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The Shepherd's Rod vol. 2
In order to make a proper application of the seven seals, we must have a better understanding of the heavenly sanctuary service, its origin, and the object of its existence as taught by the earthly sanctuary built by Moses. (Heb. 8:5.)
In the sanctuary construction and service, is revealed the plan of salvation. The first apartment, called the holy place, in which the high priest officiated daily with sacrifices and divers manners of gifts and washings, was a place for confession of sin. All of which was a shadow of heavenly things clearly revealing the plan of salvation. The second apartment, within the vail, called the "most holy," or the "holiest of all," was open only in the seventh month, and tenth day of the month, in each year; there redemption from the condemnation of the law was assured. (Lev. 23:27-30, 16:34.) It was called the day of atonement, judgment, or cleansing of the Sanctuary. (Lev. 16:33, Dan. 7:10; 8:14.) This was a day for the blotting out of sins accumulated during the year, and was a symbol of the great day of atonement; not in figure, but in reality. (See Lev. 16:19. Also "The Great Controversy," page 485.) The seat overshadowed by the cherubims being called the mercy seat, proves that it is a throne of mercy, and therefore a throne of judgment, where sinners can obtain mercy.
The entire system -- priest, sacrifice, and service -- was a type of Christ and His administration in the heavenly sanctuary, which the Lord pitched and not man. (See Heb. 8:2, and "The Acts of the Apostles," page 14.) The holy place was for the confession of sin, but the most holy for blotting out sin.
While the services in the earthly sanctuary were in operation, there could have been no services in the heavenly until after Christ ascended and became our High Priest. (See Hebrews 8.) Therefore, when the services in the heavenly began, the services in the earthly ceased. The true worshippers in the earthly, who by faith looked forward to the administration of the heavenly, were credited in the books of heaven as worthy of life eternal. Their records were to be investigated when Christ our High Priest entered within the vail into the holiest of all to blot out sin. (See Dan. 7:10.)
Says the Spirit of God: "It is impossible that the sins of men should be blotted out until after the judgment at which time their
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cases are to be investigated." -- "The Great Controversy," page 485. While the services in the earthly sanctuary were in force, the heavenly served as a depository for confessed sins. The same is true even under Christ's administration while in the holy apartment, until He entered into the most holy.
The heavenly sanctuary being for confession and the blotting out of sin, it could not have existed before sin entered and brought about the necessity for such a structure. Although the sanctuary service was originated after Adam sinned, the plan of salvation had always existed, and was revealed in, and by, the sanctuary service. Thus the plan that preceded the fall is found in Christ, in whom there was and is redeeming power for all.
While the earthly sanctuary existed God met His people in the most holy place where His presence was manifested between the cherubims on the mercy seat. Therefore, some have taken the position that the eternal place of God's throne is in "the holiest of all" of the heavenly sanctuary, but such an idea is contrary to both type and antitype. The first reason is, that the sanctuary did not always exist, as previously explained; second, the most holy was closed while Christ ministered in the holy. Says Paul: "We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens." (Heb. 8:1.) If God's throne was in the "most holy" place when Christ ascended on high, then He must have immediately entered the "holiest of all," instead of the "holy place." Such a position is contrary to both Scripture and service. God met His ancient people in the holiest of all, where, in figure, their sins were blotted out. Thus, symbolically showing, that He cannot meet His saints face to face until after He has met them in the "most holy" -- blotted out their sins, not in figure, but in reality -- in the anti-typical day of atonement. We shall prove this again from another angle.
The Revelator, in a vision about 96 A.D., was permitted to look into both apartments. A voice from heaven said to him: "Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter." Then he saw a throne set, and one sat on the throne, and before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto a crystal. (See Rev. 4:1-6.) The voice told him that the things which he saw were to be "hereafter;" that is, in the future from the time of the vision. Hence, it is evident that there was no throne there at that time -- about 62 years after Christ had ascended to the
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Father. Therefore, Christ sat on the right hand of God, but not on the throne in the sanctuary. What, then? Has God more than one throne? "Throne" is a seat, and wherever God sits, there His throne is. Note that "around and before the throne" in the sanctuary, is the "sea of glass."
Now we read of another throne: "And he shewed me a pure
river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne
of God and the Lamb." (Rev. 22:1.) Again, note that from one of the
thrones proceeds the "river of life," but from the other, the "sea of glass."
Therefore, there are two thrones. Christ sat at the right hand of
God on the throne from which proceeds the "river of life," for this is
the one called, "the throne of God and the lamb." This is God's eternal
place of abode; but the one in the sanctuary was set for the time being,
(See Dan. 7:9, 10), during Christ's ministration in the holiest of all,
which is a throne of judgment -- of blotting out sins and granting of rewards.
The one from which proceeds the river of life is a throne of life and of
Revelation 4:1, 2, 4-6: "After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit; and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.... And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings, and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind."
The description of the place is such that it bears evidence of being in the heavenly sanctuary. The same is supported by the Spirit of Prophecy: "As in vision the apostle John was granted a view of the Temple of God in heaven, he beheld there 'seven lamps of fire burning before the throne.' He saw an angel 'having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.' Here the prophet was permitted to behold the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven; and he saw there the 'seven lamps of fire' and the 'golden
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altar' represented by the golden candlestick and the altar of incense in the sanctuary on earth. Again, 'the temple of God was opened', and he looked within the inner vail, upon the holy of holies. Here he beheld 'the ark of His testament,' represented by the sacred chest constructed by Moses to contain the law of God." -- "Patriarchs and Prophets," page 356.
In the earthly sanctuary, the high priest alone was permitted to officiate in the second apartment, within the vail, and it has been understood by some that the throne seen by John could not have been in the most holy, because the twenty-four elders are before the throne. That thought is incorrect, for it would be unreasonable to take the position that God would move His throne from the "holiest of all," to the "holy place," rather than for the elders to enter in the most holy before the throne. Furthermore, it is the throne of the Eternal One that makes the second apartment most holy. Therefore, if we take the position Thus, if the elders and the beasts, or creatures were not permitted in the second apartment before the throne, neither would they be permitted in the first apartment before the throne. Taking any other stand than this would be saying that the apartment is holier than the Creator and His throne.
According to Paul, the services within the vail of the earthly tabernacle cannot clear all that takes place in the heavenly. Said he: "The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing." (Heb. 9:8.) Therefore, we must find the truth of the services in the heavenly sanctuary from another angle. We quote Daniel 7:9, 10: "I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened."
