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Some Comments on John Shorey's Teaching on the Mid-Week (Mid-Trib) Rapture, Part 3

by Karl Kemp  
6/10/2015 / Bible Studies

We continue this rather brief discussion of Rev. 6:1-17, starting with Rev. 6:3 and the second seal on the super-important scroll that the Lord Jesus took from God the Father in Revelation chapter 5.

(3) When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, 'Come.' (4) And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him. [[Compare Matt. 10:34-36; 24:6, 7; Mark 13:7, 8; and Luke 21:10. Alford ("New Testament for English Readers," Vol. 4, page 1831) quotes Victorinus again here: "The red horse, and he that sat upon him having a sword, are future wars, as we read in the gospel, for nation shall rise against nation...(Matt. 24:7)." The color red undoubtedly goes with the shedding of blood. We should undoubtedly expect an increase in this warfare as we approach the end of this age, so too for the famines of the third seal.]] (5) When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature [cf. Rev. 4:7] saying, 'Come.' I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand [cf. Ezek. 4:16, 17]. (6) And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures [A voice coming from this location would apparently be the voice of God. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all speak in the book of Revelation.] saying, 'A quart of wheat for a denarius and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.' [[As discussed on page 21 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture," I agree with the widespread viewpoint that these verses picture famine - limited famine. We obviously couldn't say that there never would be a famine in any part of the world throughout this Christian age more severe than this.

Based on the information cited in the commentaries, the prices given here for wheat and barley are some eight to fifteen times higher than the normal prices in the Roman Empire of John's day. The oil and the wine are apparently considered to be basic food items, not luxury items (cf., e.g., Deut. 7:13; 11:14; and 28:51). Warfare and strife can lead to famine, but so can a shortage of rain/water (e.g., Deut. 11:14; Hag. 1:11), or many other things, including locusts. As several commentators point out, the roots of the olive tree (for oil) and of grapevines are deeper and less affected by limited drought than those of wheat and barley.]] (7) When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, 'Come.' (8) I looked, and behold, an ashen horse [In the margin the NASB has, "or, sickly pale," which can be considered the color of death.]; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. [[On Death and Hades, compare Rev. 1:18; 20:13. It isn't surprising that Hades would follow Death. Hades is the abode for the dead, excluding true Christians (who go directly to be with the Lord at death; cf. Phil. 1:21-23; 2 Cor. 5:8; 1 Thess. 4:14; and Heb. 12:22, 23). The departed saints are with God now (but most of them have not yet received their resurrection/glorified bodies [cf. Matt. 27:52, 53]); when Christ returns (in the middle of the seven years) they will come with Him (cf., e.g., 1 Thess. 4:13-18).]] Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence [including plagues (cf. Luke 21:11)] and by the wild beasts of the earth. [[I understand these words to teach that throughout this age, up until about the time of the sounding of the sixth trumpet, the total number of premature deaths from all causes will be limited to a maximum of a fourth of the population.

Much of the popular end-time teaching of our day understands this verse to teach that at some time during the first half of Daniel's 70th week, within a very short period of time, one quarter of the entire population of the earth will be killed. With the present population of the earth, which is now more than seven billion, that would be more than one and one-half billion people. For that many people to be killed within a short period of time would be a very big deal. During World War II, which lasted more than five years, the total number of deaths, including civilian deaths, was estimated to be some fifty to sixty million. Fifty million people is only some 3.3 percent of one and one-half billion.

