The Breaking of the Seals of the Book: Explaining / Vindicating the Past
At Christ’s ascension from the Mount of Olives into Heaven in 33 A.D., as the apostles bore witness (Acts 1:6-11), one can only imagine the unfathomable glories that the God-Man possesses in the unseen realms of Eternity! Jesus knew what awaited Him just beyond the Cross, and thus He prayed, “And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:5, 24). Little did the apostles know what Christ was foreseeing! Namely, that death would, in turn, mean newness of life! That Christ would be resurrected and immaculately received into Heaven as the one and only Mediator between God and men! We, the Gentiles, are privileged to see beyond the curtain as John describes the inexplicable in the power of inspiration! Even so, there we see Him, the Man Jesus of Nazareth at the pinnacle of power and glory while assuming the Royal Ministries of Priest and King on behalf of redeemed mankind according to Revelation 1-5. Oh, how marvelous the sight!
Lo and behold, the ministries of Jesus have an organic existence from Heaven-to-Earth! This is a stunning display of the Kingdom of God among the Gentiles which no doubt amazed the first readers of 96 A.D.! In awe and remembering the unanswered questions and painful wonderings of the past, they beheld the ascension of Christ into Heaven like as it took place in 33 A.D. as illustrated in Revelation 5. In coming upon Revelation 6, recognizing there’s no intermission in the heavenly vision, the readers would look with longing to know what took place in Heaven from 33 A.D. to 70 A.D. and from 70 A.D. to 96 A.D.! They read in hopes that the past might be explained and vindicated, and the future declared!
Lunging into the End of the World & the Book is Unopened
Upon Christ’s triumphant ascent in 33 A.D., Heaven reacts! The ineffable utterances of angelic worship are redirected! Upon the book being taken, the worthiness of Christ is extolled! The Man to whom is given universal lordship begins to open the book by breaking the seals thereof, and thus begins Revelation 6. The ascended Christ, with the full power of the Government of Heaven at His command (Isa. 9:6-7), is at last seen by the early saints who read with hope and longing to discover what’s in the book and what divine plan authored therein will be implemented in Heaven and on Earth at its opening! However, in the next 17 verses – at the breaking of the 6 seals – the reader strides into the End of the World and the book hasn’t yet been opened!
 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?
I repeat, the book is unopened! It is sealed shut! The 7th Seal remains intact and unbroken, and yet the End of the World is come! How? The 96 A.D. saints, struck with admiration and wonder, stand in awe of the reading! A rush of emotions carries the mind right back to how they felt from 33 A.D. to 70 A.D. leading into the prophetic sequence which was supposed to be, so they thought, the End of the World! Feelingly, the emotions of those memories do touch the unhealed wounds of the Christian Heart! Gasping, and bowing the head in prayer, the readers brace themselves for an encounter with truth! The humbled souls are wowed with the luster of divine inspiration even as the holy text, glimmering with mystery, inspires the reader to take a closer look! Surely, surely, so they ponder, “God is going to give an answer!” “Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail?” (Jer. 15:18).
While the truth is yet unknown the pain of the heart is unhealed. My reader, put yourself in their shoes. The 96 A.D. saints are put in memory of those unforgettable sights and sounds during the woeful yet glorious times of the past 63 years since Christ’s ascension into Heaven, and they’re in pain. They remember how soon after Christ’s ascent, the tumultuous persecutions began in an increasing fashion as they beheld the Church suffer an ongoing and widespread martyrdom resulting from the Jews ill-affecting the heathen and, in turn, they saw God’s judgment upon the Jews, they beheld the utter desolation of the Jewish State of Israel, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the burning of the Temple while the Jews were slaughtered and scattered! Having watched Christians suffer and die in this seasonal but ongoing persecution, and then to see the utter desolation of what used to be the place and people of the Kingdom of God in the earth… how would you feel?
“…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?” – Rev. 6:9-10
In reading, and wagging the head with wonder, they plainly recall how often they wondered the thoughts and cried the words of the prayer set forth in Revelation 6:10. In reading, they pause and tearfully remember the actual faces of martyred men and women whom they knew by name praying such words under the Throne of God in Heaven; a semblance of the whole exercise that took place on the earth! Hereby, the wonderings of the Christian Heart during an entire generation are underscored, and the readers are at loss for words. With the questions that dominated the minds of all the saints being directly engaged in the revelation, the readers are attentive. The question(s) could otherwise be phrased, “How long, O Lord, until the End of the World that coincides with the 2nd Coming of Christ according to the prophecies of Jesus?”. Ah, this unanswered question! The disquieted Christian Heart! The unmet expectations!
Even so, how graciously is the divine answer being revealed from Heaven in the Book of Revelation! And, how relevant is the revelation that the 96 A.D. readers did read! Despite the devil tempting otherwise, and many saints at sundry times being caused to doubt, the longing prayer being expressed in Heaven (according to Revelation 6:10) was beheld by God’s observant eyes as His saints prayed in like manner on the earth. Therefore, the quickened readers of 96 A.D. are thinking: “What marvelous prophecy is this?” Soberly reflecting, and with the names and faces of courageous martyrs flashing in the mind (the 1st century saints who died expectantly!), the reader is made to ponder what became of their expectation. They all died expectantly, even as all 1st century saints expected the End of the World to be imminent; and seeing that the End of the World didn’t come, as was expected, the question remains: “How long…?” (Rev. 6:10).
At this, God has the 96 A.D. readers right where He wants them. The readers have traced the text that maps the journey of the last 63 years and thereby, God’s answer: the unopened book. In other words, theretofore (33 A.D. à 96 A.D.) the final, complete, and ultimate plan of the End of the World hasn’t yet been implemented. The reign of the ascended Christ in Heaven, having just begun, started with the breaking of the seals. Hence, the events of the last 63 years leading into 70 A.D. and beyond took place as having proceeded from Heaven-to-Earth through the Ministry of Christ in that He began the seal-breaking for the eventual opening of the book; an event in Heaven that hasn’t happened yet going into 96 A.D (nor can it happen in any generation without the Jews regathered, the Jewish State of Israel restored, Jerusalem rebuilt, and the Temple constructed)! Hence, a clear pivot takes place in going from Revelation 6:17 to Revelation 7:1-3 – the book is about to be opened in the breaking of the 7th Seal which, in turn, would unleash the divine judgments which would bring about the End of the World (Rev. 8-9). Before this takes place the elect – the Last Generation – must be searched, found, prepared, and fortified by a divine sealing (Rev. 7:1-3, Matt. 24:34); clearly, this is why the ongoing sequence of divine judgments were suddenly halted and the angels at the four winds were restrained in Revelation 7:1-3.
