• Churchwork

    by Published on 10-20-2010 05:07 AM     Number of Views: 828 
    1. Categories:
    2. Prophecies

    The most important prophecy in the Bible with regard to the return of Christ is when Israel become a nation again. Fit that with your shoe horn.

    There has been 5 Total Lunar Tetrads on first and last feast days since Christ and the Red Blood Moon of Rev. 6.12 is the key indicator the Tribulation is about to commence. In fact, the 21st century is the reddest century we have on record with a total of 8 total lunar tetrads.

    Only once did two of the five occur in the same century since Christ. The probability of two occurring again in the following century is 5%. The probability one of them would fall on the vital key date of 1949/50 and on 1967/68 is 2% times 1%, so 5% x 2% x 1% is a 1 in 100,000 chance. This is a 99.999% probability therefore the Tetrad on feast days in 2014/15 which won't happen again for centuries is God's promise to us that Jesus will return soon after Israel becomes a nation again.

    Therefore, the Tribulation is 2,520 days from Sept. 14, 2015 Feast of Trumpets to Aug. 7, Tisha B'Av, 2022 a very important date commemorating the destruction of the first and second temples. Why is this so important to Jesus? Because when He steps down on the mount of olives He will reign on earth for 1000 years in the nation He kept His promise to.

    Only after the 1000 years on earth is completed does the New City or New Jerusalem in the New Earth commence.

    There is only one other Total Lunar Tetrad on all four feast days in the 3rd millennium after Christ and that's 2582-83. In that case Jesus wouldn't return for over 600 years after Israel became a nation. That's ludicrous!
    by Published on 10-19-2010 04:11 PM     Number of Views: 14975 
    1. Categories:
    2. Prophecies
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    Ezekiel’s Vision of the Rebirth of Israel in 1948

    Ezekiel’s prophecy of the rebirth of Israel in 1948 and its precise fulfillment in our generation on May 15, 1948 is one of the greatest fulfillments of Bible prophecy in history. Twenty-five centuries ago, while he was a slave during the Babylonian Captivity, (606 – 536 BC), the Lord revealed to the prophet Ezekiel, the precise year – 1948 – when Israel would finally be restored to the Promised Land.. The Jew’s eternal relationship to the Holy Land is a major theme of Bible prophecy. In the Bible, times were specified in precise detail regarding the duration of the time when the Jews were to be exiled from the Promised Land and when God will allow them to return to the Holy Land.

    The First Captivity – (Egyptian) – 430 years

    The Lord prophesied to Abraham precisely when the Jews would return from Egypt from their First Captivity that lasted 430 years of captivity in Egypt (Genesis 15:13; Exodus 12:40-41).

    The Second Captivity (Babylonian) – 70 years

    Similarly, the Second Captivity of 70 years in Babylon, as prophesied in Jeremiah 25:11, ended precisely in 536 BC when the Jews returned to Jerusalem as decreed by the Persian king Cyrus the Great.

    The Third Captivity (Worldwide) – 2520 years

    The Scriptures contain numerous prophecies about the final return of the Jewish exiles to their Promised Land in the "last days." Ezekiel was taken to Babylon as a captive. Ezekiel was aware of Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jeremiah 25:11) that the Jew’s captivity in Babylon would last seventy years.

    However, Ezekiel received another prophecy concerning God’s judgment upon the Jew’s disobedience and the precise duration of the remaining Jewish exile from their Promised Land. "This shall be a sign to the house of Israel. Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year" (Ezekiel 4:3-6).

