THE HOUR, THE DAY, THE MONTH, AND THE YEAR
“And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men” (Rev. 9:15).
This verse contains an unusual way of designating time, pinpointing this mighty work of God to the exact hour. While the King James Bible says these four angels are prepared for an hour, a day, a month, and a year, that is not how the Greek text reads. It should be the hour, the day, the month, and the year. The scripture in the Greek does not mean that they will spend an hour, a day, a month, and a year in preparation for their work, nor does it mean that they will fight (for they are revealed to become an army) for an hour, a day, a month, and a year. It is a way of saying that once they were loosed from their bondage in the river Euphrates they were then specially prepared for a precise moment, in the exact hour of the exact day of the exact month of the exact year in which they will perform their mission — and our heavenly Father in His omniscience knows exactly when that moment will be! “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18).
God has set a date to finish His work in each member of His elect! How do we know that He has set such a date? First, we know it by revelation, but it is also right here in the grammar of our passage. The definite Greek article teen, which is the English the, placed once only before all the time periods, indicates in the Greek that the hour in the day, and the day in the month, and the month in the year, had been definitely fixed by the Lord. The article would have been omitted if thesum of the periods had been meant. This reveals the great truth that there is a “time appointed of the Father” for everything in the unfolding of God’s purposes, in our lives both individually and collectively. Was it not when the “fullness of time” was come that God sent forth His firstborn Son into the world? (Gal. 4:4). Was it not when the day of Pentecost was “fully come” that there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind and the disciples were all filled with the Holy Spirit? (Acts 2:1-4). It is also in the dispensation of the “fullness of times” that God shall gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even into Him (Eph. 1:10).
As we continue this journey into the fullness of God, each of God’s called and chosen elect is led unreservedly by the Holy Spirit to experience this wonderful sovereignty — causing each to do everything at the right time, to be in the right place at the right time, to take each step in accordance with our heavenly Father’s will and His divine intervention in our lives. All must be done by God, at His appointed time; we must then act each day within His divine provision and leading, and then patiently wait for the hour of the day of the month of the year that HE has chosen!
By revelation of the Holy Spirit we are all assured that the day of our manifestation approaches! There is a kingly and priestly people, a remnant in whom the Spirit of God is working a transformation. In due time God shall manifest this king-priest company and their NEW STATE OF BEING shall utterly silence all the false claims of carnal men. No philosophy, no science, no religion on earth shall be able to gainsay the wisdom and truth proclaimed by the sons of God! No man, no professor, no doctor, no politician, no military general, no organization, and no government on earth shall be able to withstand the glory, authority, and power emanating from God’s sons! Conformed to His image, filled with His Spirit, the embodiment and personification of His wisdom, nature, grace, incorruptible life and power — no man will be able to counterfeit the reality of this new state of being, and these shall redound to the glory of God. Obviously, “no man taketh this honor unto Himself, but he that is called of God.” It is a transformation that is God-wrought, for God starts it, God works it out, and God brings it to its conclusion, it is all of Him and that is why the flesh cannot duplicate such glorious, divine handiwork!
The vision of sonship is not fulfilled through self-effort. Many people try to place themselves in certain positions, claiming to be this son, that angel, or the other prophet, etc., claiming that they personally and individually fulfill some personage the scriptures have prophesied should come on the scene. In the past century or so “Elijah” has appeared at least three or four times, I have personally seen two of these Elijahs, and have a photograph of the third, complete with his ceremonial robes. The “two witnesses” have manifested on more than one occasion, I met them, a man and his wife, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in 1972 and I met another in St. Petersburg, Florida in the spring of 1974. That set of witnesses later split up, the first witness excommunicated the second witness from his church, and the dismissed witness came to Texas and founded his own organization. Incidentally, neither were clothed with sackcloth, they both wore the finest clothes, ate the finest food, and flew around the country in their own jet airplanes!
