NT Prophecy – Revelation 6-7

I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” 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.
When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.
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. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
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.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 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?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.
I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”

  • Revelation 6:1-17

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,
from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,
from the tribe of Gad 12,000,
from the tribe of Asher 12,000,
from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,
from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,
from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,
from the tribe of Levi 12,000,
from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,
from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,
from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,
from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”
I answered, “Sir, you know.”
And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore,
“they are before the throne of God
    and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
    will shelter them with his presence.
Never again will they hunger;
    never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
    nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne
    will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
    ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

  • Revelation 7:1-17

Noted Biblical Scholars, Teachers, and Preachers Comments

Revelation 6-8 ‘The Seven Seals’:Note the following table

“The Seven Seals
Seal One (Rev. 6:1, 2)Antichrist’s reign
Seal Two (Rev. 6:3, 4)Human Conflict on earth
Seal Three (Rev. 6:5, 6)Famine on earth
Seal Four (Rev. 6:7, 8)Death on earth
Seal Five (Rev. 6:9-11)Persecution on earth
Seal Six (Rev. 6:12-17)Mega-natural disasters
Seal Seven (Rev. 8:1-5)The seven trumpets and seven bowls”
  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Revelation 6:1-17, 8:1 ‘The Opening of the Seven Seals’: “The tribulation begins with this chapter. The unleashing of the Lord’s judgments upon the earth is precipitated by the opening of the seven seals. Terrible catastrophic events come down from the ‘Wrath of the Lamb.’ With each successive opening of a seal, the world falls further into ultimate disaster. When the final seal is opened (8:1), the sounding of seven trumpets begins a course of even greater judgments that destroy even more people on earth. Ed Hindson observes, ‘With the sixth chapter, the main events of the book may be said to properly begin’ (Revelation, p. 75).”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Revelation 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 four 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.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Revelation 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).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Revelation 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.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Revelation 6:8 ‘pale horse’: “The Greek word from which the English 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 twenty-five 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).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Revelation 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 seven-year period, which is called the Great Tribulation (2:22; 7:14; see … Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:3, 4). The second three-and-one-half-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 … 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 1319-13; Luke 21:12-19).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Revelation 6:12 ‘sixth seal’: “The force described in this seal is overpowering fear (cf. Luke 21:26). While the first five 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 five 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 (chs. 8, 9; 11:15ff.) and the bowl judgments (ch. 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).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Revelation 7:1-3 ‘stopping the wind’: “The winds were to be restrained until all God’s people are safely sealed, and we may depend on it that no calamity will happen to destroy the people of God. They must first be saved. There was no flood until there was first the ark. God will protect his own. The wind did not blow on land, sea, or tree—not a ripple on the surface of the waters, not a leaf stirred on the bough until God’s people are secured.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Revelation 7:9 ‘redeemed and clothed in white’: “If there will be in heaven a multitude surpassing all human calculation, then the gospel is certain to achieve a great success. We are always fretting; we are in a great hurry for results. Let us be patient but diligent. Let us work as we wait. Let us serve, for the cause is in good hands. The pleasure of the Lord will prosper in the hands of Christ. He will not have died in vain; he will not lose the purchase of his blood. ‘They were clothed in white robes.’ Nakedness was revealed to man by sin. But Christ has come and clothed us completely. The robes are white to indicate purity and as an emblem of triumph over every foe. Oh, how beautiful that righteousness of Christ will be when we stand clothed with it before the eternal throne of God. Our robes will be white because his robes were red.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Revelation 7:9-11 ‘Vision of the redeemed multitude on earth’: “There is much discussion about the relationship between this multitude and the 144,000 just mentioned, with two major views on the subject. First, some scholars hold that the 144,000 represent all the redeemed on earth and the redeemed multitude is a different group, representing only the redeemed martyrs of earth and to be identified with the group seen under the altar in 6:9-11. There they cried out ‘how long … until … you avenge our blood?’ (6:10) and were told to wait a little longer (6:11). Here in chapter 7 they are seen as glorified. That the redeemed multitude and the martyrs are the same may be seen in that both groups wear white robes (6:11; 7:9) and both groups appear to have had violent deaths (6:11; 7:14 suggests that they were killed). Second, others see the two groups-—the 144,000 and the redeemed multitude—as the same group, representing all of the saved on earth, but in two separate visions. Points in favor of this view are that the size of the group, ‘a great multitude that no one could count’ (7:9), argues that it is not a subgroup of martyrs only, but the whole group of the saved. Also, their description as being ‘from every nation, tribe, people and language’ (v. 9) is the same as that describing the whole people of God as praised by the twenty-four elders (5:9-10). Finally, all of God’s people are given white robes, not just the martyrs (3:4-5, 18; 4:4; 19:8, 14), and the white garments represent their righteous deeds, not their martyrdom.”

