Revelation 6:1-8

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

THE SEALS OPENED

INTRODUCTION:

Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:19 - Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 5 - (1) And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. (2) And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? (3) And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. (4) And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. (5) And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. (6) And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. (7) And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. (8) And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. (9) And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (10) And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (11) And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; (12) Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, honour, and glory, and blessing. (13) And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. (14) And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

In chapter 6 we find the opening of the first six seals.

The scene shifts from heaven in chapters 4 and 5 to earth in verse 1.

I. THE FIRST SEAL: THE ANTICHRIST - 6:1-2

Revelation of Jesus Christ 6:1-2 - (1) And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and 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.

I saw is I looked at or I beheld. I refers to the Apostle John.

When the Lamb opened one of the seals indicates the time when John saw this.

The Lamb is the Lord Jesus Christ.

What the Lamb did is described by opened one of the seals [i.e. loosed one of the seals or broke one of the seals, one of the seven seals with which the book or scroll was sealed].

I heard refers to John. What he heard sounded like thunder, perhaps because it was loud and unexpected.

As it were is simply as, and its translation indicates that it was not actually thunder which John heard; it means that its sound reminded him of thunder.

The noise of thunder is literally a voice of thunder and is understood in the sense of a thunderous noise or a thunderous voice.

What John heard was one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. One of the four beasts is one of the four living beings seen in chapters 4 and 5.

Although the beast in this verse is not specifically identified, the before beast in verses 3, 5, and 7 along with the number of the beast, i.e. the second beast, the third beast, and the fourth beast, which seems to coincide with the order of the beasts introduced in chapter 4, this beast appears to be the one mentioned first in chapter 4, the living being with the face of a lion.

John is told, Come and see.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 6:2 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.

I saw again refers to John.

And behold is again used to heighten or to gain the reader's attention.

What John saw is a white horse.

This is not the same horse or rider as seen in Revelation of Jesus Christ 19 where the Lord Jesus returns at His second coming riding on a white horse. This is made clear by several things: 1) the timing is different: this rider is riding in the first half of the tribulation, and Christ is riding at the end of the great tribulation; 2) this rider has a crown, but Jesus has many crowns; 3) this crown is the crown of a victor; whereas Jesus' crowns are the crowns of a king; 4) this rider has a bow, but Jesus has a sword coming out of His mouth; and 5) this rider is on the earth, but Jesus is coming from heaven.

A white horse seems to be symbolic of a ruler or a king.

He that sat on him is the one sitting upon him, i.e. the one sitting upon the white horse.

Had a bow is having a bow with which he would shoot arrows.

He is pictured as a conqueror.

In Biblical times it was customary for a conqueror to ride in triumph on a white horse.

A crown was given unto him suggests that he was victorious in his conquests. The word translated crown is the crown of a victor rather than the crown of a king. The tense of was given suggests that he did not have a crown prior to this one.

He went forth conquering indicates how he went out. The same word translated went forth is translated went out in verse 4.

(He went forth) to conquer indicates that the purpose of his going out was to make war in order that he might overcome, vanquish, or conquer different peoples or nations and rule over them.

The rider of this white horse appears to be the antichrist, who will be introduced more fully later in the Book of Revelation.

II. THE SECOND SEAL: WAR - 6:3-4

Revelation of Jesus Christ 6:3-4 - (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.

He is the Lamb, and had opened is the same word in the same tense which was translated opened in verse 2. Here it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

What He opened is the second seal. It is the second of the seven seals with which the book or scroll had been sealed.

I heard refers to John, and what he heard is the second beast say, Come and see.

The second beast is the second living being and refers to one of the four beasts or living beings seen in chapters 4 and 5, the one with the face of a calf or bull.

John is told, Come and see.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 6:4 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.

There went out another horse that was red is literally another horse, a red one, went out. The same word translated went out was translated went forth in verse 2.

Another is another of the same kind. This horse, however, is red rather than white.

Power was given to him that sat thereon is (power {or authority}) was given to the one sitting on it [i.e. power (or authority) was given to the rider on the red horse].

To take peace from the earth indicates what kind of power or authority was given to the rider on the red horse and implies that there is going to be war.

The result of war is that they should kill one another.

They seems to refer to the inhabitants of the earth.

Should kill is the same term used of the Lamb Who had been slain in 5:6, which means the killing of a person by violence. Hence, should kill means should murder, should slaughter, or should butcher.

There was given unto him [i.e. to the rider on the red horse] a great sword [or saber]. It speaks of a large sword rather than a dagger.

III. THE THIRD SEAL: FAMINE - 6:5-6

Revelation of Jesus Christ 6:5-6 - (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.

When he [i.e. Christ] had opened the third seal indicates the time when John heard the third beast speak.

It is the third seal of the seven seals with which this book or scroll had been sealed.

I [i.e. John] heard the third beast [i.e. the third living being mentioned in chapter 4 having the face of a man] say.

What he said is the same thing that the first two beasts had said, Come and see; and what he said was addressed to John.

I beheld is I saw, and lo is behold and is intended to heighten or gain the reader's attention.

