The Seven Seals

Scripture: Revelation 5:9-10, Revelation 6:1-17, Leviticus 26:21-26
Date: 02/02/2019 
Lesson: 5
"Why must we always remember that, in Christ, we are on the winning side, regardless of our immediate circumstances?"
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Hello, friends, and welcome again to Sabbath School Study Hour here at the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento, California. I'd like to welcome our friends who are joining us across the country and around the world. I know we have a number of online members who tune in every week to participate in our Bible study. And again, welcome to you also those watching on the various TV networks, thank you for being a part of our study time today. I'd like to welcome our regular members, our Sabbath School members as well as the visitors who are joining us today. We're delighted that you're here.

We have a very important subject that we're going to be studying this morning on the Book of Revelation. I think many of you know, we're studying through our lesson quarterly entitled, "The Book of Revelation." We've had a great study so far dealing with some very important subjects, but today we're going to be looking at the seven seals of Revelation. The prime passage of study for today is Revelation Chapter 6. So we'll be looking at the seven seals. But before we get to our study, we'd like to have friends know who are watching us about a free offer that we have, a study guide entitled "Saved from Certain Death." And this is our free offer today. If you'd like to receive this study guide, all you need to do is give us a call. Our resource phone line is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer number 109. And we'll be happy to send it to anyone who calls and asks or if you like, you can send us a text, and we'll be able to send you a digital copy of the study. All you have to do is text the code "SH060" to the number 40544, and you'll be able to get a link, and you'll be able to download and study, the study guide called "Saved from Certain Death." Well, before we get to our study this morning, we need to ask God's guidance whenever we open up His Word. So let's bow our heads for prayer. Dear Father, once again, we are grateful that we have this opportunity to open up and study this very important passage of scripture found in the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation. Father, we pray that You give us understanding. Sometimes it can be challenging studying this book, so we need the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts, our hearts, lead us into a clear understanding of what You're telling us and teaching us, for we ask this in Jesus' name, amen. Our lesson today is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug.

Thank you, Pastor Ross, and welcome everybody. Glad to see you at our Sabbath School Study Hour. This is my... I think it's my first opportunity in 2019 to be teaching, and I'm especially looking forward to getting into our study today dealing with the seven seals. Now, that's actually a misnomer because we're going to be focusing on Chapter 6 of Revelation today which goes through six of the seven seals. It's kind of interesting, you got a whole chapter in Revelation between seal six and seal seven. Sounds like military terms, right? Seal six. But so we're going to do our best to get into that. And we have a memory verse to begin with. The memory verses from Revelation 5:9 and 10, here in your lesson that's out of the New King James Version. You want to say that with me, that'd be great. Revelation 5:9 and 10, are you ready? "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals, for You were slain, and You have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God, and we shall reign on earth."

By the way, if you're wondering where the righteous will ultimately live, it tells you right there. Blessed are the meek, they will inherit, heaven? No, inherit the earth. So the New Jerusalem comes down, and we'll be here on earth. And another point it says, "You have made us kings and priests." That's a term that is quoted from the Old Testament where God told the children of Israel, I've called you to be a nation of kings and priests. And so, so much of Revelation you're going to find in the Old Testament. Well, let's dive right into our lesson and find out about the seven seals, what do they mean, and what can we learn about them.

Now, I thought it would be appropriate before we get very deep into the seven seals, and Pastor Ross may have talked about this a little in the prior lesson, to talk about what are seals. We're getting ready to understand what the seven seals are. You remember in earlier passages, there's this conundrum in heaven. There's this scroll that's got seven seals, and nobody can open it. There's much weeping, and they're saying, "Who's going to open this?" And finally, it points to this lamb that was slain, very strange lamb, it had seven horns, and seven eyes, and, of course, this is all symbolic here, but it's talking about Christ and the gospel, and it's only the lamb that can open the seals.

So what are the seals? Now, whenever you want to understand Revelation, first thing you need to do is what? Well, pray, go to the Old Testament, find similar passages. Revelation is something of a kaleidoscope of other Old Testament prophecies and books. So can you find a place in the Old Testament where there is one document with many seals? The Book of Nehemiah. If you go to the book Of Nehemiah Chapter 9, the people of God had kind of drifted from God. They've been carried off to Babylon, coming back under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah, they're wanting to renew the covenant, not to make the mistakes they've made before. And they said, "Look, let's be serious about our commitment to God to embrace the gospel, to obey the covenant." And you read in Nehemiah 9:38, it's the last verse of Nehemiah Chapter 9. "And because of all this, we make a sure covenant, and write it. Our leaders are Levites, and our priests seal it. Then go to 10:1, "Now those who place their seal on the document were: Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hacaliah, and Zedekiah," and then it goes through, and I'm not going to read them all for you because I don't think I can pronounce them. Then it goes through 44 names, and I think there's like 21 priests, they've got Levites, there's leaders, and the leaders of the people that had come back from captivity said, "Let's make a covenant with God." And now did they dream up a new covenant? What was the covenant that they made?

