V. T. Houteff explained the Seven Seals in their historical context in his tract, "To The Seven Churches:
The Breaking Of The Seven Seals." The Seven Seals, however, have an end time fulfillment as well. In
history the Seven Seals were mainly fulfilled in concrete physical terms, although Houteff explains the
second verse of the third seal, spoken by a voice from God's throne room, in a spiritual way. In the end
time, the whole third seal is fulfilled in spiritual terms.
Here is the third seal. "And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and
see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I
heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of
barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." (Rev. 6:5,6).
The gist of what Houteff said about the black horse follows: "the black horse must represent man's
government in spiritual darkness and captivity... This is confirmed by history: Even as far back as
Abraham's time, only about three hundred years after the flood, idol worship had overwhelmed the
inhabitants of the world." (V. T. Houteff, "To The Seven Churches: The Breaking Of The Seven Seals,"
1947, p. 44).
Houteff explained the rider of the black horse as a merchant, by saying of his balances: "The pair of
balances in the rider's hand should even more definitely point out the period into which the black horse
and its rider extend, and which they represent. As we have already seen the bow of the first horseman
represents the means by which Adam subdued the earth (for all the human race came through him); and
the sword of the second horseman, the means by which Adam's descendants took peace from the earth.
In similar manner, the balances of the third horseman must necessarily represent that which humanity
next introduced. And what besides some sort of commercialism could the symbolism portray? Anyone can
readily recognize that a man with a pair of balances must have something to do with buying and selling."
(Ibid, p. 45).
Houteff did not speak of the wheat and the barley in his tract about the seven seals, but had this to say of
the oil and the wine. ""The command, "Hurt not the oil and the wine," came from the midst of the throne,
from the Ancient of Days, not from the horseman. Hence, the two commodities, oil and wine, represent
not only something which only God can create but also that which He determines to preserve while
wicked men would destroy it; thus the necessity for Him to command against anyone's hurting them. And
what other such spiritual commodities could the oil and wine at that particular time -- the time of the black
horse -- represent but those products which the Bible then brought forth? Moreover, it is an accepted
fact by nearly all Bible students, that "oil" symbolizes prophetic truth, truth that throws light on the future,
that lightens the traveler's path (Ps. 45:7; Zech. 4:12); and that wine represents that part of the truth
which makes the recipient of it glad, makes him act differently than before (Isa. 61:1-3)."
""To summarize, it is obvious that the command, "Hurt not the oil and the wine," forbade interference
with the writings of the Scriptures, again showing that the breaking of the third seal unveils the period in
which the alphabet was invented and in which commercialism was originated; the period in which the
Bible was being written, and in which one nation subjugated another; the period that gave birth to
Empires."" (Ibid, p. 46,47).
Before I begin to discuss the end time fulfillment of this seal, I have a few comments on Houteff's words.
First, the identity of the Ancient of Days. This can not be God Himself. God is everlasting, He has always
existed, at very least, God is the Ancient of Eons. Nor is it God's only begotten Son, Yeshua, our Christ.
He gave Himself to save us, not judge us.
The Ancient of Days is found in Daniel 7, and there is no question that he is our judge, the personal
presence of God. "I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose
garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery
flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand
thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment
was set, and the books were opened." (Dan. 7:9,10). I believe this to be Enoch, the first prophet, a man so
righteous that God took him straight to heaven, a man who never saw death.
"And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: and Enoch walked with God after he begat
Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: and all the days of Enoch were three
hundred sixty and five years: and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." (Gen.
5:21-24). Because Enoch never died, he is the oldest human being. On earth, he was a prophet, a holy
man who represented the Holy Ghost. Enoch himself prophesied the Final Judgment. "And Enoch also,
the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His
saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly
deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have
spoken against Him." (Jude 1:14,15).
God Himself could not sit before us in judgment, it would kill us. "And he said, Thou (Moses) canst not
see My face: for there shall no man see Me, and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by Me,
and thou shalt stand upon a rock: and it shall come to pass, while My glory passeth by, that I will put thee
in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand while I pass by: and I will take away Mine hand, and
thou shalt see My back parts: but My face shall not be seen." (Ex. 33:20-24). Enoch, a man perfect in God's
eyes, who has spent over 5000 years in the presence of God, could easily be God's choice to represent
Him on the Judgment Throne of earth.
And now the third seal command, "see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." If you have read No. 22, "The
Holy Family," you know that the olive tree is the symbol of God and its oil the symbol of prophetic truth.
Here is a short excerpt from No. 22, "The Holy Family."
""The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou
over us. But the olive tree said unto the trees, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honor
God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?" (Judges 9:8,9). God is represented by the olive
tree. The oil of the olive, the fatness, does indeed honor God and man."
""Olive oil lit the wilderness tabernacle. (See Ex. 27:20.) Olive oil is the symbol of prophetic truth. (See
Zech. 4; Matt. 25:1-13.) Olive oil is one of the ingredients in the unleavened bread which was offered at
the temple. (See Lev. 23:13.) This same unleavened bread symbolizes the body of Christ, which was
offered for our sins. (See Luke 22:19.) Finally, olive oil was used to anoint kings. (See 1 Sam. 16:13.)"" (No.
