Revelation 6: Seals - Countdown to Jesus' Coming

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Bible Study Series: Revealing Jesus in Revelation

Revelation Chapter 6 Seals - The Countdown to Jesus' Coming

by I Gordon

We are in Revelation chapter 6 today and I've called this message the countdown to Jesus' coming. The events of this chapter occur directly after the heavenly scene we saw last time in chapter 5. Can you remember what we saw there? Here is a good summary linking what we saw last time with what is to come. Hamilton Smith writes of John's experience in heaven stating:

"John turns to see the Lion and, behold, he sees a Lamb (Rev. 5:4-6). Having heard of the Lion, he might naturally expect to see in Christ a vision of mighty power, but instead, he sees a Lamb, the emblem of weakness, and it had been slain. The One that prevails as the Lion, is the One who first suffered as the Lamb. His power to overcome in opening the book is that He has overcome by going into death. As the Lamb slain, He overcame sin and death and the devil. Having overcome as the suffering Lamb He has acquired the right to destroy every enemy as the mighty Lion. As the Lion, Christ is able to TAKE the book; as the Lamb, He is worthy to OPEN the book. The days of the LORD’s patience are past; the time for judgment has come."

So yes... when we get to Revelation chapter 6 the days of His patience are past and the time of His judgement is now before us. There are seven seals that will be broken on a somewhat mysterious scroll leading to the coming of the Lord Jesus and His rule over this world. Each seal will unveil another part of the scroll causing tremendous consequences for this planet. So in this study we'll look at:

  • The situation after the rapture - what are the general conditions on earth when the Church is removed? 
  • The opening the seven sealed scroll - what impact do the four horsemen have on earth?
  • The great sixth seal - how does it link in with what the prophets and Jesus Himself saw for the end of the tribulation?
  • The dramatic climax - Why does God turn all the lights off in the 6th seal? And what will mankind see when the sky is rolled back like a scroll?  

This will likely be a longer study than normal so no dilly-dally!

After the rapture...

Rev 6:1 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!"

In chapter 4 we had a picture of the rapture with John being caught up into heaven so let's start by laying a foundation on what life on earth will be like at the start of Revelation 6:  

What happens when the church leaves?
  • Firstly there will be a great void. People will be incredibly frightened wondering what has happened. Everyone will know people that have suddenly gone. They will be anxiously looking for answers and reassurance and into that void will step a man with a plan for world control. Never let a good crisis go to waste right?
  • With the Church removed. the salt and light of this world is gone. If you think it is bad now, what about when there is little to no counter-voice or constraint on the wickedness of the day? (Matt 5:13-16).
  • In connection to this, the Holy Spirit will no longer restrain lawlessness or prevent the coming of the Antichrist and his deceptive satanic signs (2 Thes 2:6-12).
  • Satan himself will now know that his time is short as he is permanently banished from any access to heaven, down to the earth. It is likely that as we go up he comes down (Rev 12:7-12).
  • God Himself will now be directly judging this world. The day of grace is over and the day of His vengeance has begun. You will note that all of the seals, all of the trumpets, and all of the bowl judgements, originate in heaven and are directly from God. Together they constitute His wrath upon this earth. The seals bring forth various judgements as we shall see and the Lord Jesus is the One, the only One, that has the right to break these.

So what are the main reasons for the tribulation?

  1. To judge sin and put an end to wickedness (Isa 13:9-11)
  2. To force everyone on the earth into a decision with only two choices - will you follow Jesus or Satan? This decision leads to a tremendous number of souls saved throughout the whole earth as seen in Rev 7:9-17. 
  3. To break the power of the holy people, Israel, forcing them to finally acknowledge and call upon Jesus, the One that they pierced! (Dan 12:5-7, Zech 12:10) In other words, a main purpose of the tribulation is for the salvation of the Jewish nation.
  4. To enthrone the true King! The events of the tribulation will build until reaching its crescendo with the return of the King! We shall be given a glimpse of that at the end of this chapter before us today. (Rev 6:14-16, Rev 11:15, 19:11,16)

And it all starts with the opening of this scroll - this title deed to the earth. One by one the seals will be broken and the scroll read. In his commentary on Revelation, H.A Ironside gives us the historical background around this:  

