Mike Bickle on the First Seal
GOD’S JUDGEMENTS ARE NOT AGAINST THE SAINTS
Preface:Notice that God’s judgment is not against the saints. The book of Revelation is not about the judgment of God on the saints. Yes, there is a sub theme in the book of Revelation, which is the Antichrist’s rage against the church, but that is not the primary theme of the book of Revelation. Like in the book of Acts, there clearly is a sub theme of the persecution of the church. As far as we know, all the apostles were martyred. That is what history tells us. There is a record of the persecution of the saints in the book of Acts, but the book of Acts is not mostly a book about persecution. It is the acts of the Holy Spirit through the apostles.
The book of the Revelation is the acts of the Holy Spirit through the end-time apostles. Yes, there is a sub theme of persecution, but God has not appointed the church of God for wrath. The wrath of God does not come on the church, but the church will release the wrath of God through believing prayer under Jesus’ leadership.
THE FIRST SEAL
The first seal: The Antichrist’s political aggression. When the Antichrist is released in political prominence, this is when the scroll is being opened. Once the first seal is released, a domino effect will begin and will not be stopped. Once the Antichrist is recognized on a global level— Jesus is going to let that happen. He is the one who opens the seal which releases the Antichrist.
It says in Revelation 6:2, “I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.”
What is going on in the end-time plan in the Revelation 17, is that the harlot church is judged. The harlot church is the joining of all the world religions into one false religion, and many believers will join it.
A WORLD WIDE RELIGION WILL EMERGE
In Revelation 17:6 John said, “I saw the woman”—the harlot—“she was drunk with the blood of the saints.” This is the world religion which is going to emerge. You can see even the early stirrings of it right now. You can see it right now by the increase of compromise which is being proclaimed in the body of Christ in the western world. You can see it. The standards are getting lower and lower, under the doctrine and value of toleration.
This is going to end up with a world wide religion which will be drunk with the blood of the saints, because they will kill so many true believers. The global unified church will view the true church as intolerant. They will say, “The only enemy we have are those Jesus fanatics.” The truth is that the only hope for the world is the Jesus fanatics under Jesus’ zealous, pure, and loving leadership. The woman will be drunk with the blood of the saints.
REVELATION 17 TELLS THE STORY
For several years before the Antichrist is in place, the one world religion will be functioning in power. Revelation 17 tells the story in detail. Look at verse 16, there is a surprising reality. The ten horns, which is clearly one of the few symbols in the book of Revelation—there are about eight or nine main symbols in the book of Revelation and this is one of them—the ten horns will be ten nations in league with the Antichrist. They do not like this false church, they hate her.
In the early days they like her, but she will begin to have so much influence, so much money and so much power, that these ten nations—these ten horns—will go to the Antichrist and say, “Wait, she is too big, she is too proud, and she is too powerful. We need to get rid of her.” So actually, within the kingdom of darkness, there will be a civil war. They will turn on her and kill her. Here is my point: this will have been happening for several years at the time of the first seal. The blood of the saints will have been poured out by this harlot religion.
Surprisingly, the judgment against the harlot religion will be loosed by Jesus through the person of the Antichrist. He will rise up, strike her, and burn her. We will get to that at another time, but it is a very clear strategy. Even the Antichrist himself will bring judgment against the kingdom of darkness, in the way Adolph Hitler caused trouble even on the devil’s kingdom and on his own kingdom, though he was totally used of the devil. I mean, demons do not get along with each other at all. That sounds funny, but it is true. They do not like each other at all.
THE FIRST SEAL
The first judgment that is released is the release of the Antichrist. It is not the Antichrist judging the Antichrist. It is the Antichrist judging the Harlot Babylon who has been murdering the saints for some years before this point. So, the release of the Antichrist is actually in part a fruit of the prayers of the saints against Babylon. God raises up an evil force to judge Babylon and all the nations that are aligned with her.
THE WHITE HORSE GOES FORTH
The first seal decribes the antichrist, it says the white horse goes forth. White symbolizes righteousness.