    As Ezekiel lay on his right side for a few hours for 390 days and then for 40 days on his right side the Jews in Babylon learned of God’s remarkable prophecy. God revealed that every day stood for one biblical year. Therefore, Israel would be punished for a period of 390 years plus an additional 40 years as a result of their disobedience to God’s commands, totaling 430 years. God declared that Israel would be punished by a worldwide exile for 430 years (390+ 40 years = 430 years). However, as prophesied by Jeremiah,
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    by Published on 10-18-2010 07:26 PM     Number of Views: 2131 
    1. Categories:
    2. Dead Sea Scrolls

    If someone had asked a minister in 1947 to prove that the original Hebrew Scriptures from the Old Testament were reliably copied without error throughout the last two thousand years, he might have had some difficulty in providing an answer. The oldest Old Testament manuscript used by the King James translators was dated approximately A.D. 1100. Obviously, that old manuscript from A.D. 1100 was a copy of a copy of a copy, etc. for over two thousand years. How could we be sure that the text in the A.D. 1100 copy of the Scriptures was identical with the original text as given to the writers by God and inspired by Him? However, an extraordinary discovery occurred in the turbulent year before Israel became a nation. A Bedouin Arab found a cave in Qumran near the Dead Sea which ultimately yielded over a thousand priceless manuscripts dating back before A.D. 68, when the Roman legions destroyed the Qumran village during the Jewish war against Rome.

    An Arab shepherd boy discovered the greatest archeological finds in history in 1947. When the ancient Hebrew scrolls from these caves were examined by scholars they found that this Qumran site contained a library with hundreds of precious texts of both biblical and secular manuscripts that dated back before the destruction of the Second Temple and the death of Jesus Christ. Once the Bedouins recognized the value of the scrolls they began searching for additional documents in every valley and cave near the Dead Sea. The most incredible discovery was the immense library of biblical manuscripts in Cave Four at Qumran that contained every single book of the Old Testament with the exception of the Book of Esther. Multiple copies of several biblical texts such as Genesis, Deuteronomy and Isaiah were found in Cave Four. Scholars were able to reach back a further two thousand years in time to examine biblical texts that had lain undisturbed in the desert caves during all of the intervening centuries. The scholars discovered that the Hebrew manuscript copies of the most authoritative Hebrew text, Textus Recepticus, used by the King James translators in 1611, were virtually identical to these ancient Dead Sea Scrolls. After carefully comparing the manuscripts they discovered that, aside from a tiny number of spelling variations, not a single word was altered from the original scrolls in the caves from the much copied A.D. 1100 manuscripts used by the Authorized King James Version translators in 1611. How could the Bible have been copied so accurately and faithfully over the many centuries without human error entering into the text? The answer is found in the overwhelming respect and fear of God that motivated Jewish and Christian scholars whose job was to faithfully copy the text of the Bible. In a later chapter dealing with the Hebrew Codes beneath the text of the Bible, I will share how the Masoretic scribes meticulously copied the text of the Scriptures over the centuries.

    The Essenes were ...
    by Published on 10-18-2010 03:27 AM     Number of Views: 1776 
    1. Categories:
    2. Elders

    How God Appoints Elders

    How does God appoint elders? In a gathering, there will be a few brothers who appear to be more advanced spiritually than the rest. They seem to have a better testimony, and they do desire to perform the work of an eldership. They begin to function as elders would. Accordingly, an apostle will make them elders to serve the local brethren. The church at Ephesus can serve as a good example of this. At first there were only saved believers in Ephesus because elders had not yet been appointed. But on the second visit of the relevant apostle (in this case, Paul), we find elders are there. The first apostolic trip which Paul took out from Antioch was for the purpose of preaching the gospel and saving souls. Later on, he established elders in each city previously visited (Acts 14.23). Before an assembly is established, the saints are weak, and therefore they need support. But when individuals are raised up to take the responsibility of elders, the apostle concerned will appoint them.

    In other instances, however, the apostles were unable to go to places to appoint elders, and so they sent special envoys to perform the task. Timothy, Titus and others were such persons sent by the apostles. They went to different cities and appointed elders to take local responsibility in the church according to the order of the apostles.