"The ancient books of Israel were generally sheepskin rolls. When we are told that this book was sealed with seven seals, we are to understand that the book was rolled up to a certain point, and there a seal was put on the edge so that it could not be opened until that seal was broken. It was rolled up a little farther and another seal put on, and so on until there were six seals on the edge of the book and one seal closing the entire scroll. When the first seal was opened a certain portion of the book was exposed to view and so with each one following. When the seventh was broken then the entire book would be unrolled."
H.A Ironside

Before delving into this chapter I want to add two points:

  1. Firstly that Revelation has different layers and themes running through it and it is not all consecutive. I believe Revelation 6 is one layer and theme giving an overview of the entire tribulation period from start to end. Once all the seals on the scroll have been broken, the true ruler of this world will take possession of this planet1. And no prizes for knowing that is Jesus! 
  2. Secondly it is important to note that while the seals have not yet been opened, their nearness cast shadows that we can see today. For example, the deceptions, wars, famines, earthquakes and plagues that will be unleased in the future have relevant foreshadows in the here and now. We see deception running wild. We see wars and hear of rumors of wars. We've recently been involved in global plague/pestilence with Covid19 and experienced how the Governments of this world used this time of crisis for their own control, power and agenda. So we are already seeing foreshadows of what is to come... but it will be in far greater strength and frequency in the tribulation period.    

So let's look at what each seal brings forth.

The four horsemen of the apocalypse

Seal 1: The white horse - Deceptive leader

Rev 6:2 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.

The breaking of the first seal leads to a rider on a white horse being seen on earth. A white horse you say? Well that sounds good doesn't it? I mean, in those old Westerns the good guy was often on a white horse wasn't he? And, more to the point, we know that Jesus rides on a white horse when he returns in Rev 19:11... so this is Jesus now, right? Nope. We've just seen that Jesus is in heaven opening these seals which unleash these different riders. This rider is different to Jesus but he certainly tries to look like him! This rider on a white horse has a bow instead of a two-edged sword that Jesus has (Rev 19:15). This rider was given a crown by others where as Jesus has always been the King. This rider's crown is a 'stéphanos' crown2 which was a crown of victory in games or military valor, where as Jesus wears many diadems - which is the crown of royalty! (Rev 19:12)

This rider is not Christ but the Antichrist. And yet he comes, initially at least, as a Messiah type figure. The Bible tells us that Satan is able to masquerade as an angel of light and his boy, the Antichrist, will do the same. He will be the man with a plan. With the chaos and uncertainty left after the rapture of the Church, he will step forward to provide answers and take control. Though he sets out to conquer, initially it will be through peaceful and political means. He is seen with a bow but no arrows3 indicating military strength if needed but not warfare. In fact it is not until the second seal is broken that peace is taken from the earth. So at this stage, 1 Thes 5:3 is being fulfilled where, after the shock of the rapture, this man provides leadership and answers. He will also make a 7 year covenant between Israel and her neighbors, finally bring peace to that area. Overall the world will breath a collective sigh of relief saying 'Oh... Peace and safety!" without knowing that destruction is close at hand. The fact that he is given a crown also indicates that he will be accepted by the people. He will be the people's champion, a man much loved - initially at least! 

The world is anxiously waiting!
It is worth pointing out that even today the world is waiting for a Mr Fix it... someone that can put things right. And this desire will become even greater as the last day birth pains increase. Even unbelievers can see that things are getting way out of hand. Here are a few things currently in the headlines:
  • Analysts say that the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine could easily go global leading to WWIII. 
  • The current financial crisis has seen more bank wealth lost than in the 2008 banking disaster... though, fearing a bank run making it worse, the media is strangely silent about it. 
  • We have just gone through one pandemic and are already receiving threats from the World Health Organization (WHO) of a worse one coming. Though in a vote that wouldn't possibly be related to this : ) the WHO is currently voting (May 2023) on whether their health dictates will be globally binding, potentially even trumping the laws of your nation. 
  • National debt levels have increased greatly while world leaders speak about doing away with cash and going to a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)... which, unsurprisingly, will give them total control over the people and what can be bought and sold. 
  • Inflation is increasing, more people are homeless or struggling financially, while AI advances have been predicted to take up to 300 million jobs in the near future.   
  • Our youth are taking their lives in higher numbers as some count the years until the world ends through so called climate change. And this goes on in the midst of the ever increasing sexualization of our children. 
Sorry for the gloom but the world is on edge waiting and watching... And they want someone to fix it all. Now we, as Christians, as watching and waiting as well. But our hope is in the Lord and for another land. 

Seal 2: The Red Horse - War

Rev 6:3 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" (4) Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.

