The Breaking of the Seven Seals
(Continued from: The Investigative Judgment)
John the Revelator wrote us the following stories :
“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 he that sat was to look upon like jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. 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 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 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 Judah, 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 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; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
“ 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 thousand; 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 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 the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.” – Revelation 4 : 1 – 4; Revelation 5.
Those mentioned above by the apostle John were the things he saw in the heavenly court of the investigative judgment which was going on ever since 1844. He then further said :
“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.” — Revelation 6 : 1 – 8.
Since those sealed with the seven seals contain the history of the world, therefore the various colors of the four horses, which is from white to red and from red to black, and at last from black to become pale, they must represent four different conditions that followed one after the other. And the crown of the rider of the first horse, and the sword of the rider of the second horse, and the pair of balances in the hand of the third rider, even the name Death on the man riding the fourth horse, ----- all four of them have clearly testified that they are the result of the works of the human beings themselves, that have changed this world from good to bad, and from bad to worse. This is the reason why, man must need to be sustained to come out of his wickedness; he must need to be reeducated according to the will of his Creator. However, the good will of the Lord God would be accomplished only when man is willing to discard all the will and theories of his own. The experience of Moses is to show us that it is one thousand times easier for him to have the Hebrew host brought out of Egypt than to have the Egypt driven out of them.
The symbolization of the first seal
“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.
Naturally, the first seal, the seal with which the Judgment opens, must contain the things at the very inception of the human race. Logically, then, the white horse, the first in the symbolism, identifies the world’s first state of being --- pure and sinless with a Divinely-crowned ruler (rider), who at first had no goal but to subdue the earth and to fill it with eternal God-like beings. The earth itself was wrapped in a garb of beauty and purity, with all the wonders on land and in sea. Nothing was wanting.
The crown on the head of the rider and the bow remind us to the obligation the first time tasked upon both Adam his wife soon after the Lord God said to Jesus: ‘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.’-- Genesis 2 : 26. God had blessed Adam and Eve since the beginning, and to both of them He said: ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.’- Genesis 1 : 28.
As a tool to replenish the earth and to subdue it, the bow must represent his own wife, Eve. Therefore, the rider and his bow with the white horse are the first to pass on the heavenly scale of the balances, who are the first to pass before the throne of the judgment.
The symbolization of the second seal
“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.
Since the white horse and its crowned rider represent the first period of human history, hence the red horse and its killer rider and destroyer of peace, must inevitably represent the period of the next history, wherein murder and wars for the first time took place. Abel was the victim of the first murder on earth, and as the result the whole world in time of Noah was destroyed by the flood.
Although the calamity of the flood had ever been very valuable object lessons for the people of the time, nevertheless after the world inhabitants had been again multiplied on earth, sin was also increased uncontrollable. Though the people could not deny the truth of Noah’s prediction of the flood and its banishment of men and beasts that had occurred only several hundred years before, they again rejected him of his latter prediction that no more flood to come to destroy the earth. Genesis 9 : 11. Instead of freeing them from fear, the latter message of Noah had just forced them to establish the big tower of Babel.
To that end the Lord then showed them His anger by breaking the progress of their wicked and stupid project of building the tower. The Lord broke their language of communication, that gave rise to nations, peoples, tribes and the ethnic groups, with thousands of languages and dialects of their own respectively, that we now have on earth.
Finally, as the confused builders parted in groups, the neighboring ones began to quarrel one with another. And as they at length grew into nations, their quarrels grew into wars. Hence, the historical truth that wars for the first time broke out after the confusion of tongues, shows that the red horse and, in particular, its rider, depict the period in which the tower of Babel was annihilated, and in which peace gave way to wars.
The phrase, "To take peace from the earth,” obviously implies that there was peace before that time.
The consequences of Adam's sin, though, did not stop with such a life-and-property destroying act as is war. It led his descendants to greater degradation, even to idol worship, to destroying souls by means of religion, which, in the drama of sin, is revealed in
The Symbolization of the Third Seal
“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.
As we have seen, the white horse represents man's government of earth while still pure and free. And now, since black is the opposite of white, the black horse must represent man's government in spiritual darkness and captivity -- a condition opposite to that represented by the white horse.
This is confirmed by history: Even as far back as Abraham's time, only about three hundred years after the flood, idol worship had overwhelmed the inhabitants of the world. It was then that Abraham left Haran, his father's house and country (Gen. 11:31; 12:1). His descendants, Israel, at length became slaves to Pharaoh, and afterwards to Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon.
