Revelation 6 in Bible Prophecy – The First Six Seals
First Seal – A White Horse
6:1 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.
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.
A Rider on a White Horse
The first four seals consist of four horsemen. Each of the horsemen ride a different colored horse and bring destruction on the earth. The same four horsemen appear in Zechariah 6:1-9 but in a different order. Zechariah calls these horsemen four spirits of heaven which represent spirits or influences on the earth. In verse 1, Jesus opens the first of seven seals and one the four beasts says “Come and see.” A rider on a white horse is seen with a crown on his head, a bow in his hand. This rider goes forth to conquer.
Is Jesus riding the White Horse?
“At the end of the book of Revelation in chapter 19, Jesus comes on a white horse.
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” (Revelation 19:11)
We know the only Faithful and True rider speaks of Jesus. He comes riding a white horse at the end of the great tribulation. The first of the four horsemen is an impostor who appears to be Christ on earth. Yet he is a false Christ. Jesus speaks of the false Christs in Matthew 24. “Many will come in My name saying “I am the Christ and will deceive many.” (Matthew 24:3). This rider is a spirit of deception. His goal is to conquer and to become victorious over his enemies. He has a bow but not any arrows. He is a ruler but needs others to help him become victorious.
Has the First Seal Been Broken?
Has Jesus broken the first seal? Has the rider on the white horse already appeared? In Daniel 12:4-7, the seals of the book are concealed until the “time of the end”. Has the “time of the end” already started?
Daniel speaks of the “time of distress such has never occurred” in verse 1. He also speaks of a time period of 3 1/2 years for “all these events to occur” in verse 7. So when he speaks to the sealing of the words until the end time this seems to indicate that the seals will not be opened until the time of the Great Tribulation (the last 3 1/2 years).
Let the reader be guided by the Holy Spirit as to if the first seal has been broken.
Who Rides the White Horse?
In Matthew 24:4, Jesus warns us to beware of the coming deception. Many people will say they are the Christ and will deceive many. This deception may describe the rider on the white horse who comes to deceive many saying he is the Christ. Matthew 24 seems to follow the same sequence of events as the four horsemen in Revelation 6:1-8.
Matthew 24:4-8 says ,”And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
If Jesus has already broken the first seal, then there may be a good fit for the rider on the white horse. The pope. He is called the “vicar of Christ”, a representation to the church of Christ on earth. He wears a papal tiara as a crown. He dresses in white and has a white pope-mobile. He has no power on earth to conquer but he conspires with and through the leaders of nations to control the people on the earth.
Second Seal – A Red Horse
6:3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
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.
A Rider on a Red Horse
The second seal is opened by Christ. The rider goes forth on a red horse. He has power to remove peace from the earth and cause many of the nations to war against each other. The great sword may indicate the great slaughter brought about with his power. The parallel passage in Matthew 24 speaks of wars and rumors of wars brought about by the rider on the red horse.
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” (Matthew 24:6)
Who Rides the Red Horse?
If the second seal has been broken by Christ and we are in the end times, then there may be a good fit to a red power which removes peace from the earth. The spirit of the red horse may represent Communism and Marxism. This socialist ideology has lead to millions of deaths through war, famine and genocide through communism in Russia, communism in China, and Nazism in Germany.
Third Seal – A Black Horse
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.
6:6 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.
The Third Seal Brings Severe Famine
The third seal is opened. A rider on a black horse is revealed. The rider carries a pair of balances in his hand. A voice is heard not from the four beasts but from the middle of the location of the beasts. In the market wheat and barley are weighed and purchased. A measure of wheat and three measures of barley are each traded for a penny. A penny is the term used for the Greek word “Denarius”. However, the word “Denarius” is best interpreted as a day’s wage. The average daily wage in the United States is around $165 or 16,500 pennies. That is a little bit of inflation since the King James was completed in 1611.
How Severe is the Famine?
The Greek word for measure is “Choinix”. This word refers to a quantity that measures out to less than a quart. The price of a bushel of wheat at today’s prices in around $7. One bushel is equivalent to 37 quarts. So at current prices a quart or measure of wheat costs about 19 cents. Today, one could purchase 868 quarts of wheat for a day’s wage. Yet when the black horse is revealed one is able to purchase a measure of wheat (or 19 cents worth) for a day’s wage. John is describing severe famine prices.
During the famine it seems the rich are not some much affected by the famine conditions. Oil and wine are preserved and available to those who can afford the more affluent life style.
The parallel passage in Matthew 24:7 speaks of famine conditions also leading up to the end of the age.
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” (Matthew 24:7)
Fourth Seal – A Pale Horse
6:7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.
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.
Death and Hell
The Lamb of God breaks the fourth seal and a ride appears on a pale horse. The Greek word for pale is “Chloros” which is the color green. This rider is on a horse which may be green in color. This rider is described as death and hell follows him. He has power over one-fourth of the earth. The breaking of this seal gives the rider a force to kill a great part of the earth. He kills with the sword, by starvation, and by killing people with wild man-eating animals.
“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” (Matthew 24:9)
Possible Influence of the Pale Horse
Zechariah 6:3-6 speaks of “grisled and bay horses” instead of pale or green horse referred to here in the fourth seal. Zechariah also tells us the rider of this horse goes forth to the south country. The people killed by this rider are probably located in the southern hemisphere.
The fourth horse may be Islam. The color green is on many of the flags of Muslim countries. Today, Islam is a major religious and political spirit in the southern hemisphere.
Fifth Seal – Martyrs
6:9 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:
6:10 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?