With the breaking of the second seal a fiery red horse is seen and its rider is given power to take peace from the earth. Well, that didn't take long. I guess the world's honeymoon period with the Antichrist is already over! Nearly every political leader gets in offering peace and prosperity... and then the opposite happens. And while this coming world leader will come speaking peace, inwardly scripture tells us that he worships 'the god of fortresses' (Dan 11:38). That is, he will use all the money and means necessary to gain military superiority4. But his power will not just be through military strength. Daniel tells us that he will succeed through the help of 'a foreign god' (Dan 11:39). In other words his power will come from Satanic influence. Earlier in Daniel it gives another view of this coming world leader stating:

Dan 8:23-25 "...A king will arise, Insolent and skilled in intrigue. (24) "His power will be mighty, but not by his own power, And he will destroy to an extraordinary degree and prosper and perform his will; He will destroy mighty men and the holy people. (25) "And through his shrewdness He will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; And he will magnify himself in his heart, And he will destroy many while they are at ease. He will even oppose the Prince of princes, But he will be broken without human agency.

Men slay one another
Our passage also says that men will slay each other at the breaking of the second seal. Jesus spoke of 'wars and rumors of wars' as one of the signs of His coming and also spoke of there being 'nation against nation'. This latter phrase is more literally 'ethnic group against ethnic group'. One of the key signs of satanic activity in our day is the division and hatred that different groups have for one another. This is by design, not helped by politicians and the media fanning the flames using the divisions for their own gain. Whether it is black versus white, young versus old, right versus left, straight versus gay, liberal versus conservative... and, the latest craziness, vaccinated verses unvaccinated! We live in a day of great division and increasing hatred. Behind it all of course is the one who first perfected the 'divide and conquer' tactic getting 1/3 or the angels to follow him and betray God. So if it is like this today, imagine what it will be like when He who restrains lawlessness steps aside!    

Seal 3: The Black Horse - Famine

Rev 6:5-6 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. (6) Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"

As the third seal is broken the black horse comes with a rider holding a pair of scales. The weighing of food seen in the scales in the rider's hand, indicates a scarcity of food. The wars from the second seal will lead to great food shortages and famine. You will no doubt remember that Jesus spoke of famine as being one of the birth pangs leading to His return (Matt 24:7). The Bible Knowledge Commentary states: 

"A day’s wages” refers to a silver coin, the Roman denarius, worth about 15 cents, which was the normal wage for a worker for an entire day. So this passage is saying that in that food shortage an entire day’s work would be required to buy either a quart of wheat or three quarts of barley. If one bought wheat, it would be enough for one good meal; if he bought barley, it would be enough for three good meals but nothing would be left for buying oil or wine. Famine is the inevitable aftermath of war. This will be a major cause of death in the Great Tribulation. The black color of the horse speaks of famine and death."

So a days wages would be enough for one good meal! Imagine that. And what about your family? That the oil and wine are not damaged means that the wealthy elites of society will still have their luxuries even in the midst of famine. They have the means to escape these harsh conditions that most will struggle to survive through. But if you think that the elite are escaping once again, both rich and poor will be directly affected in the 6th seal as we shall see later! 

Seal 4 - The Pale-Green Horse - Death

Rev 6:7 When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" (8) 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.

With the last horsemen standing for famine, what do you think would follow that? The fourth and last horseman comes riding on a pale horse. This is a pale or sickly green color indicating death from a number of sources. 

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.
John MacArthur

Did you get that? One fourth of the earth will die through through this rider by either sword, famine, plague or wild beasts. None of those options sound great. One fourth of the earth's population is currently 2 billion people. To give you an estimate at the time of writing that is like everyone in Europe (447M), the USA (333M), Indonesia (275M), Pakistan (229M), Nigeria (216M), Brazil (214M), Russia (145M) and Mexico (126M) dying5. Everyone. 

Now we have already seen the sword and famine in previous seals but here plague/pestilence, and wild beasts are introduced6. If there is a world wide famine then this obviously affects the animal kingdom as well causing them to seek food from other sources. Like, human sources! Pestilence comes from the Latin pestis meaning “contagious, disease, plague” and should be familiar to most on this planet now. Amongst many others, history has seen the black death bubonic plague, various influenzas, Ebola and something that you may have heard of called Covid19. On top of that we are told that antibiotics have been over used, causing various super bugs that are now resistant to most antibiotics. A headline this week had the UN saying 'Antibiotic-Resistant Bugs Will Kill As Many As Cancer By 2050'. Hmmm... that's if we get that far! 

