Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Least in the Kingdom of Heaven

"Amen I say to you, among those born of women, no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is." (Matthew 11:11)

Saint John the Baptist is by far my favorite Saint.  I strive to imitate him in my unique situation in life.  For clarity in regards to his life, quality, virtues and works I recommend reading Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich's visions.  

This teaching of Jesus has always been a bit enigmatic to me, however this morning at Mass I seemed to have had a moment of clarity.  I think interpreters have tended to overthink this teaching.  Surely we can assume that Mary and Jesus Himself are excluded from this teaching since they both had miraculous conceptions and births as well as dignity and works that are in another league than anyone.  They are in one sense incomparable.  What I think Jesus is teaching here is that once one graduates to Heaven, sees God face to face, and so on, one is endowed with a certain dignity and power that cannot possibly be attained on this Earth as a member of the Church on Earth.  So even though John the Baptist was in his time the greatest and holiest among the active Church on Earth he is still not equvalent to even the least member of Heaven which of course included the Holy Angels at his time.  Jesus is providing a concept, a comparison of the unspeakable greatness of those with God in Heaven.  

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Hosea 8:7

They sow the wind, and so they will reap the whirlwind! The stalk does not have any standing grain; it will not produce any flour. Even if it were to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it all up. (Hosea 8:7)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Transform Them into His Majestic Warhorse (Zechariah 10:3)

For the household gods [televisions, computers, iphones, etc.] have spoken wickedness, the soothsayers [media personalities] have seen a lie, and as for the dreamers [gurus, commentators], they have disclosed emptiness and give comfort in vain. Therefore the people set out like sheep and become scattered because they have no shepherd. I am enraged at the shepherds [some priests, a few bishops and cardinals] and will punish the lead-goats [presidents, elite, etc.]. For the LORD who rules over all has brought blessing to his flock, the house of Judah, and will transform them into his majestic warhorse. From him will come the cornerstone [Jesus], the wall peg [Great Monarch], the battle bow, and every ruler. And they will be like warriors trampling the mud of the streets in battle. They will fight, for the LORD will be with them, and will defeat the enemy cavalry. (Zechariah 10:3, NET version)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Main Roman Road Connecting the Seven Churches of Asia

It is not clear why these seven were chosen to represent the whole church, though they are connected by being located on the main Roman road at intervals of about thirty or forty miles. ---(M. Eugene Boring, Revelation, p. 87)
The arrangement of the cities is geographically significant: the seven all lay on a main Roman road and formed a circuit, starting from Ephesus, the nearest to Patmos. (John Sweet, Revelation, John Sweet, p. 78)

That all seven cities chosen by Jesus to prophetically model the Church, were connected by a main Roman road is of great significance. This signifies that the whole Church on Earth, passing from generation to generation is unified, connected, and continued without fail by the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter, also called the Pope.  The Angel of each Church serves as a moniker, a collective noun, for every single Pope who led for the duration of each respective Church.  

The geographical circuit, starting with Ephesus and ending in Laodicea, prophetically mimics the full circle the Church will voyage from the First Coming of Jesus culminating in his Ascension to his Return, as well as conclusion in which God will wrap up world, even this Earth as we know it so to create a New Earth.        

Monday, October 24, 2016

Pope Francis on Rigidity

"But some of you might remember. You couldn’t even drink a drop of water. Not even that! And to brush your teeth, it had to be done in such a way that you didn’t swallow the water. But I myself as a young boy went to confession for having made the Communion, because I thought a drop of water had gone in. Is it true or no? It’s true. When Pius XII changed the discipline: ‘Ah, heresy! No! He touched the discipline of the Church.’ So many Pharisees were scandalized. So many. Because Pius XII had acted like Jesus: he saw the need of the people. ‘But the poor people, with such warmth.’ These priests who said three Masses, the last at one o’clock, after noon, fasting. The discipline of the Church. And these Pharisees [spoke about] ‘our discipline’ – rigid on the outside, but, as Jesus said of them, ‘rotting in the heart,’ weak, weak to the point of rottenness. Gloomy in the heart.” (Homily, December 15th, 2015)

This (is the) healthy realism of the Catholic Church: the Church never teaches us ‘or this or that.’ That is not Catholic. The Church says to us: ‘this and that.’ ‘Strive for perfectionism: reconcile with your brother. Do not insult him. Love him. And if there is a problem, at the very least settle your differences so that war doesn’t break out.’ This (is) the healthy realism of Catholicism. It is not Catholic (to say) ‘or this or nothing:’ This is not Catholic, this is heretical. Jesus always knows how to accompany us, he gives us the ideal, he accompanies us towards the ideal, He frees us from the chains of the laws' rigidity and tells us: ‘But do that up to the point that you are capable.’ And he understands us very well. He is our Lord and this is what he teaches us.” (Homily, September 6th, 2016)

And pointing out that the Jesus responded calling the leaders of the synagogue ‘hypocrites’, the Pope observed that this is an accusation Jesus often makes to those who follow the Law with rigidity. “The Law – he explained – was not drawn up to enslave us but to set us free, to make us God’s children”.

Concealed by rigidity, Pope Francis said, there is always something else! That’s why Jesus uses the word ‘hypocrites!’:

"Behind an attitude of rigidity there is always something else in the life of a person. Rigidity is not a gift of God. Meekness is; goodness is; benevolence is; forgiveness is. But rigidity isn’t!” he said.

In many cases, the Pope continued, rigidity conceals the leading of a double life; but, he pointed out, there can also be something pathological.

Commenting on the difficulties and suffering that afflict a person who is both rigid and sincere, the Pope said this is because they lack the freedom of God's children: “they do not know how to walk in the path indicated by God’s Law”.

“They appear good because they follow the Law; but they are concealing something else: either they are hypocritical or they are sick. And they suffer!” he said. (Homily, October 24th, 2016)

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Price of Orthodoxy

Here is an interesting thought from William Barclay's the Revelation of John in his section on the Church of Ephesus. Where Jesus says:
All the same I have this against you---that you have left your first love.

he comments

Much more likely this means that the first fine rapture of love for the brotherhood is gone. In the first days the members of the Church at Ephesus had really loved each other; dissension had never reared its head; the heart was ready to kindle and the hand ready to help. But something had gone wrong. It may well be that heresy-hunting had killed love and orthodoxy had been achieved at the price of fellowship. When that happens, orthodoxy has cost too much. All the orthodoxy in the world will never take the place of love.

Steadfast Endurance (Revelation 2:2)

I know your works---I mean your hard work and your steadfast endurance . . .
The Risen Christ praises their steadfast endurance. Here is the word hupomone which we have come upon again and again. It is not the grim patience which resignedly accepts things. It is the courageous gallantry which accepts suffering and hardship and turns them into grace and glory. It is often said that suffering colors life; but when we meet life with hupomone which Christ can give, the color of life is never grey or black; it is always tinged with glory. ---(from the Revelation of John, William Barclay, p. 62)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Seven Churches of Asia & the White Horse and Rider of Revelation (First Seal)

Dear Reader,

This is one revised super article merging some articles of the past with a spring of a few new insights and quotes to support my interpretative choices. It could easily serve as a book.  So sit back and feast on this one of a kind experience!  There is nothing like it.  

Nicholas Hesed

. . .

The Seven Churches of Asia

This remarkable expression, "The Seven Churches," must arrest the attention of every reader. At the first glance one might gather that only those Seven Churches existed in the Province Asia, and that the Revelation had been composed at an early date when there were no more Churches than the Seven. But that is impossible. There never was a time when those Seven Churches existed, and no others. (The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia, W.M. Ramsey, 1904)
 It is important to see this connection between the vision of the Son of Man and the seven letters, as without it the most immediate point of referral to what is written in the letters is lost.  The vision is then seen as some sort of inaugural vision, standing on its own, and the letters also remain somewhat of an enigma, whose presence in the overall structure and message of the book becomes almost impossible to decipher.  Tying them together, I believe, helps one to explain the other.  (The Apocalypse:  A Perennial Revelation of Jesus Christ by Eugenio Corsini, p. 81) 
[The "Prophetic" Interpretation of the Letters]  Reduced to its essentials, this method of interpreting the letters sees in them a prefiguring of various epochs in the history of the Church.  It still has adherents, but it was particularly popular among the Fathers, and was continued to Bede the Venerable (7th to 8th Century) and then among various medieval and more recent commentators.  (The Apocalypse: The Perennial Revelation of Jesus Christ by Eugenio Corsini, p. 103)
He addressed some words to Peter on the subject of penance and absolution, and afterward spoke to them all about the end of the world and of the signs that would precede it. A man enlightened by God would have visions on that subject. By these words, Jesus referred to John's revelations, and He Himself made use of several similar illustrations. He spoke, for instance, of those that would be marked with the sign on their forehead, and said that the fountain of living water which flowed from Calvary's mount would at the end of the world appear to be almost entirely poisoned, though all the good waters would finally be gathered into the Valley of Jehoshaphat. (from the visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich)
Just as eschatology is a certain kind of thinking about God's providence, so for our purposes in understanding Revelation, apocalyptic may be thought of as a certain kind of thinking about eschatology. Apocalyptic thought, as represented in Revelation, affirms that God is guiding history to a final goal which God himself will bring about in the near future, in a particular way that is already revealed. (From Revelation, M. Eugene Boring, p. 38)
He {Jesus} spoke for some time to John alone {at the last supper}. Of this I remember only that Jesus told him that his life would be longer than that of the others, and that He said something about seven churches, something about crowns and angels and similar significant symbols by which, as well as I know, He designated certain epochs. The other Apostles felt slightly jealous at this special communication to John. (From the visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich)

Seven. God acts in a mode of sevens. Seven days of work at the light event. Seven Sacraments. Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some take numerology WAY to far, but understanding how God acts, I would imagine the significance of seven is in the concept 3:1:3. Three Persons who thoroughly exist as One God.  Three Forms which are thoroughly One Form.  One God, who is Three distinct personal identities, each wholly God . . . each wholly in the other. They take the names Father, Son, Spirit.  Jesus is the Son of the Father.  The Father eternally generates the Son and so it was significant that he died at the age of 33.

Seven, we are told is God's way of communicating perfection, completion, and a fulfillment.  With the Seven Churches of Asia we are given a prophetic itinerary of Jesus' plan of perfecting his Church on Earth.

The Cities are Models for the Church as a Whole in Succeeding Epochs

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a great voice, like that of a trumpet, saying, “What you see, write in a book, and send it to the seven Churches, which are in Asia: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamus, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” (Revelation 1:10-11)

I start by asking this question.   Why would Jesus instruct John to write a single book and send that book, not so called letters, to the Seven Churches. The answer, it would seem, is that the Seven Churches prophetically represent the entire Church on Earth through all generations from the Ascension of Jesus to his Return. John cannot literally send this book of visions to the Seven Churches of Asia.  As far as I know there is no evidence that he did.  Neither did he send individual letters to each of the Churches for this would disobey the command of Jesus.  Rather the command of Jesus is fulfilled by the subsequent Church accepting this entire book of visions from John as Divinely Inspired, as the completion of the Bible as well as this book's transmission from generation to generation.  

The Seven Churches of Asia, whom Jesus addresses in the Book of Revelation refer to multiple successive generations of the New Testament Church (specifically Roman Catholic Church, but also to all Christians and all men of good will, including the Muslims and the Jews). Asia, land of the rising sun, figuratively refers to the Earth in contrast to Heaven, and the Church of Heaven. Each successive multiple generations of the New Testament Church of Earth corresponds with seven ages which God conceives, foresees and applies from Heaven. Each Church includes multiple generations of Christians: from several in Ephesus to many in Sardis.  Each successive set of generations is a figured using a ancient city as a model in what was known as Asia Minor. Jesus chose the cities as prophetic models with powerful clarity and foresight.  Each Church age has distinct qualities or lack thereof which can be seen in the cities and their names.  

We now live at the twilight of the fifth Church. Jesus named our Church: Sardis. We are Sardis. The journey of Sardis has been difficult to say the least, and this has been God's will. Now, Sardis is dying, so to speak.  The new Church and age which name is Philadelphia is dawning.  We will live in the darkness and tribulation between the twilight of Sardis and the dawn of Philadelphia. Some who remain from Sardis will be renewed, and by the grace of Jesus and Mary, help inaugurate Philadelphia. Philadelphia will enjoy a generation of profound peace, consolation, clarity and of course brotherly love! . . . ushered in by Jesus and Mary.

The Main Roman Road

It is not clear why these seven were chosen to represent the whole church, though they are connected by being located on the main Roman road at intervals of about thirty or forty miles. ---(M. Eugene Boring, Revelation, p. 87)
The arrangement of the cities is geographically significant: the seven all lay on a main Roman road and formed a circuit, starting from Ephesus, the nearest to Patmos. (John Sweet, Revelation, John Sweet, p. 78)

That all seven cities chosen by Jesus to prophetically model the Church, were all connected by a main Roman road is of great significance. This signifies that the whole Church on Earth, passing from generation to generation is unified, connected, and continued without fail by the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter, also called the Pope.  The Angel of each Church serves as a moniker, a collective noun, for every single Pope who led for the duration of each respective Church.  I will reiterate this as the interpretation goes on.

The geographical circuit, starting with Ephesus and ending in Laodicea, prophetically mimics the full circle the Church will voyage from the First Coming of Jesus culminating in his Ascension to his Return, as well as conclusion in which God will wrap up world, even this Earth as we know it so to create a New Earth.        

The Golden Lamp-Stands and Stars

And in the midst of the seven golden lampstands was one resembling the Son of man,. . .the mystery of the seven stars, which you have seen in my right hand, and of the seven golden lampstands. The seven stars are the Angels of the seven Churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven Churches.

In the first chapter of Revelation, each Church is compared to a golden lamp-stand figuring it's precious presence on Earth.  Perhaps we could imply that each lamp contains oil that burns, figuring a temporal concept.  Each illuminates for a time.   The stars which Jesus makes equivalent to the Angels are figurative monikers which reference the set of Popes as if one, who reigned during a Church epoch.      

Ephesus:  Church of the First Epoch

To the Angel of the Church of Ephesus write . . .

The word origin of 'Ephesus' is unknown. But it has been suggested to be derived from a Greek variation meaning “to launch” or “let go”*.  Perhaps this indicates Jesus leaving the Church when he ascended to the Father in Heaven, and then sending the Spirit to guide its journey.  Holzhauser calls the age of Ephesus, by the Latin status seminationes meaning seed-time. The first Christians planted the seeds!

Not long after Jesus ascended to Heaven, there was a Christian colony in Ephesus, an ancient city in modern day Turkey. Some of the Jews who converted to Christianity removed from the Holy Land to Ephesus because they were safer there. It was a peaceful place. They were less open to persecution and martyrdom. Some of the Apostles chosen by Jesus visited Ephesus. At times, Saint Paul visited and stirred up Ephesus to faith in Jesus.  His disciple Timothy was a first century bishop of Ephesus.  Against all odds Christianity had great success in Ephesus.

Meryem ana or Meryem Ana Evi, "Mother Mary's House"
Mary, Mother of God, and Immaculate Virgin removed from Jerusalem with the Apostle John, to a house on a mount (translated Mount Nightingale from the Turkish). This house is a few hours (by walk) away from the city limits of the ancient ruins of Ephesus. This house exists to this day.  It is a Catholic and Muslim shrine.  It was visited by Saint John Paul II.  Recently it was miraculously preserved from a fire.  Near Ephesus Mary died, was raised from the dead like Jesus, and taken up into Heaven from that hill about 13 years after Jesus went to the Father.  Here is a list of quotes taken from Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich's work recording her extraordinary visions:

Thomas and Matthew were dispatched to Ephesus, in order to prepare the country where at a future day Jesus' Mother and many of those that believed in Him were to dwell. They wondered greatly at the fact of Mary's going to live there. 
Three years after the Crucifixion all the Apostles met in Jerusalem, after which Peter and John left the city and Mary accompanied the latter to Ephesus. 
Then it was that the Blessed Virgin, who until that time had dwelt in the small house near the Cenacle (house where Jesus had the Last Supper) and in Bethania, allowed herself to be conducted by John to the region of Ephesus, where the Christians had already made settlements.
He [Saint James the Greater] sailed first to Ephesus in order to visit Mary, and thence to Spain. Shortly before his death, he visited Mary and John a second time in their home at Ephesus. 
I did not see James present at the death of the Blessed Virgin in Ephesus. 
The Blessed Virgins dwelling was not in Ephesus itself, but from three to four hours distant. It stood on a height upon which several Christians from Judea, among them some of the holy women related to her, had taken up their abode. 
The locality was very retired and seldom visited by anyone, for no highway ran through it. The people of Ephesus did not trouble themselves about the little colony, and so they lived as if forgotten. The soil was fruitful, and the settlers owned some gardens and orchards. The only animals I saw in this place were wild goats.  Before John brought the Blessed Virgin to this settlement, he had built for her a dwelling of stone very similar to her own at Nazareth. 
At the prayer of the Blessed Virgin, the Apostles received, through angels, an admonition to repair to her at Ephesus [to be present at her death].

Forgive my long list of quotes from the works of Blessed Anne. The point is in spite of the fact that Jesus uses figures, it is fairly easy to understand why Jesus prophetically names the first Church Ephesus.  Holzhauser has the age of Ephesus marked from the time of Jesus' public ministry to the martyrdom's of Saints Peter and Paul under Nero. However note that the Sacred Script does not make any clear temporal distinctions. One can imagine some overlap between successive Churches where one springs up in the midst of the other. 

