We now move from Heaven to the Earth and the picture could not be more dramatic. From the glories of the Throne Room and seeing The Lamb with songs of praise and thanksgiving unto our Lord Jesus we now see judgment coming upon the grace despisers and idolaters of this world.
In chapter 5 we saw that only the Lamb is able to open the Scroll which is the title deeds to the Earth that He created as Lord. (cf Col 1:15-19. Heb 1:10). In these 7 Seals we have the end time scenario unfolding in graphic detail:-
First Seal – The Conqueror – verses 1 and 2
The rider on the white horse (false peace) is the son of Satan, the anti-Christ, the man of sin, the lawless one, the man of perdition who rides out conquering and to conquer. War is in his heart as he rides out to deceive (cf Matthew 24:5) and to rule over all that see him as an anointed one (cf 2 Thess 2:4).
When Messiah comes He will be on a white horse but Rev 19:11-16 does not speak of Him carrying a bow! We may note that in 6:2 there is no mention of an arrow and so this may be the threat of war but death comes with the next rider.
Second Seal – Conflict on Earth – verses 3 and 4
The second rider is on a fiery red horse (death follows him) as people kill one another which seems to imply invading armies, nation against nation. This demonic being is given a great sword and it is granted to him to take peace away from the earth! There is universal conflict and many will die in wars.
How much better to know the Prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus promised that His peace that would be always be with us. (John 14:27; 16:33 and Phil 4:7).
Third Seal – Scarcity on Earth – verses 5 and 6
The third rider is on a black horse (calamity and darkness) and he has a pair of scales as now we see food shortages and rampant inflation as verse 6 shows us.
Famine follows war and so there is a progression of calamity on the earth. If wheat and barley cost so much then the scales denote weighing and rationing. The oil and the wine can be seen as the basic food of the poor as John has to understand as we have to but other scholars see these items as the luxury items of the rich. If the oil and the wine are seen as examples of staple items then they must be protected to preserve life and so they are not to be harmed within God’s plan. Finally, in recent years others are now seeing the oil as a symbol of unsaved Israel and the wine as the Church. (cf Matthew 24:22 and Luke 21:36).
If the wine represents the Church then it is still on the earth and the rapture has not taken place yet and is therefore before the end of chapter 6. Some believe the rapture is around the midpoint of the Tribulation period or just before the Seven Bowls of Wrath! Time will tell which position is right!
Fourth Seal – Widespread Death on Earth – verses 7 and 8
The fourth rider sits on a pale horse and his name is Death (death is associated with the body) and Hell follows after him. (Hell is associated with the spirit and soul). Power is given over a fourth of the earth to kill in four ways:
1) with the sword – wars, murders, disasters. 2) with hunger – starvation, a lack of food and water. 3) with death 4) and by the beasts of the earth. (cf Gen 1:24; Leviticus 26:22).
Fifth Seal – The Cry of the Martyrs – verses 9, 10, 11
With this seal opened we are told about the martyrs of the past and during the tribulation who lay their lives down in giving God’s Word and the Gospel and being martyred for it! These martyrs are crying out for justice from the Lord but are told to wait for others who would be martyred for the Gospel of our Lord Jesus and who would join them in the future. Their souls are under the altar before the Throne of God which shows they are alive and awake making a nonsense of the false teaching of soul sleep as taught by some.
We may note they are given white robes which is a symbol of their purity and righteousness regarding their testimony
Sixth Seal – Cosmic Disturbances – verses 12 to 17
The sixth seal brings about convulsions in the heavens, the star system is thrown into disorder, there will be a blood red moon and on the earth a great earthquake shakes land and sea so that all classes of society are seized with fear and panic. The tremendous upheavals of the earth’s crust sees every mountain and island being moved out of place. The unsaved know this is from the hand of God and so they try to hide in caves and in amongst the rocks on the mountains seeking safety. They cry out for the rocks to cover and hide them hopefully keeping them from the wrath of God the Father and the Lamb, the Son of God. Truly the great day of His wrath has come and who is able to stand for it will just build in intensity until the day when the Lord Jesus returns to reign and rule for a 1,000 years. No rebel will be able to stand in those days as He will separate the sheep and goats. Many will come to know the Lord because of what Revelation chapter 7 shows us which comes between the sixth and seventh seals. We may see this as the second great Pentecost, a time of repentance and revival as the Spirit of God moves producing a harvest of souls that no man can count.
