|Revelation 6 |
1 Then I saw as the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard, as if it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, "Come and see."
2 And I looked and saw a white horse; and he who sat on the horse had a bow; and a crown was given to him; and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
3 When he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, "Come and see."
4 And another horse went out that was red; and power was given to him who sat on it to take peace from the earth, so that people would kill one another; and a great sword was given to him.
5 When he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, "Come and see." And I looked and saw a black horse; and he who sat on the horse had a pair of scales in his hand.
6 Then I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, "A measure of wheat for a day's wages, and three measures of barley for a day's wages; but see that you do not harm the oil and the wine."
7 When he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, "Come and see."
8 And I looked, and saw a pale horse; and its rider's name was Death, and Hell followed close behind him. Power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
9 When he had 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 testimony that they held.
10 They cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"1 [From the Word of the Lord within: "Those slain for their testimony will be avenged when the persecutions have ceased; those slain are quickly compensated."]
11 And white robes were given to every one of them; and it was said to them that they should rest for a little while yet, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers, who would be killed as they had been, was fulfilled.
12 Then I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became as black as sackcloth made of hair, and the moon became like blood;2
13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts its untimely figs, when it is shaken by a mighty wind.3 [Christians that had produced the fruit of the Spirit, who were in the first stage of perfection, fell to temptation; their fruit had withered.]
14 And the heaven departed like a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.
15 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;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall all around us, and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.
17 For the great day of his wrath is come;4 and who will be able to stand?"
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1 they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" From the Word of the Lord within: "Those slain for their testimony will be avenged when the persecutions have ceased; those slain are quickly compensated." Those slain in past persecutions of the saints were compensated quickly with their reward in heaven, but they have not yet been avenged. When the true church comes out of the wilderness to become public, the false church will begin persecutions anew; when those persecutions are finished, those slain in all persecutions for their speaking the word of God as ordered will be avenged.
Perhaps it would be helpful to review how and why the Jews paid in their time:
The severity of Rome's destruction of Israel stemmed from The Great Revolt of the Jews against the Roman Empire in which Jewish rebels defeated the XII Roman Legion, killing 6,000 Roman troops and wounding many more — it was one of the worst defeats in Roman history, a humiliating defeat by a Jewish rag-tag group of rebels, and with loss of the legion's aquilla or Eagle, (Rome's standard); and because the Eagle symbolized Rome, (Eagle lost, honor lost; honor lost, all lost), Rome was insulted, shocked, outraged, and resolved to inflict severe retribution on the Jews. The end of the Jewish Kingdom was in 70 A.D. In the first of several Jewish rebellions against Rome, most of the Jews were massacred and the temple in Jerusalem was completely destroyed by the Roman Prince, Titus, in 70 AD. Titus, who later became emperor of Rome, was the son of the Emperor Vespasian. Josephus, a first century historian, wrote that 1.1 million Jews died and hundreds of thousands were forced out of the country and into exile and slavery.
In a later Jewish rebellion against Rome in 135 AD, the Roman Emperor Hadrian further destroyed Jerusalem and Israel. Cassius Dio, a second century historian, counted 580,000 Jews killed, 50 fortified towns and 985 villages destroyed, and all the remaining Jews exiled to countries throughout the Roman Empire and eventually scattered and re-scattered throughout the world.
Israel was literally wiped off the map, (and according to the Word of the Lord within, the 65-year old state of Israel is very temporary). Everyone was either killed or sent into slavery, scattered throughout the world. Yet the number of prophets murdered by the Jewish authorities on record is relatively small:
- Isaiah was sawn into with a wooden saw by Manasseh, the son of King Hezekiah.
- Jeremiah was stoned by exile Jews in Egypt because he rebuked them for worshipping idols.
- Micah was slain by Joram, the son of King Ahab.
- Nahum was sought to be killed for prophesying the Babylonian invasion, but he fortunately escaped their plans.
- Elijah was sought to be killed by Jezebel, the Queen of Israel, who had previously killed all the prophets of the Lord she could find. Fortunately Elijah survived.
- Habakkuk was stoned in Jerusalem.
- Ezekiel was slain by the chief of the Jews who was in the land of the Chaldeans because he rebuked him for worshipping idols.
- Zechariah the son of Berachiah, the priest, was from Jerusalem. Joash the king slew this (prophet) in the temple, between the steps and the altar, and sprinkled his blood upon the horns of the altar; and the priests buried him. From that day God forsook the temple, and angels were never again seen in it.
The Jews rejected the demonstration of the greatest power of God ever witnessed in Israel; Jesus healed entire cities and raised the dead with many eyes watching.
