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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Grafted Branch

The 4 horsemen and 7 seals

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    The book with 7 seals in Revelation 5:1 seems to be the same as the Lambs book of life in Revelation 21:27 because only the Lamb was worthy to take the book and open the seals. The writing within and on the backside would then be the names of believers. When the seals are opened certain events are revealed with each seal. These events are the requirements for opening each of the seals and are either actions done by Christ, the Lamb of God or involve him in some way.

 

   The first 4 seals involve the 4 horsemen and are each introduced with the words “come and see” by 1 of the 4 beasts. The 4 beasts are full of eyes and in the midst of the throne and round about the throne (Revelation 4:6). The 4 beasts each have a likeness, lion, calf, face of a man, and a flying eagle. 2 Chronicles 16:9 states the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth. In Zechariah 6:1-7 there are 4 chariots with different colored horses. The question is asked what are these. The answer in verse 5 is the 4 spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. In verse 7 they walk to and fro through the earth. In Zechariah 1:8-11 there is a man riding a red horse and behind him are red, speckled,and white horses. They are said to be those whom the Lord hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. The 4 beasts and 4 horsemen are closely related to each other because of the fact that they all walk to and fro through the earth. In Revelation 5:8 the 4 beasts fall down and worship the Lamb. This indicates that they are not Christ himself but there is certainly a connection while Christ is on earth.

 

1st seal: Revelation 6:1-2

 

When the Lamb opens the first seal, the first beast which is like a lion says come and see.

    The rider on the white horse goes forth conquering and to conquer. The words conquering and conquer are Strong’s #3528 which is more commonly used as overcome. In Revelation 5:5 the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David hath prevailed (#3528) to open the book. This is Christ going forth at his birth to complete or overcome what was necessary to open the book of life and secure the salvation of those written in the book. The bow he has would then be a rainbow similar to Ezekiel 1:28. This bow or appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord is seen at the time of Christ’s birth in Luke 2:9 when the glory of the Lord shone round about the shepherds in the field. In Luke 1:32 the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. This is the crown given him. The color white is associated with purity, our sins being removed or covered. Believers are given white robes and shall be whiter than snow.

 

2nd seal: Revelation 6:3-4

 

The second beast is like a calf and the rider on the red horse is given power to take peace from the earth, that they should kill one another, and is given a great sword.

    In Ephesians 6:17 it states the sword of the Spirit is the word of God. In Matthew 3:16 when Jesus is baptized the Spirit of God descended on him, this is Jesus, the Lamb of God, being given the great sword and in Matthew 10:34 Jesus came not to send peace but a sword. Luke 12:51-53 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division. It then lists all the divisions. John 7:40-43 and John 10:19 both show that there is division based on his words or “sword”. In John 6 Jesus explains that he is the bread of life, in verse 52 the Jews strove among themselves and in verse 66 it states “from that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him”. Again it is Jesus’s words that caused the division and take peace.

    When Jesus sent forth the 12 disciples to preach the gospel and heal the sick they are told in Matthew 10:20 when they are delivered up before governors and kings “for it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you”. These are the words of God or the sword. In verse 21 it state “And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death”. This killing of one another is occurring because of the word of God and the preaching of the gospel. Christ does bring peace between believers and God as seen in Romans 5:1 and believers obviously aren’t the ones doing the killing. So while believers have assurance and peace for their souls, they don’t have physical assurance and peace for their bodies. In fact as it states in Romans 8:36 for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

    In Numbers 19:1-10 is the ordinance of the law concerning the red heifer which is to be killed without the camp. The 2nd beast that is like a calf and the red colored horse are pointing to the fact that Christ (who was innocent, without blemish) must be killed outside of Jerusalem the same as the red heifer. Peace must be taken so they would kill one another, because despite the law forbidding the taking of the life of an innocent man they would have to commit this very act.

 

3rd seal: Revelation 6:5-6

 

The third beast had a face like a man and the rider on the black horse has a pair of balances.

    When the statement “a measure of wheat for a penny and 3 measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine” is heard, it is the wheat and barley that are put on the balance and determined to have a cost of 1 penny.