One can possibly draw out this interpretation from the encouragements and criticisms Jesus imparts to the Church of Ephesus. The Christians of this Church had to suffer hardships, a few martyrdom's, migrations, etc. with patience. They had to test fraudulent upstarts who called themselves apostles. They were known for their first fire of charity from the event of Pentecost, which Jesus says they lost in a mild criticism. And they hated the works of the Nicolaitians. The Nicolaitians were an early heretical sect who taught and practiced sexual sins as well as eating food dedicated to idols. They took their name after the deacon Nicolas who was among the first seven Deacons. Nicolas was not a member of the sect. No doubt they used his name to bolster their teachings.

Perhaps we could compare Ephesus with the Old Testament Church beginning with Adam and extending through Noah and to Abraham.  This would include Job.

The Angel who the Apostle John is addressed to write to, figuratively refers to a Pope or to each successive Pope who belong to the Church which is Divinely conceived as spanning multiple generations.  Again, think of it as a collective noun.

*  p. 439, The Apocalypse of St. John: a commentary on the Greek text, James Joseph Louis Ratton

Smyrna:  Church of the Second Epoch

To the Angel of the Church of Smyrna write . . .

Smyrna is a morph on the ancient Greek name for myrrh. The ancient port city was located on the West coast of modern Turkey. It's chief export was none other than myrrh. Holzhauser names the time of Smyrna status irrigationis: irrigation-time. This was the time of the public persecutions of Christians by the Roman Emperors up to the reign of Constantine. 

If you read Jesus' address to Smyrna carefully you will notice that he is clearly encouraging those who would at that time have suffered under the elite of the Roman Empire. The name Smyrna itself could be a morph on the word myrrh, which was used in anointing dead bodies. Myrrh was exported from the ports of literal ancient Smyrna. Thus its prophetic significance in Revelation. Think of this name as an affectionate one coming from the lips of Jesus, for he associated this Church closely with himself.  He was gifted and anointed with myrrh and was put to death like many of this time. Ancient Smyrna is a prophetic model for the nascent Church of the Roman Empire.

Although the Roman persecution was more or less constant, historians tend to divide into ten major persecutions, coinciding with the reign of ten emperors out of the 50 or so between Nero and Constantine. These emperors are listed as

Nero (54-68 AD)
Domitian (81-96)
Trajan (98-117)
Marcus Aurelius (161-180)
Septimius Severus (193-211)
Maximinus (235-238)
Decius (249-251)
Valerian (253-260)
Aurelian (270-275)
Diocletian (284-305)

These ten reigns coinciding with major persecutions are prophesied by Jesus in his address to Smyrna:

Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. The devil is about to have some of you thrown into prison so you may be tested, and you will experience suffering for ten days. Remain faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown that is life itself. (Revelation 2:10)

In context of Sacred Scripture, sometimes the word 'day' is used figuratively to relate an undefined time. It is left to the reader to figure this out. In this context ten days figuratively, even prophetically, represents the time of the reigns of ten Emperors under which there were great persecutions, other then what Christians had to commonly deal with when the Church was first growing. When you see the Roman Martyrology or read the commentaries in your Liturgical text an Emperor will usually be referenced under which the Saint was killed. For example Saints Peter and Paul were martyred under Nero. 

In Revelation (2:9-10), Jesus prophetically acknowledges their tribulation and encourages them to endure. With their blood, the Roman Martyrs irrigated the seeds planted by Ephesus. Through the inspiration of the Roman Martyrs the Church of Myrrh grew, and eventually rose to prominence; assisting to change the Roman Empire. The change into Pergamon comes with the favor of Constantine, the edict of Milan, etc. (below). Pergamon is the Church of the third age.  Assuming Faith, this interpretation stands to critical thinking.

Also notice how, in this section, Jesus describes himself as he who died and yet now lives.  He also promises the crown of life, and that those who prevail will not undergo the second death (casting of the resurrected unjust, into Hell at Last Judgment). The resurrection themes are meant to encourage those who would be martyred.  Jesus will permanently anoint their bodies at the Resurrection, with gifts more lavish than myrrh.

Perhaps we could roughly compare Smyrna with the Old Testament Church beginning with Abraham and extending through the Jews slavery under the Egyptians.

Pergamon:  Church of the third Epoch

To the Angel of the Church of Pergamon write . . .

In the Greek Pergamon comes from purgos.  Purgos refers to a tower, citadel, fortified structure.  The ancient city of Pergamon was built on a promontory overlooking a river.  Holzhauser calls the age of Pergamon:  status illuminationes, meaning:  state of light, or state of illumination.  The Church had some councils and clarified her teachings in this era.  For Holzhauser, Pergamon extended through the generations from Constantine to Charlemagne. Pergamon was given the freedom to worship in public and she built up like the ancient city-tower.  Following Constantine's favor, public worship was permitted in the Empire. Catholic Churches and later the first Monasteries were built by Pergamon.  Christian culture and custom was cultivated. Many families of the Empire openly became Catholic.  There were many ascetics.  And it is also neat to note that during this epoch and slavery suddenly vanished not only from Europe but also in India and China.  Slavery, as we will see returns in Sardis, although the idea was so appalling to the Catholic Europeans that the elite were forced to practice it in colonies.**

Pergamon had the likes of Saint Benedict who inspired a wise, learned and robust community of monks across Italy and Europe. Their motto was work and pray.  Women religious communities were established.  Pergamon also had some Church Fathers and Doctors, in the East and West.  Of course Christianity continued to flourish in the East through Asia Minor. Christian Byzantium (Constantinople) was founded in this time. The practice of Christianity extended into the Frankish and Germanic kingdoms. And eventually there would arise some saintly Christian kings in the Church of Thyatira.

I know where you dwell, where the seat of Satan is, and that you hold to my name and have not denied my faith, even in those days when Antipas was my faithful witness, who was slain among you, where Satan dwells.

Antipas does not necessarily have to literally refer to a person by that name. It could serve as a figurative reference to a Church Father who was martyred at some location even prior to Constantine.  In Greek, "Antipas" literally means "like a father."  So I suspect Jesus is referencing a famous Church Father or several Fathers who were martyred at some point.  The dwelling place where the seat of Satan is located doesn't have to reference any specific location or city, but rather in general the entire Earth.  God in his profound plan, has permitted some of the fallen angels as well as the one called Satan to dwell on Earth for a time and exercise some limited power.  So Jesus is teaching that where the Church dwells is a still where the enemy is present and exerts some power and influence.  Jesus in his own way also offers some additional criticisms toward heresies that were practiced in this epoch. 

Perhaps we can compare Pergamon to the Old Testament Church who were freed from the reign of Pharoah and entered the Holy Land.  From there, Judges rose up and this led into the Kingdom of David.

** For more on this see David Graeber's Debt:  The First Five Thousand Years.

Additional Insight into the First Three Churches Taken Together

Also, each of the cities named had a Roman law court, a location where Christians had been or could be charged with memebership in the Christian sect, which was suspected of being subversive; and at least the first three churches addressed were sites of temples dedicated to Caesar (Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum). (M. Eugene Boring, Revelation, p. 87)

Again, Jesus chose the specific names and cities with perfect clarity and foresight. The cities of the first three Churches, i.e. Ephesus, Smyrna and Pergamon are models representing the successive generations of Christians from the time from the ascension of Jesus to about the time of Charlemagne. Ephesus is from the Ascension to the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul. Smyrna is from the martyrdom of Peter and Paul to Constantine. Pergamon is from Constantine to Charlemagne. Of course within these generations the Roman Empire lasted up until the time of Pergamon. The last Roman Emperor or Caesar, so to speak, was Romulus Augustus in the second half of the 5th century. Beyond that there is no more Caesar just as there are no temples dedicated to Caesar in the city's of the remaining Churches (Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea).

Thyatira:  Church of the Fourth Epoch

To the Angel of the Church of Thyatira write . . .

The word origin of Thyatira is said to be unknown.  It was suggested by a Stephanus, a grammarian of Byzantium, that this city was renamed by its king hundreds of years prior to Christ.  He was at war when he got word his wife had given birth to a daughter and so Stephanus says he renamed his city after an older Lydian name meaning daughter.  If I wanted to get intellectually adventurous I would connect this name with France, often called the "eldest daughter of the Church."  France sort of lead Thyatira although the Church was vibrant across Europe.

Holzhauser calls the era of Thyatira:  status pacificus meaning state of peace.  For him Thyatira commences with the re-establishment of the Western Empire under Charlemagne, and terminates with Emporer Charles V and Pope Leo X.

Thyatira is the Church of Christendom, where ideally Jesus was considered the King, and reigns.  This Church is of Catholic civilization as they say.  It was a very different Church (and world) than we live in.  Thyatira had the likes of Saints Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Louis IX of France, many saintly Christian kings, mystics, prophets, prophetesses, some doctors, etc.

In Thyatira there was a proliferation of exceptionally talented Christian architects, artisans, artists, and so on as is evidenced by the Cathedrals that were built, the various artifacts as well as the historical records.  There were the Medieval guilds which enabled those of various talents and skills to work together in some common goal that would glorify God. Generations of families would dedicate their lives to building the Cathedrals. Individuals would dedicate their lives to some work of art with great desire in honor of Jesus.

This above is prophetically foreshadowed in what was literal Thyatira, the ancient city.  Literal Thyatira had more guilds than any other city in Asia Minor.  Inscriptions include:  
wool-workers, linen-workers, makers of outer garments, dyers, leather-workers, tanners, potters, bakers, and bronze-smiths.  So it would seem that Jesus chooses the name Thyatira with great prophetic purpose. They were like inspired bees working together in this vision of Christendom!!!

In prophetic Thyatira, universities rose up.  Many of Thyatira produced and/or 
practiced works of philosophy, sciences, theology, sacred music, etc.  So much wonderful literature appeared and is studied to this day.

The Old Testament parallel of Thyatira is the Kingdom of David and the beginning of the reign of Solomon when the Temple was built, many of the Psalms were composed, the Twelve Tribes flourished, etc.

In Revelation, Jesus praises Thyatira for "
your works, and your faith and charity, and your ministry and patient endurance, and that your more recent works are greater than the earlier ones."  Notice that Jesus seems to imply the development to the High Medieval Church. Clearly looking back, there was a great output and development of works done in grace of Christ Jesus by the Medieval Church, Thyatira, from Charlemagne, until she faded and changed into the Church of Sardis around the time of the Emperor Charles V and Pope Leo X.  This was the first half of the 16th century. Thus, assuming Faith it stands to reason that Thyatira refers to the successive generations of Catholic Christians from Charlemagne to the dawn of the Protestant revolution, colonial era, and so on.

But Jesus also has criticisms of Thyatira.  These are a bit enigmatic to me.  I'm not sure who Jezebel refers to or perhaps she refers to a group of people, for example a sect of heretics or perhaps a growing influence of the world on the Church which culminated in the Renaissance and subsequent succession of Sardis.

From Thyatira, Sardis, the Church of the fifth age, springs forth. Sardis is a real piece of work as one can imagine. Trouble has plagued her from the day she was born.  Saints and mystics of Thyatira and of Pergamon, spoke of the troubles of Sardis and that one day a Great Monarch and Angelic Pope would arise to help save her and change her.  So I will break this work here.  In the next article I will work an in depth interpretation of Revelation chapter three in regards to Sardis, and then we will proceed to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea which basically brings us to Last Judgment.

Sardis:  Church of the Fifth Epoch

Once upon a time there was a queen.  Her name was Sardis.  Sardis was full, proud and beautiful. And she was elegant, yet in her boldness she often wandered in the forest away from the citadel where her lover and protector dwelt. One day, in her meanderings, she was captured by her enemies. And they bound her in a dungeon. And they starved and raped her. And they suffocated her with evils. She became thin and pale. And as the years passed she became like her enemies, so that they let her roam in their halls with no fear of her escape. And she let them do whatever they pleased with her. And she no longer remembered that she was captured and tormented. Furthermore, she did not remember or respond to her own name.  And she could not recall her story.  

The inhabitants of this city (i.e. Sardis) had a reputation of living luxuriously and licentiously.  (The Jerome Biblical Commentary, p. 474) 

Prelude:  Black Gold

Literal Sardis was an ancient city of the kingdom of Lydia. It was the seat of an advanced society, sort of like our own. In ancient Sardis there was a stream that deposited gold nuggets from a nearby mount. These nuggets were used as currency. However, there value was always suspect because the gold had substantial impurities of silver. The metallurgists soon discovered the secret of separating the silver from the gold and this sparked an economic revolution. The coinage of Sardis was respected throughout the ancient world.  Sardis became synonymous with wealth sort of like our modern societies have developed.  And yet for all its wealth, this ancient city-state was not able to overcome the brilliance of Cyrus the Great*.  Ancient Sardis would be incorporated into the Acheamenid Empire in spite of her wealth.

When I compare ancient Sardis with our contemporary prophetic Sardis, I think of black gold.  The precious crude oil sucked out of the ground like a babe on her mother's breast.  Like the gold nuggets of ancient Sardis a barrel of crude (42 gallons) is refined to about 12 gallons of diesel, 19 gallons of gas and the rest into many other petroleum products.  We live in the oil age.  We are Petroleum Man.  This is our wealth, our black gold that we worship has sparked not only an economic revolution, but a world revolution.  The wealth of black gold has culminated in new modes of money, for example the petrodollar, as well as a crippling addiction to gas and oil which fills the insatiable greed of the elite and insatiable materialism of the masses. And yet the oil age is coming to its end.  The Black Gold is not infinite and eternal.  Empires are fighting wars for who gets what so that they can become more powerful and last longer.  Meanwhile the innocents get slaughtered on the altar of greed.  Of course all this will eventually end, but perhaps not in a way the elite envision.  Perhaps there is another way, a new beginning and a New Cyrus, a Liberator, to help tie us loose from the monster we have become.

. . . 

      And to the Angel of the Church of Sardis write . . .   

The early Christian community of Sardis is not who Jesus targeted in this letter. This would be a shallow and unsubstantiated interpretation. Most of the early Church Fathers and writers considered the seven Churches of Asia to refer to that other than their literal referents. And Saint John clearly states in the first sentences that the contents of this Sacred Book refer to events that not only are occurring but will occur in the future, and that his word is prophecy.  We are Sardis.  Us.

The word origin of 'Sardis' is unknown. Perhaps it has roots in the ancient Anatolian language called Lydian. Some have tried to compare the word Sardis with the 'sardine stone' or 'sardius' which John used to describe the appearance of God in Revelation 4:3. Sardine stone is said to be synonymous with carnelian. It is a brownish red mineral used as a semi-precious gemstone. This comparison seems a bit of a stretch. Looking ahead to the next Church in line, named Philadelphia, Holzhauser said that word sardis signifies the ‘beginning of beauty’. This successor Church of Philadelphia begins with the co-reign of the Great Monarch and Angelic Pope, both of whom were predicted by saints and mystics from the Churches of Thyatira and of Pergamon. According to the incredible deeds foreseen of them, it would seem that they have not yet arrived. Now they are reduced to a medieval folk legend, sort of like how the Sacred Script is often treated. But these predictions clearly were to come in a little tribulation of the future with apocalyptic implications. In any case, I do not know from where Holzhauser makes this claim about the word Sardis signifying 'beginning of beauty'. They say that the word origin is unknown.

The Lamp-Stands and Burning Oil

And in the midst of the seven golden lampstands was one resembling the Son of man,. . .the mystery of the seven stars, which you have seen in my right hand, and of the seven golden lampstands. The seven stars are the Angels of the seven Churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven Churches.

In our prophetic context from the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Sardis represents the successive generations of Christians from about the time of Protestant Reformation, say around AD 1500 to roughly our generation. In the first chapter of Revelation, each Church is compared to a lamp-stand, containing oil that burns, figuring the concept of a temporal scalar quantity. The lamp-stand refers to the Church, and the burning oil refers to the time of the Church.  The oil of Sardis is almost burned out and soon Jesus will light a new lamp called Philadelphia.  The transition will be a struggle because the enemies and fossils will hate to let go of Sardis.

The Angel of the Assembly of Sardis refers to each individual successor of Saint Peter who reigned as if a star illuminating the Earth. The letter is addressed to each of them, every Pope who led, including Pope Francis, for the duration of Church of Sardis. Holzhauser calls the age of Sardis—status tribulationes—state of tribulation. Sardis has been in trouble from her birth back in the time colonialism began.  I could get into all sorts of details, for example Charles V opening the trans-Atlantic slave-trade on a massive scale.  This was really the beginning of Sardis.  And in spite of some genuine progress, I can honestly say that these troubles are finally catching up with her as well as the entire world.

To some degree the Church embraces every single living person whether baptized and practicing, or not, since Jesus died to make all new. So in a very loose manner we could say that these criticisms and admonitions sent by Jesus are also meant for the entire world. And they are all criticisms and warnings. Sardis, in relation to the other Churches of Asia has the joint distinction with Laodicea of receiving little or no praise and encouragement from Jesus. He only sends critique and advice.

The Seven Spirits and the Name

Thus says he who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: I know your works, that you have a name which is alive, but you are dead.

