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"Then Is Finished The Mystery Of God"



Chapter 3

Breaking Seals of the Mysterious Scroll

Revelation 6:1-2

NINETEEN centuries ago a prisoner on the little island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea wept, because for a moment there seemed to be nobody in heaven or on earth able to open the mysterious scroll in the right hand of Jehovah God, the Almighty.

The scroll was written on inside and on the reverse side, but it was rolled up and sealed with seven seals that could not be broken without the official approval of God. The writing on both sides of the scroll told of things to occur in the future, things that took in, not only the invisible heavens, but also the earth, our dwelling place. The handwritten scroll pictured the fixed foreknowledge and purposes of God as affecting heaven and earth. The scroll set forth what the Almighty God knew regarding the future and what he had decided to let occur and also what he himself purposed to do in the face of things that he allowed to occur. No wonder that prisoner on the Roman penal island, the Christian apostle John, wept at the desperate thought that no creature whatever could break the seven seals and reveal the secrets contained in the scroll that concerned him and us all. — Revelation 5:4.

The opening of each seal and the revealing of the corresponding part of the scroll provided only a further bit of mystery. What was revealed was in symbolic language or in images, which called for an explanation. This made it necessary for the now revealed symbolisms to be fulfilled in actual human history. Only then could they be fully understood, enabling us

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to see how Almighty God foreknew things accurately and how he has faithfully carried out his loving purposes. Consequently, what the apostle John wrote down in describing what he saw after the breaking of each seal did not settle the matter. The correct interpretation of the symbolic things that he saw and heard needed to be given for us to understand. This made it needful for us to wait upon the outworking of universal history for the correct interpretation to be given us by the help of God's invisible active force or spirit. This, in effect, called for the breaking of the seals of the scroll once again, in a supplementary way, in our own marvelous century so full of events of universal interest and importance.

We today are thus held spellbound, as the Christian apostle John was, as he watched God's worthy one, the Lamb, "the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah," break the seals and let the contents of the prophetic scroll be disclosed to view. The apostle John looked for the symbolisms and symbolic events to be disclosed. We today look and continue looking for the secret of these symbolisms and symbolic events to be broken, as if the seals of the scroll were being broken for the first time. What John saw was in vision. What we see is in reality, in actual human experience. With absorbed interest we listen to what John has to tell us:

"And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice as of thunder: 'Come!' " — Revelation 6:1.

THE OPENING OF THE FIRST SEAL

What we see take place or become known after the opening of the first seal in our modern times is important. There is no excuse for us to ignore it, for we are invited to observe it as with ear-splitting peals of thunder. "Come!" That is, come to see, is the invitation that is extended to us by what is represented by the particular "one of the four living creatures" that spoke "with a voice as of thunder" and invited John to come. This was doubtless the first of the four

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cherubic living creatures that the apostle John saw, namely, the one "like a lion" and representing divine justice. (Revelation 4:7) It was in the middle position before the front side of God's throne, somewhat like the throne of King Solomon of Jerusalem, who had two lion images beside the armrests of his throne and "twelve lions standing there upon the six steps, on this side and on that side." (1 Kings 10:18-20) Not only was the lionlike living creature going to call attention to something in fulfillment of divine justice, but he was about to point to someone like himself, namely, "the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah," as the heavenly king at last going into righteous action.

What did the apostle John see that was to symbolize what we today would see with our eyes of spiritual discernment? "And I saw," says John, "and, look! a white horse; and the one seated upon it had a bow; and a crown was given him, and he went forth conquering and to complete his conquest." — Revelation 6:2.

This scene did not foreshadow any invasion of the Roman Empire by the Parthians from the East. True, the Parthians were adept at using the bow from horseback. A battle ruse of their cavalrymen was to pretend to flee in retreat, but all the while shooting backward from their well-aimed bows, giving a "parting shot," as it were. While suggestive of this, the scene that the apostle John here saw foretold something far more important.

The rider of this white horse is identified for us by Psalm 45, which is an inspired poem concerning a king. Verses 4-7, in prophetic address to this king, say: "In your splendor go on to success; ride in the cause of truth and humility and righteousness, and your right hand will instruct you in fear-inspiring things. Your arrows are sharp — under you peoples keep falling — in the heart of the enemies of the king. God is your throne to time indefinite, even forever; the scepter of your kingship is a scepter of uprightness. You have loved righteousness and you hate wickedness. That is why God, your God, has anointed you

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with the oil of exultation more than your partners." The prophetic words are applied more than five hundred years later by the writer of Hebrews 1:1, 2, 8, 9 to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In agreement with this fact, other details of the vision to John prove that the rider of the white horse is the glorified heavenly Son of God, "the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah." Thus, on opening the first seal of the scroll, the Lamb of God saw himself going into action as King.

