Revelation #14 Revelation 6:1-17 The End Times as The Seven Seals
There is One worthy to take the scroll of
destiny from the Hand of the One Seated upon the Throne. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, but much to
our surprise the Lion appears as a little Lampkin that was sacrificed like a
Passover lamb. This defeated Lamb is found to be worthy.
Rev 5:9-10 (MSG)
Worthy! Take the scroll, open its seals. Slain! Paying in
blood, you bought men and women, Bought them back from all over the earth,
Bought them back for God. 10 Then you made them a Kingdom, Priests for our God,
Priest-kings to rule over the earth.
The Lamb is Jesus. As the slain lamb, He
wins the Lion's victory. His way, so counter
to the ways of the world, was the path to victory, self-sacrifice. And now He carries
out the final phase of God’s plan of redemption for the creation.
Before we read of the opening of the seals
there is an understanding we must come to.
All our regular writings move from point “a” to point “b” in a logical
sequence. First, this happens then that
happens. When we come to the interpreting
of the 7 Seals, the 7 Trumpets, and the 7 Bowls, we are going to take a
different approach. We are going to
attempt to understand them as parallels that grow more intense. When the first
seal is open there is a rough time, the
rough times become more intense when the first trumpet is blown, and the
intensity turns catastrophic when the first bowl is poured. Here’s the
suggestion: The seals, trumpets, and bowls happen at the same time. All the
first seals, the first trumpet, and the first bowl occur at the same time. They
are vantage points to the trauma.
When the first seal is opened the
Anti-Christ makes its appearance and it is bent on conquest. The first trumpet
sounds and a third of the earth is scorched.
The first bowl is poured and all those who worship the Anti-Christ get
covered in sores.
When the second seal is opened there is a war
that takes the lives of a fourth of humanity. The second trumpet brings destruction to a
third of the sea. The third bowl is
poured out and everything in the sea dies.
Famine is unleashed upon the world when the
third seal is open. The third trumpet
poisons a third of the freshwater. Bowl number 3 corrupts all the fresh water.
Death comes with the opening of the 4th
seal and one quarter of humanity dies.
A third of the lights in heaven blackout when the
4th trumpet blows. When the 4th bowl is poured the light that is
left becomes scorching.
The 5th seal is opened the scene is
back in the throne room. As the trumpet
sounds the Well of the Abyss is opened in response to the martyrs and the air
fills with smoke blocking out the sun.
The 5th bowl is poured out and the Kingdoms and the Nations,
the governments of humanity collapse.
A catastrophe greater than any before occurs when
the 6 seal is ripped open. Natural
disasters send people into caves to hide. The 6th Thunder unleashes a massive
army bent on killing another third of humanity.
For you literalists if you are keeping track after the army has done its
work only 1/6th of humanity remains. The 6th bowl gathers
all the forces of the Anti-Christ as they prepare to battle the Lamb.
Between the 6th and 7th
events we will learn what is happening in the Church left upon the Earth and
the Church that is already in glory.
Should I give you a hint? No.
The 7th seal, trumpet, and bowl bring
the end. Or should we say the new beginning?
We’ve said that any interpretation we arrive at
must have made sense to the original readers.
Identified as holy scripture there is also a message for us today. What John has done with the seals, trumpets,
and bowls is paint a word picture that makes Revelation timeless and applicable
to every generation that reads it. A picture has been painted, not a timeline
constructed, and we need to stand back from scrutiny and see the whole, we must
stand back from the trees to see the forest, to gain an idea of the whole not
just the parts. When we look at the
whole we have a picture of increasing trauma.
A picture is worth a thousand words and this picture is apocalyptic.
Allow this understanding and let's read:
Rev 6:1-17 (MSG)
I watched while the Lamb ripped off the
first of the seven seals. I heard one of the [Cherubim] roar, "Come
out!" 2 I looked—I saw a white horse. Its rider carried a bow and was
given a victory garland. He rode off victorious, conquering right and left.
This rider is the first of the Four Horsemen
of the Apocalypse. The white horse rider
is the anti-Christ. He is riding forth to conquer humanity. He is the one that blinds the eyes of the
unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4). The
color white we have associated with righteousness, but the rider is carrying a
bow. Later in Revelation Jesus will
appear riding a white horse, but he will carry a sword. What we have is a rider
masquerading as a savior (2 Corinthians 11:14). This makes me think of Ronald
Reagan when he said that the nine most terrifying words in the English language
are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
3 When the Lamb ripped off the second seal,
I heard the second [Cherubim] cry, "Come out!" 4 Another horse
appeared, this one red. Its rider was off to take peace from the earth, setting
people at each other's throats, and killing one another. He was given a huge
The red horse is a symbol of war. Peace and
unity are stripped from the nations and society. The rider leaves slaughter and bloodshed in
its wake. There are wars and rumors of wars, internal strife with its civil
unrest (Isaiah 19:21, Zechariah 14:13).
