The History of the Visible Church

A parallel examination of the Olivet Discourse, the Seven Seals, and the Seven Letters of Revelation

Olivet Discourse Seven Seals Seven Letters
Matthew 24:
4. Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you.
5. For many will come in my name, claiming, `I am the Christ, ' and will deceive many.

Luke 21:
8. He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, `I am he,' and, `The time is near.' Do not follow them.

First Seal -
The Spirit of Antichrist:

1. I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures [the lion - Leo] say in a voice like thunder, "Come!"
2. I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror (nikōn) bent on conquest (nikēsē).

Also see 1 John 4:
1. "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
3. but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.
This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world."

and 2 Corinthians 11:
13. "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.
14. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
15. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.
Their end will be what their actions deserve."

*The first Seal predicts false Christs, false prophets, and false Gospels that have arisen both within and without the Church, as Satan was forced to resort to infiltration and deception after the rise of Christianity as a political power.

First Letter - Ephesus:

Revelation 2:
2. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.
3. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary...
6. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans (Nikolaitōn), which I also hate.

("Nicolaitans" is derived primarily from two Greek words: nikos, which means "a conquest, victory or triumph," and laos, which means "people," or in an ecclesiastical sense, "the laity." The Church at Ephesus is commended for hating the heretical sect known as the Nicolaitans who were trying to gain influence over the Church through an inappropriate use of political power. For a good study of the Nicolaitans go to http://www.biblestudy.org/basicart/nicoltn.html)

Matthew 24:
6. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

Luke 21:
9. When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.

Second Seal -
The Spirit of Division:

3. When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature [the ox - Taurus] say, "Come!"
4. Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.

Also see Matthew 10:
34. "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35. For I have come to turn "`a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law--
36. a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'
37. "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
38. and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
39. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

*The second Seal reflects the world's violent response to the Gospel. As Jesus said, His message would not unify humanity, but divide it (Matthew 10:34-39) because the world "loves not the Light" (John 3:16-21). Jesus did not bring peace to the world, but a sword of division that would bring violence and death to believers and nonbelievers alike.

Second Letter - Smyrna:

Revelation 2:
10. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Matthew 24:
7. "...there will be famines..."

Mark 13:8 and Luke 21:11:
"There will be ... famines..."

Third Seal -
The Spirit of Economic Injustice, Oppression, and Famine:

5. When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature [the man - Aquarius] say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand.
6. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"

Also see John 6:35, 49-51:
35. "Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger...
49. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
50. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.
51. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.

also Deut.18:1-5, and Luke 10:34

*The third Seal speaks of the rise of economic factors in world affairs that bring to the world, and to the Church, a different sort of oppression. Regarding famine, Christ's message is to trust in Him as the bread of life.

Third Letter - Pergamum:

Revelation 2:
17. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.
Matthew 24:
7. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
8. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

Mark 13:
8. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

Luke 21:
10. Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
11a. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences (loimoi) in various places...

Fourth Seal -
The Spirit of Death (and Hell):

7. When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature [the eagle - Scorpio] say, "Come!"
8. I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death (Thanatos), and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill (apokteinai) by sword, famine and plague (thanatō), and by the wild beasts of the earth.

*The fourth Seal may be related to the final signs of the end of the Church Age. Jesus refers to them as the "birth pains" of the Day of the Lord in the Olivet Discourse.
   The fourth rider may have been empowered long ago, but he becomes more effective at the end as the "birth pains" are felt. The "quarter of the earth" may refer to the total number of human beings killed by sword, famine, plague and beasts throughout the history of the Church. Their number may include saved and unsaved, but only those unsaved are taken to Hell, who follows close behind Death.

Fourth Letter - Thyatira:

Revelation 2:
20. Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.
21. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.
22. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.
23. I will strike (apoktenō) her children dead (thanatō). Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

(Could this judgment against sexual immorality have resulted in the spread of STDs such as AIDS? Can the sexual perversion of the 20th-21st Century be somehow related in a strange way to the sexual-related metaphor of "the beginning of birthpangs"?)

Mark 13:
9. You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them.
10. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.

11. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
12. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.
13. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Matthew 24:
42. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
43. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.
44. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.

Fifth Seal -
Persecution of Christians:

9. When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.
10. They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?"
11. Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.

Also see Matthew 10:
32. "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.
33. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
34. "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35. For I have come to turn 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law--
36. a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'
37. Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
38. and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
39. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

*The fifth Seal speaks of the persecution of Christians that takes place throughout the entire Church Age. In v.11 the gift of white robes points to the resurrection of these martyrs, and indeed all Church saints, that will take place after the opening of the sixth Seal.

Fifth Letter - Sardis:

Revelation 3:
2. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.
3. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
4. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.
5. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.
Luke 21:
25. There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.
26. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken...
34. Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.
35. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth.
36. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.
Sixth Seal -
The Day of the Lord:

12. I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red,
13. and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.
14. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
15. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains.
16. They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!
17. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"

*The Resurrection and Rapture of the Church will take place after the sixth Seal is opened, but prior to the great shaking of the earth (Revelation 6:14) that marks the beginning of the Day of the Lord.
   The Church is then shown in Revelation 7:9-17, and described in terms that speak directly and unmistakably of the fulfillment of the prophetic Feast of Tabernacles, in which Old Testament believers were commanded to live in temporary "booths" for seven days (one shebua). See also John 14:1-3, "In my Father's house are many mansions..."

Sixth Letter - Philadelphia:

Revelation 3:
10. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth...

Matthew 24:
45. Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?
46. It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.
47. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
48. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, `My master is staying away a long time,'
49. and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards.
50. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.
51. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Seventh Seal:
The Day of Atonement Begins:

*The seventh Seal is the only Seal that is opened within the Day of the Lord. The first five Seals precede the Day of the Lord, and the sixth Seal brings forth the Day of the Lord.
   Of the seven letters to the seven Churches it is only the seventh letter to the Church of Laodicea that includes no Commendation (see study). There is nothing good about this Church. It is a false Church and its members will be left behind at the Rapture and cast into the Day of the Lord.
   The Day of the Lord begins when God intervenes to save and protect Israel from her enemies as described in Ezekiel 38-39, which proves that the 70th Week (shebua) of Daniel does not begin until sometime after the seventh Seal is opened.
   In fact, a future article will explain how the signing of the 70th Week covenant of Daniel 9:27 is related to the opening of the Abyss and the second coming of the Antichrist that takes place after the fifth Trumpet of Revelation 9:1-11.
   Another future article will continue to explain how the Fall Feasts of Israel are fulfilled within the Day of the Lord, and how the seventh Seal marks the beginning of the final "Day of Atonement" that ends in Revelation 16:17. (Compare the ritual of Revelation 8:3-5 with Leviticus 16:12-13, and refer to the writings of David Lowe in his two books that cover this subject).
Seventh Letter - Laodicea:

Revelation 3:
15. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
16. So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
17. You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
18. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
19. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.








Peter D. Goodgame
Comments welcome at pgoodgame@hawaii.rr.com

January 24, 2007