Go to the Book of Nehemiah Chapter 10, and let me see where I would start because here you got an example of a one document with several people affixing their seals to it, and you go to, let's see Nehemiah 10, and if you go to verse 29, "These joined with their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God's law, which He had given by Moses." So are they coming up with a new covenant, or they renewing the old covenant? "The servant of God to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord, our God, and His ordinances, and His statutes that we would not give our daughters." Now they get specific with some problems they've made. "We'll not give our daughters as wives to the people of the land or take their daughters for our sons. And if the people of the land bring wares or any grain to sell on the Sabbath, that we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath or on a holy day, and we would forego the seventh year's produce."

Now it's very interesting, in this covenant they're renewing, they're specifying areas where they had been compromising in the old law. The old law said, "They should let the land rest every seventh year." The old law said, "You shouldn't buy and sell on the Sabbath." But it's interesting, they're highlighting things where they've been making compromise, let's renew the covenant, and let's be serious about it. And you can read through everything there. They're not dreaming up a new covenant, they're basically renewing the things that God had given Moses. So you've got this document that 44 people sealed. It's a document with 44 seals on it. Think, we got a few pictures, they may have put them up already of what a scroll might look like with seven seals. Marsha, I don't know if you've got that handy there in the studio, but there's a couple of examples. There's one, that's Revelation. This now, in this case, and these are just artist's concepts, every time you open a seal, it opens a new chapter.

And then there's another example, I think we're going to put up on the seal where you've got one document, but it's sealed seven times like it's got seven different authorities that are preventing you from opening it. And so we're not exactly sure, you know, what they have in mind here. But we know that as each seal is broken, a new page seems to be opened that gives more information. Isaiah 8:16, "Bind the testimony, seal the law among my disciples." Now, is a seal a good thing? What did the lost have in the last days? The what of the beast? The mark of the beast. And what do the saved have? The seal of God, so seal's a good thing there. A seal was... An official, a king, a general would send some orders, and nobody could open it except the appropriate person. If you try to open a seal without the right authority, you could be executed.

One case I'll give you, for example is David, when he had that affair with Bathsheba, he sent orders to Joab the general by Uriah of all people. And in the orders it's basically the death warrant of Uriah, it says, "Put him at the front of the hottest battle and then retreat, don't cover him, that he's smitten and he dies." Now David knows he can trust Uriah so much that Uriah will not peek at that document because it's been sealed and only Joab the general can open it. So he carries this document that's got his death warrant in it, and he will not break that seal because he doesn't have the authority. And that's why it'd say nobody had the authority to open this document in heaven except for lamb. Some have said, "Well, this book, it's the book of life." It's really the gospel, which the book of life is contained in it, and it tells the history of the church. So as we begin to open up the seals, we'll see that.

All right, so we go now into Sunday study. It's the first study, and it's the first seal. And if you read in Revelation 6:1 and 2, "Now I saw when the lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard the four living creatures," these are earlier described around the throne, "saying, with a voice like thunder, 'Come and see,'" in unison, these creatures are saying, come and see. So John now has taken off in vision, and he shown what's revealed through this first seal. "I looked, and behold a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he went forth conquering, and to conquer."

Now, you've probably heard about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Everyone's here had heard of the Four Horsemen, and Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It's kind of interesting, people think the four horsemen are sort of a vision by itself. The four horsemen are really the first four of the seven seals. They are part of the seven seals. And everyone always thinks about the four horsemen riding off together to wreck havoc on the earth, but they come in stages at different times in history. Why four, and why horsemen, before I get into what the first one means. If you want to understand Revelation, what do you do? Go somewhere else in the Bible, okay? Look in the Book of Zachariah. Who are these horses, we're going to read about four horses in just a minute.

So before I explain the first one, let's find out what horses mean. Zachariah 1:8 starts with a vision of horses, "And I saw by night, and behold a man riding a red horse." Tells the color of the horse. "It stood among the myrtle trees in a hollow, and behind him were horses red, and sorrel," that's like brown, "and white. Then I said, 'My Lord, what are these?' So the angel who talked with me said, 'I will show you what these are.'" You know something interesting happening here? A prophet having a symbolic vision with horses of different colors, and he asked the angel, what does it mean? This is what's happening in Revelation. John, a prophet, has a vision in some symbolic language with horses, different colors, and he asks what it means. That doesn't happen that often, there must be a connection, right? Who are they? "These are the ones whom the Lord has sent to walk to and fro throughout the earth."

