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Minor Characters. The Book of Revelation. Four Horseman (6:2-8). Four Horsemen. Appear as the Lamb opens the first four seals of the scroll Four colors (white, red, black, and pale green) identify their respective missions Known only by the calamitous results of its monstrous deeds

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Minor Characters

The Book of Revelation



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Four Horsemen

  • Appear as the Lamb opens the first four seals of the scroll

  • Four colors (white, red, black, and pale green) identify their respective missions

  • Known only by the calamitous results of its monstrous deeds

  • Combine these worldly features with other worldly traits

  • Only the 4th is a creature of the underworld—the last of the demonic powers to be judged and thrown into the Lake of Fire (20:13)


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First Horseman

  • Rides a white horse

  • Bow in his hand

  • Wears a crown to conquer


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Second Horseman

  • Rides a bright red horse

  • Has a great sword in his hand

  • Takes peace from the earth


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Third Horseman

  • Mounted on a black horse

  • Pair of scales in his hand

    • Voice in the midst of the four living creatures announces the purpose for the balance “a quart of wheat for a day’s pay, and three quarts of barley for a day’s pay, but do not damage the olive oil and the wine” (6:6)


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Fourth Horseman

  • The only one given a name—Death. Hades is his grisly companion

  • Rides a pale green horse

  • Given authority over a fourth of the earth to kill with sward, famine, pestilence, and wild animals

  • From the underworld


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Four Horsemen—symbolism

  • Portray human wickedness in its grim alliance with demonic wickedness

  • Divine passive: “ a crown was given”; the second rider “was permitted”; fourth rider “was given authority”

    • Reminder of God’s control and power

    • Reminder that evil feeds on evil—even in human form

  • God brings good out of evil and that all is within God’s plan

    • Uses evil to bring about a New Jerusalem

    • Arrival of 4 horsemen is directly related to the coming of the new creation

  • 4 horsemen summoned by 4 living creatures with the word “Come” which is echoed at the conclusion of the book in a summons to Christ to usher in the new creation


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The Appearance of Two Witnesses (11:1-13)

  • Chap. 11: John is given a measuring rod to measure the temple of god and the altar, but the courtyard outside the temple remains unmeasured.

  • Courtyard is given over to the nations who will trample the holy city for 42 months.

  • During this period, two witnesses are granted authority to prophesy for 1260 days (=42 months)


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Other Titles of the Witnesses

  • Olive trees

  • Lampstands

  • Prophets

    11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5     And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.


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Authority of Witnesses

  • 11:6     These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

  • Power to control water

  • Power to consume enemies with fire


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Witnesses Become Martyrs

  • 11:7     And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8     And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

  • Their corpses will lie in the street of the “great city that is prophetically called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified” (11:8)

  • For 3 days and a half days their bodies will be on display and ridiculed; the nations will celebrate and exchange gifts because their tormentors have been killed


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Resurrection of the Witnesses

  • 11:11     And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12     And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

  • Afterward a great earthquake destroys a tenth of the city, killing 7,000 people. The remaining 9/10ths give glory to God—reversal of OT judgments where only 1/10 survives

  • 1/10 is a tithe to God

  • 9/10ths are saved so that they can repent and be saved


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Witnesses—Interpretation

  • Typological narrative of the church’s vocation and its destiny

  • Not an allegory or parable, but rather a collage of Old Testament typological references that illustrate the church’s crucial role in the world.

  • They represent the churches—called lampstands

  • Number two symbolizes trustworthy, reliable testimony—two witnesses are needed to validate a testimony in Deut. 19:15

  • Represent the faithful, enduring witness of the church in the world


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Witnesses: Representative of Whole Church or part of the Church?

  • Represent the proportion of the sevenfold Church which must suffer martyrdom

  • Symbolize the whole church in its role of witnessing to the world—being only 2 does not limit the representation—simply a representation of the validity of the testimony


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Allusions—Two Witnesses Church?

