Sun, Apr 23, 2000

False Peace: Revelation 6:1-2

Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.

FALSE PEACE!

REVELATION 6:1-2

You may remember what happened back on May 18, 1980, as Mt. Saint Helens exploded with such great force that it flattened everything in 150 square miles. The blast was 500 times stronger than the nuclear bomb that leveled the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Millions of tons of rock disintegrated and disappeared into a cloud reaching 10 miles into the sky. A wall of mud and ash some 50 feet high came crashing down this mountain. And in this was a terrible tragedy, as several people lost their lives.

Now please understand, there was plenty of warning. The explosion of Mt. Saint Helens came as no surprise. Police cars and helicopters warned the people to evacuate the area. At every major cross road around Mt. Saint Helens was a warning that flashed on battery-powered signs. On the radio and television people were being warned of the danger. Shortwave and citizens-band operators were also warning the people to leave the area because something terrible was going to happen. This mountain is going to explode!

And most of the people heeded those warnings, except a few who refused to listen even though the signs were everywhere of the danger that was growing inside of this volcano. One of those people who refused to leave was Harry Truman, not the president, but the caretaker of a recreation lodge on Spirit Lake, 5 miles north of Mt. Saint Helens. The park rangers tried to warn Harry of the coming explosion. His neighbors begged him to join them as they left the area. Even his own sister tried to talk some sense into this stubborn and rebellious old man. But Harry refused to listen, he ignored the warnings. In fact, on televison Harry grinned and said, "Nobody knows more about this mountain than Harry and it don’t dare blow up on him..."

Then, at 8:31 AM on May 18, 1980, Mt. Saint Helens blew up despite Harry’s claims, and he lost his life. Many today are like Harry, they refuse to heed God’s warnings of coming judgment even though the signs are everywhere. You can hear the approaching hoof beats of the four horseman of the apocalypse coming! And yet people continue on, living like they want, almost daring God do to something.

As we have seen over the past several weeks in our study in the book of Revelation, the church is no longer on the earth but has been caught up to heaven and is around the throne of God. And we saw the Lamb, Jesus Christ, take the scroll or the title deed to the earth out of the Father’s hand. No one else was able and no one else was worthy to do so, only the perfect sacrificial Lamb could take the scroll and loose the seals. Now, as we move into Revelation chapter 6, we will see Jesus begin to loose these seals that are upon this scroll. And as He does, judgment will be poured out upon the inhabitants of the earth.

Zephaniah describes this period of God’s judgment against a Christ rejecting world, in this manner. He said beginning in verse 14 of Zephaniah chapter 1, "The great day of the LORD is near; it is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the LORD is bitter; there the mighty men shall cry out. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of trumpet and alarm against the fortified cities and against the high towers. ‘I will bring distress upon men, and they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like refuse.’ Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy, for He will make speedy riddance of all those who dwell in the land." Zephaniah 1:14-18.

This period of time is known as the Day of the LORD and it speaks of God’s wrath being poured out upon the earth dwellers because of their sin. In Numbers 32:23 we are told "...yoursin will find you out." The reason they have sin is because they have rejected the Messiah, Jesus Christ. They are standing in their own righteousness which is like filthy rags before a Holy God. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how rich or influential you are, because that will not cause you to escape God’s wrath that is coming!

Jesus, after speaking of this coming judgment in Luke chapter 21, says this beginning in verse 34, "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing,drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it willcome as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." Luke 21:34-36.

Jesus is warning us not to get caught up in the things of this world. Don’t become worldly but keep your focus on God. If you do, that day won’t catch you unprepared, as it will the earth dwellers. Jesus is speaking of our conduct, that it should reflect our relationship with Him. You see, if the blood of Christ is not applied to our lives, then we are in no way worthy to stand before Him. But if His blood is applied to our lives, then we are "...worthy to escape all these things..." Our prayer should be to allow God to transform our lives into His image. That when people see us they would see the character and love of God flowing through our lives.

That now brings us back to heaven as Jesus Christ has the scroll in His hand and He is about to loose the seals. The stage is now being set for the last 7 year period to begin before the Lord returns to set-up His kingdom on this earth.

REVELATION 6

THE FIRST SEAL - THE WHITE HORSE - FALSE PEACE

VERSES 1-2

As John is invited to watch, he see’s Jesus loosen the first seal and we hear one of the four living creatures, or one of the Cherubim spoken of in Revelation chapter 4, simply say "Come" or "Go forth." He is calling for the first rider and his horse to go forward onto the scene.