I expect an increase in birth pangs (an increase in frequency and in intensity) in the last years of the "beginning of birth-pangs" (Matt. 24:8), in the years before the transition beyond the beginning of birth pangs at the abomination of desolation, which will be initiated about a month before the middle of Daniel's 70th week about the time of the sounding of the sixth trumpet of the book of Revelation. But I don't expect a gigantic number of deaths during the first half of Daniel's 70th week before the abomination of desolation. Even under the warfare of the sixth trumpet with the short great tribulation that will start shortly after the abomination of desolation (cf. Matt. 24:15, 21, 22) and be over before the Lord Jesus returns in the middle of the seven years (cf. Matt. 24:29-31), I don't expect the loss of life to be close to one and one-half billion people where one-third of mankind will be killed (Rev. 9:15, 18) because I don't expect the short great tribulation will fully involve mankind worldwide. The loss of life under the sounding of the first five trumpets, which will apparently all sound during the first half of Daniel's 70th week, will apparently be quite limited. It is significant that no people will die under the fourth and fifth trumpets. (The first six trumpets are discussed in chapters 8 and 9 of my paper on Revelation chapters 1-10 on my internet site.)]] (9) [On Rev. 6:9-11 also see pages 21-23 of "The Mid-Week Rapture."] When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar [On the sacrificial "altar," which is to be distinguished from the golden altar before the throne of Rev. 8:3, see Rev. 8:3, 5; 14:18; and 16:4-7.] the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained [[The emphasis here is undoubtedly on Christian martyrs, but I assume the martyrs for God from Old Testament days (starting with Abel) are included here too. The apostle Paul was one of many saints who ended up being sacrificed on this altar for God (cf. Phil. 2:17; 2 Tim. 4:6-8). In Rev. 20:4 John saw the souls of Christian martyrs, and he saw them come to life, which includes their receiving glorified bodies. The difference is that the martyrs of Rev. 6:9-11 refers to those martyred in the days preceding Christ's mid-week return, whereas the martyrs of Rev. 20:4 are those who will be martyred during the three and one-half year super-evil reign of Antichrist, who will not become Christians until after Christ's mid-week return and the rapture. See under Rev. 20:4 in my paper on Revelation chapters 20-22 on my internet site. (Shorey teaches that the martyrs referred to here in Rev. 6:9-11 will all be slain during the first part of Daniel's 70th week.)]]; (10) and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'How long, O Lord [[The Greek noun normally translated "Lord" ("kurios") isn't used here. In the margin the NASB has "or, Master." The NIV has "Sovereign Lord." I assume these words were addressed to God the Father, the Person on the throne in Revelation chapters 4 and 5, the Person with the preeminent role in the Trinity.]], holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" [[God will avenge the blood of His bondservants (cf., e.g., Rev. 17:1, 6; 18:20, 24; 19:2; Gen. 4:10; Deut. 32:43; Psalm 79:10; Luke 18:7, 8; Rom. 12:19; and 2 Thess. 1:4-10). God must eventually judge the world and make things right in accordance with His character as a righteous Judge and in accordance with His Word (both the Old Testament and New Testament). He cannot allow the persecution and murder of the people to continue forever; neither can He allow rebellion and chaos to continue forever. 2 Peter 3:9 helps explain God's delay in judging the earth (cf. 1 Tim. 2:1-7).]] (11) And there was given to each of them a white robe [at the time the Lord Jesus returns and they are resurrected, right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week; these souls have to receive their glorified bodies before they can wear their white robes (cf., e.g., Rev. 3:4; 6:11; 7:14; and 19:8)]; and they were told that they should rest ["that they should wait"; the BAGD Greek Lexicon gives "rest" as the basic meaning for this verb ("anapauo"), but on this verse it says, "remain quiet (i.e. wait) for a short time"; the NIV has "wait"] for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. [[They would still have to "wait for a little while" before God would avenge their blood and judge and remove those who shed the blood of God's people. (God won't fully avenge the persecution and shed blood of His people until the great-white-throne judgment at the end of the millennium, but he will have done a lot of judging by the time of the end of Daniel's 70th week.) The book of Revelation goes on to show that after the Lord Jesus returns and the rapture takes place in the middle of Daniel's 70th week many more Christians will be martyred for Christ. Many of the people who become Christians after the rapture, centering in the end-time remnant of Israel, will be martyred during the super-evil reign of Antichrist during the second half of Daniel's 70th week.

