Mike Klemm

Mike Klemm

Thursday, 29 September 2011 16:51

Pt. 30 - A Black Horse

Four_Horsemen_-_Black'When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”'

“Famine” is the name of this black horse rider, and so far in the Seven Seals we have been introduced to the natural progression of war. Consider that the white horse rider is the deceiver and conqueror that will appear in order to unite Islam against Israel and the West. He is followed by the red horse rider of Edom that will attack Israel and elevate the confrontation in the Middle East and the world. And now, the rider on the black horse will usher in the famine and pestilence that always accompanies wide-scale warfare.

Of course, the natural progression of war is not the entire story here, since this specific sequence has been prophesied in the pages of the Bible for thousands of years.  It is the embodiment of the ’birth pains’ spoken of by the prophets, and it is the same sequence revealed by Jesus in his Olivet Discourse; 

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you (1st SEAL). Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars (2nd SEAL), do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines (3rd SEAL). These are the beginning of birth pains. (Mark 13:5-8)
Monday, 22 August 2011 23:52

Pt. 29 - A Red ('Edom') Horse

Red_Horse_RiderWhen the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.  (Revelation 6:3-4)

The 2nd Ketubah Penalty

The second ketubah penalty “spoken forth” by Jesus is the penalty of war, which will be initiated by the second seal’s “fiery red” horse and rider. This will be the first in a series of increasingly intense wars during the coming end times, with Israel serving as the epicenter. It should not be confused with the wars of Armageddon or Gog & Magog that come later in this drama, because the conditions of those wars are held in stark contrast to the conditions we find here.

Jesus himself confirmed this progressive increase in intensity in the Olivet Discourse, where he said that when wars and revolutions first begin in Israel, the end would not come “right away”;

He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.” (Luke 21:8-9)

In this passage, notice how the first sentence speaks of the same type of spiritual deception found in the 1st Seal, while the second sentence speaks of the war contained in the 2nd Seal. This is not a mere coincidence, since the rest of the seven seals are also found in the Olivet Discourse, along with the seven trumpets. As we proceed through the seals and the trumpets, we'll continue to point out this relationship in order to ultimately establish the proper context for an event that has been hiding in plain sight for almost 2,000 years. But for now, let's get back to the "fiery red horse" of the second seal.

Thursday, 04 August 2011 16:12

Pt. 28 - A White Horse

Four_HorsemenThe Four Horsemen are probably one of the most recognizable components of the Revelation since there is so much intrigue and fear behind their symbolism. For almost two thousand years now, people have been trying to understand just WHO they will be, WHAT it is that they will do, WHERE they will appear, and WHEN they will do it. And of course, we all wonder WHY they are necessary to God’s plan.

The short answer is that the Seven Seals represent seven penalties that are contained in God’s ketubah between his Son Jesus and his intended bride. Mankind is the bride, and a large part of the bride has been unfaithful. And if you remember the content of our post on the ketubah in Part 2 of this series, this divine wedding contract contained penalties for an unfaithful bride. So one by one, Jesus will now ‘speak forth’ (open) the provisions that were attested by the seven signatories (seven seals) to this contract.
Tuesday, 02 August 2011 23:22

Jim Carlson Retires

Jim_CarlsonWell, we all knew it was coming, but that didn't make it any easier.

On Sunday, July 31st, Jim Carlson preached his last sermon as the head pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church. After 24 years of faithful service to our Ludington community, Jim and Marilyn have retired and moved on to the next chapter of their lives in Kentucky. May God be with both of them in all they do.

With everything Pastor Jim and Marilyn have meant to me and our entire family, I would like to personally thank them. It's not that often in life that one encounters a truly decent and genuine person, but from the first time Jim greeted us in the lobby at the old Washington Avenue location, we knew he was the real deal. Our search for a new church ended that same day.

Looking back at that first year, it seems ironic that Pastor Carlson was teaching from the book of Revelation in our Bible study. That class is what hooked me on prophecy in general, and on the Revelation in particular. That's where the irony lies, because now that he is retiring, I'm the one teaching from the book of Revelation at Cornerstone.

But that would never have happened without his input and encouragement.  He is the one that encouraged me and so many others to get involved and develop our own personal ministry within the church. Everywhere he has gone, Jim Carlson has developed a trail of pastors, evangelists, teachers and servants in his wake. I can't imagine a better legacy for a pastor.