The prophet was shown the commencement of the judgment (atonement), or as it is also called, the cleansing of the sanctuary, which takes place in the most holy apartment; for he says, "the judgment was set, and the books were opened." Now note that, "Thousand thousands ministered unto him and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him." Thus we see that Paul is right that the service of the heavenly was not fully manifested by the service in the earthly. Though the high priest
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alone was permitted to enter the most holy place in the earthly, an innumerable company entered into the heavenly. Therefore where is the evidence that the elders cannot be in the holiest of all? It is impossible to apply the fulfillment of the 2300 prophetic days -- years -- of Daniel's vision in chapter 8, verse 14, at any other time than the judgment in 1844.
This prophetic period commenced at the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem. (Dan. 9:25.) The decree made by the king of Persia was carried out in 457 B.C. (See Ezra 7.) Therefore it terminated in 1844; at which time Christ passed from the "holy" into the "most holy" place. For further study, see "The Great Controversy," page 486.
We shall endeavor to prove that the vision of Daniel is of the same event as that of John. Daniel speaks of thrones (plural), then he makes a distinction of the throne of God (Ancient of days) by the "fiery stream" coming from before Him. The book of Daniel is a prophecy, but the vision of John is a revelation. Daniel says he saw "thrones," but John gives us the number of them -- twenty-five in all. (Rev. 4:2, 4.) Daniel says, "a fiery stream came forth from before him;" John tells us what the stream is: The "sea of glass mingled with fire." (Rev. 4:6; 15:2.) Daniel says: "Thousand thousands... and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him." John tells us who they are: "And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands." (Rev. 5:11.) Daniel says, "the judgment was set and the books were opened." John adds that one of the books was in the hand of Him that sat on the throne and was sealed with seven seals. (Rev. 5:1.) Thus John gives us more explicit revelation of the same event.
The door he saw "open" is the vail between the "holy" and the "most holy," for there is no other that had been kept closed. Therefore, the word "hereafter" in Revelation 4, verse 1, means from the time of the vision -- pointing forward to 1844.
Though the priest of the earthly sanctuary entered the "most holy" place but once a year, according to Paul, Christ entered the 'holy" place once forever. (See Heb. 9:12.) And of that time the apostle says, He is "to appear in the presence of God for us," in the "holiest of all." (Heb. 9:24.) Therefore, Christ could not enter the first apartment as a priest before His resurrection from the dead, at which time He became our High Priest; neither could He enter into the most holy in that capacity before the day of judgment, for Paul says, He "entered in once." Then the prophecy by Daniel and the revelation by John, can be of no
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other event than the commencement of the judgment at the date stated (1844).
Only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life are brought into the presence of God -- in the "most holy" place. Says the apostle: "Having therefore brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus." (Heb. 10:19.) As the same vision continues, we pass to the fifth and sixth chapters of Revelation.
Quoting Rev. 5:1, 3, 5-7; 6:1, "And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.... And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.... And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.... And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals."
The book sealed with seven seals, in the right hand of the Great Judge, must contain the names of those whose sins are to be blotted out. Inasmuch as this is the only book that "no man in heaven nor in earth... was able to open, neither to look thereon," save the Lamb which was before the throne (See chapter 5:1-9), it is unquestionably clear that the book with the seven seals is the one called "The Lamb's book of Life." And with it the judgment opened. The same is repeated in Revelation 20:12, "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." (See "The Great Controversy," page 480.) Since this cannot be refuted, it is evident that a foundation for the application of the seals is established.
We quote the scripture of the first four seals: "And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. And
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when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse, and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.... And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth." (Rev. 6:2-5, 7, 8.)
Some have applied the seven seals of the sixth chapter of Revelation to the church in the New Testament time, but the symbols are contrary to the application. In both Old and New Testament time, God's church has been symbolized by a chaste woman. (See Jer. 6:2; Rev. 12:1.) Inspiration makes no change in the rule for a symbol of an impure church, for in Revelation 17:1, 4, 5, an harlot is used to point out a church, or churches, that are fallen or untrue. The change of this rule (from "woman" to "man" or "horses") cannot be found anywhere within the Bible.
It is not only unscriptural to apply men and horses as symbols of the church, but it is altogether unfitting as well. Neither can any proof be presented to show that the seals apply only to the New Testament time. Therefore, the application of the symbols must be sought elsewhere. Thus we are confronted with the necessity of deeper study on the subject. According to the counsel of the servant of the Lord, we are admonished to study this, for it holds out an important truth for those who shall have a part in the closing of the gospel work. Quoting "Testimonies For the Church," Vol. 9, page 267: "The fifth chapter of Revelation needs to be closely studied. It is of great importance to those who shall act a part in the work of God for these last days."
Had the chapter been properly understood explained, and published before the above testimony was written, there would have been no need for this urgency. Furthermore, if it had been explained in the past, why is the lesson of such great importance, and who is bearing the responsibility of its deliverance to the world? But the fifth chapter, separated from the fourth and sixth cannot be comprehended, for these chapters contain one subject; namely, the seven seals. The fifth chapter is mentioned because it is the heart and key of the subject.
It would be impossible to correctly understand the lesson of the seals in the sixth chapter, unless we know something about the "elders," the "book," and the "beasts" of the fourth chapter, where the vision begins. When we acquire some knowledge of their duties before the throne, and the purpose of the assembly,
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as well as the occasion, then only can we make a proper application that can stand the test.
Unless the meaning of every symbol is fittingly explained so that it cannot be contradicted, and a present truth lesson with special significance derived the interpretation cannot be dependable and there can be no truth in it. God does not make vain repetitions, neither would He waste the time of His servants to write them. Therefore, every little symbol has its meaning, and reveals a great truth.
Rev. 4:1: "After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter." The door that was opened cannot be any other than the one separating the two apartments; namely, the holy from the most holy, in the heavenly sanctuary, as shown by the earthly sanctuary built by Moses. That apartment was to be opened at the beginning of the judgment, typified by the day of atonement as previously explained. Then we make no mistake in concluding that the scene is the judgment in session, and as the voice said to John, "I will shew thee things which must be hereafter," it is evident that he looked forward in vision to the opening of the judgment in 1844.
If these conclusions are correct, and the vision describes the judgment in progress, then the same must be proven by the things seen in vision. A judgment in session requires a judge, an advocate, a jury, and representatives of those who are to be judged, for they cannot be there (in heaven) in person. There must be books containing the names, and records of the deeds, of those who are to be judged; also the time of the judgment, and the reward. We quote the scripture describing the Great Judge: "And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald." (Rev. 4:2 and 3.)
The glory of God is represented by the likeness of precious stones. The rainbow reveals God's never failing promise and great mercy. God said to Noah: "This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth." (Gen. 9:12, 13.)