In 1962 I visited a home where John the Revelator had taken up residence upon his return to earth, and with him was king David and a few other of the sons of God who had already “by-passed the grave,” they had their glorified bodies and were shortly to take over the world. In 1966 I passed through their area again and it occurred to me to stop and see how the “kingdom” was progressing. I discovered that the “immortal” king David had died, the sons had dispersed, and king David’s wife whispered furtively in my ear that the lady in the next room was “a devil.” One sister I know, who previously had a beautiful ministry, and with whom we had precious fellowship, tried to take the honor to herself, declared herself a High Priestess, clothed herself in robes and expensive furs and diamonds, fell into even grosser delusions and became in the end just another cheap religious racketeer. What a contrast to the Christ, the firstborn Son of God, who glorified not Himself — but “made Himself of no reputation…He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore GOD hath highly exalted Him!” (Phil. 2:7-9). Ah, yes, it was by the direct oath of God Himself that our Lord Jesus was exalted and lifted up to this high place — for, “He that said unto Him, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee, the same said also unto Him, Thou art a Priest for ever after the Order of Melchizedek.”
As one has written: “In many of its aspects haste is the mark of immaturity. To those who are now becoming spiritually mature, there is an undergirding of knowledge that ‘to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose…’ (Eccl. 3:1), and they desire to only move in GOD’S TIMING, not to rush ahead in a final outburst of self-promotion to claim to be this, or that. When the vision seems to tarry, we can well afford to ‘wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry’ (Hab. 2:3). At the Father’s appointed time He will fully manifest His own — placing them in the position for which He has been preparing them. Yes, in the making of kings and priests through whom God shall administer the affairs of His kingdom, HE has carefully selected His vessels, and is now processing them by means that stagger the imagination with their intensity and scope. But God shall not be satisfied with an inferior product, hence the transformation must penetrate into every fiber of our being until the whole becomes A NEW CREATION in Christ Jesus” — end quote.
I do not hesitate to add that only those who receive the call, who come to realize that they are, beyond any shadow of doubt, apprehended to sonship to God, will be FULLY PROCESSED AND POSITIONED AND BIRTHED INTO THE NEW ORDER FOR THE NEW AGE. These are they who have come out of Babylon, and now hear the voice from the horns of the golden altar saying to the sixth angel with the sixth trumpet, ‘Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates!’ Each son must come to this realization and hear this voice through a personal encounter with the Lord! Each son must receive the call and each must hear His voice for themselves. In order to be a king-priest after the Order of Melchizedek our existence must spring from the Father’s mighty work in us, and not from any self-desire or self-effort. Those in whom God is working unto this end are now being prepared for the exact hour of the exact day of the exact month of the exact year — THE PRECISE AND APPOINTED TIME OF THE FATHER FOR OUR MANIFESTATION! Aren’t you glad!
“And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them” (Rev. 9:16).
If you believe in the traditional literalist interpretation of the book of Revelation, there are some serious issues you are going to have to face. Hundreds of these literalist teachers are proclaiming across the land that in the days of the Great Tribulation, here at the end of the age, a nuclear war takes place; one third of the world’s vegetation is destroyed, all the world’s oceans are turned into blood, as the blood of a dead man, and every living thing in the seas dies; all the rivers and springs of water in the whole world are turned into blood, there is no fresh water to drink anywhere on the planet, and there is a great run on Coca Cola, but even the stores of bottled drinks give out; there is a world-wide epidemic of ulcers and skin cancers under a global heat wave, horrible locusts (maybe helicopters) plague the world’s unbelievers for a solid five months, and then, while there is no water, and no food, and no health, and no ability to work or earn a living, with a global heat wave and billions of dead bodies strewn everywhere, with famine and disease and war and trouble and torment on every hand, an army of 200,000,000 soldiers (possibly Chinese communists), march on Israel, and on their way they kill two billion more people. Now the scene gets even more bizarre! With billions dead or dying, with confusion and chaos everywhere, if you take the mark of the beast you are given the liberty to buy and sell! Buy and sell what? I ask. And while these 200,000,000 soldiers are attacking Israel, there are 200 pound hailstones falling on them!