The seven spirits of God are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, prophesied in Isaiah and filled to the full in Christ Jesus. The Spirit sent by Jesus, stimulates the Church as a whole to certain actions in which she works together with the Spirit. According to Holzhauser, the gift unique to Sardis is counsel [note: this is not to imply Catholics and others of this age did not exercise the other six gifts of the Holy Spirit]. Sardis is meant to apply wisdom in her tribulations. Thus we see that in the age of Sardis we have had three ecumenical Church Councils: Trent, Vatican I & II. We also see a marked increase in Papal teaching encyclicals, especially from the 1800's onward. In spite of this, Sardis seems lost and confused at times. In more recent times she seems naïve and shallow.

God, an Angel, a Man perform this primal relation we name:  naming.  All names are first and foremost concepts, relations.  They relate the one who names to an Object or a Concept. In other words we can name objects (that which have form) or concepts (relations between two or more objects worked out by the brain).  We name concepts by surreptitiously treating them as if they were objects.  The chosen name can possibly assume some unique significance to he who names and/or to the object or concept named. Think of a name as a relation or an affinity between the one who names and the target object, or concept named.  The names God conceives and conveys tend to assume profound significance, some of which are figurative or prophetic. In this letter, Jesus uses the word 'name' three times as a theme woven through the entire letter: "You have a name that is alive . . . I will not delete your name from the Book of Life. . . I will confess your name to my Father . . ."

This to me is tantalizing. I have the referent of the name 'Sardis' defined as multiple successive generations of Christians from roughly about the time of the Protestant Revolution to our generation. Clearly, in the first context there is a play of sarcasm coming from the lips of Jesus: you have a name that is alive, i.e. Sardis, but you the referent that is the generations of Christians are dead so to speak. The relation or affinity implied in the first context is one of deprivation.

I thought about this and the fact that in the past five hundred years, almost no one that I know of (Pope, Bishops, priests, theologians, laity, included) of the Catholic Church has been able to penetrate the enigma of the Seven Churches of Asia, let alone Sardis! Sardis does not even know her own name! And if one does not even know ones own name how could one possibly understand his story?  The fact that you cannot even discern your own name conceived and communicated by Jesus demonstrates that you are lacking in insight dear Sardis! You are not even in denial because you can not recall your name as well as your story. Your name lives in Sacred Scripture, so to speak, but you do not understand for you are dead to discernment. It is stunning how shallow and immature, if not outright erroneous, our interpretations of Sacred Scripture can possibly be at times. And the modern scholars make a travesty of them. Later we will see that Holzhauser predicted that those of the next Church, named Philadelphia will be enlightened and marvel at how long they misunderstood the clear meaning of the Sacred Script.

The Things that Remain

Be vigilant, and confirm the things that remain, lest they soon die out.

The things that remain refer to the Sacraments, as well as the pure and true teachings of Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Magisterium, prayers passed down, works of mercy, practices of self-denials, what God did with Mary, the liturgy, etc. Over the past five hundred years, many Popes have been vigilant and confirmed these, to keep the fire going and the faith strong lest they die out, so to speak.  In the face of endless troubles they have done an excellent job.  I think of the likes of Pope Pius V, Leo XIII, Pius X & XI, John Paul II, etc. These have worked together with the Spirit in exercising counsel.  Cardinals, Bishops, priests, and laity have been less vigilant. And the world, as one would expect, has been more or less oblivious although there has always been some bright sparks.  At times it seems that some relations are getting better while others are getting worse.

Works in the Sight of God

For I do not find your works to be full in the sight of my God.

I could take this to mean many things. Jesus is admonishing a Church which spans centuries. Obviously the Protestant schism induced a profound deprivation in the lives of many Christians. It was like the break up of the Kingdoms of Juda and Israel in the Old Testament. Many Christian denominations and non-denominations lack some of the Sacraments, prayers, teachings, etc. They do not pray to Mary and so lose out on many graces (although Mary still helps them of course).

But this verse does not merely refer to the effects of the Protestant breach. The works of Roman Catholic Christians over the past five hundred years, and especially the past 50 to 100 years have been especially deprived and this seems to be on an exponential increase as Sardis.  For a while the Church has seem strangely deprived and closed in on itself.  It is not even clear what most current day Catholics believe anymore.  Think of the severe sexual sins, abuses and general lack of vigilance or care in both the clergy and laity, in matters of the Spirit, the dogmas, morals, the Sacraments and so forth.

And in the world.  Think of all the horrific wars, the lack of love and care of humans, abortion, slavery, the greed and looting of resources, the lust for money and power, public immodesty, irresponsible sexual and familial relations, darkening of intellectual life, horrid taste in the arts and music, public lies, propaganda, exultation and idolatry of the unholy trinity (the bank-state-corporation), idolatry of concepts and ideologies, unenlightened agricultural practices, destruction of our common home the Earth, the sweat shops and fast fashion, the terror attacks of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the rise of the Jihadi terrorists, people turning on one another, ridiculous politics, millions of laws, prejudice, housing industry scams, Wall Street greed, racism, monopoly on education, and so on.  It seems that evil has mixed together and flew up to inconceivable heights of severity and refinement.  It is all more disturbing than the best independent or mainstream thinkers can even conceive.  And what to do in the face of all this awakening to the "dark side", this eruption of Hell that makes no sense???

It's just like the Wisdom Book sacred writer said of old, (or of new?):

And it was not enough for them to go astray concerning the knowledge of God, but also, while living in a great war of ignorance, they call so many and such great evils ‘peace.’ For either they sacrifice their own sons, or they make dark sacrifices, or they hold vigils full of madness,so that now they neither protect life, nor preserve a clean marriage, but one kills another through envy, or grieves him by adultery. And all things are mixed together: blood, murder, theft and fraud, corruption and infidelity, disturbances and perjury, disorder within good things, forgetfulness of God, pollution of souls, alteration of procreation, inconstancy of marriage, unnatural adultery and homosexuality. For the worship of unspeakable idols is the cause, and the beginning and the end, of all evil.For they either act with madness while happy, or they insistently speak wild lies, or they live unjustly, or they are quick to commit perjury. (14:22-28)

In spite of this, God has been abundantly merciful and has sent Mary to Earth in order to aid the faithful.  So we see that Sardis has been an age of Marian apparitions, such as that of Guadalupe, Lourdes, Fatima, Medjugorje, and perhaps others that are true before God.  And God will continue to be merciful and forgive.

Therefore, keep in mind the way that you have received and heard, and then observe it and repent.  But if you will not be vigilant, I will come to you like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.

First Jesus alludes to Sacred Tradition.  Second, Jesus threatens to initiate the Tribulation, specifically the little Tribulation which precedes the great one just prior to his Second Coming. Jesus alone is worthy to break the seals and when he does, he will come like a thief. A thief comes to take away that which belongs to another and via the Tribulation Jesus will certainly take away from those of Sardis and from the world. Jesus will certainly initiate what is called the little Tribulation or minor Tribulation so as to change the Church from Sardis to Philadelphia.  Obviously I think this will begin soon, and I have thought this for a fairly long time. The official beginning of the little Tribulation will help bring the new Church of Philadelphia out of the womb. In the next letter it seems that Jesus implies the tribulation which Philadelphia has just passed.

End of Sardis and Beginning of Philadelphia

When does Sardis end and Philadelphia begin? There is no clear temporal marker. One can argue that Philadelphia begins with the birth of the Great Monarch and Angelic Shepherd, or at the initiation of the little Tribulation in which Jesus breaks the first seal, or at the beginning of the reign of Great Monarch and Angelic Shepherd which happens at the culmination of the little Tribulation. Contrary to the date mongers, I don't think there has to be a clear date for this. Generations of Christians spring up in the midst of others. Some will be of Philadelphia, and others will die of Sardis. Those who die in sanctifying grace will be given a new name.  Also, one could think that Pope John Paul II helped prepare the way for the Church of Philadelphia, etc.  So also Pope Francis seems to be of Philadelphia, and one can witness the fossils of Sardis criticizing him this day.

In any case the above threat should be taken seriously. When Jesus comes like a thief in this night we are experiencing so as to break the first seal of Revelation in the last death pangs of Sardis, it will be impossible to bear the sufferings over the span that the world goes mad and God sends his corrections, WITHOUT the help of Heaven, without the special help of our spiritual Mother Mary via the Rosary, without the abundant help of the Sacraments and Sacred Scripture.  There will be a great change via the Seals of Revelation.

A Few Names
But you have a few names in Sardis who have not defiled their garments. And these shall walk with me in white, because they are worthy.

Defiling one's garments refers to severe sins performed by those who have been baptized. Like the 'thief in the night', Jesus used this figure of the garments, when he preached publicly. Over the past five hundred years, there have only been relatively few who have managed never to commit a mortal sin from Baptism to death. But one can also interpret this broadly so as to include those who sincerely repent after committing severe sins and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation or make a perfect act of Contrition. Jesus has the power, and has given the Church the power to cleanse their figurative garments after having failed, and Jesus also has the power to make Christians worthy of himself and his kingdom. And the Church helps him in this work via the Sacraments especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Eucharist, Magisterial teachings, prayers, etc. So one can interpret 'the few', broadly in relation to the billions over the past centuries. God receives back those who are serious about repentance, penance and a desire to change for the new: WITH OPEN ARMS.

And I believe there are non-Christians, like the Muslim brothers and sisters, etc. who walk in white, so to speak, and have a Baptism of Desire, or have made a perfect act of contrition in various manners, either explicitly or implicitly through perfect acts of love. There is certainly reason for profound care and caution in these words of Jesus, however they should not be taken to despair.  Jesus has the power to make us better and he will.

Those Who Prevail
Whoever prevails, so shall he be clothed in white vestments. And I will not delete his name from the Book of Life. And I will confess his name in the presence of my Father and in the presence of his Angels. Whoever has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.

Jesus promises rewards for those who live in the age of Sardis. Like I said previously, Sardis has had trouble from her birth. It has been a perilous journey for Sardis and any true Christian understands the difficulty of living in the world today while trying to remain faithful to Jesus.  When I think of Sardis, I think that she has an incurable wound or one who is throttled by all her enemies. And for various reasons, some clearly obvious others sort of mysterious . . . I think God has also allowed Sardis to be severely tempted by the world and by Satan and the fallen angels. Pope Leo XIII had a vision that Satan and some of the fallen angels would be released upon the Church and the world to tempt men and Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich also had this understanding.  Ultimately, it is our fault.  We have brought the Church low and only God will lift her up and adorn her like never before in the incarnation of Philadelphia.  We as a whole should have and could have been more careful, vigilant, stronger, creative, and understanding of the Sacred Script and of all the warnings, etc. And one can take this advice to the heart, personally. In any case Jesus will soon initiate the little Tribulation and work a change that is seemingly inconceivable and impossible.

And for this why not be grateful.  All will be well in the end.  God's loyal love is forever and runs deep to those who are bound in the New Covenant.  God is our Father.  We his family.  He will never completely abandon us because of Jesus, and there will be joy and happiness even in spite of sorrow.  And there is always the prize of Heaven.  Never despair.

Holzhauser's Comments on the Age of Sardis
Compare the above with Holzhauser's words below:

“This is a state of trouble, desolation, humiliation and poverty for the church. We may with just reason call it a state of purification, in which the Lord Jesus Christ has sifted His wheat, and will sift it again by wars, by seditions, by famines, by epidemics, and other scourges, by the tribulation and the poverty which He will suffer to weigh on the Latin church, by means of heretics and bad Christians, who will take from her the greater part of her bishoprics and countless monasteries, especially the wealthier ones. She is oppressed even by Catholic princes, and despoiled by means of taxes, imposts, and other extortions; so that we may say, in groaning with the prophet Jeremiah, ‘The queen of nations hath been placed under a yoke.’ The church is become poor and miserable, because she hath been calumniated by heretics, because her ministers are despised by bad Christians, who render them neither honor nor respect. By all these means God will sift his wheat; He will cast the chaff away to be burnt, and will gather the wheat into his barns. The fifth state of the church is the state of tribulation, the state of apostasy, full of miseries of every kind. Few will be spared by sword, by famine and by pestilence. We shall see kingdom rise against kingdom; empires will be divided in themselves and brought to desolation; principalities and monarchies will be overturned, and almost the whole world will sink into poverty. The greatest desolation all this in part has been accomplished ( as of 1656); a part remains yet to be accomplished. These things will come to pass by the very just judgment of God, because of the accumulated mass of our iniquities, whereof our fathers and ourselves have filled up the measure, at the moment when the mercy of Almighty God awaited our doing penance.

The fifth day of creation, on which the earth brought forth birds, fishes and beasts of the field, is a type of this epoch, wherin men, like to the birds of the air and fishes of the water, give themselves up to license, sink to the levels of the brute, and wallow in lust. In this lamentable state of the church, divine and human laws are without force, and made of light account; the doctrines and precepts of the church are despised; ecclesiastical discipline is not better observed by the priests, than political order is maintained by the people. Every one, like the beasts of the field, believes what he pleases, and doth what he wills.

The correspondence of this period with the fifth age of the ancient world, from Solomon down to the Babylonian captivity, is extremely striking. Then Israel fell into idolatry, and Judah and Benjamin were alone true to the covenant. So in the times we speak of, a large portion of the Catholic population has fallen away from the true church; while a small number only of good Christians hath survived. The Jewish state was then ruined, and was harassed and oppressed by heathens; so also has the holy Roman empire of Germany been ravaged and dismembered by the neighboring nations.

To this age has been accorded the gift of counsel; for counsel did the church need in order to counteract such fearful calamities, and uphold the Catholic faith. This gift of counsel was revealed in the Council of Trent, in the institution of the Society of Jesus, by whose exertions, learning and sanctity, the Catholic faith and the church throughout Europe, were rescued from destruction.

A type of this epoch is the Church of Sardis—a word that signifieth the beginning of beauty; for the calamities of this period will be the beginning of a better time. Divine providence has wisely ordained that the church which He will cause to endure unto the end of the world, should be moistened from time to time with the waters of tribulation, as the gardener watereth his garden in the time of draught.” --Beykirch pp. 21-3

* Cyrus the Great is an Old Testament foreshadowing of the Great Monarch predicted by many Catholic Saints and Mystics.

Philadelphia:  Church of the Sixth Epoch

“Be consoled, be consoled, O my people!” says your God. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and call out to her! For her malice has reached its end. Her iniquity has been forgiven. She has received double for all her sins from the hand of the Lord. (Isaiah 40:1,2) 
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:11) 
“The devout Christian of the future will either be a ‘mystic,’ one who has experienced ‘something,’ or he will cease to be anything at all.” (Karl Rahner, “Christian Living Formerly and Today,” in Theological Investigations VII, trans. David Bourke (New York: Herder and Herder, 1971)
We are not on earth to guard a museum, but to tend a blooming garden full of life. (St. John XXIII) 

. . . 

And to the Angel of the Church of Philadelphia write:

Word Origin and History of Philadelphia

As many may have heard by now, Philadelphia loosely means the 
'city of brotherly love'. They say the ancient city, in the location of modern day Turkey, was established after 189 B.C. The story goes that the founder named the city after his brother, who won his loyalty and affection; and would later become his successor. In the Greek, Philadelphos literally means "one who loves his brother". philos means love, adelphos means brother. This literal word meaning has a supreme significance in our prophetic context. I cannot possibly emphasize this enough. Jesus chose this name to refer to the multiple successive generations of Christians which will spring forth and succeed our current Church of Sardis.

The future Church of Philadelphia and loosely the entire world will be reconciled and freed from the slavery of the epic sins committed in our age. In Philadelphia, there will be no more Protestant churches. No more ridiculous thousands of Christian denominations and non-denominations. No more Christian sects, schisms or any sort of Christian divisions. There will be one universal Church first led by the Angelic Shepherd, a Bishop of Rome predicted by Catholic saints and mystics and perhaps hidden in the Sacred Scripts via figures of speech. In Philadelphia, all will believe and agree on the Seven Sacraments, the dogmas and doctrines of the Universal Church, as well as interpretations of Sacred Scripture.

In Philly, there will be clarity, morality and sanity, the opposite of what we have today.  The Church will open up to the world like some dormant flower.  God has a strategy for making this all happen in response to Jesus' prayer for unity at the Last Supper. It will begin to happen, more profoundly, during the little Tribulation.  In addition, by the time Philadelphia springs up there will be many Jews and Muslims who change and join the One Catholic Church through the example of the Angelic Shepherd and Great Catholic Monarch, both of which will be holy mystics and bigger than life world leaders.  

In Philadelphia, there will also be a generation of mystics having the Seal of the Living God and other unique experiences of God to kick start the famous Church of Philadelphia I, (and I think we) long and pray for.   The Seal of the Living God, a miraculous cruciform stigmata on the forehead will work wonders in helping the nations convert, especially the oriental peoples.

Philadelphia will be famous for their filial love for one another regardless of any conceivable differences, especially religious, but also those many other divisions of people that have cropped up around the world for various and some incredibly complex reasons as a result of the epic greed of the ruling cliques or elite (as well as our own sins). This seeming miracle will be brought about by Jesus with Mary's help via the events and prophetic figures of the little Tribulation. A great change will occur in mankind. Pope Francis has helped prepare for it through his Year of Mercy.  Those who live to see Philadelphia will will be a little different than we are today. They will be subtle and thoughtful, enlightened and holy. They will be open to one another.  Cosmopolitan. The people of the Earth will be sincere toward one another and unified like a harmonious family, at least for some time, at least a generation. The main focus will be brotherly love fueled by Spirit.  Also, the teachings of the Second Vatican Council will also be realized in a new and more authentic manner than today.

Perhaps today one can start to see glimpses of Philadelphia. She wants to spring up but she can't quite do it on her own. Too many obstacles that need to be removed first. Too much old, and fossilic evil in high places as well as errors. God will eradicate and repair all this in a fairly brief duration. It will be wonderful, I promise, or terrible, pending one's disposition.

