Brief Commentary on the Book of Revelation part two

See the full commentary here ($2.99 in Kindle format).

Part One is here; this is part two.

My Understanding

I am skipping ahead to Rev chapter 6 for this article. As this is a brief commentary, not every chapter will be covered. This is my fallible understanding of infallible Sacred Scripture.

[Revelation 6]
{6:1} And I saw that the Lamb had opened one of the seven seals. And I heard one of the four living creatures saying, in a voice like thunder: “Draw near and see.”
{6:2} And I saw, and behold, a white horse. And he who was sitting upon it was holding a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he went forth conquering, so that he might prevail.

“et exivit vincens ut vinceret.”
And he went forth conquering so as to conquer. In other words, this horseman will not fail to conquer. That is the meaning of this idiomatic expression: conquering inexorably, unfailingly. For “all the beasts could not withstand him… and he did according to his own will, and he became great.”

[Daniel]
{8:4} After this, I saw the ram brandishing his horns against the West, and against the North, and against the Meridian, and all the beasts could not withstand him, nor be freed from his hand, and he did according to his own will, and he became great.

Some have interpreted this passage as referring to Christ who goes forth conquering and cannot fail. That is not the correct interpretation. It is Christ, the slain Lamb, who opens the first Seal, in order to release its horseman. Jesus does not open a Seal to release Himself. Jesus has been conquering, unfailingly, since forever, and since His death and Resurrection. So the Lamb in 6:1 is Jesus, and the horseman in 6:2 is not Jesus.

This is also clear from the parallel passage in the Old Testament with the four sets of chariots, with horses that were white, red, black, and spotted.

[Zechariah 6]
{6:1} And I turned, and I lifted up my eyes and I saw. And behold, four four-horse chariots went out from the middle of two mountains. And the mountains were mountains of brass.
{6:2} In the first chariot were red horses, and in the second chariot were black horses,
{6:3} and in the third chariot were white horses, and in the fourth chariot were speckled horses, and they were strong.
{6:4} And I responded and said to the angel who was speaking with me, “What are these, my lord?”
{6:5} And the angel answered and said to me, “These are the four winds of heaven, which go forth to stand in the presence of the Sovereign of all the earth.”
{6:6} The one with the black horses was departing into the land of the North, and the white went forth after them, and the speckled went forth towards the land of the South.
{6:7} Yet those who were the most strong, went out, and sought to go and to roam quickly through all the earth. And he said, “Go, walk throughout the earth.” And they walked throughout the earth.

The third chariot with white horses is not Jesus Christ. These four sets of chariots, in the Old Testament passage, refer to the same events as the four horsemen of the apocalypse. This is an Old Testament passage on the End Times. Notice that the black horses go forth to the land of the North (Europe), and the white horses follow. The black horses are famine, and the white horses are war. The red horses are civil disorder and criminal violence (not the violence of war); these red ones are the ones called “most strong” because the civil disorder is worldwide, but the war and famine are not. The speckled horses (or pale horseman) represents death and the fear of death. Death occurs everywhere in this period at the start of the tribulation, but it is more severe in the “South”, that is, in the developing nations where there is much poverty and few resources (such as food, healthcare, etc.).

So the passage from Zechariah helps to interpret Revelation chapter 6.

[Revelation 6]
{6:1} And I saw that the Lamb had opened one of the seven seals. And I heard one of the four living creatures saying, in a voice like thunder: “Draw near and see.”
{6:2} And I saw, and behold, a white horse. And he who was sitting upon it was holding a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he went forth conquering, so that he might prevail.

The first event of the first part of the tribulation is World War 3. The horse is white because this war is ordained by God. The enemy in this war is the Muslim extremists (not those Muslims who are moderate, peaceful, and truly holy). The extremists believe and will say that this is a holy war, and in a sense they are right. This war is caused by the providence of God, to punish the Christian nations of Europe and North America for rejecting the teachings of Christ and His Church, despite calling themselves Christian.

The extremists cannot be stopped. Just as the passage from Daniel about this same war states, all the beasts (the other nations) cannot withstand him, nor be freed from his hand.