I’m not trying to be cynical, friends, but it seems to me that anyone with one eye and half sense could see that the logistics of this scheme transcend absurdity — they are impossible! There is no geographical space for 200,000,000 soldiers with tanks, airplanes, supplies, and all the rest in the valley of Megiddo — not counting the armies of Russia, the United States, and their allies who are all supposed to gather there. Hear me, my brother, my sister — it ain’t going to happen! These armies can’t fight — there is no geographical space in all of Israel for so many people to even stand properly. So we have a problem! When you calculate the effect of all these events, if they are literal, and all happen at the same time during a three and a half year period, you really have a contradictory, unreasonable, illogical, ridiculous, impossible absurdity. May the blessed spirit of truth help all who read these lines to think soberly, and righteously, and above all, spiritually, about what is portrayed here!
The question follows — What do all these things mean? Ah, it’s all GOOD NEWS! Our heavenly Father is not some kind of angry, vindictive, psychotic, sadistic monster who is grinning and kind and merciful for two thousand years and then suddenly throws a temper tantrum, becomes vicious and vengeful, turning on that portion of the human race that just happens to be living at that time, pouring out wrath and spewing out judgment that makes Adolph Hitler look like Santa Clause, and the Second World War appear as a Sunday School picnic. IS THAT THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST? IS IT? Is that the revelation of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world? Is that the revelation of the God who was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them? Is that the revelation of the Christ who taught us to love our enemies, bless them that curse us, do good to them that hate us, and pray for them that despitefully use us, and persecute us, ‘that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven!’ The preachers who peddle the foolishness I have been talking about are simply spiritual terrorists! They have no true spiritual understanding whatsoever and love to scare people to death with a “revelation” that is supposed to be the unveiling of Jesus Christ! If that is the unveiling of Jesus Christ, then please keep the lid on Him!
These truths are presented with soberness and prayerfulness, and the fervent desire that the verities unfolded here may grip the spirit of God’s elect with such forcefulness that we may yield ourselves mightily unto God to accomplish in us and through us His marvelous work, which work is the unveiling of Jesus Christ. It is clear that the four angels which are loosed from the river Euphrates are also the great army of the horsemen which numbers 200,000,000. A careful reading of verses fourteen through sixteen establish this beyond doubt. It is to be observed here that the strength of this army seems to be the cavalry. Every man in this army is riding a horse and the number of them is two hundred million, as we read it in the King James Bible. This would be a larger army than has ever been assembled in the history of mankind, and to take it literally would be as absurd and impossible as to suppose that stars are going to literally fall upon the earth. That it would be a very large host — so large that it could not readily be numbered — is clear. The expression in the original (Greek text), while it conveys the idea of an immense number, seems also to refer to some peculiarity in the manner of reckoning them. The language is, “two myriads of myriads.”
The idea is this. John saw in vision an immense host of cavalry. They were so numerous that he did not pretend to be able to estimate the number Himself, for it was beyond his power of computation. But in spirit he heard it stated in these round numbers, that there were “two myriads of myriads” of them. It could also be translated as “a double-myriad of myriads.” Now, a myriad is ten thousand. But according to The New Webster’s Dictionary “myriad” carries a significance beyond a mere ten thousand. It means “innumerable; an indefinite, immense number; a multitude of things or people; innumerable, multitudinous, but indefinite.” Thus, while John was unable to estimate the number of the army, the Spirit spoke within him that it was “countless thousands.” There is a deep mystery in the way this number is stated. Attempts to reduce this expression to arithmetic, or to a precise amount, miss the point. The Spirit is simply revealing the immensity and awesome power of the army of the Lord! It is the infinite power of God raised up within each member of God’s elect! God Himself is all that is needed! John heard the number, but he didn’t hear with the natural ear the math of it, but with the spiritual ear he “heard” the almightiness, the infinity, the omnipotence of God in us! We don’t have to be a company of thousands or hundreds of thousands or millions to change this world. The truth is, numbers have no bearing whatever upon how we are to go about being the transformers of this age. What will change the church and the world is not thousands or millions of manifest sons of God, for it will take only a few who walk in the light of this new kingdom Day to bring a transforming presence and power to this earth! It is not numbers of people we need in our midst, but to be one with our Lord, speaking with the voice of the resurrection, anointed with the fullness of His wisdom, holiness, and authority, and endued with power from on high! It took only one Son of God to take away the sins of the world and reconcile mankind to God, to conquer all the false gods of Greece and Rome and Babylon, to change the course of history and birth the church throughout all the nations of the world. One Son! And now many sons are being brought to His glory! But it need not be a literal 200,000,000! The Lord Jesus Christ Himself within us is stronger than an army of two hundred million, for He has been given all authority and all power in heaven and in earth! Oh, the wonder of it!
