Having now we hope gain an idea somewhat of the arrangement of the seven stages of the church and their subsequent seals and trumpets we are now prepared to examine in more detail the Scriptural account of the rise of the Beast “THAT WAS” its subsequent disappearance, (its “IS NOT” condition), and its rise once again before going into destruction.
It is the sixth church, seal and trumpet which we are specifically concerned with as it was during this stage of the church near its end that the French Revolution took place which brought rise to the Beast “THAT WAS”, however it is important to understand that many events which had their beginnings in this stage of the church don’t reach their fruition or completion until the seventh stage, therefore in some instances we will need to look at both.
The Sixth stage of the church was of course the Philadelphian stage it was here that the prophetic 1260 days of Daniel met their end, ushering in the Time of the End. (From the time the Abomination of Desolation was set up in 539 A.D. to Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign in 1799 A.D. 1260 years elapsed.) The Time of the End is of course a period of time not simply a specific day; it has a beginning as well as an ending. It began at the end of the 1260 days (years) of Daniel 1799 A.D. and last all the way through the Laodicean stage, the last stage of the church reaching to the end of the Age (the Gospel Age).
During the sixth stage the Lord warns, “Behold I am coming quickly!” (Rev 3:11) I will be arriving shortly, be prepared. And in the seventh stage, “Behold I stand at the door and knock…” (Rev 3:20), that is to say, ‘Behold I have arrived, I am present, howbeit unseen to all save those who possess spiritual insight, those who are awake and who have been looking for my return. Not vainly looking toward the sky mind you, but rather to the more sure word of prophecy in which you would do well to take heed as a light that shines in a dark place (2 Pet 1:19), thus examining those prophecies which reveal BOTH the time and the manner of my parousia (presence)’.
Here too during the sixth stage mentioned is made of the Hour of Temptation (the Great Time of Trouble) which is coming upon the whole world to test those who dwell upon the earth. This Great Time of Trouble will reach its fulfillment near the end of the seventh stage of the church, specifically in our day.
THE SIXTH SEAL OPENED
“I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake (the French Revolution); and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.” Rev 6:12
“It may seem strange that this seal begins by describing events which occur late in the Philadelphia period, near its end. One reason may be that the French Revolution and the Time of the End are the focal point of the Sixth stage of the church. Perhaps, however, more important is that the seals appear all to focus on events late in their period. It is as if the Lord allows the period to unfold on events in their period (UN-sealed) until after much of the period is history. This seems only natural. We rarely understand an experience while we are going through it. Our understanding and appreciation generally comes later.”
It was during this time that “the sun became black as sackcloth…” The Sun a symbol of the Gospel light was challenged by Voltaire and the Enlightenment. The denominations at that time had too little Truth to give the needed answers to the challengers. Thus the prophetic symbolic Sun was unable to enlighten the masses and in sackcloth, mourning. During the Philadelphia period which had begun with such doctrinal excitement, the eventual challenges of the Enlightenment, Higher Criticism, Evolution, Marxism, etc., destroyed the faith of many. And so too “the moon became like blood,” the moon a reflection of the Gospel light, representative of the Jewish Law, and the Old Testament types were viewed by the Enlightenment as barbaric and bloody.”
“And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.” Rev 6:13
“The stars which fell could well have represented those in the ecclesiastical realm whom the people had previously looked upon, but who now during the revolution fell from esteem, the religious leaders and etc. Another view of this is that the “stars” which fell represented the Apostles (Rev 12:1) the teachings of the Apostles were reduced to a code of morals and ethics used for social and political applications only. Their spiritual applications were ignored; thus they fell to earth(ly) uses.
In several instances in the scriptures the Lord uses the “fig tree” to prefigure or type of Israel; here too the fig tree represents Israel. There was something happening during this time that would affect the Jewish people in an important way, what was it?
“Napoleon while in the Holy Land after his Egyptian Campaign in 1799 wanted to proclaim the region as a new homeland for the Jews. The idea was a good one which God intended to accomplish. But the timing was off — untimely, unripe, God had prophesied by the Jewish Double prophecies that 1878 would be the time for the re-establishment of Israel.’ Napoleon’s defeat by Lord Nelson put an end to his designs for conquering the Middle-East and establishing an empire, and thus, the Jewish hope was aborted – cast off by a great wind.”