Newness of Philadelphia

The ancient city of Philadelphia was, in context to Antiquity, fairly new. This is significant in our prophetic context.  This ancient Philadelphia serves as a prophetic model of our future Church.  Philadelphia will be the new Church, perhaps starting to spring up in our time, and yet forged, so to speak, by a minor Tribulation, which is sort of fermenting now, and will be officially inaugurated by Jesus when he breaks the seals in an astonishing succession of events that will miraculously affect all.

But Philadelphia is NEW. Its like the Church and the world will become fresh and young again.  Like a child. This new Church is forward thinking. It is not a return to the good old days like some myopic ultra-conservative suffering mental illness would think. God no. We are moving toward the Return of Jesus, I hope. Zeal and love of the Lord and one's neighbor will be reignited like in certain times past. And there is an inevitable continuation. Its not like the Church of Philly will change dogma and doctrine like the old ultra-liberal hags desire. However with Philly is a development, a genuine renewal. The Old Testament parallel is the deliverance of the Jews from their Babylonian captivity by the prophetically motivated Cyrus the Great, and the subsequent Jewish renewal.

But to reiterate the point, the newness of prophetic Philadelphia is sort of foreshadowed by literal Philadelphia which in the context of Antiquity was not so ancient as the other cities of Asia Minor. It was founded after 189 BC on one of the highways which led to the interior of Asia Minor. So it was built up in context to an already advanced and old society that had roads, currency, etc. just like our prophetic Philadelphia will be built up from the ashes of this old and foul evil we are suffering under today.

Definition of the Philadelphia and the Angel of Philadelphia

In this third chapter of Revelation, Philadelphia refers to the generations of Christians beginning around the time of the Angelic Pope and Great Monarch both prophesied by many saints and mystics from the Churches of Pergamon, Thyatira and Sardis, respectively (see my previous interpretations). Again, the Angel of the Church of Philadelphia, addressed to by Jesus in the letter refers to the Pope, and to all successive Popes who reign over her for the duration of the sixth age conceived and willed by Christ Jesus, from Heaven. The letter is addressed first and foremost to the Pope(s) and through him the Church and the world. So some of these verses could especially target the Pope or the people or both.

The first Pope addressed to in this prophetic letter is not just any Pope, but the prophetic figure of Roman Catholic Prophecy known as the Angelic Pope, or Angelic Shepherd. He will be elected during the little Tribulation. The Angelic Shepherd will have a class of holiness that is out of this world. He will work many miracles and be beyond world famous. He will be famous among the Angels. He will be a winner. He will win many over including Christians separated from the Roman Catholic Church. He will be more like Jesus than anyone and ALL will love him excepting those who are against Jesus. And he most certainly will bear the Seal of the Living God*, predicted later in Revelation (as will the Great Monarch who is figuratively related in the next verse!).

For anyone more or less versed in Roman Catholic eschatology, it is important to bear the Angelic Pope, the Church and world passing out or passed out of the little Tribulation IN MIND whilst reading Jesus' address to Philadelphia.

Holzhauser who is one of my inspirations for these interpretive commentaries calls this sixth age of Philadelphia: state of consolation. His own words:

The sixth period of the church—the status consolationis—begins with the Holy Pope and the Powerful Emperor, and terminates with the birth of Antichrist.
This will be an age of solace, wherein God will console His church after the many mortifications and afflictions she had endured in the fifth period. For all nations will be brought to the unity of the true Catholic faith.

Comparing with the previous articles in this series, notice the sort of parallel between the Church of Sardis and the Church of Philadelphia. Sardis began with a lackluster Pope and Emperor, Leo X and Charles V, respectively. Philadelphia will begin with a pair of saintly mystics in the Angelic Pope and Great Catholic Monarch.

The Key and David

Thus says the Holy One, the True One, he who holds the key of David. He opens and no one closes. He closes and no one opens.

A key figuratively refers to power. He who holds the key has the power to do that which no one can oppose or contradict. Now it would be easy to think that David refers to the ancient Jewish king that Jesus rightfully took the throne of. This is all true. But I'm forward thinking. David is a foreshadowing of the Great Monarch. And in this prophetic context David figuratively refers to the Great Catholic Monarch of Prophecy, also known by various other names (emperor, duke, etc.). Jesus is saying that he is the One from whom the Great Catholic Monarch derives his power.

This Great Monarch will assume a profound role for the Church and the world. He is anointed to to assume some sort of mystical and extraordinary partaking of Jesus' Kingship, as a harbinger of His Return.  He will be given a miraculous power to help change the world for the better. He is one of the answer to our prayers for peace in the Middle East and around the world. He will be a winner. It is said by Saint Francis of Paola that he will found the most perfect religious order ever to grace this Earth. Many will leave everything to follow him. The Great Catholic Monarch will spearhead a fight for freedom from all secular powers who have enslaved the masses prior to and during the Tribulation. For example from the elite ruling cliques who hide in the shadows, the greedy, elite think tanks, top tier bankers, governments, covert agencies, tyrants, religious extremists, secular extremists, kings and empires and so on. It is strange because the prophecies suggest that he and his army will conquer all lands and all modes of evil across Europe and the Middle East (and perhaps North Africa), from England to the Holy Land and even into the heart of the Arab world.  Its not as if he is just fighting one enemy but many without prejudice.   

I know your works. Behold, I have set an open door before you, which no one is able to close. For you have little power, and you have observed my word, and you have not denied my name.

Up to and during the little Tribulation it will be like the nascent Church of Philadelphia and her soon to be Pope, is stuck in a room without any electricity, food or water. She is enslaved. She can't break free. Sardis will be dragging her down. But they will continue to observe the Gospel and remain faithful. And as the events unfold, Jesus will slowly inspire all the separated Churches and those of good will in all the nations to change and pour into this sort of nascent prophetic Church which will ultimately led by the Angelic Shepherd. Jesus will empower the Great Monarch to free the children of God so that they can live again. And Jesus will finish the little Tribulation and there will be peace.

Please note that in all these interpretations and commentaries I am playing off of the prophetic names used by Jesus in the letters. I'm not suggesting a different Church other than the universal Church, the Catholic Church who is led by the Bishop of Rome, Peter's successor. In the Church of Philadelphia there is still the seven Sacraments, the Magisterial teachings, Bishops, priest, religious, laity, some modified infrastructure, etc. And like I said above there will be no more Christian divisions. The Church will always be a Divine institution tracing back to Jesus via the Apostles. However those of Philly will perhaps have radically different lifestyles than those of Sardis. For example, priests might not own anything or have any money. They will have to live close to the ordinary folk. There won't be any sordid banks, governments, or corporations in Rome or Jerusalem or anywhere for a time. People will have different life interests and goals.

The Synagogue of Satan
Behold, I will take from the synagogue of Satan those who declare themselves to be Jews and are not, for they are lying. Behold, I will cause them to approach and to reverence before your feet. And they shall know that I have loved you.

Synagogue is a derogatory term used by Jesus as opposed to ekklesia, Church, which implies a holy assembly [or is supposed to].

Now there are different modes of severe evil in this world and within of these there are degrees. Perhaps those in the synagogue of Satan refer to the top tier elite.  The ruling cliques of this world who hide behind the shadows and make puppets of even governments.  Top tier banking is one of the most sadistic and epic manners of greed, an evil beyond petty corporate greed and perhaps even religious extremism, and cults [though not beyond sexual slavery]. The objective of a world class bank is to make us all, whether nations or individuals, slaves of debt. Their principle is “if you control the debt you control everything”. Users have understood this from time immemorial. In this world, if you get one indebted to you, then you can control his or her destiny. Before they even think of making profit, they now scheme to make whole nations indebted to them with the intent of controlling their destiny.  And this is how they compete with one another.

In these advanced modern times, banking is an incredibly successful industry. Most of the top 50 transnational corporations (TNC) are banks. The main result is that nearly 4/10 of the control over the economic value of TNCs in the world is held, via a complicated web of ownership relations, by a group of 147 TNCs in the core, which has almost full control over itself. Most are banks and other financial institutions.**

One of the manners they do to accomplish their goals is gamble in developing nations via conflict.  Note that both Libya and Syria were debt free prior to their civil conflicts, and there is an awful lot of speculation about proxy armies there.  The ruling cliques want to be in control of the debt produced in a conflict. And they probably work together with developed nations to induce conflict, via indebtedness. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Banking is mixed up with all governments, corporations, companies, agencies, revolutionaries, associations, churches, mafias, mass media, families . . . in short every pound of flesh, and every ounce of dirt . . . for hundreds of years now. We are all slaves in this current world. For generations now, we have been very unwise, and essentially conditioned from youth to make this all possible. We made this by our own hands. The greed demons have a field day with us. And there is no way of stopping them by mere human efforts. The only way not to be a slave is to choose not to be of this Earth which is impossible apart from Christ Jesus. And learning critical thinking and rational analysis helps free the brain.

Anyway, this almost inconceivable mode of evil practiced in this world by those in high places and perpetrated by the masses, those of the synagogue of Satan, is one of the reasons why we will eventually need a holy Catholic Monarch who with the help of Heaven can do the impossible in the affairs of the nations. The downfall of tyrants will also be aided and abetted by the events of the little Tribulation which will eventually destroy the infrastructure built to figuratively rape and enslave every human on this Earth. There are enormous battles and suffering coming, because these people won’t easily let go of what they have worked so hard to accomplish. It’s time to grow up. Time to start seeing the big picture. We can be children before God, but before the synagogue of Satan we have to be serpents.

Why does Jesus say that these declare themselves Jews but are lying? Some in the banking industry could be mixed descendants of Jacob, and yet they are not practicing Jews, like the orthodox Jews. The orthodox Jews are those who practice religion and are more or less holy. But not all the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob practice the Jewish religion or any other religion whose relational object is the One God. Some of these mixed descendants are atheists.  There is a lot of speculation about all this, but I will forego this here.      

But if this word of Jesus is true, and I believe it is, eventually some of this elite clique will be brought to fall prostrate and perhaps even confess before the Angelic Shepherd. Remember this letter is first and foremost addressed to the Pope, especially the first Pope of Philly who is synonymous with the Angelic Pope of Prophecy. I’ve been interpreting sort of loosely and for everyone, but I really believe that these letters are first intended for the Pope, and through the Pope for the rest of practicing Christians and those of the entire world. It would be good if a Pope or the faithful understood this or at least considered this a viable interpretation.

The Hour of Temptation         

Since you have kept the word of my patient endurance, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall overcome the whole world in order to test those living upon the earth.

Here Jesus is forward thinking. The hour of temptation, etc. references the future time of Antichrist, when he forces his name to be artificially sealed on all who would buy and sell, and then eventually assumes the Church infrastructure and sets up the abomination of desolation (a false and evil imitation of the Eucharist). This and other events that happen during Antichrist's reign will tempt and test the entire world in a more intense way than the little Tribulation.  But this time is brief, and so Jesus uses the figure of an hour as opposed to a day.  And this is why Roman Catholic eschatology modifies the Tribulations into two: a minor and a major, lesser and greater, little and great, etc.  In between the two there is a generation of profound peace and holiness during the reign of the Angelic Shepherd and Great Monarch.  This is figured later in Revelation Chapter 10 when there is a sort of interlude where the events cut off at the sixth trumpet of the seventh seal, and an Angel descends from Heaven with a rainbow upon his head.

Jesus will prevent the Church of Philadelphia from the advent of Antichrist by performing various acts from Heaven and on Earth in the Eucharist. At the culmination of the little Tribulation there will be a generation of profound peace and holiness and Jesus will continue to enlighten the Church and the world until sin and darkness ever so subtly creeps its way back into the hearts and brains of men, so to speak. Eventually, a new lukewarm Church will spring up from Philadelphia, named Laodicea. This is the future Church that Jesus wants to vomit out of his mouth. And Jesus will allow Antichrist to be born and rise up in the midst of Laodicea.

The Crown of Revelation 3:11 compared to the Crown of Revelation 6:2

Behold, I am approaching quickly. Hold on to what you have, so that no one may take your crown.

By the time Philadelphia has cycled through several generations the Return of Jesus will be approaching ever closer. Time will fly in Philly. And I think that the faithful of Philadelphia will understand this well. But toward the end of Philadelphia's age many, probably most Catholics will become lukewarm and immersed in what will probably be a super advanced society. They will forget about the Sacred Script and past events.

But in the meantime compare the crown imparted to the white horse and rider of Revelation 6:2 to the crown Jesus speaks of above in 3:11. The crowned rider of the white horse is the Great Catholic Monarch and the horse he rides is his holy religious order and the people of his kingdom he establishes across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.  He and his followers for many generations will have a power for good in the Church and the world that flows from the victory of Jesus on the Cross.  The new kings of the Earth will be the right arm of the Church and will successfully keep watch over a genuinely peaceful society without religious persecution, racism, slavery, forced poverty, trafficking, etc.

Jerusalem Themes

Whoever prevails, I will set him as a column in the temple of my God, and he shall not depart from it anymore. And I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem that descends out of heaven from my God, and my new name.

Notice the themes of the city New Jerusalem and of the heavenly temple.

The Holy Land will be destroyed during the little Tribulation, and we already see a foreshadowing of this in the destruction of so many holy sites in Syria and all the war refugees. After the little Tribulation, the remaining peoples will freely donate and desire to take part in this work of rebuilding. Many from all over the world will stream into the Holy Land and environs, returning to their homes, helping to rebuild, establish roots, etc. It is said that the Great Monarch will retire and pass on in Jerusalem.

Philadelphia, under the guidance of the Great Monarch and Angelic Shepherd will rebuild Jerusalem, the Holy Land and environs.  This may very well include building a new Roman Catholic Basilica, a new Mosque for the Muslims, and a Temple for the Jews.  There may even be a single structure built where all the Christians, Muslims, and Jews can come to worship together.

So you see these themes of the column, temple, and New Jerusalem conveyed by Jesus, would seem especially resonant with them, that is the people of prophetic Philly. Of course there is no ideal Church or world until God concludes the human family with the Resurrection, Last Judgment, the New Heaven, New Earth and descent of the New Jerusalem. As Philly gets older, hearts grow colder. Centuries pass, people forget about the past, make comprises, wander astray, become lukewarm, etc. Eventually a new Church Jesus calls Laodicea will spring up and Antichrist will be born. 

From "Coming Soon" to "Knocking at the Door"

When one does a comparative analysis of Jesus' address to the Seven Churches of Asia one will notice a little progression which lends an argument in favor of each Church succeeding one another, and each Church having a time figuratively represented by the seven golden lampstands. Jesus says to John "the seven lampstands are the seven Churches" recorded in verse 19 of chapter 1. We could imagine that each stand has oil or a candle and these will only burn for so long on Earth.

After not having focused on his return in his address to the first five, in the sixth and seventh Churches, Philadelphia and Laodicea respectively, we see that Jesus hints that his Return is immanent.

To Philadelphia he says,

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one can take away your crown. (Rev 3:11)

Then to Laodicea he says,

Listen! I am standing at the door and knocking! (Rev 3:20)

And so it seems like that in the time of Philadelphia Jesus is on the way to the house, the Church on Earth, approaching quickly so to speak. But when Laodicea succeeds Philadelphia, Jesus is standing at the door and knocking, indicating that he will Return from Heaven in the time of Laodicea.

Like I mentioned above, I also noticed that Jesus gives a singular favor to Philadelphia. He promises Philly that he will "keep them from the hour of temptation, which shall overcome the whole world in order to test those living upon the earth." This hour of temptation which will overcome the whole world seems to clearly reference the reign of Antichrist. This time of Antichrist's reign is brief less than a decade and so Jesus fittingly uses the figure of an hour. This is in opposition to the tribulation for ten days in the Church of Smyrna which I think represents ten major persecutions led by ten Roman Emperors in the nascent Church. Some of these Roman Emperors reigned for two decades, for example Diocletian from 284 to 305 in addition to the general persecution lasting for centuries with the intensity increasing and decreasing pending emperor. Antichrist on the other hand will overcome the whole world for no more than seven years, and then Jesus will return. Jesus will prevent the Church of Philadelphia from the advent of Antichrist, but he will not prevent Laodicea.