Since the elect of God are signified in the Revelation as the hosts or armies of heaven, the Lord is therefore called YAHWEY TSEVAOTH, that is, Yahweh of armies or hosts. “And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean (righteousness of Christ). And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword (the word of God), that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron…” (Rev. 19:14-15). The first half of chapter nine of the Revelation is devoted to the invasion of the “locusts” out of the abyss; the second half of the chapter reveals GOD’S MIGHTY ARMY raised up to defeat the locust army and bring forth the victory of Christ in those being prepared to establish His glorious kingdom in the earth! God is working within us to bring Adam to an end and raise up Christ as the only reality of our lives. Notice what John says about the locusts: “And the shapes of the locusts were like horses prepared unto battle” (Rev. 9:7). And now of the second army he says, “And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand” (Rev. 9:16).
The locust army and the angel army are two armies that face each other! It takes two armies to have a battle! Both are said to be prepared for battle! And how wonderful the knowledge that everything about the army of the Lord is greater and more powerful than the locust army of Babylon! It is interesting to note that under the fifth trumpet, repeatedly stung by the locusts, men were tormented by the false doctrines and condemnation and threats of judgment as proclaimed by the church systems of man, yet they could not die. But here there is a difference! “And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for the hour of the day of the month of the year (God’s appointed time) FOR TO SLAY THE THIRD PART OF MEN.” Here, thank God, they do die! The word (angel) of the Lord, once released from its captivity at the borderland of Babylon, refined and made pure and strong in the Spirit of God, is able to finish the work in us, to bring the old Adamic man, the carnal mind, the natural life, the old human consciousness and identity to its end within us! The word out of Babylon cannot accomplish this, but the living word of God, which is sharper than any two-edged sword, and in the power of an incorruptible seed, is fully able to bring forth the triumph of the Christ within us! Isn’t it wonderful!
As we have stated numerous times in the course of this Study, the book of Revelation is first and foremost a spiritual book. It is a book of spiritual realities communicated by means of signs and symbols. You will not read the fulfillment of its prophecies on the pages of Newsweek magazine, but you will see them manifest in the lives of men and women who walk with God and in the great accomplishments of the kingdom of God on earth. The word of the Lord in its spiritual meaning does not describe for us the carnal warfare between nations. For what have wars between nations to do with the kingdom of God? God does not conquer by carnal weapons, therefore the warfare between nations has nothing whatever to do with the kingdom purposes of God! This is where people go astray in their thinking. They suppose that God acts politically or militarily. Oh, no! The battles beheld in spirit by the eagle-eyed seer of Patmos signify spiritual combats, combats between light and darkness, between spirit and flesh, between Adam and Christ, between the carnal mind and the precious mind of Christ, between truth and error, between righteousness and evil, between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Babylon, between life and death. A man must experience this combat within himself to become a spiritual conqueror and possess the promised land. Our Lord, when in the world, carried on such spiritual warfare in an infinitely greater way than others, overcoming the compounded powers of the world, the flesh, and the devil, opening up the way to victory and triumph for all who are willing to follow Him into the lifestyle of the kingdom of God.
This great army of saints in this new kingdom day who, in the fullness of time, shall take the kingdom and destroy the rule of the flesh, of Babylon, and of sin, sorrow, and death, is even now, at the time of this writing, being prepared to march forth and bring to pass this glorious victory. That all who are to be in this army may be awakened to the urgency of the hour the prophet Joel calls upon those who see and hear this word of the Lord to sound an alarm, saying, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and gloominess (for the natural man), a day of clouds and of thick darkness (for the carnal mind), as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not ever been the like, neither shall there be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land (of the flesh) is as a garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. AND THE LORD SHALL UTTER HIS VOICE BEFORE HIS ARMY: FOR HIS CAMP IS VERY GREAT: for He is strong that executeth His word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible (for the systems of man); and who can abide it?” (Joel 2:1-3,11).
