CHAPTER SIX





THE FIRST SIX SEALS

This chapter describes the first six Seals and their results. For some strange reason the seventh is omitted! We will not see it in the seventh chapter either. Surprisingly, it isn't opened until chapter 8, followed there by the Trumpets. This 'misplacement' seemed at first a little mysterious but actually later discovered to be of utmost importance, in fact, even key to seeing the LODR in operation.

Recalling the analogy relating prophecy to a puzzle, I suggested one way of assembling a puzzle is to first find a few pieces which appear similar in color, form, etc. Once those are put together, a small section is completed, correctness being assured because the pieces fit. Well, that's the way Revelation 'came together' for me. I didn't one day decide, "O.K., I think I'll write a commentary on the book of Revelation," and then proceed to do it. No, it came about a 'few pieces' at the time. As I recall, the first thing I saw which made sense to me was that Seal Six could be symbolic of modern warfare. After more careful scrutiny I decided it didn't seem to abuse the passage to identify it as World War One. But I admit that didn't stack up too well with what I had been taught by the Futuristic approach, which would say all the Seals are descriptive only of the first portion of the final seven year period called The Tribulation. But by the time I left off reading other commentaries and studied the Bible only for a change, I had made up my mind to be open to new thought, especially if it appeared to be the leading of the Holy Spirit.

It was about the same time I saw the Sixth Seal as WW1, I also interpreted the Fifth Trumpet as symbolic of WW2! These two discoveries led me to take a broader look at history of the past 2,000 years. Quite obviously, if I was right about the Sixth Seal and the Fifth Trumpet, then the other Seals and Trumpets should likewise represent other outstanding historical events of the Christian era. Folks, to me, that's exciting!

So, the sixth Seal (WW1) and the fifth Trumpet (WW2) turned out to be two key parts of the 'puzzle' which were instrumental to the eventual unlocking of other Seals and Trumpets. Once I was this far along, the book of Revelation became steadily more interesting with every reading, for I was seeing that it is a 'now' book, and not altogether futuristic, as most preachers teach.

Thus, I reasoned, if Seal #6 is WW1, and Trumpet #5 is WW2, the other Seals and Trumpets would likewise have historical significance. Therefore, it seemed reasonable to assume Seal One would have to represent some person, and/or event, early in the Church age. When these ideas were birthing, I wasn't thinking about whether my understanding would get beyond my desk. This, I guess, made me somewhat 'fearless' regarding the identification process. You see, some of the prophecies describe not only events but specific individuals. That means real people, with real names! And from here on I will be matching these names with certain persons the apostle John described.

(If you have not yet accepted the possibility of the historical side of Revelation, hence the LODR, please just keep reading, realizing at one time I too believed only the Futuristic approach to Revelation. At first, it wasn't easy for me to break away from that viewpoint either. But once I saw a portion of the 'puzzle' unfold right before my eyes, other parts began to fall into place, too. I'm convinced you will see this also if you'll give the idea a chance.)

Now let's observe what the Seals reveal:



SEAL ONE

1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard, like the noise of thunder, one of the four living creatures saying, "Come and See."

2 And I looked and behold, a white horse. And he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer."

First, get the overall picture---there is a white horse and rider with a bow and a crown, who went out to conquer the world. The white color of the horse is significant. It portrays the rider came in-the-name of Jesus. (See Revelation 19 where Jesus will return to earth on a white horse.) However, I do not believe this rider in the First Seal was truly anointed of God. We often see in Scripture, before God's servants are sent, those who come as counterfeits pretending to represent God or Jesus, even wearing a form of godliness. As I searched early Church history for a person who would fit the model as portrayed in this First Seal, there was one who stood out like a 'sore thumb': Constantine the Great (280 - 337 A.D.)

Constantine attempted to "christianize" the world. History clearly shows that he tried to tie "religion" to the main political system of that day---the Roman Empire. Till this day, he has had no equal in this regard. I think it will be truly revealing for you to hear what a secular historian, Michael Hart(1) (not writing from a Biblical perspective) had to say about Constantine:

"He was the first Christian emperor of Rome and by his adoption of Christianity, and by his various policies encouraging its growth, he played a major role in transforming it from a persecuted sect into the dominant religion of Europe."

There are several points to note here:

(1) Constantine was the FIRST "Christian" emperor of Rome. This places him strategically as the first and most influential perverter of Christianity, particularly as related to political regimes.

(2) Mr. Hart emphasizes Constantine's "adoption" of Christianity. That is very aptly put. However, true Christians don't "adopt" the faith. On the contrary, we become adopted!