So here's to you Pastor Jim! You'll be dearly missed, and that is the result of a job well done.

Thursday, 21 July 2011 03:29

Pt. 27 - I Saw A Lamb

Throne_in_HeavenThen I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song:

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”


Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped. (Revelation 5:6-14)
Tuesday, 05 July 2011 13:34

Pt. 26 - The Sealed Scroll

Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.

Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:1-5)


The Sealed Scroll

In Chapter 4 we were introduced to the Father of the Groom, which of course is God himself, or Yahweh. Now in Chapter 5, we’ll meet the Groom, Yeshua. But before we do that, we need to understand what is taking place with the “scroll” that the Father is holding in his hand.  This is essential to our understanding of the Revelation, and even the entire Bible.

Scroll_-_GreekIn the illustration to the left you can see how this scroll is typically portrayed in commentaries, as though it were a Greek-style scroll Scroll_-_Hebrewwith wax signet ring seals. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth. To begin with, if it were a Greek scroll there would be no way to determine if it had writing on both sides, since one side would be concealed. Instead, John was seeing something quite different, and something he was already familiar with. John was seeing a Hebrew scroll, as shown in the illustration to the right.
Saturday, 18 June 2011 21:57

Pt. 25 - The Four Living Creatures

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”  (Revelation 4:6-8)

Four_Living_CreaturesThe four living creatures around the throne of God are seen as somewhat enigmatic in scripture since they are never directly identified. They are merely described in the most bizarre fashion, having attributes of four different animals, multiple sets of wings, the appearance of men, and eyes all over them.

Complicating the identification process is the fact that Isaiah, Ezekiel and the Revelation each provide slightly different portrayals of them, as though they were different creatures in each instance. Or perhaps they were the same creatures, but were described in different ways for some symbolic purpose. All things considered, the potential symbolism behind these beings is difficult to understand, and the only thing we truly know about their identity comes from the prophet Ezekiel, who described them as "cherubim" (Ezekiel 10:15), the highest order of angels created by God. So in this week's post, let’s see if we can unpack some of this symbolism and determine who or what these strange beings really are. 
From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. (Revelation 4:5-6)


Lightning, Rumblings and Thunder

LightningWhen we read from the Psalms or Job, we certainly get the idea that lightning and thunder are symbolic of God’s power and majesty, and in the Revelation there are several instances that build on that idea. For instance, “peals of thunder” are mentioned six times and “thunder” is mentioned once, with each of those seven instances accompanying seven pivotal moments in the drama. It’s as though they were symbolizing a pronouncement of a course of action dictated by God himself. And that is probably the case, since the “seven thunders” that we’ll read about in Revelation chapter 10 seem to confirm this idea;

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke.  (Revelation 10:1-3)

So as we read along in the Revelation, we’ll have to pay special attention to the moments where “thunder” is heard, since those are the moments where God is roaring and moving in the world.
Monday, 23 May 2011 14:26

Four Horns & Four Craftsmen

Then I looked up—and there before me were four horns! I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these?” He answered me, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.”

Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen. I asked, “What are these coming to do?” He answered, “These are the horns that scattered Judah so that no one could raise his head, but the craftsmen have come to terrify them and throw down these horns of the nations who lifted up their horns against the land of Judah to scatter its people.”  (Zechariah 1:18-21)

The Four Horns

Four_HornsIn ancient times as well as in the Bible, a horn was a symbol of power and control. Male animals had horns that they used to scatter other competing males, and to dominate their entire herd. So the Lord used  this imagery to describe how four political horns would combine to scatter Israel at some point in the future.

While many commentators feel these horns are empires from our ancient past that will once again return to power, some now believe that these four horns have already raised up their heads in our day.
 
To begin this analysis, if these four horns are historical powers as many surmise, then perhaps they can be identified as the four empires identified in Daniel’s visions, generally thought of us as the following four entities;

1) Babylon
2) Media & Persia
3) Macedonia & Greece
4) Rome 

On the surface these ‘four horns’ seem to make sense since each of them had historically dominated Israel, and each are referenced in multiple prophecies in the Bible. But I don’t think they would qualify as Zechariah‘s four horns since not all of these nations "scattered" Israel, as required by the prophecy. Consider the following points;

First, while Babylon definitely did scatter Israel in ancient times, Medo-Persia did not. In fact, the Persian King Cyrus was responsible for the release of the Jews who were being held captive in Babylon, so instead of scattering Israel from their land, Medo-Persia actually gathered them.