So those are the events surrounding the riding of the four horsemen. But a new aspect of the tribulation is seen next in the 5th seal.

Seal 5 - The Martyrs

Rev 6:9-11 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. (10) 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?" (11) Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.

Seal 5 gives us a snapshot of the martyrdom of believers during the Tribulation. We shall see these in more detail in Revelation 7 but for now they are seen in heaven, under the altar. The altar in scripture was used for sacrifices and offerings to God (Lev 4:7, 17:11-14) so it is not surprising to see these martyrs there. They gave their lives for the Lord, maintaining their testimony to the end, and heaven acknowledges their sacrifice. Now what is it that they ask? They want to know how long it will be before their blood is avenged. The Antichrist and his system has led to their martyrdom. How long before the Lord judges fully and makes all things well? We know from the book of Daniel that the Antichrist will be given authority over believers for 3 1/2 years during the second half of the Tribulation:

Dan 7:21-22 "I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them (22) until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.
Dan 7:25 'He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.

You will note that this period continues until the Ancient of Days came and passed judgment in favor of the saints. That is what the martyred saints in heaven are asking... "How long oh Lord?" At that point the saints will take possession of the kingdom! Those that were accounted as nothing, will be the ones that are something! Those that were mocked, despised and even killed will be those that reign in power with Jesus!

The Revelation 6 - Mathew 24 Connection

Now before moving to the 6th seal let me just point out that there is a connection between the judgements of Revelation 6 and Jesus' list of signs leading up to His second coming. What have we seen so far?

  • First seal - rider on white horse (deception). The first sign Jesus gave was deception: Mat 24:4-5 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ, ' and will deceive many.
  • Second seal - rider on red horse (war).  The second sign Jesus gave was war: Mat 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.
  • Third seal - rider on black horse (famine). The third sign Jesus gave was famine & earthquakes: Mat 24:7 ...And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
  • Fourth seal - rider on pale green horse (sword, famine, plague). In this same verse, Mat 24:7, Jesus also mentions plague/pestilence.
  • Fifth seal - martyrdom of believers. Jesus next spoke of the martyrs. Mat 24:9-10 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.

 All of these are steps leading to the all important 6th seal at the end of the tribulation. And, not surprisingly, this seal was spoken about by Jesus as well. 

Seal 6 & 7- Final Judgement before His Coming

Rev 6:12-14 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, (13) and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. (14) The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

Let me just say that the 6th seal is a big deal. It is massive. It is far bigger than most acknowledge and too many prophecy teachers don't give it the attention it deserves. Because many think that the seals are just the first set of judgements before the 'real bad stuff' in the trumpets and bowls occur, they can't really have anything too dramatic happening too quickly and end up downplaying what is written here. We shouldn't do that. Because it is dramatic, others try to spiritualize it away saying that it is just symbolism. We shouldn't do that either! But well known Bible Prophecy teacher John Walvoord had it right when he wrote:

“It would be difficult to paint any scene more moving or more terrible than that described at the opening of the sixth seal.”
John Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ

The 6th seal contains events that the prophets specifically spoke about. Jesus spoke about it. And both the prophets and Jesus place it at the end of the tribulation. So what do we see in this seal? Firstly we see all sorts of heavenly signs. Do you like the sun? Well it goes black like sackcloth. Keen on the moon? Well it turns blood red. Like gazing up into the stars? Well they begin falling from heaven. If that wasn't bad enough the sky itself starts rolling back like a scroll and, for good measure, every mountain and island on this planet is moved from its place. Now if both the sun and moon are dark, what is life on this planet going to be like? It will be pitch black! Look at what Isaiah wrote about this day:  

Isa 13:9-11 See, the day of the LORD is coming --a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger-- to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. (10) The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. (11) I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.

Isaiah also links this event with a mind-boggling earthquake and the judgement of both the angelic realm and those on the earth. And it is further linked with the coming of the Lord to reign on Mount Zion:

Isa 24:19-23 The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is thoroughly shaken. (20) The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls--never to rise again. (21) In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. (22) They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days. (23) The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the LORD Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously.

Isaiah also links this event where the stars fall and the sky is rolled back like a scroll with the Lord's destruction of the nation's armies - an event that occurs at the battle of Armageddon at the end of the tribulation:

Isa 34:2-4 The LORD is angry with all nations; his wrath is upon all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter. (3) Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will send up a stench; the mountains will be soaked with their blood. (4) All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree.7

Ok, so as I said, this is one full-on dramatic scene as I'm sure you will agree. So how would that impact those dwelling on the earth? Well...  

