Behold My Servant…Isaiah 53 pt 2

Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.(Isaiah 52:13-15)

The fourth Servant song is composed of three sections. First of all, we have this introduction in Isaiah 52:13-15. Secondly we have the great and final confession that a chastened and restored Israel will offer, after the time of tribulation and their final conflict and deliverance, (Isaiah 53:1-9). Finally there are three verses ,(Isaiah 53:10-12) which reveal the fruit of the Servant’s travail.

Isaiah’s prophetic Servant Songs have described an individual whom God holds forth as the answer to the idolatrous world’s sad predicament. He is the one person in whom the LORD delights, and he has been given the task of restoring Israel and the nations of the world to God.

His work involves “establishing Judgment”in the earth, that is bringing the truth of God to the world which has embraced lies. It also means , setting things right, and bringing people into a right relationship with God, first of ll Israel, then the nations. Therefore, his ministry will be a ministry of the Word, he will bring “a word to the weary ” from the LORD himself.

Establishing judgment also means that the Servant will be the standard of the final judgment of all men. Eternal destinies will be determined by how individuals respond to God’s Servant.To hear Him is to hear God, to accept Him is to accept God, God cannot be known except by Him, He who refuses the Servant of God, condemns himself.

His manner with people will be gentle, restorative, for He will not discard “the bruised reed, nor quench the dimly burning flax”. He calls all who are “weary and heavy laden” to come unto Him, that they might find rest for their souls.

Though he is chosen of God and fully equipped for the task, He is human also, and subject to discouragement, and weariness at times. But his personal comfort comes from his constant reliance upon God, for He is God’s own disciple.

Finally, we already have seen hints that the Servant’s work will involve suffering,humiliation and rejection. He is the one “Despised of the people” and who “gave his cheek ” to be plucked.

Thus says the Lord,
The Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One,
To Him whom man despises,
To Him whom the nation abhors,
To the Servant of rulers:(Isaiah 49:7)

I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.(Isaiah 50:6)

We come now to the beginning of the fourth and most detailed Servant Song which details the reasons for His suffering, and of the glory which will surely follow,

*Behold My Servant Shall deal prudently…In other words, “See that my servant shall act wisely”, He is the LORD’s servant, he has been sent on a mission, he has a task to accomplish. Echoes of Psalm 40 come to mind here, in which the pre-incarnate Son of God discusses his mission with the Father, in eternity,

Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.(Psalm 40:6-8)

The servant knows what needs to be done to bring men back into right standing with God, and He doesn’t hesitate to do it, regardless of the personal cost”. One translation says, My Servant’s wisdom shall prosper. In other words, His wisdom was effective, he took the action that brought about the desired result.

 

*…he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high… This is a sentence which is breathless, as if to say, “He shall be raised… no, not just raised… but He shall be lifted up…and yet more than that…He shall be highly exalted!” Thus Isaiah predicts that the Lord’s servant shall be thrice exalted. Could this be a reference to the Resurrection, Ascension, and Seating at the right hand of the Majesty on High?

*As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:… But people will look at the Servant in horror, they will be appalled at the sight of Him. Shockingly, His face will be disfigured, He will almost not look human!

How do we reconcile the exaltation of the Servant with this vision of horror? The Servant will be Exalted, lifted up, highly exalted ? Yet He will be a picture of disfigurement,pain, and rejection? This is the theme of the fourth Servant Song,

*…So shall he sprinkle many nations;… The partial answer is that humiliation of the Servant will serve to fulfill some kind of priestly ministry. He will sprinkle many nations, as Moses and Aaron and the long line of God appointed priests of the Old Testament would do, ritually sanctifying the worshippers with the blood of sacrifice.

*…the kings shall shut their mouths at him… Kings of the earth shall be dumbfounded at him, they will have nothing to say, their mouths will be stopped, that is how overwhelmed they will be at Him. Who is this one, so disfigured and rejected that men turn away from him in abject horror? Yet who also is this glorious one who is thrice exalted, and before whom ‘every knee’ must one day bow ?

*…for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider… As the truth begins to dawn on the Kings of the earth of who this “despised one” truly is and what He did, they are awestruck. They could never have conceived of the actual truth that reconciles the horror,suffering and disfigurement of the Servant, with his exaltation, ascension and glory, unless God had shown them something that had never entered into their thoughts.

What is it specifically that these Kings will “see” without being told? They will perceive that the one whom the world has hated, condemned, humbled and persecuted, is actually the one chosen by God himself, fully vindicated and exalted by the Holy One. Who could ever imagine such a thing? It can only be revealed as truth by God!

