Ladies and gentlemen, greetings! Back in World War II Winston Churchill addressed the United States Congress. And he said to our Congress; "There is a purpose being worked out here below." Now certainly that implied a higher power above doing the working out.
But if there is a purpose being worked out here below, not very many people know anything about it; not very many people seem to be concerned. If there is a purpose, that purpose has something to do with why you were born; why I was born; how did the human race happen to be on earth; how did we come to be here? We didn't just happen from some happenstance. The first life had to come from life. It didn't come from some unknown process like electrochemical action, or some unknown process, by resident forces, no mind, no planning, no design. Oh no, my friends, there was planning. There was mind back of it. There was a supreme power and there was purpose. And there is a purpose being worked out here below. Not very many understand it, but the one doing that working out above reveals that purpose to us.
Now it's revealed in the world's best seller, the book that sells more copies than any other book, and has been selling that way for the past hundred years and more. And yet it's the book that nobody seems to understand. It's the book that, even if they understand nobody seems to believe, because when our Maker speaks, people don't seem to want to believe what God Almighty says. But He tells us why we're here. He tells us what that purpose is. He tells us what is being worked out.
Now one-third of the Bible is devoted to prophecy; one-third of the Bible is telling us what is going to happen. Some of those prophecies have already been fulfilled right on the dot in exactly, precisely as they were given.
However, most of the prophecies, ninety percent or more, are yet to be fulfilled, and in our time. You and I are living in the time when biblical prophecy is beginning to be fulfilled as never before. Most of the prophecies are from now on the next few years. I can't tell you whether it's a couple, or three years. I can't tell you whether it's five or ten years. I know it's in this generation. And it's going to affect you and your life! And so you'd better listen, because you're betting your life on it. Your life depends on what is going to happen.
Only Christ Worthy to Open the Book Now of all of the books of prophecy in the Bible, the very last one is the most mysterious and the least understood of all. I don't think any of them are really understood by very many people. But the book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible, is a book of mystery. It's a book that no one seems to have understood. I'd like to read once again, as I've done several times in the last few weeks, verse one of chapter one in the book of Revelation - just once again:
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ..." (Revelation 1:1)
Now revelation means; revealing, it means, opening up; it does not mean, closing and sealing. But listen a minute - this book was closed and sealed, and I'm going to explain why in just a moment:
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must...come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:" (Revelation 1:1)
Now the apostle John wrote this book about 90 AD, he put it in writing, he wrote it. Now the book, as we see in chapters four and five, was in the form of a long scroll rolled up. Not a book like we have today. We're using books in a different style, a different form, today.
When I was over in China recently, in the library, they were showing me some of their ancient manuscripts. And they were all long scrolls rolled up. They had them, not sealed, but they had them bound with rubber bands that they just stripped off.
However, this scroll was sealed with seven seals. And you can only open one seal at a time. And that'll let you read a little of it and there had to be another. But there were seven seals and it was a closed, sealed book, and the thing is, you read in chapter five; "No man on earth was able to open that book to our understanding." (Revelation 5:3 paraphrased), so that we can understand it. It said that only One qualified, and that was called the One who was Jesus Christ, called the Lamb of God. No one else was able to understand it.
And so in the vision that John saw, a vision that was supposedly up in heaven at the throne of God, and there was Christ standing at the right hand of God. God the Father on the throne had this book. Jesus came up and took the book out of the right hand of Him that stood there. Now others around there, angel, angelic personages, were crying out:
"...Who is worthy to open the book..." (Revelation 5:2)
No man is able to open it to our understanding. Now many men have tried to do it. They have not made it plain because they have not been able to understand it themselves. They have been misguided. No, only One was able to open the book to our understanding. Now it was sealed. But now it is the revelation, the revealing, of Jesus Christ.
The Meaning of the Four Horsemen Jesus Christ then began to open these seals. He, and He alone, could open it to our understanding. I've covered this recently a few times, but I want to go over it again real quickly now. He opened the first seal. And we find the first six seals revealed in chapter six of the book of Revelation. Now real quickly, I'm just going to rehearse over a little of it, because I've covered this in previous programs — well a couple or three weeks ago.