5 When he ripped off the third seal, I heard
the third [Cherubim] cry, "Come out!" I looked. A black horse this
time. Its rider carried a set of scales in his hand. I heard a message (it
seemed to issue from the Four [Cherubim]): "A quart of wheat for a day's
wages, or three quarts of barley, but all the oil and wine you want."
The black horse is a symbol of famine. Scarcity abounds and when you find the goods
you need, if you find them, you find them at gouging inflated prices. The price
of wheat and barley is about 10 to 12 times higher than what it should be
(Mounce p. 155). What cost $10 now costs $100 or more. Here’s a little
speculation. Wheat and barley were the
staple for the working class. Oil and
wine are a staple for the elite class.
We might venture to say the black horse hits the working class the
hardest, the elite class is not touched.
7 When he ripped off the fourth seal, I
heard the fourth [Cherubim] cry, "Come out!" I looked. A colorless
horse, sickly pale. Its rider was Death, and Hell was close on its heels. They
were given the power to destroy a fourth of the earth by war, famine, disease,
and wild beasts.
The pale horse is a symbol of death. Our folk pictures place the grim reaper
riding the pale horse. Death and Hell are limited in their ability to kill,
they are constrained because both have an unsatiable appetite (Proverbs
27-20). War, famine, disease, and wild
beasts are the means of taking people's lives.
The four horsemen have been unleashed. (Make time to read Matthew 24-25 and Mark 13: 1-37) Trauma and
tribulation cover the earth. God's purpose is to use pain to awaken people to
the need for God and to turn to Him.
People tend not to change until they feel the heat. When everything they
have known and counted on fails, maybe they will turn to God.
In previous teachings, we’ve discussed what
happens when you die. I speculate that
believers and innocents join the thief on the cross in paradise until the
second coming. Believers who are
martyred, murdered because of their work of the Kingdom, wait for the second
coming in the very throne room of God, in a place John calls “under the altar.”
9 When he ripped off the fifth seal, I saw
the souls of those killed because they had held firm in their witness to the
Word of God. They were gathered under the Altar, and cried out in loud prayers,
"How long, Strong God, Holy and True? How long before you step in and
avenge our murders?" Then each martyr was given a white robe and told to
sit back and wait until the full number of martyrs was filled from among their
servant companions and friends in the faith.
The martyrs are impatient. They put their lives on the line. They want the consummation of the kingdom to
happen now. They paid the ultimate price
of faith. But they must wait until this
place under the altar is full of believers who have died because they refused
to recant their faith. Meanwhile, they wait in a place of special honor.
12 I watched while he ripped off the sixth
seal: a bone-jarring earthquake, sun turned black as ink, moon all bloody,
stars falling out of the sky like figs shaken from a tree in a high wind, sky
snapped shut like a book, islands and mountains sliding this way and that. And
then pandemonium, everyone and his dog running for cover—kings, princes,
generals, rich and strong, along with every commoner, slave or free. They hid
in mountain caves and rocky dens, calling out to mountains and rocks,
"Refuge! Hide us from the One Seated on the Throne and the wrath of the
Lamb! The great Day of their wrath has come—who can stand it?"
With the opening of the 6th seal
natural disasters, cosmic disturbances, and earthquakes, are all customary
occurrences in apocalyptic literature. The trauma drives fear into the hearts
of all. Who's got it better the saints under the altar or the kings, princes,
generals, rich and strong of the earth? The realization dawns on the God
rejectors that maybe there is a God after all, and a day of reckoning has come.
With every 6th we have the final intensification of the end time
Our time for this teaching is running
out. A question glares out at us. What’s going on with the Church? We’ll pick that up next time and we will read
of the opening of the 7th seal.
Here’s what you can take home with you from
Be prepared for trials and
There is a teaching
in the church called Rapture. The
thought is that Jesus is going to come back in secret and take all the
believers out of the great tribulation.
Don’t count on it.
Prepare yourself to put your life on the
line for your faith.
There may come a time when you will be faced
with recanting your belief in Christ or be stripped of everything you hold near
and dear, including your livelihood, your loved ones, and your life. To do so you need to have a rock-solid
intimate vibrant relationship with God.
Don’t put off the importance of your spiritual growth just because times
haven’t gone crazy yet.
Prepare yourself for the onslaught of false
The rider of the white horse is on a
conquering spree. His method of
conquering is to get you to believe a religious lie. The truth will be mixed with a falsehood with
the power to lead you astray from a right relationship with God. Now is the time to know the way, the truth,
and the life, before a false messiah captures your loyalty.
Make sure you have a tribe that you find the
support you need when things get really bad.
Things will get rough, intense, maybe even catastrophic but there is no need
to fear. Instead, prepare yourself.