 

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HOLY WEEK SERIES- The Lord’s Servant…Isaiah 53 pt 1

Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider…(Isaiah 52:13-15)

Before we look closely at the Evangelical jewel known as the 4th Servant Song of Isaiah, consisting of the above three verses in chapter 52, and all of Isaiah 53, it would be good to look at the setting of this prophecy within the latter half of the book of Isaiah.

Isaiah has a curious structure. It mirrors the structure of the entire Bible. Isaiah’s prophecy is composed of 66 chapters, (the Bible contains 66 books). Like the 39 books of the Tanach, the first 39 chapters of Isaiah are composed of pronounced judgments upon Judah, Israel, Jerusalem, the surrounding nations, and eventually engulfing the whole earth in tribulation. “The earth staggers like a drunkard…”, as the LORD judges it in righteousness.

But the last 27 chapters of Isaiah correspond in a loose way to the “New Testament”. His vision in chapter 40 begins with “A voice crying out in the wilderness…”(John the Baptist), and ends in chapter 66 with a new heaven and a new earth,(similar to the book of Revelation).*

The second part of Isaiah, (chapters 40-66) can be divided equally into 3 sections of 9 chapters each. The three sections conclude with a variation of the phrase,”There is no peace saith my God for the wicked”.

*Isaiah 48:22- There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.

*Isaiah 57:20-21 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

* Isaiah 66:24-And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

The first section, Isaiah 40-48, concerns the new exodus of Judah and the remnant of Israel, God’s servant, out of Babylon. Isaiah had predicted that Judah would go into captivity as Israel had, but that God would redeem his servant again and restore him.

God would raise up and use another anointed servant, a pagan king named Cyrus, whom the LORD called “My servant…my anointed who will do my will…” to bring this Exodus from captivity in Babylon . King Cyrus commanded the release of the Jewish remnant and even financed the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. **

The last section of Isaiah is a vision of the restored children of Israel and Judah, back from captivity, again reconciled to God, and restored as priests of God, radiant in the garments of salvation.

The forces of wickedness are amassing against them, but “No weapon formed against you shall prosper and any tongue which rises up in judgment against you, shall be condemned…” . This section portrays the final restoration of Israel, into the Messianic Kingdom.

But this final restoration of Israel isn’t the result of the aforementioned Exodus from Babylon. Israel would lapse back into captivity again and remain there for many long centuries.

This final and lasting deliverance of Israel comes to pass as a result of the person who is the primary subject of (chapters 49-58). The Messiah of Israel, is the very embodiment of “Israel my servant…” , he is the ultimate Servant of the LORD, who takes Israel and the world far beyond the deliverance of “Cyrus, my servant”.

There are 4 Servant Songs which emerge in Isaiah,

* He is introduced in Isaiah 42:1-4

*His Discouragement and ultimate triumph is sung of in Isaiah 49:1-7

* In Isaiah 50:4-11 we hear of His discipleship under the hand of the LORD himself.

* In Isiah 52:13-53:12, we hear the song of his redemptive sacrifice and exaltation.

*I am indebted to a wonderful Bible teacher named David Baron for these structural insights, from his little exposition called “The Servant of Jehovah”.

** (Cyrus would not come forth for another 200+ years, in the days of the Medo Persian empire. When Isaiah’s prophecy was shown to him, calling him by name 200 years in the past, the Pagan king was astonished!)

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Societal Collapse…Rev 4-6 pt 16

And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6: 15-17)

When Jesus opens the seals of the book given him by the Father, tremendous forces are unleashed upon the earth. All these things actually forward the plan of God to bring about a new heaven and a new earth. The convulsions are painful and awful, but as in a birth, they work together to bring forth something beautiful.

The sixth seal is given the greatest detail so far. The earth underneath is wracked with spasms, everything that can be shaken is shaken! The sky above, usually so warming, and reassuring, churns with ominous portents; stars drop, Sunlight is dimmed, and the moon warns of blood wrath.

Sadly, the sky itself, that usually testifies to the lowliest and most troubled earth dweller, that there is indeed a God of glory and another, far better place, is rolled up as a scroll, and put away. No need for that anymore, the time of witness ends, and final judgment commences.

Thus everything above us and everything below us will violently testify to the wrath of the Holy God on that day. The collapse of everything once thought sure and fixed will have an interesting effect, among us in terms of society . At the last day all people are leveled. The great, the powerful, the celebrated, the bold and daring, the irreverent, the productive, the obscure, the some bodies and the nobodies all finally arrive at the place of common ground that Utopians and collectivists always hoped for.