Even with wondrous power demonstrated, the overwhelming majority of the world will either reject the true gospel because: 1) the Spirit of Christ will strongly oppose Christianity as Babylon, and religious people will say they are the works of Satan, just like they did Jesus' works, or 2) they are too busy with their life's pursuits to care and be motivated to carry their cross to the death of their selfish, sinful nature. Many people will find it completely unbelievable that today's Christianity could possibly be detested by God; instead they will scream antichrist at any who condemn Christianity for having been Babylon for the last 1700 years, just as they screamed similarly when the early Quakers pointed out Christianity's deficiencies. Yet as John said 2000 years ago: "many antichrists have come, they went out from among us, it is the last time." 1 John 2:18-19. William Penn writes on how this occurs in his No Cross No Crown:
True it is, those who are born of the flesh hate and persecute those who are born of the spirit, who are the circumcision in heart. It seems they [really born of the Spirit of God] cannot own nor worship God according to the Whore's inventions, methods and prescriptions, nor receive for doctrine her vain traditions, any more than they can comply with her corrupt fashions and customs in their conduct. Thus, the Whore is not only a false apostate, but has become a persecutor of true Christians, [drunk with the blood of the saints]. It is not enough that she herself declines from ancient purity, she forces others to impurity also. She gives no rest to those who will not participate in her degeneracy, or receive her mark. Are any wiser than she, than mother church? No, no: nor can any make war with the beast she rides upon, those worldly powers that protect her, and vow their maintenance against the cries of her dissenters. Apostasy and superstition are ever proud and impatient of dissent; all must conform or perish. Therefore the slain witnesses, and blood of the souls under the altar (Rev 6:9), are found within the walls of this mystical Babylon, this great city of false Christians, and are charged upon her, by the Holy Ghost in the Revelation. Nor is it strange that she should slay the servants who first crucified the Lord: but strange and barbarous too, that she should kill her husband and murder her savior; titles she seems so fond of, and that have been so profitable to her; and that she would recommend herself by, though without all justice. But her children are reduced so entirely under the dominion of darkness, by means of their continued disobedience to the manifestation of the divine light in their souls, that they forget what man once was, or they should now be; and know not true and pure Christianity when they meet it; yet pride themselves upon professing it. Their measures are so carnal and false about salvation, they call good evil and evil good, they make a devil a Christian, and a saint a devil. So that though the unrighteous latitude of their lives is lamentable, as to themselves it is of destruction; yet that common apprehension, that they may be children of God while in a state of disobedience to his holy commandments; and disciples of Jesus though they revolt from his cross, and members of his true church, which is without spot or wrinkle, notwithstanding their lives are full of spots and wrinkles; is, of all other deceptions upon themselves, the most disastrous to their eternal condition. For they are at peace in sin, and under a security in their transgression. Their vain hope silences their convictions, and overlays all tender motions to repentance; so that their mistake about their duty to God is as mischievous as their rebellion against him.
When the persecutions of the Spirit of Christ begin again, some will be slain for their testimony and for speaking the Word of God as they hear it; but great is their reward in heaven, and from the Word of the Lord within: "those slain will be quickly compensated." When the persecutions cease, the saints will be avenged, Babylon falls, all sin will be purged from the earth, and (from the Word of the Lord within:) "the saints will spread and populate the entire face of the earth."
2 In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus is recorded saying all the end times prophecies of those books would be fulfilled before the generation of 2000 years ago died, (click here to see all). If they were fulfilled in some 2000 years ago, they are fulfilled in some of every generation. These are inward experiences of the purified believer, whom the Lord comes to destroy the world within them, to replace it with a new heaven and new earth. To understand the inward phenomenon, read George Fox's writing: A WORD FROM THE LORD, TO ALL THE WORLD. Francis Howgill also has an outstanding writing on the Day of the Lord, as it occurs for the purified believer, and as it occurs at the death of all unpurified persons, believer or not. The seven vials are the seven troubles of every believer arriving at purity and entry to the kingdom.
3 the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts its untimely figs, when it is shaken by a mighty wind. As Adam and Eve fell from paradise, as King David fell from the Old Testament's impermanent perfection, some of the successful early church Christians and some of the successful early Quakers fell from their prophecies, erred from the faith, the spirit, and the grace; and so became false prophets and false apostles preaching another gospel, which bypassed the necessity of self-denial and strict obedience to the voice of the Lord — the cross of Christ. Now if these men were "stars of the heavens," we can reasonably conclude that they had reached the first stage of perfection; but apparently they were not watchful enough, and so they fell to the then-certain-to-occur further temptations, (a mighty wind), becoming false prophets. Untimely figs refers to fruit that withers; these men had produced the fruit of the Spirit, (also a first stage of perfection occurrence), but their fruit withered. From the Word of the Lord within: "When the fruit withers, I remove the protection."
Ambrose Rigge wrote of this event:
"My heart and soul do earnestly breathe to the Lord, that grace, mercy, truth and love, may be daily increased, and abundantly multiplied, in and among you all; and that you may be preserved a peculiar people, and royal priesthood, daily increasing in fruits of righteousness, as trees of the Lord's own right hand planting. So shall his worthy name, by which you have been called, be glorified by you, and his high praises be in your mouths, and a two-edged sword in your hands, to wound the dragon and power of darkness, in all his appearances and transformings, which are and have been many and various in our day; so that some stars of heaven have been drawn down to the earth by his power, and have made great noises at their fall. But the foundation of God stands sure, and all who have continued upon it, have been preserved unmovable, not only through all storms which have arisen in the sea, but have escaped the baits and snares which have been laid covertly in the earth: glory and renown ascend to that worthy name, which has been our tower and safe habitation to this day; Amen, Amen forever."