    Since the appointment of elders is for the purpose of representing the authority of God, these elders should understand that Christ is the Head and that He desires to express His will in the Church. They need to seek the mind of the Lord in order to manifest His authority in the assembly. For God uses these men to make decisions on matters as to whether to proceed or to stop. All the other brethren in the assembly need to learn to submit to them. Naturally we do not expect anyone to control us, but these elders do not lord it over us; they simply represent God’s delegated authority, to which we submit ourselves.

    What God has ordained from eternity are both authority and submission. Yet many believers do not like to submit to authority. The world today is full of lawlessness, and I am afraid "the mystery of lawlessness" (2 Thess. 2.7) has already infiltrated the Church. How greatly children criticize their parents without fear, how often wives dominate their husbands, how much students attack their principals and teachers, and how laborers freely strike against their companies! Such things are rampant in our time. Even as the Scriptures predict, now is the time when "the lawless one shall be revealed" (2 Thess. 2.8). If we Christians are not careful, we too will be following after the Antichrist instead of Christ himself. How can we ever expect others to submit to authority if we ourselves do not submit to it? If God should be pleased to place some in the position of authority, we others should learn to submit to them: "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit to them: for they watch in behalf of your souls, as they that shall give account" (Heb. 13.17). In the light of this, we need to submit to the elders.

    The Title and the Appointment of Elders

    To briefly sum up, then, (1) elders are bishops, (2) elders are plural in number, and (3) elders are appointed by apostles or those specially sent by them. Today we know that the question of apostles (as to whether they exist) is unresolved. How, then, will the elders be chosen? From a study of God’s word, we would agree to the following deduction: Since the question of apostles is still unsettled, there is no way to appoint elders officially. We cannot give the title of elder to anyone. If we were to do so, we would have to ask where the apostle is who can appoint the elders. Having said this, however, we do not mean to say that there are not men today who can function as elders. Though there may not be the title of elders today, there nevertheless are men in every place who are like elders and who do the work of the eldership. They act as informal or unofficial elders. Yet the question still remains, How are they raised up? Who asks them to act as elders informally? We must answer that they are appointed by the informal apostles.

    Though this question of apostles remains controversial, there is nonetheless a class of people today who are performing the works of apostles—such works as preaching the gospel and establishing churches. They confess that they fall short of the holiness, power, victory and labor of the apostles because they can only do a small portion—perhaps one thousandth—of the works of the early apostles. Yet God uses these people in our day to labor in various places just as He used the apostles in the earlier days. Formerly it was these apostles who established churches everywhere, but now it is these informal apostles who do such work. We admit they are far inferior to the early apostles, that they are not worthy to be called apostles; nevertheless, we cannot but acknowledge them as doing part of the apostolic work. These men are those whom God uses in today’s ruinous state of the Church as apostles.

    God uses these servants to save sinners and to gather believers together. They are therefore the most qualified persons to help those believers whom they lead and to know who among them should receive honor and act as elders. We who labor in apostolic work are only helping the brethren to submit to these local men. We must be careful lest we fall into the traditional concept of apostolic succession or the special teaching that bishops have apostolic authority. Suppose, for example, that brother Chu is laboring in Potung and that he has led people to Christ. If he asks brother Wang to come to appoint elders, the latter will not know whom to appoint, for only brother Chu knows the local condition. He has led them and nourished them. He knows their spiritual state because he cares for their souls. He alone can help the brethren there to submit to those few among them who function as elders.

    We cannot but submit to authority. May God give us humility. If we are not to act as elders, then we are to submit to people who are
    as elders. We need to learn to be submissive people. If our flesh has been deeply judged, we will view submission to be something easy, beautiful and sweet. But wherever the flesh is not judged, the church will never be built there. If the brethren have their flesh dealt with, there will be no problem in submission. Hence those who do the work of apostles ought to assist the brethren to see who should act as elders and how they should submit to these men.
    by Published on 10-18-2010 03:20 AM     Number of Views: 998 
    1. Categories:
    2. Boundary of Local Assembly

    What Is Authority in the Church?