The leveling and unifying factor among the great and the small of men, will be the stark realization that contrary to their wishful thinking and proud boasting, there really is a God to whom we have to answer. Furthermore they will see suddenly that “Man isn’t really the measure of all things”, and that “Truth is absolute”, not relative, as their philosophers have assured them. Atheism is revealed as an impossible contradiction.

The “great men of the earth” knew it all along, but successfully suppressed the truth about God, not allowing themselves to think about Him, snuffing out the pangs of conscience, refusing even so much as any public acknowledgment of the Christian God. They were going to build a “brave New World” without God. It was going to be more compassionate than the outdated, barbaric religious world they had “evolved out of”. They long before had thrown off the shackles of the old superstition.

By the time of the sixth seal, they now know the truth, and can no longer deny it. The message of the judgments endured by those who dwell on the earth came through. The God of the Bible is a real person and the Kings of the earth have been resisting and defying Him. But rather than turning in repentance and worship as the second Psalm pleads with them to do,the great men of the earth lead an open revolt.

And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.(Revelation 9:20-21)

And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.(Revelation 16:10-11)

They get to the point where they wish they could just melt away, to dissolve, or to be covered by rocks and stones ! They want to hide from that which they fear the most, for there is an aspect about the last encounter with the God they have rebelled against that is positively unbearable to these men.

What I refer to is the fact that it is the wrath of the Lamb, being expressed, not the wrath of an angry, vengeful God of hateful fury. This the wrath of one who actually loved them, appealed to them, bore scars in his hands and feet to save them, bled and died for them, and paid the price for their reconciliation!

This is the unbearable part that makes these proud men rather wish they would be crushed in an avalanche than have to face. The Holy wrath of spurned love, self-sacrifice, vicarious shame and suffering, is what these sinners fear and loathe perhaps the most of all. To look upon the face of the One who willingly died for them, will be worse to them than hell itself.

And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.And the idols he shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats;To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of ?(Isaiah 2:17-22)

 

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Shaking The Heavens Also….Rev 4-6 pt 15

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.(Revelation 6:12-14)

The opening of the sixth seal has the most detailed description, for it involves the shaking of both the heavens and the earth. Nothing is stable by this time, not the ground under your feet nor even the very stars in the sky, everything fixed is gone, except the Word of God.

But there is a parallel reality in this judgment. There are coming celestial signs indeed, but they are signs pointing to the social and spiritual state of humanity as well. For example;

* The Sun turning black as sackcloth- I have no doubt this sign of darkness snuffing out sunlight will occur. It is what happened at the crucifixion of Jesus, and it shall happen at the end of the age. The Day of the Lord is as a day of darkness…

But the sign of sackcloth over the sun points to the absence of the common grace of the light of God. It is God’s light which restrains the total expression of human evil and depravity, making life bearable on earth even for unbelievers. But it has long been rejected, suppressed, covered over by humanistic man.

This world has never been totally void of the Light of God, not even in its worse period. We are about to find out what darkness really is, for the light will be totally obscured. When God turns out the light, it is darkness that can actually be felt.

*The moon as blood- The moon has no light of its own, it only reflects sunlight. There is a body of witnesses whose sole purpose is to reflect the light of heaven. I speak of the church. But what if the only witness possibly rendered is the witness of martyrdom?

Indeed we are told by Tertullian, that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. Perhaps in this way, the moon will become blood.

If the moon is seen red as blood, that is because the moon is seen through some kind of a cloud, of either volcanic or some other kind of pollutant.

*Falling stars – There will be celestial phenomenon, such as falling stars, and meteor showers, I have no doubt of this. But there is a spiritual aspect to this as well. The stars of the heavens fell to the earth…what could this point to?

The stars are Angels… Satan himself is seen as a falling star. The fall of one-third of the Angels from heaven is seen as a group of stars falling . In the last time, the fallen Angels , who are the very principalities and powers of the air, will be included in the Divine judgment upon the earth .

These entities are also slated for direct Divine judgment as the prophet Isaiah says,

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. (Isaiah 24:21-22)

The stars are also a symbol of the world leaders. The Kings of the earth and their rulers, have conspired against the Lord and His Christ, according to Psalm 2. But the day of judgment is the day that they, along with the fallen angels who have guided them are brought “down to earth”, for judgment.