God is preparing such an army! We now want to present this army. “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain…and the Lord shall utter His voice before His army: for His camp is very great…” The trumpet blows in Zion — mount Zion. The army of the Lord is in Zion! So much of the book of Revelation is rooted in the prophecies of the Old Testament. The people who hear this trumpet and are called to battle by it are seen by John, “And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on mount Zion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads” (Rev. 14:1). This company of 144,000 stands upon mount Zion in all the nature, glory, and majesty of their Redeemer. Mount Zion, the highest hill in Jerusalem, represents the very highest position attainable in God’s kingdom. Such are the ruling class in the capital city of the kingdom of our Lord, the New Jerusalem, prefigured by king David of old who dwelt on the natural mount Zion in the earthly Jerusalem. It was upon mount Zion that David built His citadel and royal residence. From there he reigned. This company, standing on the heavenly and spiritual mount Zion, followers of the Lamb, can represent nothing other than those who have followed Jesus all the way from mount Calvary to mount Zion, who suffered with Him even unto death (to self), and shall now reign with Him upon His throne forevermore! They are overcomers. Before coming to the throne, like king David, they have engaged in warfare, fought many battles, gained the victory, and possessed the kingdom. They are “the armies which are in heaven” which follow Him who sits upon the white horse, and they too ride “upon white horses, clothed in fine linen clean and white.” A horse in prophecy is a symbol of speed and strength in war. White stands for righteousness. So Christ and His armies of overcoming sons riding white horses denotes that they come in swift, strong, and righteous judgment!
Can you see, child of God, what a tremendous heritage is ours — the right to rule and reign and bring life and blessing and deliverance to the whole creation! But before we can deliver the groaning creation from the bondage of corruption — sin, sorrow, limitation, and death — these deliverers must first, within themselves, conquer every enemy in their land and possess their inheritance in the fullness of Christ. Can you see how that all through the ages the flesh and the devil have usurped the authority of the sons of God? You have only to look around you at the people in general, both believer and unbeliever; you have only to look back at church history, to see that the Lord’s people have suffered defeat from the powers of darkness century upon century and millennium after millennium. Deceived on every hand; afflicted with all manner of sickness and disease; demon oppressed; filled with carnality, sin, bitterness, bewilderment, sorrow, fear, lack, doubts, and torment. Many have been taken captive by the god of this world, and instead of a glorious church without spot or wrinkle, instead of Zion invested with strength, instead of a people that look “forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners,” with power over all the power of the enemy, we see, instead, a defeated band of slaves, divided into a thousand sects, cast into Satan’s mold of bondage, deception, ignorance, weakness, fear, and torment.
Yet — thank God! To a people that has been called out of the walls of the great Babylon of religious captivity has come the word of the Lord, saying, “Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared…and the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand.” This is the cry of the Spirit for you to arise, O sons of God, from the bondage of defeat and desolation! Put on your beautiful garments and the whole armor of God! The trumpet call, the anointed word of the Lord, goes forth in this great and glorious day, calling for a Gideon’s band of overcomers, who appear as only four little angels bound in the river, but who shall be “more than conquerors” through Christ, and shall stand tall and strong in the might of the Lord, so that in the very next glance they appear as an invincible army that cannot be numbered or measured! And this band, “him that overcometh,” is being prepared, for which we praise God; an army that shall arise not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord! The call is even now going out to muster the army of the Lord, a people great and strong in God above any people that ever has been, or ever shall be, unto the years of many generations! That is the mystery.
In our effort to unfold this mystery even further I would take you back to the formation of the nation of Israel and their ultimate possession of the land promised by God to their father Abraham. Throughout the books of Genesis, Exodus, and on through the book of Joshua everything is presented in a progressive way. God called Abraham to leave his homeland and journey to a land He would show him, which afterward He promised to give to him and his seed as their possession. The children of Israel multiplied in the land of Canaan, but then were taken by the Lord into Egypt where they continued to grow into a great company of people over a period of four hundred years. Then Moses was raised up to lead the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage and take them finally to their promised land. Under the anointed hand of Moses this vast throng of the children of Israel were formed into a nation at mount Sinai and given their constitution known as the Torah. God gave them a tabernacle, an ark, His glorious presence, a priesthood, a sacrificial system, and national holidays or feast days. All of these things related prophetically, as types and shadows, to the experiencing of Christ in the Spirit and by the Spirit as our all in all. Starting with our experience of Him as the Passover lamb on to the enjoyment of Him as the ark, bespeaking of His word, life, and authority. Our experience of Him enlarged through the tabernacle, including the offerings and the priesthood.