Breaking the 6 Seals à Commemorating the Feeling of Lunging into the End of the World
The Lion of the Tribe of Judah (the only one worthy to fulfill divine foretelling)
My reader, you may be wondering how one can certainly know the content of the writing in the unopened book. Or, you may be wondering why I am certainly affirming that the writing of the unopened book is the divine plan of the End of the World. This is a good question, one that deserves a sound answer. However, I plead for patience! By patience, I mean the kind that David spoke of in Psalm 119:97-100. The kind of patience that would elongate your meditations of Holy Scripture and enlarge your understanding like the humble boast of David’s song, when he said,
“MEM. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.” – Psalm 119:97-100
The answer to this question is hidden in plain sight, truly, which means that it is easy to be seen, but it is only discoverable by those who have a solid grasp of Biblical Church History in how it forged the doctrines of Restoration Prophecy (the ancient origins of Biblical Eschatology). Biblical Church History is the law, commandments, testimonies, and precepts that David spoke about. Furthermore, upon seeing this, one will realize the commemoration being made in the breaking of the 6 Seals because, after all, the feeling of lunging into the End of the World isn’t new. However, the ascension of the God-Man Jesus is new!
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the Government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the Throne of David, and upon His Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” – Isa. 9:6-7
My reader, knowing that Christ has ascended into Heaven to reign as KING of Kings to fit the above description and much more (Ps. 110:1-2, Isa. 9:6-7, 1 Cor. 15:24-25, Dan. 7:9), why is the taking of the book the momentous occasion being extolled in Heaven? Evidently, the book is of strategic importance to the reign of Christ in the Government of Heaven. If the triumph of Christ is illustrated by Jesus ascending to take the book and open it (Rev. 5:1-5), and of course to look thereon and read it, we can understand how the following events of Revelation 8-22 are going to take place because Christ is reading the book. In reading it, He is executing the plan of judgment & redemption contained therein (“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” – Rom. 11:33)! Jesus of Nazareth is enthroned in Heaven for the governmental implementation of an otherwise unreadable, unknowable, unsearchable, and unseeable redemption, had not Jesus been incarnated into the Tribe of Judah!
“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the Tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” – Rev. 5:5
“Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.” – Gen. 49:8-12
“Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought! Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain.” – Num. 23:23-24
“God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows. He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee.” – Num. 24:8-9
You see, my reader? One must become acquainted with the unfulfilled words of divine foretelling to understand how the ascended Christ will achieve a lionlike victory in that He is the prophesied Davidic King whose rule would bring about the End of the World. The crux of the matter is that others were called and failed, and Christ didn’t! This is the story of Biblical Church History (“no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon” – Rev. 5:4). When others were called and through failure left the call unanswered, a vacuum was created of man’s unworthiness that threatened to breach all the words of God …but seeing that it is impossible that the word of God should fail, the Word became flesh! Literally, through the Tribe of Judah, and as the seed of David, Jesus’s ongoing human life is fulfilling the otherwise unfulfillable words of divine foretelling! This feat is impossible without the ascension – the book-taking, seal-breaking, book-opening, book-reading, & book-keeping ministry of the Messiah! As previously affirmed, this triumph becomes visible through a comprehension of Restoration Prophecy; the foretold events of restoration wherein the Jews would be regathered, restored, and glorified! This, of course, brings us to the 1st Restoration Generation.
The 1st Restoration Generation
The Root of David, the Branch (the only one worthy to fulfill divine foretelling)
It is expedient that one understands the breaching of the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants, and also the growing declension of the Kings leading into the Assyrian & Babylonian Captivities, if one aspires to comprehend the restoration prophecy that pertains to the 1st Restoration Generation. One must understand the fall before the rise, the desolation before the restoration, and so one will learn of the Restorer. For, during the Assyrian & Babylonian Captivities the prophecies of the Messiah are more vibrant than ever. As demonstrated above (Rev. 5:5, Gen. 49:8-12, Num. 23:23-24, 24:8-9), the Messiah is the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecies foretelling a Lionlike Ruler rising from the Tribe of Judah. These prophecies, dreadful though they be, are not as prominent as those pertaining to “the root of David” (Rev. 5:5).
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:” – Isa. 11:1
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” – Jer. 23:5
“In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.” – Jer. 33:15
The above statements are but the tip of the iceberg. Can you believe it? Please, take some time to read the context of the above scriptures. The divine foretelling of things accomplished by the coming of the Branch is nothing short of the Millennial Reign of Christ at the End of the World! Of course, this is the ultimate fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant in its manifestation, the raising up of the Tabernacle of David that has been broken down and put to desolation (Amos 9:11, Ps. 89), hence the use of the term: “the root of David” (Rev. 5:5). Isaiah, who was one of the first to speak of the destruction of Jerusalem and the dissolving of the Davidic Throne (Isa. 13:1-14:32), is very pointed in prophesying of the restoration and revival of the Davidic Throne. The most memorable prophecies of this revival are those in reference to the Branch – namely, that through His coming the redemptive purpose of God’s judgment of Judah through Babylon would be realized.
From the beginning of Isaiah’s prophecies, the prophet was purposefully forthright in declaring the restoration of that which was in jeopardy, namely the status of Judah’s eventual restoration in that, God said, “I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The City of Righteousness, The Faithful City. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness” (Isa. 1:26-27). Pause and contemplate the actual fulfillment of this prophetic word, my reader! Given the tumultuous course of Judah and Jerusalem theretofore, this is a staggering pronouncement! With respect to the nigh-unwavering constancy of backsliding from generation to generation (Isa. 1:21-22, Jer. 2:2-3, 21, Isa. 5:1-7), I mean, this would be a profound difference, a staggering contrast, a glorious restoration! In terms of Isaiah’s prophecy, this meant: no more murderers, dross, mixing, rebellion, and impurities (Isa. 1:21-28), meaning a complete eradication of all transgressors and sinners from Zion (Isa. 1:28-31, Ps. 101:1-8)! My reader, do you see the point?
I mean, because the LORD desired to destroy Jerusalem and dissolve the Davidic Throne because of the sins of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:21-24), and for the oath’s sake repented (2 Sam. 7:12-16, 2 Chron. 12:13); and seeing that the same sequence of events transpired because of the sins of Abijah (1 Kings 15:3-5) and Jehoram (2 Kings 8:19), the Lord repenting for the oath’s sake; and seeing that the divinely provocative and short-of-perfection behavior continued from Jehoram to Ahaz, who was Hezezkiah’s father, insomuch that in the days of Hezekiah the LORD did once again pursue the utter destruction of Jerusalem, which was thwarted for the oath’s sake (Micah 3:12, Jer. 26:17-20, 2 Chron. 32:20, Isa. 37:35); and, at last, upon observing the same thing happen with Josiah (2 Chron. 34:27-28), what profoundly glorious restoration is Isaiah speaking of in Isaiah 1:26-27? What unearthly man could break this cycle of the sons of Adam (Rom. 5:12-21, 1 Cor. 15:21-22)? Well, Isaiah says that it’s all because of the Branch (Isa. 11:1-12:6)!