Now he saw in the right hand of the Lamb, who was Christ in this case, open one of the seals; and he saw a white horse. Now a lot of people have disputed who this white horse was. Some thought it was the Second Coming of Christ. And they've had all kinds of ideas. None of them is right. But I want to pass right over that for the time being, because Christ is the one that has to tell us what it means. He's the Revealer.
So then in verse four we find that he saw, next, another horse. And that was a horse that is red. And then after that he saw another horse, a black horse. And there was a rider on each of these horses. And then, finally, the fourth horseman, a pale horse, and a man on that horse. Who were these four horses, or the four horsemen?
Now years ago there was a saying going out that the four backfield players of the Notre Dame Football team were the four horsemen who were quite famous. I don't know how many of you might remember that? That's some few years ago. I remember it very, very well, myself. But they were not the four horsemen meant here, by any matter of means.
Now Jesus is the One that had to open it to our understanding. And He doesn't do it here. Here we find everything is in symbol, and it's symbolic, and you can't understand it if someone doesn't explain the symbols. You can't decipher the symbols. It takes Jesus Christ to do it.
Where, then, does Jesus Christ do it? He does it in you might say; well, at one time, but it's recorded in three places in your Bible and that is in Matthew 24, in Mark 13, and in Luke 21. In other words Matthew, Mark, and Luke all recorded the same speech that Jesus made. Now you have to put them all together to get the whole truth. But primarily I'm just going to use the book of Matthew at this time, because it gives us all we need to know. The others only corroborate it and fill in more details.
But I want you to notice now in Matthew 24. Once again, I've gone over this a number of times, so just let me hurry right over it. They were at the Temple, Jesus and His disciples were at the Temple in Jerusalem. And it must have been around about 30 AD and He was showing them or they were showing Him the buildings of the Temple. And He was telling them that the Temple would be destroyed and not one stone would be upon another when it was all torn down. Well a little later they were up on the Mount of Olives and they came to Him privately and they said:
"...[Well] tell us, when shall these things be?..." (Matthew 24:3)
In other words, the things He'd been talking about was the destruction of the Temple. Actually that happened back in 70 AD in their lifetime. But then they asked another question:
"...when shall these things be? [and in verse three now, in Matthew 24] and [secondly] what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matthew 24:3)
Now in other places we find that Jesus had been talking to His disciples and had told them that He was going away, but He was coming back. And they knew He was coming back to end this world and bring in a new world. Now the place where this saying; "...the end of the world..." (Matthew 24:3) got started was in this very verse in Matthew 24, where they asked Him that. "...the end of the world..." (Matthew 24:3). They asked Him that question. He didn't mean the end of the earth. All He meant was the end of man's government and man-built society on the earth. And a new world is coming. I've been calling it; 'The World Tomorrow.' That has been the title of this program for a long, long time, for a great many years.
"[So] Jesus answered and said [He answered their first question first, the destruction of the Temple]...Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying [that], I [Jesus] am Christ; [but they] shall deceive many." (Matthew 24:4-5)
Now notice it again, "...many shall come in my name, saying [that], I am Christ; and shall deceive many." (Matthew 24:5)
"And [now He comes to the second question about His coming and the end of this world, and so He says] ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." (Matthew 24:6)
Now He's getting into the prophecy; now He's getting into the prophecy. That is the second seal. The first seal was Christ, Himself. Notice what He says beginning with their time then:
"...Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying [that], I am Christ..." (Matthew 24:4-5)
Saying that Jesus is the Christ, He didn't say; "Many will come in My name saying 'THEY' are Christ." Oh no, He said; many will come in My name, saying, that I Jesus, am the Christ,' but they will be deceiving the many." Now how can they do that? Well perhaps I'll have time to explain that, I hope.
"...and they shall deceive many." (Matthew 24:5)
That was the first seal. That was the horseman on the white horse. Not the coming of Christ, Himself, but the deceivers coming before Christ deceiving the many and claiming that Jesus is the Christ. Jesus, Himself, said:
"But in vain they do worship me, teaching for their doctrines the commandments of men, and making the law of God of no effect by their traditions." (Matthew 15:9 and 6 paraphrased)
You'll read that in Matthew and also in Mark the seventh chapter. Again, you can worship Christ in vain and He said many were doing that.
