SYNOPSIS: The third seal releases a rider on a black horse. A voice from the Throne prohibits him from destroying what is needed for daily life – Revelation 6:5-6.
Once again, the Lamb opens another “seal,” the third one. It cannot be overstressed, it is the sacrificial Lamb who opens each of the seals to release whatever each “rider” represents, not the Devil, the Beast, or “Babylon.” Whether the four riders are malevolent entities or ones that serve the Lamb is not clear, and perhaps, not relevant. Continue reading The Third Seal
SYNOPSIS: The second rider is on a fiery-red horse sent to “remove peace from the earth” by causing men to “slay one another” – Revelation 6:3-4.
The opening of the first four seals is part of a vision that began when John was summoned “in the spirit” before the Throne at the center of the Cosmos. The glorious figure sitting on it held a scroll sealed shut by Seven Seals. The Messiah of Israel, identified as the “slain Lamb,” was the only person in the entire created order who was worthy to open the Sealed Scroll, which he now begins to do. Continue reading The Second Seal
SYNOPSIS: The Lamb now breaks open the first seal, releasing a rider carrying a bow and riding a white horse – Revelation 6:1-2.
Following his enthronement, the Lamb began to break open the seven seals, beginning with the first four viewed as a group. His authority to open the Sealed Scroll is based on his sacrificial death. From his enthronement in Chapter 5, the book of Revelation portrays events and processes symbolically which were put into motion by the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Continue reading The First Seal
SYNOPSIS: The parable pictures the Son of Man sowing the “seed” of the gospel in the world where it grows unseen and in unexpected ways until the final harvest at the end of the age – Mark 4:1-20.
The first parable of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of Mark is the parable of the Sower. He taught it to a “great crowd” near the Sea of Galilee. A key point of this parable is – The kingdom of God began to invade the present age beginning with the preaching of Jesus Christ. Put another way, the kingdom has been in the process of implementation ever since the ministry of Jesus (Mark 4:1-9, Matthew 13:1-9, Luke 8:4-8). Continue reading Parable of the Sower
SYNOPSIS: After giving his parable of the Sower, Jesus taught several more parables about the kingdom of God, its unexpected methods of expansion, and its status in the world up to the End of the Age – Mark 4:21-34.
The Gospel of Mark provides only a few examples of the many parables taught by Jesus. It does demonstrate that this was one of his primary methods of teaching (“Apart from a parable,” he did not speak to the crowds). While his parables covered several topics, his overarching theme was the Kingdom, the promised reign of God that commenced in the ministry of Jesus. Continue reading Kingdom Parables
SYNOPSIS: Disciples of Jesus must live in the conscious service of others, especially to the weak. To abuse them is what it means for a disciple to become one whose “salt is salt-less” – Mark 9:41-50.
Jesus taught his disciples that whoever gives them a cup of water to drink, “because you are Christ’s, he will certainly not lose his reward.” The point – Whatever anyone does to a disciple of Jesus, whether for good or evil, is the same as doing it to Jesus (Mark 9:41-50). Continue reading Faithful and Unfaithful Disciples