christ before the door, knocking. The latch is on the inside, but if any man will hear his voice and open the door, Christ will come in and He will not be the guest but He will be the Host. I will sup with him, and He with me. There is also a beautiful reward to those who listen to the voice of Christ, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit down with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne." So we see that there is a constant reminder that we should be listening for the voice of the Spirit. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." We learn from this exposition that Christ is interested in all the churches at all times and He is continually chastening and rebuking and calling for us to measure up in obedience to all of His commands.

Chapter 3


Thus far our task has been relatively easy. We have described the risen Christ according to Revelation chapter one. In chapters two and three, we get a description of the churches as seen from God's point of view. We are prone to formulate our own opinions on a church's progress. The number of new members, the ability to reach the new budget, the amount of missionary work and enterprise undertaken, the progress of its various agencies, such as the Women's Missionary Society, or 'the work of the young people, all constitute measurement of its progress. When we compare this way of counting progress with God's analysis, we have to admit that there are many shortcomings in the human point of view. It is our real purpose to build the Church according to God's pattern and plan. Thus, when we come to the fourth chapter of Revelation, we find that it opens with a door that is ajar in heaven, and the Apostle John is invited to come in. The promise is that God will reveal things to him, which must happen in a short time. Let us heed some of the words in the first verse. It tells us that he heard, as it were, a trumpet talking to him. This would indicate that the One speaking spoke audibly and with clarity to the extent that it was a penetrating message to which he listened. The invitation to come up hither could be an invitation to enter into the heavenly sphere as Paul did when he related that he was caught up to the third heaven and heard things not lawful to utter. This, of course, means that it was not possible for him to utter them because he saw and heard things for which he had no corresponding way of conveying to us. In any event, the Apostle John obeyed the command and he was instructed that the things, which he was about to hear would be things that would immediately follow. You will notice that he was in the Spirit, which would indicate that it was a vision that he was about to behold.

Now it is interesting that the first impression John has is that heaven is a very busy place. There is a great deal of activity going on that is not visible to us here on earth. He sees first of all that there is a throne set in heaven. The government of God is not left to chance. One rules and decrees all that transpires in heaven. This throne has Someone sitting upon it. First of all, he is impressed with the rainbow that encircles the throne. We are first introduced to the rainbow when Noah came out of the ark, and we are told that God would not punish the world with a flood again. In other words, that judgment was past. The fact that there was a rainbow round about the throne indicates that the judgment that he is about to behold is past. This is the message of redemption-when a person is born again and submits to obey the will of God and yield his body as a sacrifice for obeying God, there is a rainbow in view, so to speak, signifying that the judgment is past. As we read in I Timothy 5:24, "Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after." The picture that is given here is that sin can be forgiven now and the first death and the first resurrection, namely, spiritual death and spiritual resurrection, can take place here and now. Those whose sin follows after refers to the judgment of the second death, or separation from God eternally.

In this passage here, we are made aware of the eternity of God. He was and is and is to come. All the things that happen both in heaven and in earth are designed by God. The crowning duty of man is to worship God. In this respect, we are surrounded by God's Law. For instance, in the realm of electricity, we either submit and cooperate with it or we defy it and it destroys us. We cooperate with water power, we cooperate with gravity and we cooperate with all of nature. The more we cooperate with it, the more it serves us. When we fail to cooperate with it, it will destroy us.

The Apostle John takes us back to a description of the characters around the throne. There were 24 seats with elders sitting upon them clothed in white raiment with crowns of gold on their heads. This signifies that the 24 elders were ruling with God. They indicate a relationship between the 12 patriarchs of the Old Testament and the 12 apostles of the New Testament. We are confronted with the seven Lamps and the seven Spirits of God. We are not to infer that these were seven individual lamps or spirits, but that they are one complete, all embracing Spirit and Light that shines to dispel the darkness. We are then introduced to four beasts or creatures that are full of eyes before and behind. The likeness of these beasts is described-the first one being like a lion, the second like a calf, the third having a face as a man, and the fourth being like a flying eagle. Some of this imagery is copied from incidents in the Old Testament. Daniel and Ezekiel each saw four beasts. The thing about these beasts is that they were full of eyes and they did not rest. It describes how God sees all things in all places at all times. There is nothing hidden from the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