The pair of balances in the rider's hand should even more definitely point out the period into which the black horse and its rider extend, and which they represent. As we have already seen the bow of the first horseman represents the means by which Adam subdued the earth (for all the human race came through him); and the sword of the second horseman, the means by which Adam's descendants took peace from the earth. In similar manner, the balances of the third horseman must necessarily represent that which humanity next introduced. And what besides some sort of commercialism could the symbolism portray? Anyone can readily recognize that a man with a pair of balances must have something to do with buying and selling.
In Abram's time, commercial trading between nations was unknown. But during the following period, the period represented by the black horse, the idea was born. It was then that Sidon and Tyre became the chief commercial centers. And Inspiration propounds the question: "Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honorable of the earth?" Isa. 23 : 8.
Tyre, the queen of the Phoenicians was but a short distance from Sidon. 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 an 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; 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 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.
"... 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." -- Essential Knowledge, The Phenicians, Vol. I, pp. 69, 70.
The command, "Hurt not the oil and the wine," came from the midst of the throne, from the Ancient of Days, not from the horseman. Hence, the two commodities, oil and wine, represent not only something which only God can create but also that which He determines to preserve while wicked men would destroy it; thus the necessity for Him to command against anyone's hurting them. And what other such spiritual commodities could the oil and wine at that particular time -- the time of the black horse -- represent but those products which the Bible then brought forth? Moreover, it is an accepted fact by nearly all Bible students, that "oil" symbolizes prophetic, truth, truth that throws light on the future, that lightens the traveler's path (Ps. 45:7; Zech. 4:12); and that wine represents that part of the truth which makes the recipient of it glad, makes him act differently than before (Isa. 61 : 1 - 3).
To summarize, it is obvious that the command, "Hurt not the oil and the wine," forbade interference with the writings of the Scriptures, again showing that the breaking of the third seal unveils the period in which the alphabet was invented and in which commercialism was originated; the period in which the Bible was being written, and in which one nation subjugated another; the period that gave birth to Empires.
Hence, while the Old Testament time is closed with the third seal, the commencement of the New is unveiled in
The Symbolization of the Fourth Seal
"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 : 7, 8.
Since the pale horse falls in the same period as does the non-descript beast of Daniel 7 : 7, 8 the period subsequent to the third seal, they consequently resemble each other. Indeed, its color being faint, wanting, not having a specific or definite hue or character, the horse is in the last analysis non-descript, too. Very evidently the rider of the pale horse is synonymous with him who spake against the Most High, with him who was to wear out the saints, "and think to change times and laws." Dan. 7 : 25. He is seen to represent the climax of idolatry. The ancient Roman government is fittingly symbolized by the non-descript beast, because in truth its administration was an admixture of civil and religious laws, of Pagan and Christian doctrines. No one could actually tell whether the Roman government was Pagan or Christian, Jewish or Gentile.
The rider's name, "death," also perfectly fits the then persecuting spirit and cruelties of both the Jews and the Romans. History and prophecy alike confirm that the Roman subversive power "devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet." Dan. 7 : 19.
The truth concerning the "fourth part of the earth," over which power was given unto them "to kill with the sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth," is easily discovered: Dividing 6,000, the years from creation to the commencement of the millennium, into four equal parts, gives 1500 years ("the fourth part"), in the end of which time the power was to wane. Again, it being true that the slaying of the saints began with the crucifixion of Christ, this "fourth part woof the earth" therefore began at that time and ended with the "Augsburg Confession," a document compiled by Luther and presented at the Diet of Augsburg to the Emperor, Charles V, in 1530, -- exactly 1500 years after the resurrection of Christ (considering that the Christian era is 3 1/2 years pre-dated), the time the Roman power did wane.
These deductions become even more impeachable in the light of the historical fact that the Protestant clash against despotism, finally caused the persecution to cease. So it is that this part of the scripture under discussion was fulfilled in 1530 by the weakening of the Jewish-Pagan and Christian-Pagan powers' killing with sword, hunger, death, and beasts.
(This part of the prophecy, incidentally, overthrows the erroneous idea that the earth has been in existence for longer than 6,000 years.)
At this point it is well to note that while the number of horses, four, represents the four corners of the compass, the number of seals, seven, denotes the completeness of the gospel, the sealing of the saints.
