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Lowell Brueckner

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Revelation 6:9-17

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The Last Set of Three Seals

9. When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne.
10. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
11. Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.
12. When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood,
13. and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale.
14. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
15. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains,
16. calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,
17. for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

The Fifth Seal: End-time martyrdom

Now we come to the second division, which involves three seals, and we have no mention of the four living creatures. Instead, when the fifth seal is opened, the souls of martyrs in heaven speak. We are taking this literally, understanding that there are conscious souls in the throne room of God, under the altar. I suppose that they are those, who have been martyred from the time of the apostles and up until the end times (v.9).

They are under the altar and the imagery of Leviticus is extremely important for our understanding of the sacrifice of Christ and our salvation: “The life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life” (Lev.17:11). Paul saw that his martyrdom was relative to the drink offering in Leviticus: “I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come” (2 T.4:6).

Revelation 6:1-8

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The Four Horsemen

1. Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!”
2. And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.
3. When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!”
4. And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.
5. When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand.
6. And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wind!”
7. When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!”
8. And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.

On the Mount of Olives, the disciples asked Jesus, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Mt.24:3). The geography is significant, because when Jesus returns to earth, according to Zechariah, He will land on the Mount of Olives, from which He ascended into heaven (Zech.14:4; Ac.1:11-12). Jesus proceeded to give them the signs and they correlate to the seals, which the Lamb opens here, one by one. Remember John is seeing future events that will take place. Jesus knew what is written on this scroll, which is filled on both sides. He is worthy and He will open the seals and He will be in charge of the last-day events that this scroll describes. The Revelation prophecies will now begin.

Accompanying the Lamb are the four living creatures, the cherubim (or possibly seraphim) that surround the throne. We learn of cherubim first of all in the third chapter of the Bible. They guard the way to the Tree of Life that fallen man may not approach (Ge.3:24). In the book of Exodus, they are depicted on the propitiatory above the Ark of the Covenant. There are two, which are made of gold (Ex.25:18). Then Ezekiel gives us the most detailed description of the four, which accompany the throne of God throughout his book (Ez.1:3, 2:2, 3:12-15, 23, 8:4, 9:3, chapter 10, 11:21-24, 43:2-5). 

It seems obvious to me that the living creatures have something to do with principles in the government of God that are carried out in all His works. For example, one can see them in the formation of the four Gospels, by their total concept of all that is the history of Christ on earth.  I think the living creatures are involved in this. In Matthew, He is the King of Israel, in Mark, the Servant, in Luke, the Son of Man, and in John, the Son of God.  

Revelation 5

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The Lamb is Worthy

Chapter 5

1.  Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
2.  And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”
3.  And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it,
4.  and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.
5.  And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

The depictions in the book of Revelation are not written for our imagination. That of Christ in the first chapter, the one we will see in this chapter, that of the four living creatures and the One upon the throne, were revelations given to John and he alone actually saw them. He alone knows exactly what he saw. It is not for us to depict them in our minds or, as some have done, try to draw pictures from John’s words and descriptions. They are written so that we can learn the character and attributes of the One on the throne and of Christ. We learn something of the part that the living creatures play in the Kingdom of God. There will be much more to follow and we do well to remember this principle as we study.

In chapter four we observed the honor and worship given to God the King. In chapter five we will see the equal honor and worship given to the Lamb. This scene will show us the heavenly fulfillment of the principle that Jesus laid before us in John 5:23: “That all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” This is absolute proof of His divinity; if He were less than true God, we would be witnessing idolatry.

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit III

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The Holy Spirit, miracles and supernatural signs in the epistles

coals of fire
“I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience – by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God – so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ.” (Ro.15:18-19)

“And my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Co.2:4-5)

“I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.” (1 Co.4:19-20)

“Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?” (Gal.3:5)

“Our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” (1 Th.1:5)

“How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” (He.2:3-4)

One would think that all Christians should want to take advantage of this baptism, along with the gifts that God has given to the church in order to function, but it is not so. Always, when there is a moving of the Spirit, there is opposition and the opposition does not come from the people of the world, but from the church itself. This has been the case in all revivals. We should know and be sure that, although a large part of the church has denied the power that God has granted to it, the enemy has not given any of his power away. His kingdom is threatened by a power that is greater than his.

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit II

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“He who believes in Me (who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me) as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow (continuously) springs and rivers of living water. But He was speaking here of the Spirit, Whom those who believed (trusted, had faith) in Him were afterward to receive. For the (Holy) Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (raised to honor).  


John 7:38-39, Amplified

“As the Scripture has said”

I cannot find any single verse or portion of Scripture that Jesus is citing here. It seems to me that Jesus is not referring to one certain promise or prophecy, but to a spiritual principle of which the Old Testament Scriptures taught in many parts and many ways. The symbol of water meant much to the Jew. Israel is “a land of hills and valleys which drinks water by the rain from heaven, a land that the Lord your God care for. The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year” (Dt.11:11,12). Waters symbolize the abundant blessing of God upon His people. They are waters in the desert: “I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants” (Is.44:8). They are “deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through” (Ez.47:5).

There are two stories in the Old Testament that prefigure the Baptism in the Spirit. One has to do with the Israelites crossing the Jordan River. In Egypt, the blood of a lamb, sprinkled over the doorposts of a house, saved each Israelite from the death angel; they were able to escape Egypt and the slavery of the tyrant, Pharaoh, who symbolizes Satan. Their salvation was not complete until they miraculously crossed the Red Sea on dry land; when the sea closed, their old life was left behind. Israel’s liberation from the slavery of Egypt symbolized salvation from sin, brought to pass by the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Every Jew could testify that he had been saved by the blood. Paul called the crossing of the Red Sea “a baptism” (1 Co.10:2), because it signified a death and a resurrection into a new life. Only the miraculous hand of God saved the Israelites from death that day; however, afterwards there was another baptism.

The plan of God was not completed, when Israel arrived on the other side of the sea. Before them was a great desert, which they had to cross, living in tents. It was impossible that hundreds of thousands of Israelites could rest there, building houses, planting and harvesting. God had promised a land that flowed with milk and honey, and wanted them to enter there quickly.