The following verse depicts the jury: "And round about the
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throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold." (Revelation 4:4.) The crowns of gold denote their kingly authority to act upon the case. The white robes show that they are men from earth, redeemed by Rev. 4:6.) "And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." (Revelation 5:8, 9.) Note the beasts and elders all sang, saying: "For thou hast redeemed us out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." Thus, the beasts, as well as the elders, are redeemed from the earth.
Again, note that the beasts and elders made a total of twenty-eight. It would be impossible for only twenty-eight persons to be redeemed out of every kindred, tongue, and people, and nation: for if there were only one redeemed out of every nation, the number would run into thousands, instead of twenty-eight. Therefore, it is evident that the "four beasts" are symbols which represent four groups of saints gathered from all ages, and out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation. In a similar way the world empires after the flood are symbolically represented by beasts. Thus by the beasts are represented those that shall be judged.
"And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." (Revelation 4:8.) "Full of eyes." Eyes are to give light to the body. Therefore, they stand as a symbol, signifying that God's people have had sufficient light in every age. "Before and behind" denotes prophetic light, revealing to them the past, present and future; this being made possible by the Spirit of God and by holy angels. The number "four" shows that there are four classes of saints to be considered in the judgment. Two of these classes are to be resurrected; namely, those who died naturally, and those who were martyred. The other two are they who shall be translated at the coming of Christ; namely, the 144,000 of Revelation 7:1-8, and the great multitude with palms in their hands, as shown in Rev. 7:9. (See "The Shepherd's Rod," Vol. 1, pp. 41-51.) As the wings of the lion, and also of the four-headed leopard beast (Babylon and Grecia) represent
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numbers of periods as previously explained (on page 33-42), then they must stand for the same on these beasts. They are to point out the seal under which the judgment began -- the sixth seal -- therefore six wings. "Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." That is, God before the judgment, in the time of the judgment, and after the judgment.
Rev. 4:7: "And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle." The beasts by nature also represent the four periods of the church. The first beast is like a lion. "Lion" is the king of beasts, and is intended to point out the first period of the church before the ceremonial section, with which the judgment began. (See chart in "The Shepherd's Rod," Vol. 1, p. 224.) The second beast being "like a calf," it is evident that he represents the sacrificial, or typical section. Thus the beast with the "face of a man" must represent the anti-typical period after the crucifixion. And the fourth beast was like a "flying eagle." He represents the period in the time of the harvest. The last period is symbolized by the flying eagle to denote the church that shall be translated. A "flying eagle" is king of birds, as the lion is king of beasts, which is a sign of victory, thus making a perfect symbol. As the judgment of the dead began with the beast like a lion, -- king of beasts, -- just so the judgment of the living begins with the beast like an eagle, -- king of birds. The entire truth of these "four beasts" is not yet revealed.
As the beasts and the elders praise and worship God, it is sufficient testimony that creation is satisfied that He is just, and true, and the Creator of all. Those whose names are written within the book of the "seven seals" are the ones whose sins are to be blotted out with the precious blood of Christ. Thus praise, and honor, and glory, is due to our God forever and ever.
"I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins." (Isa. 43:25.) "I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us, he will subdue our iniquities; and thou will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." (Micah 7:9,19.) Shall we with the great apostle say: "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord?" (Romans 8:38, 39.)
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Thus far our attention has been called to the Great Judge, the jury of twenty-four elders, the four beasts representing those who shall be judged, and the book containing the names -- sealed with seven seals. Now our attention is turned to the advocate.
"And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints." (Rev. 5:6-8.)
The "Lamb" is a symbol of Christ, our defender. Said John: "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 John 2:1.)
The seven horns on the Lamb signifies completeness of power and authority, verifying the words spoken by Christ: "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Matt. 28:18.) This immeasurable power is for our good, and is freely offered to us. Said Jesus: "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." (Matt. 17:20.) Dear friend, these words are either true or untrue. There can be no middle ground. As Christ cannot lie, will you try His never failing word, and let Him fulfill His promise?
The seven eyes of the Lamb denote completeness of vision, evidence that there is nothing hid from our Advocate, and that all things are open and naked unto Him; equally so with God the Father. The Psalmist describes God's power in vision in the following words: "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee." (Psa. 139:7-12.)
The Revelator says the horns and the eyes of the Lamb "are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." All of this power, both in might and in vision, is embodied and demonstrated by the Spirit of God. Said Jesus, "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto
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you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." (John 16:7.) "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14:26.)
The "seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God." (Rev. 4:5.) The lamps of fire, seven in number, present before the throne, represent completeness of the truth of God -- present truth revealed to every generation since the world began -- by which we are judged. Those who are obedient to all the light and truth given them, have come up to the requirements -- they are sealed, and cleared from the condemnation of the law of God.
"The seven lamps... which are the seven Spirits of God." (Rev. 4:5.) This Scripture proves the fact that light and truth are revealed by the Spirit of God only. "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14:26.) The rejecting of light and present truth is the sin against the Holy Ghost. "And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost [present truth] it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." (Matt. 12:32.) Our attitude towards present truth would "Either make a tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit." (Matt. 12:33.) Thus, present truth has the power to change the individual and fit him for eternal life, which is the seal of the living God. Said Jesus: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5.)
"And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind." (Rev. 4:6.) According to the punctuation in the verse just quoted, it means that the beasts are in the midst of the throne and round about the throne. It would be impossible for them to be in the midst, and also round about the throne -- mercy seat. If they were in the midst of the throne, they would be taking the place of God, the Judge, and His Son, the Lamb. Thus, we conclude that the first clause of the verse is mispunctuated. By omitting the colon the Scripture would read as follows: "And
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before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal and in the midst of the throne." Thus, it is the sea of glass in the midst, and before the throne; and not the beasts. "The sea of glass" proceeds from the throne, and is a symbol of life eternal in the same manner as the "Lamb" is a symbol of Christ, our Advocate.
The sea is the most extensive body upon the earth; thus it is used to represent eternity. "Clear as crystal" denotes perfection, freedom from sin and defects. In Revelation 15:2, we read: "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire." Fire would be the only perfect symbol that could be used to represent life. Therefore, the sea of glass proceeds from God's throne, and represents life eternal, which is the reward of those whose names are in the Lamb's book of life, within the seven seals. "And there shall in nowise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abominations, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Rev. 21:27.) In the judgment it is granted to the saints "that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name," to stand on the sea of glass -- life eternal. (Rev. 15:2.)