Ven. Bartholomew Holzhauser's Comments on the Age of Philadelphia
(note: Holzhauser lived hundreds of years ago)

"The sixth period of the church—the status consolationis—begins with the Holy Pope and the Powerful Emperor, and terminates with the birth of Antichrist.
This will be an age of solace, wherein God will console His church after the many mortifications and afflictions she had endured in the fifth period. For all nations will be brought to the unity of the true Catholic faith.
A type of this period was the sixth age of the old world, from the deliverance of the Israelites out of the Babylonian captivity, and the rebuilding of the city and of the temple of Jerusalem, down to the coming of Christ. As God gladdened His people by the rebuilding of the temple and of the holy city; as all kingdoms and nations were subjected to the Roman empire; and Caesar Augustus, the most powerful and excellent monarch after vanquishing all his enemies, gave for fifty-six years, peace to the world; so will God pour out upon His church, that witnessed in the fifth period nought but affliction, the most abundant consolations. But this happy age will be ushered in the following circumstances. When all is desolated with war; when the church and priests must pay taxes; when Catholics are oppressed by heretics, and their faithless fellow religionists; when monarchs are murdered; subjects oppressed; when riches extirpated; when every thing concurs to bring about the establishment of Republics; then will the hand of the Almighty produce a marvelous change, according to human notions seemingly impossible. For that strong monarch, (whose name is to be (the help of God), will, as the envoy of the Almighty, root up these Republics. He will subject all things to himself, and will zealously assist the true Church of Christ. All heresies will be banished into hell; the Turkish empire will be overthrown to its foundations, and his dominion will extend from east to west. All nations will come, and will worship the Lord in the one true Catholic Faith. Many righteous men will flourish, and many learned men will arise. Men will love justice and righteousness, and peace will dwell on the whole earth. For the Omnipotent will bind satan for many years, until the advent of him who is to come, --- the son of perdition [Antichrist].
“In respect to perfection, this period corresponds to the sixth day of creation, on which God created man after His own image and subjected to him, as lord of creation, all creatures of the earth. So will man be now a true image of God, (in righteousness and holiness), and the strong monarch will rule over all nations.
The sixth gift of the Spirit, the fear of the Lord, will in this period be poured out upon the church; for men will fear the Lord their God, keep His commandments, and serve him with their whole heart. The scriptures will be understood after one uniform fashion, without contradiction and error, so that all will marvel they had so long misunderstood the clear sense of holy writ. The sciences will be multiplied and completed, and men will receive extraordinary illumination in natural, as well as divine knowledge.” (Beykirch p. 27-9)

* Note that some think that Zlatko Sudac a priest and mystic of the diocese of Krk, Croatia is the soon to be Angelic Shepherd. His location fulfills a prophecy going back hundreds of years, "a pastor of the universal church will come from the shore of Dalmatia" (Rudolf Gekner, 1675). Dalmatia is synonymous with Croatia and he came from an island off its shores. He is famous in his country for his stigmata like Saint Francis of Assisi. In addition to the miraculous wounds on hands and feet he has a wound in the form of the cross on his forehead suggesting the Seal of the Living God predicted in Revelation. I've watched many of his homilies. His manner in many ways also seems to fit what is said about the Angelic Shepherd in all the prophecies. I can see him leading Philadelphia.

** see: Who Controls the World? James B. Glattfelder

. . . This Great Monarch will assist the Pope in the reformation of the whole earth. Many princes and nations that are living in error and impiety shall be converted, and an admirable peace shall reign among men during many years, because the wrath of God shall be appeased through their repentance, penance, and good works. There will be one common law one faith, one baptism, one religion. All nations shall recognize the Holy See of Rome, and shall pay homage to the Pope. But after some considerable time fervor shall cool, iniquity shall abound, and moral corruption shall become worse than ever, which shall bring upon mankind the last and worse persecution of Antichrist, and the end of the world. (Saint Caesar of Arles, c. AD 469-543)

In the last period Christians will not appreciate the great grace of God who provided a monarch, a long duration of peace, a splendid fertility of the earth. They will be very ungrateful, lead a sinful life, in pride, vanity, unchastity, frivolity, hatred, avarice, gluttony, and many other vices, that the sins of men will stink more than a pestilence before God. (From the Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius, Syria, c. AD 700)   
See, I will create a New Heaven and a New Earth! The former ones will not be remembered, no one will think about them anymore. (Isaiah 65:17)  

Laodicea: Church of the Seventh Epoch

And to the Angel of the Church of Laodicea write: 

Laodicea concludes our journey of the Seven Churches of Asia. Asia, land of the rising Sun, figuratively refers to the Earth, as opposed to Heaven and the Church of Heaven. Laodicea prophetically refers to the Church of the future. At most maybe a few centuries away. Laodicea, a generation of Christians will spring up from the advanced generations of Philadelphia, a Church which will be inaugurated by the co-reign of the Angelic Shepherd and Great Monarch who have come out of the little Tribulation.

Laodicea is a future generation of Catholic Christians on Earth at the time of Antichrist. On Earth, Laodicea will not only suffer the reign of Antichrist, but they will also see the Return of Jesus. Holzhauser has the seventh age of Laodicea defined from the birth of Antichrist to the end of the world. But note that the sins committed by Roman Catholics which will induce the birth and reign of Antichrist begin prior to Antichrist's birth. See I don't think there is any clear cut date when the seventh age of Laodicea begins.  Some late Catholic Christians of Philadelphia will generate those of Laodicea, and in general the world will have slipped away from the profound era of peace, holiness, health and happiness of the Angelic Shepherd and Great Monarch.

Jesus, from Heaven, prophetically imparts one last set of critique and advice aimed at a Pope of what would be considered our 'future'. This Pope is figuratively represented by "Angel of the Church of Laodicea". Through this Pope, the critique and advice applies to the entire future Church and of course can also be used by us today. For,

All Scripture, having been divinely inspired, is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in justice, so that the man of God may be perfect, having been trained for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Word Origin

Laodicea has a fascinating word origin. Its almost to good to be true in context to the interpretive approach I've decided to take with the Seven Churches. It is poetic in its precision and without having to apply a whole lot of effort I can complete this interpretation in consistent style. Jesus chose this name with powerful foresight. Laodicea originates from the Greek words Laos and Dike.

Laos is Greek. It literally means 'a people' or 'the crowd'. In context of Sacred Scripture laos assumes the meaning 'people of the Lord' or 'God's chosen people'. The English word 'laity' originates in the Greek laos.

Dike is also Greek. It loosely means justice or punishment or judicial hearing. In classical Greek, dike is used to convey a legal decision based on justice . . . a judicial verdict of innocence or of guilt.

So combine the two concepts Laos and Dike into Laodicea and you see where we are going. The people of the Lord living in the future are judged by the Lord as severely guilty, especially in light of the rare and marvelous gifts lavished onto the Church and the world throughout the little Tribulation and beyond past its culmination. As a recompense, for having wasted these elect gifts they receive Antichrist.

There is also a deeper reason why Jesus used this name. Laodicea figuratively refers to the last Church and Church age in the midst of which Jesus will complete his work. Sometime after Jesus returns and destroys Antichrist he will initiate the Resurrection and Last Judgment, followed by the creation of the New Heaven and the New Earth, upon which the New Jerusalem will land. So the name is fitting and fits in with my interpretive approach inspired by Ven. Bartholomew Holzhauser.

It is also interesting to note the descriptions Jesus uses about himself at the head of the letter: 

Thus says the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, who is the Beginning of the creation of God.
So you see we have gone full circle here. At the very end Jesus is emphasizing that all things were created through Him and that he is the ultimate object in the concept of creation, that is all things were created for Him. Everything belongs to Jesus, and he also earned this on the Cross and will complete what he set out to do from his Father.

Ancient Laodicea vs. Prophetic Laodicea

Like the other models Jesus used in this prophecy, Laodicea was an ancient city of what is today known as Turkey. Like Sardis, Laodicea was rich and prosperous. It was situated on a trade route. After incorporation by the first Roman Emperors, it became a flourishing commercial city where large money transactions and extensive trade were made.

Prophetic Laodicea will also be ultra-advanced, interconnected on a global scale, [maybe even more so today] immensely wealthy, and pleasure seeking. Banking will have long returned. Through military might, bribes, and cunning Antichrist will be able to take control of the whole world, as well as the Church, fairly easily, much more so than if he were to come in our generation (which he most certainly will not).


I know your works: that you are neither cold, nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. But because you are lukewarm and are neither cold nor hot, I will begin to vomit you out of my mouth.

The Church will also be rich, but like Jesus alludes, she will be lukewarm, a behavior which Jesus obviously despises. The bar will be set high, and the stakes will be raised after the little Tribulation. The lavish gifts poured out on the Church and the world are not to be taken lightly.


For you declare, ‘I am wealthy, and I have been enriched further, and I have need of nothing.’ And you do not know that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.
The Church of Laodicea will also be presumptuous. This presumption will lead many into apostasy, rejecting of all the teachings of the Church, the Sacraments, and so on. Today,few fall into apostasy, but it is much more common to reject certain teachings of the Church or rejects certain Sacraments, but not all of them or to breaking communion wit the Pope. In the future this wholesale rejection of all that Christ has given us will happen across the Church and the world so that there wI'll be a small faithful Church led by the final Popes.

Also notice the allusion to material wealth. Maybe the Earth's resources will be replenished after the little Tribulation because of the Comet Wormwood and miracles performed by God. People will think there is nothing left other than to enjoy whatever pleasures of the world are left. The sciences will have advanced as far as they can and all pleasures will be overflowing, and refined.

Jesus despises this, and references her deprivation in regards to spiritual works, that is works deriving from the Holy Spirit and done in cooperation with Him.

And so Jesus advises using figures:

I urge you to buy from me gold, tested by fire, so that you may be enriched and may be clothed in white vestments, and so that the shame of your nakedness may disappear. And anoint your eyes with an eye salve, so that you may see.
The gold could refer to selfless love all of which originates in Jesus, and tried by temptations, the world, and so on. The eye salve, the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Jesus Suggests the Great Tribulation

Those whom I love, I rebuke and chastise. Therefore, be zealous and do penance.
Here Jesus suggests that he is going to initiate the Great Tribulation, which coincides with Antichrist's reign. This is also the time when Enoch and Elias will be sent from Paradise to the Earth. So the Church, named Laodicea, will also see Enoch and Elias and experience their preaching and miracles. Enoch and Elias will spark zeal and penance in some of those remaining. They will wake up from their lukewarm slumber.

Jesus Suggest He is about to Return

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone will hear my voice and will open the door to me, I will enter to him, and I will dine with him, and he with me.
In contradistinction to the letter to the Church of Philadelphia where Jesus says he is approaching quickly, later in the generation of Laodicea, Jesus is no longer approaching, he is standing at the door, and knocking so to speak. There is an implication of progression in the words of Jesus from "approaching quickly" in Philadelphia to "standing at the door and knocking" in Laodicea.  And this supports the prophetic understanding that the Seven Churches of Asia are a temporal succession.  But again within seven years of Antichrist's global rise to power Jesus will Return. This is quick.

This word of Jesus above could easily be taken figuratively, but maybe there is also some literal truth to this. When Jesus Returns, maybe he will stay at some people's houses and dine with them as he takes care of the situation on Earth.

Last Advice

Whoever prevails, I will grant to him to sit with me on my throne, just as I also have overcome and have sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.”

Holzhauser's comments on the age of Laodicea

Other theologians have developed ideas about the Great Tribulation and beyond. And there is plenty of time for Christians of the future to develop interpretations so here we end the journey of the Seven Churches with Holzhauser's comments.

“The seventh and last period of the Church—the status desolationis, state of desolation—dates from the birth of Antichrist till the end of the world. In this age the apostasy from the faith will be general, and then will time come unto its end. To this period corresponds the seventh day of creation when God concluded His work, and celebrated the Sabbath. So will God now close the work of spiritual creation, and repose in eternity with His saints and His elect. The evils of this age will be lukewarmness in faith—coldness of love—perturbation of public order—folly on the part of pastors and rulers, who will be like unto autumnal trees without fruits---wandering stars---rainless clouds. This state of things is denoted by the name of the seventh community, Laodicea, which signifies the spitting out; for Christ the Lord will spit out His lukewarm Christendom, and deliver it over to the sons of perdition. (Beykirch, p. 33) 

The White Horse and Rider of Revelation (First Seal)

And I saw that the Lamb had opened one of the seven seals. And I heard one of the four living creatures saying, in a voice like thunder: “Come!”And I saw, and behold, a white horse. And he who was sitting upon it was holding a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he went forth conquering, so that he might prevail.  (Revelation 6:2) 
That scroll contains the whole series of divine decrees that must be accomplished in human history to make perfect justice prevail. If the scroll remains sealed, these decrees can be neither known nor implemented, and wickedness will continue to spread and oppress believers. Hence, the need for authoritative intervention: it would be made by the slain and risen take the scroll and to open its seals. (Saint John Paul II, Audiences, 2004)
From what has been said it is also evident, that the Whiteness of the Sun's Light is compounded all the Colours wherewith the several sorts of Rays whereof that Light consists, when by their several Refrangibilities they are separated from one another, do tinge Paper or any other white Body whereon they fall. For those Colours ... are unchangeable, and whenever all those Rays with those their Colours are mix'd again, they reproduce the same white Light as before.  (Sir Isaac Newton, Optics)
But not yet have we solved the incantation of this whiteness and learned why it appeals to the soul; and more strange and far more portentous-why, as we have seen, it is at once the most meaning symbol of spiritual things, nay, the very veil of the Christian's Deity; and yet should be as it is the intensifying agent in things most appalling to mankind.  (Herman Melville, from Moby Dick)
“Then, I saw in the distance great legions approaching. In the foreground I saw a man on a white horse. Prisoners were set free and joined them. All the enemies were pursued. Then, I saw that the Church was being promptly rebuilt, and she was more magnificent than ever before." (Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich)
The Mother of God goes over them, 
Walking on wind and flame, 
And the storm-cloud drifts from city and dale, 
And the White Horse stamps in the White Horse Vale,
And we all shall yet drink Christian ale, 
In the village of our name.

The Mother of God goes over them, 
On dreadful cherubs borne; 
And the psalm is roaring above the rune, 
And the Cross goes over the sun and moon . . . 
(Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse)

"What does your heart tell you?"

The White Horse and Rider by Peter Olsen
Section I

Equus Albus

First, let us take a quick look at the Latin translation of Revelation. The word albus is commonly translated to English as white.  From albus we get the English word 'alb', a name for the long white linen garment Roman Catholic priests don underneath the chasuble.  Its like the priest clothes himself with an unstained wedding garment for the feast of the Body and Blood of our Lord which he presides over and celebrates with the Church.  This white garment signifies a state of sanctifying grace in relation to God for the wearer and/or holiness.

"equus albus" is used in Revelation 6:2 which is our subject, as well as 19:11 where John describes the Return of Jesus:

Et vidi cælum apertum, et ecce equus albus, et qui sedebat super eum, vocabatur Fidelis, et Verax, et cum iustitia iudicat, et pugnat. (Revelation 19:11)
Et vidi: et ecce equus albus, et qui sedebat super illum habebat arcum, et data est ei corona, et exivit vincens ut vinceret. (Revelation 6:2)

White Horse in Context of Science

White horses have un-pigmented skin and a white hair coat. So in other words the atoms and molecules . . . the very cells comprising skin and hair coat of these horses arrange in a manner to relay light signals at various frequencies of our visible spectrum; all those frequencies that correspond to the colors of a rainbow. Our eyes and brain work to understand their spectrum and we name this relation:  white. I will revisit this theme at the end of this section.

But the so called true white horses, especially those which carry the dominant white genes (W) are rare. So already we see the concepts of rarity and value in context of the world. A human could easily conceive these living objects as set apart among their peers, as special, as objects of favor. White horses are precious, uncommon, unequal, etc. It is good to have them on Earth.

In context of Heavenly conceptions, the color white could represent Divine election. That which white horse and rider figuratively reference, is favored, graced, anointed, stimulated, perfected, in some way set apart as unequal, etc. by God for some aim. This Divine election could be assumed to a movement of men on the Earth in the symbol of a horse, led by the rider. But in any case, the horse's color could reveal election in a theological definition.

White Horses in Myth and Art 

White horses figure prominently in many a tale. Pegasus is the famous white horse with wings of Grecian myth. The story goes he was captured by Bellerophon near the fountain Peirene with the help of Athena and Poseidon. Pegasus allows the hero to ride him so as to defeat a monster, the Chimera, before realizing many other exploits. Later, Zeus placed him up in the sky, transforming him into the constellation of the same name. But the significant concept here is that the white horse serves and carries the hero. This concept or similar is taken up in other stories.  These themes could be respected by Heaven. Jesus will occasionally play on worldly myths, and customs, for he is not only God but man. But again the important concept to take from this is that the white horse carries the warrior-hero or the good prince in shining armor, not the evil enemy.
Pegasus carrying a Grecian Hero 

Next we have the unicorn, a horse-like animal, always thought of or depicted as white. In stories of Medieval and Renaissance origin the wild unicorn served as a symbol of purity. It could only be captured by a virgin and in fact there are some statues, pictures and reliefs of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding a unicorn:

Mary holding a unicorn 

Patron Saints on White Horses

The two patron Saints James and George are traditionally depicted as riding white steeds. There are even depictions of Saint Martin of Tours, who like George was a Roman soldier.  He is riding a white steed when he cut off half his Roman cape in donation to the poor man. These artistic concepts could have easily been inspired by chapter 19 of Revelation where John describes the armies from Heaven seated on white horses, following Jesus who himself is on a white horse.

Saint Martin of Tours 

In Islam, there is a famous white steed named al-Buraq (lightning). Buraq transports Abraham and the supposed prophet Muhammad.

So you see, harbinger or not, so far the white horse has many gold stars, both worldly and heavenly, in favor of it representing good and not evil. If one is evil, or slack in virtue, perhaps the white horse is an ill omen.  Yet for the good, the white horse is not only precious enough to carry generals in victorious parades, but is persistently used as a symbol of goodness, election, purity, holiness, courage, perfection, etc.

If we assume white in context of physics and re-conceptualize in context to a life inspired by the Spirit or in context of God and Heaven: white figuratively represents an integration and exercise of all the virtues. All the virtues mingle together to perfection in God, Jesus, Mary and the saints and this is figured in the color white. As a physical object that appears white, thoroughly reflects all or a variety of frequencies corresponding to the colors of a rainbow, so does an object that is white represent a person who emanates all the virtues as a set, mingling as one.  In a physical context, there is no deprivation or lack of any visible frequency/color from an object appearing white. The colors mix together to white (so to speak). In a heavenly context a white object is synonymous with perfection.  There is no deprivation or weakness.  One can do all things who is white. 

