Revelation - 10

3-2-08 message

Father, thank You that You are present with us today – You have drawn us together that we might worship You, learn, hear You and follow You. Help us to look like You this week, as we go about our lives. Help us to live for You wholly with all of our hearts – help us to serve You and be a community that loves You and longs to serve You. It is in Your name we pray.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. This is probably a painting. (I don’t think it is a photograph!) It is amazing what you get if you Google this. You will get pictures of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, …Bill and Hillary – there are a lot of bitter people out there who like the Internet. We are going to look at the judgments in the book of Revelation. If you ever took Chuck’s Jr. High class, you have probably already gone through this, as Chuck is wont to do – but you probably think this is the cool stuff, things blowing up and curses being poured out. If you are around during this time, it will not be so cool.

These judgments are really misunderstood. There are a lot of opinions. I will give you one man’s opinion. If you read a book where someone claims to know exactly what each of these things is, then throw that book away. I am not going to try to tell you what each judgment means. I don’t think we can know the specifics.

The Judgments of Revelation are given in 3 sets of seven. The seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven bowls.

With the seals, ¼ of the earth is destroyed. With the trumpets, 1/3 is destroyed. Then with the bowls, everyone else is affected, except for those how are believers in the lamb.

There are a number of perspectives on this – many with good arguments. Some believe that all three take place in a 7 year period and in order. Others say that these are all the same judgment, going from broad to narrow. Others think there is a mixing of the judgments. There are many ways of looking at this. There are others who say this is just symbolic.

I won’t tell you what I believe – as I don’t think there is enough support either way.

The ones who will understand this best are those who will be alive during that time. These judgments parallel the ten plagues of Moses. God is consistent when judging people. This is an important doctrine of the Christian faith. We need to understand that – and how much God hates sin and will not tolerate it. It seems at times, He tolerates it a lot.

Rev. 6:1 And I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, "Come." 2 And 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 out conquering, and to conquer.

Though this is the first horseman – I’ve been practicing saying this, because in practice I couldn’t help but say, Horstman – they’ll be here in the 11:00 service.

This is speaking of something that will take place in the future. This was written to 7 specific churches to teach them specific things. So there are two purposes for this book. One is to the churches, the other is to the end times. He wrote it in such a way that those churches could understand what God was saying to them.

When they heard about these horsemen, they knew what he was talking about. At that time – there was only one people who had defeated the Romans – The Parthians a group of people around the Euphrates and east – most of Iran and and part of Iraq, and maybe part of Afghanistan. This nation perfected the art – in 55 BC and 62 AD – there were battles – of the cavalry. They had learned to ride horses and shoot a bow. At that time – those who heard of final battles – thought that these people would be involved as horsemen. Those in Asia Minor knew all about these horsemen and their bows and lived in fear of them marching across and conquering. That was what they worried about – but we don’t have to worry about horsemen as such.

3 And when He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come." 4 And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that [men] should slay one another; and a great sword was given to him. 5 And when He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, "Come." And I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard as it were a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine." 7 And when He broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, "Come." 8 And I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. And authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.

Now. That is an awful lot going on.

Here are the seven seals – and remember, there are differences in what all this means – and this is my best judgment and guess from Scripture. Each of these builds on one another. When we think of the concept of judgment, God is using, in these first four seals, the evil nature of man, the depravity of man to bring judgment to man.

White horse – a lust for power. Some believe it is the antichrist. God is taking the nature of man and demonstrating – You are going to destroy yourself. In reality, this lust for power has been throughout history. So man goes out to conquer.

Red horse – war – lust for power leads to this.

Black horse – economic collapse – famine – then

Ashen horse – death.

More people are killed – not through the battles, but from famine, disease, and the collapse of the system because of man’s lust for power.

I think God is using man’s own lust and wickedness to judge.

There is a shift when we move to the fifth seal. He moves away from the horses and says this:

Rev. 6: 9 And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until [the number of] their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, should be completed also.

John sees these horses going out and a quarter of the earth being destroyed. God turns to the martyrs. Man’s own wickedness to destroy one another works out as an attack on God and His people. This is the ultimate evil. If you think back through history how people have gone after God’s people – their way of attacking God.

He tells them – they are crying out for vindication – for justice. How long will this go on? Until every last one of my people that are to be killed is killed.

We jump to the 6th seal:

12 And I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth [made] of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14 And the sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16 and they ^said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17 for the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand? "

There is this war – man going on to conquer man – when this happens – a war like no other wars. This will destroy ¼ of the population of the earth – if it were today, that would be 1.5 BILLION dead.

Then he jumps to the end – the sky is torn back – be glad you will not be here. People living – for the first time will be able to look from this realm into the other, heavenly realm. They will see the Lamb coming down on HIS horse, with the sword in His hand with His armies, for the final battle. They were crying out for the mountains to fall on them.

Does anyone here watch Megadisasters? They knew something was going on with Mt. St. Helens – and they had a video of an owner of a lodge saying he would not leave – and he was buried under probably 600 feet of molten mountain – think of this – people are ASKING that a mountain would fall on them. We go back to the people of God – the 144,000 – Until the rest are killed, wait patiently – hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of God’s people are executed because of their faith.

Revelation 8:1 And when He broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

Contrary to the old joke about men getting to heaven before women because there was silence, I think there was silence because everyone is looking up to heaven and in awe of the battle about to begin.