  • Similar to Elijah

    • Consumed his enemies with fire

    • Closed the heavens so it would not rain

    • Difference: Elijah calls it down from heaven, while it comes from the mouth of the witnesses—signifying the power of their true, trustworthy testimony that consumes as well as gives life

  • Performed same miracles as Moses

    • Turned water to blood

    • Struck the earth with every plague


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Why? Church?

  • John is not implying that the witnesses are Moses and Elijah

  • These Old Testament types illustrate the nature of the church’s witness in the world

  • Signifies the church’s prophetic role to fulfill that is accompanied by considerable power and impressive authority

  • Witnesses’ garb of sackcloth signifies the purpose of the church’s prophetic ministry—to call the world to repentance and faith


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1260 Days Church?

  • Time of church’s prophetic ministry

  • The exact period the nations will trample over the holy city (11:2)

  • The period of the beast’s autarchy of 42 months in 13:5

  • Exact identical, coinciding periods

    • Implies that evil does not run rampant throughout the earth

    • Evil is controverted by the powerful testimony of the church

    • Evil cannot silence Christ’s true prophetic voice in the world, the church


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Testimony of 2 Witnesses’ Deaths Church?

  • Christ testified even unto his death

  • Church must testify even unto its death

  • Left in the streets for 3 and a half days

    • One-half of a symbolic week

    • Represents the period in which the beast appears to have achieved total victory over the church (below perspective)—victory is totally illusionary (above perspective)

  • Raised from the dead and ascend to heaven

  • Temporary victory of the beast is the means by which God brings about repentance of a recalcitrant world


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Church’s Role Church?

  • Refute the testimony of the beast

  • To bear witness to Jesus Christ

  • To bring about repentance of a rebellious world


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Inhabitants of the Earth Church?(earth-dwellers)

  • Earth-dwellers (mentioned 10 times) is the semi-technical term for the followers of the beast

  • Reside in the symbolic earthly city Babylon

  • Drink the wine of her fornication

  • Deceived by the land beast into worshipping the sea beast

  • Names are absent from the book of life of the Lamb

  • Hostile to God and are enemies of the church

  • Persecute and kill the faithful, gloat over their deaths, and celebrate by exchanging gifts


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Identity of Earth-dwellers Church?

  • Dwell in the same places as the faithful

  • Identified by their allegiance to the beast and the iconic mark they wear on their forehead or right hand

  • Come from all social classes and from all nations

  • Limited by a this-worldly vision and seek their security in material things

  • Within and outside the church


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Angels Church?(67 in Rev.; 176 in NT)

  • Rev. opens and closes with a reference to an angel

  • Perform numerous functions

    • Personify the spiritual attitude of a church

    • Mediate God’s judgment

    • Bring God’s revelation to humans

    • Praise and worship the Lamb and God

    • Provide protection or God’s servants

    • Offer the prayers of the saints to God

    • Bring destruction on earth


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Angels of the 7 Churches Church?

  • Each of 7 churches has it own angel, who is the recipient of the message to the church

  • Only in Rev. are churches said to have angels

  • Represent 4 possible things:

    • Heavenly guardians of the churches—more likely of the 4, supported in Daniel

    • Human representative of the churches, generally regarded as bishops of the churches—can’t be recipient and bearer of letter; nowhere in the NT is this word used for a church official

    • Personifications of the churches—represent the invisible spiritual life of the church, Its ideal conception of its immanent spirit

    • Human messengers entrusted with the delivery of the letters—unlikely because angels are usually supernatural


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Michael Church?

  • Only angel named

  • Has own retinue of angels (12:7)

  • In Daniel, Michael is the guardian angel of Israel who fights on Israel’s behalf against angels of the Gentile nations

  • In Rev. the archangel fulfills a similar role on behalf of the new people of God

  • Defeats the archdemon, Satan—a symbolic counterpart in heaven of Christ’s earthly victory on the cross (12:11)


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Other Angels Church?