In the tribulation period during the Babylonian Captivities the LORD upbraided the seated Kings of Judah, the possessors of the Throne of David, because of their unethical hopefulness for partiality to wit God would forgive their impenitent sins and forbear to destroy Jerusalem yet again, but time had run out! The sons of Josiah, the Kings of Judah, were fearfully ignorant that the Davidic Throne shouldn’t have survived theretofore on account of the sins of their predecessors, their fathers, whose deeds they followed! They hoped that as always, the oaths of the Davidic Covenant would be preferred, the Davidic Throne would continue to be eternal, and the City of Jerusalem indestructible, but all in vain (Jer. 17:24-27; see “Bewilderment & Blindness by a Covenant Breached”)! Isaiah’s foretold restoration, however, is radically different than pastime situations! Why?
Isaiah says it’s all because of “the Branch” (Isa. 4:2-6): a Man said to be born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14) and, notwithstanding, “a root of Jesse” (Isa. 11:1, 10; “of the seed of David according to the flesh” – Rom. 1:3), having a shoulder’s breadth that can carry the weight and responsibility that comes with “the Throne of David” (Isa. 9:6-7), whose lineage will effectively rebuild “the Tabernacle of David” (Isa. 16:5), having unsurpassed authority as one who possesses “the Key of the House of David” (Isa. 22:22), one upon whom rests “the sure mercies of David” (Isa. 55:3), so that in this Branch the saying of Amos would be fulfilled, “in that Day will I raise up the Tabernacle of David” (Amos 9:11). According to Isaiah’s prophecies, this Man is identified by God to be, “My Servant” (Isa. 52:13-15, 53:1-13; Php. 2:5-8, 1 Cor. 15:45-47). According to Ezekiel, the Man is called “My Servant David” and also the “One Shepherd” and “Prince” of God’s people (Ezek. 34:23-24). Again, in Ezekiel 37:24-25, the LORD says that “David My Servant shall be King over them; and they shall have One Shepherd…”, and, “My Servant David shall be their Prince for ever”. Speaking of the same Man, an Elder of Heaven’s Court said, “behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the Book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” (Rev. 5:5), but this declaration was long after the Restoration Generation of Zerubbabel and Joshua fell short of the promise.
All of this was originally calendared to happen (God in the Ways of Man) in the regathering and restoration directly after the 70-year Babylonian Captivity (Jer. 29:10-14, 25:11-12, 27:22). Then, with a remnant returning (Isa. 10:20-22), they would seek David their King like Hosea the prophet prophesied (Hos. 3:5); strikingly, the regathering and restoration happens at the same time as the Branch (Jer. 23:3-8, Isa. 11:1-12:6) to wit: the Lord will regather them just like he did in bringing them out of Egypt (Jer. 23:3-8, Isa. 11:16, Hag. 2:5) and dwell in the midst of them for the rebuilding of the Temple unto unprecedented manifestations of divine glory (Isa. 12:6, Zech. 1:16, 2:5, 10, 6:12, 8:3)! Knowing this, and hearing God speak of Joshua the High Priest as the Branch (Zech. 3:8-10, 6:9-15), the God-fearing Jews of the Restoration Generation would have been in great wonder and expectation of what was about to take place, and for obvious reasons! Beholding the selfsame events pertaining to the Branch, Jeremiah prophesied, “I will raise unto David a Righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth” (Jer. 23:5), and, “…they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their King, whom I will raise up unto them” (Jer. 30:9, 33:14-26)!
Ezekiel’s Temple & its Prince (the only one worthy to fulfill divine foretelling)
The 1st Restoration Generation of the Jews that returned from Babylon after the 70-Year Captivity (Jer. 25:11-14, 29:10-14, Dan. 9:2) knew that they were the promised generation spoken of by the prophets of old, in that: a man was identified as the Branch among them (the man to whom God has given the Davidic Throne – Zech. 3:8-10, 6:9-15). As proven above, this was a staggering prophecy! However, a less well-known prophecy of equal proportions pertained to the construction of the Temple that was at hand in the 1st Restoration Generation! Namely, that the construction project endeavored by the regathered Jews was identified by Zechariah to be Ezekiel’s Temple in that he saw what Ezekiel beheld, namely the Man with the Measuring Line & Reed at work among them (Ezek. 40:3, Zech. 1:16, 2:1-2), and this of course meant the utter overthrow of Babylon making possible the building of Ezekiel’s Temple and, consequentially, the return of the Glory of God thereto (Ezek. 43:2-6, 4-8, Hag. 2:1-9), and all of this coincides with the Shaking that will bring about the End of the World (Hag. 2:21-23, Isa. 13:13, 17-19)! Effectively, this gave the feeling of lunging into the End of the World!
You see, according to Nehemiah and Ezra, Babylon and the prosperity of the heathen in general was a hindrance to Zerubbabel building the Temple (Hag. 1:8, 14, 2:2-9). The status of Babylon was spoken of in Zechariah 1:9-11 to wit, we learn that God was very sore displeased with unjudged Babylon (Zech. 1:9-11, 15). Being sorely displeased, the word of the Lord promised the judgment of God upon Babylon (Zech. 1:18-21) and in so doing, namely upon the implementation of these judgments, a Measuring Reed would be stretched upon Jerusalem (Zech. 1:16-17, 2:1-5). This Measuring Line or Reed speaks to the work of God in the rebuilding of the City of Jerusalem (Zech. 1:16-17, 2:1-5, Jer. 31:38-40, Ezek. 37:11-14, Ezek. 47:13-48:35) and the Temple of God for the Return of the Glory of God (Ezek. 40:2-8, 43:2-6, 44:4-8, 8-16, Hag. 2:3-9) while, simultaneously, it speaks as a unified voice with the Plummet (Zech. 4:10, Amos 7:7-9, Lam. 2:8, 2 Kings 21:13). What do all three of these have in common? In a fluid reading of Zechariah 1:9-2:14, it is apparent that the judgment of God upon Babylon does effectually remove every obstacle that hinders the building of Jerusalem and the Temple. These are two simultaneous acts of God that are related to one another, in the past and in the future. Accordingly, the Plummet has been used in prophetic terminology to convey a measured and calculated execution of judgment in proportion to what is justly required (Zech. 4:10, Amos 7:7-9, Lam. 2:8, 2 Kings 21:13, 2 Sam. 8:2, Isa. 28:17). Seeing that judgment is hastening upon Babylon, the people of God are called to flee from her lest they are destroyed with her (Zech. 2:6, 9:8-17, Rev. 18:4-5). So, what is “the headstone” being brought forth in Zechariah 4:7?
Well, Zerubbabel had already laid the foundation of the Temple during this time, therefore as the work continued we know that it was necessary for Zerubbabel to lay a headstone for the building of the structure of the Temple upon the foundation. This should have been a profoundly victorious advancement in the building because this Temple, upon being completed, was prophesied to amount to the Latter House of Glory! However, upon reading Haggai 2:3-9 it is apparent that the building fell short of the word being spoken. Do you disagree?
