Worn Down Saints and Worn Out Disciples

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament prophetic book of Revelation, and more specifically, is found in the sixth chapter. In order to properly understand what is taking place in the sixth chapter, it’s first necessary to direct your attention to the previous chapter. If you begin reading in the fifth chapter of this prophetic book you will find the apostle John beholding as there was in the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. As this chapter progresses, it does so with no one in heaven or on earth being able to open the scroll or to read the contents therein. The apostle John began to weep as he witnessed no one being able to open the scroll, until he was informed that the Lamb who was slain from before the foundation of the world, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, was not only able to take the scroll from the hand of the One who sat upon the throne, but also break the seals which were upon the scroll. The fifth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ opens with a great procession of worship taking place in heaven as both saints and angelic host alike realized the Lamb was able to open the seal, and to read the content therein. The entire fifth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ was centered upon the scroll that was found within the right hand of the One who sat upon the throne, and the worthiness of the Lamb to open the scroll by breaking the seals. When the sixth chapter of this prophetic book opens, it does so with the Lamb which was slain from the foundation of the world beginning to open the seals upon the scroll one by one. The entire fifth chapter centered upon the scroll found in the right hand of the One who sat upon the throne, and the worthiness of the Lamb to read that which was contained within the scroll, while the sixth chapter actually describes the breaking of the seals which were contained upon the scroll.

What we find and what we read in the sixth chapter is the breaking of six of the seven seals which were found on the scroll which was in the right hand of the One who sat upon the throne, and how that scroll had transitioned into the hand of the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world. The first two verses of this chapter describe the breaking of the first seal, and the events that would transpire as a direct result of the breaking of that seal. Consider if you will the language that surrounds the breaking of each of the seven seals, and the corresponding events that took place as a result:

“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” (Revelation 6:1-2).

“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” (Revelation 6:3-4).

“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” (Revelation 6:5-6).

“And when He had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I l poked, 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” (Revelation 6:7-8).

“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 it was said unto them, that they s Gould rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (Revelation 6:9-11).

“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. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, 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” (Revelation 6:12-17).

The sixth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ begins to describe the events that would begin to unfold upon the earth, as well as in the heavens once the scroll was taken from the right hand of the One who sat upon the throne, and the seals were broken. It’s actually quite interesting to consider how each breaking of a seal would directly result in events taking place on earth and heaven, and each seal seemed to introduce something entirely new within the heavens and upon the earth. With each seal that was broken, the contents contained therein would come closer and closer to becoming visible unto the Lamb which was slain from before the foundation of the world. Within this particular chapter we find the seals found on the scroll thrusting the earth into events that up until that time had not been experienced. Once the seals began being opened, the inhabitants of the earth would immediately be thrust into a period of tribulation and judgment which was unlike anything they had experienced before. THE GENERATION OF THE SEALS! THE GENERATION OF THE TRIBULATION! Perhaps one of the more interesting realities that surrounds the language and text that is contained within the sixth chapter is that there is absolutely no indication whether or not the saints of God are still present upon the earth. There are two specific passages of Scripture that describe the antagonism and hostility of the beast toward the saints which existed upon the earth. The first passage is found within the prophetic book of Daniel in the seventh chapter, while the second passage is actually found in the thirteenth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

In the seventh chapter of the prophetic book of Daniel we discover the first passage of Scripture that describes the war of the beast against the saints of God within and upon the earth. “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: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before Him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; and of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of his kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. Hitherto is the end of the matter. Ask for me Daniel, my cogitation much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart” (Daniel 7:11-28).

The language we find within the seventh chapter of the prophetic book of Daniel is perhaps the first indication of the war which the beast shall make against and with the saints of God upon the earth, while in the final portion of the twelfth chapter, as well as thirteenth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ we find further confirmation of this war agains the saints of God: “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and a half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:13-17).