Now the number four in the Bible typically designates the four corners of the compass. Bible says, "The Lord will send His angels to the four corners of the earth to gather together His elect, north, south, east and west." So it's talking about the spread of the church. And now let me give you another one here. If you go to Zachariah 6:1, it says, "I turned, and I raised my eyes, and looked, and behold, four chariots coming from between the mountains, and the mountains were of bronze. With the first chariot were red horses, the second chariot, black horses, the third chariot, white horses, and the fourth chariot, dappled horses." Now this is very similar except Revelation has one horse, here it's got two horses per chariot. In Revelation, it's got... You've got the black, and you've got the red, and you've got the white, and then you have a pale. The last one here is spotted, it's not pale. So you'll notice that you go back and forth between the Old Testament, Revelation, some of the visions are... It's a little different. But the horses are representing. And what does he say? He asks then. You go to verse 4, Zachariah 6:4, "I answered and said to the angel who talked with me, 'What are these, my Lord?' And the angel said, 'These are the four spirits of heaven who go forth from their station before the Lord of all the earth.'" And so it's like messengers that are going out. Now you find other places where you find chariots in the Bible? Someone's going to read this for me. Hoftis, I didn't give you much warning, but go ahead and let's get a camera over here. You go ahead and read for me 2 Kings 2, and I think it's verse 11.

2 Kings 2:11, "Then it happened as it continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."

So when we read in the Bible that a chariot of fire came down, it's like that spiritual, I looked over Jordan, and what did I see coming forth to carry me home? A band full of angels coming after me. But it's described in the Bible as chariots and horses of fire. Does the Lord get around in heaven in chariots? Or does the Lord use that term because there were several thousand years where chariots were the way that people got around? And so I don't know that God has to wait for next chariot before He can go anywhere in heaven. I think that it's talking about the power of God, the armies of God. When Elijah went to heaven, Elijah said, "My Father, my Father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen." King Solomon was told, and... No, the all the kings of Israel were told. When you come into power, don't be sending down to Egypt for horses. Your trust is not in the horse and the chariot. That was their word, the supreme tank back then. They didn't have aircraft, it was all the chariot.

And when Elisha died, the king came, and he wept over Elisha, he said, "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horseman there of." And so those chariots and those horses represented the power of God, the armies of God. And so one thing I want you to notice as we look at this first horseman, it's talking about a conquering force that goes out. What color is the first horse? White. What does Revelation tell us white is a symbol of? Superiority and righteousness. And it says, "This first ride, it goes forth on a white horse, and this really represents the church going forth in its infancy there from Pentecost, from about 31 AD to the death of the last apostle, John, which would be about 100 AD, and they went forth conquering, and to conquer, and the gospel went almost everywhere in that first generation.

You know, you can read where the Bible says that in the first generation, it says that the gospel had gone into all the world, and to every creature under heaven. That doesn't mean the whole planet, that means the then known civilized world as far as the ships and the commerce took them, the gospel was going. And so this is the gospel in its purity. That time is, like I said, from about 31 AD to 100 AD, it corresponds with the first church, the Church of Ephesus. Now, if you look in Psalm 45:3, again, comparing Revelation with the Old Testament. Here the psalm says, Psalm 45:3, "Gird your sword upon your thigh, O Mighty One, with your glory and your Majesty, and in your majesty ride prosperously."

So here's a picture of a king riding on a horse, "Because of truth, humility, and righteousness, and in your right hand shall teach you awesome things." It's talking about teaching, righteousness. It is portrayed as a rider, a king on a horse, "your arrows are sharp," again, the bow in Revelation here, it's got arrows are sharp, "in the heart of the king's enemies, the people fall under you." So in the first century was the church to go forth, and try to kill unbelievers? Or were they to kill falsehood with truth? And in the armor of God, does it talk about a bow of strength or actually, it's... The bow is a symbol of the strength, it talks about that in Jonathan. So this was something where you'd fire your, the arrows of truth, the devil fires darts or arrows of temptation. That's in Ephesians there.

All right, first horse, early church riding forth impurity. Go to Monday, second seal is open. And this is talking about conflict on the earth. Let me read it to you now. Revelation 6:3-4, we're going to do our best to get through all six of these seals today. "When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, 'Come and see.'" Now, how many living creatures are there? There's four living creatures, and you've got how many horsemen? You have four horsemen. All right, so here now the second living creature says, "Come and see.' And another horse, fiery red went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another. And there was given to him a great sword.'" Jesus said, "I came not to send peace, but a sword." And as the church went forth prospering in that first 100 years or so, then the devil, what did he do? He stirred up persecution. So this corresponds with the age of the Church of Smyrna.

I should probably stop here and say something that bears repeating many times when you're studying prophecy. In the prophecies such as Revelation, Zachariah, Daniel, and some of the other apocalyptic prophecies that use images and pictures, what they do is they take a particular truth. Here's your truth, okay? And they look at it from different angles.

For instance, in Daniel, what is the central truth in the Book of Daniel? What's going to be the history of God's kingdom? God's kingdom is going to be at war with all these pagan kingdoms. So firstly, they got this metal image, and it's got Babylon, and Medo-Persia, and Greece, and Rome, and the divisions of Rome, and it's given them the metal image. Then you come over here, it's the same battle about the kingdoms, but it's in, it's given in the lion, and the leopard, and the bear, I'm sorry. Lion, and bear, and leopard, and then the strange beast, then you come over here, it's got the same truth about those struggling God's kingdoms, gives more detail every time. But now it's got the goat, and the ram, and the divisions of the horns that happen. See what's happening? Then by the time you get into Chapter 10 and 11, the detail is becoming very precise. And it's barely even using any symbolism at that point.