Now then; and next was a horse that is red. What was that? The very next verse here Jesus explains it:
"And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars..." (Matthew 24:6)
Now in Revelation six it says that seal, the horseman on the red horse, was going to take peace away from the earth. So it is — it gets down to world war finally. And next after that:
"For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom [finally into world war]: and there shall be famines and pestilences..." (Matthew 24:7)
The black horse represented famines. The pale horse represented a disease epidemic, pestilences coming as a result of famine. And that is — we've had foretastes of that, but the real terrible famine, and the real epidemic, is yet to come. And it's going to kill many, many people. Many lives are going to be taken.
The Fifth Seal Now then; next I would like to get back to Revelation 6, and I want you to notice now, after we get through with the four horsemen, and I have covered all of that in previous programs:
"And when he had opened the fifth seal [now here comes the next seal], I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word [that is the Word of God], and for the testimony which they held:" (Revelation 6:9)
The Word of God is the Bible. They believed the Bible; not very many do. But they were martyred. Now this is just as though they, as if they were still living, and their voices were crying out. It's just like one place Jesus said; "...the blood of righteous Abel cries out from the ground." (Matthew 23:35 paraphrased). And it was the blood that was crying out in that case.
"And [now these martyrs] cried with a loud voice [those are the martyrs that were killed back prior to 70 AD and shortly after that], saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge, and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" (Revelation 6:10)
And it seems like they were getting impatient. Of course the Bible says that; "...the dead don't know anything..." (Ecclesiastes 9:5 paraphrased). Maybe you didn't know that? Someday we'll get around to showing you all those things in the Bible, because people have never understood the Bible anyway.
"And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season [that is, in their graves, before the resurrection], until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." (Revelation 6:11)
You know there's so many things in the Bible that work out in a duel fashion, a first and a last, a first and a second. Usually the first is physical and the second is spiritual, but not always, and not in this case. But there's another martyrdom yet to come. Now that was the fifth seal. Let's go back and see what Jesus said was the fifth seal back in Matthew 24, verse nine now:
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted..." (Matthew 24:9)
Now the first time was prior to 70 AD and after that. They were delivered up to be afflicted and they were the ones that were crying out; "When will you deliver us, or avenge our blood?" (Revelation 6:10 paraphrased).
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." (Matthew 24:9)
So that then is the fifth seal. It continues on down to verse twenty-one.
The Sixth Seal A lot of these things were; "...the beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:8). And coming to verse twenty-one it goes into a little more detail of a time that is yet ahead and has not come yet. It's just ahead of us a very short time. It's a terrible calamity such as never happened to this earth in all the time of human history. Now verse 21:
"For then shall be great tribulation [how great will it be?], such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive]..." (Matthew 24:21-22)
That is the correct translation. The Moffatt translation renders it that way, and some of the others. The King James it says just 'saved', but it's not talking, spiritually, about salvation. It's talking about being saved alive. In other words we have come to the place where there are weapons of mass destruction that can erase human life from the face of this earth! And except those days, except God intervenes, man would destroy man, and in our time in the next few years! But listen, the next verse:
"And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive]: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." (Matthew 24:22)
God is going to intervene before that happens. That is the time called by many; 'The Great Tribulation'. That is going to come, really that's the time of Satan's wrath, not of God's wrath. But very few people seem to understand it.