Then there is the matter of Greece, which neither scattered nor gathered Israel in any significant sense. Alexander the Great was destined for much greater conquests than tiny Israel, and he allowed the Jews to live and worship as they saw fit after he ‘liberated’ them from Persian influence. Israel would not be scattered again until Rome replaced Greece as the dominant force of antiquity, sacking Jerusalem and scattering the Jews in 70 A.D. 

In short, of the four nations mentioned, only two of them appear to have “scattered” Israel in the past. So it seems inappropriate to assume that Zechariah’s four horns are these four historical empires that ruled Israel in succession. Instead, this prophecy seems to suggest that the four horns will work together to scatter Israel at one moment in time, which the context of the prophecy suggests is still future. So I would ask, is there a modern-day quartet that would better qualify?  


The Quartet

In 2002 in Madrid, international leaders formed the “Quartet on the Middle East” for the specific purpose of imposing a lasting peace in the Middle East. This group of four consisted of the following political powers;

1) United States
2) United Nations
3) European Union
4) Russia

Since it’s formation, the Quartet has been pursuing ‘peace’ in the land of Israel through the heavy hand of political intimidation, attempting to force Israel to give up land designated for a new Palestinian state. In fact, just this past week Barak Obama declared that Israel must return to it’s pre-1967 borders, as though it was the Quartet’s right to determine political boundaries for other sovereign nations. But thank goodness Benjamin Netanyahu rejected this demand outright, because those borders would be akin to national suicide for Israel.

Israel_Border_ChangesIn the adjacent map we can see how the borders of Israel have changed since their return to the land, and why today’s borders are so important. The areas shown in tan were the areas designated to Israel in 1947 by the United Nations, and Jews world-wide were given the right to return to those territories after the Holocaust and WWII.

But upon doing so, fledgling Israel was immediately attacked by the surrounding Muslim countries, whose sole intent was to destroy them before they could organize adequate defenses. Through a series of amazing and improbable (read ‘appointed’) victories, the tiny nation was able to not only defeat it’s Muslim enemies, but to expand it’s territory as well, reclaiming some of the additional lands that God had already granted them by covenant. These expanded borders are represented in green on this map.

Unhappy with their loss of ground to Israel in 1948/49, these Muslim neighbors would attack again in 1967, and Israel would once again defeat them in the 6-Day War. This allowed Israel to take control of the additional areas of Gaza, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights, shown in the illustration in yellow. This expansion finally allowed Israel to maintain defensible borders with adequate buffer zones, and Israel was determined to hold on to them so that history would not repeat itself yet again.

The road was long and hard, but today Israel finally has defensible geography. And this is the geography that the Quartet wishes to take from them, which in effect would return Israel to a less defensible “target” for the surrounding Muslim nations. And make no mistake, there will be no peace if Israel relinquishes this land. There will only be more war.


Remember Gaza?

RocketsFor anyone who believes this ‘land for peace’ ruse will bear fruit, consider what happened in 2005 when Israel gave in to the Quartet and gave up the Gaza strip to the Palestinians. Over the next several years they were rewarded with over 35,000 Hamas rockets fired from the Gaza into the towns of southern Israel. Israel paid a dear price for this concession and had to eventually re-enter the Gaza in order to put down these daily attacks. 

But they were not alone in the price they paid for the ceding of Gaza. The United States led this land grab against Israel and paid an equal and corresponding price that most people don’t recognize even today. So let’s return to 2005 for a moment for some perspective. 

Gaza and Katrina

hurricane_KatrinaIn response to ultimatums given by the United States over three decades, Israel finally decided to cede the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority, and began removing their own people from their own homes in Gaza on August 17th of 2005. Despite massive opposition by the residents and by Rabbis who warned of God‘s wrath for dividing his land, an Israeli military and police force had cleaned out most of the settlements by August 22nd.

On the following day, Hurricane Katrina began forming in the Atlantic, clipping the coast of Florida on August 25th. And as the remaining residents were evicted from Gaza later that week, Katrina immediately became a city-killer, devastating New Orleans on August 29th and becoming the most expensive natural disaster in history. The warnings given by Rabbis in Israel seemed to come to fruition; America had been severely judged for being a curse to Israel (Genesis 12:3).