Having seen the truth of the first four seals unveiled, we are now to explore
The Symbolization of the Fifth Seal
"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 should rest yet for a little season until their fellow servants also and their brethren that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." Rev. 6 : 9 - 11.
The certainty that the souls cried from under the altar, the place from which God's truth is dispensed, makes obvious that they were slain for their firmness in the Word of God, and that for their faithfulness they were given white robes -- they were accounted worthy of eternity. That they were the martyrs of the preceding period, the period of the fourth seal, is clear from the fact that they were already dead when the fifth seal opened.
Moreover, an altar denotes renewal of faith, reformation. That is what it meant to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the instances they built their altars (Gen. 8 : 20; 12 : 8; 26 : 25; 35 : 14). The souls' being under the altar, indicates that they sacrificed their lives for a cause similar to the cause of the martyrs during the Protestant Reformation. And the question, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge?" also the answer, "that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled," concretely prove that the persecution and martyrdom of the fourth seal were to overlap the fifth seal, and that the Judgment of the dead (the martyrs) was not to begin until after the persecution had ceased, but that then it would certainly begin.
This historical sequence of events now brings us to the time of the next events, those disclosed in
The Symbolization of the Sixth Seal
"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." Rev. 6 : 12, 13.
It is one of the Denomination's fundamental beliefs that the prophecies of the sixth seal began to be fulfilled with the great Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755. Following the earthquake, May 19, 1780, the sun was darkened, and the moon appeared as blood the following night. Then came the "falling of the stars," the great meteoric shower of November 13, 1833 (The Great Controversy, pp. 304 - 309, 333, 334).
Looking forward to these celestial demonstrations (the signs of the times), Jesus forewarned that they were to appear "immediately after the tribulation" had ceased (Matt. 24 : 29). So, while peace, wars, commercialism, script, and persecution are the signs of the times and the identification of the first five seals, in like manner the earthquake, the dark day, and the meteoric shower are the signs of the times and the identification of the sixth seal.
These global disturbances and celestial exhibitions between the years 1755 and 1833, in themselves, however, appear to be forecasts of the things which take place during the great and dreadful day of the Lord." If this be true, then the earthquake foreshadows the forthcoming shaking, sifting, among the nations, as predicted by the prophets:
"Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with His anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue as a devouring fire: and His breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err." "And the fir trees shall be terribly shaken." Isa. 30 : 27, 28; Nah. 2 : 3.
The darkening of the sun would bespeak the closing of the gospel, the end of probationary time, the time when man "shall run to and fro to seek the Word of the Lord, and shall not find it." "For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people." Amos 8 : 12; Isa. 60 : 2.
The moon, associated with the sun, makes a fitting symbol of the church, the agency by which the Word of God, the light of the world, is reflected. The moon's becoming as blood immediately following the darkening of the sun, refusing to reflect light, would be an appropriate omen of the church's having finished her work of salvation, no longer needing to reflect the Light of the gospel. And the church herself is, of course, at that time imbued with eternal life, delivered from destruction as were the firstborn in the dwellings where the door posts had been painted with the sacrificial blood on the evening of the Passover in the land of Egypt.
The falling stars are suggestive of the great and terrible day of the Lord -- the day in which "the heavens...pass away" (2 Pet. 3 : 10), the day in which all their host is dissolved, and in which the Devil and his host, also the wicked in the church and in the world, "shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree." Isa. 34 : 4.
All these signs stand as faithful witnesses that the sixth seal, the sixth period of time, brings the great day of God, the wrath of the Lamb.
"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?" Rev. 6 : 14 - 17.
In these verses are pictured the fate, the fear, and the smitten conscience of all who are not able to stand in the day of the Judgment of the living, the great and dreadful day of the Lord -- the wrath of the Lamb in the great "time of trouble such as never was" (Dan. 12 : 1), the day following the appearance of the antitypical "Elijah the prophet" (Mal. 4 : 5) -- yes, the day in which those who have not clad themselves in the wedding garment, are cast into outer darkness, there to gnash their teeth (Matt. 22 : 11 - 13).
Also in these scripture (Rev. 6 : 14 - 17), asserts the Spirit of Truth, "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 messages sent them, and clothed themselves in robes of self-righteousness." -- Testimonies, Vol. 9, p. 268.
Thus it is that while the first four seals carry us through the periods of the day in which the works of man are made manifest, the last three seals carry us through the day of God, the day in which His Truth and His works are made manifest.