The final thing that we observe concerning these elders is that they cast their crowns before the One who sits on the throne and they worship Him continually. Their song is, "Thou art worthy, 0 Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for thou hast created all things and for thy pleasure they are and were created." This indicates that there is a purpose in all of creation; everything that is created is for the purpose of glorifying and obeying the One who sits upon the throne-God. This applies to all men who are created. There is a purpose for every life. If we can find it and obey it, our life will be lived to the glory of God and will fulfill the purpose for which it was created.

Chapter 4

Since the sealed book is of such importance, we will do well to take time to explain just what it is. Strictly speaking, it is not so much a book as it is a scroll or more properly, a document. A book conveys the idea of a number of pages joined together, and the seals seem to indicate that the book is opened a few pages at a time as more of its contents are revealed forthwith. John is permitted to see the unfolding of this information. The One sitting upon the throne is God, and He is holding in His hand a document that is sealed with seven seals. The document contains a message that is vital to mankind. Consequently, an angel with a loud voice asks a question, "Who is worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereop" (Revelation 5:2). He follows this question with the alarming statement that there is no man in heaven nor on the earth or even under the earth who is able to open the book or even to look upon it. This causes the enquiring angel to weep uncontrollably and without any shame because no one could be found who was able to open the scroll. Sin and its consequent wages of death prevailed over all mankind from Adam until Christ. One may be tempted to ask: Since there were such great consequences to sin, why didn't God destroy Adam and Eve in the beginning and start over again? The reason is that God could not destroy Adam without admitting creative failure and a creative error in His creation of Adam. On the other hand, it would seem that partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil would not be a very great violation of God's Law. Sin is not judged in relation to the deed that is done so much as it is judged by the one the deed is committed against. For instance, if a man- reached over the fence and took some fruit from his neighbor, the penalty would be very small. If he should have some altercation with his neighbor, resulting in a scuffle, the judge would view it as a minor thing, and even if he was guilty, the penalty would not be great. If he was found guilty of beating a little child, the view of the judge would be far more serious. And if it should be that he would take advantage of some lady in a wheel chair, again the crime would be much more serious. One can go up the list of possibilities and suppose that the Queen of England is going down a street in a parade. If she were assaulted by some rebel, no matter how minor the injury, the culprit would be charged with a very serious crime because of whom his assault violated. If a person could imagine this crime, an act of rebellion, being committed against God Almighty, the seriousness would be infinite.

Now we begin to see the importance of the document in the hands of God, which no man on earth or in heaven or under the earth could open. There is only one Person in all the universe worthy of opening the document and breaking its seals. In breaking the seals of this document, Christ shows that He has the authority to annul the sentence of death that is on mankind because of sin. He, because of His Deity, is able to give an infinite pardon and therefore acquit man from the penalty of the broken Law. One can appreciate, therefore, the relief that is experienced when someone with a loud voice announces, "The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof." (Rev. 5:5).

The next verse indicates the liberty exercised by John as he exchanges the Lion of the tribe of Judah for the Lamb as it had been slain. In the previous verse, the Lion has the power to loose the seven seals. There is no place where this power does not extend; He is omnipresent. In the next verse it indicates that the Lamb has seven horns and seven eyes, which shows that He is omnipotent and omniscient. The eyes are declared to be the seven Spirits of God sent forth to all the earth. So we have the attributes of God complete in His omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience. Christ demonstrates His complete authority to take the book or document out of the hand of Him who sits upon the throne.