The Sun,Moon and Stars also refer to Israel. The Lord comes back because the wrath of all nations against God, is poured out upon Israel. It is when she cries out in desperation, that the LORD rises to come to the earth in her defense.

Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.(Zechariah 14:1-3)

 

* Mountains and Isles flee – The Spiritual world and the political world which parallels it, both collapse on that day. Consequently whole nations dissolve into anarchy, chaos, and violent turmoil. Isaiah again warns the inhabitants of the earth,

Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.(Isaiah 24:17-18)

How I pray that you my readers will make sure you are at peace with God! Make sure you know that you are forgiven of your sins, and reconciled to the God that we have all rebelled against, and sinned deeply against, through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

The God of Holy and Righteous retribution is coming to make war on all that is false, evil, sinful and rebellious in the earth, flee for refuge to the new Ark, Jesus Christ! Admit that you have been a sinner, ask Him to wash away your sin, confess that Jesus is Lord of your life, and turn to Him! The scriptures say; “Whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!”.

 

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The Upheaval…Rev 4-6 pt 14

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6:11-17)

The opening of the sixth seal seems to take us to very the last days of this present passing age. I do not believe Revelation is written with strict chronology in mind, instead it seems that we are shown the events leading up to and including the full Revelation of Jesus Christ to the unbelieving and God rejecting world, from various vantage points.

First of all, at the opening of this seal there is a shattering earthquake. Could this be the same earthquake described in Revelation 16? I think so because in both, the mountains and Islands move out of their places.

And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.(Revelation 16:18-20)

Everything solid underfoot is shaken, literally the ground underneath God resisting man is shaken because the time of shaking and upheaval is at hand. No longer can man count on anything, independently of God. Isaiah saw this also, when he described the last day,

The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.(Isaiah 24:19-20)

Why not? Why wouldn’t the earth move and shake underneath the “inhabitants of the earth”? Isaiah gives us the indictment,

The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.(Isaiah 24:5-6)

The laws that they have transgressed are the universal laws binding upon all men, not just Jews and Christians. They have “Changed the ordinance” and “broken the everlasting covenant“. The human rebellion against the infinite personal God of the Bible is so profound, even the earth is sensitive to it, and convulses.

The “everlasting covenant” could refer to the primal ordinances that God instituted to undergird the human race, even after the fall. Consider just what God ordained in the first eleven chapters of Genesis,

* Creation as separate from Creator- the Creator/ Creation distinction. (Geneis 1-3)

* Seed bearing after its own kind. (Genesis 2)

*Man and Woman made in the Image of God-(Genesis 1 and 2)

* Marriage between one man and one woman-(Genesis 2)

* The Sexual roles of man and woman-(Genesis 2)

* Be fruitful and multiply- procreation as a blessing, the sanctity of life.(Genesis 2)

* Subdue the earth- dress and keep it, cultivate and make it fruitful.(Genesis 2)

* Man as Lord over the animals. (Genesis 2)

* The necessity of blood sacrifice in religious worship.(Genesis 3 and 4)

* The death penalty for murder-(Genesis 8)

* Permission to eat meat-(Genesis 8)

* The assurance of four seasons-(Genesis 8)

* The separation of the different nation states that they might “Seek God”.(Genesis 10)

These are just a sampling of that which God instituted in the very beginning and formative years of human history. But note how humanistic man in his pride and rebellion, systematically repudiates each one of these!

We live in a topsy-turvy world of inverse values, because of the over all rejection of God. Now modern man has no problem with abortion of human beings in the womb, for man is now seen as his own creator and definer of values.

The beautiful and complimentary Male/Female roles are rejected and twisted into obscene and tortured caricatures of humanity. Marriage, the exalted prophecy of Christ and His Church has been blasphemed, for sodomites hate marriage, thus they clamor for it.

The “Babel effect” has almost completely been reversed by technology and the world is becoming globalised, now nothing they could imagine is out of reach, unless the most high intervene once again as He did in olden times. Even concepts such as seed bearing after it’s own kind, have been tampered with in Genetically modified seed! Four seasons? Not according to the Global warming crowd!

Point by point everyone of these ordinances have been renounced, “Be fruitful and multiply…” …but man says there are too many people to sustain on the earth. “Whoever sheds man’s blood by man shall his blood be shed”…but modern man says that this is too barbaric,(although he has no problem with abortion). A religion of vicarious substitution? No, a new humanistic religion of good works and ecumenism.