That there should be a climax of some kind in the judicial work at this particular point of the Scriptures (Rev. 6 : 14 - 17), is not a mystery. It’s being stamped with the events which end the reign of sin, and this being realized by even the sinners themselves, is a very good indication that during the sixth seal the Judgment of the dead closes, and the preparations for the Judgment of the living begin. It is the "dreadful day" for the wicked.
Moreover, as the first phase of the Judgment passes with the sixth chapter of Revelation, the second phase begins with the seventh chapter; that is, it begins with the sealing of the living saints, the first fruits. It is the "great day" for the righteous.
"And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
"And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel." Rev. 7 : 1 - 4.
From the implication that "the four winds" are to blow and the four angels are to hurt as soon as the servants of God are sealed is seen looming the "time of trouble" such as never was (Dan. 12 : 1).
Moving from the four corners of the compass, the winds must represent a worldwide disturbance of some kind. Very obvious it is, too, that their blowing and the angels' hurting represent two armies in conflict. The wind's blowing is, of course, the anger of the nations against the saints; and the angels' hurting is doubtless the Lord's judgment falling upon His enemies. In other words, the angels and the winds together represent a trouble between God and the nations involving both saints and sinners. Indeed, it is the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
The difference between the "great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world" (Matt. 24 : 21), and the "time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation" (Dan. 12 : 1), is that during the "great tribulation" the saints are slain (Matt. 24 : 21, 22), whereas during the "time of trouble" they are delivered (Dan. 12 : 1).
That the angels' holding the winds does not denote their restraining the nations from warring among themselves, is made clear by the fact that the winds were not held from clashing wind against wind (nation against nation), but rather from hurting the earth, the sea, and the trees. Moreover, that the nations from the north and from the south, from the east and from the west were engaged in World War I, and also in World War II, although the 144,000 are not yet sealed, is irrefutable evidence that the trouble which is forecast by the winds' blowing and the angels' hurting, is yet future. That it is a global disturbance is again seen in the fact that the winds on the one hand and the angels on the other hand, are to trouble both earth and sea.
It being a foregone conclusion that Satan is against the saints, and that the Lord is against the truth-hating and evil-doing multitude, the subject becomes crystal clear: When let loose, the winds are to strike against the faithful "remnant," against those who are left after the earth has opened her mouth and swallowed up "the flood," the "tares" (Rev. 12 : 16, 17); but the angels who are stationed to hurt, are to smite those who make war against the remnant. Those, whose names are found in the book, are "delivered." Dan. 12 : 1. Seeing that the 144,000, the servants of God, are not as yet sealed (not yet enclosed, protected, guarded, and ready to take their stand with the Lamb on Mt. Zion, but rather are still commingled with the tares) the angels are commanded to forestall the clash.
Consequently, when this sealing work is completed, then the angels who hold the winds will let the winds blow, and the angels who are to hurt the earth, sea, and trees, will then commence their given work. Otherwise stated, to let the winds blow, is to permit the two-horn beast to decree "that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed" (Rev. 13 : 15); and to let the angels hurt, is to allow the Lord's decree to take its course: "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb." Rev. 14 : 9, 10. This warning is followed by the forecast:
"The four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men." Rev. 9 : 15.
Both decrees will be in force after the 144,000 are sealed.
Here is seen that from among the first fruits of the harvest, come the 144,000, the servants of God for the closing work of the great harvest. These are the first saints ever to have been relieved of the "tares" among them. Get ready, Brother, Sister, for the time is at hand.
We have now seen that the first six seals reveal a phase of truth covering the history of the world from Adam's time on to our time. This phase of truth reveals the sealing of the first and second fruits: From among the first fruits come the 144,000 -- 12,000 out of each of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. Down through the centuries they have descended first as Jacobites and then as Christians. After these, come the second fruits, the great multitude out "of all nations." Rev. 7 : 9 - 17.
(The theory that the living saints at the coming of the Lord are only 144,000 in number, is discredited in that it leaves no chance for even one person to be saved from a nation other than the descendants of Jacob, not even from the descendants of Abraham, save through Jacob himself. Moreover, the theory makes the term "first fruits" a vain thing because it does not advocate second fruits.)
The remainder of The Revelation, is wrapped in
The Symbolization of the Seventh Seal
"And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
"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. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound." Rev. 8 : 1 - 6.
After a time the Judicial demonstrations -- the voices "saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty," the thunderings and the lightnings, -- cease for the space of half an hour, very definitely indicating that the Judicial throng of the first session of the Judgment adjourns.