In this preliminary vision the rider on the white horse differs in appearance from the rider of the white horse described in Revelation 19:11-16, where this same rider is pictured as having "many diadems" on his head and as having protruding out of his mouth a sharp long sword with which to smite the nations of earth, to pronounce the execution of divine judgment upon them. However, in this latter vision the rider of the white horse is riding to the "war of the great day of God the Almighty" at the "place that is called in Hebrew Har-Magedon [Armageddon]." (Revelation 16:14-16) At that "war" the foretold "time of the end" of the earthly nations closes. (Daniel 12:4) But when the rider on the white horse appears with his bow after the opening of the first seal of the scroll it is at the beginning of that "time of the end." That is when the seven Gentile Times have ended, and hence it was the early autumn of the year 1914 C.E., the same year when World War I broke out. It is therefore not on a peaceful mission that the rider on the white horse sets out.

The very fact that the heavenly rider rides a horse indicates that he is on a war errand. Back in Bible times the horse was a symbol of warfare; as Proverbs 21:31 says: "The horse is something prepared for the day of battle." (Also Job 39:19-25) The fact that the rider's horse is white confirms that it is a righteous war, a war in vindication of God's justice and righteousness. In keeping with this fact, the rider on the white horse has a bow, which is also a weapon of war. In Bible times Israelite kings were excellent bowmen.

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(2 Samuel 1:22) However, the newly anointed King Jehu of Israel used his bow with deadly effect from a war chariot, not from horseback like the rider on the white horse. — 2 Kings 9:20-24.

In Bible times lances used to be carried by some cavalrymen, but this required them to come to close quarters with the enemy, to jab the lance or spear into him. It was an art to shoot arrows with precision from a running horse, but in this way the rider on the white horse can pierce the hearts of his enemies with his arrow from far off. — Psalm 7:11-13.

Evidently the time had come for the Lord God in heaven to fulfill Psalm 110:1, 2 toward his Son Jesus Christ, the descendant and yet Lord of King David of Jerusalem: "Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet." "The rod of your strength Jehovah will send out of Zion, saying: 'Go subduing in the midst of your enemies.'" At the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 there were yet enemies of God and Christ even in the holy invisible heavens. So God's empowered King, Jesus Christ, would first proceed against these enemies in the heavens, as a later chapter of the Book of The Revelation shows. Hence he is, as it were, sent forth on a white horse and equipped with a bow. Any arrow that he would shoot forth from his war mount would be "Jehovah's arrow of salvation, even the arrow of salvation" against the enemies of God and of his people. (2 Kings 13: 17) The symbolic arrows that he would shoot without missing their mark would be expressions of divine judgment against the enemies until their final extermination.

Fitting it is to remember here that in ancient times the land of Persia was a country of horses and that the Persians were experts with the bow. According to history this was their outstanding weapon, and largely by use of the bow they overcame the Babylonians and established themselves as the fourth of the seven world powers of human history down till now.

So the fact that the rider of the white horse is

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armed with a bow suggests that he would play the role performed by King Cyrus the Great of the ancient Persian Empire, who captured Babylon on the Euphrates River in the year 539 B.C.E., overthrowing her as the third world power. Remember the white horse that was ridden by Persian kings, not to speak also of the horse ridden by Roman victors in the triumphal procession on return to the capital city. (Esther 6:8-11) This means that the rider on the white horse, Jesus Christ, would be used by Jehovah God to overthrow Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, and then, as the Greater Cyrus, to liberate Jehovah's people from her control. After all of God's people have got out of Babylon the Great in obedience to the divine command, this Greater Cyrus will maneuver the destruction of this wicked world empire of false Babylonish religion. — Isaiah 13:17-19; Revelation 16:12; 17:1-18; see the book "Babylon the Great Has Fallen!" God's Kingdom Rules!, pages - 197-199.

When, though, is it that the Rider on the white horse begins to ride? First after he is crowned King! He rides forth crowned, for the Revelation (6:2) proceeds to say: "And a crown was given him, and he went forth conquering and to complete his conquest." The time is unmistakable! It is from the end of the Gentile Times in the year 1914 C.E. Then was the time for Jehovah God to place the crown upon the head of "the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah," the Permanent Heir of King David. That crown, representing active kingship, had rested on no descendant of King David since the year 607 B.C.E., when the royal city of Jerusalem was destroyed by the heathen Babylonians. Addressing himself to the last earthly king to wear that crown, namely, King Zedekiah, in whose days the Gentile Times began, Jehovah God said:

"And as for you, O deadly wounded, wicked chieftain of Israel, whose day has come in the time of the error of the end, this is what the Lord Jehovah has said, 'Remove the turban, and lift off the crown. This

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will not be the same. Put on high even what is low, and bring low even the high one. A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I shall make it. As for this also, it will certainly become no one's until he comes who has the legal right, and I must give it to him.' " — Ezekiel 21:25-27.