“Who is left among you that saw this House in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the High Priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts: According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this House with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. The glory of this Latter House shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.” – Hag. 2:3-9
God spoke this to Zerubbabel in the regathering after 70-year Babylonian Captivity because the Temple that he was building was supposed to become the Latter House of Glory according to Ezekiel’s prophecies (Ezek. 40:2-8, 43:2-6, 44:4-8, 8-16, etc.). Ezekiel spoke of a prophetic signal that marks the beginning of the construction of this Temple, saying,
“…behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a Line of Flax in his hand, and a Measuring Reed; and he stood in the Gate.” – Ezek. 40:3
This is the first mention of the Doctrine of the Measuring Reed or Line, and certainly not the last. Ezekiel’s prophetic vision of the man with a Measuring Reed & Line carried on to reveal a Temple far superior in Glory than any other ever built. With the Measuring Reed the man measured the Temple (Ezek. 40:1-47:12) and with the Measuring Line he determined and divided the borders and inheritances of the Promised Land (Ezek. 47:13-48:35). Undoubtedly, this was the Latter House of Glory that Haggai spoke of, the one being assembled at the hands of Zerubbabel. Haggai’s contemporary, the prophet Zachariah, explicitly confirmed this to be the case when he had a vision in which, he said,
“I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a Measuring Line in his hand.” – Zech. 2:1
At the combined testimony of Haggai and Zechariah, God was in the process of building Ezekiel’s Temple and rebuilding Jerusalem according to the Glory of God that all the prophets spoke of for generations (Jer. 31:38-40, Ezek. 37:11-14). Moreover, Ezekiel’s Temple had to be an Old Testament structure seeing that: the offering of animal sacrifices for atonement was still in practice (Ezek. 40:38-43, 42:13-14) being officiated by the Aaronic Priesthood (Ezek. 40:45-46, 43:19, 44:15-16, 48:11), and the Prince, like any other redeemed man, was in need of atonement for his own sins committed against God (Ezek. 46:4-15); moreover, other evidences include the fact that the Prince has physical sons (Ezek. 46:16-18) and the Sabbath is still in observation (Ezek. 46:1, 3). In conclusion, seeing that historical Zerubbabel’s original building (that became the House of 2nd Temple Judaism) didn’t amount to the Latter House Glory prophesied by Haggai, Zechariah, and Ezekiel, it is apparent that this generation fell short of the promises and prophecies directed to them as the Restoration Generation. Hence, the prophesied regathering and restoration was recasted to the Last Days in relationship to the Latter House of Glory.
Like all authentic Covenants that existed among promised generations and peoples, this one had conditions (Jer. 12:15-17, Zech. 3:6-7, 6:9-15); and, at the continued disobedience of the people the breaches were accounted of (Hag. 2:14, Zech. 7:1-14, Neh. 13:1-31, Mal. 1-4). The scriptural parameters which prophetically outlined the moral status that God required of the regathered people were trespassed; and without this specified status of morality being achieved, the unworthy people were rendered unable to fulfill the divine foretelling. According to the prophecies, these people were supposed to be a people of no more fear or weeping (Jer. 23:4, 46:27-28, Ezek. 36:15, Isa. 30:19), no more uncleanness or defilement (Isa. 52:1, Zech. 14:21, Ezek. 36:29, 33, Ezek. 11:18, 37:23, 43:7), no more straying from God or idolatry (Ezek. 14:11, Zech. 13:2, Ezek. 20:37-42, 36:25, Hos. 14:8), and therefore there would be no more divine anger or war (Ezek. 16:42, Isa. 54:9-10, Ezek. 39:29, Hos. 13:14, 14:4, Jer. 23:4-6, Hos. 2:18, Isa. 60:18, Mic. 4:3-4, Ps. 46:9) and the people would never again leave the Holy Land (Amos 9:11-15, Jer. 31:40)! Did it happen? No. I repeat, Haggai 2:14, Zechariah 7:1-14, Nehemiah 13:1-31, and Malachi 1:1-4:6 do account of the decisive breaches of the Covenant according to the sins of the people and the corresponding repentances of God unto a recasting of the prophecies to be fulfilled in the Latter Days of a distant generation. In other words, the breached promises given especially to the 1st Restoration Generation live-on to be eventually fulfilled in the Messiah, just like the breached promises that were authentically delivered to the Exodus Generation of the Abrahamic Covenant and the Generational Seed of David in the Davidic Covenant.
In retrospect, of course, we know that God ultimately intended (God in the ways of God) all these prophecies to be fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, though they were conditionally delivered to Joshua (the son of Josedech) the High Priest of old, and such like men. Moreover, seeing that acts of redemption and glory would come from the Branch, the likes of which are unprecedented and unachievable except by the Millennial Reign of Christ (the End of the World) and the regeneration of the world (see Isaiah Chapters 4, 11, 12, & 60), the prophet Zechariah is compelled to look yonder into the distant future in a recasting of the prophecies to the Latter Days (see Zechariah Chapters 7-14).
Divine Wonderment & John’s Wonderment
Now, some of my readers may object to this upon thinking it through. In objecting, you may ask: “Are you saying that God meant to fulfill the aforementioned prophecies (ones clearly belonging to Christ) in a King of Judah during the Old Testament dispensation unto an experience of World-Ending Glory comparable to the Millennial Reign?” My reader, permit me to answer your question with a question: Why did God seek a man and wonder that there was no worthy intercessor found in Isaiah 59:16?
“And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him; and His righteousness, it sustained Him.” – Isaiah 59:16 [Isaiah 41:28, 50:2, 59:16, 63:5]
The divine wonderment in this case, and others, exists because God had genuine expectations that redeemed men would be (God giving them grace) worthy intercessors, not in a sense of what Christ did through the offering of Himself for an atonement, but in a sense like the prophets or judges of old did according to Isaiah 59:14-15; however, these are inferior fulfillments of the words spoken that would ultimately and superiorly be fulfilled by Christ. Such occasions of divine wonderment in that God’s genuine expectations went unfulfilled because of man’s disobedience are observable in Isa. 63:8 [Ps. 78:36-37], Zeph. 3:5-7, Jer. 36:3, 7, Ezek. 12:3, Rom. 10:21, Isa. 65:2, Hos. 11:8, Ex. 33:5, & Isaiah 5:1-7, to name a few. The embodiment of the second Person of the Godhead far exceeds the divine expectations committed to redeemed men, but in shouldering of those expectations Christ took the words to unimaginable altitudes of excellence!
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” – Luke 2:8-14
God genuinely intended (God in the Ways of Man) to fulfill these prophecies in a King of Judah, yes, but transcendently He was planning / intending (God in the Ways of God) that all men would come short of what He prophesied or promised to wit Christ would arise! Therefore, it can be said that God (who predestinated Christ’s incarnation) did genuinely intend (determine) the fall of redeemed men to the breaching of the promises and prophecies so that, in turn, the need for Christ is felt and known by all, that mankind would understand that there is no man worthy even though one was sought for; that is, until the Man Jesus of Nazareth was born! Hence, the formerly intended words that were breached of old did necessitate the birth of a Man who is worthy, a different kind of man: the 2nd Adam! Meaning, the unfulfilled words did become flesh, literally, for the fulfillment of the words that no flesh could achieve! Is this not what was meant by the saying, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14; Gen. 24:27)!