What John saw this time is a black horse.

He that sat on him is the one sitting on it [i.e. on the black horse].

The rider had a pair of balances in his hand which suggests that the rider is about to weigh something before selling it. That food is to be weighed rather than measured suggests its scarcity.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 6:6 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.

In verse 6 we see that famine follows war.

I heard refers to John, and what he heard was a voice in the midst of the four beasts speaking, which indicates that the voice came from the area in and around the heavenly throne around which the beasts or living beings were located; but it is not stated who said it, whether it was one of the four beasts or someone else. The only ones known to be there in addition to the four beasts are God the Father and Christ, the Lamb of God.

What the voice said is, 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.

A measure is a dry measure, often used for grain, almost equivalent to a quart. It was a daily ration for one laborer.

Wheat was used generally of grain.

The cost of a man's daily ration of the wheat being sold was a penny, i.e. a denarius, a laborer's average daily wage. This means that the average man would have to work all day to feed himself his daily ration of wheat. He would have no money left to spend on anyone or anything else if he used his money to purchase wheat. As a result of war, inflation was extremely high. Food costs were exorbitant.

The voice also said, Three measures of barley for a penny. A man could purchase barley instead of wheat and get three times as much for the same price.

Barley was used in making a less expensive bread which did not have the nutritional value of the wheat. Using one day's wages to provide three days' worth of food for one man, although only one third the cost of the price of wheat, would still be very expensive. This less expensive bread would help a man feed his family, but he would have little money left for anything else. There would be no money left to buy oil and wine which were considered necessities in Biblical times.

Furthermore, the voice said, See thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

Thou hurt not is you do not injure, you do not spoil, or you do not damage.

Thou refers to anyone listening.

The tense of hurt not indicates that this person is not even to begin to hurt or never to hurt the oil and the wine.

The oil is the olive oil and when used as the effect for the cause, refers to the olive crop.

The wine is made from grapes and when used as the effect for the cause, refers to the grape crop. Oil and wine were used in nearly every meal in a Jewish family. Thus, the demand for the oil and the wine, coupled with its scarcity as a result of warfare, would raise the market value of the oil and wine astronomically. In spite of inflation the rich could still afford oil and wine, but the poor could not.

The implication in this context of high inflationary prices for food is that the oil and wine have great monetary worth and will bring a great sum of money to the one who sells it. Therefore, it is to be well cared for.

IV. THE FOURTH SEAL: DEATH - 6:7-8

Revelation of Jesus Christ 6:7-8 - (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 he [i.e. the Lamb or Christ] had opened the fourth seal [i.e. the fourth of the seven seals with which the book (or scroll) had been sealed, i.e. the book (or scroll) the Lamb had taken from the hand of God the Father].

I [i.e. John] heard the voice of the fourth beast [i.e. the voice of the living being which was like a flying eagle] say, Come and see.

Come and see is said to John.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 6:8 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.

And I looked, and behold is identical in the Greek text with and I saw, and behold in verse 2 and with I beheld, and lo in verse 5.

And behold is stated to gain the reader's attention in a dramatic way.

What John saw was a pale horse.

The horse rider's name was Death. And Hell followed with him.

Hell is Hades and refers in Revelation to the place where the unsaved dead are sent at death while they await resurrection at the Great White Throne Judgment after which all the occupants of Hades will be cast into the lake of fire.

Followed with him suggests that Hades followed Death.

Warfare is followed by high inflation and much death.

Many who die are unsaved and at death their souls go to Hades which is a sort of a temporary hell before the Great White Throne Judgment after which they will experience eternal hell in the lake of fire. The picture is clear: Hell is a companion of Death.

Power is authority.

Was given unto them suggests was given to Death and Hell (or Hades).

Over the fourth part of the earth indicates where their power or authority would be exercised.

To kill indicates the kind of power or authority they were given.

With sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth indicates the means by which they were given authority to kill.

Sword suggests that people will be killed as a result of war.

Hunger is the word for famine and suggests that people will die as a result of hunger produced by famine which comes as a result of war.

Death through the context can come to mean a particular manner of death, e.g. fatal illness or pestilence.

With the beasts of the earth is by the wild animals of the earth and indicates that wild animals will kill people.

Although it is not stated that Death and Hell actually kill one fourth of the earth's population, it is assumed that they do.

We don't have time to finish this chapter, but let me give you a preview of what's coming.

In our next message we will see -

V. THE FIFTH SEAL: THE MARTYRED SOULS IN HEAVEN - 6:9-11

The scene shifts back to heaven in verses 9-11.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 6:9-11 - (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.

We will also see -

VI. THE SIXTH SEAL: THE DAY OF DIVINE WRATH - 6:12-17

Revelation of Jesus Christ 6:12-17 - (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?

What about the seventh seal? When does it occur?

The seventh seal is opened in Revelation of Jesus Christ 8:1 and includes everything that takes place from chapter 8 until the second coming of Christ. The seventh seal is the seven trumpet judgments, and the seventh trumpet judgment is the seven bowl or vial judgments.