22, "The Holy Family").
The protection of the third seal on the olive oil kept the Holy Word of the Bible and its prophesies intact
when it was first written and down through the ages. The protection of the third seal on the wine had a
similar purpose and effect. The wine is associated with Christ.
""Continuing the parable, we come to Christ, "the True Vine." (John 15:1). "Then said all of the trees unto
the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which
cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?" (Judges 9:12,13)."
""Every Bible student knows that Christ said He was the vine. (See John 15.) The fruit of the vine is wine.
Wine is the symbol of the blood of Christ, given for our salvation. (See Matt. 26:27-29.) The blood of Christ
was given for the reconciliation of God and man. Wine cheers God because He rejoices in the sinners
turned to righteousness by the sacrifice of His Son. Men rejoice in the promise of divine forgiveness.""
(No. 22, "The Holy Family").
So it is that the words of Christ come down to us undiluted and unchanged. But, note, some things were
not protected. And so the identity and gender of the Holy Spirit Mother and the Holy Ghost Daughter were
blurred and concealed through the ages and had to be restored. The blurring was as simple as changing
"she" to "he." This blurring was allowed, because it was a small thing in God's eyes. "There is neither
Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in
Christ Jesus." (Gal. 3:38).
Earlier I mentioned that Houteff did not speak of the wheat and the barley in his tract on the seven seals.
He did, however, mention them in his book, "The Shepherd's Rod," Volume 2. Explaining the scripture in
its historical context, he relates it to Christ's parable of the servants hired for a penny to work in the
""Coming back to our text: "A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny."
(Rev. 6:6.) Why is the wheat mentioned first, and the barley last? Why not the reverse? Why three times
as much barley for a penny to one of wheat? Or why not the reverse? The Scriptures are perfect and no
flaw can be found in them. Therefore, there must be a reason for this order of arrangement, as well as for
the quantity of each cereal. Barley ripens much earlier than wheat. Therefore, those hired first must be
represented by the barley, otherwise the symbol could not be perfect. The barley, then, represents the
Jewish nation, as they were hired first. Naturally the wheat must represent the ones called at the
eleventh hour. It is marvelous how perfect the Scriptures are."
""... The two cereals are sufficient to illustrate the thought and to clear the lesson. But the chief reason
for only two is to draw attention to the first and last calls, because reference is made of but two Israels;
namely, Israel after the flesh (the descendants of Abraham), and Israel after the spirit (the 144,000). But
the object of the lesson is for the latter, who are hired at the eleventh hour, for the truth of the parable
has never been understood by any other company."
""Mark that the ones hired first worked all the day, but those hired last labored only one hour. For that
reason the voice said, "three measures of barley" as against "one measure of wheat" for a penny -- day's
wage."" (Ibid, "The Shepherd's Rod," Vol. 2, 1932, p. 233,234). Houteff also explained why the measure of
wheat was mentioned before the three measures of barley.
""Now the question why the voice from the throne said, "One measure of wheat for a penny," first, and
"three measures of barley for a penny," last, will be answered. Humanly speaking it should have been the
reverse, for by the wheat is represented the last message (eleventh hour) and by the barley the first
(early in the morning -- Israel going out of Egypt). Had the voice reversed the enumeration of the cereals,
it would have been wrong, for said Jesus: "So when even was come, the Lord of the vineyard saith unto
his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first..."
""Why were the first paid last, and the last first? Answer. -- The pay God's servants receive is eternal life,
and is characterized by the penny. Therefore, those who are granted the assurance of a never ending life
first, are those who were hired last, and according to the parable, it was the company called at the
eleventh hour. They are those who are marked or sealed by the man with the writer's inkhorn of Ezekiel 9,
or as John calls him, the angel with the seal of God; and he sealed, or marked, 144,000. (See Rev. 7.) This
glorious company is the first who are granted the assurance of never tasting death."" (Ibid, p. 234,235).
To summarize: Houteff identified the Jewish nation, who were called out of Israel as the three measures
of barley, and "Israel after the spirit (the 144,000)" as the wheat, those called at the eleventh hour. There
are, however, not two calls to work in the vineyard, but five.
"For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the
morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a
day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in
the marketplace, and said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you.
And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about
the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here
all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the
vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive." (Matt. 20:1-7).
Speaking of the religious movements these portray, Houteff said: ""There are only five calls in the
parable; First, those who were called early -- Israel out of Egypt; Second, those who went to labor in the
vineyard at the third hour -- the early Christian church; Third, the sixth hour call -- William Miller and his
co-workers; Fourth, the ninth hour call -- the Third angel in his first cry after 1844; Fifth, the 11th hour call
-- the Loud Cry of the Third Angel's Message. As number "seven" is used in every one of God's finished
acts to denote completeness, there must have been two such calls before Israel's time, otherwise it
would show incompleteness in the proclamation of the gospel. "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam,
prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints." (Jude 14.) As
Enoch had a world wide message of the coming of the Lord, his message is the first call. Noah's call is the
second from creation. Therefore, "seven" in all, meaning perfect, finished, the end of the gospel."" (Ibid,
You will notice that, after the first call to the Jewish nation, each of the following calls came to the
Christian church. Houteff has told us that the first call to the Jewish nation was the barley, and the last
call, "the 11th hour call -- the Loud Cry of the Third Angel's Message," the call to the 144,000, was the
wheat. What of the three intervening calls to the Christian church? Are they best symbolized by wheat or
For the answer, we turn to the words of Christ. Speaking of His crucifixion, Christ referred to Himself as
wheat. "And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it
die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world
shall keep it unto life eternal." (John 12:23-25).