My reader, one will find it impossible to interpret prophecy (the will of God in spoken words) and confounding to try if he or she has misinterpreted God Himself. In other words, one will find it impossible to interpret prophecy (the will of God in spoken words) and confounding to try if he has misunderstood, oversimplified, or denied the Two Simultaneous Genuine Wills that exist in God at all times. The seemingly irreconcilable and constant discontinuities of prophecy are made possible by a continuity of two paradoxical relational capacities existing in God: God in the Ways of God and God in the Ways of Man. Consistent discontinuities add up to a continuity – a continuity of discontinuities. Consistent discontinuities over the centuries of God’s spoken and fulfilled words indicate an overall continuity in that the unchangeable and predestinated will of God is made manifest through the happenings of divine repentances. The prophecies of Christ were hidden within the scope of what God expected from redeemed man so that, upon their fall, the prophecies are recalibrated and recasted in an otherwise unachievable fulfillment that only God could accomplish!
Thus, with the passing of the 1st Restoration Generation, and the interim period of 400 years, this brings us to the 2nd Restoration Generation of the Jews wherein the Son of God is incarnated to assume the needed role. My reader, there’s a cohesiveness to this story of human redemption: the divine process of pleading, breaching, recalibrating, and recasting prophecy takes place because of unworthy men being called and failing to meet the mark – an ongoing, unstoppable, and inevitable outcome until a worthy man is found!
 And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the Throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the Throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
Understandably so, this is a divinely orchestrated scenario of Heaven meant to convey the unworthiness of mankind and the worthiness of Christ! The divinely authored terms of the situation do invoke a need for Christ! Certainly, this is a message of prophecy to Judaism / Christianity: the tragedy of the unanswered call and the victory of its ultimate answer communicating the triumph of Christ! Hereby, the problem of human redemption is solved. We know many things in retrospect that weren’t knowable for the called men of former times, nor was the mind of God (God in the Ways of Man) fully decided concerning the events of the future as the divine striving process remained incomplete. GOD WAS LOOKING FOR FAITHFUL MEN. My reader, this is the story of Biblical Church History: God was looking for faithful men and none measured up to the stature and worthiness of the prophesied word! All is loss until divine wonderment moved to make an unprecedented decision: “therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him; and His righteousness, it sustained Him” (Isa. 69:16)! The arm of God in this case is, Jesus of Nazareth. Can you believe it? Few do. That’s why Isaiah and John rose up and prophesied amidst the widespread backsliding, saying,
“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” – Isa. 53:1 [Isa. 50:2, 51:5, 9, 52:10, 53:1, 59:16, 63:5]
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” – John 1:1-18
When, at last, a Man was found worthy to shoulder the promises of the Branch and, in the process, He was rejected by His own (those who should have received Him as the Davidic King!), this was a violation of God’s will, a resistance of God’s promise, and a rejection of the headstone; and, because this was an injustice, a sin against God and the goodness of His will, punishment was deserved; and, because the Jews were scattered instead of gathered in the judgment of God through Rome (Babylon), the Restoration Generation promises were recasted to a distant generation; and, because God is sovereign over all things and Jesus was and is worthy and sinless, the purpose for which He was born will be performed in its time. Jesus will not fail to accomplish what was written (Isaiah 53:1-12, 65:1-2 (Rom. 10:20-21), Hosea 1:10 (Rom. 9:25), Deuteronomy 32:21 (Rom. 10:19), Zechariah 12:10, 13:6-7, & Daniel 9:26). In fact, Jesus is the living manifestation of the writing! Though the meaning of these mysterious prophecies were obscure to interpreters prior to the crucifixion of Christ (Isa. 53:1, Ps. 22:12-19), after the fact the meaning became apparent. For the word Jesus was born, and for the word He died, and for the word He was raised, and for the Word He ascended, and for the Word He reigns in glory, and for the Word He reads and keeps the book, and for the word He will return to Earth to End the World as we know it! Expressly, this is the fullness of grace and truth that Christ, and He alone, demonstrates!
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14
You have heard that it was said, “For the Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). This, of course, is notoriously misinterpreted by many who suppose that the Law of Moses was void of grace and truth (a popular opinion that is thoroughly refuted by the Book of Romans). Such men also believe that the Law is unlovely in that it is but a dead letter, a persuasion much to the contrary of the sentiments of the psalmists, who said, “O how love I Thy law!” (Ps. 119:97), and, “the Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” (Ps. 19:7). My reader, whatsoever teaches men to feel differently about the Law is from the pit of hell! Even so, Hell’s Preachers suppose that the God of the New Testament is a different God than the God of the Old Testament! Thus, they can’t help but misunderstand the Sermon on the Mount thinking that Jesus was reforming the Old Covenant in the major points He was making (see Misconception of Jesus Christ’s Reformation via “The Sermon on the Mount). This being the case, what is the correct interpretation of John 1:17?
As you may have noticed, the fullness of grace and truth is made manifest through the Word being made flesh according to John 1:14. Expressly, this means the performance of things promised of old and throughout all ages! Truly (for the whole truth), and according to the grace of God (in the fullness of grace), it is expedient that Christ would be come! It is apparent that the Apostles, whose minds were opened to understand the scriptures (Lk. 24:45), understood this wondrous necessity on this wise. Jesus didn’t leave them in the dark concerning the momentous significance of Himself. Speaking of this, it was written, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Lk. 24:27).
Hence, it is meet for the Gospel of John to open with the saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1)! Furthermore, it is meet for Gabriel to speak of the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant at the announcement of Jesus’ incarnation (Lk. 1:31-33)! It is meet for Mary to extol the Lord’s remembrance of the words spoken in the Abrahamic Covenant as she is raptured in the assurance of the words spoken to her of Jesus’s birth (Lk. 1:54-55)! It is meet that Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, would speak of the Davidic & Abrahamic Covenants being fulfilled with the coming of Jesus (Lk. 1:68-75)! Wittingly, and intentionally, Zechariah made the aforementioned extolments! Wittingly, I say, because this confession was made after spending months in silent meditation concerning all the words of God which are yet to be fulfilled according the report of the angel Gabriel (Lk. 1:19-20)! My reader, the dumbstruck man hearkened to the written word of God! Signifying this, Zechariah bore witness to the divine motive behind the work of God at hand in the birth of John the Baptist & Jesus, in the saying: “As He [God] spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began…” (Lk. 1:70-79)! These extolments were made by Mary, Elizabeth, and Zechariah after 400 years of silence and, before that, many centuries wherein the prophets agonized over the absence of the stated purpose of God’s grace (mercy) and truth according to the Covenants.