Gaza_RooftopThe parallels between the evacuation of Gaza and the destruction of New Orleans don’t end with these corresponding dates however. It’s also true that the same amount of people died in bothNew_Orleans_Rooftop instances, and the same amount of people were displaced from their homes in both instances. Also, Israel lost their largest oil port that had been in Gaza, and the United States lost it’s largest oil port that had been in New Orleans.

Even the images on the news were the same, with people in Gaza climbing on their rooftops to avoid the flood of police, and people in New Orleans climbing on their rooftops to avoid the flood of water. It seems that God indeed has a sense of irony.

In almost every sense there was a parallel between Gaza and Katrina, strongly implying the hand of God in this judgment. The lesson?; NO ONE is allowed to divide his land without terrible cost.  


The West Bank

With all that said, now Barak Obama wants divide the land on a grander scale by forcing Israel to cede the entire West Bank to the Palestinians.  This would make Israel only 9 miles wide at several points, making it possible for a coordinated attack to quickly divide the north from the south. And biblical prophecy seems to suggest that this division of Israel will take place, probably sooner than later if the Quartet indeed represents the ‘four horns’ of Zechariah. And while Israel will likely suffer through the time of Jacob’s trouble in those days, the nations involved in this coercion will suffer far worse, just as the United States did with Katrina.  Consider the judgment against these nations as outlined by God through the prophet Joel;

"In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land. They cast lots for my people and traded boys for prostitutes; they sold girls for wine that they might drink. Now what have you against me, O Tyre and Sidon and all you regions of Philistia? Are you repaying me for something I have done? If you are paying me back, I will swiftly and speedily return on your own heads what you have done."  (Joel 3:1-4)

Here, the nations are brought down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat to be judged because they “scattered” Israel and “divided up” God’s land, just as the four horns will do in Zechariah’s prophecy. So these prophecies seem to be connected, and both may point to the Quartet. And while the Quartet is not specifically attempting to scatter Israel amongst the nations, they indeed ARE attempting to divide the land.  And this division will clearly leave Israel’s border indefensible, which in turn will result in Israel becoming scattered one final time (Revelation 12).

HizbollahI would also point out the nations listed in Joel’s prophHamasecy would today implicate Hizbollah in Tyre and Sidon (Modern Lebanon), and Hamas in Philistia (the Gaza Strip). How coincidental that these are the two Islamic terrorist groups that are today bent on Israel’s destruction. In the end, the essence of these two prophecies suggest that we could be much closer to the end times than we thought.


NEXT TIME:

In Part 2 of 'Four Horns & Four Craftsmen' we'll examine the potential candidates for the 'four craftsmen' that will "terrify" and "throw down" the four horns.


Thursday, 12 May 2011 15:09

Pt. 23 - The Father of the Groom

A.K.A. "The Throne in Heaven"

All seven candles on the Passover mini-menorah have now been lit and will continue to burn as our High Priest (Yeshua) turns his attention to the next lampstand. But before we leave the Seven Letters entirely, it's worth mentioning again that the theme of these Letters and the theme of Passover were a perfect match. The seven letters outlined the requirements to be the overcomer that God will redeem from the earth, while the corresponding theme of Passover happens to be redemption. And we will see this concept play out in each of the remaining mini-menorahs as well, where the theme of each particular Festival will perfectly match the theme of the events that are taking place on that lampstand.

It's also worth mentioning again that God designed his entire prophetic plan aroud the menorah, and all of creation seems to rest upon this structure. As we discovered in our pictographic Hebrew study of the word 'menorah', this structure even represents the "first sign" of the Son of Man, whose name contains the same seven flames or candles that we find on the menorah.
Menorah_Ch._4
With that said, we'll now focus on the shamash stand that leads to the next mini-menorah of Unleavened Bread, as shown on the adjacent illustration. This shamash stand will consist of chapters 4 and 5 of the Revelation, and will introduce us to the Father of the Groom (Yahweh) in chapter 4, and the Groom himself (Yeshua) in chapter 5.

You may also recall from our Tree of Life lesson in Part 2 of this series that the seventh candle on each mini-menorah also joins itself to the next shamash stand and becomes part of the stand. This dynamic will become more notable in the remaining lampstands as we proceed through the next several chapters.