    How is divine authority in the Church delegated? The authorities which God sets in the Church are the elders and the apostles. God appoints the first in a local assembly, He appoints the second in the midst of many assemblies. The authority of an apostle is over various assemblies, whereas the authority of an elder is in the local assembly. In order to manifest His authority in the Church, God sets up elders in local assemblies to represent His authority. Hence the other name used in Scripture for elder is "bishop," which carries within its meaning the sense of authority in his "overseership." The Bible instructs us to submit to the elders because they have authority. And because all authorities initiated by God are representative in character, so the authority of the elders is also representative—to manifest the authority of God. Irrespective of how well the elders represent divine authority, a Christian must nonetheless learn to submit to them because all authorities are of God.

    At the inauguration of any gathering of believers in a locality, there are no elders. But gradually some people who commence to function like elders will begin to be manifested within the group. As was mentioned already, elder and bishop are different names for the same office. The term elder points to the person, while bishop points to the service. Furthermore, the elders in the Bible are always plural and never singular in number. For things are less likely to go wrong when the spirits of two, three, or more persons are receiving the same guidance. Individualism is never a biblical principle; it can easily lead to error.
    by Published on 10-14-2010 04:33 PM     Number of Views: 856 
    1. Categories:
    2. Millennial Kingdom

    Let's go through the calculation again. There is a 5% chance that there would be two Total Lunar Tetrads, each occurring on passover, tabernacles, passover and tabernacles, in the 20th century.

    There is a 2% chance one of those two Tetrads fall on 1949/50 and a 1% chance the one remaining falls on the other date of 1967/68. That is a 1 in 100,000 chance. Praise the Lord!

    You could take it one step further and ask what is the probability the 21st century is the century with the most Tetrads (eight of them) in the five thousand years from 2000 BC to 3000 AD? Since it has only happened four times, that is 4/50. 4/50 x 1/100,000 = 1 in 1,250,000.

    I don't recall anyone in history ever having such an amazing proof as this. What you would have to do is show something comparable in the past where a prediction was made with as amazing probabilities as this.

    You shouldn't blame this proof because of numskulls in the past who blather off any old prediction. Do you see that approach would be illogical?

    So this is a 99.999% or 99.9999% chance the Tribulation will start on Sept. 14, 2015 and conclude Aug. 7, 2022 when Jesus steps down on the mount of olives.

    Now if I am wrong it is not because of the math, but because of some other reason. I am the first to admit I am wrong if I have overlooked something, but as far as the math is concerned, clearly Jesus will return on Aug. 7, 2022 which also commemorates the destruction of the 1st and 2nd Temples.

    "And his [Jesus] feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which [is] before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, [and there shall be] a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south" (Zech. 14.4).

    "Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1.11).

    "Prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard [speeches] which ungodly sinners have spoken against him" (Jude 14,15).

    "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen" (Rev. 1.7).

    What are you going to change the name of your website to since all atheist sites will be taken down with a rod of iron when Jesus returns?

    "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" (Rev. 19.15).
    by Published on 10-10-2010 01:24 PM     Number of Views: 2697 

    Opening Seals (6.1-8.5)
    "Come, Lord Jesus," CFP white cover, Watchman Nee

    Are the six seals in chapter 6 already fulfilled, in the process of being fulfilled, or waiting to be fulfilled in the tribulation to come? There are two evidences to show that these are either fulfilled already or in the process of being fulfilled.

    (1) In 5.2 it is declared: "Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?" But by the time of 5.7 the Lamb has taken the book. Will He thereafter wait two thousand years before He opens the seven seals?

    (2) Unless God in His dealing is setting aside the church, He cannot acknowledge He is now dealing with the Jews. Yes, by the time of 7.1-8 God does begin to acknowledge the Jews and to choose them as His servants. But this section in chapter 7 follows upon the sixth seal. It therefore logically indicates that the time before the sixth seal is the time of the church.
    From these two evidences we may conclude that the six seals are either already fulfilled or in the process of being fulfilled.