Throughout the books of Exodus and Leviticus we come to the seven feasts given to Israel, where Christ is seen in measure after measure of His fullness until in the final feast of Tabernacles we are filled with all the fullness of God. Through these feasts, experienced now in a spiritual way, God’s people are enabled to experience Christ in a much fuller way than before, being brought to maturity and full spiritual stature. After Leviticus, we come to Numbers. Most Bible expositors tell us that Numbers is a book wholly occupied with the numbering and wandering of the tribes of Israel. It is true that much of the book deals with these issues, but there is a great truth beyond that! Numbers is a book of glorious records. It is the book which records the formation of the army of Israel which is the army of the Lord. Only at this point, following all the offerings, priesthood, tabernacle, and feasts, was it possible for the people of God to be formed into an army capable of conquering every enemy and possessing the promised land. Not all the people were in the army, but it is indeed glorious that a group of the Lord’s people could be formed into an army for the Lord on this earth. And it is further glorious that these very people are those who will take possession of the land! Those who are able to fight the battle as directed and empowered by the Lord are those who will conquer, divide, and take possession of the land! And those who fight the battle do not take possession of the land for themselves alone, but for all the people of God! Oh, the wonder of it!
In the book of Numbers, the children of Israel were numbered twice. The purpose of the first numbering was to choose those who would be formed into an army to fight the battle. They were numbered the second time, not only as an army for warfare, but also according to their tribes to divide and inherit the good land. In these types and shadows, therefore, we may realize the great and glorious truth that God is forming a portion of His people into a spiritual army which, on behalf of all the people of God, is designated to conquer, divide, and inherit the good spiritual land of the fullness of Christ! We have heard much of becoming kings and priests to reign with Christ, and we have heard of becoming judges to bring righteous judgment to the earth; but today the Spirit of the Lord is drawing our attention to another matter, that God’s elect is in this hour of preparation being formed into an army. We as a company of the Lord’s people must be formed into an army to fight the battle for Him on this earth. Oh, this is tremendous! If this strikes fear in you, you may turn back. Only by the army of the manifest sons of God can the spirits and systems and powers of this present world order be conquered and destroyed!
The cry of the hour is that we become that for which we have been apprehended. We are giving notice to heaven and earth that this is not just another teaching or beautiful revelation given to thrill our hearts, but this message is given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as a witness to God’s elect that we are a “chosen generation,” a “royal priesthood,” “kings to reign,” and we are also called to form the “army of the Lord” in the earth. We are not just passing through this world, but are sent by God at a specific time, at the very hour of the very day of the very month of the very year when the army of God is destined to arise in the earth to fight the final battles for the possession of our inheritance in the kingdom of God! We shall bring to this world the unveiled glory of the Son, in an open display of a manifestation in the sons of God. For this we cry, that we would be the forthshining of the Son, His express image, the demonstration and power of His sonship glory and dominion, upon which the nations will gaze and be changed by the glory of His countenance. Oh, yes, the army of the Lord shall “shine forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners!”
By this army shall creation be set free from the prison of corruption, to see a new heaven and a new earth, to see sin and unrighteousness banished from the hearts of men, to see death destroyed from off God’s creation, to see the end of all sickness, sorrow, and pain, to see safety, peace, and happiness come to every man, woman, and child, to see Jerusalem established as a praise in all the earth, to see kings reigning gloriously from mount Zion, to see every man and every nation walking in the Light of the Lord. The army of God marches to see every prisoner set free, to see every man awaken in His likeness, to see the good news published throughout Zion, to see the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed from the mountain of God, to see the valley of dry bones erupt with life, to see the lion’s mouth shut so that none shall hurt nor destroy in all God’s holy kingdom!
THE HORSES OF THE ARMY
“And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt” (Rev. 9:17-19).