The four on the left – Horses – then number 5 – the Martyrs – 6 – Great earthquake, 7 – Silence.

Revelation 8:7 And the first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. 8 And the second angel sounded, and [something] like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood; 9 and a third of the creatures, which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed. 10 And the third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters; 11 and the name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood; and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter. 12 And the fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were smitten, so that a third of them might be darkened and the day might not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way. 13 And I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe, to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!"

Land/Sea/Rivers/Astronomical catastrophe – you think that is bad – woe because of the REMAINING blasts of the trumpet…

These judgments are becoming more severe and significant. I don’t know what these things are – Nuclear bombs? Meteorites? We don’t know the answer to that. But we do see – there are these megadisasters…they are trying to figure out how to destroy a meteorite when it comes… God uses man as an agent of judgment. But He also uses elements of the fallen world, natural disasters, as judgment.

14 one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." 15 And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they might kill a third of mankind. 16 And the number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. 17 And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: [the riders] had breastplates [the color] of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. 18 A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone, which proceeded out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads; and with them they do harm. 20 And 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 went through man judging, then nature judging – then demons

These angels who have been bound up and released. Whether the 200 million are men, I don’t know.

Rev. 11: 15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become [the kingdom] of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever." 16 And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying, "We give Thee thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who art and who wast, because Thou hast taken Thy great power and hast begun to reign. 18 "And the nations were enraged, and Thy wrath came, and the time [came] for the dead to be judged, and [the time] to give their reward to Thy bond-servants the prophets and to the saints and to those who fear Thy name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth." 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.

The seventh – we move to the end. When the seventh trumpet sounds, just like the seventh seal, the spiritual is revealed.

Moving on to the bowls.

Seals – God uses humans to judge

Trumpets – Natural and demonic influences to judge

Bowls – no earthly understanding – simply God judging the earth. When those angels dump, judgment comes. Rapid fire bowls – seems to be the very end of the text – right after the bowls, there is the final battle between God and Satan – so it seems these bowls are a final judgment before He arrives and brings everything to a close.

Those are the judgments – study them on your own, as there is a lot there.

3 or 4 years ago, when Katrina hit, many Christian leaders came out to say that God was judging the city because of its wickedness. How does that make you feel? Some of you may be saying “Yeah” while others of you may be angry that Christian leaders would say that.

When the tsunami hit – many said the same things.

Earthquake – we go to God’s judgment – I’d like to give you five perspectives on it.

God is judge. (You are not). This is all God’s doing. We are not the ones to determine what is God’s judgment and what is not. If someone says something is God’s judgment, ask if that one who says it is the Lamb that was slain. He is the only one who knows. It could be. But we should not venture to make that determination. It makes us look foolish, like we are standing in God’s place. God will judge man.

HIV came out in the news in the 80’s . Many Christian leaders came out and said this was God’s judgment on immoral lifestyles. Let me say this – for the most part, you don’t get sexually transmitted diseases without someone acting immorally. But now there are many innocent people who suffer because of it. For us to come out and say they are being judged by God – we can’t do that. How many of us come out against gluttony and heart disease as God’s judgment? None of us, because it is too close to home!

Second – God often has a greater purpose.

John 9 – the man born blind – neither his sin nor his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Be careful of judging when you see something go wrong in someone’s life – it may have nothing to do with sin, but God could have something greater.

We don’t know why Katrina hit New Orleans – but we live in a fallen world, so there will always be disaster. God might still judge some places in our day. But we can’t determine that. But sometimes God has something He wants to accomplish through a disaster – like this blind man. But we don’t know.

Third – God will judge –

Romans 12:19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath [of God,] for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.

Simply, this is so important – in Christianity, we emphasize forgiveness and grace – like the Bobby Cutts sentencing – Jesse Davis’ mother stood up and forgave – as the highest of Christian character. We should strive for that attitude. But on the other hand – We do not need to be afraid that God will not judge or vindicate. For those who have been falsely accused, it is okay to believe that God will bring about justice. We are afraid of justice and vengeance. For those who have gone through serious abuse, this is one of the most important things for them to understand, and counselors will rarely discuss it. My role is to forgive and move forward, but I have the hope that God will bring vengeance. What were the people who were killed in Revelation doing under the altar? They were crying out for justice.

Fourth. We deserve judgment. Do not judge, lest you be judged…

Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge lest you be judged. 2 "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 "And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye

You and I have the log in our eyes – we deserve all the judgment we see in Revelation. The good news – Christ was judged for us. We deserved that judgment – but Jesus took it – that judgment we deserved.

When you see these things in Revelation – before trying to decide if it is an atom bomb or a mountain falling into the sea – realize that this is judgment that we all deserve. This is not positive thinking or popular – but Christ took it upon himself that I will never have to experience His judgment. As a believer – you will not experience His judgment. All of God’s judgment and wrath was poured out on Christ.

Once for all – the just for the unjust

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law having become a curse for us.

The solution to judgment is the cross.

The solution to suffering, catastrophe, and disaster – is always the cross. When people ask, if there is a loving God, why is there suffering in the world? Because Christ suffered.

Let’s pray…

Sunday Services at 10:00 am - All are welcome - in person and online at or YouTube