Revelation commentary: chapter 6 - Jesus opens the first six seals

by Don Koenig

The Lamb will now open the seven seals from the scroll one at a time and John will tell us what he sees. The period of time John will be observing in Revelation is also spoken of in the prophecies of Daniel and by Jesus in the Olivet discourse (Mat chapters 24-25). This trilogy of passages should be studied and correlated by the wise student when seeking truth about these end time events.

 

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.

2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

One of the four creatures tells John to go and see what the breaking of the first seal will bring. Since John was in heaven, he had to look at the events taking place on earth. He hears a noise of thunder; whatever John is about to see will get the world's attention.

John sees a white horse with a rider who has a bow. The role of this rider is to conquer. Some think that the rider on this white horse is Jesus Christ since he has a crown and rides a white horse. They say that this is a picture of the world being led to Christ (mostly those in postmillennial or amillennial theology hold this view). This view is problematic for a couple of reasons. We will see later in this book that Jesus actually wears many golden crowns of royalty and not just a simple victor's garland like the word crown could be translated here.

If this is Jesus, He is in riding in the company of three evil riders who soon follow. Many conquerors of the past have ridden white horses so the fact that the rider is on a white horse proves nothing about whom he is. The weapon Jesus uses in other scripture passages is a two-edged sword so a bow is totally out of character for Him.

If that is not enough to prove it is not Jesus, Christianity even as an identity is not conquering in the world. Christianity is actually losing ground in percentages of the world population. Furthermore, those who are truly Christian are a very small minority of those that claim a cultural identity with it. Another logical reason why it cannot be Jesus is that Jesus was in heaven with John opening the seal at the time that John was shown this rider on the earth.

It is clear to me that this is not Jesus. This rider is a great future world leader. The bow is a symbol of his control over weapons of war. Since the rider shows no arrows it could mean that he conquers by the threat of the power he displays and when this rider rides, he does not conquer using actual military force. Daniel tells us there is one who is coming who "by peace will destroy many".

Dan 8:25  And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.

 

Most premillenial experts in bible prophecy believe that this rider is the world leader that later will be indwelt by Satan and become the Beast Antichrist. This passage may be speaking of his rise to power on earth that establishes the revived Roman Empire.

 

3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

4 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.

After what appears to be a short period of false peace on the earth, what is revealed under the second seal is a leader who rides a red horse and who takes peace from the earth. This world leader is given power to use great military force.

 

5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.

6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

After the third seal is opened, the third creature tells John to go and see. John sees a black horse and the individual who rides on him has a scale in his hand; food is weighted out for money. This is a picture of famine and rationing of the world s food supplies. What is being described is just enough food for one person to live on for one day and the penny decribes one day's wages. It will cost a full days wage to just get enough food to survive on.

Food will become very expensive for the daily wage earner but the rich may fare better. Oil and wine are prepackaged luxury foods that apparently will not be under the food-rationing program. In war, the perishable crops are disrupted. Pre-packaged food like oil and wine will probably be available for those who can afford it. Rationing of basic stables is common during times of war along with crop disruptions and this is what is being pictured here on a large portion of the earth. Food rationing will make it possible for government to gain near total control over the people. At this point in time, any true democracy in the world will be dead.

 

7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

When the fourth seal is opened, the fourth creature that is around the throne tells John to go and see. John sees a sickly pale green horse. (The Greek word clwrov (chloros) is used and it is more likely to be translated as green than pale). The rider on him brought death and Hades follows with him. The passage implies that when this rider rides there will be hell on earth and that possibly this rider has some control over the underworld. The passage says that power was given to kill with weapons, lack of food, death (plague) and with savage animals of the earth. God allows sword, famine, wild beasts and pestilence to chastise the nations.

2Sa 24:13  So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.

 

Some think the death from the beasts will be pestilences that cross over from animals to man. The passage also indicates that these events will occur on one fourth of the earth s land surface. Disease often accompanies war but here germ warfare is probably also involved. These events may be describing a world war along with civil war that takes place between neo-Christian western nations and Islamic nations that becomes so bad the survivors will be looking for a leader that proposes absolute control of the world through world government and an all inclusive world religion.

 

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 fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

John was not told to go see after the fifth seal was opened because what he saw was in heaven where he was located. He saw all the souls of the people under the altar who were slain for their testimony about Jesus. Those on earth who missed the rapture will get into the body of Christ by faith that will lead to the death of their body or by enduring until the end time gathering by the angels that occurs just prior to the marriage ceremony and just before the pouring out of the wrath of God on the earth. I believe from the point of the fifth seal there are approximately seven years until Jesus formally marries His bride in heaven before the Father.

