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 Revelation Chapter 6 (Part 42) (Verses 1 – 11)

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PostSubject: Revelation Chapter 6 (Part 42) (Verses 1 – 11)   Sun May 21, 2017 2:38 pm

Revelation Chapter 6 (Part 42) (Verses 1 – 11)

Chapter 6 begins the description of the Tribulation on planet Earth. Revelation 6:1a reads, “I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals.” God’s judgements are bound in seals. These seals are interesting. There are 7 seals, but more than 7 judgements because the 7th seal contains 7 trumpet judgements and 7 bowl (AKA “vials”) judgements, making 21 in all. Roman wills were constructed in such a way, where the scroll is opened all the way; part of it is written on and then sealed; then another part is written on and then sealed, etc., up to the 7th seal. The 7th seal is on the outside edge of the outside roll. So to open it up for the first time would require the 7th seal being opened first, which would reveal what happens next, etc. So opening it up, the one written first is the last one that the reader will get to, which is often the greatest in the will. Typically, the seals, trumpets, and vials crescendos to a greater degree of judgement in procession of their order to where the 7th is the greatest and most terrifying. And remember, the word “Revelation” in the Greek means “unfolding” or “unveiling”, which is the unveiling of Jesus Christ, which includes His judgement on the world of all who has rejected Him. We saw in Chapter 5 that only the Lamb, Jesus Christ, is worthy to take and open the seals of the Father’s judgments. He is the Kinsman Redeemer, both God and Man, both worthy and qualified to open the seals on behalf of God and man. We will see that these seals will unleash demonic forces that God had previously held back, in great part to the Holy Spirit being on the Earth pre-Rapture. And throughout even history, God is prone to using Satan and demonic forces to punish the wicked and sometimes even to discipline His own or to mature His own, as He did with Job. But the Earth has never experienced throughout history what is in store for it during the Tribulation period when the seals, trumpets and bowls will be unveiled.

The Apostle John is watching as Jesus opens the first seal. Revelation 6:1b says, “Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, ‘Come!’” I’m sure that was a startling moment for John as one of the living creatures unexpectingly shouts “Come!” as loud as thunder. John was already standing there when the creature said, “come”, so the cherubim was really saying to John, “Go and proceed.” Verse 2 says, “I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.” Hmmm…a rider on a white horse. Who does that sound like? If you said Jesus, that was a good guess, but not correct. Each of these horsemen seals unleash demonic forces. Indeed this rider resembles Jesus. Jesus also rides a white horse in Revelation 19:11. 19:11 reads, “I saw Heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.”—it is Jesus on this white horse in chapter 19. The rider on the white horse in chapter 6 is Satan. Satan is the great imitator of Jesus. He knows Jesus rides on a white horse, so he rides on one to deceive the nations into worshipping him as king. We will later see that Satan has his version of the Trinity. There is something strange about this rider on a white horse who is riding about conquering as he goes. Can you see what’s strange about him? He is lacking something. He has a bow with no arrows! He has a weapon, but cannot use it because it is just a bow. Indeed, during the early part of the Tribulation period, Satan will conquer the nations peacefully. He will be looked at as the one who will bring peace to the entire world and the people of the Earth will trust in him and follow him. This rider on the white horse is technically the Anti-Christ who is possessed by Satan.

White throughout the bible symbolizes holiness. A white horse to the Romans and Jews symbolized conquest, victory, and battle. The crown given to this rider in 6:2 is the Greek word that represents a victor’s crown. This is a different crown that the one Jesus wears in Revelation 19:12—Jesus there is wearing a kingly crown. Indeed, Satan will have a semblance of holiness, that is, false holiness and a false victory. The Anti-Christ will look holy to the people, but will be completely evil. His victory is only temporary. We learn from other Scripture that the Anti-Christ’s peaceful conquest will last the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation. His evilness will be clearly seen during the second half of the Tribulation. Another interesting comparison is that in Revelation 19:11, Jesus not only has a king’s crown, but He also judges with a sword. The Anti-Christ, here in Chapter 6, has a victor’s crown and a bow without arrows. Jesus will not be conquering peacefully. Jesus will conquer His enemies with much bloodshed.