Rev 6:15-17 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. (16) 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! (17) For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"

In short, they are petrified and just want to hide from something they have seen. In fact they are so scared that they even want the rocks to fall on them. And who is asking for their lives to be taken? Well, people from all walks of life that have rejected Jesus. This includes the kings of this earth, the princes, the rich and mighty... the so-called elite of this world. Imagine for a moment that you are a George Soros, a Bill Gates, a Klaus Schwab, a king Charles III in that day. Everyone will be brought to the same level and all the wealth and power in the world won't help them. It means nothing at this point.  

The 6th seal important questions

Now I remember reading this passage a few years back and there were several questions that came to mind which have always stayed with me and opened up this passage to me. Here are the questions as I read the passage: 

  • The first question that came to mind was why are unbelievers speaking about the throne in heaven and the face of Him who sits on that throne? What do unbelievers know about that?
  • This led to a similar question - If they are also petrified that the wrath of the Lamb has come, what do they know about 'the Lamb' or His wrath? 
  • If God is turning off all the lights with no sun, moon or stars, why does He want this scene to be in the dark?
  • If the sky and the heavens were rolled back like a scroll, what would that look like and more importantly what could people on this earth possibly see?
  • With the detailed comments about the throne and fearful actions of the unbelievers, what have they seen? Do they see something in heaven when the sky itself is rolled back?

As mentioned previously, I believe that the 6th seal occurs at the very end of the tribulation period and what they have seen when the sky rolls back like a scroll is the throne of God Himself. And the King of the Universe sitting on that throne! That explains why they are petrified concerning the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. The veil between heaven and earth is removed I believe, at least in part, and they see the One they have hated and rejected. They now know that it doesn't matter who they know because they are not known to Jesus. The realise that no amount of contacts in high places can help them because they they don't know the One in the true high place. They know that their money means nothing as the One on the throne cannot be bought. They realise that they now face the judgement of the One they hate and nothing will stop that. 

Another prophecy of Isaiah links their hiding in the rocks, as we see in the 6th seal, with the Lord's coming in glory, and the great earthquake at that time:

Isa 2:19 Men will go into caves of the rocks And into holes of the ground Before the terror of the LORD And the splendor of His majesty, When He arises to make the earth tremble!8

The Seventh Seal Connection

Let's just add in the 7th and final seal here. Little it spoken about it and we don't find it until chapter 8. It says:

Rev 8:1 When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

Obviously this is very brief and doesn't give the whole game away, but most see this as the 'calm before the storm' Or better still this brief pause is because the world is right in the eye of the storm! It could be after the chaos of the 6th seal, with the darkness, the sky rolling back, the vision of the One on the throne and great fear overtaking men as they hide in the rocks, that there could a brief period of eerie silence. Both heaven and earth will be still, awaiting what comes next. I believe Zephaniah spoke of this day saying:

Zep 1:7 Be silent before the Sovereign LORD, for the day of the LORD is near. The LORD has prepared a sacrifice; he has consecrated those he has invited.

The prophet Zephaniah tied it in with the day of the Lord and the great sacrifice that occurs at the coming of the Lord (Rev 19:17-18). So as heaven is silent and mankind inwardly trembles awaiting what comes next, this brief period of eerie silence will soon change as they see a sign in heaven pierce the darkness. Do you remember what Jesus said occurs after all the heavenly lights are turned off in this 6th seal? He said those on earth will then see something. They will see Him!

Mat 24:29-30 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (30) Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

In other words all the celestial lights are turned off so that in the pitch darkness, after a short period of fearful silence, the sign of Jesus will be seen and His glory will fill the sky. This is the greatest sign for those believers on earth at that time, who are waiting and longing for Him. But it is the most fearful of signs for those that have rejected and hate Him.


Ok... so this is a full on chapter giving an overview of the Tribulation period and we've seen a progression from deception, to wars, to famines and finally to death. The chapter begins with the coming of the Antichrist in all deception and ends with the coming of the Lord in all glory! And the last thing we read is a dramatic question spoken by unbelievers - "For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?" It is a good question and one that should be asked right now. Who can stand before the Lord? Who can stand before this One who is perfect righteousness? No one can stand before Him in their own righteousness. Only those that have been redeemed, justified by faith in Him and given a gift of righteousness can stand.