When you come to the thirteenth chapter of this same prophetic book you will discover language concerning the beast that would emerge out of the sea upon the earth, and the activity of the beast that would take place among men: “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and his great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 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. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints” (Revelation 13:1-10).

There are two separate occasions within Scripture when we read of the war which would be made against the saints of God—one within the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and the other in the prophetic book of Daniel. It’s interesting and worth noting that both the prophet Daniel, as well as the apostle John saw the beast rising up upon the earth and making war with and war against the saints. It has been believed that when the first seal was opened at the very outset of this chapter that the rider on the white horse is in fact the antichrist—the beast which the prophet Daniel saw under the Old Covenant. It has widely and largely been understood that the rider on the white horse which had a bow in his hand, and a crown given unto him was in fact the beast which Daniel saw. It would be the opening of the first seal that would bring about the emergence of the antichrist which the apostle John would later see in the thirteenth chapter. This particular verse introduces us to the antichrist within the prophetic book of the Revelation, yet when we come to the thirteenth chapter of the same book we would get a greater picture and view of this beast which emerged out of the sea. Also worth noting is the fact that within his first epistle to the Ephesian congregation we discover the apostle John also speaking of the antichrist, as well as the spirit of the antichrist that was already at work, and the various antichrists which had gone out from among body of Christ and saints of God. The opening of the first four seals which were upon the scroll would introduce and call for four specific riders to come forth upon the earth—riders which would ultimately become known as the fore horsemen of the apocalypse. It’s worth noting that there is no indication how much time elapsed between the opening of the first seal and the corresponding emergence of the rider on the white horse and the opening of the second seal and the emergence of the rider on the red horse. What we do know is that with each of the first four seals being opened, a different color horse would emerge and come forth with a different rider upon each of those horses.

The sixth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ brings us face to face with the first six seals which were upon the scroll in the Father’s hand. When the first seal was opened, one of the four beasts calling for that which was prepared to come forth. As a result of the first seal being opened, a white horse came forth, and he which sat on this horse had a bow, and a crown that was given unto him. This first rider went forth upon the earth conquering to conquer, and I would dare say was given tremendous authority and dominion upon the earth. When the second seal opened, the second beast called for something to come forth, and a second horse came forth which was red. Upon this red horse was a rider unto whom was given power to take peace from the earth, and that men should kill one another. Unto this rider was given a great sword with which to unleash havoc upon the face of the earth. This second red horse would be followed by a third horse that was black—this horse which would have upon him a rider who had a pair of balances in his hand. When this horse and its rider came forth, one of the beasts declared “A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny.” This same voice also called for the oil and the wine to be preserved and to not be touched during and at this time. When the fourth seal was opened the fourth and final horse of the apocalypse came forth—the rider whose name was Death, and Hell followed with him. Power was given unto Death and Hell over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. With the four horsemen of the apocalypse, a period of tremendous tribulation and sorrow came upon the earth as peace was taken from the earth, as men sought to kill one another, as it would appear that a famine would come upon the earth, and as Death and Hell were given authority upon the earth over a fourth part of it to kill with the sword, with under, with death, and with the beasts of the earth. It is at this particular juncture within the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ—immediately following the revelation of the throne of God in heaven, and the worship that takes place before and around that throne.

There is a part of me that can’t help but view what unfolds within the sixth chapter of this prophetic book as a direct contrast to that which is taking place in heaven before and around the throne. In other words, while the four and twenty elders, while the cherubim, while the seraphim, while the angels of God in heaven, while the saints of God throughout history are worshipping before the throne of God in heaven, there is terror, tribulation, sorrow, suffering, and chaos taking place upon the earth. I can’t help but view what we read in this chapter as a stark contrast between the worship we find in heaven. While worship is taking place before and around the throne of God, the earth is thrust into an intense period of calamity, chaos, and catastrophe. That which we read in the sixth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is strikingly similar to that which we find in the sixth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Zechariah. “And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; and in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses. Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord? And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country. And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth. Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country” (Zechariah 6:1-8).

THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE! THE SOULS UNDERNEATH THE ALTAR! THE WRATH OF THE LAMB! The sixth chapter of this prophetic book describes four horses that emerge and go forth upon the face of the earth, as well as the souls underneath the altar which were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. The sixth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ provides us with devastation, tribulation, chaos and calamity upon the earth, and in the midst of all that, there are countless souls under the altar which were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. The souls underneath the altar were crying out for vindication for their deaths, and for the avenging of their blood which was shed upon the earth. It was unto these souls under the altar that white robes were given, as well as instruction for patience, as they would rest for a little season, until their fellowservants and their brethren should be killed should be fulfilled. It’s actually quite interesting to read this passage, for these souls underneath the altar were crying out for the avenging of their blood, and yet they were told to wait and have patience a little while longer, and were given white robes to wear in the interim. They asked how much longer they needed to wait for the avenging of their blood, and it was revealed unto them that the time had not yet come for the avenging of their blood. I can’t help but think of all the blood that has been shed upon the earth, and the tremendous voice the blood of all those who have been slain has within and upon the earth. In the Old Testament book of Genesis we read how the blood of Abel cried out unto the God of heaven, while in this passage we read of the souls of those who were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony they held crying out for vengeance and vindication from the Lord of hosts. Perhaps what we read in this particular passage is a powerful demonstration of the patience of the saints—a patience of those who desire their blood to be avenged by the Lord of hosts, yet being told they need to wait a little longer. In the sixth chapter it is the souls of those under the altar who are instructed to wait a little longer, and to be patient until the full number of those slain was reached, while in the thirteenth chapter we read of the patience of the saints in the fact of the beast which sought to make war against them, and to wear them out and wear them down.

How patient are you? How good are you at waiting? How good are you at hearing straight from the mouth and voice of the Lord that you have to wait a little while longer? Within the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ we find the beast making war against the saints—a war that was undoubtedly a war of attrition, as the beast sought to wear the saints down and wear them out. WORN DOWN SAINTS AND WORN OUT DISCIPLES! I am convinced that one of the greatest tactics of the antichrist—and even now of the spirit of the antichrist—is the wearing down and wearing out of the saints through a war of attrition. It is true the spirit of the antichrist is making war with and war against the saints right now, and it is that war which is done through offense and deception. I have long believed that two of the greatest weapons and devices the adversary can and will use in the Last Days are deception and offense. After reading the twenty-fifth chapter of the gospel according to Matthew, I am utterly and thoroughly convinced that the adversary can and will seek to wear the saints out through deception—through false teaching, false doctrine, false teachers, and the like. I am convinced that the adversary can and will seek to wear the saints out through offense—through bitterness, through grudges, through strife, through contention, and the like. There are those saints in these Last days who are being worn through deception, there are those saints who are being worn out through offense, and there are those saints who are being worn out by both. He’s begins His Olivet Discourse as recorded in the twenty-fourth chapter of the gospel of matthew by warning and instructing men and women to take heed that no man deceive them. Jesus would then go on to reveal how the saints would be delivered up to be afflicted, and to even be killed. Jesus spoke of how the saints would be hated of all nations for His name’s sake, and then revealed how many would be offended, and would betray one another, and even hate one another. He would further go on to speak of iniquity abounding, and in that place of iniquity abounding, the love of many would wax cold. DECEPTION! AFFLICTION! OFFENSE! BETRAYAL! HATRED! INIQUITY ABOUNDING! LOVE GROWING COLD! It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this, for if there is one thing that is needed in these Last Days, it’s patience and endurance. When I read the sixth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, I can’t help but find at the very center of it patience and endurance within the hearts and souls of the saints, and a powerful call to recognize and understand the Great War of attrition the spirit of the antichrist can, will and is waging against the saints of God in these Last Days.

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