(3) Constantine played a "major role in transforming it (Christianity) from a persecuted sect into the dominant religion of Europe." Now Jesus has said that true followers of Him would always have trouble in this world and would be persecuted as was He. Christ never instructed his disciples to attempt making Christianity the acceptable "religion" of the world. Mr. Hart continues:

"Constantine's father became the ruler of the western half of the Roman Empire in about 305 and when he died, Constantine was proclaimed emperor by his troops. However, his reign was questioned and a series of civil wars followed and ended in 312 when Constantine defeated his remaining rival, Maxentius. But, Constantine still only ruled the Western half of the Empire and he then attacked and defeated Licenius and then remained sole ruler of the Roman Empire until his death in 337 A.D."



"It is uncertain when Constantine became converted to Christianity. The most usual story is that on the eve of the Battle of the Melvian Bridge, Constantine saw a fiery cross in the sky, together with the words, 'By this sign shalt thou conquer.'"

Note here that Constantine was PROCLAIMED emperor by his troops. Now look back at the Scripture which says, "And a crown was given to him"! But even though his troops crowned him, the battle wasn't over. And how interesting that on the night before the Battle of The Melvian Bridge, he had a vision of his "conquering". Then on the next day, he "went forth conquering" (see verse 2) and defeated Licenius to become the "soul ruler" of the Roman Empire, remaining so until he died.

Another very important point here was what Constantine considered his 'call' to serve. He saw a fiery cross in the sky and by it the words emblazened, "By this sign shalt thou conquer." Note how Constantine's supernatural encounter exactly fits the Scripture, "He went forth conquering and to conquer." Let's hear more of what Mr. Hart says:

"One of his early actions was the Edict of Milan, under which Christianity became a legal and tolerated religion. The Edict also provided for the return of church property which had been confiscated during the preceding period of persecution and it established Sunday as a day of worship."

Here we see how effectively Constantine linked organized religion with the government he headed. He made "Christianity" legal and tolerated. Even though he was instrumental in establishing Sunday as a day of worship, it should be noted that he was not the first to initiate this step. Early Christians from Paul's day onward honored Sunday as the Lord's Day. Constantine obviously wanted to add to his fame by legalizing the day. Mr. Hart goes on:

"Constantine never established Christianity as the official state religion. Commenced under his reign was the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It was also under Constantine's reign that the Nicene Creed became orthodox Church doctrine. It is quite plain that with Constantine's encouragement, Christianity rapidly expanded in both numbers and influence. From the creed of a small minority it became within a century, the predominant and established religion of the largest empire on earth."

The above is but a brief sketch of the life of Constantine "the Great". In summary, I think it would be helpful to condense the accomplishments of this man, comparing them with John's description of Seal One's white horse rider:

John's picture of the rider:

1. He rode a white horse. (signifies he came in Jesus' name)

2. He had a bow. (alludes to military might)

3. A crown was given to him. (declared emperor by his troops)

4. He went forth conquering. (he was a war hero)

5. His purpose was "to conquer". (great at strategy).

Now compare Constantine's life to the Scriptural portrayal:

1. First "Christian" emperor of Rome.

2. "Adopted" Christianity.

3. Transformed "Christianity" into the major religion of Europe.

4. Was proclaimed emperor by his troops.

5. Defeated all his rivals to become emperor of Rome until his death.

6. Saw a fiery cross in the sky with words, "by this sign shalt thou conquer".

7. Made "Christianity" a legal religion.

8. Established Sunday as a day of worship.

9. Commenced the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

10. Commenced the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

11. Under him the Nicene Creed became orthodox doctrine.

12. "Christianity" expanded under his rule.

13. "Christianity" became the predominant religion of the largest empire on earth.

Taken together, I believe these historical facts regarding the life and activities of Constantine fully meets the requirements of the prophetic picture of Seal One.

It is said that Constantine wasn't baptized until he was on his deathbed. Is this not indicative of the man's real attitude towards Jesus Christ? It makes one wonder who sent his vision in the sky? Do you think perhaps his power wasn't really from the Holy Spirit at all? Surely any sensitive Christian can see Constantine's experiences are more like what we typically see when people fall prey to Satan's delusions. Satan is the "prince of this world", the "god of this age". He comes as an "angel of light", particularly, it seems, to those who are empire-prone.

It would be rather foolish to ignore the ties established between Constantine and the Roman Catholic Church since Constantine started the Church of the Nativity and the Holy Sepulchre as well as effectualizing "church" doctrine. Although these shrines were built in the name and honor of the Lord Jesus Christ, I cannot accept that the Holy Spirit guided Constantine in these endeavors. As we move on, you will see just how severely these organizations distort the real Church of Jesus Christ. Indeed, they have become the very haven of Satan's kingdom, the one he will use to establish his throne in what is known as the anti-Christ system.