It’s no wonder then that God is going to shake the earth. The only wonder is that He has graciously waited so long to do it. Therefore those not saved should take heed to the apostle who gave us the book of Hebrews, who warns us that the One who shook a mountain on Sinai is about to shale the whole earth,

Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.(Hebrews 12:26-29)

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Souls Under the Altar…Rev 4-6 pt 14

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were 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, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.(Revelation 6:9-11)

There is a book, that is the Word of the purposes of God to bring about a New Heavens and New Earth. But the book is sealed and only the person called the Lamb is qualified to open the seals to bring it all about.

We have seen that these seals are the necessary conditions which accompany the bringing in of the age to come. I believe that some of the seals have been opened by the Lamb already, such as the releasing of the Spirit of AntiChrist(White Horse), and of violence (Red Horse).

The others have yet to be initiated, but surely they are not far off, for the Black Horse (Economic and commercial tribulation), and the Green colored Horse (Death and Hell) can spiritually be heard snorting and raring to go, by all who have ears to hear.

We come now to the opening of sixth seal, which is the coming period of mass martyrdom. John saw souls under the altar, almost as if their own deaths were some kind of sacrifice, for they were “Slain for the Word of God”.

There have always been souls slain for the Word of God, from Abel all the way down to our terminal generation, christians have been required to seal their testimony in their own blood.

At this time there are various estimates that anywhere between 160,000 to 200,000 people a year are put to death for their adherence to the gospel.

Consider this, that one seventh of the world is Muslim, another seventh is Hindu, also more than a billion people live under Communism, all of the above being extremely hostile to the Word of God.

The freedoms of christians in the west to openly worship God, is the exception and not the rule. They are the true source of our incredible blessings, for all of the rest of our freedoms come from our worship. Such liberty as we in the west have known have been a somewhat recent phenomenon.

But there is coming an unprecedented wave of martyrdom with the breaking of the fifth seal. It seems that God’s truth is going to have to be attested to by people willing to die rather than deny it here in the formerly free world as in other places.

There are a few things I wish to draw your attention to in this passage,

* The Method of executionAnd I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)

Note that they were beheaded. It is interesting that the Muslims seem to prefer this particular method. This is not to say that all of the beheading takes place by Muslims, but it is of interest that such a barbaric and seemingly forgotten practice is in vogue in our day.

* Note that they cry for vengeance…We all know that God doesn’t want us to be personally vengeful people, and that wherever possible we should graciously forgive those who have abused us, as our Lord and Saviour Jesus did.

But that doesn’t mean that the desire for Divine vengeance is somehow wrong. “Vengeance is mine, I will repay saith the Lord”, is a promise that is supposed to bring some kind of comfort to the believer’s heart.This is indeed a moral universe and all wrongs will be righted.

Righteous retribution is one of the attributes of the glory of God. Unjust violence, sin and impunity shall not have the last word, for our God is Holy and Righteous ! Holy vengeance shall be executed against the evil ones in God’s due time.

As I write this our “Senators” are fighting furiously to maintain the forced taxpayer subsidization of abortion, in spite of the overwhelming mandate against them. They piously parade before cameras pretending to be the last defenders of “Women’s health”, when in reality they and their constituency know that it is abortion on demand, paid for by coercion of the American people.

They would do well to realize that a Holy and Righteous God will soon bring them before his bar of justice , and all such pretense will evaporate before His holy eyes. That alone will be unbearable to them, but they will then be given over to an everlasting fire wherein they will experience an attribute of God that is almost inconceivable to us.

For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them.They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.(Deuteronomy 32:22-24)

* There is a fixed number of martyrs – But they are told to wait, for the martyrdom of God’s people is not the result of a random, out of control, maelstrom of evil. Rather it is something that is under God’s control and to His glory, and according to a number which He has set.

Giving them the white robes of victory , and assuring them that it just a season of rest, before the vengeance comes, the martyrs are comforted to know that each one counts and is known in heaven.

CNN, Fox, and the BBC may overlook the martyrdom of christians in Syria, Chad, Ethiopia or the Sudan, but God sees each one, and numbers them. Not one of these martyrs escaped his notice. The world is not worthy of these forgotten ones!

When the Egyptian Army teamed up with the Muslim brotherhood to kill Coptic christians in the street, the headlines of the modern press attempted a vague moral equivalence.”Religions Clash In Cairo”, as if Copts were rioting and killing poor Muslims! The whole world is at the service of the evil one.