I'm surprised that no interpreter that I have ever read has picked this concept out. Herman Melville seems to muse on this in his masterpiece 
Moby Dick (quoted above).  Why the white garments, the white horses, etc.? Why does Mary always wear a white dress (usually draped with a blue veil). The answer is perfection of all the virtues, of all that is good, a fullness, a completeness . . . no harm, deprivation, weakness or blemish of any manner whatsoever. All the virtues and all possible Divine graces combine together to perfection and fullness like the all the frequencies to white.

* please note I understand that a source object can possibly emit white light by mixing a few frequencies corresponding to the primary colors or even as little as two or three frequencies.  But many white light emit at all visible frequencies (e.g. the Sun).  So I played off of the common misconception which is fine for our purposes.

Section II: The Identity of the Rider

In this section I will analyze a spectrum of common interpretations of the rider's identity. In this you will begin to see glimpses of my understanding.

Is the Rider of the White Horse Jesus or a Saint? 

A common interpretation of Roman Catholics has the rider of the white horse identified as Christ Jesus (with the horse as his followers, and the bow as his Gospel). This teaching was not a consensus among the Church Fathers. Supposedly, it was first suggested by Saint Irenaeus in his work 
Against Heresies (Book IV, 21:3) written back in the second century. As a side note, Irenaeus conceived the four horsemen as righteous. To this day his interpretation has been regurgitated by many an interpreter. This is the type of interpretation one will find in Catholic Bible footnotes such as the Haydock, Navarre and many other conservative commentaries. In addition Pope Pius XII suggested this interpretation in an address given in 1946.

The interpretation of Christ Jesus is promising and well connected since toward the end of the book, and at the culmination of the bowls [nested into the trumpets and seals] John has a vision of Jesus as well as all the saints returning on white chargers. This is well noted by many interpreters. However, if we are to apply critical thinking and contextual analysis in our meditations, this interpretation is clearly circular, since it is Jesus who breaks the Seal and unleashes the first horseman so to speak. If Jesus breaks the first Seal, initiating the events described by John, it would seem that he crowns HIMSELF to conquer. This is nonsense. Jesus does not crown himself like arrogant Bonaparte.  The Holy Father crowned Jesus.  But in accord with the Holy Father’s plan he has not yet chosen to make manifest his reign and exercise his reign in an explicit mode on Earth other than through the Pope. He desires that the Church also overcome the world by suffering like he did.

In spite of the above reasoning, it is significant to note that both Jesus and the saints are seen by John to ride white horses upon their Return at the culmination of the events. This is later mentioned in chapter 19. So the further I work my way into this interpretation, the clearer it seems to me that the white horse and rider is good, both in the context of worldly concepts as well as the Word of God. What NO ONE seems to consider is that a new Saint, a man who would foreshadow the Return of Jesus the King, a man who would be a New Testament king, a man who would be anointed by God like David and even Cyrus of old; is the rider of the white horse, and perhaps his followers or associates are represented by the horse itself. It is stunning to me that no one seems to even consider this line of interpretation. It betrays a lack of thinking outside the box in Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant alike.

Surprisingly, the only interpretation that seems to come close to this sort of conception is by a Muslim scholar who lived centuries ago. He saw the rider as synonymous with the Madhi, a figure supposedly prophesied by Mohammed and various other Imams who followed. The Madhi is scripted in the Hadith.  He is to arrive at the End Times. Like a saint, the Mahdi is supposed to come before Jesus, overcome evil men, uproot governments, help convert many and establish a worldwide peace through his kingdom which stretches from East to West. He is a reformer. And if I am to think liberally, this Mahdi (and I hope this especially offends ultra-conservative Catholics and Protestants) seems similar to the Great Catholic Monarch of Prophecy! I will return to this thought at the end of the article. I will take the view of a modern peaceful practicing Muslim who I suppose would be outraged by the practices of the apocalyptic sects of Islam that have arisen in our times with their tyrannical leaders, e.g. ISIS.

Apocalyptic sects are one of several groups that the Great Catholic Monarch will destroy during his mission.  And in general any and all governments spread across Europe, the Middle East and maybe North Africa.  He will also conquer whatever is left of the Holy Land by the time he arrives.  Surely, the Israelis are not snow white. He will conquer nations and uproot republics, across Europe which was once Christian, even if they foolishly attempt to resist him by arms. He will be a new legifer, for an immense kingdom spanning continents. His mission marks a profound redirection toward the Return of Jesus for the entire Church and world.  And he is a worthy interpretation of the first seal. But also similar to a liberal twist of the Islamic Mahdi, which to me is interesting.

But it is baffling that no one has even put forth an argument that this rider of the white horse could be a saintly king of the New Testament. Later in the eleventh chapter, when we get to the seventh trumpet nested in the seventh seal, John hears many voices in Heaven saying:

And the seventh Angel sounded the trumpet. And there were great voices in heaven, saying: “The kingdom of this world has become our Lord’s and his Christ’s, and he shall reign forever and ever. Amen.

So there is this concept that the events are progressing toward an official and explicit reign of Jesus over the world as King. Although God is in control of everything, and certainly Jesus is King of the Earth, he is still commissioned in a sort of silent phase, hidden in Heaven and in the Eucharist until he returns again. He is allowing his holy assembly on Earth to help him in their own ways until he comes a second time assuming his role as King.

Yet in the Old Testament Church and world, the Son of God had kings and leaders such as David, Josiah and Judas Maccabeus help prepare for his Incarnation, his First Coming to Earth. They were anointed, and they fought bloody battles. God even anointed a gentile, Cyrus the Great, who in his own way helped prepare for his Incarnation by releasing the Jews and commissioning them to rebuild the Temple. So it stands to reason that there would be one who is anointed in the New Testament so as to help prepare Church and world for the Second Coming of Jesus. And if this were true, there is no better place than to prophetically describe him than in a New Testament Scripture.

Is the Rider on the White Horse Antichrist?

Some Roman Catholics interpret Jesus. Some Protestants, on the other extreme end of a spectrum, interpret Antichrist. One will find this sort of an interpretation in the NET Bible, from Billy Graham, and in books such as The Rider on the White Horse: A Study of Revelation 6:1-8 by M. Rissi.

And Protestants have a difficult time explaining how Antichrist, prophesied to be the most evil man ever to live, is riding a white horse, usually figuratively associated with heroes, election, purity, perfection, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, saints and so on. Apparently Antichrist's false similarity to Jesus even extends to symbols inspired by prophetic visions. Jesus breaks the first seal and before things begin to warm up, before even their strange version of the Rapture, we have the individual Antichrist on a white horse. The beast, traditionally interpreted as Antichrist, is not even mentioned until the later chapters. But no, we have the beast with arms already riding on the white horse, and more given a crown from Heaven, and the mission to conquer the world so as to kick start the Tribulation!

Protestants tend to have no notion of a progress toward the Return of Jesus [neither do most Catholics]. It’s just straight to the end. For all they are concerned Antichrist could appear tomorrow. No progression. No hope for change or mercy.  No clarity.  Little do they consider that there is attenuation in chapter 10 describing a peaceful temporal interlude between the events of the minor or little Tribulation and major or great Tribulation.

In Roman Catholic eschatology there is a clear delineation between the little Tribulation preceding Antichrist and the Great Tribulation which includes the reign of Antichrist. Before Antichrist is born many things must come to pass. The end is not so near. There is a great war, a comet (Wormwood) predicted in the trumpets, Three Days of Darkness, the reign of the Great Catholic Monarch and Angelic Shepherd, conversion of Russia, a preaching of the Gospel to all nations, reunification of all the Christian Churches, a generation of profound peace, and perhaps hundreds of years of evil slowly creeping back into the world before Antichrist is even born.

The world can only take so much suffering at a time, and God has this all meticulously planned out. God is the Lord of hosts. He is not content with millions or billions with him in Heaven.  Perhaps he desires trillions. This takes time. And God is gradually regenerating the world. God will not enact the creation of the New Heaven and New Earth until the Church really desires it and in some little way in participation with Jesus: earns it. And even then He will wait until he desires. The Holy Father is the epitome of patience, although one could imagine that his patience has just about run dry with our generation. Hence the breaking of the first seal.

Many would argue or perhaps sense that we are now at a decisive stage in our development as a human family or a Church. I have no arguments against this. It almost seems that God must miraculously break through to us. It is like we are tempting him too. But in the grand scheme of things there is a gradual progression. People can only endure so much change and suffering at a time, especially those with a responsibility of raising children of God.  And I might add that people in the future will forget about our strange subtle nightmare we experience today.

The Horsemen of Parthia

Parthian Horseman 

The Parthia interpretation of the white horse and rider comes from elite Biblical scholars of the 20th century. This sort of interpretation is the spawn from the mostly sterile literary historical-critical methods that cropped up in the 19th and 20th centuries. Their approach tends to be secular. They tend to interpret the Sacred Script using reason alone, without assuming Faith first and within that assumption and stimulus of the Holy Spirit: applying critical thinking and rational analysis/synthesis. They are missing the wing of Faith so as to soar in meditation of the Script. They interpret Revelation as broadly historical and their system of interpretation includes the fall of the Roman Empire. One will find these concepts in the footnotes of the New Jerusalem Bible and New American Bible. To showcase this interpretation I will quote from Revelation by M. Eugene last name Boring :)

The image of the archer on the white horse, who is “crowned” and goes forth to “conquer,” is intended to evoke in the hearer-reader’s’ minds a specific, dreaded threat. Just as “men wearing green berets flying in Cobra helicopters” evokes a specific image in the twentieth century, so the combination of white horse and mounted archer called up only one picture in the imagination of the first-century reader—the dreaded Parthians. They were the only mounted archers in the first century; white horses were their trademark. Parthia was on the eastern border of the empire, and was never subdued by the Romans. In the Roman mind they represented the edges of civilization, a different kind of enemy . . . Here, the picture of victorious Parthians functions as the announcement of the beginning of the end of Roman sovereignty, to be replaced by God’s rightful sovereignty.

The Parthians were a people from north eastern Iran. I do not think this is the correct interpretation, since it sets the first seal and horseman back over a thousand years. In addition one could easily start to associate the idea of the Parthians with modern day Iran and all of a sudden we have crazy speculation that there will be a nuclear strike on the U.S. to initiate the first seal. As if the arrogant, greedy and self-righteous United States government has anything to do with God's plan of the first seal, white horse and rider. They already think and act like they are superior kings of the Earth. If anything I expect the U.S. will get a quarter volley of Wormwood.  Not to mention severe disorder from the second, third and fourth seals. But the first seal, white horse and rider concerns the initiation of God’s plan to resolve complex and profound problems with his children in the Middle East, Europe and Africa, that have persisted for centuries, long before the United States was founded.

The White Horse and Rider functions as the beginning of the end of all the problems in the Middle East and environs.  The white horse and rider will serve as a Divine emissary to replace the current status quo among nations. In an even deeper conception the white horse and rider marks a decisive redirection toward the Return of Jesus and his everlasting reign.  There is a threat, but the threat is is in relation to those who do severe evil, especially the transnational elite embedded deep in governments, corporations and banks.

The reason I added this subsection because if one digs deep enough in historical accounts, one will find the Parthians connected with Cyrus the Great. Personally, I admire Cyrus and in my opinion he is an Old Testament parallel and foreshadowing of that prophetic New Testament figure known as the Great Catholic Monarch. The Great Monarch is forecast to rise up during the first or so called 'little' Tribulation.

Back to Cyrus.  A year after Cyrus the Great's defeat of his Median maternal grandfather, Astyages, Parthia became one of the first provinces to acknowledge Cyrus as their ruler, "and this allegiance secured Cyrus' eastern flanks and enabled him to conduct the first of his imperial campaigns – against Sardis." (Mallowan, Max (1985), "Cyrus the Great", in Gershevitch, Ilya, Cambridge History of Iran 2, Cambridge University Press, pp. 392–419.)

This historical association tantalizes me for several reasons. Sardis is mentioned in Chapter 3 of Revelation. If I am allowed to self-plagiarize I just wrote an intense article on Sardis. The Churches of Revelation refer to successive multiple generations of Christians, epochs, some spanning centuries. According to Ven. Bartholomew Holzhauser (and me) the Church of Sardis figuratively refers to the multiple generations of Christians beginning at about the time of the Renaissance to the reign of the Great Catholic Monarch and Angelic Shepherd, who have yet to come. We are in the generation of Sardis, who Jesus criticizes. And if I am allowed to play off the foreshadowing of my own understanding, the new Cyrus, that is the Great Monarch, will conduct a campaign against bad Christians, and all the nations of Europe which was formally Christian.  One of his fronts will be the West.   The other the East.

In the Cyrus-Parthian connection I also like the idea that this tribe tucked away in the East was the first to pledge their allegiance to Cyrus as a leader of nations. According the Saint Francis Paola, the first followers of the New Cyrus, the same who will establish his religious order (divided into three classes: military knights, solitary priests, and pious hospitallers) will come from an unnamed city:

The first members of this holy order shall be natives of the city of ... where iniquity, vice, and sin abound. However, they shall be converted from evil to good; from rebels against God they shall become most fervent and most faithful in His divine service. That city shall be cherished by God and by the Great Monarch, the elect and the beloved of the Most High Lord. For the sake of that place all holy souls who have done penance in it shall pray in the sight of God for that city and for its inhabitants. When the time shall come of the immense and most right justice of the Holy Spirit, His Divine Majesty wills that such city become converted to God, and that many of its citizens follow the great prince of the holy army. (Saint Francis Paola, from his letters to Simeon de Limena, Lord of Montalto).

I imagine this city will be tucked away at the edges of European civilization. Perhaps it is located somewhere in South Eastern Europe. Somewhere near or around the Black Sea. It is said by Saint Cataldus that he will conquer modern day Georgia (near Russia), Turkey, and Greece.  This ring of nations represents the southern lip of the Black Sea.  It would seem that he and his followers would start from a city in a strategic position from where they could move against both the Middle East and Europe. I also imagine that the city would have some sort of access to the Mediterranean.  Perhaps a city located in Croatia???*** (see below).  Or could he even possibly start out in Russia?  Perhaps Mother Russia will play some role in providing him with followers, weapons, supplies, military training, support from the back, and so on.  Mother Russia will have a prominent role to play in the little Tribulation.  It makes a lot of sense to me that at some crucial phase in the future Russia would invest herself in liberating Europe and the Middle East.  They can do so by alliance with this prophetic figure which we will I explain in subsequent sections.

In any case, if he took the Balkans and Turkey first (basically the southern lip of the Black Sea) including Bosphorus, this would be of great significance and would put him in an exceptional position. He could also harbor refugees there until, as we will see below, he takes all of the West and Middle East and just maybe North Africa and the Horn of Africa.

Section III: The Rider is Synonymous with the Great Catholic Monarch of Prophecy

The White Horse and Rider as depicted in the Bamberg Apocalypse (1000-1020).  One of the four living creatures is in the top right with a crown as if imparting it to the rider.  The riders appears European.    

Amen, amen I say to you, he that believes in me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do because I am going to my Father. (John 14:12)

The Lamb

And I saw that the Lamb had opened one of the seven seals . . .

The Lamb is the risen Jesus. The only reason I added this subsection is to reiterate the idea that Jesus alone, out of all Heaven and Earth, is found worthy to open the seals, thus unleashing the white horse and rider with his Divine mission. If the first seal represents the beginning of the so called End Time events or broadly speaking the Tribulation, it is Jesus who initiates and officiates. Extremist Arabs who belong to an Islamic apocalyptic cult do not initiate the events of the Tribulation. The Second Divine Person does. Nations do not initiate the events by dropping nukes; the sinful Christian Church does not initiate the events; Jews do not, Muslims do not; Mother Nature does not; the Pope does not, leaders embedded in the deep state do not, a maniac murderer who thinks he is Mahdi and head of an Islamic State does not, a stock market crash does not, Antichrist does not . . . Jesus does. Again, Jesus freely chooses to break the seals. Jesus has patiently allowed his Church to wander and he will course correct and heal her through a masterfully conducted Tribulation which is also replete with miracles, graces, turning points, mercy, sufferings, and so on.  This is Jesus' Tribulation.  This is his work.  No one else or nothing else initiates this little Tribulation. One would think that this would be obvious, and yet the people who write eschatology these days seem oblivious to this concept clearly signed into the Script.

Furthermore, when the prophetic narrative flows into the white horse, it is implied that Jesus is the One who imparts the crown to the rider of the white horse. The crown comes from Heaven.  Similar with the rider of the red horse (the second seal) who could be an Angel.   An authority is granted to him from Heaven. Similar with the rider of the black horse (third seal) who could be an Angel. This Angel is instructed either by one of the four living creatures, or Jesus from Heaven, since John heard a voice from the midst of the four living creatures. Similar with the fourth. These riders are given authority and instructions to complete a mission, from God and no one else. The four horseman are Divine strategies.  There is intention, aim, purposes, goals, implied. These are not senseless and meaningless 'forces' progressing through the Earth.  The the inhabitants of the Earth do not initiate them.  Jesus is the One who is officiating over these events. This is Jesus' Tribulation.  He decides when it begins.  If the reader is so daft as to not pick up on these important and reasonable narrative points whether made explicit or implied then he is disqualified from interpretation.