The arrangement and the scene, as described by John, proves that it is the judgment in session for it is held in the "Holy of Holies" -- typified by the earthly sanctuary and its service, in which Aaron the high priest, officiated in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month. It was called the day of atonement -- judgment, the cleansing of the sanctuary or purification of the church -- the separation of the tares from the wheat. There we behold the Great Judge (God the Father), the Advocate (the Lamb -- Jesus Christ the righteous), a jury (the twenty-four elders -- clothed with the righteousness of Christ -- white robes); a representation of those who are to be judged (the four beasts) the light and truth which they have kept (the seven lamps), the reward which is to be granted to those who are judged (sea of glass), and the book containing the names of all the righteous. beginning with Adam and on to the close of probation -- the end of the gospel (seven seals). "And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals." (Rev. 5:1.) Because the book contains the names of all who are sealed with the seal of God (His truth) it is called the book of seals, also the Lamb's book of life.
In the following scripture we behold the entire universe watching with intense interest the affairs of the human family as the scroll unrolls, revealing to them the mystery of God: "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who
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created all things by Jesus Christ." (Eph. 3:9.) Quoting Revelation 5:11-14, "And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saving, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever." The Scripture quoted proves that the entire universe is satisfied with the love of God, and the righteousness of Christ. We repeat Rev. 5:13: "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."
"And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints." (Rev. 5:2-8.)
This scripture reveals that there is not another in the vast universe of God that is worthy, or that can open the book, for "the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has prevailed." Christ acquired the above title by His birth, and by His victory on the cross for those who would believe in Him as the Saviour of
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the world. He has prevailed by shedding His blood on Calvary; thus none other can open the book for He alone has died for the human race. This "book" contains the names of the saints, and the "seven seals" comprise, prophetically, the world's history, during which time the saints are sealed. These seven periods of unfulfilled history sealed the book, and the only one that could open it -- see into the future -- was the "Lamb." The book was "written within and on the backside" -- "written within" is the prophetic word of God; "and on the backside," is the historical fulfillment of the prophecies. "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Rev. 13:8.) "Who hath wrought and done it, Calling the generation from the beginning?" (Isa. 41:4.)
It is Christ who has prepared the way for this judicial procedure to plead for His people, and to blot out their sins. "In the typical service, only those who had come before God with confession and repentance, and whose sins, through the blood of the sin offering, were transferred to the sanctuary, had a part in the service in the day of atonement. So in the great day of final atonement and investigative judgment, the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God. The judgment of the wicked is a distinct and separate work, and takes place at a later period. 'Judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel?' As the books of record are opened in the judgment, the lives of all who have believed on Jesus come in review before God. Beginning with those who first lived upon the earth, our Advocate presents the cases of each successive generation, and closes with the living." -- "The Great Controversy," pp. 480, 483.
Besides the book in the hand of the judge, there are other books, but this one which no other being in heaven or in earth was worthy to open, save the "Lamb," is the one called "The Lamb's Book of Life." And the Revelator says that those only shall enter the city of God whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. " 'A book of remembrance' is written before God, in which are recorded the good deeds of 'them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name.' " -- Id., p. 481.
As the evidence brought forth cannot be questioned that with the book of seals the judgment opened, and as it began with the righteous who lived upon the earth first, and ends with the last, it is positive that the seven seals spread over the entire world's
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history. Consequently, they include every saint since the world began. The number "seven" bears the same evidence.
As there are seven seals in consecutive order, it is clear that our world's history is divided into seven different periods. The judgment begins with the first and ends with the last. Evidently the first six seals complete the cases of those who were dead preceding the judgment, and while it is in session; but the seventh sealing period, being the last, must concern the living.
There is sufficient scriptural evidence that all the saved in all ages are sealed with the seal of God; for this reason the seven periods are called "seven seals," and the names of those who are sealed are written in the book; consequently, the book is sealed with seven seals. (See John 6:27; Eph. 4:30; 1:13; 2 Tim. 2:19; 2 Cor. 1:22; Rev. 9:4.)
Revelation 6:1-8, "And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny, and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. And when he had opened the fourth seal I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."
The horses are symbols of the earth, revealing four great changes since the world began, and the riders depict the human family under these four great variations; thus making a perfect symbol, for we ride upon the earth as we would upon a horse. Had sin not entered within the human family there would have been but one horse. But since sin entered and marred the plan of God for His children, the earth was cursed, and thus a great
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change came; and as sin multiplied curse after curse was added. Therefore, the white horse was succeeded by red, and the red by black, and the black by pale.
The rider on the white horse was given a crown, but after sin entered he lost his crown of kingship and glory. Therefore, the rider on the red horse, instead of having a crown, has a great sword; and to the sword was added a pair of balances, and to the balances, death.
Revelation 6:2, "And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow, and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer." "White" being a symbol of purity, denotes that the white horse represents the beginning of our world -- sinless, as the earth was in her garb of beauty and perfection, with all the wonders on the land and in the sea.
" 'And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden;'... Everything that God had made was the perfection of beauty, and nothing seemed wanting.... In this garden were trees of great variety, many of them laden with fragrant and delicious fruit. There were lovely vines...presenting a most graceful appearance, with their branches drooping under their load of tempting fruit, of the richest and most varied hues." -- "Patriarchs and Prophets," pp. 46, 47.
The earth with its delicate flowers and carpet of living green, over which the blue heavens spread as its dome, exhibited a natural view of beauty and elegance such as no language can describe. Only the great Master Artist can bring forth such a wonder without flaw.
As the white horse represents the beginning of our earth in her sinless state, the rider can be none other than Adam himself, with whom the judgment began. The crown is a symbol of kingly authority. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." (Gen. 1:26.) The same is expressed in the words, "And a crown was given Him." Therefore, the Lord set in motion a perfect world, with a king created by the hand of God, and we are the sons of Royalty.
"Behold a white horse: and he that sat on him... went forth conquering and to conquer." The symbolical words are the fulfillment
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of the words spoken by the Creator's lips: "And God blessed them (Adam and Eve), and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it." (Gen. 1:28.) It was God's plan to multiply the human family, and to have them subdue the earth. Therefore, Adam went conquering and to conquer. Though sin entered, and death claimed the human family, God's plan has been carried out, and the earth is inhabited. Thus he "went forth conquering and to conquer."
"And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow." The bow is an implement used to conquer with (replenish). Therefore, Adam was given a bow (Eve) corresponding with the words: "And the Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof: And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." (Gen. 2:18, 21-23.) "And Adam called his wife's name Eve: because she was the mother of all living." (Gen. 3:20.) Thus this sacred institution was originated by the Creator of the universe. " 'Marriage is honorable'; it was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is one of the two institutions that, after the fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise." -- "Patriarchs and Prophets," p. 46. Thus Adam conquered (inhabited the earth) with the bow (Eve).