This is a counterfeit righteousness. This is a false Christ, not the real one. The real white horse is at the end of Revelation in chapter 19. He has a bow in his hand, but it is an arrowless bow. It is a bow, but there is no arrow. This is very significant, because initially the rage of the Antichrist and his ten nation confederation is against the one world religion—the very religion that has caused the church to backslide and kill the saints. You may think, “Why do they all not get along?” They cannot bear each other because of their pride.
The Antichrist goes forth with a bow, but there is no arrow. What this speaks of, is the threat of war. It is about bloodless victories. Before war breaks out, he takes over nations.
It is the same thing which Adolph Hitler did in WWII in 1938 when he took over Austria and what is now the Czech Republic. He took over nations without war, but of course he bullied them. It was deceptive diplomacy. It was peaceful conquest outwardly, but behind the scenes he was bullying them and threatening them. So he took over nations before there was a war. Most people knew it, in terms of the politicians around the world, but they didn’t know what to do about it.
The Antichrist is going to start out with peaceful conquest of nations. The nations being taken over will not be so peaceful. There will be bloodless victories and deceptive diplomacy.
POWER WILL BE GIVEN TO THE ANTICHRIST
Power will be given—a crown will be given to this evil man. It is interesting that the power with which the Antichrist will function, will be given to him first by Jesus. Jesus uses the Antichrist to confront evil in the earth, even though he himself is the number one champion of evil. The devil is such a murderer and the devil is so proud that he actually sabotages his own kingdom by his works of destruction.
But God is not the only one who will give him power. The devil will give him power and the evil kings of the earth will also give him power. It says repeatedly, “Power is given to him, a throne is given.” People say, “Who is giving the power?” It is power which will first come from God, second from the devil, and third from the kings of the earth, who will give their rightful authority to him. They are really the kings over those nations, but they will cooperate with him in the way some nations joined Adolph Hitler in WWII. They gave their authority to him of their own free will.
The point that I most want to press on your mind is not how evil kings will give their power to him or how the devil will, but how Jesus is the one who allows this man to go forth. The very release of the Antichrist is a judgment on the kingdom of darkness, though the Antichrist is the number one champion of darkness.
The Antichrist is a real person, we know that. There is the spirit of the Antichrist that has been operating for 2,000 years, but the Antichrist is more than a spirit. He is a person. He is a man. My guess is that he is alive on the earth right now. Maybe young, maybe older, I do not know.
He will be the most powerful man and leader the world has ever seen. He will be the most demonized man with intellectual ability and supernatural power. He will be Adolf Hitler times 100 in his cruelty. He will be far more powerful, far more cruel, and far more intelligent than Adolf Hitler was. He will be the ultimate oppressor who emerges in human history. The stage is being set for him to come onto the world scene.
THE PRAYER MOVEMENT-THE ANSWER TO THE ANTICHRIST
God is raising up a justice movement to confront the ultimate oppressor. That justice movement is called the prayer movement. The prayer movement is the justice movement. The justice movement must be the prayer movement, according to Jesus. The prayer movement releases answered prayer into the earth, which is justice. The prayer movement releases also the seals and trumpets, which contain judgments on sin, and the antichrist empire, just like Moses released judgments on the Antichrist.
Jesus is going to confront this great oppressor, completely overpower him, defeat him, and throw him into the lake of fire. Then He is going to take all the world governments and replace them with His favorite people, the saints. It is true.
The prophetic Scriptures give a lot of great details about the battle around the city of Jerusalem. It is just as well to get it right so that the Bible make sense when you are reading it.
The rapture will happen just some weeks before the Armageddon campaign. The rapture comes and we are translated. We get our new bodies, and then Jesus touches down. I have an opinion of where He touches down.
The Bible says that He marches up through the land killing the armies of the Antichrist, and marching into Jerusalem. He stands on the Mount of Olives, it splits, He delivers the nation of Israel, and on and on.
OH, THAT YOU WOULD REND THE HEAVENS
This is the prayer the remnant of Israel are praying, “Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down” (Is. 64:1)! This is talking about the Messiah and about the second coming. We pray this and we are talking about revival. I pray this prayer and I will keep praying it, but I do understand it is a remnant-of-Israelsecond- coming prayer at the Armageddon campaign. That is its real context.