In Revelation, giving the history of the church now, not just the kingdom, but more specifically the church. We've looked now at the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3. Now we're going through the seven seals, and you're going to end up then going through the seven trumpets, and they're all giving different perspectives on the same truth. Revelation 12 and 13 do the same thing. So God doesn't want us to miss it, and He's showing it to us different ways. Okay, so here the second church is the Church of Smyrna. The red church is a symbol of blood. There's great persecution that happens during that time. The rider has a sword, he's allowed to take peace from the earth, which opens a way for people to kill one another. So this is a time of persecution, we learned, during the Church of Smyrna. It's drawn from the word, mur, which means incense or sacrifice. And so here you've got your red horse.

Oh, then you go, now under Monday, you've got two seals. You see, the writer of the lesson had a challenge, he had to cover six seals in five days, so he had to double up on one of them. So you've also got the third seal, and let's read it together, Revelation 6:5 and 6, "When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, 'Come and see.' So I looked and behold a black horse. And he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures say, 'A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not hurt the oil and the wine.'" It's talking about a scarcity.

Now this is what's happening to the church from roughly 313 to 538. I want to remind everybody that what we do is, we'll post my lessons that I'm reading from right now, it's a summary, an overview. We'll be posting those at the Amazing Facts website where you see Sabbath School, you'll see a little place you can click for to download the lesson notes 'cause you may not remember all of the dates. But what happened between 313 and 538? Well, first 100 years of the church, the apostles were alive, you know, about 100 AD, I should say. Paul had been killed by Nero. Peter had been killed by Nero. There's great persecution, but under the persecution, the church was faithful, it was righteous, it went forth, their risk of losing their first love, but they were faithful to the word. But then after the last of the apostles died, then a great persecution, a lot of bloodshed, and that took place until about 313. Matter of fact, there was a very intense persecution from 303 to 313.

You remember reading in Revelation Chapter 3 or Chapter 2, it said, "You will have a great trial of 10 days." During the 10 years or Diocletian's rule, he sought to exterminate Christians. But then with a conversion of Constantine, which happens shortly after 313, now the church has started to become the in thing. Now, when the devil can't destroy the church from the outside, he destroys it from the inside by joining it. The church became institutionalized. Are we ever at risk of that? Instead of having the passion of a message, it just becomes an institution. And so it was a time of great scarcity. And so when he says, he's got scales in his hand, and he says that a quart of wheat for a denarius, that's a great price, and three quarts of barley, barley was the food that you fed the animals for a denarius, and do not hurt the oil and wine. He says even though there'd be great scarcity. What does the oil represent? Holy Spirit, and the wine, the blood of the covenant. And so in spite of this scarcity, in spite of the compromise that they lost their fervor, and that becomes sort of a government accepted church institution, the gospel would still be held by faithful in its group, even during every time of the church history, the oil and the wine, the gospel, it's still there doing this work. It was not affected by this compromise. So this is the church similar to the time of Pergamum, the church third seal time of scarcity, and this is the black horse.

Now moving on, if you go on to Tuesday, it opens the fourth seal. And this is a time where there is widespread death, 538, roughly it covers from 1517. And, you know, some of these dates might just float a little bit, but this is roughly the time period. I don't think there was an angel that pulled a page off the calendar and said, "Now we begin the time of the gray horse." So it's just talking about stages of history. And you can't always draw hard lines in history. So he opens the fourth seal, and I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, you know, you get the first, second, third, fourth living creatures. These are creatures around the throne. You remember what these creatures look like? And you find them repeated in Ezekiel also. One is like lion, an eagle, calf, and a man, you've got faces, and many eyes, and there are symbols of the different attributes of God's character. And so then another of these creatures said, when he opens, "Come and see.' So I looked and behold a pale horse.'"

Now, the word pale, it probably helps for us to explain that a little bit. It's an interesting color. In the original Greek, it describes something that is tepid, it's like the color of... Any of you ever put potatoes down somewhere cool, and forget it there. And you come and you look at the potatoes. And if there's any light hitting the potatoes, they start to put out these pale stalks, you know, what I'm talking about? Little shoots start coming out, and they're sort of translucent gray, they're not getting any sunshine, so there's like no chlorophyll and you can almost see through them. That's what that word means. It's also identified with the color of a corpse when the blood is drained out. It's often called the Angel of Death on the fourth horse because it was a time of great death. But it's also talking about like a plant with no life. It's struggling to live like a potato stalk, but it can't find the light. And this is what happened during this time.

