Jesus is Sovereign over the Future (Revelation 4-22), cont’d.
Revelation 6 The 7 Seals…Judgments of God (Chronology Chapter)
Revelation 6:1-17-The First Series of God’s Judgment (Seals #1-6)
The Lamb breaks six of the seals on the scroll. Each seal initiates a new judgment of God. Before each of the first four seals one of the four living creatures tells John to "Come." This is the beginning of the "Tribulation" period. It will last for seven years. The second 3½ years are referred to as the "Great Tribulation" because they are the worst of all. These 6 seals/judgments probably take up the first 3½ years of the Tribulation. With the breaking of the first four seals John sees a horse with a rider appear. Why this imagery? Because in John’s day they represented war…and that is exactly what these first four seals bring. It is the escalation of war that will provide the setting for the Antichrist to establish his world-wide government. He arrives on the scene (the hero on the white horse proclaiming peace) just as war breaks out (the red horse)…bringing with it famine and death.
There are two more series of judgments that will follow the Seals...Trumpets and Bowls...each one being more intense and happening quicker than the previous. They take place during the Great Tribulation.
Revelation 6:1-2 (Seal #1)
A rider with a crown, and mounted on a white horse goes out to conquer. This is the first appearance of the Antichrist (cf. 1 John 2:18). The crown and white horse suggest that he does not conquer by war...but through offers of a plan for peace (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:3). More detail on the person and intention of the Antichrist will be found in chapters 12-13, and 17-18.
- He went out conquering and to conquer: This final satanic dictator over men will be the more terrible than all previous dictators were. He will rule over men as a false Messiah, and lead man in organized rebellion against God, in the pattern of Nimrod, his first predecessor. He is the one often called the antichrist.
- The idea of a satanic dictator over men goes back all the way to Nimrod, the ruler over Babel in Genesis 10:8-14, where it says he was a mighty hunter before the LORD. This has the sense that he was a mighty hunter of men, and that he did this offensively in the face of God.
- Today's political and social scene is certainly set for the emergence of such a political leader. All that waits is for the Lord to allow it in His timing after He takes His church from this earth.
- And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7)
- Significantly, the first seal opened brings this dictator to prominence. We understand that the seventieth week of Daniel 9 begins when this dictator will confirm a covenant with [the] many, referring to the Jewish people.
iii. Many wonder if these four horsemen of Revelation 6 are connected with the seventieth week of Daniel and the great tribulation itself, or with the course of history up until that time. This initial emergence of the antichrist, connected with what we know about this leader from Daniel 9 shows that these four horsemen are connected with Daniel's seventieth week and the great tribulation.
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Revelation 6,
For a basic explanation of who the Antichrist is see:
Revelation 6:3-4 (Seal #2)
A rider with a great sword (this represents the outbreak of worldwide war) on a red horse appears. He takes away peace.
Revelation 6:5-6 (Seal #3)
A rider with a pair of scales (famine) on a black horse appears. Luxury items are plentiful, but food is scarce.
Revelation 6:7-8 (Seal #4)
A rider named "Death" with "Hades" following him on an ashen horse appears. He is given authority to kill one-fourth of the population of the world...through sword, famine, pestilence, and wild beasts. Death is rampant. In 2015, there are approximately 7.3 billion people on earth. That means that if this began today, around 1,825,000,000 people would die (leaving 5,475,000,000 alive). In 9:18, another one-third of mankind will die…1,825,000,000. Leaving only 3,650,000.000 people alive. Do the math and that means that one-half of the population of the world would have died. And remember, this all takes place within a matter of just a couple of years. With this is mind, we can understand why, when the Antichrist presents a peace plan that will save the world from annihilation…that men are willing to follow him, no matter what he may ultimately represent.
Revelation 6:9-11 (Seal #5)
John sees the souls of those who had been martyred during the first few months of the Tribulation period under the altar in Heaven. They are wearing a white robe, symbolizing their purification from sin. Initially, with the rapture of every believer in the world…many people will recognize the truth of the Word of God and will turn to Christ. But within only a short matter of time…persecution begins and many will die for their faith. Now, here in Heaven, they ask how long it will be before God will issue His judgment. They are told to "rest a little while longer" until the rest of those who will be martyred has been completed.
Revelation 6:12-17 (Seal #6)
There are cosmic disturbances (cf. Isaiah 34:4; Joel 2:30-31; Matthew 24:29) that affect the earth and the heavens. We can only read John’s description of these events and speculate at their exact meaning and extent. However, we do know that they are so extreme that men try to hide themselves, recognizing that it is the beginning of the judgment of God. Some of them even seek death…thinking it better to go ahead and die and get it over, than to face the suffering that lies ahead if they remain alive.
Seal #7-At this point…Seal #7 is not broken. It is broken in Chapter 8. Instead, John gives us some additional information in Chapter 7, a Content Chapter.
Once again, we are in awe of the sovereignty of Jesus over all of creation. He is the One Who is in control of everything that is predicted in Revelation. He is the One, and the only One, Who is worthy (capable, powerful enough) to open the seals of the scroll. As He opens this scroll…it is an undeniable demonstration of His sovereignty. Even the Antichrist, himself, cannot set foot on earth until Jesus says so. The sun, the moon, and the stars are at His beckoning call to do His bidding. Jesus is sovereign over all of the universe!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are all-sovereign and in control of all the events of history...past, present, and future. Please help me to always keep this in mind and never forget it.