The “stars of heaven” falling AS or like a fig tree might imply that, Just as the idea for a Jewish homeland was premature, so is the darkening of Sun, Moon, and Stars and the accompanying troubles. This (the French. Revolution) is only the preliminary 1/10th of what will fall the other 9/10ths must wait till another time, i.e. in the next or last stage of the church.
“Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.” Rev 6:14
“The sky receded (departed, split)” Translators seem to disagree on the meaning of the word. Strong’s seems to define it is a splitting rather than a departure. NAS translates it split. The latter seems preferable when we look at history, but either can be explained. (Again, it is important to note that a similar event is forecast for the Laodicean period by Isa 34. That will be more major in scope as it will involve the other 9/10ths of the city. This event in Chapter 6 only involves 1/10th of the city, France.)
Prior to the revolution, France had but ONE heaven — The Roman Catholic one. Then it had NONE because religion was outlawed early in the revolution. But when religion was again legislated, it allowed, encouraged, and protected Protestantism along with Roman Catholicism. Thus the heavens (the ecclesiastical heavens) were SPLIT into two factions who, by law were required to respect and tolerate each other – a scroll rolling together.”
“Every mountain and island was moved out of its place”
“Mountains are kingdoms; islands are more democratic nations. Note, they are NOT removed, just moved. The French Revolution spread concern all over Europe. Napoleon’s advances frightened the monarchies of Europe which feared the spread of French Republicanism and the breakdown of society (the rise of the Beast “THAT WAS“), which France had experienced. All kinds of measures were subsequently taken to prevent such a spread of revolution. Perhaps the most visible result was the so-called Holy Alliance of 1846. Nothing would ever be the same again in Europe.”
“And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves 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 who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” Rev 6:15-17
“Not only were nations moved by the experiences, but individuals from all segments of society were also — kings to slaves! It was not only the aristocracy which suffered in France, but the common people also. Thus Verse 15 shows them all doing things to insure a better future. Some fled France to other “mountains.” Some “hid” themselves in protective strongholds. The French Revolution began a rush to insulate with nationalism, fraternities, alliances, institutions, societies, treaties, trusts, guilds, etc. During this period of the Revolution END OF THE WORLD prophesying and theorizing became popular. It gained support from the Scriptures when the Adventist movement grew. The Reign of Terror terrorized well beyond France. Historians confirm that fears of Armageddon gripped many. Even unbelievers began to think that some sort of retribution was being meted out, Thus, in Verses 16 and 17, when many seek hiding places in kingdoms and institutions they claim fear of the “day of wrath.” This shows us their frame of mind. It does not tell us that this is the time for the Great Time of Trouble. It is, however, a 1/10th picture of what is yet to come.”
“The chapter division obscures the connection of Chapter 7 to what has come just before at the end of Chapter 6.
It is VERY IMPORTANT to our understanding to see this connection. Rev 6:12-17 has just shown the terrible troubles of the French Revolution period. These troubles could have spread. But it was not yet time for the general Time of Trouble. Only 1/10th of the city was to fall during the sixth period of the church (Rev 11:13). 9/10ths must remain for the trouble of the Laodicean period. Therefore, Chapter 7 begins by saying: ENOUGH! STOP THE SPREAD! IT IS NOT TIME FOR THE WHIRLWIND (THE GREAT STORM). THE CHURCH MUST BE FINISHED FIRST. THEN THE WINDS CAN BE SET FREE.
Thus the Beast “THAT WAS” was contained, corralled and went into the bottomless pit or abyss (the state of powerlessness), the “IS NOT” condition. Now keep in mind the people make up the body of the Beast, therefore the Beast still “IS“, it still exist, just not in the sense in which it existed during the French Revolution, that element or character of the Beast (the unrestrained anarchist masses, the destroying element) was held in check by the Lord until the completion of the Church after which time it “IS TO COME AGAIN” come back into power.
This, in essence, is the entire message of Chapter 7. But the statement about finishing the church before the final trouble allows the sender of Revelation to tell how many will ultimately be sealed as part of the body of Christ and what will happen to those (the Great Multitude) who did not prove worthy of their calling. Obviously, the church is not completed during the sixth stage of the church — That’s the message of Verse 3 but, as is so often the case in the sixth church narrative, the Revelator Looks forward to events in the seventh stage of the church. He here looks forward to the completion of the church and the Great Multitude.”
In our next post we will continue to examine how the scriptures interpret the Beast “THAT WAS”, “IS NOT”, and “IS TO COME AGAIN”.
Excerpts taken from the New Albany Notes on Revelation.