This first rider on a white horse carries with him a bow, and he had a crown on his head, and he goes forth conquering and to conquer. If you remember from the old western movies, the good guys wore a white hat while the bad guys wore a black hat. Thus, you knew who were the good guys and who were the bad guys by the color of their hats. But, if you wanted to pass yourself off as a good guy, you wouldn’t dress up as a bad guy wearing a black hat, but you would disguise yourself as a good guy, you would ride into town wearing a white hat.

Now as you read through these two verses you may get the impression that this rider is none other than Jesus Christ riding in on a white horse. Many feel that way and in some Bibles the footnotes says this is speaking of Christ. I disagree. You see, what follows the introduction of this person is death and destruction. Thus, this is the counterfeit Christ or the Antichrist. This man comes on the scene not as a bad guy, not wearing a black hat, but as a good guy wearing a white hat.

Remember what Paul told us about Satan and his ministers in II Corinthians chapter 11. He said,"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works." II Corinthians 11:13-15.

This man is a great deceiver and he comes on the scene during a time of worldwide chaos. He brings to the world answers to their problems. He brings to the world a false peace! A. J. Toynbee put it this way. He said "By forcing on mankind more and more lethal weapons and at the same time making the whole world more and more inter-dependent economically, technology has brought mankind to such a degree of distress that we are ripe for deifying any new leader who might succeed in giving the world unity and peace."

That is exactly what this world is being set-up for. And I personally believe that a major war in the Middle East, with Russia and her Muslim allies coming down upon Israel will be the spark to ignite this. I think this will be the catalyst that will bring this world on the brink of destruction, nuclear destruction! You can read of this war that takes place after Israel is back in the land, which they are today, since 1948, and how this massive army comes down to destroy Israel, but they are wiped out instead. This war is spoken of very clearly in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39, after God speaks of re-gathering Israel in the land again in chapter 37.

And it is this war, with nuclear weapons involved. It is economic disaster. It is ecological disaster. Wherever you look it seems like there is no hope, the world is on the brink of self-destruction until this man of peace shows up riding into town on a white horse. He has all the answers to the worlds problems. People will be drawn to him because he is charismatic, he has the answers to solve the problems of the world. The world will be ripe to receive this man, and we are already being set-up to receive him.

Not only that, he also makes a peace treaty with Israel, allowing them to exist and to rebuild their temple. Daniel 9:27 says "Then he [the Antichrist] shall confirm a covenant with many [an idiom for Israel] for one week [or 7 years]..." And the Jews will be drawn to this man, like the rest of the world is. In fact, the Jews will see this man as their Messiah, just as Jesus said in John 5:43, "I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive."

Now there is another thing that I find interesting as you read through these 2 verses in Revelation. Notice that he has a bow in his hand but no arrows. Doesn’t that seem strange? I think what God is showing us is this man will achieve his victory through peaceful means. He is not involved in any wars to gain power but through peace he is given victory. He rises to power without bloodshed as the people receive him with open arms.

And with this victory comes a crown, a STEPHANOS in the Geek or a victors crown. He is not wearing the DIADEMA or the crown of a true king, a royal crown as we see Jesus wearing in Revelation chapter 19. This man offers himself as the savior of the world and the world is going to receive him as their messiah.

Now you may be wondering "How in the world can the people of this planet fall for this guy? How can they be deceived by him?" Think about it this way for a minute, how easily are you deceived or tricked by people? Looking at all the unbelievable deals out there from people wanting to make you rich to incredible weight loss programs, to whatever else they want to sell you, things you don’t even need and yet you buy them!

Probably the most vivid illustration of how something like this can take place is seen in our recent past. John MacArthur said this:

It may seem incredible that the world, hovering on the brink of final disaster, could be so totally deceived. Yet that is precisely what happened on a smaller scale before the outbreak of the most devastating war to date, World War II. Adolf Hitler spelled out in detail his plans for conquest in his book Mein Kampf, published more than a decade before World War II began. Yet, incredibly, the Western allies (particularly Britain and France) persisted in believing Hitler’s false claim to be a man of peace. They stood idly by as he re-occupied the Rhineland (demilitarized after World War I), thus abrogating the Versailles Treaty, then annexed Austria, the Sudetenland, and Czechoslovakia. Desperate to appease Hitler and avoid war, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain met with the Nazi dictator at Munich in 1938. Upon his return to England, Chamberlain triumphantly waved a piece of paper (containing a worthless pledge of peace from Hitler) which he claimed guaranteed "peace with honor...peace for our time."...