The message at the opening of this fifth seal tells about the persecution and murder of believers for their testimony. This persecution did not begin at the opening of the fifth seal because the passage indicates it started when the first martyrs were killed in ancient times. This passage speaks of all the martyrs killed under harlot religion and under Satan's administration on the earth. What happened in the past only partly fulfills the number of souls that will be martyred because a great persecution starts now, at the time of this fifth seal. This last persecution will only last for a little season of time but it will be very severe. The prayers of the martyrs will soon be answered by the judgments that come because of the wrath of the Lamb (Chapter 8). Since no judgment is coming yet from the Lord at this fifth seal, it is further proof that these seals occur before the time called the Day of the Lord .

The focus of this persecution of the saints being placed after the war of the four horsemen is significant. After the religious wars that in themselves kill many true Christians, the world's solution will be to form an all inclusive harlot world religion that will claim that all paths lead to God. Those who say that Jesus is the only way to God will be outlawed as being bigoted, subversive, and dangerous people and a threat to world peace.

Even today, Christians who make the true claim that Islam is evil and satanic are labeled as being a threat to world peace by world leaders. This statement was even said by George Bush Junior who claims to be a Christian and should really know better. The policy of appeasement to satanic forces in the world by Western governments is hypocritical and in the long term is a much greater threat to world peace than dealing with the truth. Consequently, because we will appease the problem and not deal with it until things get totally out of control, a world war will occur.

The solution to end the war will be to find scapegoats to blame the war on and this will include anyone who claims that there is only one true path to God. That is why after the wars of the four horsemen there is persecution on fundamental Christians by the all-inclusive tolerant harlot world Church that is intolerant to those who will not join them in their ecumenical endeavor to save the world.

Many that identify with true Christianity will have to make a choice to follow the Jesus of scripture and face persecution or to follow what the one world religion harlot dictates with its all-inclusive theology of tolerance and no proselytizing. After the fifth seal, persecution will come on the saints from this religious harlot who rides the beast, but a few years later this harlot herself will be destroyed by the Beast she rides (Chapter 17).

At the fifth seal judgment is not coming from Jesus immediately to those on earth because they are told to rest a little season until their brethren are killed. This little season lasts only a few years until the end of the great tribulation for the Church on earth.

 

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?

When Jesus opens the sixth seal, the great day of the wrath of God's Lamb has arrived. To announce this day there will be an earthquake so great that every island will be moved out of its place. The Sun will be darkened, the moon will become blood red and meteorites will fall from the sky. This may be an event as earth shaking as the earth encountering a great comet or having a gravitational encounter with the heavenly city itself (the city is 1500 miles in length width and height - Rev 21:16). This type of upheaval would account for the falling stars and for all the people hiding in caves and holes in the ground for protection. This will fulfill this passage in Joel:

Joe 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.

Notice the passage says it occurs before the terrible day of the Lord so this is only the announcement that it is about to arrive. It is not until after the opening of the seventh seal that the wrath of the Lamb actually begins. The world will be quite aware that the time for this judgment has arrived but before judgment, God sends His prophets to allow the world to repent. The world may even miss that point when they are probably misled to believe that the two prophets of God are the biblical Beast and his false prophet.

It is my opinion that this announcement of the day of the Lord is talking about the unfulfilled week of years that Daniel says takes place after the Messiah is cut off (after Jesus was crucified). After this last week of years, the kingdom is restored to Israel. (Studies on Daniel that explain the seventy weeks of years are given in the bibliography and there are articles briefly explaining it on my website.)

Hereafter we will see God dealing with the Jews again to fulfill the final seven years. At the mid point of these seven years, Israel has been told to flee to the mountains by Jesus and Daniel to escape the Beast. For that reason, the great final tribulation of 3 ½ years cannot happen until a future event occurs first. This event is when Satan is cast out of heaven unto the earth.

Satan appears to be cast out at the end of the sixth trumpet judgment just before he kills the two prophets of God. The prophets testify for 1260 days before they are killed. This scenario allows 3 ½ years for the two prophets to do their job and 3 ½ years for the Beast to fulfill the prophecy that says he will control the world for a 3 ½ year  period. Since I believe the seals occur before this final seven years, there is probably another 3 ½ year period from the opening of the first seal until the start of the testimony of the prophets.

Many teach the great day of the Lord is for only 3 ½ years (the abomination that causes desolation part certainly is) but I believe at the announcement of the day of the Lord there still remains seven years until the kingdom of God is set up. In the great day of the Lord there is first 3 ½ years for the two prophets to tell the world the truth and convince the sons of light given to Jesus to make the right choice. After that there is 3 ½ years for the counterfeit messiah possessed by Satan to lead the vessels of wrath to make the wrong choices that would bring the world to total destruction. Only the second coming of Jesus saves any flesh on the earth at all and that is done for the sake of the elect (Mar 13:20).

At the start of this seven year period Jesus seals His 144,000 Israelite witnesses. They will receive the commission to preach the truth of the gospel of the coming kingdom of Jesus as a witness to the whole world. We will read about them in the next chapter.

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