"And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword." "And there went out another horse that was red." If the white horse represents the first period, then the red horse must stand for the one that followed. "Red" is the same as scarlet, which is a symbol of sin and condemnation.
After Adam sinned, the earth was cursed, and its perfect beauty marred. Thus the white horse passed away, and a red one took its place. Said God, "Cursed is the ground for thy sake, in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life." But this symbol applies more directly after the flood, for the entire surface of the earth was changed by the deluge. "A third dreadful curse
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rested upon it in consequence of sin. As the water began to subside, the hills and mountains were surrounded by a vast, turbid sea.... The earth presented an appearance of confusion and desolation impossible to describe. The mountains, once so beautiful in their perfect symmetry, had become broken and irregular. Stone, ledges, and ragged rocks were now scattered upon the surface of the earth. In many places, hills and mountains had disappeared, leaving no trace where they once stood; and plains had given place to mountain ranges. These changes were more marked in some places than in others. Where once had been earth's richest treasures of gold, silver, and precious stones, were seen the heaviest marks of the curse. And upon the countries that were not inhabited, and those where there had been the least crime, the curse rested more lightly." -- "Patriarchs and Prophets," page 108. Thus the red horse represents the period after the flood.
"And power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword." As soon as sin entered the human family, it multiplied fast, like a fruitful tree. What a vast difference between the first rider and the second. No longer has he a crown on his head, but instead, a great sword in his hand. Righteous Abel was the first to fall under its edge. But as the symbol has a direct application after the flood, it finds its perfect fulfillment in the tower of Babel.
As the earth's inhabitants began to multiply after the deluge, sin did likewise, and though they had to believe Noah's prediction of the flood, they mistrusted his predictions after the flood. "And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.... And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is a token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations; I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth." (Gen. 9:1, 11, 13.)
Their disbelief in the word of God spoken by Noah, impelled them, in defiance of God, to engage in building the tower of Babel as a defense against a second flood. (See Gen. 11:3, 4.) God's displeasure over their ignorance of His power, and disbelief in His word, caused Him to destroy the tower and confound their language. "So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon
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the face of all the earth.... Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." (Gen. 11:8, 9.) The confusion at the tower of Babel gave birth to the races and languages. As they parted in separated tribes, the neighboring ones began to quarrel one with another. As they grew to nations, their quarrels turned into wars.
Thus the period under the "red horse" gave birth to the existing unrest among the nations. Therefore, power was given him "to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword." Thus the evidence proves that the red horse represents the period after the flood; and the rider, its inhabitants, corresponding with the "lion" (Babylon), and later with the "bear" (Medo-Persia). At the commencement of the Persian government, the previous quarrels broke out in bloody wars, thus the words by the ribs in the mouth of the bear, "Arise, devour much flesh" (Dan. 7:5) met a perfect fulfillment. Therefore, peace was taken from the earth by the great sword in the hand of the rider on the red horse.
Revelation 6:5, "And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair balances in his hand." The white horse is a symbol of purity, being submerged by the red which is a symbol of sin, and the red being succeeded by the "black" denotes spiritual darkness, or mental blindness. Therefore, the color (black), signifies misconception of God's personality.
As man plunged into sin, his moral and spiritual powers were weakened to the extent that his vision of God's invisible presence was blotted out. The sinner's spiritual corruption and immoral inclinations demanded a visible deity to redeem him from everlasting ruin. Thus the worship of the unseen and omnipresent One was forsaken, and the adoration of idols substituted. This state of spiritual darkness had overwhelmed the inhabitants of our world in the days of Abram, only about three hundred years after the flood.
As there is no record of idol-worship before that time, the black horse must represent the period from that date to the Christian era. Evidently Israel after the flesh comes under the period of the black horse. In each instance, when the world reached the climax of Satanic deception, God, in His mercy and
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love for sinners, was compelled to make certain moves to preserve human probation. At that time He could not destroy the sinners from the face of the earth and yet keep His promise to Noah. To assure the preservation of the covenant He called out Abram from idolatry to the worship of the true God, starting out a separate nation by one family similar to that of Adam and Noah; and the result was that the twelve Patriarchs of Israel came forth, of whom God made one great nation.
Rev. 6:5, last part, "And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand." As the white horse rider's crown and bow refer to his privileges, and the great sword in the hand of the red horse's rider shows his prerogative, just so the balances in the hand of the rider of the black horse must have reference to the people and their characteristics, in that period.
Balances are used for commercial purposes. Therefore, the symbol denotes the first introduction of a commercialistic idea. Prior to, or about Abram's time, commercial trading between nations was unknown. But in the period represented by the black horse this idea was born. The Phenician-Semitic race are credited with the ever-increasing discovery, with Sidon and Tyre as their chief commercial centers. "Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth?" (Isa. 23:8.)
"We must mention another 'Little' people of this Semitic race whose influence upon the world has been more potent than that of Egypt, or Babylonia -- the Phenicians. Their state also was one of the smallest in antiquity.... Their two chief cities were Sidon, and, a short distance away, the queen of Phenician cities, Tyre. But in time they were to spread their trade-colonies all over the Mediterranean, and up into other lands, ever on the search for new Trade areas and commercial centers. They were the bees of the ancient world carrying the pollen of culture wherever they went. The necessities of trade and commerce drove them to perfect the alphabet and from them the western world obtained it. In some respects they were unique in the ancient world, and this distinction was interred with them. For they were not interested in conquests, save commercial; and they did not mind paying tribute to military powers, as long as those powers did not interfere with their rights of trade. They had a Greek-like capacity for assimilating to themselves whatever Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Persia or any other phase of civilization
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offered; but their chief genius lay in invention, technical skill, business activity, and in industry. In the working of iron, gold, ivory, glass, and purple dyes they stood in the ancient world without a peer.
"We recall from the Old Testament the story of David's wish to build a temple worthy of the worship of the God of Israel. It is intimated to him that the work had better be left to his son Solomon. So we see Solomon making a treaty with Hiram, King of Tyre. Hiram was to furnish cedar and cypress-wood, together with carpenters and stone-masons for the building, and to ship the materials on rafts to Juda. Much of the external splendor of Solomon's brilliant and showy rule should be credited to the technical skill of these master-craftsmen of Phenicia. Through their cities flowed the highly profitable trade of Arabia and the East: and their manufacturers were kept busy turning out their products of metals, glass, and purple. By sea and by land they traveled everywhere -- missionaries of trade -- the master-bargainers of the Old World. At the time of Homer the Phenicians were credited with being pirates -- robbers -- and merchants only by virtue of necessity. Possibly nothing worse than legend, but we are told they brought their trinkets beads, and cheap baubles, which they sold at high prices and kidnaped boys and girls to be sold in the eastern markets as a sideline." -- "Essential Knowledge, -- The Phenicians," Vol. 1, pp. 69, 70.