The spiritual characteristics of these battle horses reveal their superiority over the army of the locusts which also were “like horses prepared unto battle.” The horses in the Lord’s army are able to crush, consume, and destroy all the characteristics and powers of the locust army! The Lord’s army has breastplates of fire which can melt the locust’s breastplates of iron. The heads of the horses in the Lord’s army are as the heads of lions which can crush the skull of the locusts’ heads which are like men. The horses’ tails in the Lord’s army have heads fully able to devour the stings on the scorpion-like locusts’ tail. The locusts were described as “like unto horses” whereas the horses in the Lord’s army are described as the real thing.
John saw the horses and they that sat on them. This meant victory! The old Roman conquerors, when celebrating a brilliant conquest, rode down the avenues of the Imperial City upon a snow-white steed, and received the plaudits of the people. The Lord is described in the Revelation as the Word of God emblematically riding on a white horse; it is the image of aggressive action, of a prosperous conquest over His foes. And those who follow Him are the armies of heaven, all of them riding upon white horses! The horse in scripture represents strength, and fearlessness to accomplish its task. Long millenniums ago the war-horse was described thus by the patriarch Job: “He paweth the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and is not affrightened; neither turneth he back from the sword. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage…he saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting” (Job 39:21-25).
The locusts had on their heads an illusory appearance of authority, bearing “as it were crowns of gold,” while the horses in the Lord’s army have heads as the heads of lions, and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone…for their power is in their mouth.” It should be clear that power in the mouth is superior to the authority signified by a crown which only appears to look like gold! Furthermore, the fire can burn up that which only appears as gold! Some literalistic commentators claim that the fire, smoke, and brimstone which issue out of the horses’ mouths mean gunpowder, discharged from modern weapons of destruction! But, strange to say, when they come to chapter eleven, where it is recorded of the two prophesying witnesses, that “if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth and devoureth their enemies,” these interpreters at once abandon the idea of gunpowder, and interpret the fire as prophetic denunciations and prayers! If it is gunpowder in the one place, it seems that it should be gunpowder in the other. But it is neither gunpowder nor prayers in either case, but simply what the prophet sees in type — A BURNING WORD OF AUTHORITY AND POWER FROM GOD! Oh, yes, the authority and power of God’s Christ, by the word of the Lord in their mouth, is higher and greater than all the presumed authority and power of the flesh and the world! The pure, living word of God shall consume all the empty, vain, death-dealing words and works of Babylon!
The fire, smoke, and brimstone that issue out of their mouths correspond in type to the sword that goes out of His mouth with which He smites the nations. In both cases the Lord and His armies are riding upon horses with something issuing out of their mouths! That which goes forth from the mouths of God’s army is the sharp two-edged sword of the Word of God! His name is called THE WORD OF GOD! He is the LOGOS. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made” (Ps. 33:6). This is He who was in the beginning. “In the beginning was the Word” (Jn. 1:1). This is the Word that was God. In Him was life and the life was the light of men. This is He of whom it is written, “He sent His word and healed them.” Christ does not come with, in, and through His armies to avenge blood or slay in battle as other conquerors have done. His all-powerful words smite all who hear them! As someone has said, It will smite them with conviction and bless them with conversion. The spirit which animates God’s many-membered Christ is the warrior spirit! His object is the conquest of the world, by conquering the hearts of men! He has formed the resolution, which burns in the hearts of all God’s sons today, never to cease from His campaign until the whole world, a conquered realm, bows devotedly before Him as its rightful Lord and Master, and only true King.
“Their power is in their mouth.” When I speak, or write, I manifest spiritual influences; and the force of these influences is proportionate to the inner power, and their effect is proportionate to the state of reception of my hearers. Words are thus seen to be the vehicles of spiritual forces. Understanding that mystery enables one to also understand how it is that God created all things by His Word. There is power in words! Life and death are in the power of the tongue, the wise man wrote. The action of spirit on spirit is inappreciable by the senses; but could we look behind the veil of nature when a crowd or a congregation is swayed hither and thither by the speech of one man, we should see that the influence exerted was as real and actual as muscular force. From this we learn that words are not mere sounds, but are the sheaths or cases of either soulical or spiritual life, and on this ground we at once see the force of the Lord’s declaration, “The wordsthat I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (Jn. 6:63).
