We will quickly review the basic structure of the book of Revelation before we will detail the riders on the red horse, black, and pale horses and the subsequent judgments. It is helpful to keep this structure in mind when reading the book of Revelation. Remember, the book of Revelation is the only book in the Bible that begins by telling the reader that he/she will be BLESSED just by reading the book! The book of Revelation is written in a literary structure known as a Heptadic Structure (having to do with the number 7). This Heptadic Structure is prevalent throughout the Bible and is God’s watermark seal on His Word. A man named Dr. Ivan Panin made studying this FASCINATING structure in the Scriptures his life’s work. http://www.khouse.org/articles/1995/102/
In the book of Revelation, the Heptadic structure is very specific and deliberate, arranged almost like a symphony orchestra, building to a crescendo. Each grouping builds upon the next. What do we mean?
- The first 4 seals of Revelation are the 4 horses of the apocalypse.
- The final 3 seals give us a glimpse of what is occurring in Heaven, along with a glimpse of the terror on earth as the first Trumpet prepares to sound.
- After Jesus breaks the 6th seal (Rev. 6), there is an interlude – change of subject (Rev. 7), and then the 7th seal is broken.
- The 7th Seal announces the 7 Trumpets.
- After the sixth Trumpet is blown, there is a 2nd interlude – change of subject that lasts 5 chapters (Rev. 10-14).
- The FINAL 3 Trumpets are also called the 3 woes of God. The 7th Trumpet is the 3rd woe.
- The 7th Trumpet announces God’s 7 bowls of wrath
- After the 6th bowl of wrath. (Revelation 15), there is a short 4 verse interlude, (Rev. 15:13-16) then the final bowl of wrath is poured out.
- The 7th bowl of wrath announce the the 2nd coming of Jesus the Christ.
Each of the three types of judgments during the Tribulation period (Seals/Trumpets/Bowls) become increasingly painful and difficult, as evidenced by glimpses into the Throne of God that is highlighted throughout the book of Revelation. In the first paragraph of Revelation 4, we get our first “glimpse” into the Throne of God. Around God’s Throne is a Rainbow, THE sign of God’s Covenant of mercy with mankind.
Rev. 4: 3: And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.
By Revelation 4:5, we see that there are now flashes of lightning and peals of thunder, around the Throne, indicating judgment is near. Jesus Christ is about to break the 1st seal of Revelation.
Revelation 4:5: Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God;
Later, in Revelation 8, after the 7th Seal is broken, there is silence in Heaven for half an hour as all of Heaven gasps at what is about to come upon the earth. It is a sobering moment indeed. After this, in Rev. 8:5, as the 1st Trumpet is about to sound, there are now peals of thunder, flashes of lightning AND an earthquake around the Throne
Revelation 8:1: When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
Revelation 8:5: Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
By Revelation 11, as the 7th Trumpet sounds, there are now flashes of lightning, peals of thunder, an earthquake AND a GREAT HAILSTORM seen around the Throne of God!
Revelation 11:19: And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.
Like a symphony, the book of Revelation reveals God’s increasing judgments against an evil, rebellious mankind AND their “god” (the devil)…..building to the ultimate crescendo. Does God enjoy judgment? No, God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Why does it have to end this way? Mankind is rebellious, hard-hearted, and stubborn. Much of mankind has either willingly, or through deception, given their allegiance to the devil. God has pleaded with mankind for 6000 years to CHOOSE HIM; however, we see at the end of days that MANY do not want Him. The Bible tells us that even as God pours out His Wrath over mankind, most REFUSE to REPENT, to cry out to Him, to cry out for mercy. Even after the 6th Trumpet sounds, we get a picture of man’s stubborn and rebellious nature.
Revelation 9:20: The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; 21 and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.
God is very merciful. God is TRANSFORMING and REMOVING His people, His Bride…BEFORE the Judgments begin. However, if a person living during the Tribulation has not taken the mark of the beast, and cries out to Him..He will hear from Heaven and save them. In Revelation 6:9, there are a crowd of people under the Throne, who have been beheaded for their testimony of Jesus Christ. Though they died, they were given LIFE ETERNAL in the KINGDOM OF GOD. By the end of the Tribulation period, nearly all those who choose God (really, are chosen by God) have been removed to Heaven, and the world is then littered with those who have taken the mark of the beast, those who REFUSE to repent, and those who REFUSE to believe or ACCEPT that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God.
Revelation 11:18: The nations were enraged, and Your wrath has come. The time has come to judge the dead, and to reward Your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear Your name, both small and great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”
The purpose of God’s end-time Judgment is to bring all of God’s people to repentance, to destroy those who are destroying His Creation, and to FINALLY show the unbelieving world, leaving absolutely NO ROOM FOR DOUBT, the TRUE IDENTITY of the ONE TRUE GOD – ELOHIM (FATHER/SON/HOLY SPIRIT). God takes no pleasure in the death of the WICKED, but there has to be a day of reckoning..otherwise the elite of the earth, those who have KNOWINGLY given their allegiance to satan, WILL destroy ALL of God’s Creation. God will NOT allow that!