Following this, the seven angels are given the seven trumpets. In the meantime, the angel who stands at the altar, offers the prayers of all saints, takes the censer, fills it with fire from the altar, and casts it into the earth. Then it is that the heaven-born fire, the "thunderings, and lightnings, and voices," with which the first session of the Judgment opened in the heavenly sanctuary (Rev. 4 : 5), descend to earth in reverse order (voices, thunderings, lightnings -- Rev. 8 : 5), in addition to which there is an earthquake.
Then the seven trumpets sound, one following the other. At the sounding of the seventh trumpet (not at the breaking of the seventh seal) there are "great voices," saying, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever." Rev. 11 : 15.
The half-hour silence in heaven brings the voices down to earth, and at the sounding of the seventh trumpet the mystery of God is finished (Rev. 10 : 7). Then it is that "the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord." What does it all mean? -- Just this:
As we have seen, the silence divides the two pre-millennial judicial sessions, the one for the dead and the other for the living, and the fire from the heavenly altar, the voices, lightnings, and thunderings, descend to earth. These facts, along with a number of scriptures on the subject, besides the remainder of The Revelation, the chapters after the breaking of the seventh seal, prove that the Judgment of the living, the cleansing of the earthly temple, is something which takes place on earth, not in heaven only!
"Behold," declares the Lord, "I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple,... But who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap." Mal. 3 : 1.
Yes, the work of the second judicial session includes the earthly sanctuary, the church. At that time the Lord's "fire" is "in Zion, and His furnace in Jerusalem." Isa. 31 : 9.
"And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
"And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it." Mic. 4 : 2 - 4.
"...then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world....
"Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Matt. 25 : 31 - 34, 41.
"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...." Dan. 7 : 27, 28.
All these things definitely indicate the time in which "every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold," the very thing that causes the fall of "the Assyrian," the power which rules Jerusalem at the time God delivers His people (Isa. 31 : 7, 8).
The truth therefore is trouble-free: Between the Judgment of the dead and the Judgment of the living stands the half-hour silence, the time absorbed in bringing the first judicial session to a close and in preparing for the second session.
The remaining verses of chapter 8, also chapters 9 - 11, give a description of the seven trumpets, a full treatise of which is found in Tract No. 5, "The Final Warning."
As the first seal, the seal with which the Judgment opens, must contain the things at the very inception of the human race, then logically, the seventh seal, which is the last in the symbolism, must inevitably identify God’s living people of the last world’s history, for whom the Judgment is to accomplish its work of investigation in the heavenly sanctuary, and then comes the close of probation.
At the opening of the seventh seal, there was a silence of about a half-hour prophetic time in the heavenly sanctuary, because Jesus as the High Priest has left His work at the golden altar to descend to the earth to stand with the 144.000 saints of God on the mount Zion. Revelation 14 : 1. This is to signify the end of the first session of the Judgment on the cases of the Dead. Therefore, when John the Revelator further said:
“And another angel (the same High Priest after returning from the earth) 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 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.”— Revelation 8 : 3, and 5 (In the brackets added).
It must be the same High Priest after His return from the earth. Therefore as soon as Jesus, the High Priest, has poured out the Spirit of latter rain into the earth, He would have resumed His work in the second Session of the Judgment on the cases of the Living. And this is the so-called the Judgment of the Living. To this end the servant of the Lord, Bro. Victor T. Houteff said:
“The Judgment of the Living on earth commences with Ezekiel 9, but in heaven (in the books) a f t e r Ezekiel 9. The Judgment of the Living is in two phases: The first phase is a separation that takes away the wicked from among the righteous, Ezekiel 9. The second phase is the book work when the investigation takes place, and when the sins of the righteous and the names of the wicked are blotted out of the records in Heaven. This second phase, the judicial session in heaven, is what commences a f t e r Ezekiel 9.” – The Symbolic Code, vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 19, 20.
And Sister E. G. White, as the founder of the Church, has ever since warned you and me in the following words: “When the work of investigation shall be ended, when the cases of those who in all ages have professed to be followers of Christ have been examined and decided, t h e n, and n o t t i l l t h e n, probation will close, and the door of mercy will be shut. Thus in the one short sentence, “They that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut,” we are carried down through the Saviour’s final ministration, to the time when the great work for man’s salvation shall be completed.”— The Great Controversy, p. 428.
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