Rev. 6:6, "And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say,... and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." According to Revelation 4:6, the four beasts are round about the throne. Therefore, the throne is in the midst of the beasts. Says John: "And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts." One of the things he heard was, "See thou hurt not the oil and the wine." Therefore, whatever is meant by the symbol, it is not of men, but of God, for it was He who commanded, "Hurt not the oil and the wine."
It is an accepted fact by nearly all Bible students that "oil" is used by the Scriptures as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, as in Psalms 45:7; Isaiah 61:1-3; Zechariah 4:12. "Wine" is used as a symbol of the blood of Christ, and as the "life is in the blood," the wine denotes life eternal, found only in "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world." Said Jesus, "The words that I speak unto you they are spirit and they are life" -- "oil" and "wine." The words in the Bible are the "Spirit" and the "Life." Therefore, the command, "hurt not the oil and the
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wine," has reference to the Bible -- the Spirit and the Life. But why was the command given to this particular rider? Why not to one of the others? The only answer that can be given is that the period under the black horse and his rider gave birth to the Bible. The command was obeyed and the Bible came. In time of idolatry and dense spiritual darkness, God, in His never failing love, blessed the human family by the gift of His written Word for a Light to the world. The voice from the throne "Hurt not the oil and the wine," is the voice in the Bible and the words of Jehovah. The remaining part of verse six will be explained in another study.
Rev. 6:7 and 8: "And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."
As the Old Testament time closes with the third seal, the New begins with the opening of the fourth seal. Consequently, the pale horse and the non-descript beast of Daniel 7:7, 8, occupy the same period. Evidently one beast must resemble the other or the symbol would not be perfect. Rome was symbolized by a non-descript beast because its government was a mixture of civil and religious laws, with Pagan and Christian doctrines. Therefore, it was beyond description as previously explained. The pale horse has the same meaning, for his complexion is faint, wanting, not having a specific or definite color. Pale -- non-descript.
The rider represents the ruling heads of government. His name is Death. "Death and Hell [hades or grave as in the revised version] followed with him." This is a perfect description of the unjust, persecuting Roman power, corresponding to the beast as Daniel saw it: "It devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it." In the opening of the fourth seal, Rome, under the symbol of the non-descript beast in both his stages (imperial and papal) persecuted its subjects for their religious belief, and millions lost their lives. Therefore, "Death and Hell [grave] followed with him."
"And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth: to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth." Here is given the exact time in which imperial and papal Rome would hold sway over the earth,
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to kill the followers of Christ by means of these various forms of cruelty. Again, note the perfection of the Scriptures using the pronoun "them," meaning both imperial and papal Rome, also civil and religious authority. Note the first part of the sentence. "And power was glven unto them over the fourth part of the earth." This present world, from creation to its end or the beginning of the millennium, shall number 6,000 years. The pale horse rider was to have power over a fourth part of the earth. We divide 6,000 into four equal parts, and we have 1500 years. Therefore, the cruel and unjust persecution by Rome was to lose its power at the end of the 1500 years or the fourth part. That is exactly what happened. At that time Martin Luther arose against the papacy and inflicted the deadly wound, by the instrument of truth -- "The just shall live by faith." And the result was that Protestantism came on the stage of action in opposition to the papacy. Up to the beginning of the fifteenth century the papacy reigned supreme as a king of kings, by the iron arm of the state in the garb of so-called spiritual authority; but at that time her power was broken.
From the crucifixion of Christ to the "Augsburg Confession," a document compiled by Luther, constituted a period of 1500 years. This document was signed by the protestant states and adopted as their creed, and was a protest against the pope. So at the time appointed, their power Pagan and Papal, was broken. (See "The Shepherd's Rod," Vol. 1, pp. 209-222.) Thus perfectly fulfilling the symbolical prophecy that "power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth." Here is a truth that overthrows the idea that the earth has been in existence for longer than 6,000 years. It also proves the application of the seals to be absolutely correct.
Only four horses are introduced instead of seven, or, a horse to a seal. Four is another Biblical number to denote that the representation by the horses is world wide (four points of the compass). (See page 54). While the number of horses represent the universal effect of the curse of sin the number of seals denote the completeness of the gospel and the sealing of the saints.
Rev. 6:9-11: "And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and
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it was said unto them, that they should rest yet a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled."
The closing of one seal and the opening of the other consumed a period of thirty years. Thus the fourth seal closed in 1530 A.D., up to which period the pale horse rider was to have power. Therefore, the reformation by Luther falls under the fifth seal; and after it was opened John was shown, "the souls of them that were slain for the word of God," under the fourth seal. "And it was said unto them [the slain], that they should rest yet a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." The words show that although despotism had lost its power, the persecution had not altogether ceased, for their fellow servants and their brethren were yet to be killed under the fifth seal. Says John: "And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God." Therefore, it was the Christians who were slain.
The altar is a symbol as well, thus it also must be considered. Altar is used for worship; and as the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God were under it, we know that it was an altar of true worship -- the reformation by Luther.
Rev. 6:12,13: "And I beheld 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."
The sixth seal opens with the Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755. Following the earthquake the sun was darkened, May 19, 1780, and the moon appeared as blood the following night. The "falling of the stars," has reference to the great meteoric shower of November 13, 1833. Jesus, looking forward to the fulfillment of these signs, said: "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." (Matt. 24:29.) Therefore, under the sixth seal came the signs of the time of the end -- the great earthquake in 1755, the dark day in 1780 the falling stars in 1833, and the beginning of the judgment in 1844.
On Rev. 6:14-17, comment is found in "Testimonies for the Church," Vol. 9, pp. 267, 268: " 'And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island
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were removed 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 bond man, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Rev. 6:12-17.) After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.... These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'... Revelation 7:9-17."
According to the following testimony, Revelation 6:12-17, has a double application, and it is clear that these verses also refer to the time of the purification of God's church, for the servant of the Lord says, "In these scriptures two parties are brought to view. One party permitted themselves to be deceived, and took sides with those with whom the Lord has a controversy. They misinterpreted the message sent them, and clothed themselves in robes of self-righteousness. Sin was not sinful in their eyes. They taught falsehood as truth, and by them many souls were led astray." -- "Testimonies for the Church," Vol. 9, page 268. It is inferred, from the testimony just quoted, that they have taught falsehood. We ask the reader to consider what has been taught by the symbols found in the books of Daniel and Revelation. For instance, consider the truth brought to view here, as compared with what has been taught for some years.