The "little while" of Rev. 6:11 corresponds with the "short time" of Rev. 12:12 which the devil will have left to do his evil work after he is cast down to the earth in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, at which time he gives Antichrist "his power and his throne and great authority" (Rev. 13:2). In Rev. 20:4 we see the martyred saints ((those who will be martyred during the second half of Daniel's 70th week; Rev. 20:4 indicates that the martyrs pictured there were slain during the reign of Antichrist with the words, "those who had been beheaded because of their testimony to Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast [Antichrist] or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands" [NIV])) come back to life; they will be resurrected into the full glory of eternal life and begin to reign with the glorified saints who have been reigning with the Lord Jesus throughout the second half of the seven-year period. (See under Rev. 20:4 in my verse-by-verse study on Revelation chapters 20-22 on my internet site).]] (12) [[Here we have a brief, early look at the arrival of judgment day before the scroll is opened. It can't be opened until the seventh and last seal has been removed at Rev. 8:1. (I refer the reader to the discussions of Rev. 6:12-17 in my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture.")

I'll quote part of what William Hendriksen said under Rev. 6:12-17 ("More than Conquerors" [Baker, 1982], pages 107, 108). "The sixth seal...introduces the judgment day. It describes the one great catastrophe at the end of this age. [This "one great catastrophe" won't be finished in the full sense until after the millennium and the great-white-throne judgment. Hendriksen, now deceased, held the amillennial (no millennium) viewpoint.] The dread and terror, the awe and consternation of that day is pictured under the twofold symbolism of a crashing universe and a thoroughly frightened human race. The terror of that day refers, of course, only to the wicked. ...

What we have here is a symbolic picture of the terror of judgment day. The symbol, taken as a whole, teaches just one lesson, namely, that the final and complete effusion of God's wrath upon a world that has [rejected God the Father and His Son and] persecuted the Church will be terrible indeed. ... ...we do not deny, of course, that there will be a most thorough-going dislocation of the heavenly bodies and a rejuvenation of the universe, in connection with the end of this present age. Scripture clearly teaches this (2 Pet. 3:10, 12, etc.). Neither do we at all deny that also our present passage refers to this fact (cf. Matt. 24:39 [24:29]). But the main point of our passage is this: it stresses the terror of the day of wrath for the wicked. The dissolving elements, earthquake, falling stars, etc., add terror to the picture."]] I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake [[I believe it would be better to translate "a great shaking." This great shaking probably includes the intense shaking of the short great tribulation, which will come to pass under the sixth trumpet and will be over before the Lord Jesus returns and the rapture takes place, and it undoubtedly includes the shaking pictured in Rev. 6:13, 14. It apparently also includes all the shaking that will take place throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week as God shakes the world in judgment. On the shaking of judgment day, cf., e.g., Isa. 2:19, 21; 13:13; 24:19, 20 [Isaiah chapter 2; 13:6-13; and chapter 24 are discussed in a verse-by-verse manner in my eschatological paper on Isaiah on my internet site.]; Hag. 2:6, 7, 21; and Heb. 12:26-29. On this great shaking/earthquake, also see under Rev. 16:18-20 in the paper on my internet site that deals with Rev. 14:6-19:21.]]; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood [cf., e.g., Joel 2:30-32; Matt. 24:29-31]; (13) and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. [[The stars here apparently refer first, and foremost, to the angels of Satan, who will be cast down to the earth with their leader (from their present privileged position in heavenly places) right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. See Rev. 12:4, 7-9: the third of the angels who follow Satan are cast down to the earth right in the middle of the seven-year period; those angels are called stars in Rev. 12:4. This is a major feature in God's end-time judgment of the world (see pages 15, 317-319 of "The Mid-Week Rapture" on these verses).

Matthew 24:29 is another important cross-reference for the stars falling at the time of Christ's return with the clouds of heaven, at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet, right in the middle of the seven-year period. I'll quote the second half of Matt. 24:29: "and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of heaven will be shaken." Satan's kingdom will obviously be greatly shaken at the time he and his angels are overpowered and cast down to the earth. (Matthew 24:29 is discussed in my verse-by-verse study of Matthew chapter 24 on my internet site, for one place.) Also see Isa. 34:4. I should point out that the "host of heaven" in Isa. 34:4 refers to the stars.