  • “Mighty Angel” mentioned 3 times at crucial junctions

    • To present a challenge

    • Deliver judgment on the world

  • Greatness of the angel accords with the greatness of his proclamation

    • 5:2 angel with a loud voice announces to every remote corner of the world “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break it seals?”

    • 10:1-3 “another mighty angel” is needed to bring the second scroll—voice like a lion's

      • Descends from heaven

      • “wrapped in a cloud with a rainbow over his head

      • Face like the sun, and legs like pillars of fire (brings guidance)

      • Some of the same traits as God and Christ

  • 18:21 mighty angel announces the certain judgment upon Babylon

    • Sudden swift devastating action portrays the terrifying finality of Babylon’s sure fate


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Harbinger (18:1) Church?

  • 1     ¶ And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2     And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 3     For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

  • Hurls a great millstone-like boulder into the sea (18:21)

  • Announces, with a voice that cannot be ignored, Babylon’s dramatic decline


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Rev. 20: unnamed unmighty angel Church?

  • An angel of no prominence appears holding “the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain” with which he locks up Satan

  • No mighty angel is present as might be expected—nor Michael nor God nor Christ—because now in the narrative the devil’s power is completely broken and his fate sealed


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Angels Major Function Church?

  • Mediate God’s judgment

    • Chap. 8 & 9: 7 angels are given 7 trumpets, which announce a series of plagues

      • Stand before God

      • Represent the inner circle of angels, sometimes thought to be the angels of the Presence, “who stand ready and enter before the glory of the lord”

    • Chap. 16: 7 angels pour out the 7 bowls of wrath upon the earth

      • Bring judgment on earth

      • Also hold judgment back

    • Chap. 7: 4 angels restrain the four winds “so that no wind could blow one earth or sea or against any tree”


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Angels bring Revelation Church?

  • First and last chapters

  • Chap 10: herald brings the revelation fo the little scroll to John

  • 14:6 angel flying in midheaven proclaims an eternal gospel to “every nation and tribe and language and people”

  • 14:8 angel proclaims the destruction of Babylon

  • 14:9 angel proclaims the coming of God’s wrath upon those who worship the beast and bear its mark

  • 17:7 angel reveals “the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her.”

  • 21:9 one of the 7 angels who poured out one of the 7 bowls revealed to John the bride, the wife of the Lamb


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Worshipping Angels Church?

  • John attempts twice (19:10; 22:8)

  • Both times the angel rebukes his idolatrous act

  • Reminder to reader that not only is an angel simply a servant of God, but also that even a prophet can be subtly deceived into thinking that the bearer of God’s message is worthy of worship


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Angels Worship God Church?

  • Praise the Lamb and God for their mighty acts of salvation

  • 5:11, surround the throne and praise the Lamb singing, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

  • 7:11 angels sing “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”


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Angels Church?

  • Provide protection for God’s servants

    • 7:2-3 angel from east marks the servants of God with the seal of the living God to spare them from the destructive plagues

    • 21:12 12 angels are stationed, one at each of the gates in the New Jerusalem to welcome weary travelers to the city

  • 8:3 Offer the prayer of saints at the altar before God

    • same angel fills the censer with fire from the altar and throws it down to earth, causing earthquake, etc.

    • Fulfills both a priestly role (offering prayers) and a mediating role (brings judgment) upon the earth in response to prayers


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Evil Angels Church?

  • Dragon has a host of angels at his disposal to wage war with Michael and his angels (12:7-9)

  • Angel of the bottomless pit, Abaddon or Apollyon has a horde of hellish locusts at his bidding (9:11)

  • 9:14 four demonic angels who were restrained at the boundary of the river Euphrates are released to kill a third of humankind

  • 9:15 angels (one for each designation of time—day, month, year) are released at the precise moment immutably determined by God to bring judgment and repentance on earth—they leas an overwhelming and outright frightening cavalry of 200 million to destroy a third of the earth’s inhabitants


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