“Is His mercy clean gone for ever? doth His promise fail for evermore?” – Ps. 77:8 (speaking of the Abrahamic Covenant)
“Lord, where are Thy former lovingkindnesses, which Thou swarest unto David in Thy truth?” – Ps. 89:49 (speaking of the Davidic Covenant)
“Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of Thy holiness and of Thy glory: where is Thy zeal and Thy strength, the sounding of Thy bowels and of Thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?” – Isa. 63:15 (speaking of the Abrahamic & Davidic Covenants)
These prophetic inquiries were uttered all the while knowing that eventually God would “perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which [God had] sworn unto [the] fathers from the days of old” (Micah 7:20), only they didn’t know how long it would take or when it would finally come! Or, rather, through whom it would come! Jesus’ incarnation is the inestimable difference! He is the one and only Man with the wherewithal to fulfill divine foretelling from all ages to bring about the End of the World! Harmoniously, John 1:1-18 is a pointed magnification of the incarnation of Jesus Christ – because, this is the expressed way that God is showing grace and truth!
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14
“For the Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” – John 1:17
All throughout the generations of redeemed mankind under the Law, and before, sufficient grace was never wrought within any man for the performance of the fulness of divine foretelling spoken of by God! God spoke truly in the divine foretelling, but men proved unworthy through their failure to fulfill the fulness of divine foretelling; therefore, for the truth and because of the truth, or for the word and because of the word, the grace of God implemented a plan that depended upon a Man who would not fail or come short of the promises and prophecies which God spoke in truth and in righteousness! Jesus is the end of the conflict (Rev. 1:8). At Christ’s final descent to the Earth in the 2nd Advent He will be called, “Faithful and True” (Rev. 19:11), for indeed He was, is, and will be faithful and true unto the consummation of all the words of God (Rev. 21:5-6)!
“These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me.” – Lk. 24:44
Oh, my reader! Now can you see the grace and truth that is being revealed in Jesus Christ? John 1:14 & John 1:17 is termed harmoniously with the story of Biblical Church History in the Old Testament, and not contrarily, and in so doing we are made to realize how the pilgrimage of human redemption is rescued from its continual shortcomings from the scope of divine foretelling. Christ is the Redeemer of the Messianic Line! Therefore, in parallel terminology, Abraham’s servant blessed God for the present-day fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant in that the line of Abraham was continued through the Lord providing Isaac a wife. Thus, at the finding of Rebekah with God’s help, Abraham’s servant said, “Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of His mercy [grace] and His truth” (Gen. 24:27). In other words, John 1:17 is a fitting description of the one and only Covenant-Fulfiller that eclipses all former Covenant fulfillments! He alone is the fulness of grace and truth – the singular Seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15, Gal. 3:16) – even though there were many acts of grace and truth performed through the instrumentality of many seeds (people) in various Covenants, but none with the wherewithal to fulfill divine foretelling!
The Horsemen of the Apocalypse
My reader, before moving forward one thing was left largely uncommented upon: the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. This is a subject matter more easily conveyed at this point in the commentary. For, upon discovering the exclusive and combined significance of the 1st & 2nd Restoration Generations, the meaning is clear. Without this readiness of mind through much learning of the scripture, one would likely be confounded. Why are the Horsemen, first spoken of and described by Zechariah, different in from the Horsemen in Revelation? Why the discontinuity? Well, seeing that the Restoration Prophecies delivered to the 1st Restoration Generation were breached, recalibrated, and recasted to the 2nd Restoration Generation, it is convenient that the Horsemen of the Apocalypse would be dispatched from Heaven a second time and for a similar purpose.
Accordingly, the early part of Revelation 6 fits the description of the historical events leading into the 70 A.D. judgment of God upon the Jews through Rome (Babylon). The horse-riding angels of the first 4 Seals are none other than the Horsemen of the Apocalypse that Zechariah spoke of in Zechariah 6:1-8, only with some discontinuities. In context, as it pertained to the 1st Restoration Generation, these were dispatched angels who were commissioned in service to the King of Heaven for the following reasons. Firstly, they searched the earth (according to Zechariah 1:1-11) and found that Babylon’s World was still and at ease, and this displeased God (Zech. 1:11, 15). My reader, God is always displeased when injustice prevails. At such a time, and in the throes of suffering because of unjudged Babylon, the saintly question was posed, “How long…?” (Zech. 1:12), just as they saints inquired of God in Revelation 6:10. Only this time, they said,
“O LORD of hosts, how long wilt Thou not have mercy on Jerusalem…?” – Zech. 1:12
The answer to this question was in fact given by the prophet Zechariah. The Glory of God that departed from the Temple, as Ezekiel testified (Ezek. 10:18-22, 11:22-25), was going to return to Jerusalem for the building of Ezekiel’s Temple (Ezek. 43:2-10, 44:4-16, Zech. 1:16-17, 2:1-2, Ezek. 40:8) – a thing which was impossible except God judges Babylon! Strikingly, Zechariah beholds the rearing of divine judgment upon Babylon (Zech. 1:18-21) and, graciously, the LORD calling for the saints to depart from Babylon in haste so as not to suffer the judgement (Zech. 2:6-7, Rev. 18:4-5). Furthermore, as discussed at length before, another hallmark of Restoration Prophecy is foretold as being woven together with the performance of these prophecies in that Zechariah identifies the Branch, the Davidic King (Zech. 3:8, 6:9-15), whose coming coincides with the building of the Temple and the Two Anointed Ones (Zech. 4:1-14, Rev. 11), which of course is only made possible by the judgment of God upon Babylon (Zech. 6:1-8). My reader, the Horsemen of the Apocalypse come in here.
According to Zechariah’s account, differing chariots are dispatched from Heaven to traverse the earth in different areas and for diverse missions, while the black chariot was sent to the north (where Babylon resides) to quiet the Spirit of God; meaning, God’s wrath and displeasure was appeased in the judgment of Babylon via the black chariot (Zech. 6:1-8). So, what does it all mean? Well, it means the obvious. The breaking of the 4 Seals dispatched four angels that are like unto and hardly different from the angels of Zechariah’s vision (which served the purpose of judging Babylon). However, the Horsemen of the Apocalypse in Zechariah were dispatched as a secondary divine judgment, only after the Church was judged by God through Babylon, and therefore the dispatch took place after the question was posed: “O LORD of hosts, how long wilt Thou not have mercy on Jerusalem…?” (Zech. 1:12). However, the dispatching of Revelation 6 took place before the question, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Rev. 6:10), which means that this dispatch was for God’s judgment of the Church through Babylon and not the other way around. Simply put, this means that the Horsemen of the Apocalypse are dispatched angels for causes of divine judgment whether upon the Church or Babylon, or anywhere in the earth for that matter (north, south, east, or west!).