    6.1-2 "ONE OF THE SEVEN SEALS . . . A WHITE HORSE"

    Why use four living creatures to announce the four horses? Perhaps for the simple reason that there are four horses.

    6.2 What is the significance of the white horse? There are three different interpretations.
    (1) It refers to Antichrist. The reasons are as follows:

    a) Christ does not ride on a white horse till in the time of chapter 19. So that this incident cannot refer to Him.

    b) In speaking of the tribulation, Matthew 24 relates four things, among which are mentioned false christs. Naturally, then, what is being referred to here should be the false christ.

    c) There being a bow but without an arrow indicates that the victory is not real. Thus this cannot refer to Christ.

    (2) It alludes to international peace pacts, and the arguments for this interpretation are as follows:

    a) White is the color of righteousness, hence the saints wear white garments and the Lord rides upon a white horse. This is peace brought in through righteousness.

    b) A bow without an arrow is a sign of peace. International peace is thus maintained with righteous might.

    (3) It points to Christ, and the reasons given for this interpretation are as follows:

    a) Since the one who rides the white horse mentioned in chapter 19 is Christ, it naturally must be Christ in chapter 6.

    b) Since power and authority rendered to the other three horses are given by God, that of the first horse must also be given by God. And whom will God crown except Christ?

    c) Only Christ comes forth conquering and to conquer.

    d) Christ must have taken the bow before He was crowned. A bow without an arrow implies that the arrow has already been shot and that thus it has dealt the devil a fatal wound. God therefore crowns Christ that He may be glorified.

    e) Concerning the four horses, only in 6.4 is the word "another" used, thus intimating that the first horse is different from the later three horses.

    f) The priority in God’s plan is that His Son shall conquer—and His conquest is the victory of the gospel. (One of the four living creatures says "Come" [in some old manuscripts it is rendered "Go"], for the living creatures themselves do not speak with the tone of command.) Which of the three interpretations is correct? The third one (pointing to Christ) seems to be more reasonable, hence we will decide on Christ.

    6.3-4 "THE SECOND SEAL . . . A RED HORSE"

    Red is the color of blood. Taking peace away means war.

    The first horse (white) conquers by the bow, so it is battling at a distance. The red horse fights with a sword, so it is battling in proximity. The phrase "to take peace from the earth" proves that war is for the sake of war, not for the sake of ideology. War that aims at "slay(ing) one another" is considered by the Bible to be the worst kind. It accomplishes nothing but death, destruction, and annihilation (Judges 7.22; Zech. 8.10; Jer. 25.15-31; Lev. 26.25).

    6.5-6 "THE THIRD SEAL . . . A BLACK HORSE"

    Black is the color for famine (Jer. 14.1-3; Lam. 4.8,9; 5.10). In the Bible, wheat and barley are usually shown as being sold by measure; balances are used to weigh precious things. But a balance is here used for wheat and barley, which indicates that every grain is taken into account.

    "A measure of wheat for a shilling"—In Matthew 20.2 we find that the wages for a laborer are one shilling a day. This is therefore the daily wages for one person. So what he earns is just enough for his own consumption.

    "And three measures of barley for a shilling"—The difference in value between wheat and barley is normally stated in the ratio of one to two, but at this time it has become a ratio of one to three (see 2 Kings 7.16, 18 for the one-to-two ratio).

    "And the oil and the wine hurt thou not"—This hints that oil and wine were wasted in other times since they are not staple food. But now they ought not be wasted for it is the time of famine. Nevertheless, this also suggests that vines and olive trees are being kept by God.

    For the past two thousand years war and famine and earthquake have increased in number and scope as well as in intensity and in closer occurrence to each other.

    6.7-8 "THE FOURTH SEAL. . . A PALE HORSE"

    The word "pale" here is the same Greek word translated "green" in Mark 6.39 and Revelation 8.7 and 9.4. Green is the color of grass. When this color appears on the face it signifies either sickness or death. And hence the name of the one who sits on this pale horse is called Death.
    "Hades" is the subterranean, unseen world. Hades here serves as a dustpan into which the dead are swept.

