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God’s Plan For The Ages – Revelation 6 – The Seal Judgments
Lesson Series – Revelation
Revelation Chapter 6/Four Horsemen/War/Death/Hell/Famine
Revelation Chapter 6 – The Seal Judgments
This sixth chapter of Revelation shows the first six of seven seal judgments of Christ, “the Lamb,” which He unleashes (Rev 6:1, 6:3, 6:5, 6:7, 6:9, and 6:12; the seventh seal will be opened in 8:1) onto a world of people who were left behind from the rapture of the church (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15-50-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) because they were not saved-not born again, and were tied to earth “as opposed to heaven.” That group of “left behind” unbelievers in Christ, is referred to as “earth dwellers, as identified in “Revelation 3:10, 8:13, 11:10, 13:14, and 17:8.
Dr. John E. Walvoord stated in his commentary on Revelation (Chapter 6), that the seal, trumpet and bowl judgments occur during the last 3 1/2 years of Daniel’s 70th week, which he identifies as a time of wrath and the great tribulation, and will introduce the second coming of Christ. So, what should we think about the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation?
When the rapture of the church occurs, everyone who has been born again will be caught up by Christ, who has come in the air for His saints and will take those believers away from earth to Heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). At that point in time, the totality of left-behind “earth dwellers” will be people who do not have the Spirit of Christ dwelling within their “unborn” spirits prompting them to righteous living (John 16:7-11). In essence, our world will be under the control and leadership of unbelievers, who will be leading a world of unbelievers in an ungodly direction and lifestyle. All that one has to do to visualize the presence of a world of unbelievers, is to consider the effects of the many riots that have taken place in the USA, and in other countries of the world, especially during the last eight years.
The six seal judgments that are shown in the sixth chapter of Revelation show a horrible existence on Earth for those who have been left behind. No one should think that born again believers in Christ, to include small children and infants, will be included in the group of people who will be the targets of the seal judgments that Christ will be unleashing on the world. “Husbands love your wives,” is the teaching of Ephesians 5:25, “as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Eph 5:25).” Christ is the bridegroom of all bridegrooms. He will not subject His bride to the horrors of His doing, in His opening of the judgments (seal, trumpet, bowl).
How close are we to the rapture and tribulation period?
Verses Of Note
1 Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals …
3 When He opened the second seal…
5 When He opened the third seal…
7 When He opened the fourth seal…
9 When He opened the fifth seal…
12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal…
1 When He opened the seventh seal…
What are the seven seal judgments that start the tribulation?
Lesson – Revelation Chapter 6 – The Seal Judgments
Revelation 6 – The Seal Judgments
First Seal: The Conqueror
1 Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” 2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.
Second Seal: Conflict on Earth
3 When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.”4 Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.
Third Seal: Scarcity on Earth
5 When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”
Fourth Seal: Widespread Death on Earth
7 When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” 8 So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.
Fifth Seal: The Cry of the Martyrs
9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been 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, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
Sixth Seal: Cosmic Disturbances
12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. 14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. 15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves 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 who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
The following study notes come from the MacArthur Study Bible, and are provided by Biblgateway.com
6:1—19:21 This lengthy section details the judgments and events of the time of tribulation (see notes on 3:10) from its beginning with the opening of the first seal (vv. 1, 2) through the 7 seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments to the return of Christ to destroy the ungodly (19:11–21).
6:1 the seals. In chap. 5, Christ was the only One found worthy to open the little scroll—the title deed to the universe. As He breaks the 7 seals that secure the scroll, each seal unleashes a new demonstration of God’s judgment on the earth in the future tribulation period (see notes on 5:1; Matt. 24:3–9). These seal judgments include all the judgments to the end. The seventh seal contains the 7 trumpets; the seventh trumpet contains the 7 bowls.
6:2 white horse. The animal represents an unparalleled time of world peace—a false peace that is to be short-lived (see note on v. 4). This peace will be ushered in by a series of false messiahs, culminating with the Antichrist (Matt. 24:3–5). He who sat on it. The 4 horses and their riders do not represent specific individuals, but forces. Some, however, identify this rider with Antichrist. Although he will be the leading figure, John’s point is that the entire world will follow him, being obsessed with pursuing this false peace. bow. The bow is a symbol of war, but the absence of arrows implies that this victory is a bloodless one—a peace won by covenant and agreement, not by war (cf. Dan. 9:24–27). crown. This word refers to the kind of laurel wreath awarded winning athletes. It “was given to him.” Antichrist becomes king, elected by the world’s inhabitants regardless of the cost, and will conquer the entire earth in a bloodless coup.