There is a change of management coming, a new wind is blowing. God’s KINGDOM will be set up on this earth. God is reclaiming what was rightfully HIS from the beginning. God has been GRACEFUL and long-suffering for 6000 years waiting, gently calling, and drawing His people out of our lives of sin and death and into His Glorious LIGHT.
God’s rescue plan for mankind, spoken to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, first began through a handful of faithful people, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph (the Patriarchs of the faith). God then called a people group to Himself whom He named Israel. Israel was stubborn and hard-hearted, which is why God had to institute “THE LAW”, written on tablets of stone representing their cold stoney hearts, so that Israel could SEE their own sin and REPENT. Israel continued to rebel, killing God’s prophets and ultimately REJECTING the SON OF GOD, God’s PROPHESIED MESSIAH, YESHUA HAMASHIACH (JESUS CHRIST). Because of God’s GREAT LOVE for HIS WIFE (Israel)… Israel was CHASTISED severely through three MASSIVE exiles (Assyria/Babylon/Rome)..but the PROMISE was always, always, always to RETURN them to their own land and for God to write HIS LAWS on their HEARTS. (New Covenant/Jesus Christ).
Two thousand years ago, in fulfillment of PROPHECY, God sent His JEWISH MESSIAH, Jesus the Christ, to die in our place so that we would not have to endure the wrath and final judgments of God. Jesus IS God wrapped in the likeness of human flesh. God, Himself, was willing to DIE a sinner’s death on the Cross SO THAT mankind, His people would have EVERLASTING LIFE with HIM in the Kingdom of God. Israel rejected Jesus, so God then opened up SALVATION to the ENTIRE WORLD. Although they did this because of their hard hearts, this was GOD’S PLAN of SALVATION for ALL MANKIND since the very beginning. God told Abraham, through Your SEED..ALL the nations (goyim/gentiles) of the world will be BLESSED!
For 2000 years, mankind has been in the “age of Grace”, otherwise known as “The Church Age”. In the Old Testament (Torah/Tanakh), the MYSTERY of the GENTILE Church was present, but it was hidden in plain sight…a MYSTERY. God did NOT replace physical Israel with the Church, but He has been GRAFTING His Gentile CHURCH into the Olive Tree so that we are now PART of the ISRAEL of God. But God is NOT finished with His Jewish people. Our Jewish brethren NEED Jesus, they NEED the SALVATION, the YESHUA of God just as much as we do! Many Jewish people will have to endure the Tribulation period, but God is bringing them to the KNOWLEDGE of THEIR MESSIAH, YESHUA HAMASHIACH (JESUS CHRIST). At the very end of the age, the Jewish people, ALONG with ALL of mankind, WILL RECOGNIZE that JESUS CHRIST is LORD, He is THEIR MESSIAH!
There is only ONE TRUE GOD. The “Muslim god” (Allah) is NOT the TRUE GOD! Allah is the MOON god (aka baal)….hence the crescent moon. The Hindu gods are NOT TRUE gods! Buddhism is NOT THE TRUTH! Atheism, which worships mankind as a type of God..is a LIE! There is ONLY ONE TRUE GOD….ELOHIM who presents Himself in the form of FATHER/SON/and HOLY SPIRIT. God exists in 3 forms…all distinct and yet one. Picture a ROPE with 3 cords, twined together. The Trinity is a MYSTERY. God is LOVE. For God to BE Love (not “have” love, but “BE” love..there has to be ONE who LOVES (Father – YHWH, THE I AM)..One who IS LOVED (Son – YESHUA)..and the LOVE that is between them (Holy Spirit – RUACH HAKODESH). God exists in the form of a relationship, which is why HE calls Himself ELOHIM in the book of Genesis. Elohim is a PLURAL WORD for GOD, indicating that HE exists in several forms (3). Jesus Christ is the SON OF GOD…God’s SALVATION. The word YESHUA means YHWH’s SALVATION! At the end of the Age, ALL FLESH will recognize that JESUS CHRIST IS the MESSIAH (SALVATION) OF YHWH, THE SON OF GOD.
Philippians 2:8: Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
God (ELOHIM) is EXTREMELY MERCIFUL and LONG SUFFERING, BUT…for those who REFUSE God’s FREE Gift of GRACE and LOVE that HE HIMSELF purchased with HIS OWN PRECIOUS BLOOD, there is only the horrifying expectation of JUDGMENT and DEATH.
In our next post, we will begin detailing the red, black, and pale horses of the apocalypse. We’ve seen the high level view of Revelation, next we will get into a bit more detail. God Bless! Jesus is coming soon! Maranatha!