...When Winston Churchill (one of the few never taken in by Hitler) rose in the House of Commons to declare that England had suffered a total, unmitigated defeat he was shouted down by angry members of Parliament. The deception was nearly universal; almost everyone misread Hitler’s intentions. Only after he invaded Poland in September 1939 did the allies finally acknowledge the truth. By then it was too late to avoid the catastrophe of the Second World War.

The MacArthur New Testament Commentary Revelation 1-11, John MacArthur, page 179

And as I have said before, what we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history! We tend to make the same mistakes over and over again. There is a cry today for world peace, a cry that is stronger than ever. And yet, we see wars breaking out all over the world. From Korea to Pakistan, and from Europe to Africa and the Middle East. And the world is being set-up to receive this man who rides into town on a white horse, ready to solve the problems of the world, but he does have a bigger agenda than that, world domination!

Now with the opening of this first seal we see the beginning of the tribulation period or that last 7 years period of time before Christ comes to set-up His kingdom on this earth. And with the opening of this seal we see the emergence of peace brought to the forefront by a man and his programs, his ideas. It is a period of time that the people of this world will sit back and take a deep breath, relaxing. It is a time of peace in the world. And the world will make an allegiance with this man, they will give to him the power to rule, but not by force, they will willingly submit themselves to him and all that they have.

How long does this peace last? Daniel 9:27 tells us that in the middle of that last 7 year period, this man will break the covenant with Israel and then all Hell will break lose on this earth. We read "Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate." For the first 3 ½ years of the tribulation period, there will be a time of peace. People will be taken in by this pseudo-peace, but as Paul tells us in I Thessalonians 5:3,"For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape."

That is what is coming and we will see that next time as the second seal is open and wars break out. Then the third seal is open and famine breaks out. And the fourth seal is opened and death breaks out! Remember the first seal being opened is the start of the tribulation period and with the opening of the second seal we are at the last 3 ½ years of the tribulation period known as the Great Tribulation. Man apart from God and unrestrained by the Holy Spirit can reach horrible depths of depravity as we will see next time.

The thing I want to ask you this morning is this, "Who are you trusting in to bring peace into your life?" Is it the government? I don’t think so! Maybe your job, or your finances, or your spouse, or your children, or your own strength? But again, I don’t think so! This kind of peace is empty, it is false, it will leave you high and dry.

Jesus said in John 16:33, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Our peace is only found in the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ! If you don’t know Him, if He is not your Lord and Savior, then you will not have that peace OF God in your life because you have not made peace WITH God through Jesus Christ. The world’s peace is not our peace. Again, Jesus said in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Don’t be afraid of what is coming, be at peace in Christ!

Now you can be stubborn like Harry Truman and not heed the warnings that God has given to us. You see, the signs are everywhere! Just as Mt. Saint Helens had many warnings signs of what it was going to do, so too does the Lord. Are you looking? And are you heeding those warnings? Jesus Christ is coming back for His bride, the church, and then He will pour out His wrath upon a Christ rejecting world. But don’t miss the signs. We see the establishing of the Jews back into the land again, occupying Jerusalem, the city of God. We are seeing the coming together of a one world government. We see the coming together of a one world religion. We see Russia joining forces with Muslim nations who will eventually come down upon Israel to destroy the Jews. We see the amazing advances in technology. And we can go on, but I think you get the picture. The problem is you can be like Harry Truman, you can ignore all the warning signs, but they won’t go away. There is coming an explosion of judgment upon this earth like never before!

Jesus is calling to you, that you would come to Him and receive Him as Lord and Savior of your life. To receive that free gift of life that He wants to give to you, for He already purchased it with His life. And if you do you will have that peace that is only found in Him. It is not the peace that the world tries to give to us, it is not a false peace, but a everlasting peace!

This man, this rider on the white horse, this man who is coming with a false peace, may be alive today. But let me say this. Don’t go looking for him, trying to figure him out. Don’t go looking for the Antichrist, but go looking for Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace! As David said in Psalm 29:11, "The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace." May we apply that to our lives.

If you listen, you can hear the approaching hoof beats of the four horseman of the apocalypse, but don’t let that drown out the sound of the Lord calling to you. Don’t let the things of this life overwhelm you, but draw close to Him and He will draw close to you. As Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." May you come to Him and enter into His rest!

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