This interpretation lines up perfectly with the additional details provided in Revelation 6, which goes beyond what is revealed in Zechariah in that the actual commission of the angels is conveyed in the text. The first Horseman, on a white horse, was a kingly principality associated with a particular earthly nation (like the princes and kings, who were angels, associated with Persia & Grecia in Daniel 10:13, 20-21), evidenced by the fact that the angel, being given a crown, was granted by God the power to go forth in the earth “conquering and to conquer” (Rev. 6:2). In other words, this earthly nation would conquer and dominate all others for the making of a World Empire (what we know to be Rome in the 1st century; see the Introduction). The swift conquering of this national dominion wouldn’t come peaceably, so we come to find out, in that the second Horseman, on a red horse, takes peace from the earth. Understandably, the third Horseman, who’s on a black horse, ensures the onset of a crushing famine as commonly accompanies the subversion of all nations by war during a siege. At last, the fourth Horseman on a pale horse, was some sort of reaper of souls – an inflictor of death and a collector of souls for the pit of hell. The text is pointing towards the effect of all four Horsemen together in that “power was given to them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with the sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth” (Rev. 6:8), which lines up with the simultaneous displacement of all the Horsemen in Zechariah’s vision (Zech. 6:1-8). Such was the onslaught of Rome (typological Babylon in the 2nd Restoration Generation) as she achieved world dominance and in the process was used by God in the same manner as ancient Babylon.
This, of course, inspired the question posed in Revelation 6:10 as Christians and Jews were persecuted, slain, oppressed, and scattered; as Jerusalem was surrounded, sieged, broken by famine, ravaged by death, riddled with cannibalism, and burned! Moreover, so that there’s no mistake on what God is indicating by the breaking of the 6 Seals, the exact warning verbalized by Christ and applied to the 1st century Jews, recorded in Luke 23:30, is quoted as having been calendared to manifest just as it was spoken (according to Revelation 6:16). Mind you, Luke 23:30 is not quoted anywhere else in the Book of Revelation from here on out. This interpretation of things is sound, thoroughly biblical, and observably reasonable; furthermore, it is in agreement with the constructs of Holy Scripture and the accounts of Extra-Biblical Church History & Secular Historians.
Nevertheless, the aforementioned interpretation of things isn’t even considered among a thousand good men because of how scarcely the saints understand Biblical Church History. I have long believed that mankind will never be able to understand the Book of Revelation except we, through grace, masterfully understand every other book in the Bible. Only through them will we know the meaning of it! In other words, if we don’t comprehensively understand the testimony of Holy Scripture revealing the progress of human redemption from Covenant to Covenant throughout all ages, how shall we understand the disclosing of all mysteries at the End of the Age? Or, if we don’t understand what has transpired in history, how shall we understand what is declared in futurity? For, if we haven’t had the heart to studiously comprehend what God has revealed in the past, we’ll never have the mind to think upon what God is revealing in the future through the Book of Revelation.
Pivoting from the Past to the Future
This being the case, that Christ has the wherewithal to fulfill divine foretelling, an explanation of the past is necessary. Indeed. By the past, I mean the last 63 years starting at 33 A.D; and once proper vindication is made for the past the Spirit of Prophecy will direct the reader into the future to show the wherewithal of Christ to fulfill divine foretelling. Accordingly, when the meaning of Revelation 6-7 is understood a pivot is recognizable. For the 96 A.D. readers, the 6 Seals are a record of the past 63 years bringing closure to a generation’s unmet expectations. Hereby, the readers are content to look into the future to behold the next chapter of things, as it were, only then to find the dramatic sequence of judgments suddenly halted in Revelation 7:1-3. For, the outworking of divine judgment leading to the End of the World cannot and must not begin until the elect generation is found and secured, according to Revelation 7 (“This is the generation of them that seek Him, that seek Thy face, O Jacob. Selah.” – Ps. 24:6). When the time comes and the final cycle of divine judgment begins (the divine plan written in the book), there’s no stopping it. Speaking of this, it was written,
“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” – Matt. 24:34-35 [Lk. 21:32-33]
For the 96 A.D. readers, a looking into the future requires an understanding of the different ministerial shifts of Christ’s Person and Work through an Earthly Ministry & a Heavenly Ministry as they relate to the close of the 2nd Restoration Generation and the coming of a final, ultimate, elect generation that would be rightly called, the 3rd Restoration Generation of the Jews.
Earthly Ministry: 0 A.D. à 33 A.D. (the beginning of the 2nd Restoration Generation)
Heavenly Ministry: 33 A.D. à 70 A.D. (the judgment of the 2nd Restoration Generation)
70 A.D. à 96 A.D. (a period of silence until the giving of the Book of Revelation)
96 A.D. à XX A.D. (a waiting period, a pause, until the Last Generation)
XX A.D. à the End of the World (the Last Generation that will not pass until the End)
Turning the page from Revelation 6 to Revelation 7 is, in other words, a turning of the gaze from the past (33 A.D. à 70 A.D. + 70 A.D. à 96 A.D.) to the undated events of the distant future (96 A.D. à XX A.D. + XX A.D. à the End of the World). Concerning the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, at 33 A.D. the Lord Jesus said, “It is Finished” (Jn. 19:30), and at the End of the World He will say, “It is done” (Rev. 21:6). The work of Christ continues in between those two points! The work of the atonement on earth is finished at 33 A.D., but the work of the Atoner as Priest & King in the Government of Heaven is undone until the saying is fulfilled, “It is done” (Rev. 21:6). So, the record of futurity pertaining to the Last Generation spans from Revelation 7-22. The organization of this Book is a masterpiece of divinity giving peace to those who are troubled over things divine! Accordingly, on the contrary, the Book is a troubler of the status quo peace of those whose bliss is in ignorance of things divine! The way the events of futurity are set-forth in the Book of Revelation is a testimony to the cohesiveness of the Testaments; and, inasmuch as these events of futurity are confounding to Modern Interpreters, the Book decries our ignorance and unfamiliarity of divine prophecy that spans the Testaments!
“And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.” – Isaiah 29:11-12 [for context see Isaiah 29:9-14]
My reader, we don’t need to gather together and vote on the meaning of the Book of Revelation. Men have offered their 2-cents on the subject for centuries, all in vain! If we knew what was good for us, we would comprehend the theological throes of 1st century saints. We would see and feel our need for the closure that is offered to them regarding the things of the past; and, what was closure to them would be closure to us! Likewise, and accordingly, we would aspire to join them in the vantage point that God is providing in a pivot to the future from Revelation 6 to Revelation 7. Then, and only then, would we be ready to engage the full message of Revelation 7-22.
When rightly understood the Book of Revelation does peculiarly, profoundly, and comprehensively reconcile the New Testament with the Old Testament, and consequentially the work of God among the Gentiles and the Jews. When fully realized, the Book of Revelation is indeed a revelation of Jesus Christ that serves a vital purpose in the Cannon by refuting and suppressing all heresies and ungodly sentiments that God has somehow changed personalities in the New Testament. Any sober minded reader of the Book of Revelation would be compelled to forfeit the sentiment that the God of the New Testament is different than the God of the Old Testament. I say again, the Book of Revelation provides closure to the past, a revelation of Jesus Christ at the present, and a perfect fulfillment of all prophecy in the future! The Book of Revelation reconciles the past to the present and the future!