In the Apocalypse, the verb, erchesthai usually refers to the coming of God or of Christ. The imperative here (Rev 6:1) could tally with the demands of the Spirit, of the bride, and of John (22:17,20), all of whom ask for the coming of Christ. In this case, he would be coming to the aid of his own by means of a conquering power that will punish the persecutors of his Church. (From the Jerome Biblical Commentary, p. 477, #38, notes on Revelation 6:1-2) 
The addition of “and see” (καὶ ἴδε or καὶ βλέπε [kai ide or kai blepe]) to “come” (ἔρχου, ercou) in 6:1, 3-5, 7 is a gloss directed to John, i.e., “come and look at the seals and the horsemen!” But the command ἔρχου is better interpreted as directed to each of the horsemen. The shorter reading also has the support of the better witnesses. (NET Bible Notes)

This is a different way of understanding chapter six verse one of Revelation. Most of the modern translations of Revelation 6:1 omit the second imperative with the effect that the four living creatures each command a horseman to come, one after the other. Jesus breaks the Seal, and the living creatures are like his lieutenants calling forth, even praying for his orders to be fulfilled.

So for example in the Latin Vulgate we have
dicens, tamquam vocem tonitrui: Veni, et vide.

in English this is translated, "saying, in a voice like thunder: Come and see." With both 'Come' and 'see' understood as imperatives seemingly in relation to John. On the other hand most modern translations (I assume drawing from an old Greek script) omit "ed vide". For example:
I looked on when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a thunderous voice, “Come!"  So I looked, and here came a white horse! (NET Bible)

This shorter translation opens up for a little different understanding. If this understanding has any merit perhaps we could assume that in a broader context the living creature is almost praying for the Coming of Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven. The breaking of the First Seal officially inaugurates his plan to Come Again. This plan includes the coming of the four horsemen. So one could understand this as desirable, as Good News, worthy of a prayer; that Jesus would break the Seal, that the horsemen may come forth so that evil may be overcome, perfect justice may prevail and most of all that Jesus would finally come again as the culmination of all these mysterious events.

The Crown
and a crown was given to him . . . (Revelation 6:2)
I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one can take away your crown. The one who conquers [Great Monarch and other with him] I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never depart from it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God (the new Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven from my God), and my new name as well. (Address to the Church of Philadelphia, Revelation 3:12)
For thou hast prevented him with blessings of sweetness: thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones. (Psalm 20:4)
One of their own people will be their leader.  Their ruler will come from their own number.  I will invite him to approach me, and he will do so.  For no one would dare approach me on his own.  I, the LORD, affirm it! (Jeremiah 30:21)
I say to Cyrus, “You are my shepherd, and you will accomplish all that I will.” (Isaiah 44:28)
Thus says the Lord to my anointed Cyrus, (Isaiah 45:1) 
. . . and after having been crowned with three most admirable crowns . . . (Saint Francis Paola)
The Powerful Monarch, who will be sent by God, . . . will submit everything to his authority, (Ven. Bartholomew Holzhauser)
. . .then the Hand of Almighty God will work a marvelous change, something apparently impossible according to human understanding. There will rise a valiant monarch anointed by God. (Ven. Bartholomew Holzhauser) 
. . . he [Great Monarch] will at length lay down his crown in Jerusalem.  (Saint Cataldus)
Then Frodo came forward and took the crown from Faramir and bore it to Gandalf; and Aragorn knelt, and Gandalf set the White Crown upon his head and said:  Now come the days of the King, and may they be blessed while the thrones of the Valar endure!” (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King)

Traditionally, the crown relates authority, power, legitimacy, an anointing . . . or triumph, victory, glory, honor, might for the wearer in relation to others. The crown is a qualitative concept, one of inequality. He who wears the crown is similar and yet unequal to others. He is related to assume a role.  He has been favored with abilities that others have not.  He has earned where others have not. He can do things others cannot.  Does it make sense that God would give this symbolic crown to Antichrist and his followers or to an extremist Arab leader of an apocalyptic cult and to his followers? Need I answer this foolish rhetorical question?

The crown is imparted to a simple man. This man is predicted by some Roman Catholic saints who lived hundreds, a couple over a thousand years ago. I quoted some of them above. He is usually named the Great Monarch or Last Emperor. He is supposed to be descended from royal Europeans.  However given the prophetic context it is clear that no one on Earth imparts authority to him. Today there are no more kings in a classic role, or if there are their role has been grossly modified. He is not a pretender, and this has nothing to do with monarchism, ultra-conservatism or traditional Catholicism (or even politics). This has everything to do with a new plan of God. God will work something new:  "Behold I am accomplishing something new.  Presently they will spring forth . . . " (Isaiah 43:19)

This rider is not a king and has no authority before Jesus breaks the Seal and imparts the symbolic crown to him. A royal anointing is worked by God in relation to this man at the initiation of the little Tribulation via Jesus. He will be filled with the Spirit.  The Spirit will stimulate him to assume some sort of mystical and extraordinary partaking of Jesus' Kingship, as a harbinger of His Return. He will become a saintly king, full of virtues. He is elect. Eventually he will bear the Seal of the Living God, which is likely a visible bloody cruciform or nominal wound miraculously imparted to the forehead of the bearer (a type of stigmata).  As will some of his associates, and this gift will have an indescribable effect on the nations.  Hand in hand with the Seal, he may have some prophetic gifts that will assist him in his mission in service to the Church and the world.  He will lead a holy militia and establish the most perfect religious order this world has ever seen. He and his order will help clarify all the teachings of the Church. He will also amass great armies.  Angels will help him with his mission, as will this other prophetic figure named the Angelic Shepherd, an elect Pope. For these reasons he is riding a white horse in the vision John conceived in God. Think of the white horse as the holy men and women that he leads in the spirit of this prophetic verse from Zechariah:
For the household gods [televisions, computers, iphones, etc.] have spoken wickedness, the soothsayers [media personalities] have seen a lie, and as for the dreamers [gurus, commentators], they have disclosed emptiness and give comfort in vain. Therefore the people set out like sheep and become scattered because they have no shepherd. I am enraged at the shepherds [some priests, a few bishops] and will punish the lead-goats [presidents, elite, etc.]. For the LORD who rules over all has brought blessing to his flock, the house of Judah, and will transform them into his majestic warhorse. From him will come the cornerstone [Jesus], the wall peg [Great Monarch], the battle bow, and every ruler. And they will be like warriors trampling the mud of the streets in battle. They will fight, for the LORD will be with them, and will defeat the enemy cavalry. (Zechariah 10:3, NET version)

He is on a mission from God. He will fight and earn his kingdom when the situation in the world is weakened and at its worst (note the second through fourth seals help set him up to conquer). And in the end he will reign similar to how a classical king reigns.

There is nothing evil in assuming a role as king as long as the person understands that he is meant to serve his people and lay down his life for them so that there is peace and no complaints. Leadership roles are not evil or unnatural. One can even conceive leaders and inequality in the animal kingdom. Kingship is often associated with evil because many kings of the past used their role to abuse the people. They were a sham. In response humans conceived complex systems of government, and today leaders lawfully steal, kill and lie to their subjects. Western governments are so complex with tens of thousands of laws so that today many can commit immoral acts, across nations, with impunity.

But some more traditional conceptions of kingship include a king bequeathing land to his subjects, i.e. handing over ownership of land he has acquired to those whom have agreed to have him serve as king. The king would not own the land.  He would hand over ownership in exchange for men and supplies so as to protect the land and people against thieves, evil men, invaders, murderers, extremists, etc. The king would settle disputes and ensure that everyone is at peace, treated fairly by each other, taken care of, not misinformed, etc. A king is a father, a peacemaker, a servant of the poor. He has your back. Kingship is a covenant, a solemn agreement of free volition for all those involved, both ruler and subjects. There is reciprocity in spite of asymmetry.  Kingship is a trust. A king is meant to resolve and overcome evil, swiftly. A king is meant to ensure that people are NOT raping one another, brainwashing one another, laying impossible burdens on one another, controlling each other like animals, enslaving one another, murdering one another, etc.  He ensures that people are free to live, work and practice religion if they choose, in peace. 

A King is nothing without those he relates to when he takes on his role.  His people are his blood, the air he breathes, the ground he stands firm on, his spouse if you want.  They are his all.  This is similar to how God relates to us.  He has given himself to us as if we were more precious than himself.  A true king should nourish his people like Jesus in the Eucharist.  He is eaten and drunk by his people.  A king is a genuine provider, without taxing the hell out of his people.  He also provides opportunities, and a new beginning.
By the grace of God, this rider of the white horse will with time win the respect, admiration and TRUST of those good Jews, Christians and Muslims, all of whom will live in peace and reconciliation with one another after his conquest, and other events of the little Tribulation. Like Cyrus, good people will want to be led by the white rider. Many will join him, many will trust him.  Only after years from when he receives his crowning from God via the Spirit and after he has fought his war, will men have him crowned as their king. And God will have this anointed king rise up and be successful, an event that would seem inconceivable by today's standards. And the Lord will work this so that Jew, Christian, Muslim and the whole world understand that peace, sincere brotherly love, clarity and resolution comes from Jesus and no other.

In summary, the crown in this prophetic context references a mystical gift, an extraordinary grace, a sort of unique baptism into a mission to overcome and be victorious. God has done similar acts in the past with the likes of David and Cyrus, but this is something greater. In the past there were even saintly Christian kings, but again this is something new and greater.  He will have a true Divine authority to help change the Church and world for the better, even if temporarily.  And this foreshadows what will be an eternal reign of the Father after Jesus returns and makes all things new.

The Bow
and the one who was sitting on it [the white horse] was holding a bow . . . (Revelation 6:2)
And Elisha said to him, “Bring a bow and arrows.” And when he had brought a bow and arrows to him, he said to the king of Israel, “Place your hand upon the bow.” And when he had placed his hand, Elisha placed his own hands over the hands of the king.  And he said, “Open the window toward the east.” And when he had opened it, Elisha said, “Shoot an arrow.” And he shot it. And Elisha said: “It is the arrow of the salvation of the Lord, and the arrow of salvation against Syria. And you shall strike the Syrians at Aphek, until you consume them.” (2 Kings 13:15-17)
Who has risen up a just man from the east, and has called him to follow him? He will place the nations under his gaze, and he will rule over kings. He will cause them to be like dust before his sword, like chaff driven by the wind before his bow. He will pursue them. He will pass by in peace. No trace will appear after his feet. (Isaiah 41:2-3)
He [the Great Monarch] will assemble great armies . . . (Saint Cataldus)
By force of arms he [Great Monarch] shall take possession of a great kingdom. (Saint Francis Paola)
He will gather a grand army, and the angels shall fight for them; they shall kill all God's enemies. (Saint Francis Paola)

It is easy to understand that the bow figuratively refers to small arms with which most wars are fought. The rider of the white horse will raise a great army that will grow with his conquests.  He will fight battles in and around the Mediterranean against evil men.  He will seem highly skilled in the art of war:  confounding his enemies.

The bow can also be used as a symbol for distance or vastness. A bow and arrow can target an object located far away.  So the bow also prophetically figures that his power will extend across a vast region of the Earth. I don't know exactly how large his kingdom will end up. It will certainly include all of Europe and the Middle East, maybe even Iran and Iraq. I imagine that once the Iranians see that he is unconquerable, his Seal, the miracles associated with him  . . they will flock to him. He won't necessarily even have to raise arms over certain nations, they will simply ally with him, proclaiming him King (or Mahdi see below).  If not the Great Catholic Monarch will take them. Some think his kingdom will include North Africa and the Horn of Africa. Evil has taken grip in those countries such as Libya as we speak.  Certainly some of the Roman Catholic prophecies in regards to him seem to imply that he will in some way have a role of authority over all nations (Saint Francis Paola says over the entire universe!!!), but it is difficult to know what the Saint's idea was of the world at the time he wrote. But his followers will spread throughout the world and produce many kings for some future generations. The entire world will at least be profoundly influenced by the rider even if his empire only officially extends from Near East to Western Europe.

Some note that no arrows are explicitly mentioned with the bow.  In here is a riddle.  The arrows could be implied for the sake of narrative efficiency, but perhaps there is something more to this.  The lack of arrows could mean that he will start out poor, with lack of supplies, before he is anointed and his city converted. In any case, he will need much more than small arms to complete his mission.  He will need and have the help of Angels and men to complete his mission. I would not be surprised if he is familiar with Angels and they give him instructions and perform miracles in his battles like they did for others like Judas Maccabeus or John the Baptist. Thus is the crucial importance God has placed on this man and his mission.  I imagine he will also have an alliance with a superpower . . . maybe Russia?  So perhaps lack of arrows implies that he is armed, but does not rely solely on arms to complete his destiny.

One last suggestion in regards to the lack of arrows.  Perhaps lacks of arrows means that he may not have to draw on certain nations.  As he and the other events of the little Tribulation progress, perhaps whole nations with their military will peacefully surrender and ally with him without him having to use force.  There seems to be this hint that he has military power, but eventually there will come a time where he will no longer need to use it.  

There will be peace and holiness throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Europe especially for all the innocent and ordinary folk through this Great Monarch. God will work a genuine peace.  The Holy Father will have peace.  Yes he will.

Conquest, Victory and the other Seals

. . . and he went forth conquering so that he might prevail. (Revelation 6:2)
But they will be subject to the LORD their God and to the Davidic ruler whom I will raise up as king over them. (Jeremiah 30:9)
 In his days, justice shall rise like the sun, with an abundance of peace, until the moon is taken away.  And he will rule from sea to sea, and from the river to the limits of the whole world.  (Psalm 71:7)   
The Great Monarch will have the special help of God and be unconquerable… (Holzhauser)
The powerful Monarch, who is sent from God, will uproot every Republic. He will submit everything to this authority and he will show great zeal for the true church of Christ. The empire of the Mohammedans will be broken up and the monarch will reign in the east as well as in the west. (Holzhauser)
. . . he will assemble great armies expel tyrants from his empire. He will conquer England and other island empires. Greece he will invade and be made king thereof.  Clochis [modern day Georgia near Russia], Cyprus, the Turks and barbarians he will subdue . . . (Saint Cataldus)
This prince shall extend his dominion over the entire universe. (Saint Caesar of Arles)
The Great Monarch will come to restore peace . . . (Abbot Werdin d' Otrante)
From your lordship, (Simeon de Limena, Lord of Montalto), shall be born the great leader of the holy militia of the Holy Spirit, which shall overcome the world, and shall possess the earth so completely that no king or lord shall be able to exist, except he belongs to the sacred host of the Holy Spirit. (Letter of Saint Francis of Paola)
He shall annihilate all the heresies and tyrannies of the world. (Saint Francis of Paola)
Their sneers shall, however, be changed into mourning when they shall witness the wonderful victories achieved through it against tyrant, heretics, and infidels. Many wicked men and obstinate rebels against God shall perish . . . (Saint Francis of Paola)
He shall destroy the sect of Mohammad, extirpate all tyrants and heresies. (Saint Francis of Paola)
The son of man, the parvenu of the sea shall be most invincible in war . . . (Saint Bridget of Sweden) 
Thus says the Lord to my anointed Cyrus, whose right hand I hold, so that I may subjugate the nations before his face, and I may turn the backs of kings, and I may open the doors before him, and so that the gates will not be shut.  I will go before you. And I will humble the glorious ones of the earth. I will shatter the gates of brass, and I will break apart the bars of iron.  And I will give you hidden treasures and the knowledge of secret things, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls your name.  (Isaiah 45:1-3)
And those who were subject to him, he treated with esteem and regard, as if they were his own children, while his subjects themselves respected Cyrus as their "Father" ... What other man but 'Cyrus', after having overturned an empire, ever died with the title of "The Father" from the people whom he had brought under his power? For it is plain fact that this is a name for one that bestows, rather than for one that takes away! (Xenophon, "Cyropaedia": or, The Institution of Cyrus, and the Hellenics, or Grecian history. Literally translated from the Greek of Xenophon, pp. 281, 322)
He became the epitome of the great qualities expected of a ruler in antiquity, and he assumed heroic features as a conqueror who was tolerant and magnanimous as well as brave and daring. (Frye, Cyrus II Encyclopædia Britannica 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 28 July 2008")
In the Apocalypse, the verb, erchesthai usually refers to the coming of God or of Christ. The imperative here (Rev 6:1) could tally with the demands of the Spirit, of the bride, and of John (22:17,20), all of whom ask for the coming of Christ. In this case, he would be coming to the aid of his own by means of a conquering power that will punish the persecutors of his Church. (From the Jerome Biblical Commentary, p. 477, #38, notes on Revelation 6:1-2) 

Conquer is synonymous with acquisition:  to gain for oneself or come into possession by one’s own effort or action or through inheritance. Like Jesus, the GCM will work to gain for himself a kingdom, one in which Jesus desires, at least for a time. Jesus desires a place where his children can grow up, live in peace and thrive. Jesus desires a place where there are just laws and no forced suffering and burdens on the masses.  Jesus desires a place of clarity, where his Sacraments, and his teachings shine without the shadow of evil.  This place will be bequeathed from God to the rider of the white horse, and yet he will earn the love of those who live in his lands.  He will work hard and earn.   