They will pray, “Oh, that the mountains might shake at Your presence” (Is. 64:1)—that is the Mount of Olives and all the other mountains which will shake at the seventh bowl. “You will make Your name known to Your adversaries” (Is. 64:2, paraphrased)—that is the Antichrist empire right there around Jerusalem. They will tremble. The reason they are really going to tremble is because Jesus—as we will find out in Psalm 110—is going to execute all the leaders of all the nations. They will tremble for real.
EVENTS AROUND THE BATTLE OF JERUSALEM
There are seven strategic scenes in Revelation 19:11-21:8.
E. The 7 scenes in Rev. 19:11-21:8 follow right after the 7th bowl (Rev. 16:17-21). Jesus comes in the context of the Battle of Jerusalem to end the Armageddon campaign (lasts for 31/2 years).
Scene #1: Jesus presents Himself as He approaches Jerusalem for the final battle (Rev. 19:11-16)
Scene #2: Jesus defeats the Antichrist at the Battle of Jerusalem (Rev. 19:17-21)
Scene #3: Satan is cast into prison for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:1-3)
Scene #4: Saints are given the governmental leadership over the earth (Rev. 20:4-6)
Scene #5: Satan is released after 1,000 years giving all a choice to obey (Rev. 20:7-10)
Scene #6: Great white throne: God’s final judgment of all enemies (Rev. 20:11-15)
Scene #7: The Father establishes His throne with His people on the new earth (Rev. 21:1-8)
F. Summary: the most dramatic events in world history will occur in the context of the greatest military campaign, undergirded by the greatest prayer movement contending against the greatest oppression to see the greatest justice movement fulfilled across the whole earth.
WE NEED TO KNOW THE END OF REVELATION
The reason we need to know Revelation 19:11-21:8, is because it is one unit in the structure of the book of Revelation. All the events unfold one after another in this unit, in this section. You need to put them together. It tells us the end of the story. Everybody has heard the preacher say, “We know the end of the story and we know we will win.” Everybody cheers.
It is not enough to just have a vague sense about our victory. God did not give the information except we need the information. It is not enough to say, “We win,” and everybody claps, this is the end of story, we now understand the book of Revelation. In order to understand the whole prophetic drama laid out in the Word of God, to get the big picture, and to see where we are going, it is essential to understand these details.
THE CLEAREST PICTURE OF THE END
What is surprising to many people, is that there are over 150 chapters—not Bible verses, but chapters—in the Bible, which have the end times as their the primary theme—150 chapters.
Most believers are mostly illiterate concerning those 150 chapters. They know a few points on maybe two or three chapters. That is one of the reasons why many people are just disoriented when they read it. It is one of the reasons they do not have a grid for interpreting the end times. All the facts and events kind of run together and they are not sure where they fit.
This passage of Scripture—Revelation 19:11-21:8—is a unit. It is a literary unit in the structure of the book of Revelation. It gives us the clearest picture of the end, of where we are going. I have found in my studies over the years, that if I understand the end picture, if I can see where it is going, those 150 chapters come into focus.
If you can look at the puzzle box and see what the picture is supposed to look like, you can find out a lot more easily where the individual pieces go. This is much more than something that builds a little faith and invigorates your spirit and helps you repel the spirit of fear. This is the information that makes the other 150 chapters come into focus and fall into place. You really need to know Revelation 19-21, and then go after the 150 chapters.
-ed note: Ask for the Eph 1:17 Holy Spirit wisdom and revelation. There are so many different commentaries and different views, because we tend to lean on our understanding instead of being led by the Spirit. Now we test everything and hold fast to what is good and biblical, and backed up in Scripture, but there is an impartation, of the Jer 23:20, prophesy that “in the end times you will understand it clearly.” There is this clarity for those who will be led into a little fasting and seeking, that in humility, we come under this Scripture and see what the Spirit is saying to us and the church now and also about what is coming.