But known unto God is a specific number of martyrs. When that number is reached, the world shall see the God of vengeance in all of His Holy Glory. On that day they shall beg the stones and rocks to fall on them hoping to dissolve rather than face the Lamb.

Oh that men would seek the Lord now ,while He can be found!

 

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When Death And Hell Ride…Rev 4-6 pt 13

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. (Revelation 6:7-8)

I believe that the first two and possibly three of the seven seals are already opened. I could be wrong I admit, but I definitely believe that in our time, the White Horse and Rider is sweeping the earth, for the AntiChrist Spirit is already conditioning people everywhere, to accept a new humanistic Utopia, as well as a new “Christianity”, and to anticipate the new Messiah.

There is little doubt in my mind that the Red Horse of wanton violence has been released upon the earth. Many thought that the end of Cold War would usher in a golden age, an “End of History” because the ‘last man standing’ was the benevolent superpower, the USA.

Alas, the vacuum is filled now by a movement even more totalitarian,violent and extreme than the Communists ever dreamed of being; radical Islam, in both Sunni and Shia versions. Violence has been loosed upon the earth and not even a superpower can stop it, for the new warfare is ‘asymmetrical’, and decentralised.

The genius of this movement is that it is like a swarm of bees rather than as a bear for whom we can always build a big enough gun to shoot down. The Communist leaders were ruthless and evil, but at least they wanted to live, they were coldly pragmatic. This new wave of violence is led by men who want to ‘die for Allah’ and obtain their virgins.

But I don’t think the pale horse is riding yet, in this prophecy for we are given a tally of destruction that the world has never seen before. When these two riders (Death and Hell), commence, destruction occurs in which one-fourth of the population of the earth is slated to die violent deaths.

First of all the actual color of the horse; the greek word is Chloros, which is the color green. A corpse turns green when there is no antiseptic treatment of the body, meat turns green when it goes bad, Chloros is the greenish color of death.

The Riders are both Death and Hell, that is physical and spiritual death are personified, and allowed wreak havoc on the inhabitants of the earth ,using four tools of destruction. How is it that as many as one-fourth of the population of the earth are destroyed?

* The sword- Wars of cataclysmic proportion are going to occur. What we see occurring in the Middle East right now, as secular governments either cede or violently fall to popular democratic movements, is the beginning of this calamity. Islamists are taking the helm in nation after nation, removing the former restraints on the violent forces churning in the Arab world.

This will eventually lead to aggression,particularly against Israel, and the west. The disastrous wars that come out of this will utterly destroy Arab capitols such as Damascus, and Amman, rendering parts of the Arab world uninhabitable. The whole world will teeter, and “stagger like a drunkard”, as Isaiah 24 tells us. Judgment is coming upon the earth.

Instability breeds instability, thus the world is in for geopolitical tremors, earthquakes and tsunamis which are of never before seen proportions. As Daniel tells us,

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. (Daniel 12:1)

* Hunger-War always leads to deprivation such as hunger. Therefore it shall be as asJesus told us ,

“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”(Matthew 24:7)

*Death- This is plague. It is part of the arsenal of Death and Hades, in the execution of the Judgment of God upon the earth. Part of modern man’s pride is in his “conquest” over the traditional diseases which once wrought so much misery such as tuberculosis,measles, Smallpox, etc.

Devastating plagues are coming for which there is no antidote other than turning in repentant sorrow back to our Maker, whom we have spurned. Some of these plagues, such as AIDS come as a direct result of the accommodation to perversions such as homosexuality.

And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;(Romans 1:27-28)

* The beasts of the earth-There are beasts that are obvious, such as lions and tigers and bears, and there are beasts that are lesser but powerful to destroy such as rats, andthere are beasts that are microscopic, such as germs. God is going to employ all of them in the time of the opening of the fourth seal, to carry out the destruction of up to one-fourth of the population of the earth.

These are the four weapons God told Israel he would bring upon them in the time that they refused to repent, in the last days of Judah,

And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers.(Jeremiah 24:10)

For thus says the Lord GOD: “How much more it shall be when I send My four severe judgments on Jerusalem—the sword and famine and wild beasts and pestilence—to cut off man and beast from it?(Ezekiel 14:21)

People are going to come to realise that Israel, whom they despise for the most part, is a microcosm of the human race. As God once dealt with Israel, offering the nation grace or judgment, goodness or severity, so does He deal with the whole human race.

The frightening thing about this is it seems that when the fourth seal opens, most of those killed are unready for death, for it is not just death, but death and Hell who ride together. Repent and turn to the Lord while you can!

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