We should probably also think of literal falling stars here in Rev. 6:13; Matt. 24:29; etc. This present natural/physical world must ultimately pass away/vanish to be replaced by God's new heaven and new earth (cf., e.g., Matt. 24:35; Rev. 20:11; 21:1).]] (14) The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up [[I discuss the meaning of these words under this verse in my paper on Revelation chapters 1-10 on my internet site.]], and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. [[By the time God is fully done shaking/judging and bringing forth His new heaven and new earth, everything associated with this present world - including the present sky, mountains, and islands - will have been removed, or made new (cf. Rev. 21:5). See Nah. 1:2-8; 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 16:20; 20:11; and 21:1.]] (15) Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; (16) and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne [God the Father], and from the wrath of the Lamb [Compare Isa. 2:10-22 (Isaiah chapter 2 is discussed verse-by-verse in the paper on Isaiah on my internet site.); Hos. 10:8; Luke 23:30.]; (17) for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" The great day of the wrath of God the Father and God the Son will officially begin when the Lord Jesus returns in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. ((God's wrath will also be manifested to a significant extent for those directly involved with the shaking of the short great tribulation of Matt. 24:21, 22, which equals (at least for the most part) the warfare of the sixth trumpet (Rev. 9:13-21). Antichrist's abomination of desolation, which will take place about a month before the Lord Jesus returns (cf. Dan. 12:11), will signal that it is time for the short great tribulation to take place (cf. Matt. 24:15, 21, 22).))

All the true Christians living on the earth will be able to stand because they will be ready for the return of the Lord Jesus; they live in the light of His return; they are the ones "who have loved His appearing" (2 Tim. 4:8); they will be glorified, raptured, and begin to reign with the Lord Jesus when He returns in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. (Compare, for example, Psalms 1:3-6; Nah. 1:6-8; and Luke 21:36.)

Revelation chapter 7 is an interlude (a parenthetical insert) that answers the question of Rev. 6:17, "and who is able to stand." Revelation chapter 7 deals with two groups of people who will be able to stand. Revelation 7:9-17 deal with the true Christians who will be living on the earth at that time. Those verses picture them having been caught up into eternal glory. Revelation 7:1-8 deal with the elect end-time remnant of Israel. Revelation 7:1-3 picture them being given a special seal for protection; for one thing, protection during the days of the sounding of the first six trumpets, especially the sixth trumpet, to make sure that each one of them remains alive to receive the Lord Jesus when/after He comes. (Compare what Michael the archangel does in Dan. 12:1.) They will not repent and submit to Him in faith until after He returns and the rapture takes place.

SHOREY SPEAKS MUCH ABOUT THE 144,000 of Rev. 7:4-8 and 14:1 (and 14:3). He, along with many others in our day, believes that the number 144,000 is a literal number and that both passages speak of the same people. I'll comment on this topic here. Then, although there are many other passages and topics, I could discuss in this paper, I'll stop.

((I discussed Rev. 7:1-8 on pages 176-179 and Rev. 14:1-5 in chapter 23 of my "The Mid-Week Rapture" and under Rev. 7:1-8 in the paper on Revelation chapters 1-10 on my internet site (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching). Revelation 7:1-3, which deal with the sealing of the 144,000, are quite important and interesting, but I won't deal with those verses in this paper. I'll just deal, for the most part, with the number 144,000, which is, I believe, a symbolic number of completeness. The actual numbers in Rev. 7:4 and especially in 14:1 (and 14:3) will be much higher than a literal 144,000. If the 144,000 of Rev. 7:4 is symbolic, so too are the twelve uses of 12,000 in Rev. 7:5-8. We will also discuss some other symbolic numbers in the book of Revelation. I'll borrow from the writings I mentioned here and supplement them for this paper.))