Rev. 8:1, 3-5: "And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake."
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We have omitted the second verse, for it has reference to the seven trumpets. The silence in heaven for about half an hour cannot be the second coming of Christ, as some have thought, for afterward the angel with the golden censer and incense, offered the prayers for the saints from the golden altar. The altar is in the holy place, just opposite the throne that is in the most holy. The two apartments were separated by a vail. In the day of atonement, the vail or door of the earthly tabernacle was opened and the high priest went in. But let it be remembered that the door (vail) was left open while the high priest officiated. Thus the two apartments became one. For this reason the congregation were not permitted in the holy place on that day, as they were at other times, for the vail being lifted, the holy place also became most holy. So while the door to the most holy was open, the entrance to the holy was closed. Therefore, the high priest alone used both apartments on the day of atonement. (See Lev. 16:17.) Thus the golden altar before the throne, from which the angel offered the prayers of the saints, was, and is, used in both periods -- before, and in the time of the judgment. As the entire judicial tribunal (Judge, Advocate, Elders, etc.) were in the temple after the seventh seal had been opened, it is evident that the judgment was in progress, and probation had not closed at the time of the "silence." For after the judgment has ceased and probation closed, no man can enter the temple. (See Rev. 15:8.)
Had the "silence" of "half an hour" pointed to the coming of Christ, at which time He takes his saints with Him, there would be no necessity for the angel to offer their prayers. Furthermore, it would be unnecessary to "cast" fire, which is the Spirit of God, from the golden altar to the earth. Again, if the opening of the seventh seal means the coming of Christ, then only those under the six seals would have been considered in the judgment, and there could be no seventh seal, which would show lack of perfection and completeness of the judgment, and of the gospel. It would also be contrary to the number of seals on the book. As the six seals have reference to six periods in which the saints were sealed, the seventh must also apply to a sealing period; otherwise it cannot be called, seventh "seal."
Now let us consider the truth as taught by the last seal. Note carefully the order of each act. The seal is opened, and silence follows, for it reads: "and when he had opened the seventh seal there was silence." The Revised Version, Weymouth, the Greek, and the Bulgarian Bibles read the same way. The silence was followed by the angel coming to the altar with the censer, after he offered the prayers of the saints. And then he
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filled the censer with fire, and cast the fire to the earth and again the voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. This is the exact order of each event.
What made the silence? As the judgment opened, John states: "And out of the throne proceeded lightnings, and thunderings and voices;" and the four beasts "rest not day and night, saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty." (Rev. 4:5, 8.) The voices are continuous day and night while the judgment is going on. But sometime after the seventh seal was opened these voices were silenced for about half an hour. After the angel offered the prayers of the saints, and cast the fire upon the earth, the voices resumed. "And there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake." Evidently the judgment, for some reason, had stopped, and half an hour later it resumed. It cannot be otherwise, for, if the judgment was going on, and the beasts and the elders kept silent, it would indicate that there was something wrong -- something to which they could not say "amen" and praise God. Therefore, the only proper conclusion is, that for some reason the judgment retired for half an hour.
What made the interruption and brought about the change? Let us first determine the length of the prophetic half hour's time. A day in prophetic time stands for a year. (Ezek. 4:6.) One hour is a twenty-fourth part of a prophetic year, and figuring thirty days to a month, it would be about two weeks. Half an hour would be half of two weeks; therefore, seven literal days. Seven days were used for purification. (See Ex. 29:35, 37; Lev. 12:2; 13:4, 5; 1, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 21, etc.) From these references we conclude that the "half an hour" or seven days stand for the purification of the church, pointing forward to the fulfillment of Malachi 3:1-6. But we have a more definite proof, which will clear all doubts.
In observance of the Passover, the Lord commanded Israel to celebrate that occasion seven days. (See Lev. 23:5-8.) Surely no one would say that God commanded His people to commemorate that event seven days with no object in view. Israel after the flesh going into Egypt, then out of Egypt to Mount Sinai, the passover in Egypt on the night when the death angel smote the first born of man and beast at the departure of Israel, are types of the church at the present time -- the church going out of Egypt -- worldliness, the purification of the church, the separation of the tares form the wheat -- the fulfillment of Ezekiel 9. (A complete explanation of the subject is given in "The Shepherd's Rod," Vol. 1, pp. 64-113; see also chart on page 224.) The Spirit of Prophecy bears witness of this by the following statement: "The Passover was to be both commemorative
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and typical, not only pointing back to the deliverance from Egypt, but forward to the greater deliverance which Christ was to accomplish in freeing His people from the bondage of sin." -- "Patriarchs and Prophets," p. 277.
Thus the silence of half an hour points forward to this great event for the church of God. Its fulfillment would bring us to the time of the harvest, or as it is called, the Loud Cry of the Third Angel's Message of Revelation 18 -- the last message for the world. Thus, while the five men with the slaughter weapons are taking away those represented by the tares within the church, there will be silence in heaven for about half an hour (seven days), after which the judgment will commence again for those who shall be sealed in the time of the great harvest, which is the end of the world. Said Jesus: "Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn" -- the church. (Matt. 13:30.)
They who are to be sealed at that time were seen by John as a great multitude with palms in their hands. (See Rev. 7:9.) Hence the scroll has made a turn, and the sealing for those who shall be judged while living, has begun. As we stated before, the passover night in Egypt is a type of the purification of the church, separating the tares from the wheat. The crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites pointed forward to the fulfillment of Isaiah 63. (See "The Shepherd's Rod," Vol. 1, pp. 96-103.)
Therefore, the prophet declares the words of the Lord: "For the day of vengeance is in mine heart and the year of my redeemed is come." (Isa. 63:4.) We quote verses 1-3, also 17, 18: "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.... O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servant's sake, the tribes of thine inheritance. The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary."