Accidental sin can be repented, only causing a delay in advancement to the second stage of perfection. However, wilful, disobedient sin results in a dreadful happening for as Rigge stated, their fall made great noises. This is what the Lord stated in Matthew and Mark: "the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken."
Let this be a significant warning to all of us who aspire to the kingdom: that we do not relax and let down our guard, but instead we double our watchfulness against the temptations that will be hurled against us to test our foundation. The devil's greatest tool to tempt us is with sexual immorality, so be intensely on guard against even wilfully imagining the commission of sexual immorality. Those of us who reach the first stage of perfection will likewise be severely tempted; but we can minimize our risk of falling if we remember to: 1) continue to obey any commands we have received in the past, and 2) reject anything that we want to do, only doing what we are ordered to do by the Lord. Should we fall, unless we wilfully disobey, we can still choose to repent as we walk in the light and the blood of Jesus that cleanses us of all sin. The less we fall, the sooner we attain the second stage and inherit the substance, Christ. Guard yourself against sexual immorality and all sin doubly now so that you are doubly ready to withstand the temptations then, the consequences of falling then being disastrous. By maintaining our watchfulness, we not only avoid delays or failure, but we advance to the second stage of perfection, which is a far greater reward and gives us permanent protection against ever falling to sin. May we be as Rigge wrote:
"But the foundation of God stands sure, and all who have continued upon it, have been preserved unmovable, not only through all storms which have arisen in the sea, (peoples and nations), but have escaped the baits and snares which have been laid covertly in the earth: glory and renown ascend to that worthy name, which has been our tower and safe habitation to this day; Amen, Amen forever."
This experience is compatible with the Lord's statement that all the end times prophecies of those books would be fulfilled before the generation of 2000 years ago died, (click here to see all).
From the Word of the Lord within: "Many fell and erred from the true faith. As wonderful is the crucifixion of self, you are to continue in the steps of faith until you hear or see the end."
I would submit the following additional admonitions to guard against falling to sin at this stage:
4 the great day of his wrath is come; to all unregenerated men, (those who have not been purified and crucified on earth). From George Fox's The Wrath of the Lamb:
I will break into pieces, says the Lord, I will make nations like dirt, I will tread them into mire; I will make religions, professions, teachings, time-servers, (those who preach a set time by the clock), callers upon me with their lips, (and hearts afar off), surfeiting in the earth, pride, hypocrisy, and deceitfulness of heart, gathered into a religion that is vain, gatherings on heaps, gatherings of multitudes, gatherings which they call churches, fair shows, fair pretences, hypocritical teachings, self-ends, covetous practices. I will make mire of them, I will make mortar, I will make dirt of them; the wrath of the Lamb is risen upon all apostates, who are gathered in the apostasy, apostatized from the prophets' life, the apostles' life, the life of the Lamb. The Lamb is risen, the scepter is gone out, the throne is set, beware everyone what you profess, what foundations you are laying, you shall be shaken, not being in the possession, being out of the possession of the life of God, of the prophets, of the apostles, of Christ. You diviners, you dreamers, you notionists, in your curiosities in the air, I will whirl you under, hail-stones, vials, plagues, thunders, woes, judgments are come among you, upon your heads, all nations that be out of the life of the Lamb, dread, quakings, fears, shall surprise hypocrites with amazements; the pure life of God is risen, that has been lost, from it you have been apostatized, without it have you been gathered, with it shall your gatherings be broken and scattered; from the life of my apostles, of my prophets have you been all scattered and apostatized, and so true ministry has been lost, true apostles' life lost, true prophets' life lost, false ministers gotten up, false apostles gotten up, false prophets gotten up, and reigned in their stead. My sheep's clothing you have had, wolves you have been, thorns and thistles your earth has brought forth, has lain like a wilderness unploughed up, among whom are so many names, and horns, setting up your inventions, but inwardly ravened, and apostatized, so the witness buried, in you who are whored from it, and in the fornication.
But the rod is over you which must rule nations, trumpets sounding and sounded, the just will rule, the Lamb will have the victory; woes, woes and miseries are out-going upon all the heads of the wicked, the judgments have come upon the world, the day of glory is appearing, and has appeared, the throne and the scepter that is everlasting is come and witnessed, and set over the world, which shall answer that of God in everyone who has ravened from it, and all gatherings upon the earth from that, shall be broken, and it shall answer the just in everyone.
Fox writes of a judgment that all unregenerated men face at death, when they experience the Day of the Lord, which Francis Howgill also confirms in his doctrinal writings.
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