The scene changes now after He has taken the book from the hand of the Almighty on the throne; the four and twenty elders fall down before the Lamb and the scene is one of rejoicing. They all play upon their harps and apparently the prayers of the saints of all time find their answer. The elders then sing a new song, saying, "Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof, for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth"(Rev. 5:9). The message here is that Christ is not only able to loose the seals but to break the seals, to break the bondage of the things that were written against us contained in the Law, and He is able to set His people free so that they, by comparison, reign as kings and priests on the earth. They are delivered, redeemed, freed from the bondage of sin and they achieve this victory through the death of Christ on Calvary. That is why there is such rejoicing, both in heaven and on earth, for the deliverance effected by the Lamb that was slain, which is also the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

We will dwell a little longer on the rejoicing that takes place in heaven. The writer describes the aggregation as being ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands. This is an innumerable number of worshippers, "Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever, (Rev. 5:12,13). You will see that the first song ends in a sevenfold blessing. I believe that this is the first place in the Book of Revelation that the sevenfold or ultimate, complete adulation is ascribed to the Lamb that was slain and is offered to Him because He is worthy. In the next verse, there is a fourfold blessing, which indicates that it is offered to Him from all peoples on the earth. The blessings offered to the Lamb at this point include every creature in the universe. Seven, of course, is given in so many ways that it now automatically ensures that highest blessing that can be offered, and to make it even more conclusive, it includes a fourfold blessing, which indicates all the creatures upon earth giving glory to the Lamb on the throne. It also indicates how those in heaven fall down and worship Christ, who lives forever and ever.

One thing that should be noted here is that the victory of Christ and the ensuing triumph of those who putr their trust in Him begins now. It does not wait until He comes again or until ag great period of time elapes. Christ's victory was complete at Calvary, and when He ascended into heaven and took His place on His throne, the triumph of the ages began. It will continue until Christ comes again, not to set up His Kingdom, but to deliver it up to the Father (1 Cor. 15:24). We do not serve a struggling God nor One who is trying to invoke His rule upon prople; we serve a triumphant God whose victory came when Christ died for our sins. Thus we see how this Revelation is truly the Revelation of Jesus Christ. It is an account of the path to victory of the triumphant Christ and His Church.

Again we review this first chapter, which describes the infinite glory of the resurrected Christ. Next, we have His presence portrayed in the churches. Following that, we see how He operates through the government of God in the universe. Then we concentrate on His unique supremacy and the descrittion of His Deity in the plan of redemption. Thus He has put a song in our mouth, and this song is enjoyed by all creation. The life and death, the resurrection and the ascension of the Saviour of the world receives the "Amen" of the four beasts around the throne and the everlasting worship of the elders given to Him who lives forever and ever.

The "four beasts" mentioned above is from the King James translation. The New American Standard Bible, and others, translates this as "living creatures," which seems to be a more accurate rendering of this text.

Chapter 5


The Apostle John introduces Revelation six as follows: "And I Tsaw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and sec." The King James Version translates the introduction of each horse with the words, "Come and sec." William Barclay says, "In all the best Greek manuscripts it is simply 'Come!' as translated in the Revised Standard Version. This is not an invitation to John to come and see; it is a summons or command to the four horses and their riders one by one to come forward on the stage of history." (Barclay, The Revelation of John, Vol. 2, p. 1). It might be added that this translation is given in the New American Standard Bible, the Berkley Version, the New International Version, The New English Bible, and others.

"And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him; and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another and there was given unto him a great sword. And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and Io a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth." At this point we are confronted with numerous different interpretations, almost as many as the authors who seek to describe them. It is common to find those who see the horses as influences let loose upon the earth to fulfill certain events in history. Thus some may point out such earth-shattering events as great famines, terrible earthquakes, tragic wars, such as the Moslem Invasion, or the Black Death or even the Spanish Influenza. But John was told to write "those things which shall be hereafter and things which must shortly come to pass." It seems unlikely that the events following the opening of the seals would be delayed for centuries of time. Only one Person in the entire universe is "Worthy" to break the seals--the slain Lamb, God's sacrifice for the sins of the world. I

With the breaking of each seal, an immediate event happens. A horse and rider is bidden to "Come!" Four horsemen in rapid sequence are released and immediately begin their missions upon the earth. During the past nearly two thousand years, we have seen the continual and constant progress and effects of the gospel as depicted by the white horse. We have also seen the red horse of war- bloodshed and absence of peace in the world. We have seen how the crises of commercialism, want, and privation mar the history of the world. And we have seen death, destruction, plagues and catastrophes in unending succession.