    By the sword of the red horse, the famine of the black horse, and the pestilence of the pale horse, plus the wild beasts of the earth, one fourth of the world’s population will be killed.

    The use of "wild beasts" is one of God’s severest judgments (Num. 21.6; 2 Kings 2.24, 17.25).

    6.9-11 "THE FIFTH SEAL . . . UNDERNEATH THE ALTAR THE SOULS . . . CRIED"

    The Bible frequently divides the number seven into four and three or three and four. Three is the number of God, and four is the number of man. Four followed by three means that man advances and draws nigh to God. Three followed by four indicates a falling from a good position to the lower level of man. Since the churches are seen and discussed in chapters 2 and 3 as first three and then four, they are depicted as going downhill. But the seven seals are mentioned in a cluster of four first and of three next, so that what is expressed here is different from what is expressed in the discussion of the seven churches.

    What this passage of Scripture speaks of is the situation of the church being persecuted during these two thousand years.

    6.9 "The word of God" includes all the commandments of God.

    "And for the testimony which they held" means that the believers bear witness to the testimony of the Lord Jesus habitually (Rev. 1.2, 6.9, 12.17). Some people maintain that this passage does not refer to the church under persecution because it has not mentioned that they held to the testimony of Jesus. Instead, the passage should be considered as referring to the persecution of the Old Testament saints. Yet if we remember that the purpose of this whole book is centered around the testimony of Jesus, then "the testimony which they held" must be in connection with the same testimony, and therefore it must be the Lord’s children in view here.

    "The altar"—The Bible speaks of two altars: (1) that upon which the sacrifices are offered, and (2) the golden altar of incense. One renowned writer declared that all the altars in the book of Revelation should be translated as altars of incense. But there is not sufficient justification for such an assertion.

    On the contrary, the altar here must be the altar of sacrifices—for the following reasons.

    (1) According to Old Testament typology, no one should go up to the altar with his nakedness uncovered (Ex. 20.26). This signifies that no naked body can meet God. Anyone who does not have a resurrection body is considered naked, and therefore he cannot appear before God. For this reason, 2 Corinthians 5.4 speaks about being "clothed upon" with a new body. (After a person is dead, his soul does not go to God right away.) Without resurrection, no one can stand beside the golden altar of incense.

    (2) When the Bible speaks of altar, it always refers to the altar of sacrifice. Special descriptive words such as "golden", "incense", and so forth are used to refer to the golden altar of incense so as to distinguish it from the altar standing in the outer court.

    (3) The blood of all the sacrifices flows down underneath the altar (Ex. 29.12; Lev. 4.7, 5.9).

    (4) There is life in the blood, and this word "life" in the original Hebrew is the word "soul" (Lev. 17.11 mg., 17.14). "Underneath the altar" means underneath the earth. The altar typifies the cross; beneath the cross is the earth. Hence underneath the altar here refers to Paradise in the heart of the earth (Matt. 12.40). We notice the following clause in Acts 2.27: "because thou wilt not leave my soul unto Hades"; moreover, in Numbers 16.32 it is stated that "the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods" (Not only may no man appear before God without a body, neither may he enter the lake of fire without a body.).

    "Slain"—During the Roman era, Christians were persecuted and many were slain. The writer of the book of Revelation, John himself, was among the persecuted. Even as recently as in modern Russia, countless numbers of Christians have been killed.

    6.10 "O Master, the holy and true"—Govett felt that this was the way the Old Testament saints addressed the Lord, yet in Revelation 3.7 the Lord himself told the church tha
    t He is the one who is holy and true. Thus we here find the saints addressing the Lord.
    "Them that dwell on the earth"—Such an expression is found many times in this book (8.13; 13.8,12; 13.14; 14.6; 17.2,8). It refers to those who make earth their home and have their all on earth. These will God judge. According to 3.10 the hour of trial will come upon the whole world to try them that dwell upon the earth.