    The wheat can certainly be viewed as believers as in Matthew 13:30 at the time of harvest the wheat is gathered into his barn but the tares are burned. In Acts 20:28 it states feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood. Since believers are purchased they will not have to bear that cost. This would then cause a penny and the blood of Christ to be synonymous or have some kind of value relationship. Matthew 20:1-16 has the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. If the hired laborers are viewed as saved people, then when their work in the vineyard (our time on earth) is done they all receive a penny (the value promised to them) regardless of when they were hired (saved) or the amount of physical work they did. In Mark 12:15-17 after being asked if it’s lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not, Jesus asks them to bring him a penny. The physical penny is to be rendered unto Caesar but unto God the things that are God’s. In 1 Corinthians 6:20 it states for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. We render unto God the things that are God’s because we are bought with a price. While it doesn’t specifically call this price a penny, it is interesting to note that Jesus asked for a penny when discussing this matter.

 

    The spiritual meaning of barley is sin and specifically sin that is remembered before God. In Numbers 5:15, concerning a jealous husband, it states “then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance”. The offering of barley meal brings into remembrance iniquity. In John 6:35 Jesus states that he is the bread of life and in verse 51 it states if any man eat this bread he shall live forever. In John 6:9-13 when Jesus feeds the 5,000 with 5 barley loaves it is a picture of believers eating the bread of life. The reason barley loaves are used is because the bread of life, which is Jesus, will take on the very sins that should have been remembered on us. In Hebrews 10:17 it states and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

    If barley represents sin remembered before God, why are 3 measures of barley equal to 1 penny?

    In Hosea 3:2 Hosea buys an adulteress wife for 15 pieces of silver and 1 and 1/2 homers of barley. Exodus 21:32 sets the price of a servant, male or female, at 30 shekels of silver. If Hosea’s purchase of his wife was paid half with shekels and half with barley, then this would equate 3 homers of barley with 30 shekels of silver. In Matthew 27:6 after Judas casts down the 30 pieces of silver the chief priests don’t put the money in the treasury because it is the price of blood. In Matthew 27:25 all the people answered and said, His (Jesus) blood be on us, and our children. The 3 measures of barley represent the unsaved world because their sins are remembered and they must bear that cost. In Daniel 5:27 when the writing on the wall is interpreted by Daniel the meaning of TEKEL is thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting or deficient (Strong’s #2627). This is Belshazzar who humbled not his heart and lifted up himself against the Lord that is weighed and found deficient, lacking his sins being paid for. This is limited atonement. In Matthew 13:33 the kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven. In Matthew 16:12 leaven is equated with doctrine. This leaven or doctrine of the kingdom of heaven is hid in 3 measures of meal until the whole was leavened. Compare this with Matthew 24:14 where the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. The 3 measures of meal represent the world in this parable and the woman would then be the church or believers.

 

In Hebrews 1:9 Christ is anointed by God with the oil of gladness. In Acts 10:38 God anointed Jesus with the Holy Ghost and with power. Oil can certainly be synonymous with the Holy Spirit.

 

In John 2:1-11 Jesus turns the water into wine. This symbolizes the scriptures (water) being fulfilled (turned to wine). In Matthew 5:17 Jesus states I am not come to destroy the law but to fulfill. In Revelation 14:10 those who worship the beast will drink of the wine of the wrath of God. This again would be those who worship the beast having Gods wrath fulfilled on them. Wine spiritually represents the scriptures being fulfilled or accomplished.

 

    Jesus prays in Luke 22:42 Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. We know from Isaiah 53:5 that Christ was wounded for our transgressions. We also know that after he was baptized the Spirit of God descended upon him (Matthew 3:16). When Jesus cried out my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me; the Holy Spirit is no longer with him at that time. The Holy Spirit is not hurt or wounded with Jesus. The cup or price that must be paid for the wheat is asked to be removed. The answer or Gods will would be that he must die alone, without the Holy Spirit (oil not being hurt) and what was written in the scriptures must be fulfilled (wine not being hurt).