This is the true gospel that has been preached for 2000 years - That we are all sinners, deserving of God's judgement. But through faith in the shed blood of Jesus and His death upon the cross on our behalf, we are saved. And we can stand.

1 Cor 15:1  Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,
Rom 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. 

But God's judgement is coming on those that do not accept His offer of salvation and a chapter like this should motivate us to remember our friends and workmates that do not know the Lord. There will come a time when the day of grace changes to the day of vengeance. Make sure, like in God judgement upon the earth in the days of Noah, that you and those you know are onboard and safe in the ark! And that ark today is the person of Jesus Christ!

And for those on the ark, do not let fear grip your hearts because we have a far better hope. Jesus and His coming for His bride, is our hope. So remember His words that 'When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.' (Luke 21:28) And 'be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man,' (Luke 21:46)

God Bless.


  1. Those that think that the seals lead directly into the trumpets and then into the bowls thus have to have the seals only lasting part way through the tribulation. A result of this in that they tend to gloss over the 6th seal and not see it for what it is - the events immediately proceeding the return of Jesus! If interested, I have written more about this here:

    Others have also seen that Revelation chapter 6 is a panoramic view of the entire tribulation period. One such example is Bible teacher and Pastor David Guzik who writes:

    There are many different opinions, but it seems best to say that the seals, trumpets, and bowls that will be described later are not strictly sequential events.  Chronologically, the trumpets do not follow the seals and the bowls do not follow the trumpets. The first six seals are "a summary of the judgments distributed over the whole book; a brief summary of what will occur in 'the day of the Lord,' up to the time of His actual Apocalypse or Unveiling in chapter 19." (Bullinger) That span begins with the revelation of the Antichrist (the first seal) and it concludes with the revealing of the face of Him who sits on the throne (the seventh seal).
    David Guzik

    Also, a useful discussion can also be seen here if interested:

  2. As well as some thinking that the rider in the first seal is Jesus, I recently heard someone say that it was the church going forth from the day of Pentecost. This seemed to be based on the fact that the word for 'conquer' in Rev 6:2 is the same Greek word spoken to the churches earlier in Revelation where it is translated 'overcome'. It is the same word, but this word is also used of the Antichrist in Rev 13:7 where he will 'conquer' or 'overcome' the saints. There are other reasons why it is not the church. Revelation 6 is yet future, after the Church age, according to Rev 1:19. Also the rider in the first seal has been given a 'stéphanos' crown. If this was church age believers, when did we get our crowns? Because no one in the church receives their crowns and rewards until the judgment seat of Christ AFTER Jesus returns (2 Tim 4:7-8, Rev 22:12). So no one has got their crowns yet. Also, if it was the church why use symbolism of going forth with a bow instead of a sword? The only weapon that the church went forth with, is the two-edged sword - which is the word of God (Eph 6:17, Heb 4:12). So no, it isn't the church. It is someone much darker - the Antichrist.  

  3. "The absence of arrows implies that this victory is a bloodless one—a peace won by covenant and agreement, not by war... 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

  4. The idea of a satanic dictator over men goes back all the way to Nimrod, the ruler over Babel in Gen 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.
    David Guzik

  5. From

  6. Some see this seal, and even the earlier seals, as the wrath of man or Satan and not as judgements from God. Yet we see in scripture that all four methods of death seen in this seal are said to be God's judgements. He has used them all before. In the book of Ezekiel we read:
    Eze 14:21 For thus says the Lord GOD, "How much more when I send My four severe judgments against Jerusalem: sword, famine, wild beasts and plague to cut off man and beast from it!
    These are all opened in Heaven and sent from God even if man, beast and plague is involved. God uses all of these in theTribulation.

  7. To this we could also add these from Joel:

    Joe 2:10-11 Before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine. (11) The LORD thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command. The day of the LORD is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?

    Joe 2:30-32 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. (31) The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. (32) And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

  8. In fact this event of the nations hiding in the rocks from the wrath of God is mentioned three times in this one chapter, Isaiah 2. It shows what a big deal it is. And note that they go into the rocks to hide from the splendor of his majesty! This again shows that they have seen Him and places it at the end of the tribulation with His coming:

    Isa 2:9-11 So man will be brought low and mankind humbled-- do not forgive them. (10) Go into the rocks, hide in the ground from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty! (11) The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.
    Isa 2:19 Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth.
    Isa 2:21-22 They will flee to caverns in the rocks and to the overhanging crags from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth. (22) Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?

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