Verse 3 posits, “When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, ‘Come!’” The first seal, we know lasts for 3 ½ years, because other Scripture says that the Anti-Christ will conquer in peace for 3 ½ years. This passage doesn’t say how long of a rest period between each seal (if any), but they are very likely listed in successive order of events. Verse 4 says, “Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the Earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.” This horse’s color is red and appears to be on fire. The color red is a symbol of war and murder. Fire is a symbol of destruction. During this time, it will be a period of high crime rate. Some cities in America, and especially some countries around the world are accustomed to high crime rate. But this, being the Tribulation period, is describing a much more heightened and widespread crime rate than Earth has ever experienced before. It will be a period of lawlessness. People will want to take and steal what his neighbor has. Many will be filled with hatred and life will not be valued at all. The word translated “sword” here is the Greek word “makira” which refers to a dirk or a dagger. Such a weapon can be hidden. The text tells us it is large, so this dagger is effective and deadly.

Verse 5 avers, “When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, ‘Come!’ I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand.” “Black” represents famine, as even the context here will prove this is so. Verse 6 says, “Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!’” Let’s look closely to see what is going on here. John couldn’t tell which of the 4 living creatures spoke, but he writes for us what he heard it say. One quart of wheat was a meager amount in John’s day. It would be only enough to feed a single person. One could barely feed a small family with 3 quarts of barley, and barley lacks nutrition. These are poor man’s wages. So the rider on this black horse had scales in his hand so that he can weigh out and distribute an inadequate amount of food for a person’s wages. But the living creature that spoke gives out this command: “Do not damage the oil and the wine!” Oil and wine represent the rich people on the Earth during this time period in the Tribulation. The rich people will stay rich during this period, while the poor and everyone else (including the middle-class) will get poorer and go into famine. The rich will be hoarders and will have no concern for those who are starving. They will inflate the prices of all food and items during this time period even though few can afford to pay and have a hard time making a decent living. The Greek word for “wages” in this verse is the word “denarius”, which is an amount equaling a meager day of pay. Most of what is going on in Revelation corresponds to God’s promised curses for those who rebel against him. Refer to Leviticus 26:18-20, and Deuteronomy 28:22-24.

Verses 7-8 say, “When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, ‘Come!’ I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! It’s rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the Earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the Earth.” Pale represents “death.” The rider is named Death and he has a companion. Hades is following Death. The reason these two are travelling together is because Hades is where the dead go. Even today, all who die without Jesus go to Hades. Hades is the holding cell for the unsaved until they will be later judged and thrown into the Lake of Fire. This coupled rider wasn’t given power to kill the whole population on Earth, just 25 percent of everyone (which is still a lot of people). Earth at this time is already missing those who got raptured. Of those who are left, this coupled rider will kill 25 percent. The word translated “sword” in verse 8 is a different Greek word than “sword” in verse 4. The Greek word in verse 8 depicts a long sword, so there is no hiding it. The previous rider that was on the black horse was given power to create famine, this coupled rider on a pale horse will end many lives by famine, disease, murder, and animals going wild. We might initially envision lions, bears, and hyenas attacking people; and maybe eagles flying down attacking people, gouging out eyes; but to kill by wild beasts likely refers to our food supply becoming poisonous. Humans created Mad Cow disease. We continue to alter the genetics of animals and experiment with what we feed them. It is likely that the death that results from this seal by animals will be the result of our own science, which will create plagues and disease.