[Daniel]
{8:3} And I lifted up my eyes and saw, and behold, a single ram stood before the marsh, having two high horns, and one was higher than the other and growing higher still.
{8:4} After this, I saw the ram brandishing his horns against the West, and against the North, and against the Meridian, and all the beasts could not withstand him, nor be freed from his hand, and he did according to his own will, and he became great.

The marsh is the literal marsh between Iran and Iraq. This war is the war of the Arab Muslim nations of the Middle East and northern Africa, allied together, led by Iran and by Iraq (after it is conquered by ISIS), against the Western nations. The two horns means that there will be two leaders, the leader of Iran, and the leader of ISIS in Iraq. The one horn is higher, and continues to grow higher, meaning that the one leader, in Iran, has greater power, and his power continues to advance (until the extremists, after World War 3, just before World War 4, have only one leader, not two. So one of the horns is broken off, making the extremists a single-horned beast.

The war begins with an attack to the West, i.e. on the United States, and then to the North, Europe, and then toward the Meridian, toward the equator in Africa.

For this war to occur, there must be a preparation. The extremists of that region must increase in power and become united together. When you see the Arab Muslim nations of the Middle East and northern Africa allied together, under dual leadership of Iran and Iraq (ISIS), then you will know that this fallible interpretation of Sacred Scripture is correct.

What Would Cause Extremist Muslim Unity?

Muslims remain divided partly because of the separation between Shia and Sunni Muslims. But extremists of both sects are very much alike. They share an extreme interpretation of Twelver End Times theology. They believe that they must start a holy war against the infidels in order to usher in the return of al-Mahdi, the twelfth Imam, and the start of a worldwide Islamic kingdom. They believe that in this war they cannot lost, because God is on their side. That is essentially correct. The Muslims cannot lose World War 3, as God has decided to punish the Christian nations for their infidelity to Christianity by means of the Muslims.

What will unite them? Nuclear weapons. I had previously stated the opinion that, once Iran obtained nuclear weapons, their behavior would change. A criminal with a concealed weapon behaves differently from an unarmed criminal when confronting a lone law enforcement officer. The behavior pattern discloses the existence of the hidden weapon. Iran suddenly became much more aggressive in May of 2019, and continuing into the fall of 2019 — until the virus knocked them back, forestalling their plans. They can do nothing except what God permits.

I think the extremists will be united in this manner: Iran announces that they have nuclear weapons. Perhaps they do this to stop the current series of small attacks on their nuclear program and their missile program. When they announce, it sets off a wave of exuberant celebrations throughout the Muslim and Arab world. And all the extremists will want to ally with Iran, so as to participate in their nuclear power and claim it as their own. It will not matter if they are Shia or Sunni. Even many moderate Muslims will want to join with the extremists because it will give them power before the nations of the world.

As a result, the extremists, buoyed by this announcement, will seize power in various nations in the region. They will overthrow governments quite easily. Iran will encourage and assist in these coups. And in order to bring Sunni Muslims under their banner, Iran will ally with ISIS. Iran will help ISIS take control of Iraq and Syria. And then, if there are any nations still not controlled by extremists, Iran and ISIS will wage small wars against those nations, so as to quickly unite the region under their dual leadership.

The Timing

Perhaps it is the virus delaying the announcement. Iran dialed back their aggression, and their enemies began to chip away at them. If they get the pandemic under control, they might advance their plans. When will this union of the extremists occur? Within the next year or two. It will take time to bring them together and overcome the many obstacles to this unholy union.

Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest obstacles to the union of the nations in that region under an extremist banner. Many in the West wrongly malign the more moderate rulers in the region. There are many negative stories in the press against MBS (crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, known as MBS). But there are also many negative stories in the press against President Trump or against various other political leaders. Regardless of what you think of the Saudis, they are the main bulwark against extremism in that region. When the extremists begin to unite under a nuclear Iran, the moderates will turn to the Saudis for help.

And any Western plan to oppose a nuclear Iran will have to revolve around the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well. They have the resources to oppose Iran. They have a good location for launching attacks against Iran. They have long been friendly toward the democratic nations. The U.S. has military resources there.

But ultimately even Saudi Arabia will fall to the extremists, and the governments of the moderates will be in exile in Washington, D.C.

