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Revelation 6 and the Seven Seals

Revelation 6

The Seals and the Saints

 

Brief Ideas: As Daniel 2 provided an outline of five world empires that were described again in chapter 7 and again in chapter 8, so Revelation 2-3 provided an outline of seven great ages of the church that are described again in Revelation 6-8.

 

The seals are chronological and focus rather on the time periods after the Four Horsemen, than on the Four Horsemen themselves.

 

Re 6:1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

 

Timing

 

The Seals describe processes rather than events. For that reason, though they are chronological, they overlap as indicated below: The overlapping of 5 and 6 could causes confusion if this is not understood.

 

1  ——————–

2  ———————–

3 —————————

4 ——————–

5 —————————

6 ——————-

7-

Parallels to the Churches

 

Church                                                            Seal                                         Other  

Ephesus                                                                   White Horse                                           Col 1:23

“thy works and they labour” –                                                “conquering”                                     “to every creature”

 

                Smyrna                                                                    Red Horse                                               2Ti 3:12

“ye shall have tribulation”                                      “they should kill one another”                 “all…shall suffer persecution”

 

Pergamos                                                                Black Horse                                             Amos 8:11

“I . . . will fight against them”               by sWord                 Judgment of Famine                         “I shall send a famine” of hearing truth

 

Thyatira                                                                   Pale Horse                                              Matt 15:13

“I . . . will kill her children with death”                  “Death, and hell followed . . .”               “Every plant . . . shall be” uprooted

 

Sardis                                                                      Souls Under Alter                                    Ro 12:19

“avenge our blood”                                 “vengeance is mine, I will repay”

“white raiment” “I will confess him”                    “white robes were given”

 

 

Spiritual Lessons from Seals One to Five

 

The Horse is a Domestic Beast. It may have a rider and may do his bidding. In this way it represents the visible church. In Revelation 6 the church is initially ridden by Lord Jesus (compare Re 19:11-13). When the church is compared to a horse, Jesus is the rider. When it is compared to a body, He is the head.

 

2Co 2:14  Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

 

Eph 4:15  But speaking the truth in love, [the church] may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

 

Col 1:18  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

 

Does Jesus ride the second horse? Remember, that is Smyrna, the first church age without rebuke. Revelation 6 says:

 

And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

 

And that reminds me of two passages:

 

Mt 10:34  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

 

Joh 19:11  Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

 

In these passages God’s power is delegated to a wicked Roman leader to enable him to kill even Jesus. And Jesus uses Satan’s enmity against Satan. Re 12:11.

 

Does Jesus ride the third horse? The rider has balances in his hand. This reminds me of another passage relating to ancient Babylon, and one related to the famine in the third seal.

 

Da 5:27  TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

 

Am 8:11  Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:

 

Jesus isn’t riding the fourth horse. And that makes me wonder if He is riding the second and the third. The rider of the fourth horse is “Death” and “Hell” follows “with him.” This reminds me of several passages.

 

Heb 2:14  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

 

Mt 25:41  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

 

But also:

 

Re 1:18  I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

 

Yet the fourth rider is given power to kill the fourth part of the earth. And the only church in the middle ages that was killing large number of people was the Roman church.

 

Is this the golden cup that is in the Lord’s hand? Jer 51:7. We will study more about this when we get to Revelation 18.

 

The Fifth Seal

 

Re 6:9  And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar  the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10  And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?’ 11  And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

 

Please don’t miss the importance of these verses to our end-time message. These verses parallel Revelation 3:5.

 

Re 3:5  He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

 

Note that by the time of the fifth seal, of Sardis, that there are already souls that have been killed for the Word of God. Some of these died under the second seal, some under the third seal, some under the fourth.

 

Now they are dead. Their blood cries, like Abel’s, for vengeance from God’s throne. (See Heb 12:24).

 

But they don’t get the vengeance when they cry for it. Their murderers are not yet in hell. The “souls” of the martyrs are told to wait longer before vengeance comes. What do they do while they wait? “Rest.”

 

But while resting, what do they get? White robes. Now who gets white robes? “He that overcometh the same shall be clothed in white raiment.” So the martyrs are overcomers. And that reminds us again of Rev 12:11.

 

When do they get these white robes? Not when they died. Rather, at some time period during the fifth seal, and prior to the final persecution of the saints when “their fellow servants also and their brethren” “should be killed as they were”.

 

And this, as we will review when we study Revelation 14, a beautiful evidence in favor of the Adventist doctrine of the Investigative Judgment.

 

And when we face lethal persecution this passage will remind us of our “brethren” who have victoriously suffered death before us.

 

Patience as well as courage has its victories. By meekness under trial, no less than by boldness in enterprise, souls may be won to Christ. The Christian who manifests patience and cheerfulness under bereavement and suffering, who meets even death itself with the peace and calmness of an unwavering faith, may accomplish for the gospel more than he could have effected by a long life of faithful labor. Often when the servant of God is withdrawn from active duty, the mysterious providence which our shortsighted vision would lament is designed by God to accomplish a work that otherwise would never have been done.  {AA 465.1}

Let not the follower of Christ think, when he is no longer able to labor openly and actively for God and His truth, that he has no service to render, no reward to secure. Christ’s true witnesses are never laid aside. In health and sickness, in life and death, God uses them still. When through Satan’s malice the servants of Christ have been persecuted, their active labors hindered, when they have been cast into prison, or dragged to the scaffold or to the stake, it was that truth might gain a greater triumph. As these faithful ones sealed their testimony with their blood, souls hitherto in doubt and uncertainty were convinced of the faith of Christ and took their stand courageously for Him. From the ashes of the martyrs has sprung an abundant harvest for God.  {AA 465.2}

 

The Sixth Seal

 

Re 6:12  And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13  And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

14  And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15  And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16  And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

 

The Signs and the Coming

 

Jesus intended that we would know when His coming was “nigh.” And how did He intend we would know? He intended that we would observe the “signs” that pointed to His soon return.

 

Matt 24:29  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

32 ¶  Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33  So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

 

So the connection between the first part of the 6th church age, the signs, and the last part, the Coming, are that the former alert us to the fact that the later event is “at the doors.”

 

The signs occurred, as Matthew 24 indicates, after the close of the tribulation. This is the same order observed in seals five and six. But the fifth seal extends beyond the persecution to the judgment that sets things right. The judgment of the fifth seal began, however, after the signs of the sixth seal. And this is just what was illustrated in the first part of this article. The seals are still chronological because they begin sequentially.

 

The Parenthesis

 

The sixth seal ends with a question, “who shall be able to stand?” And so important is that question, (though it will be asked far too late), that an entire chapter is devoted to the answer before we encounter the seventh seal.

 

Compare Revelation 7, Ezekiel 9, Malachi 3, and Psalms 24. Come prepared to morrow to well answer on a quiz this one question: According to these four chapters, who will be able to stand when Jesus appears?

For the Word Doc, click here: Rev_6_-_The_Seals_and_the_Saints

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