  • Walter A. Elwell, editor, Baker Commentary on the Bible

Revelation 7:11-12 ‘’: “Only one sight enthralls angels—God’s face. They know that he is Lord of all. And as a result, they worship him. Whether in the temple with Isaiah or the pasture with the Bethlehem shepherds, angels worship. …
“All the angels were standing around the throne … saying: ‘Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom, thanks, honor, power, and strength belong to our God forever and ever.’ ”
“Doesn’t their worship proclaim volumes about God’s beauty? Angels could gaze at the Grand Tetons and Grand Canyon, Picasso paintings and the Sistine Chapel, but they choose, instead, to fix their eyes on the glory of God. They can’t see enough of him, and they can’t be silent about what they see.”

  • Max Lucado, Come Thirsty

Revelation 7:17 ‘’: “Heaven will largely consist of expanded views of King Jesus and closer views of the glory that follows his sacrificial grief. We know too little of his glory. We scarcely know who he is that has befriended us. We hold the doctrine of his deity tenaciously, but in heaven we will perceive his Godhead in its truth so far as the finite can apprehend the infinite. We have known his friendship to us. But when we behold the King in his beauty in his own halls, and our eyes look into his royal countenance, and his face beams ineffable affection on each one of us, then we will find our heaven in his glory. We ask for no thrones; his throne is ours. The enthroned Lamb himself is all the heaven we desire.
‘God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ Tears are to fill the eyes of believers until they enter the promised rest. There would be no need to wipe them away if there were none remaining. God is the great tear wiper.
“The more holy a man is, the more he hates sin. Surely, when we are made perfectly holy, we will have a greater hatred of sin. if on earth, we could be perfectly holy, I think we would do little else than mourn to think that so foul, black, and venomous a thing as sin had ever stained us. We would weep bitterly that we had ever offended such a good, gracious, tender, and abundantly loving God. It seems to me that if I were thoroughly sanctified and in such a holy state as those in heaven, I could not look at the Lamb without tears in my eyes. And it would be so in heaven, if it were not that by a glorious method—l know not how—God will wipe away all tears from our eyes. Who but the Almighty God could do this?”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Coffee and Revelation – Introduction
Coffee and Revelation – Part 29, Revelation 6:1-2
Coffee and Revelation – Part 30, Revelation 6:3-4
Coffee and Revelation – Part 31, Revelation 6:5-6
Coffee and Revelation – Part 32, Revelation 6:7-9
Coffee and Revelation – Part 33, Revelation 6:9-11
Coffee and Revelation – Part 34, Revelation 6:12-17
Coffee and Revelation – Part 35, Revelation 7:1-3
Coffee and Revelation – Part 36, Revelation 7:4-8
Coffee and Revelation – Part 37, Revelation 7:9-10
Coffee and Revelation – Part 38, Revelation 7:11-12
Coffee and Revelation – Part 39, Revelation 7:13-14
Coffee and Revelation – Part 40, Revelation 7:15-17

My Thoughts

With the opening of the first four seals, we get the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, white, red, black, and pale horses.  The prophecy is said a little differently in Jeremiah (chs. 14, 21, 27, 29, 32) and Ezekiel (chs. 5, 6, 7, 12, 24).  In those two books of Old Testament prophecy, they combine sword (the red horse), famine (the black horse), and plague (or death by the pale horse).  The three judgments of God, sword, famine, plague, are then repeated in Revelation 7 when talking about the pale horse.

I had always thought that the white horse would bring war.  Rev. David Robertson follows that line of thinking. That is what you think of when you hear conquest, but I like Rev. MacArthur’s idea of a bloodless conquest.  The UN wants a One World government, as the mission of the white horse suggests.  The UN cannot control the world in order to fix Climate Change, thus bringing all nations under one umbrella and forcing the world to comply is the only viable solution.  Other than a few countries, most of the world would sign away their sovereignty today.  One country that I can think of would not go down bloodlessly: Russia.  As for China and India, in my opinion, they plan on being the production of all modern conveniences when the rest of the world shuts down to prevent Climate Change.  Consumers must consume, and population growth is still a reality.