6:4 Another horse, fiery red. Its blood-red appearance speaks of the holocaust of war (cf. Matt. 24:7). God will grant this horse and its rider the power to create worldwide war. But as horrible as this judgment is, it will be only the “birth pangs,” the beginning pains of God’s wrath (Matt. 24:8; Mark 13:7, 8; Luke 21:9). people should kill one another. Violent slaughter will become commonplace. sword. Not the long, broad sword, but the shorter, more easily maneuvered one that assassins often used and that soldiers carried into battle. It depicts assassination, revolt, massacre, and wholesale slaughter (cf. Dan. 8:24).
6:5 black horse. Black signifies famine (cf. Lam. 5:8–10). Worldwide war will destroy the food supply which spawns global hunger. pair of scales. The common measuring device—two small trays hung from each end of a balance beam—indicates that the scarcity of food will lead to rationing and food lines.
6:6 quart of wheat. The approximate amount necessary to sustain one person for one day. denarius. One day’s normal wage. One day’s work will provide enough food for only one person. three quarts of barley. Usually fed to animals, this grain was low in nutrients and cheaper than wheat. A day’s wage provides enough for only a small family’s daily supply. oil and the wine. Although the point could be that these foods will not be affected by the famine, a more straightforward meaning is that bare staples—oil was used in the preparation of bread, and wine was considered necessary for cooking and purifying water—suddenly will become luxuries that have to be carefully protected.
6:8 pale horse. “Pale,” the Gr. word from which the Eng. word “chlorophyll” comes, describes the pale, ashen-green, pallor characteristic of the decomposition of a corpse. God grants this horseman the authority to bring death to 25 percent of the world’s population. Hades. See note on Luke 16:23. The place of the dead, which is identified as a common and fitting partner for death (20:13; see note on 1:18).
6:9 fifth seal. This seal describes the force of the saints’ prayers for God’s vengeance. Its events will begin in the first half and mark the mid-point and events following, in the 7 year period, which is called the Great Tribulation (2:22; 7:14; see notes on Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:3, 4). The second 3½ year period (11:2; 12:6; 13:5) features the Day of the Lord, in which God unleashes His judgment and wrath on the earth in intensifying waves (see note on 1 Thess. 5:2). under the altar. Probably a reference to the altar of incense, which pictured the saints’ prayers ascending to God (5:8; cf. Ex. 40:5). the souls of those who had been slain. Christians martyred for their faith (cf. 7:9, 13–15; 17:6; Matt. 24:9–14; see also Mark 13:9–13; Luke 21:12–19).
6:11 white robe. See note on 3:4. rest a little while longer. God will answer their prayer for vengeance, but in His time. until both the number … was completed. God has predetermined the number of the righteous whose death He will allow before moving to destroy the rebels.
6:12 sixth seal. The force described in this seal is overpowering fear (cf. Luke 21:26). While the first 5 seals will result from human activity God used to accomplish His purposes, at this point He begins direct intervention (cf. Matt. 24:29; Luke 21:25). The previous 5 seals will be precursors to the full fury of the Day of the Lord which will begin with the sixth seal (v. 17). The events described in this seal unleash the seventh, which contains the trumpet judgments (chaps. 8, 9; 11:15ff.) and the bowl judgments (chap. 16). great earthquake. There have been many earthquakes prior to this (Matt. 24:7), but this will be more than an earthquake. All the earth’s faults will begin to fracture simultaneously, resulting in a cataclysmic, global earthquake. moon became like blood. Accompanying the earthquake will be numerous volcanic eruptions; and large amounts of ash and debris will be blown into the earth’s atmosphere, blackening the sun and giving the moon a blood-red hue (cf. Zech. 14:6, 7).
6:13 stars of heaven fell. The word “stars” can refer to any celestial body, large or small, and is not limited to normal English usage. The best explanation is a massive asteroid or meteor shower. late figs. Winter figs that grow without the protection of leaves and are easily blown from the tree.
6:14 sky receded as a scroll. The earth’s atmosphere will be somehow dramatically affected and the sky as we know it disappears (cf. Is. 34:4). every mountain and island was moved. Under the stress created by the global earthquake, great segments of the earth’s plates will begin to slip and shift, realigning whole continents.
6:16 wrath of the Lamb. Earth’s inhabitants will recognize for the first time the source of all their trouble (see note on 5:6). Incredibly, prior to this they will be living life as usual (Matt. 24:37–39).
6:17 great day. The sixth seal will commence what the prophets call “the Day of the Lord.” See Introduction to Joel: Historical and Theological Themes.
Verses Of Note Comments
It is key to understand that Christ Himself, personally, will be in charge of the judgments (seal, trumpet and bowl) that will inflict death and destruction on the earth during the tribulation. It will also be Christ, who will be personally responsible for the catching up of the saints at the time of the rapture of the church, and the ensuing lawlessness that will take place on earth in the three and a half-year period that will precede the rapture.
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The scripture text was taken from Biblegateway.com
The translation of the text is from The New King James Version.
Unless otherwise noted, scripture notes were taken from The MacArthur Study Bible notes that are contained in Biblegateway.com
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