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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 contained 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 “vial”) 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 the unveiling of His judgement upon 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 unexpectedly shouts “Come!” as loud as thunder. Loud thunder often makes the unexpected jump. John was already standing there when the creature said, “come”, so the cherub 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’s seals unleashes 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 find 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.

The color white throughout the bible symbolizes holiness. A white horse to the Romans and Jews symbolized conquest and victory in battle. Kings who were victorious in battle would often parade the city on a white horse. The crown given to this rider in Revelation 6:2 is the Greek word that refers to a victor’s crown. This is a different crown that the one Jesus wears in Revelation 19:12—there Jesus 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. Satan looks holy today by many. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that Satan masquerades as an angel of light. Satan is skilled at impersonating righteousness while maintaining his evil agenda. The Anti-Christ’s victory in Revelation 6 is only temporary. We learn from other Scripture that the Anti-Christ’s peaceful conquest will last only the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation. His evilness will be clearly seen during the second half of the Tribulation. Another interesting comparison: 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. And Jesus will be riding on a white horse in true holiness. Finally, one of the main contrasts between the Anti-Christ on a white horse and Jesus on a white horse is that it is extremely likely that every description about Jesus in chapter 19 is literal, whereas, regarding the Anti-Christ is all figurative and represents something else. The Anti-Christ is just a man (possessed by Satan), so he won’t literally be riding on a white horse with a bow (with no arrows) and a victor’s crown on his head. Jesus is the Son of God. I believe that His kingly crown on His head and the white horse that He rides will be real (like some angelic-type horse such as those found in Zechariah). Even the sword that comes out of His mouth I believe is something that will be demonstratively seen as we witness it. Jesus rode a humble donkey the first time, but He’ll be riding a conquering white horse the next time He comes.

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, murder, and bloodshed. Fire is a symbol of destruction. This will be a period of extremely high crime rate. Some cities in America and especially some countries around the world are accustomed to high crime rates. 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. Materialism will be valued over human life. The word translated “sword” here is the Greek word “makira” which refers to a dirk or a dagger. Such a weapon can be hidden and take its victim unexpectedly. The text tells us it is large, so this large dagger is effective and deadly. Conversely, Jesus, in Revelation 19 has a long sword, which comes out of His mouth. The Greek word for sword there is “rhŏmpaia.” A long sword, or an rhŏmpaia, is deadlier than a dagger, or a makira.

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 in verse 6, 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! Its 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].” The passage tells us that these are Christian martyrs. Revelation 7 will tell us that these Christians were martyred during the Great Tribulation. That should strike the reader as bizarre. Up to this point in our study of the Tribulation period, there are no Christians on the Earth. The Rapture occurred at the beginning of chapter 4, so how is it that we have Christian martyrs here in Chapter 6? How did they convert to Christianity if there are no Christians on Earth to convert them? The 144,000 doesn’t show up until Revelation chapter 7. An atheist during the Tribulation period will not need a Christian in person for them to realize the truth of Christianity and convert to it. Although all Christians were Raptured off the Earth, Christians during the Day of Grace left behind many artifacts. There still remain on Earth many Christian books, tapes, sermons, videos, brochures, writings, etc. The Rapture itself ought to pique the curiosity of many. Imagine being an atheist when the Rapture occurs. You look around and you notice that all of your Christian friends have suddenly disappeared, but you realize that it was only your Christian friends that have disappeared, and no one else. That should pique one’s curiosity of Christianity to prompt one to go to the local library and check out some material that Christians have left behind. These martyrs here are early converts to Christianity during the Day of Tribulation who got martyred for their faith.

This is a good place to review something we covered earlier in this series. The Tribulation is not the time that one should wait to be converted to Christianity. That will be a very difficult thing to do. The Day of Grace is the easiest time to convert because the bible says that in the last day, God will send a great delusion so that those who rejected Him during the Day of Grace will not find Him in the Day of Wrath. We looked at 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12. That passage reads as follows: “The coming of the lawless one [that is, the Anti-Christ] will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason, God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” During the Tribulation, the word of the Anti-Christ will look like truth. Many will be deceived and will be unable to convert to Christianity. It appears that the ones who do convert will be only the “less hardened” or “naïve” people: those who did not have much information regarding Jesus during the Day of Grace.

We get a lot of information from this passage in Revelation 6, verses 9-11. 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, from these verses we see that what goes on here on Earth is known and being witnessed by saints in Heaven. God is allowing them to view on the big screen television 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 murderers have 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 through a 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 His martyrs—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 on Earth 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 prayers, 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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