You've heard of the Dark Ages. Do you know why the Dark Ages were dark? "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." What happened during this age of the church is they said that only the clergy has a right, and not even all the clergy, but certain high ranking clergy have the right to access the scriptures. The Bibles were taken away from the people, a lot of tradition came to substitute. There was great spiritual death and lifelessness. But these plagues and descriptions often describe real things that happened as well. For example, during this time of the church, it says, it was a pale horse, this deathly looking color, and the name of him who sat on it was Death and Hades. Now, what does the word Hades mean? It's like the grave. It doesn't mean, you know, when you tell someone to go to Hades, I hope you don't tell anybody that, you know, you're thinking about this place of torment. Biblically, the name Hades is like a Greek, it's a New Testament way of saying Sheol, and Sheol was the grave. So it's talking about death and the grave followed, wherever this writer goes.

You've probably seen or heard stories and illustrations of the angel of death. You know, this is this ominous looking creature, he's wearing a black cape and usually has no face to kind of see through, and he carries a big scythe in his hand. He's going to harvest souls. And all of that is drawn from this fourth writer on the fourth verse. And many times, you'll see artists, when... I should have put a picture up there, some of the different artists' concepts for writers, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the fourth writer's often this black cloaked being who has got this... He's called the Angel of Death. He's got the scythe going through because death follows. Well, one reason it's portrayed as a time of great death, this church age is from 538 to about 517, as I mentioned. Guess what happened then. It said here, "Death and hell followed him, and power was given them over a fourth of the earth," a 25%, "to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and beasts of the earth."

Now we know what happened during this time, you had two of the greatest scourges that went through history principally in Europe 'cause this is where the church was rooted during this time. You've got the great famine that took place from 1315 to 1320 in Europe.

Do you know what they believe brought about that great famine? A volcanic eruption, I heard someone say it, in New Zealand that created an artificial winter that messed up the season so much that the crops just did not sprout in time or they planted them too early, and there was late snows and it just caused terrible famine in which millions died, one of the greatest famines that happened during that time, and the black death, you know, the black death is better known as the Bubonic plague that took place between, roughly, the worst was 1343 through 1400. And then not only happened in Europe, but because ships were going to the Orient and other places, the Bubonic plague was really happening in any port around the world. It happened in ports in Africa, in Asia, and all throughout Europe. They say... they estimate that up to one-third of Europe died during the time of the black plague. That's in encyclopedia, you can read that.

Can you imagine that? I mean, what would that do like our country right now, one out of three people died. And, you know, we have a plane go down, 50 people die, it's national, it's headline news. You and I can't comprehend it, and they didn't understand what spread it, so a lot of people that were then taking care of the dead and the dying were then contracting it, and it just kept... Do you know how they finally found a cure for the black plague or they brought it to under control? They read in Leviticus, what the Bible said about contagion and separation from contaminated individuals, they began to do that, they began to burn instead of burying the bodies, they began to burn the clothes, and the bodies, and everybody that was infected, they maintained separation, they tried to practice some sanitation, they finally brought it under control, even though there were periodic outbreaks because the Bubonic plague comes from a flea that's found on rats.

And one interesting fact of history is in Italy, some of the churches began to teach that cats were connected with witches and were of the devil. So they began to exterminate all the cats in Italy. There are a lot of ports in Italy that went to other places in Europe. When the cat's away, what will happen? The rats proliferated. And the plague just really spread. You know somewhere in North America, where they got a plague of rats? New York City, they have been trying everything in the book to get rid of the rats in New York City, but there is a literal plague of rats, there's much underground in New York City and so much garbage out on the streets, they're just everywhere. Anyway, and believe it or not, there are people in New York City that are so concerned about the welfare of the rats that they won't let the exterminators do their job, they think it's inhumane. So there are people campaigning for rat rights.

So I probably made some of you mad listening right now because you think that's right, they should have rights too. Anyway, all right, that drifted a little bit, but it was interesting. Going under Wednesday, opening the fifth seal, now here you've got the cry of the martyrs, and this is one we'll take a little time with. Let's read it together, Revelation Chapter... Someone's going to get ready in a minute to read... Yeah, you'll be doing Genesis, and someone else will do Luke.

In Revelation 6:9-11, "When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those," now you notice something? During the first Four Horsemen, the first four, it says, "One of the living creatures said, one of the living creature said," 'cause there's only four living creatures. Now they stopped that. Now it says, "He opened the fifth seal, and I saw under the all the altar, the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held, and they cried with a loud voice, saying, 'How long, O Lord, holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth,' then a white robe was given to each of them. And it was said to them, they should rest a little while longer until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were is completed." So it's in the midst of this terrible persecution.

All right, now is this a symbol? Are there really souls that are under an altar that are crying in heaven? So far, everything we're reading is pretty symbolic. Yet, you'd be surprised how many pastors read this, and they say, "This is proof that the dead are conscious after they die." Well, first of all, who here would want to be a soul under the altar crying? And these are the saved. And so obviously, this is a symbol. Now what does it mean? Look in Revelation 11:18, "The nations were angry, and your wrath has come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that you should reward your servants, and prophets, and the saints, and those who fear your name is small and great, and destroy those who destroy the earth." It says there's a time of judgment, that would come when this vindication would happen. So here you've got these souls that are crying out for justice. If you want to understand Revelation, what do you do? I've asked you three times now. Go where? Go to the Old Testament. Okay, go ahead and read your verse for us.