The prophet saw Christ himself returning from the slaughter of the Edomites -- the class who were deceiving God's people in the church, the tares, or adversaries who had trodden down His
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sanctuary. "Bozrah" means "sheepfold" -- the church. He saw His garments stained with the blood of the tares, in delivering His people from their hands. The prophet asked: "Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth the winefat?" The purification of the church makes it necessary for Christ to leave the place of judgment and descend to deliver His redeemed (the 144,000), and this is what causes the judgment to cease, and the voices to be silenced for about half an hour -- seven days. The Spirit of Prophecy bears witness of the same. "The Lord Jesus shall rise up from His mediatorial work in the heavenly sanctuary, and shall clothe himself with the garments of vengeance, and surprise them at their unholy feast; and they will find themselves unprepared for the marriage supper of the Lamb." -- "Testimonies for the Church," vol. 5, p. 690. Peter, looking forward to the purification of God's church, and the commencement of the judgment for the living, says: "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:17.)
Had the church as a body, or at least the leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination accepted the message of reform as presented to them in "The Shepherd's Rod," Vol. 1, there would be no necessity for that class to fall by the figure of the five men with the slaughter weapons. It is the reception or rejection of the message that will fix the destiny of the two classes as described in the following testimony: "I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen, and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the true witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this is what will cause a shaking among God's people." -- "Early Writings," p. 270.
In the earthly sanctuary, the high priest entered the most holy apartment once a year, and on that particular day every Israelite was to confess his sin. He who neglected to comply with the divine requirements was cut off from his people. (See Lev. 23:29, 30.) Thus the day of anti-typical atonement, judgment, or cleansing of the sanctuary, as set forth in Daniel 8:14, is a day of purification for the camp of Israel, the church -- putting away sin and sinners. The earthly sanctuary was a figure of the heavenly. (See Heb. 9:23, 24.) It was instituted with its ceremonial system to point forward to the work of Christ, our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary during the anti-typical
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period -- New Testament time. As the sanctuary with all its services, was a figure of type of the true, heavenly, under the administration of Christ, so the typical day of atonement must point out the truth in the anti-typical period -- our time.
While the judgment for the living is in progress, every sin must be confessed and put away. He who would neglect this great privilege, will find himself involved in everlasting ruin -- cut off from among His people. Ignoring this most vital subject would not profit us in the least.
The great reformation in view, vividly represented by the angel at the golden altar with the prayers of the saints, and the casting of the fire from the altar to the earth, is foretold, also, in the following testimony: "In visions of the night representations passed before me of a great reformatory movement among God's people. Many were praising God. The sick were healed, and other miracles were wrought. A spirit of intercession was seen; even as was manifested before the great day of Pentecost. Hundreds and thousands were seen visiting families, and opening before them the word of God. Hearts were convicted by the power of the Holy Spirit, and a spirit of genuine conversion was manifest. On every side doors were thrown open to the proclamation of the truth. The world seemed to be lightened with the heavenly influence. Great blessings were received by the true and humble people of God." -- "Testimonies for the Church," Vol. 9, p. 126.
My brethren, the Lord is speaking to us. Shall we not heed His voice? Shall we not trim our lamps and act like men who look for their Lord to come? "The time is one that calls for light bearing, and for action." Awake, I beseech you, from the sleep of death. Let not the last day find you destitute of heavenly treasure.
Are all the living judged and sealed under the seventh seal? Or have some been considered before its opening? To answer this question we quote Revelation 8:3, "And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne." Note, the prayer is offered for all saints. No one, knowing God's truth, would dare pray for the dead, for it is abomination in God's sight; much Iess would an angel commit such sin.
The Psalmist declares that prayers for the dead are the invention of the heathen, "They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor,
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and ate the sacrifices of the dead. Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brakes in upon them." (Psa. 106:28, 29.) "The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence. (Psa. 115:17.) If the dead praise not God, how can an angel offer a prayer for them before God?
The phrase, "all saints," has reference to all the living who are to be judged. Evidently this is done under the seventh seal. If "all," then it is definite that all the living saints are counted under the seventh seal. Thus, with the opening of the last seal, commences the judgment for all the living saints. Let nothing confuse you on this point. If we say the prayers of all saints had some connection with the dead, then they should have been offered at the commencement of the judgment -- the opening of the first seal, for after the judgment the prayers cannot profit them.
Note the words at the opening of the judgment for the dead in 1844: "And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints." (Rev. 5:8.) Mark that no angel offered a prayer, but the prayers of the saints were presented by the beasts and elders through praise by harps, and golden vials full of odours, that is, there was no prayer offered for the dead, but their prayers which they had prayed, being recorded while they were yet alive, were presented before the throne. The 144,000 are sealed before the silence "of half an hour," or at the opening of the seal, but they are judged in the period of the seventh seal, for the prayer was for "all" saints -- the living.
Is there any way whereby we can determine the time of the opening of the seal, and the commencement of the judgment for the living? If God so faithfully revealed to the living the commencement of the judgment for the dead, it cannot be possible that He would keep secret the time of the judgment for the living. If He did, we would have no present truth in the time of the last seal; neither could there be justice in such secrecy, nor could such judgment be legal. Therefore, a revelation of the judgment for the living, is of as great importance as the revelation of the gospel itself. For the judgment (blotting out the sins) is the crowning act in the gospel of Christ. Thus we conclude that when the seal is opened, and the judgment for the living begins, we must know it. The day of atonement in its type proves the same, for the Israelites were well informed of the event, their duty, and the consequence.
The date of that most glorious event for the righteous, but exceeding solemn for the wicked, will be made known at the fulfillment
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of the following verse: "And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings and an earthquake." (Rev. 8:5.) The casting of the fire from the altar into the earth is the outpouring of the Spirit of God. We have stated before that the book of Revelation is a revealing of prophecies, and not a prophecy of itself. Therefore, we find the prediction of this glorious event in Joel 2:28, 29. The "voices, and thunderings, and lightnings," denote the opening of the judgment for the living, as they also denote the opening of the judgment for the dead. (See Rev. 4:5.) The earthquake will be the sign of the event.
The first seal covers the entire period from Adam to the flood; the second, from the flood to Abraham; the third, from Abraham to Christ; the fourth, from Christ to 1500 A.D.; the fifth, from 1500 A.D. to 1755 A.D.; the sixth, from 1755 A.D. to the fulfillment of Ezekiel 9; the seventh, to the close of probation.
However, the seals, in one sense of the word, do not close. They continue and overlap each other. For instance, the inhabitants of the earth are still multiplying (Adam -- "conquering and to conquer"); the wars among the nations are ever on the increase, and peace has departed from the earth. Thus, the "sword" is still in the rider's hand. Commercialism is ever growing (the "balances"), and persecution has not ceased but is to revive, and to bring about a trouble such as never was, as described by Daniel the prophet. (Dan. 12:1.) The signs of the times under the close of the sixth seal are speaking louder and louder. But shortly after the close of the seventh seal, everything upon earth shall cease for a thousand years.
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