Shorey says that "the 144,000 Jews are sealed to be God's chosen messengers to start preaching and revealing the love of God to the Jewish nation." He says, "I believe the 144,000 Jewish evangelists will bring many Jews to Christ, just in time for the Rapture of the bride of Christ [in the middle of the seven years]" (page 22 of his book). He believes the 144,000 Jewish evangelists will be sealed a "short time" before the rapture (see his pages 33 and 50, for example) and that they will not be raptured, but will continue to minister to Israel in the second half of the seven-year period (see his pages 52-54 for example).

I don't agree that the 144,000 of Rev. 7:1-8 are Jewish evangelists, that they are to be equated with the 144,000 of Rev. 14:1 (and 14:3), or (as I mentioned) that the 144,000 is a literal number. The book of Revelation contains much symbolic language, including quite a few symbolic numbers. Revelation 5:6 is an obvious example. The Lord Jesus does not literally have seven horns or seven eyes, and the "seven Spirits of God" is a symbolic reference to the Holy Spirit. (We'll discuss Rev. 5:6 in more detail as we continue.) I'll quote the brief discussion that I have on symbolic language at the beginning of Revelation chapter 21 in my paper on Revelation chapters 20-22 on my internet site for a start:

SYMBOLIC LANGUAGE. I'll say quite a bit regarding symbolic language in the book of Revelation before I quote Rev. 7:4-8 and 14:1 and discuss a few details. The book of Revelation contains much symbolic language, including symbolic numbers; chapters 21 and 22 are loaded with symbolic language. Symbolic (figurative) language doesn't mean that we aren't dealing with reality; we are dealing with reality, but symbolic language can help describe the indescribable, like the glories of heaven (including new Jerusalem). I'm confident, however, that the symbolic language used in Revelation chapters 21 and 22 falls far short of communicating the glorious reality. Symbolic language, including symbolic numbers, can communicate much extra information, but we need the wisdom of God to rightly divide and understand God's Word, very much including symbolic language. Quite often the symbols are explained in other parts of the Bible. We don't want to overuse the concept of symbolic language, as some do, and take things in a symbolic (non-literal) sense when a literal meaning was intended by God, nor do we want to underuse this concept, as some do. We shouldn't always take language in a literal sense if it is at all possible to take it in a literal sense like many say. We need the meaning that God intended!

Let's look at an important example of symbolic language from the book of Revelation. Revelation 5:6 speaks of "a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth." The "Lamb" is a symbol for the Lord Jesus Christ, who was slain, bearing our sins with the guilt and the penalties. John sees Him after He has been raised from the dead. It is interesting that in the preceding verse Christ is pictured as "the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah." Well, is He a Lion, or a Lamb? He's both, and many other good things too. Christ is a lion (which is another word used in a symbolic/figurative sense) in His power, authority, and dominion.

The number seven is sometimes used as a symbol for perfection/completeness. A week has seven days, Israel also had a seven-year cycle, and the book of Revelation has seven churches, seven stars, seven Spirits, seven seals, seven angels with seven trumpets, seven peals of thunder, the dragon and the beast with seven heads, seven angels with seven bowls of wrath, and there are a few other uses of the number seven.

For Christ to have "seven horns" is to communicate the all-important fact that He has perfect/complete authority, dominion, and power. For Christ to have "seven eyes" (cf. Zech. 3:9; 4:10) is to communicate the fact that He has perfect/complete knowledge of what is happening everywhere. We are further shown here that He has this knowledge through the "seven Spirits of God," which is a symbolic way to speak of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is perfect/complete in all of His work and manifestations. On the seven-fold Spirit, also see Rev. 1:4; 3:1; and 4:5. We're not supposed to try to think of a picture of Christ, or a Lamb, literally having seven horns and seven eyes - these numbers are being used in a symbolic way here, but they certainly do communicate important information, don't they? We are not supposed to think of a literal seven Spirits of God either.

We will continue this study on symbolic numbers and complete this paper in Part 4.

Copyright by Karl Kemp Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.

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