November 10, 2003

The Seals, the Trumpets, and the Vials of Revelation

Part 3 – The Third Seal

The first four seals of Revelation open before the period known as the tribulation period. They occur during the period of time Jesus called “the beginning of sorrows.”

Matthew 24:7-8
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. [8] All these are the beginning of sorrows.

The first seal has already opened and then closed. The second, third, and fourth seals are already open, and will all remain open until the end of the tribulation period, and all three will rapidly intensify when it begins.

Their primary area of fulfillment is the maximum extent of land occupied by the Southern Roman Empire from what is now Morocco to Iranian the first and second century, and by the Umayyad Caliphate which followed it. The “whole earth,” “all the world,” and similar expressions in the prophetic writings of both the Old and New Testament periods, in many instances, are hyperbolic, and do not refer to the world as we know it today, but to the world as the people, to whom they wrote, knew it from 600 B.C. to 135 A.D. The most severe judgments of the second, third, and fourth horse riders, along with the mark of the beast, will occur in this area.

I have known for a long time that if I lived to my allotted threescore and ten years, I would see the third seal open in the area known to those that lived in the era of Roman domination. The African continent was known to exist at the time of John’s writings, and that is where I knew it had to start. Good ole Mr. Wills, my ninth grade teacher in Junior High School, is the one who introduced me to this in 1947. It was such a simple thing, but such a certain thing, that I had no fear of being wrong about it when I wrote my first book in the seventies. It was based on food supply and population increase.

Revelation 6:5-6
And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. [6] And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

The population explosion, particularly in Africa, which has suddenly burst on the scene, should be no surprise to the human race. The world’s population has roughly, in a somewhat similar pattern, followed a formula of daily penny doubling. Suppose someone proposed to give you five billion dollars if you would double a penny he gave you for forty days, and then give him all the proceeds of the doubling process on the fortieth day – Would you take the deal? A single penny on the first day would produce two cents on the second day, four cents on the third day, eight cents on the fourth day, sixteen cents on the fifth day, thirty-two cents on the sixth day, sixty-four cents on the seventh day, and only a dollar and twenty-eight cents on the eighth day. So, based on what you’ve read so far, it seems like a pretty good deal. But on day forty you would have to fork over more than five billion dollars. This principle has been the backbone of when the famine prophecy prediction would occur ever since eight people stepped off the Ark of Noah. This principle opened the famine seal, and will cause it to intensify until Armageddon.

The world’s famine outbreaks in its developing countries have been occurring closer and closer together in time since World War II, and the trend will accelerate until the Second Advent. Why? A few thousand years ago eight men and women descended in an ark “upon the mountains of Ararat,” and then began to multiply. At first, like the penny, the increase was insignificant from a numerical standpoint. When Jesus was born the world population had only reached about 200 million. When Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 it had barely reached 400 million. But, like the multiplying principle of the penny, it began to accelerate noticeably about the time of the Civil War, and exploded after the Great Depression of the thirties. In 1989 the world population reached five billion and, the same year, eleven million of the earth’s residents died of starvation. The population of our planet passed six billion in October of 1999, and is predicted to reach ten billion in 2030. Some say it will only reach between eight and nine billion by 2030. But even if that is true, how can the additional three plus billion be fed, if eleven million died of starvation in 1989 with a population of only five million.

Some say, “don’t worry, agricultural technology is on the way to solving the famine problem.” No way! The latest U.N. study found ten percent of the world’s soil profile badly damaged. The three-year study accessed the soil conditions on a global scale, and involved more than 250 soil scientists. It marked the first time since World War II that soil profiles had been accessed on a global scale. As reported by Larry B. Stammer in the Los Angeles Times, the study found that “about two-thirds of all seriously eroded land is in Asia and Africa, home to most of the world’s poor. The article, using the report as its basis, proclaimed: “Despite the much acclaimed great green revolution of the past several decades, which have produced unprecedented gains in food production by the introduction of fertilizers and hybrid grains, per-capita food production has declined in some eighty developing countries in the past decade” The 1993 report, “Vital Signs, The Trends That Are Shaping Our Future,” as reported in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette of July 18, 1993, stated: “This new report shows the first clear sign that population is outpacing the available food supply for humans. The trend is mostly because of record world population growth, but also reflects a slowdown after decades of increasing food supplies. The main sources of food – farms, ranches, and oceans – all are approaching, or may have reached, their maximum per-capita output, according to the Vital Signs Report.”

The simple truth is this, in 1993, for the first time since records began to be kept, world food utilization exceeded world food production. Utilization continued to exceed food production until 1996, and a massive endeavor was made by technology to catch up with utilization. The endeavor allowed food production to pass utilization in 1996, and it continued to exceed utilization until 1999, but the population passed six billion in October of 1999, and the production again fell below utilization, where it has remained to the present. In April of 2003, a report published by the International Committee of the Fourth International, stated that 200 million people in Africa are malnourished. The world food production has not been able to keep up with the stork in the twenty-first century, and the disparity can only increase with an increasing population growth.

The third horse rider will gallop faster and faster as he heads for Armageddon. I contend that the famine now occurring in Africa, which was a part of the prophetic world when the prophecies were written, is the beginning of the fulfillment of those prophecies, and that famine will spread out of this area into all sections of the world that were known at the time the book of Revelation was written by John. There will be a serious food shortage in the United States, but it will in no way be comparable to the famines that ravage what is referred to as the “Old World,” or the pre-Columbus world. I believe the vast majority of “Old World” residents, both religious and nonreligious, will take the mark of the beast to get food without hesitation, but I do not believe the mark of the beast will be put on the residents of the United States. I believe that Revelation 13:16,17 applies only to that part of today’s world that was known when John wrote Revelation.

Revelation 13:16-17
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: [17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Followers of Islam pay no attention whatsoever about even the existence of this NT prophecy. The Catholic priests have not taught their masses in Europe about this, and only a handful of Catholics understand anything about it. The same is true among all the different sects of religion that are spread across the “Old World.” They will take the mark without hesitation to obtain food.

I believe the Antichrist’s Caliphate will, at first, take in the vast Arab area of Islam from Morocco to Pakistan, but it will spread out quickly like water, and when the time for the final battle of Armageddon arrives, it will either engulf or dominate all of the “Old World.”

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