What seems to be the proper interpretation is that all four horsemen appear consecutively or in rapid sequence. First of all there is the message of the gospel. The rider goes forth with a bow, which in other places is likened to conviction. Peter says that the Jews who listened to his message at Pentecost "were pricked in their hearts" (Acts 2:37a). They were convicted and wanted to be saved. It is a crowned horseman, which indicates that he is a victor and that he is a conqueror. The first one hundred years after the death of Christ saw the gospel planted in almost every country in the world.

The second horseman carries a great sword, and it is his exploit to take peace from the earth. We all know that the early days of the spread of Christianity were also days of peril, persecution and tribulation. The message of Christ is that He did not come to bring peace but to set at variance the very closest ties of human relationship. This was not designed to be that way, but the spread of the gospel did bring about the estrangement of father and son, of mother and daughter and of the closest human ties. This also spread to towns and countries wherever the gospel was proclaimed. There were those who were ready to champion the evil and to exterminate the gospel message.

The black horse introduces a rider with a pair of balances in his hand. Wheat and barley are meted out in small amounts, but the oil and wine seem to be quite ample. Most people suggest that this indicates famine conditions and they sometimes point to some staggering famines that have visited the world in times past. However, this does not necessarily suggest famine conditions. The wheat is available, as is the barley, but at a price. The price is not exorbitant, and apparently there is plenty of oil and wine. What is indicated is that the world would become commercialized and that the basic commodities would be sold and bought at a price. In other words, the world would become a market place and materialistic commercialism would prevail throughout the era.

The last horseman to be released is called by the sinister name of Death, and hell would follow his course through history. This sinister horseman has power to kill the fourth part of the inhabitants of the earth. Certainly here is a malignant being that uses the sword and hunger and even the wild beasts of the earth to carry out his design to overcome. Here is something that we cannot disregard, even in the present day. There is a great deal of hunger and death and destruction gong on in many places of the world. But is has always been that way. We go back in history and we find its pages are covered with crimes against our fellow man. This seems to be a characteristic of every age since the gospel first began. We see the influence of the gospel at the present time, but we also see the confrontation that is revealed in the other horseman with whom the gospel has to contend.

The picture suddenly changes with the opening of the fifth seal. At this juncture we get a glimpse of the martyrs that were slain for the Word of God. Among other things, this discloses the fact that many martyrs were already killed for their testimony and witness. This shows that it is in past tense and that a large crowd of martyrs are already awaiting their rewards. It would be impossible to place these in some future age because they have already sealed their testimony with their life blood. The Master clothes each one with a white robe, and He tells them to rest a little while until the full number of the martyrs is completed.

As we witness the opening of the sixth seal, we see that there are disturbances all over the universe. The sun is clothed with sackcloth and the moon becomes blood and the stars from heaven fall. It would be a mistake to consider this in literal terms, in view of the fact that the same description is given in Joel 2:31,32 and Acts 2:16-20 where it is interpreted as having taken place in the spiritual realm. Thus Peter, on the day of Pentecost, quoted Joel, "the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood," as something that was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. The unbelieving world views with horror and dismay any happening where God confronts them with their sins and rebellion. Thus we have a picture of those who are rejecting Christ, pleading for the rocks to fall upon them and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb. It is significant that in this case they speak of the wrath of the Lamb when so often we are reminded of the mercy and the forgiveness that we find in "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1: 29). We must remember, however, that we reap as we sow, and those who reject and rebel against Christ will be among those who hear those ominous words, "Go ye into a place (not prepared for you but because you have rejected me), a place that is prepared for the Devil and his angels." It is a t me known as the great day of God's wrath, and the question is asked, "Who shall be able to stand?" (Rev. 6:17).