Christ also referred to the seeds of His planting as wheat. "Another parable put he forth unto them,
saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: but while men
slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was
sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder
came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and
gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye
together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn." (Matt.
Christ's church fulfilled the ceremony of the wave loaves on the Day of Pentecost. The two groups: the
120 Christians who gathered with the disciples to celebrate the Pentecost, and the 3000 added to the
church that day, were the two wave loaves. The wheat harvest had ended by Pentecost, the wave loaves
were made using fine wheat flour. "Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth
deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord."
The example of the harvest of Israel, both the Jews and the 144,000 of the Christians, is found in Exodus.
"And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran
along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire
mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it
became a nation. And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man
and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field. And the flax and
the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled. But the wheat and the rie
were not smitten: for they were not grown up." (Ex. 9:23-25,31,32).
The flax represents the priesthood, who wore flaxen (linen) garments. The barley, as Houteff has said,
represents the Jewish nation. Both were overthrown and driven from their homeland for refusing Christ,
they were full grown, spiritually mature, and had no excuse; "the flax and the barley was smitten: for the
barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled."
The wheat and the rye were not judged, for their ministry had barely begun; "the wheat and the rie were
not smitten: for they were not grown up." The rie (rye) represent those not of the blood of Israel who
were part of the Christian church when the Jews were smitten, forced from their homeland, about
seventy years after Christ's birth.
In conclusion then, the Jewish nation is the barley. And all the Christian church from the time of Christ to
the present, can be symbolized as wheat (the 144,000 chosen of the heritage of Israel), or rye (those who
have lost or never had a heritage from Israel). The 144,000 are referred to as firstfruits (Rev. 14:4), but
they are the firstfruits of the wheat harvest.
Going back to the original scripture of the third seal; the measure of wheat is the 144,000. "And I heard a
voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley
for a penny..." (Rev. 6:6). With the end time opening of the third seal, the 144,000 begin to be gathered in
This is actually extremely good news for our dangerous world. As the sealing of the 144,000 who never
die begins, four angels restrain the winds of nuclear war. "And after these things I saw four angels
standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not
blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east,
having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given
to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have
sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads." (Rev. 7:1-3). The four angels are aided by the great
vigilance and preparedness by God's earthly hosts and the powers of good on the earth. Satan is very
angry, because his time is very short. (Rev. 12:12).
With the end of the harvest of the 144,000, which culminates in their sealing and meeting the Lamb on
Mount Zion (see Rev. 14:1-5); the harvest of the rest of the world begins. The harvest of the world starts
with three measures of barley. Houteff identified the barley as the Jewish nation (the tribe of Judah).
These are out in the world (and back in Israel), the known Jews. Since a measure of wheat is 144,000
persons, three measures of barley would be about a half million Messianic Jews, or maybe more, since
God's mercy has no limit. The Messianic (Christ believing) Jewish congregations of the world have a
great work ahead of them.
That brings us to the end of the discussion of the spiritual (heaven sent) symbols of the third seal and
leaves only what John the Revelator saw. "And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had
a pair of balances in his hand."
Black is a symbol of spiritual darkness and idolatry, but also of judgment and mourning. The judgment of
God is on the earth. "For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have
spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it." (Jer. 4:28). The world,
which has made a god of greed, sees the signs of the end.
The balances, which heralded the rise of commercialism, become the tool that judges the nations. "No
man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the
one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Matt. 6:24). Mammon is the God of
greed and commercialism. So the very balances that signaled the rise in commercialism, are the symbol
of its downfall.
In the end time, the hand writing is once again on the wall. "Then was the part of the hand sent from him;
and this writing was written. And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This
is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art
weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes
and Persians." (Dan. 5:24).
Those nations who follow the dictates of Christ will inherit God's Kingdom. "When the Son of man shall
come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and
before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd
divideth his sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom
prepared for you from the foundation of the world..." (Matt. 25:31-34).
Those nations who are "weighed in the balances, and... found wanting" will find their kingdoms divided
and given to others, "thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians." Darius the Median,
of the seed of Abraham's son, Median (see Gen. 25:1,2) raised up Daniel as his second in command (see
Dan 5:31; 6:1-3). Using the prophecies of the Bible, Daniel showed Cyrus the Persian that he, Cyrus, was
called by God to return many of God's people to Jerusalem (see Is. 45:1).
Just so the righteous of the wicked kingdoms will be called into the Kingdom of God, even as their
nations are judged and lose their identities.
Amo Paul Bishop Roden