Genesis 4:10, "And He said, 'What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground.'"

Remember when Cain killed Abel, and God says, "The voice of your brother's blood cries." Were the little blood cells there in the Garden of Eden crying out or is that symbolic language that whenever innocent blood was shed, it was crying out for justice. And so here, it's talking about a symbol. Now where was Abel slain? What was the argument between Cain and Abel? About worship. They built two altars, am I right? One offered his way, the other offered God's way. And when Abel tried to appeal to his brother, probably standing by an altar, and saying, you know, you need to follow God, and He'll bless and receive your offering. Cain got mad, killed Abel, and there you've got this dead brother with the blood by the altar. So when it talks about souls under the altar, that's a little clue.

Look, for instance, in Hebrews 12:24. "To Jesus, the mediator of the New Covenant and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel." Abel's blood spoke, and here it says, the blood of Christ speaks better things. Isn't this obviously a metaphor? The blood doesn't talk, it's talking about... It speaks the righteousness of the blood of Christ. Let me give you another one. Matthew 23:35, Christ when He walked down to the temple, He pronounces a curse on the false leaders. And He said, "That on you and on this generation," that He was talking to back then, "may come all of the righteous bloodshed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar." So here again, we're talking about souls under the altar, just people killed.

Now you may not know the story off hand, the one that Jesus is referring to here. There was a high priest by the name of Jehoiada, the matter of fact, he's the longest living individual from the time of Moses onward. Moses lived how long? Hundred and twenty years. But during the time of King Joash, Jehoiada the priest, lived 130 years. That was a super duper record. He's a very godly priest. And as long as Jehoiada was alive and advising the young king, remember, he was a boy king, seven years old, his youth was very good, but after Jehoiada died, Joash went bad. He started to listen to bad counselors, he started to persecute the prophets, he even persecuted the sons of Jehoiada that had saved his life. And Zechariah was a son of Jehoiada, who Joash had slain between the porch and the altar. And God said, "I saw that. I made a note of that blood. It's crying out for justice. And on this generation, that vengeance is going to come." When Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD, Jesus had said, "All of the righteous blood would be required of that generation. That was a terrible judgment that came.

Well, there's more righteous blood that's going to be required at the second coming for the martyrs who have perished. God's very patient, but a day of reckoning comes. So is this talking about the literal state of the dead or is that a symbol? Got another verse, why don't you read this verse, Bill? I think it's Luke 18:7.

Luke 18:7, "And shall not the Lord avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him that we bear along with them."

And it says, "Yes, He will surely avenge them." So you get these souls onto the altar that are crying out for justice. And here God says, God may bear long, but there's going to be a time when He, of course, answers prayer, and when He visits judgment. And so here we've got the... That is the fifth seal.

Now we're going to just finish up the sixth seal. This takes us through verse 17, and this... By the way, this seal, I want to repeat, covers from 517 to 1798. This is a time where there was, by the way, Spanish inquisition was going on during this time. So there was a time, it's the cry of the martyrs taking place. And, you know, there were not only martyrs that died under the persecution of the Catholic Church, there were martyrs that died from Protestant persecution. You know your history. Even Calvin, who was a great man of the word, he was involved in having Baptist killed, who believed that you shouldn't baptize before you're an adult or you shouldn't baptize babies. He thought that was a heresy. He approved their being killed. The Church of the England that broke away, they were persecuting and killing.

And you read the bloody history in North America, some of the pilgrims, the early church, it's Roger Williams who fought against this, people were imprisoned, they were tortured, they were killed, if they were preaching heresy, they bore through their tongues, they cut off their ears, it's terrible, the stuff that happened. And so yes, even up until 1798, there was a time of great persecution. Now if you go to the last seal, the Revelation 6:12, "I looked in when He opened the sixth seal, behold there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair."

Let me just pause here. Sackcloth can be made out of burlap. Anyone remember the old burlap potato bags? Now they're plastic. You could see through that burlap, it's like a rough cord. Sackcloth made of hair was very tightly woven, no light would get through. And so it's telling us that the sun is completely obscured, and the moon became like blood.

I want to pause right here. You'll see many times Joel, several times in the Bible, talks about sun darkened moon blood, sun darkened moon blood, sun darkened moon blood, that usually is a sign of war. When cities were set on fire, the skies went black with smoke. How many of you remember this? The Paradise fires this year, we were just enshrouded in smoke. Karen and I got to miss some of it 'cause we were in Canada at that part of the time, we came back we couldn't believe it, the sun was red, the moon at night was red. Sun was blocked out during the day, not as obscure as some of this, but it was pretty serious.