With that in mind, the New World Order going to war against those three countries could be the red horse.  If not, I doubt that all the countries that signed into the New World Order will like their freedoms taken away, thus people killing each other.  As Rev. MacArthur suggests, once the wars ravage the earth, the production of food will be severely depleted, and famine and death will naturally follow.  Europe was in bad shape after World War II and the United States provided the food.  But if the war is global, there will be no country still making what is needed to feed everyone.

Then with the fifth seal, the martyrs will ask how much longer.  And with the sixth seal, the massive earthquake will leave no island where it had been before.  If the natural disasters did not destroy global tracking systems, they would be useless.  The old maps of the sea would be useless.  It is not that the neighbors do not live there anymore, it is that “there” does not exist or at least “there” moved somewhere else.  The shifting of tectonic plates is well-established science, but what we have seen is slow movement.  God could create an event that makes this happen rapidly.

Note what Rev. MacArthur said.  The first five seals being opened were all man-made problems.  With the sixth seal, God stepped in.  As I have said about Climate Change, whenever man thinks he can fix something, he makes it worse.  So, right when everything seems hopeless because mankind tried to do something without God’s help, God made it a lot worse.  When it is hopeless to begin with, what can be worse?

Then the twelve tribes and the 144,000 are given a seal on their foreheads.  Notice the list of tribes.  It corresponds with the twelve sons of Israel with one exception.  The tribe of Dan is omitted.  Rev. MacArthur ignores the change while the Baker Commentary suggests that the Antichrist might emerge from Dan.  Rev. LaHaye speaks of the twelve groups of 12,000 not even representing the tribes of Israel.  But in Joshua, there were twelve tribes to get a land inheritance in the Promised Land (Levites getting cities), with a double portion going to Joseph, in name to his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.  Manasseh is mentioned instead of Dan, and Ephraim is not mentioned. Rev. Robertson, in Part 36 of Coffee and Revelation with links above, suggests that Dan and Ephraim both erected golden calf idols. Basically Rev. Robertson’s viewpoint is similar to what Jesus said in that not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven.

I have no scholar to back this up, but Judges 18 speaks of the Danites leaving their inheritance behind and taking advantage of the sleepy city of Laish to resettle, north of the Promised Land, conquering people who may not have been Canaanites.  Could it be that they lost their Revelation prophecy inheritance as a result?  As for the slight against Ephraim, they are part of these who receive a seal, as a son of Joseph, but were they not named due to all the curses against Ephraim in the Old Testament prophecies, since Ephraim was the large land mass of the northern tribes and the home of Samaria and other key cities?  Ephraim became the central location of false god worship for the northern tribes. This is just my guesswork, but I find it odd that some commentaries avoid the subject.

Then, not copied above, Rev. LaHaye suggests that some people repent and come to Christ during this portion of the seals being opened and the Great Multitude could be those who accepted the words of those bearing the seals, the 144,000, or the two witnesses, yet to appear in the prophecy.  This harkens the motto of many evangelists, “If there is breath, there is still hope.”

These chapters tend to point toward a lack of hope, but the Great Multitude came from somewhere, regardless of which theory you might ascribe.  Many of the latest scholars to write about the book of Revelation point to the fact that it is a book of Hope.

Regardless of how bad we humans make this world, God will be victorious in the end and if we believe and trust in Jesus, He will return.

Some Serendipitous Reflections

Revelation 6: 1. Which seal opening makes the greatest impression on you? Why?
“2. What’s the worst thing that has happened to you because of your faithfulness to the Word of God?
“3. In what area of your life are you trying to hide from God? What do you need to do to come out of hiding?
“4. How does this passage make you feel about the end times? Why? How will this affect your actions this week?
Revelation 7. The 144,000: 1. How have you sensed God’s protection in the last six months?
“2. What sort of seat has God placed on your life? How is this seal evident to others?.
Revelation 7. The Great Multitude in white robes: 1. Have each group member take one of the words ascribed to God to meditate on and to praise him for as part of your group’s devotion to God.
“2. What is your greatest tribulation or persecution? How difficult does that seem next to the majesty of God pictured here? How will you incorporate this glimpse of heavenly worship into your earthly walk?”

  • Lyman Coleman, et al, The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups

There is one set of questions for chapter 6 and two sets of questions for chapter 7.

Substitute whatever group for any reference to a small group or ask who could come to your aid.

If you like these Thursday morning Bible studies, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Thursday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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