 

    The third beast had a face like a man. Man is weighed in the balance and must pay for his sins or as in the case of believers, be given as a gift the cost of his sins. In Jude 13  the blackness of darkness is reserved for those, in verse 4, who are ungodly men, denying the only Lord God. Black is also the color of the horse whose rider has the balances.

 

4th seal: Revelation 6:7-8

 

The fourth beast was like a flying eagle and the rider on the pale or green horse has the name Death and Hell followed with him.

    In 2 Corinthians 5:21 Christ became sin for us and in Romans 6:23 the wages of sin is death. In 1 Corinthians 15:55 “O death where is thy sting? O grave (hell Strong’s #86), where is thy victory?”. Hell follows with death in that they are both conquered or overcome by Christ.

And power was given them over the fourth part of the earth to kill with the sword, hunger, death, and the beasts of the earth.

    In Matthew 10:28 we are told to not fear them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul. Believers certainly aren’t the ones doing the killing, and unbelievers can only commit physical killing. This statement has to be referring to the physical acts that unbelievers do and they have been doing them ever since Cain killed Able. Because the wheat or believers are 1 part and the barley or unsaved world are 3 parts, it is the world that continues to be able to physically kill the believers or fourth part despite Christ becoming death for us and overcoming it. I think this statement is simply reiterating the fact that physical acts against believers will continue until the end. When the next seal is opened those who were killed are told to rest a little season until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

In Exodus 19:3-4 the children of Israel are told the Lord bare them on eagles wings when they left the bondage of Egypt. In Isaiah 40:31 they that wait upon the Lord shall mount up with wings as eagles. The color of the horse is green (Strong’s #5515). In Jeremiah 17:7-8 the man that trusteth in the Lord and whose hope the Lord is shall be as a tree ... with green leaves. Because Christ conquers death believers are carried on eagles wings and become green as a trees leaves with life.

 

5th seal: Revelation 6:9-11

 

When the 5th seal is opened the souls of them who were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held are seen. They cry out to the Lord “how long dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”

    In Matthew 23:35-36 it states that upon you (this generation) may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth. This indicates that righteous blood that is shed will be avenged or repaid. Romans 12:19 tells us to avenge not ourselves but give place unto wrath. When the next seal is opened we see the great day of his wrath (Revelation 6:17).

“And white robes were given unto every one of them”.

    Isaiah 61:10 states I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness. If the robes are salvation and righteousness then white robes are given to all believers whether they are martyred or not, so this fact doesn’t help identify specifically who the souls are. I think the main purpose of the statement is to indicate that the work of the cross is completed and the white robes are now given out. This is only possible due to the accomplishments of the Lamb as indicated in Revelation 7:14 where the robes have been made white in the blood of the Lamb.

 

6th seal: Revelation 6:12-17

 

When the 6th seal is opened there is a great earthquake,the sun is black as sackcloth, the moon became as blood, and the stars of heaven fall to the earth. This is the same language as in Matthew 24:29 and this occurs immediately after the tribulation. As with all the other seals being opened this involves the Lamb, and in this case it is the wrath of the Lamb as stated in Revelation 6:16-17. This event is the blood being avenged and will take place in the future.

 

7th seal: Revelation 8:1

 

After the 7th seal is opened there is silence in heaven for about 1/2 hour.

    In Revelation 19:2 the great whore has been judged and the blood of his (the Lord our God) servants has been avenged. The next event is the marriage of the Lamb in verses 7-9. In Matthew 22:1-14 is the parable of the marriage feast. In verse 12 the man that didn’t have a wedding garment was asked how camest thou in hither. The man was speechless and in verse 13 he is cast into outer darkness. In Romans 3:19 know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. I think this is the likely reason there is silence in heaven and it is unbelievers who have no answer or can’t speak. Believers would also be silent during this time because in Ephesians 5:12 it states it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. It appears from Revelation 19:2 that judgment has already happened. Perhaps unbelievers have to witness the marriage as part of their punishment with final sentencing being announced and meted out as part of the marriage ceremony. The 7th seal is the final action of the Lamb which is the marriage, the union of believers and Christ.

 

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