And so this was always a symbol for war. But it's talking about a great time of persecution here. And then it goes on to say, "And the stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fig tree drops its late figs when shaken by a mighty wind." They kind of pluck away. "And the sky receded as a scroll." If you want to know where we are in history, we are living between verse 13 and 14 right now 'cause that has not happened where the sky received it as a scroll. "When it is rolled up and every mountain and island was moved out of its place, and the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the commanders, and the mighty men, and every slave, and every free man hid themselves in the caves, and the rocks, and the mountains, and said to the rocks and the mountains, 'Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?'"

Now when you get to chapter 7, it answers the question. Who is able to stand? There's a pause right there, and it introduces the 144,000. That's our subject next week. You don't get to the seventh seal until you get to the end of chapter 7 and into chapter 8. And then it says, and then seventh seal is opened, and then it goes into the seven trumpets. And Pastor Ross gets to deal with that. Then what does it mean here when it talks about a great earthquake? First of all, the sun going dark, the moon turning to blood, the stars falling from heaven, the heavens being rolled back as a scroll, and a great earthquake, those things will happen in quick succession at the second coming. But they have happened historically over time. You ought to read the records of this in The Great Controversy.

The great earthquake it's talking about that affected the regions here where the gospel was being proclaimed and the persecution was happening, it's probably the Lisbon earthquake, 1755, 20,000 people were killed. It wasn't as deadly as some, but it was felt. North Africa, across Europe, even in the Atlantic 'cause, of course, there are people... Excuse me, there are people in 1755 in North America, New England. The Encyclopedia Americana states, it extended from Greenland to Africa to America. That's a big earthquake. You know, we have an earthquake in Eureka, you won't feel it in Sacramento. They can have tremors. I remember we felt one here, but they had over in Reno couple of years ago. But for it to go across the ocean like that, that was massive. Probably the Lisbon earthquake.

Then it says a sun became black. This is a great dark day of history that was May 19, 1780. When they woke up in the morning, there's not a cloud in the sky. It wasn't smoke from any fires that they could find, it's just the sun just started going dark. And they've never been able to find a good explanation for that. And chickens went back into the pen to roost, the cows went back to the barn, they could not see outdoors without artificial light. It was just the most uncanny thing that had happened across New England.

Now you notice what happens, these signs seem to follow the centers of where the gospel is. Because in Europe, that's when the earthquake happened, now you're in the Americas. By the way, you know, I won't say that yet. Yeah, the Dark Day in 1780, John Adams and some others comment on this. A lot of the founding fathers, they... It was a phenomenon that is... they just... They thought the world was ending. That night when the moon came up, it was blood red. Many took this as a harbinger that the end of the world had arrived.

Then you got the stars falling from heaven. Now this happened in 1833. It's better known as the Leonid meteorite shower. And you could stand out in the sky, the eastern seaboard of the US, and it was a constant barrage. It's like planet Earth had gone through an asteroid belt. And it was just... many thought again, the world was ending. I remember one little statement where Abraham Lincoln, someone woke him up, and they said, "Abe, the world is ending, come and look at this." And he went outside, and he looked for a while, and he said, "No, I don't think the world's ending because I can see behind the shower of stars, the great constellations are still fixed in their places, which means God is still on the throne," And he went back in, and went to sleep after watching it for a while. But so many people commented on this, it was...

So these things seem to happen historically, so God could get our attention and tell us where we are on the track of time. Do we all know that God, that the wheel of prophecy sometimes moves slowly, but it moves surely. A day with the Lord is as 1,000 years in 1,000 years as a day. And so but we can see over the course of time that we're nearing the end. And all you've got to do is look at the signs of what's going on in the world today. The knowledge is increased. And then, of course, we haven't seen the heavens depart as a scroll, when the Lord comes, these things happen. The great men of the earth will call for the rocks and mountains to hide them from the face of Him that sits on the throne that is actually happening in the context of Jesus coming. They're seeing His coming, and the Christ said, all the tribes of the earth will mourn, then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, and this describes the two final classes. One that says, "Lo, this is our God. We've waited for Him, and He will save us." And the other that runs from His coming.

Anyway, friends, we've gotten where we... I think we've got through most of chapter 6 of Revelation talking about the seals. I want to remind you that we do have a free offer. If you did not catch this at the beginning of the broadcast, it's a great study guide, beautifully illustrated called Saved from Certain Death. And you can simply call and ask for it by calling 866-788-3966 or you can text and look at it on your phone, download it, by texting, "SH060," and you text that to 40544. More and more people are doing things on their phone right now when they study. And if you want us to mail, well, that's just for North America and its territories. God bless you, friends. We have an interesting study next week on the 144,000.

Don't forget to request today's life changing free resource. Not only can you receive this free gift in the mail, you can download a digital copy straight to your computer or mobile device. To get your digital copy of today's free gift, simply text the keyword on your screen to 40544 or visit the web address shown on your screen and be sure to select the digital download option on the request page. It's now easier than ever for you to study God's Word with Amazing Facts wherever and whenever you want, and most important, to share it with others.