The affect that the divine process (pleading, breaching, recalibrating, & recasting) has upon the eventual fulfillment of Restoration Prophecy is that there will be alterations made to the historical aims of pastime fulfilments depicted in former Restoration Generations. This amounts to a divine plan that is exceedingly complex and ingeniously mysterious. Only divine genius can author a plan to fulfill all that is unfulfilled. Moreover, if the actual fulfillments of these manifold prophecies were to be descriptively written in a book for redeemed men to read, this would require a stringing together of slightly altered prophecies (breached, recalibrated, and recasted prophecies) for one climactic and ultimate fulfillment in the last generation of the End of the World. My reader, such a book is the Book of Revelation.
It was God’s will, as in former generations, that the saints of God would live and act within the confines of the revealed word of God in their time to wit they genuinely feel and believe they are on the brink of - if not lunging into – the glorious restoration of the Jews that coincides with the End of the World! Truly, and I say this soberly, if they were numb to this feeling then they were dead to God and alive in sin! Being numb, such men were ignoring the word of God that was prophesied of old and, in so doing, they lived defiant of God (2 Chron. 20:20, Amos 3:7, Hos. 12:13)! My reader, to live unaccountable to the prophets is to live in defiance of God! [Note: Believers of the 21st century should take a closer look at the warnings of the most masterful body of prophecy in existence, the Book of Revelation, lest the words of the book go unheeded and the judgments written therein become our fate; see Revelation 1:3 for starters.] One thing is for sure, the 96 A.D. believers in Christ knew the exercise well. One can hardly forget the blood, fire, and smoke of a whole generation nearly annihilated according to the marching orders of biblical prophecy! And seeing that it is 96 A.D., a commemoration of this divine process is needed so as to pivot away from the 2nd Restoration Generation unto a recalibrated scenario fit for the 3rd Restoration Generation that will certainly undergo the End of the World. In other words, this would call for a commemoration of the 70 A.D. experience which felt like lunging into the End of the World according to Restoration Prophecy.
Additionally, and from a broader perspective, the 6 Seal commemoration speaks volumes that go beyond a singular commemoration on behalf of 70 A.D. Shockingly, the message is engineered to commemorate the repeated instances of Biblical Church History wherein the saints were lunging into the End of the World according to Restoration Prophecy. This cycle of repeated instances first began at the turning point of the Church in the Old Testament, the Assyrian & Babylonian Captivities. From the Captivities onward (God calling men and them failing creating a vacuum of unanswered calls), the Jewish People began to experience repeated instances of lunging into the End of the World according to Restoration Prophecy in the following manner. My reader, put yourself in their shoes…
If you were a Jew of the Babylon Captivities and you were reading the scores of prophecies made by Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel foretelling that the End of the World would coincide with the restoration prophecies of the regathered, restored, and glorified Jews made possible by the Branch, what would you think if you were one among the number who was nearing the 70th year of the Babylonian Captivity? Or, what if you were a part of the regathered remnant of the Jews (the 1st Restoration Generation) who heard the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah as they identified the Branch to be Joshua the son of Josedech and the building project to be Ezekiel’s Temple, and not only so but that the Shaking through which God would judge Babylon was imminent, how would you feel?
If you were a Jew during the 400 years of silence from Malachi to Matthew, and more specifically, one that lived during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, how would you have felt in the light of Daniels prophecies? For, with detail comparable to a History Book, Daniel prophesied of the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes leading into a Last Days scenario of tribulation and persecution the likes of which the world has never seen or ever will see again, because according to Daniel 10-12 it is the End of the World!
If you were a Jew / Christian during the 1st century when Israel was subservient to Rome (the 2nd Restoration Generation) and you lived to see the 70 A.D. scenario foretold by Christ, how would you have felt while in the throes of the events? I mean, if you were following the daily events of your time while strictly observing the step-by-step prophesying of Jesus in Matthew 24, Luke 21, & Mark 13 (discussed at length in the Introduction), how would you feel? For, with detail comparable to a History Book, Christ prophesied of a war that will lead to the desolation of Jerusalem resulting in a Last Days scenario that would be suddenly halted by the 2nd Coming of Christ which coincides with the End of the World!
My reader, even though the course of these pastime instances inspired the Jews / Christians to lunge into what they thought was the End of the World, there would come a generation that will be the very last one. This people will lunge into the End of the World like all the others but without diverging from the prophetic account of futurity. Every word will be fulfilled in them! My reader, the incarnated and ascended Son of God is the difference! He, having been incarnated in 1 A.D. and then ascending in 33 A.D., did officiate one last divine process of lunging into the End of the World prior to the opening of the book (which indicates the arrival of the last generation). Hence, the lunging into the End of the World illustrated in the breaking of the 6 Seals conveys the events of 33 A.D. to 70 A.D., as discussed at length in the Introduction and the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
One again, my reader, put yourself in the shoes of a 96 A.D. reader. The reading of the 6 Seals would awaken the feelings and bring back the memories of what it was like to go through the tribulation period of the 2nd Restoration Generation. The consolation this message would provide is unimaginable! The closure it gives is unmistakable! This is because the 96 A.D. readers – who lived through the Tribulation Period – would be sharply aware of the meaning and intent of Revelation 6. Feelingly, before thinking through it all, they would stand in awe at the discovery that the book is unopened! For decades leading into 70 A.D. their thoughts were in accordance with Jesus’ prophecies to wit they believed that the 70 A.D. judgment was the beginning of the End of the World that coincides with the 2nd Coming of Christ, and then for 2 ½ decades they waited in silence for an answer from God concerning the doctrines of the Last Days. Remember, we know that it’s not the End of the World in retrospect – but they didn’t know that! For them, it was an unforgettable experience of lunging into the End of the World and therefore even a casual reading of Revelation 6 would alarmingly bring this experience to mind! Furthermore, the inconsolable feeling of not knowing why the End of the World didn’t come would be healed as the reader continued onward – turning the page – and gazing upon the futurity declared in Revelation 7-22.
Rife with expectation, they’d attentively read the things of the future with anticipation to behold a remaking of the Last Days scenario that was presently, as of 96 A.D., nonexistent. For, only one series of events fits the prophesied description of the 6 Seals when looking from 33 A.D. to 96 A.D., and since the passing of 70 A.D. the necessary elements of the Last Days scenario have been removed from existence making impossible the feeling of lunging into the End of the World from thereon out according to the confines of prophecy. That is, until the Jewish State of Israel is reborn, the Jews are regathered, Jerusalem is rebuilt, and the Temple is reconstructed, the prophecies of Christ cannot consummate in an ultimate fulfillment at the End of the World (Matt. 24, Lk. 21, Mk. 13).