The First Four Seals

The first four Seals of the book of Revelation are the same events as the four Horsemen:
1. World War 3
2. severe civil unrest – we see the beginnings of this even now
3. famine even in wealthy developed nations
4. death from a variety of causes, including diseases, and the fear of death

{6:3} And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying: “Draw near and see.”
{6:4} And another horse went forth, which was red. And it was granted to him who was sitting upon it that he would take peace from the earth, and that they would kill one another. And a great sword was given to him.

The second seal is the red horse, and this symbolizes the event of severe civil unrest throughout the world. Notice that peace is taken from the earth, not just from one region. The War of the first seal and first horseman is not worldwide (even though we say world war). This seal/horseman is worldwide civil violence. And it is the same event as symbolized by the red horses and chariot of Zechariah, which was also called “the most strong”.

{6:7} Yet those who were the most strong, went out, and sought to go and to roam quickly through all the earth. And he said, “Go, walk throughout the earth.” And they walked throughout the earth.

So do not underestimate the severity of this event, compared to World War 3. It will affect every city on earth. There will be more violence in some areas, and less in others. But all will be affected, as all will fear the start of the End Times.

How will they know that this is the End Times? The Warning, Consolation, and Miracle occurs, then World War 3 begins with a nuclear attack on a major city. So the whole world will know that the tribulation has begun. And this results in fear and unrest.

{6:5} And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying: “Draw near and see.” And behold, a black horse. And he who was sitting upon it was holding a balance in his hand.
{6:6} And I heard something like a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A double measure of wheat for a denarius, and three double measures of barley for a denarius, but do no harm to wine and oil.”

Famine results from the War and the Unrest. There is more food for a day’s pay (a denarius) in barley, the food of the poor, than in wheat. This means that wealthy nations will be more severely affected by the famine. It will be worst in Europe, because of the War, and less severe in the developing nations that are far from the War. No harm to oil and wine means that luxury goods will still be available, while food is scarce, creating a paradox.

{6:7} And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying: “Draw near and see.”
{6:8} And behold, a pale horse. And he who was sitting upon it, his name was Death, and Hell was following him. And authority was given to him over the four parts of the earth, to destroy by the sword, by famine, and by death, and by the creatures of the earth.

The fourth seal and horseman is not only death but also the effect that the fear of death has on society. We already see how fear of the coronavirus has changed society. When there is a world war with a nuclear explosion (in NYC), severe civil unrest, and famine, people will be all the more afraid. And this fear will change society for the worse.

People will be killed by the sword (war), by famine, by death (meaning a variety of causes of death), and by the “creatures” of the earth. The creatures of the earth includes bacteria and viruses. So this part of the verse predicts epidemics and pandemics.

As I noted in a previous post, the Latin of Rev 6:2 says “et data est ei corona” , and a crown was given to him. But the word for crown is “corona”, and the Coronavirus is so named because it appears to have a crown when viewed in an electron microscope. And then the verb “was given” is “data est”, and we live in the information age when data is important. Even so, the verse is not about Covid-19 or computers, but about the first event of the tribulation, World War 3. The coincidence mentioned above perhaps indicates the timing of this event, during the information age, during or just after the coronavirus pandemic.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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3 Responses to Brief Commentary on the Book of Revelation part two

  1. King Robert the Bruce says:

    Ron why would God do no harm to oil and wine I know you said it creates a paradox but only the wealthy would benefit from that order wouldn’t that mean that yet again the poor will suffer more from the brunt of this punishment on humanity I thought it would be an equal punishment for everyone.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Oil and wine symbolize luxury items, so people will be able to buy items like smart phones, computers, cars, etc. But they won’t have enough food. The poorer nations tend to have a shorter supply chain for food. They often grow their own food, or it is grown by their village. The wealthy nations have long complex supply chains, which are easily disrupted by civil disorder and war. People in some nations will suffer more, and in other nations less. It is not equal for everyone. The poor don’t necessarily suffer more.

  2. King Robert the Bruce says:

    Ok got you that’s a fair point we have recently seen this breakdown in food and medicine supplies here in the UK when covid 19 struck a little taste of whats to come.

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