    The prayer here is not the same as Stephen’s, for Stephen prayed for God’s mercy while the prayer in this passage is for judgment. Hence the saints here are praying against sinners.

    "Avenge our blood"—God does not forget the prayer of the poor (Ps. 9.12). When God begins to judge those who have persecuted the saints, He avenges His saints.

    6.11 "White robe"—This shows that God has justified them because they were accepted by Him. The justification here is different from that of salvation since this is the verdict of God who on the throne is announcing that the saints have won the case, they only waiting for the verdict to be executed.

    "Rest yet for a little time"—This word alone may prove that the church cannot be raptured all at once, because this waiting implies a long and protracted persecution.

    "Until their fellow-servants also and their brethren"—During the Great Tribulation there will be great slaughter. In 7.13-15 political persecution is spoken of, but 17.6 refers to religious persecution. The way for the church is through death.

    The Bible seems to imply that at the first rapture there is no resurrection. The phrase "underneath the altar" does not refer to death as a result of a sin-offering, rather it alludes to death as a consequence of a burnt-offering (Ex. 40.6,10,29; Lev. 4.7,10,18; 1 Chron. 6.49, 16.40, 21.29; 2 Chron. 29.18).

    What men take note of is the sin-offering, but that which God sees first is the burnt-offering. Although without the Lord Jesus ever being the sin-offering we would none of us have life, nevertheless God will not accept anything without Christ being the burnt-offering—that is to say, His offering His all to God in obeying and doing God’s will. Here do we see that even His death on the cross is according to the will of God. In that same spirit of Christ Paul too offered himself as a burnt-offering (Phil. 2.17; 2 Tim. 4.6). Throughout his life he was a living sacrifice.

    All the martyrs shall enter the kingdom to reign. Three classes of people will reign with Christ (20.4): (1) "thrones, and they sat upon them"—this refers to those people such as are cited in 3.21; (2) "them that had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God" (they are now resurrected)—here it is a reference to those people as are found mentioned in 6.11; and (3) "such as worshipped not the beast, neither his image"—this is referring to those fellow-servants and their brethren mentioned in 6.11 (they also are resurrected).

    6.12-17 "THE SIXTH SEAL . . . A GREAT EARTHQUAKE"

    The Bible gives two accounts in Joel and Matthew of the celestial cataclysm and earthquake that are to occur at the second coming of the Lord. One cataclysmic event will occur in advance of the day of His coming and another one will follow the day of His return. In other words, one will happen before the Great Tribulation and another will occur after the Great Tribulation. Joel 3.16-17 and 2.30-31 describe what will happen before the great and terrible day of the Lord, that is, in advance of the Great Tribulation. On the other hand, Matthew 24.29-30 explains what will come to pass after these days of the Great Tribulation are over. Therefore, the sixth seal speaks of the situation prior to the Great Tribulation.

    6.12-14 We dare not say this section has all been fulfilled, but neither dare we state that none of it has been fulfilled. A century ago some similar scenes happened in Australia, with people at that time manifesting the conditions as described in 6.15-16. Thus, what is given in this section seems to have been fulfilled. However, what is depicted in 6.14 has never been witnessed in history with such intensity, and therefore it waits to be fulfilled.

    "Black as sackcloth of hair"—The tent used by the Jews as well as by the Arabs is made of black sackcloth, hence such a description.

    "The stars of the heaven fell unto the earth"—(1) These stars may refer to meteors; and (2) Since some stars are far bigger than the earth, how can they fall upon the earth? Most likely they are to fall in a direction towards the earth rather than fall upon the earth.

    6.15-16 This passage reveals the working of their conscience. They are conscious of the coming of God’s judgment. Only the blood of our Lord can give peace to our conscience and cause us to escape the wrath of God. How much more dependable the Blood is than the mountains and the rocks.
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