Before we look at chapter 7 let us see the promises of our Lord towards those who know Him as redeemer and saviour.
Romans 5:9 teaches that we shall be saved from wrath through Jesus.
1 Thess 1:10 states clearly that Jesus delivers us from the wrath to come.
1 Thess 5:9 teaches us that God did not appoint us to His wrath.
Rev 3:10 teaches us that the Lord Jesus will keep us from the hour of trial which will come upon the whole earth to test those that dwell upon it.
From these four verses we would hope that His saints are not on the earth as we are told that the wrath of Him who sits on the Throne and the Lamb is seen is verse 16 of chapter 6. Indeed in verse 17 we are told that the great day of His wrath has come and who is able to stand. If we are not appointed unto His wrath, are to be delivered and saved and kept from the hour I personally would expect us to be taken out as God deals with this wicked and adulterous world.
Before the seventh seal is opened we see two companies of believers that we shall now look at. Firstly though in verses 1-3 we are told that four angels standing at the four corners of the world are holding back the four winds which will cause terrible destruction on the earth as the seven trumpets are sounded.
The first group of believers are obviously saved Jews from the early part of the Tribulation and are sealed on their foreheads showing they belong to God. They number 144,000 and verse 4 tells us they are from the tribes and are the children of Israel not a modern day cult started by Gentiles calling themselves Jehovah’s Witnesses. In verses 5 to 8 we are told the names of the Tribes and it is very interesting to note that Ephraim and Dan are not listed perhaps because they were leaders in idolatry which the Lord hates. New Testament believers are also warned to keep themselves from idols. The Tribes of Joseph and Levi are now named within the 12 Tribes. Joseph is seen as taking the place of his son Ephraim. This group of believers and steadfast disciples are spoken of again in Revelation chapter 14. They are seen standing on Mount Zion with the Lamb and are referred to as being virgins having not known a woman. They are in white as with all believers who have become over comers, they sing a song that only they know because of the great work they have done for their Lord in seeing a great multitude saved. They serve the Lamb night and day, were redeemed from among men walking in holiness as no deceit was found in them being a type of Nathaniel (which means given of God) and are spoken of as being first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.
In verses 9-10 we see the second group of believers being a great multitude of people from all the nations, tongues, tribes and peoples of the earth who become born again crying out in song to God and to the Lamb.
Verses 11 to 17 give us additional information especially the fact that this multitude came out of the great tribulation and are the work of the Jewish evangelists. God started with Israel and finishes with them as they firstly gave us God’s Holy written Word and now they give the nations His Holy Word for a second time at the end of the age.
Verse 17 speaks of God wiping away every tear from this group and in Revelation chapter 20 verse 4 we can see why. They have to lay down their lives as they refused to take the Mark of the Beast or worship him.
In Revelation 13:7 we are told that the Beast is given power to overcome the saints during the Great Tribulation and those who do not will be killed – verse 15. So many will lay down their lives rather than take the ‘Mark of the Beast’ for those who do cannot then inherit eternal life with God. The penalty for taking the mark is to drink of the wine of wrath of God ending with the torment of fire and brimstone in the presence of the Lamb and His holy angels – Revelation 14:9-12. Verse 11 is very graphic for it states, ‘the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.’
Patience is need to endure this time period as verse 12 states and having patience and faith is also spoken of in chapter 13:10 as saints will refuse to be ruled over and will choose physical death as it has no hold on them. The reward for not bowing to or worshipping the Anti-Christ is to reign with Messiah during His Millennial (1,000 year) Rule on the earth. These are the tribulation saints that were beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the Word of God (see Revelation 20:4). As with others they overcome through the blood of the Lamb and their testimony and loved not their lives even unto death as it is written (see Revelation 12:11). So be it. Amen. (As it is written so shall it be!)
Date : 30/11/-0001