Part 12 of "Unsealed By the Lamb: Revelation Through the Lamb and His Love"
There is no great secret we must know in order to be moving with the Spirit; there is no 'revelation' or knowledge of the end times that we need other than the testimony of Jesus (the gospel) and the commands of God ("Love one another as I have loved you").
The testimony: "This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all... If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin. (1 Jn.1:5,7)
The commands: "Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters... [remembering] those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." (Heb.13:1,3)
'PROPHESYING' AS THE CENTER
The four riders show different stages of the church's history when believers have taken in hand aspects of the truth of Christ and ridden away from the center with them—when they have sought to reign, fight, judge and prophesy apart from the Lamb and His love. The coming of the fourth rider completes the departure away from the center (the Lamb).
When the fourth seal opened, a movement came forth in the church in imitation of the fourth living creature, the flying eagle, which reflects the prophetic role of Christ.
However, unlike the flying eagle (the fourth living creature), the movement of the fourth rider does not have the Lamb and His love at the center. Instead the movement centers on the power and authority of prophesying. It seeks deeper understanding and greater power not from the Lamb and His love, but from the Old Testament instead. Rules and principles are created from the words of the old covenant—from "the ministry of death" (2 Cor.3:7)—erecting new standards that must be met in order to receive God's favor and blessings.
Instead of God's judgments being about the testimony of Jesus and His command of agape love, His judgments are proclaimed based on other standards—old covenant laws, "spiritual" principles, correct profession and confession, politics, acknowledgment of authority, or supporting a chosen nation. The pursuit of authority, spiritual power and prophesying sets aside the testimony of the Lamb and His agape love, and gradually comes to oppose it.
KILLING 'THE FOURTH'
The fourth rider completes the riders, but the power and authority of the fourth rider is limited to its area, to its own fourth, instead of to the whole. (When the Lamb opens the fourth seal, the fourth living creature announces the coming of the fourth rider, who in turn exercises power over a fourth.)
The movement 'slays' those in its quarter of the church and the world by exercising its "authority". With principles taken out of context from the old covenant, the movement sets forth standards which it judges the world by—and which it judges its own members by, as well.
The 'lawless one' comes from inside and sets up inside the temple—from among God's people (2 Thes.2:3-4), deluding with signs of power those who do not find enough delight in the testimony of Jesus and His law of agape love (2 Thes.2:9-12). Those who accept the authority and its power are themselves accepted. But those who question the authority are "killed" with accusations—they are said to be "in rebellion" against God's authority and in danger of His judgment.
In order to prevent challenges to the movement's authority, rules are constructed which are said to be for the benefit of the members but which are in place to protect authorities from being questioned and keep them safely 'above' others. Those who lead and display spiritual power are exalted, and members are urged to serve them without question, reversing the teaching of Christ:
"The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves." (Lk.22:25-27)
By reversing Christ's order and using authority to keep members from questioning, the movement slaughters many of its own.
CRYING OUT AGAINST THE ALTAR
The movement believes it is restoring the prophetic ministry in the church, and that it has understood the 'blueprint' (so to speak) of how God is building His kingdom on earth, just like Moses received the plans for how to build the tabernacle in the desert. Claiming authority from God to build "the altar of the Lord", the movement exercises its authority to support those who help build the altar, or to chastise those who question the altar.
When the Lamb opens the fifth seal, He reveals the spiritual abuse under the 'altar' being built in His name by the movement of the fourth rider:
"When the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, 'How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until You judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?' Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed." (Rev 6:9-11)
Many question or challenge the underlying assumptions of the movement, simply wanting to maintain the testimony of Christ. They see that just as an "altar" is part of the old covenant, the movement has made patterns based largely on assumptions taken from the old covenant. Blessings and curses are preached based on adherence to old covenant laws and 'principles' taken from the old covenant. A hierarchy is created with levels of authority which members are encouraged to climb to receive more power from God. Instead of proclaiming fullness in Christ (Col.2:9-10), an "altar" is put between members and Christ, by which members can please Him and receive more from Him.
The movement desires power and authority; the foundation of Christ and His love is not enough. And just as a lying spirit came to the prophets of Ahab (1 Kg.22:19-23), a powerful and addictive delusion has come to the movement—often performing signs and wonders (2 Thes.2:11). As a result, proclaiming that believers have sufficiency in the new covenant, in Christ alone, is taken as a challenge to what the movement is building.
Like Jeroboam, the authorities in the movement attempt to seize and chastise those who cry out against their 'altar' as the man of God from Judah did (1 Kg.13:4). Just like the prophet Micaiah was pressured to prophesy favorably to King Ahab, the movement pressures its members to speak favorably, agree with the authority, and prophesy success for it (1 Kg.22:13). Those who do not submit are slain with words accusing them of being in rebellion and hating authority.
THE STUMBLING STONE
Proclaiming God's judgments based on criteria other than Christ and His love, the movement subtly refocuses attention on earthly things instead of heavenly: God's blessings are material prosperity, and lack of material prosperity is because of curses or judgment. Christ's heavenly inheritance is not as attractive as earthly prosperity, and His law of agape love (even for enemies) seems impractical.
In response to the two witnesses, the movement chooses to go its own way in order to 'prosper', and in its heart declares:
"What did we gain by carrying out His requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty? So now we call the arrogant blessed. Not only are those who do wickedness are raised up, but also those who challenge God go free." (Mal.3:14-15)
Reminding the authorities of the movement that Christ Himself is our fullness exposes the rebellion at the heart of the movement. And so 'authority' is exercised to remove or force into submission threats to the 'altar' or exposure of the pride that builds it. Exercising power over dissenters becomes inebriating, and so Babylon is "drunk with the blood of the saints" (Rev.17:6).
The Lord looks in His vineyard for justice, but He sees bloodshed; He looks for for righteousness, but He hears cries of distress (Isa.5:7). The blood of the spiritually abused cries out to Him from underneath the altar, "How much longer must this continue, Lord?"
The Lord responds with comfort:
"Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers and sisters who were to be killed as they had been was completed." (Rev.6:11)
The white robe of Christ's righteousness is a comfort in times of persecution—whether spiritual or physical persecution. The robe says, "I give you My peace... you will have tribulation, but take heart, for I have overcome the world" (Jn.14:27, 16:33). He reminds us of His righteousness—that He has finished everything for us on the Cross—to let us know that we are not forgotten, no matter what kind of rejection or persecution we endure:
"A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name. 'They will be mine,' says the Lord Almighty, 'in the day when I make up my treasured possession, I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him.'" (Mal.3:16-17)
THE PATIENCE OF THE SAINTS
"Wait a little longer," He says. Patiently endure in testifying to Jesus (Rev.13:10), just as your brothers and sisters like John and Peter have (Rev.1:9, 1 Pet.5:9). Patiently endure in His testimony and in His command of agape love (Rev.14:12), because He wants His people to understand that His "slowness" is because of His love: He is patient because He wants people to come to repentance! (2 Pet.3:9)
And so His witnesses wait, filled His agape love, even for those who are slaying them. Today they continue to testify, they continue to endure, and they continue to be slain.
Although many 'prophetic' voices speak and claim "authority", yet in their own ranks many souls can be found who have been wounded in the name of building the altar. God's witnesses are being slain—accused and rejected—but God Himself has not abandoned or rejected them. He hears their cries and feels every pain they suffer (Mt.25:40).
Part 13: "The Harvest"—Brought In By His Love