It is important to note that Zechariah saw similar horses, except it says in Zechariah, that there were 4 chariots and each chariot had different colored horses attached to them. So whereas John, in Revelation, saw 4 different colored horses, Zechariah saw 4 chariots with an undisclosed amount of horses, but each of the 4 chariots had horses of the same color. Three of the horses’ colors match between John’s vision and Zechariah’s. Both saw black, white, and red horses. The fourth horse differs between the two. John saw a pale colored horse. Zechariah saw dappled (or spotted) horses. Dappled isn’t really a color. Zechariah saw spotted horses, which could be any color, spotted with some other color. It is believed that this spotted colored set of horses represents a mix of judgements; and the white horse in Zechariah represents mercy, whereas, the white horse in Revelation represents the peaceful conquering horse whose rider is the Anti-Christ. In both Revelation and Zechariah, the red horses represent judgement, and the black horses represent famine. We won’t go into Zechariah much more, except where applicable to this series. We will do Zechariah in a separate series after I finish this Revelation series (Lord willing).

These might be small notes, but perhaps worth mentioning: Note that the 7 seals are broken into 2 sets of 4 and 3. The first 4 were introduced by cherubim. The 7 churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 are also broken into 2 sets of 4 and 3. The first 4 church periods were successive, that is, they had definitive dates of its start and end. As soon as one ended, the next one began. Whereas, the last 3 church periods had no clear start and end period: there may be some overlap from one to the next, with a gradual change into the next period. The seals, trumpets, and bowls (vials) all work this way as well: the first 4 are successive, and the last 3 overlap.

Let’s continue with the fifth seal. Verses 9-11 read, “When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered because of the Word of God and the testimony they had maintained [9]. They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the Earth and avenge our blood?’ [10]. Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the numbers of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed [11].” These are the souls of martyrs who were killed because of their testimony of Jesus during their lifetime. These people, I believe, were killed during the Day of Grace, because there are not yet any Christians during the Tribulation period to convert someone to Christianity. God will rise up 144,000 Christian Jews and send his two witnesses who will all convert some to Christianity, but that time has not yet come. We get a lot of information from this passage. We should all already know that a person never really “dies” as in “exists”. In fact, no one will lose consciousness from their transition from this life to the next. The soul never dies. But, moreover, we see that what goes on here on Earth is known and is being witnessed by saints in Heaven. God is allowing them to view on the big screen in Heaven of the events that are taking place on Earth. Your loved one who passed away may be watching you right now. These martyrs are speaking from Heaven; they see the injustices of the Earth continue; they see the wicked get even more wicked and evil; and they ask God, ‘When will our blood be avenged, and our assassins judged?’

It is interesting that these souls are “under the altar”. The priests in the Old Testament were to put the blood of sacrificed bulls on the horns of the altar as a sin offering to be a fragrance incense to the Lord in Leviticus 4:7. These martyrs in Revelation feel that God is too patient. They feel that their murderer has escaped judgement with impunity. It does feel that way sometimes. Job struggled with this in Job 21. Job says in verse 7, “Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power?” Jeremiah questioned this. Jeremiah 12:1b says, “Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?” The Psalmist also grappled with this. Psalm 73:2-5 reads, “But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.” But Asaph, the Psalmist, finds comfort in his revelation in verses 16-17, which reads, “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” Proverbs 11:21 says, “Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free.” And Proverbs 23:17 says, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD.” Proverbs 16:4 says, “The LORD works out everything for His own ends—even the wicked for a day of disaster.”

God comforts them—not by answering their prayer, but by giving them white robes and telling them to wait a bit longer. God knows that there are more to be saved, and He wants them to not only get saved, but to remain safe, as He will “rapture” them away so that when He does unleash His full vengeance on all of the wicked, there will not be a saved person in the crowd to experience it. God does not always give us what we want when we pray. What He does always give us is some type of answer, whether it is a “yes” or a “no”, and He always gives us comfort with His answer either way. Whenever God delays an answer to our prayer, there is always a purpose for the delay. And there is an interesting contrast between this prayer in Revelation 6 and the prayer that Stephen, the martyr prayed in the book of Acts. The people in Revelation 6 prayed, “God, get even!” Stephen cried out, “Lord, forgive them!” And finally, note that there was no judgement action in the 5th seal. The fifth seal revealed only the martyrs’ impatience of their assassins’ freedom from judgement and God’s response, which included God giving them a reward for their martyrdom.

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Revelation Chapter 6 (Part 42) (Verses 1 – 11)
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