The implication is that rider's entire purpose is to conquer, to dominate, to subjugate the peoples of the earth including lands for a purpose.  The rider of the white horse will be a conqueror, almost like those in the days of Antiquity, only a saintly one. The best analogue I can conceive is Cyrus the Great. Like Cyrus he will conquer a vast empire extending from the Near East to England, including Europe, the Holy Land, Israel and many Muslim nations.  The unexpected way he will do this will involve tremendous battles, miracles, cunning, and turn of events. However, it should be noted that this is a process. It will not happen overnight. It is said that he will be at war for four years, but he cannot go to battle without preparation:  prayer, penance, a following, supplies, arms, alliances, a strategy, new ideas, etc. I assume that Jesus will break the Seal, anoint him. After this he will prepare before he goes out to his first battle. Meanwhile, Jesus will open other seals at least up to the fifth. The events of the second, third, and fourth seals will weaken the nations that the Great Monarch is set to conquer.

The civil murder and violence, disorder among nations, famine, and death by various causes (second, third and fourth horseman) will so weaken nations so that evil men and sects will rise up to seize control, and maybe even occupy regions of the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa much more so than today. Many will be martyred at their hands. The wolves will be set loose. False Christ's, false prophets; battles and rumors of battles; nation will rise against nation (Matthew 24).  We have a foreshadowing of this in ISIS and al-Nusra who rose up at the the Syrian Civil War.  But there are also many other evil groups spread across Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa whetting their blades to rise up or are already in power.  And the elite can profit from all sorts of war and chaos.  And don't think its above the elite to actually hire terror groups to create havoc.  In addition, Israel will not be exonerated. Israelis target innocents, and commit many other severe sins, for example on the Palestinians and throughout the Middle East.  They will be taken by the Great Monarch. There will be no more Israeli-an government, or any modern government by the end of the Great Monarch's war and other events of the little Tribulation. 

I tend to think that the GCM will will humiliate them all, without prejudice. To both West, as well as East, it will be humiliating for their members of governments, corporations, banks, elite think-tanks and foundations, etc. to be taken out by this man anointed by God and descended from royal Europeans with a following like the stars of the sky. I also imagine that the Great Monarch will dissolve and dispel all U.S. bases from what will become his kingdom which presumably will include Saudi Arabia and all the Gulf States, Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, the horn of Africa, Europe. These locations have become hubs for the U.S. military which has caused trouble throughout these regions. And of course NATO will be dissolved to the great honor of this Great Monarch. But his heart will especially be in the the Holy Land which he will help rebuild and in the end retire there.

His conquest will probably be more humiliating for those of West, than for those of the East. I tend to imagine that the Middle Eastern inhabitants will admire him more than the European ones because he will bring them the long desired peace and he will be a mystic wrapped in mystique.

The Three Other Horsemen
The Lord emerges like a hero,
like a warrior he inspires himself for battle;
he shouts, yes, he yells,
he shows his enemies his power.
“I have been inactive for a long time;
I kept quiet and held back.
Like a woman in labor I groan;
I pant and gasp.
I will make the trees on the mountains and hills wither up;
I will dry up all their vegetation.
I will turn streams into islands,
and dry up pools of water.                                            (Isaiah 42:14-15)

The other three horsemen are simultaneous events and surreptitiously serve the goal of the white horse and rider's acquisition of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. In addition, during the second, third and fourth horseman: word will eventually get out that a the great Comet (Wormwood) is on a collision course with the Earth.  This will lead some to perform desperate acts.  I imagine this will also induce false christ's and prophets to rise up. One could imagine comet cults rising up, mass suicides and so on. The fear of impending doom will lead many astray and not only that . . . to acts of violence.  Eventually governments will no longer have control over their subjects or assets.  Neither will banks and corporations.     

There will be many shades of grey, and much confusion but in the end the Great Monarch will overcome all.  He will be victorious.  I imagine that his war will unfold in a complex manner.  It will be difficult to follow his movements and there will I suppose be many lies spread about him via Western media.  Some will be jealous of him, especially the U.S. government which by then will have been weakened and exposed for the evil organization they are.

I wish I could say that it is simply one group or one clear enemy that is to be conquered and that will end the war.  But the world is much more complex and evil than many interpreters would lead you to believe.  We are festering in in an old cancerous evil.  But then, in the future, God will be in a hurry to make some radical changes across the board via this great king and other finishing touches of the little Tribulation. And in the end the white rider will bring peace and liberation for the innocent, the poor, the persecuted, the suffering, migrants, the folk and all those who have no helper. The Middle East, Europe, and many other lands will be free again from the clutches of elite tyrants who reign in the shadows.  The slates will be wiped clean.  Yes they will.       

The opening of the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh seals will also weaken the United States, so that they have no ability to meddle in matters that do not concern them.  The U.S. has lost credibilit around the world, and surelt God will weaken the foul influence of this nation in relation to the world.  Once the gas and oil gets cut off from the U.S. they will be in rapid decline and unable to ally or meddle in any affairs of the Middle East, and North Africa which up until then they have inordinately profited from and caused many deaths and break up of families, not to mention have illegally and I'm morally bullied nations into submission.  The fourth of the Earth, described in the fourth seal could be the lands of the Western Hemisphere (Revelation 6:8).  In any case, baby U.S. are not the kings of the Earth and they have no right to resolve the matters of these ancient lands that God and his followers, whether Jew, Christian, Muslim, Zoroastrian, etc. worked so hard to build up and bless.  The Great Monarch will dispel the presence of the U.S.
from Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. 

The Great Catholic Monarch, rider of the white horse, and his holy militia horse will destroy all evil men, tyrants, sects, foundations, and so on, regardless of their professed religion or elite protection. He will conquer European, Middle Eastern and North African nations, regardless of whether or not they were once Christian, Muslim, Jewish or even acknowledge him at first. He will take down the elite.  He will be a conqueror in the vein of Cyrus.  He will treat the subjects of the lands he acquires with love, esteem and respect regardless of their religion.  He will free them and the good will love him.  They will swear by him.  

Like Cyrus I imagine he will have his own charter of human rights.  If in the GCM's kingdom, people want to practice the monotheistic religion of Zoroastrianism, it will be done.  There will be no forcing one's religion on another against their will in the rider of the white horse's kingdom. Because he is such a man of quality, virtue, mystique and success many will convert to his religion which is Roman Catholic.  And his religious order will win many converts in unison with other miracles of the little Tribulation.   

In addition to the seals there will also be the first six trumpets of the seventh seal, one of which is the long awaited Comet Wormwood which will miraculously fall to the Earth in phases. And there will be other great holy men like the Angelic Shepherd who is tied to them, and will direct them all. So even if all that I said above seems unimaginable with a great famine, and a comet hitting the Earth; radical changes would seem a little more imaginable.

But in the end, through darkness and despair the Great Catholic Monarch will be victorious, will reign and there will be a generation of profound peace, health and flourishing of Earth.  All land disputes will be settled either by God via miracles or by the GCM and his men.  Slates will be wiped clean in a general amnesty.  People will be satisfied. They will live closer to the land and Mother Nature, in a more sustainable manner without crippling dependency on gas and oil. Youths will have father and mother and stop committing suicide. Children will play in the streets of Jerusalem. People will not be murdered or controlled and lied to like animals. Pagan practices will cease. Abortion and Euthanasia will cease. Our ridiculous food system will be torn from its roots. Smuggling and trafficking of illegal drugs as well as humans will cease for a time.  There will be no more brothels in Amsterdam, with women on display in the streets. No more sexual slavery and kidnapping anywhere.  No more contraception.  There will be no more banks for a time and so no more loans on interest or burdensome debts.  No more betrayals. No more corporate greed. No more elite think-tanks and foundations.  No more NATO. No more U.N.  No more INTERPOL.  No more meddling governmental agencies.  No more grid.  No more petrodollar.  No more conspiring and selling of small arms.  No more guns.  No more nukes.  No more drones.  No more politicians.  No more persecution of minority ethnic groups or religions.  And so on. People who were once weak will be sincere and genuinely change.  By God they will live in a moral manner at least for some time.  

There will be abundance for everyone. At the conclusion of the little Tribulation God will restore the Earth.  Deserts will turn into Gardens.  People will be happy and enlightened. They will help each other and work together toward common goals.  A kingdom of Summer will grace the Earth.  This holy kingdom of the Great Monarch will foreshadow the kingdom of our Holy Father which we pray for in the Our Father.  From this kingdom, new cultures and kingdoms will arise.  New ideas will be implemented, especially in the fields of ecology and agriculture.  Sciences will flourish.  The Gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the entire world, especially by the Great Monarch's followers in a pure and advanced manner.  Members of the three major religions will share a rebuilt Jerusalem in peace and harmony.  The prophetic Church of Philadelphia will succeed Sardis.  God will be served fervently.  All for a short time, maybe a generation. Then holiness will slowly cool and the world will eventually become more evil than ever and finally Antichrist will be born in the midst of the last Church in Revelation prophetically called Laodicea.

Section IV:  Supplements

Supplement I: The Great Catholic Monarch vs. Madhi

I read some Islamic prophecies and found some similarities between the Madhi of Islam and the Great Monarch of Roman Catholic prophecy. Both rise up before the Return of Jesus. Both are conquerors and establish peace. Both are religious, both are reformers, both judge others according to their own religion, etc.

Muhammad Al-Baquir, the fifth Shiite Imam, the one who explicitly said, “Two kinds of my community have no share in Islam. (They are): the extremists and the fatalists." Made this prophecy about Mahdi:

The Master of the Command was named as the Mahdi because he will dig out the Torah and other heavenly books from the cave in Antioch. He will judge among the people of the Torah according to the Torah; among the people of the Gospel according to the Gospel; among the people of the Psalms in accordance with the Psalms; among the people of the Qur'an in accordance with the Qur'an.

The famous Ja'far al-Sadiq, supposed successor of Al-Baquir said, 

The Mahdi will conquer the world; at that time the world will be illuminated by the light of God, and everywhere in which those other than God are worshiped will become places where God is worshiped; and even if the polytheists do not wish it, the only faith on that day will be the religion of God

So I end by saying a word that will offend ultra-conservative Muslim, Christian and Jew alike. From a peaceful practicing Muslim's view I can't imagine that they would think that the Madhi would have soldiers like the one's found in apocalyptic sects such as ISIS (who it would seem are funded by Sauds and trained by the U.S.). Some of them and those of other sects think they are fighting for Madhi. They rape and murder innocents.  They commit acts of genocide and terror. But if the Great Catholic Monarch comes and roots out evil sects like ISIS as well as governments, and resolves all the problems in the Middle East like no other, I would imagine that peaceful Muslims would admire him.  And they will have a name for him. Perhaps that name will be Madhi.

Supplement II:  The Great Catholic Monarch vs. Cyrus the Great

What I find most intriguing about Cyrus is that he seemed prophetically motivated to send the Jews back to Jerusalem and to rebuild the Jewish temple. What do I mean by prophetically motivated? It seems that after he victoriously entered Babylon and encountered the Jews, Cyrus read the prophecies of Isaiah, written about two hundred years prior to his birth. This reading ultimately inspired him to decree the rebuilding of the Temple and release of the Jews from captivity in Babylon. This is implied in the Second Book of Chronicles and the Book of Ezra. This is also stated explicitly by the famous historian Flavius Josephus in his Jewish Antiquities:

And these things God did afford them; for he stirred up the mind of Cyrus, and made him write this throughout all Asia: “Thus saith Cyrus the king: Since God Almighty hath appointed me to be king of the habitable earth, I believe that he is that God which the nation of the Israelites worship; for indeed he foretold my name by the prophets, and that I should build him a house at Jerusalem, in the country of Judea.”
This was known to Cyrus by his reading the book which Isaiah left behind him of his prophecies; for this prophet said that God had spoken thus to him in a secret vision: “My will is, that Cyrus, whom I have appointed to be king over many and great nations, send back my people to their own land, and build my temple.” This was foretold by Isaiah one hundred and forty years before the temple was demolished. Accordingly, when Cyrus read this, and admired the divine power, an earnest desire and ambition seized upon him to fulfill what was so written; so he called for the most eminent Jews that were in Babylon, and said to them, that he gave them leave to go back to their own country, and to rebuild their city Jerusalem, and the temple of God. . .”

According to Josephus the prophecies about Cyrus had been written 70 years of the Babylonian Captivity plus 140 years prior to the destruction of the Temple, thus about 210 years prior to Cyrus having had read them. Some examples of the Scripts written by Isaiah are:

I lift up the word of my servant, and I fulfill the counsel of my messengers. I say to Jerusalem, “You shall be inhabited,” and to the cities of Judah, “You shall be rebuilt,” and I will lift up its deserts.I say to the depths, “Be desolate,” and, “I will dry up your rivers.”I say to Cyrus, “You are my shepherd, and you will accomplish all that I will.” I say to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” and to the Temple, “Your foundations shall be laid.” (Isaiah 44:26-28) 
Thus says the Lord to my anointed Cyrus, whose right hand I hold, so that I may subjugate the nations before his face, and I may turn the backs of kings, and I may open the doors before him, and so that the gates will not be shut.I will go before you. And I will humble the glorious ones of the earth. I will shatter the gates of brass, and I will break apart the bars of iron. 
And I will give you hidden treasures and the knowledge of secret things, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls your name.For the sake of Jacob, my servant, and Israel, my elect, I have even called you by your name. I have taken you up, and you have not known me.I am the Lord, and there is no one else. There is no god beside me. I girded you, and you have not known me. (Isaiah 43:1-5) 
Who stirs up this one from the east? Who officially commissions him for service?He hands nations over to him, and enables him to subdue kings. He makes them like dust with his sword, like windblown straw with his bow.​​​​​​​He pursues them and passes by unharmed; he advances with great speed. ​​​​​​(Isaiah 43:2-3)

So one can imagine Cyrus, a gentile, overcomes over-lordship in what is today western Iran. He proceeds to conquer several empires and lands including the Median Empire, the Lydian Empire, and Asia Minor. Everyone loves him. Finally he conquers exotic Babylon, and takes the Neo-Babylonian empire. Instead of murdering his subjects he frees and empowers them. The Babylonians call him "The Liberator". When the dust settles he discovers that his rise to power, his conquests, his unique abilities and qualities were intended and predicted by the God of the Jews. It must have been startling and elating for him to discover his name called by the God of the Jews in their prophecies. And this discovery inspires him to release the Jews and order them to rebuild their Temple.

So why do I bring all this up? I imagine that something similar will happen with the Great Catholic Monarch of Prophecy. We have a collection of Roman Catholic prophecies concerning this Great Monarch which I will analyze here in the future. Yet perhaps one day of the not so distant future, he whoever he may be will discover these for himself, and this will help stir him up to fulfill his mission ordained by God. Saint Francis of Paola, a Franciscan from the 1400s says of the Great Monarch:

That man will begin to meditate on the secrets of God, about the long visitation which the Holy Spirit will make and the dominion that he will exercise over the world through the holy militia.

Perhaps God will use the prophecies of the saints and mystics to stir up the mind of this Great Monarch like he did with Cyrus in Antiquity. Cyrus and the events of Cyrus' life foreshadow that of the modern Great Monarch. Both are/were anointed by God. The Great Monarch will win over an empire that extends further than that of Cyrus, from Europe to the Holy Land and perhaps may even include modern Iran and North Africa. He will have similar qualities and abilities to those of Cyrus, but he is truly a new and original version enlightened by Christ Jesus. The Great Monarch will also be inspired to rebuild Jerusalem. Like Cyrus, he will fight many battles across a vast distance. Like Cyrus he allows refugees and captives to return to their homeland for example he might finally be the one who will enable the Syrians and Libyans to return home in peace and prosperity. Like Cyrus, the GCM brings peace and stability, but also is a gateway of progress toward not the First Coming of Jesus, but his glorious Return from Heaven.

Furthermore, he may even be found in Sacred Scripture under various names and figures. The Spirit may point these out to him. He may even be referred to indirectly under the name of Cyrus, and the above prophecies of Isaiah may also have been intended for him by the Holy Spirit in a sort of double meaning. 

Supplement III:  Ritual Sacrifice of the White Horses

I add this at the end because it is a bit strange. The English word paradise comes from the old Persian Paridaida through the Greek language. The Persians built and enjoyed these walled gardens in which they kept everything that was beautiful, like flowers, animals, plants, etc. They called them Paridaida. The Greek historian Arrian said that Cyrus did a ritual sacrifice of a white horse in his Paridaida of his city of Pasargadae. It was a yearlong sacrifice, done for victory and sovereignty of the king. And this has something in common with the Indian ritual Ashvameda. The Indians and Persians are cousins. The Zoroastrians also sacrificed white horses. So Cyrus may have taken part in this Indo-Iranian religion.

Also interesting to note that Iranians did not know about Cyrus until the 19th century. His rise was lost to them and sort of reintroduced from the West via scholars and finally the discovery of the Cyrus Cylinder. So there was this Cyrus revival over the past 150 years. Now he is a hero symbol, for those who are not content with the elite who rule in Tehran.

But the purpose of this supplement is that there is this ancient connection between white horses and Cyrus. Cyrus is the best ancient comparison I can conceive to the rider of the white horse who is in my humble opinion, synonymous with this Great Monarch of Roman Catholic Prophecy.

Reference for ideas in this supplement:  A lecture given by Touraj Daryaee, Howard C. Baskerville Professor in the History of Iran and the Persianate World and the Associate Director of the Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies & Culture at the University of California:

*** Father Zlatko Sudac is from Croatia. It is thought by some that he is the Angelic Shepherd. The location of his birth and character fits the prophecies. Also he has a mystical stigmatic cruciform wound on his forehead. I think it bleeds every Friday.  It is pronounced by world class doctors that this event cannot be scientifically explained.  They literally quarantined him and did all these tests on the man.  Some would think that this is the Seal of the Living God. He is the only one in history signed like this.