SUMMARY OF SEAL ONE

This segment is the first of many examples of the Law of Double Reference. Constantine the Great represented the Historical perspective, foreshadowing the Futuristic. Another will come who will be linked with the same organizations Constantine commenced. The ancient Roman Empire went down in defeat but it will rise again, the forerunner today being Europe's Common Market. Of course, the Roman Catholic Church still exists and will likely merge with the state. When together, the Holy Roman Empire will once again be established. (The EEC is attempting to merge now.)

So, Constantine typified and set the stage for the final conqueror who will, I believe, soon be "on stage" for his final act. This last-days, magnificent man will be none other than the one known as the anti-Christ.

(A word of explanation here: "Anti" implies AGAINST. The great leader who is yet to come on the scene will probably not first speak against Christ. That will come later. In the beginning, he will probably come, like Constantine, in the name of Jesus in order to win the allegiance of the people. I'm jumping a little ahead of myself but felt it timely for you to see the LODR concept here at this most critical point in our study.)

MISPLACED ALLEGIANCE

All too often Christians give their allegiance to wrong institutions. I hold no ill-will towards born-again people no matter what organization they are attached to. There are true, Christian Catholics, people I shall spend eternity with. However, I feel impelled to share what I believe God has shown me concerning some of the gross errors surrounding Roman Catholicism. More on this later.

SEAL TWO



Noting how accurately Constantine's life fits the qualifications of the rider on the white horse was a remarkable discovery to me. This being the case, combined with my on-going studies of other prophecies, I became increasingly aware that God is truly not the author of prophetic confusion (as I find the Futuristic-only bias). Indeed, I have learned that God allows comprehension of things about His Word which can be related to real life situations of both today and the past. Revelation is not merely an outline of the yet-future Tribulation, most of which, according to the Futurists, occurs after the Church will be gone from the earth! However, if one is 'locked in' to this interpretation of prophecy, accepting new thought is difficult.

However, seeing just one prophetic fulfillment helps prepare the mind to be sensitive to other significant historical evidence. In other words, if Constantine truly represents Seal One, then we would logically expect Seal Two to be just as identifiable and should fall right in line after Seal One. I found this to be exactly the case.



SEAL TWO, Verses 3 & 4

3 "And when He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come and see."

4 And another horse that was fiery red went out. And power was given to him who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword."

From the beginning of time, there have been oft-repeated patterns of conflict between those trying to reach high goals. Sometimes this was between persons, sometimes between nations, sometimes between religions, etc. For example, among individuals, it was demonstrated with Abel and Cain, Jacob and Esau, etc.; nationally, between Israel and Egypt, and so on. In earlier days (A.D.), the most notable conflict was between European 'Christianity' and Islam. (I put Christianity in quotes to differentiate between Constantine's Holy Roman Empire and true Christianity. I'm convinced that whole organizational structure was, and is, mainly cultural, thus man-conceived and man-oriented. Churchianity would be a more appropriate name. However, because the world perceives that which comes out of Rome as Christianity, I'll use this term---but in quotes to signify that I'm not referring to true Christianity.)

The power and influence of Roman Catholicism has been undeniably great and this form of 'Christianity' was always in great conflict with the Muslim religion, Islam. For these and other reasons to follow, I identify the red horse rider as Mohammad (570 - 632 A.D.), the founder and first leader of Islam. Now, for a brief historical look at Mohammad's life, I shall again quote from Michael Hart's book.

"Islam tradition tells us Mohammad was illiterate and that he was raised in a backward area away from the centers of trade, art and learning. At the age of 25 though he married a wealthy widow. Most Arabs in Mohammad's day were paganistic who believed in many gods. There were in Mecca where he lived, a small number of Jews and Christians and it was probably from them that Mohammad first learned of a single, omnipotent God. When he was forty years old Mohammad became convinced that God (Allah) was speaking to him and had chosen him to spread the true faith. For about three years he preached to close friends and associates and in about 613 he started preaching in public. As he started getting converts, the Meccan authorities came to consider him a dangerous nuisance. In 622, fearing for his safety, Mohammad fled to Medina. This was the turning point in Mohammad's life."

1. "The 100", by Michael H. Hart. A book about the author's selections of the 100 most influential people to have ever lived, without regard to whether they were good or bad. His perspective is mainly factual (non-spiritual) which I found very appropriate for my inclusion here.