The one who has the legal right to the kingdom as represented by the crown is Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God and Permanent Heir of King David. He could not come to be crowned with this kingship at God's hands until the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 C.E. At that time he did come, as pictured in the vision of Daniel 7:13, 14. Jehovah God, the Ancient of Days, recognized his legal right to the crown and kingship, and then the divine promise was fulfilled: "And I must give it to him." (Psalm 21:1-3) This took place in the invisible heavens, and no longer was the line of kings from ancient King David the "low" one, nor were the Gentile kings on earth the "high" one. The action was the reverse of what took place 2,520 years previously, in 607 B.C.E. Now crowned with God-given royal power, the "high" Jesus Christ could proceed . against all his enemies as the Rider on the white horse, armed with the bow. He must destroy the enemies of the kingdom of God.

Astride his white horse of righteous warfare, the crowned King has been riding ever since, with success. He begins conquering, he ends up conquering, with total victory fully gained. "He went forth conquering," by turning his attention to his closest enemies, Satan and his spirit demons in the invisible heavens, and these he pushed back, completely out of the heavens of intimate contact with the holy cherubim, seraphim and angels of God. The apostle John was given a vision of this ouster of Satan after the opening of the seventh seal of the mysterious scroll. (Revelation 12:1-13) Christ did not start World War I, which began on July 28, 1914, among the Gentile nations on earth, over the issue of world domination. Down here with his warring nations Satan the Devil and

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rider on white horse

his demons have been restrained, never to reenter the holy heavens.

If we judge from the appearance of things on the earth today, the crowned Rider of the white horse has not completed his conquest. The enemy Gentile nations, at present under the domination of the religious Babylon the Great, still remain. Jesus Christ could easily have destroyed them at the culmination of World War I, but it was not God's time for him to complete his conquest at that time and in that way. Other things must follow first, as disclosed by the Revelation to the apostle John. It was then not yet "the great day of God the Almighty," and the Gentile nations on earth had not yet marched to the battlefield, the "place that is called in Hebrew Har-Magedon." (Revelation 16:14, 16) There and then is the place and time for the crowned Rider to complete his conquest. He is now near the end of his victorious ride! On which side shall we be at that time?

The Rider of the white horse will not be frustrated in his purpose. His purpose is to conquer; and that is why, in the original Greek text, a purpose clause is here used: "He went forth conquering and that he might conquer." (Revelation 6:2, Ro; Yg) In the Greek text, the aorist tense of the verb in the subjunctive mode "here points to ultimate victory." (A. T. Robertson, in Word Pictures in the New Testament, Volume 6, page 340) The Rider's purpose is "to complete

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his conquest." (NW) This he will do, for he is finally declared to be "King of kings and Lord of lords."  — Revelation 19:16; 17:14.

Worthy ones of this generation of mankind will see the crowned Rider of the white horse complete his conquest with the help of Jehovah God the Almighty. The apostle John saw this vision of the victorious Rider after the opening of the first seal, in the year 96 C.E., the year traditionally assigned to the Revelation. But when did any of us see the modern fulfillment of the vision?

The remnant of John's faithful fellow Christians discerned the fulfillment of the vision of the crowned Rider and his bow after the end of the Gentile Times in the year 1914 C.E. This discernment did not come to them in the summer of the year 1917. In July of that year the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society published the book entitled "The Finished Mystery," also known as the seventh volume of the Studies in the Scriptures. (See the issue of August 1, 1917, of The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, page 226, column 2.) This book contained a commentary on the entire Book of The Revelation, and attempted to explain, but too soon, Revelation 6:1, 2.

However, thirteen years later, or on August 11 of 1930 the Watch Tower Society released at its Brooklyn headquarters the two volumes of the book entitled "Light." Ah, at last this set forth the explanation of Revelation 6:1, 2 that was based on events since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, which events fulfilled the thrilling Bible prophecies. By means of this publication John's fellow Christians of this twentieth century gained a discernment of the meaning of John's vision. They learned who was the armed, crowned Rider of the white horse and how he had begun his unstoppable ride to victory over all of God's enemies. Spellbound at the vision before their eyes of understanding, they watch the unconquerable Rider as he charges to triumph in the approaching "war of the great day of God the Almighty."



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