The Day of the Lord Now then what do we find next? Well let's go back to Revelation next and notice the sixth seal. I've given you the first five of the six seals. And six seals are opened in this one chapter of Revelation. And there are seven seals altogether. All the rest of the book of Revelation, beginning with chapter seven, covers that seventh seal. We won't get to that in this particular program. But notice; and "...when he had opened the sixth seal..." (Revelation 6:12). That's verse 12 in Revelation 6, Revelation 6, verse 12:
"And I beheld [John is telling what he saw in vision] 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 [that is every slave even], and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;" (Revelation 6:12-16)
Because they're frantic in terror when this thing happens, frightful signs that God is going to cause up in the heavens. This is the day of the Lord, my friends! This is the time when God is going to intervene and stop this hellish mess of the Great Tribulation, lest all humanity be destroyed. Now then, the next verse, sixteen:
"And said to the mountains and the rocks [that's what the people will be crying out for], Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb [because then they'll begin to see the face of God; and they can't stand it!]: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Revelation 6:16-17)
The day of God's wrath, that is the day of the Lord. That is a time spoken of in some thirty different prophecies in the Old and the New Testament. Joel speaks of it, Isaiah speaks of it, Ezekiel speaks of it, other prophets of the Old Testament, Christ spoke of it, and it's spoken of here. Now let's go back to Matthew 24 again and I want you to notice now:
"Immediately [verse 29 immediately] after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven [that's what they are going to scream for when they see even the face of God, or the sign of the Son of Man in heaven]: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man [finally] coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (Matthew 24:29-30)
That is after the Great Tribulation. Now I'd like to have you take, and notice in the prophet Joel, Joel the second chapter and verse 31 where we read here, Joel says:
"The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come." (Joel 2:31)
Now you see you've got the same thing in Matthew 24, verse 29, and also in Joel 2:31. First is the Great Tribulation, then God comes to intervene and stop it. But there are terrible signs that God has in heaven. Now man can't do that, and men are going to scream. But the Day of the Lord will not come until after the Great Tribulation. And the signs in the sun and moon will come after the Great Tribulation; but the Day of the Lord comes after that. So then that finally comes down to the time of the Second Coming of Christ. Now Matthew 24, let's go on from verse 30 now.
"And [coming down to the coming of Christ] then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn [I did read that]...And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:30-31)
That is the resurrection of the dead in Christ. They're going to be raised out of their graves immortal, their faces shining like the very sun, they will be god persons, god beings, no longer human. Those are the dead in Christ, not out of Christ.
"Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things [and in Luke's account it says; "...when these things begin to come to pass..." (Luke 21:28), and that's already happened now, they've begun, but only the beginning], know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass [it's coming on our generation, this generation shall not pass], till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man [I can't tell you what's going to happen, of that day and hour no man knows, of that day and hour knoweth no man]...but my Father [in heaven] only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man " (Matthew 24:32-37)
And we're having the same kind of violence they had in the days of Noah. They didn't know until the Flood came and took them. Just like a rat gets snapped in a trap before he knows what snapped him.
"Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord cometh. But know this, that if the good man had known when he was coming he would have taken care." (Matthew 24:42-43 paraphrased)
Well God is warning us and we ought to know. We ought to be forewarned. I said in a recent program that if a hurricane is coming toward the Florida coast, if they don't have a warning, they can't be prepared for it. It's very necessary that they have a warning. Well it's necessary that we have a warning for these things. And God is giving it to you, and my voice is giving it to you, and you are being warned, and you had better be watching!
Now of all of the books in the Bible, the most mysterious is the book of Revelation. It has never been understood. But Jesus Christ opens the seals. He explains what it is. There's a lot more detail than I've been able to give you. I have a booklet I'd like to have you receive. It's called, 'The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last.' - 'The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last.' I'd like to send it to you and there's no charge, just gratis. And we're not out to get, we're out to give. We have nothing to sell. We're not going to ask you for money, unless you already start sending us money of your own accord and you indicate that you want to be a co-worker with us. Otherwise we're not going to ask you for money. We just want to give it to you. We're in the work of giving. The world is in the, sort of, life of getting and taking.
Now in the midst of this is a chart of the whole book of Revelation. It'll give you an understanding of the book of Revelation such as you never had before. This will open it to your understanding. This booklet, the key to the book — well it is: 'The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last.' It incorporates the booklet that was entitled: 'The key to the Book of Revelation' That was just a very short one, but that's incorporated in this book. And it explains it to you in plain language just as Jesus does. He's the one who reveals it. He's the one who opens it up to our understanding.
And we have so many other books we'd like to send you. Now we might notify you of some of the others that we're willing to give to you. But we're not out to get.
So until next time this is Herbert W Armstrong, goodbye friends.
Please Note: The FREE literature offered on this program are no longer available through the Address and Phone Number given, please visit www.hwalibrary.com for all FREE literature offered on this program.