My name is Diana Dixon. I'm a professional truck driver. On August the 4th, 2011, I stopped to help in an accident.

Diana Dixon also tried to help. She parked her semi, jumped out, and headed toward the pickup, that's when she saw vehicles barreling toward her, so she reacted by jumping off 475 to a road below.

Well, a pickup had clipped a semi, and I stopped to help, and I saw it in the mirror, so I walked back. Gentleman told me, he says, "Hey, you know, everything's okay." They called 911. And I looked over at the pickup, and there was a black pickup over there, and he was okay. At about that time, I don't know how far I walked. But I walked far enough and a semi hit him, and it imploded. I knew it was going to hit me. I had 30 seconds to decide. And I decided to jump.

You know, I jumped off the bridge. My back is broke.

Where are you at?

I don't know.

Fractured my pelvis in 24 places, 5 broken ribs, C5 neck fracture, I had a collapsed lung, I had a lacerated bladder, I was bleeding internally. I had no marks on the outside of me at all but a scrape where my arm had scraped the concrete. From the chest down, I was on fire. I was a dispatcher for a year after the accident. And I went back, finished my degree. And I went to Pittsburgh threw a backpack on my back, walked like all the other students, I ran a marathon, and I'm... Since then I've been back to truck driving.

There was a gentleman I worked with, and one day he was walking in, and he walked up to my desk, and I was reading my Bible. And he says, "Are you a believer?" And I said, "Yes." And he gave me some Amazing Facts study guides. And it just... It was an eye-opening experience for me. I mean, I started reading them. And I had bunch of questions to ask him, so I got online. And I got on the Amazing Facts webpage. And I just found that information just that I'd never known.

I went back to work as a truck driver because that was my ministry. It was my ministry before the accident. And I was driving down the road, and I just needed a connection. And I was flipping through, and somehow I ended up on YouTube. And next thing I know, Amazing Facts, one of those things would come up during night, and I'd listened to it. I'm driving down the road. I got 11 hours of driving. So I listened to one, I listened to another one, and the more I listened to him, everything that I thought in my heart, I just clicked on the one on YouTube, and there he was giving me the answer. I walked in Seventh-day Adventist Church for the first time, and I felt at home. I was baptized in the Seventh-day Adventist church because I had found the truth that I just was searching for and I've been praying about. Amazing Facts has been such an inspiration and important for my coming back into ministry that I want to be able to give back to anyone that I can. And Amazing Facts is the backbone of my ministry. My name is Diana Dixon. Thank you for changing my life.

What can be more irresistible than a kitten? These guys might look cute now but some of their ancestors have grown into man-eaters. We're here in a lion park in South Africa now where we can view these creatures in well of a safety, but there's a reason they're known as the king of beasts. So what is it that people find so enchanting and frightening about lions? Is it their speed, their claws, their sharp teeth or all of the above? Might also be some of the stories about man-eating lions, like in 1898, right here in Africa, they were building a bridge over the Tsavo River in Kenya, and two brother lions terrorized the construction process eating 135 workers.

Did you know lions are mentioned in the Bible over a hundred times? And you can find them all the way from Genesis to Revelation. It's usually in reference to their ferocity and how dangerous they are. Of course, Samson killed a lion with his bare hands, David killed a lion, there are man-eating lions in the Bible. The way that they punish criminals was by throwing them in the lion's den. And early Christians were even fed to Lions.

But amazingly, as the Bible mentions not all lions are to be feared, there had been a few friendly lions in history. For example, in the 1950s, a couple, George and Margaret Westbeau, who lived up at a ranch near Seattle, Washington, adopted an abandoned lion cub. They named it Little Tyke 'cause they felt sorry for it. But they discovered as they tried to feed her, she refused to eat any meat at all. They were concerned thinking there was no hope for this little lioness to survive, and everybody told them the same because we know in the wild, lions survive on almost entirely meat diet. Then someone showed the Westbeaus that verse in the Bible that talks about in heaven, the animals are vegetarians, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. That encouraged them, and so they began to feed Little Tyke a purely vegetarian diet. Not only did she survive, she thrived growing into a lion that was over 352 pounds and over 10 feet long. In fact, zoologists that examined Little Tyke when she was full grown said, they had never seen such a perfect specimen of a lioness in their life, a pure vegetarian.

You know, when we hear incredible stories about that of Little Tyke, it reminds us that God's original plan was to make a world of total peace. It describes it here in the Bible on Isaiah 11:6, "The wolf also will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the young goat. The calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child will lead them." Nothing is going to hurt and destroy in the new heavens and the new earth that God is going to create. Wouldn't you like to live in a kingdom with His perfect peace where there's no more death or killing or pain? God says that He wants you in that kingdom. The Lamb of God made it possible for you to have an encounter with the lion of the tribe of Judah. Wouldn't you like to meet Him today?

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