The Spirit of God is today forming and fashioning a people, His great army, a glorious company, from whose lips flash forth that CLEAR WORD OF THE LORD which shall cause the traditions and unrighteousness of man to utterly come to naught. It was said of our Lord and elder brother, “Never man spake like this man” (Jn. 7:46). “What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? FOR WITH AUTHORITY commandeth HE even the unclean spirits, and they do obey Him” (Mk. 1:27). “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him!” (Mat. 8:27). The Lord’s speech is the manifestation and influence of His inner life poured forth upon those to whom He speaks. An incident in the life of Jesus, recorded in the Gospel of Luke, provides a picture in which may be discerned the POWER OF THE WORDS OF GOD. As He approached the gate of Nain there met Him a funeral procession, a widow’s only son carried out to burial. Moved with compassion for the sorrowing woman He bade her dry her tears. The astounded crowd heard Him address the figure upon the bier: “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise!” The power of the speech of the Prince of Life pierced the realm of the dead! The lad sat up and began to speak. The tender Christ delivered him to his mother, and made effective His command, “Weep not!” Her son was not only brought back from the gates of the tomb, but was restored to her as a gift from the Lord BY THE POWER OF HIS WORD!
That which was manifest in Jesus Christ shall also be seen in His many-membered-brethren-company. There are preview glimpses of this even in God’s servants in the Old Testament. With what boldness did Elijah the prophet pronounce unto king Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, BUT ACCORDING TO MY WORD” (I Kings 17:1). The pure and powerful word of God shall cause His servants to ride victoriously! Naught shall be able to stand before the fire, smoke, and brimstone of HIS WORD! The locust-army shall be vanquished — how glorious shall be the advance of this mighty company!
The power in the mouth of God’s army is expressed and manifest as fire, smoke, and brimstone. What struck the seer as remarkable on looking at the symbol was, that this immense warfare seemed to proceed out of their mouths! It was not that they trampled down their enemies; nor that they destroyed them with the sword, the bow, or the spear: it was a unique and remarkable power in warfare — in which the weapons proceed from the mouth in the form of fire, smoke, and brimstone! The word “brimstone” or sulphur denotes the character of the fire. As Charles Pridgeon has pointed out, “The word theion translated ‘brimstone’ is exactly the same word theion which means ‘divine.’ Sulphur was held as sacred to the gods among the ancient Greeks; and was used to fumigate, purify, to cleanse and to consecrate to the deity; for this purpose they burned it in their incense. In Homer’s Iliah (16:228), one is spoken of as purifying a goblet with fire and brimstone. The verb derived from theion is theioo, which means to hallow, to make divine, or to dedicate to a god. (See Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon, 1897 Edition).”
To any ancient Greek person, or any trained in the ancient Greek language, fire and brimstone would indicate “divine purging, cleansing, and purification” or “dedication and consecration to God.” Divine purification and divine consecration are the plain meaning in ancient Greek. In the ordinary explanation of Bible commentators this fundamental meaning is missed altogether, because of the false doctrines of Babylon, and nothing but destruction and torment are associated with fire and brimstone. How beautiful this is! The Lord is not out to destroy His people, or the sinners of this world! The great purpose of His army is to destroy the locusts and their stings — the false doctrines, systems, and movements that indeed do torment (Rev. 9:5) God’s people, so that creation may be set free!
Fear not. Have hope. Believe in hope! It is God’s good pleasure to yet restore all His precious people to the knowledge of the truth and to union in the purity of His life. He shall yet renew the face of the whole earth! All the inhabitants of the world shall learn righteousness. The mountain of God’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains. Babylon shall be utterly burned with fire, and all the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all His holy place. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they know war anymore. They shall all be without spot or blemish, loving one another, even as Jesus has loved us. You are called to be a part of the firstfruits, even if the total harvest has not yet come. You are to love your neighbor as yourself. You are to love your enemies and bless them that curse you and do good to them that hate you, and pray for them. You are to ride forth in the strength of the Lord, with the purifying, cleansing, purging, delivering, consecrating, redeeming, transforming WORD OF GOD ISSUING FROM YOUR MOUTH! You are to ride forth in majesty as the expression of God’s kingdom on earth. You are to utter His burning word of authority, smiting the earth with the rod of His mouth!