6:11 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 fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
Martyred Saints are in Heaven
The fifth seal is opened by the Lamb. Those whose blood has been shed for testifying of Jesus and keeping His Word are beneath the altar in heaven. The martyred are crying out for judgment and vindication to the wicked who shed their blood. These saints are crying for the Lord to avenge their blood. This seal is likely referring to the time of the great tribulation when many saints will die for their faith.
Timing of the Fourth Seal
This seal may occur before the great tribulation as many saints have died and are being killed today for their faith. However, the timing of this seal is likely during the great tribulation when the Antichrist is given authority to kill the saints in Revelation 13:7.
“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.” (Revelation 13:7)
“And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” (Revelation 17:6)
Souls Beneath the Altar
The souls of the saints are seen by John in heaven under the altar. The saints do not have their physical bodies. This may indicate that the joining of their bodies to their souls has not occurred. The redemption of their bodies has not taken place yet (Luke 21:28, 1 Corinthians 1:7-8). One can think the bodies of the saints would not fit beneath the altar; however, the souls, without bodies, would fit beneath the altar.
“And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:27-28)
Golden Altar is Positioned Before the Throne of God
In the Old Testament the golden altar of incense separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Hollies. It was just outside of the Holy of Hollies. Four horns protruded out from the four corners of the altar. Incense was burnt on the altar both day and night. The altar represented Jesus, the intercessor between God and man. After Jesus’ death on the cross the veil of the temple was torn apart. The saints had direct access to the throne of God. Now the golden altar stands positioned before the throne of God (Revelation 8:3).
“And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.” (Revelation 8:3)
Saints Given White Robes
The martyred saints are given white robes and told to rest for a little while until the end of the great tribulation. In Revelation 19 the saints come back with Jesus dressed in white linen riding white horses. Jesus’ robe is dipped in blood as He avenges the wicked in His wrath.
“And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” (Revelation 19:13-14)
Sixth Seal – Great Day of God’s Wrath
6:12 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;
6:13 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.
6:14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
6:15 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;
6:16 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:
6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
Catastrophic Events in Heaven and Earth
Jesus breaks the 6th seal and the wrath of God is released in full measure. This seal is called the great day of God’s wrath (verse 17). The following catastrophic events occur:
- a great earthquake
- the sun turns black
- the moon turns to blood red
- stars fall to earth
- heaven splits apart like a scroll
- every mountain is moved (flattened from other verses)
- every island moved (disappears into the sea from the other verses)
The violence is so great that the kings, great men, rich men, chief captains, mighty men, and servants hide in caves. The wrath of God is so destructive no one is able to withstand it? Men desire to die to escape it.
God’s Wrath in Full Measure
The opening of the sixth seal unleashes God’s wrath on the earth and in heaven. This is not the work of Satan, for only God has the power to split the heaven apart like a scroll and cause the islands to be moved. In understanding each of the seals, trumpets and bowl judgments, one should be aware who is executing each of the judgments. In the first five seal judgments, Jesus breaks the seals but the judgment is accomplished primarily at the hand of wicked men. In the sixth seal, God is judging the earth in wrath. The cataclysmic events here are the same as those taking place during the seventh bowl judgment and the Day of the Lord. In the seventh bowl judgment, God executes judgment through a great earthquake. Every island disappears and the mountains are not found (Revelation 16:17-21). The sequence of Revelation makes most sense when the seals, trumpets and bowls all end at nearly the same time: the Day of the Lord and the second coming of the Lord.
Revelation 16:16-21 says “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.”
Day of the Lord Occurs at the End of the Great Tribulation
Some believe the “Day of the Lord” is the entire period of time starting with the seven year tribulation and lasting through to the end of the 1000 year millennium. Let me argue against this position for a few minutes. During the Day of the Lord, God pours forth His wrath on the wicked. His wrath is poured out in great measure and no one is able to stand against it. He does not use men to execute His wrath, He does the work Himself.
During the millennium, Jesus reigns from Jerusalem with absolute righteousness and justice. The world is at peace both among men and peace with animals (The wolf lies with the lamb (Isaiah 11:6). The millennium is a time of God’s rule of peace and justice on earth, not a time of God’s wrath being poured out.
The position of the Day of the Lord consisting of the entire seven year tribulation is a better argument and may have some merit; however, this is not what scripture teaches. The Great Tribulation is a period of three and one-half years at the end of the seven-year tribulation. This three and one-half year period is defined in five passages: Revelation 11:2-3, Revelation 12:6, 14, Revelation 13:5, Daniel 9:27, and Daniel 12:7. During this time Satan is thrown to earth to where he causes destruction and death (Revelation 12:12). God’s wrath, however, is not displayed until the seven bowls of wrath, punishment for those who take the mark of the beast and the Day of the Lord. His wrath does not take place until the final last day or days of the Great Tribulation.
Gog and Magog Invasion
Ezekiel 38 and 39 describe the invasion of Israel from a coalition of countries including Gog, Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Persia, Ethopia, Put, Gomer and Togarmah. This event may occur at the end of the Great Tribulation when the Lord returns at His second coming. The events with the Sixth Seal seem consistent with those occurring at this invasion. God rescues Israel by sending fire, brim stones, hailstones and a great earthquake. The earthquake has such shaking that the mountains are flattened.
“And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every man’s sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 38:18-23)
Passages Consistent with the Sixth Seal
Many passages discuss the the Day of the Lord and describe the same events as those listed in the sixth seal.
Men go into the Caves of the Rocks Before the Terror of the Lord When He Causes the Earth to Quake.
Isaiah 2:10-22, . “Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?”
The Stars, Sun and Moon Become Dark. The Lord Shakes Both Heaven and Earth, and the Earth is Moved From Out of it’s Place.
Isaiah 13:9-16, “Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land. Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.”
The Foundation of Earth is Shaken Violently, the Earth Splits and the Sun and Moon are Darkened.
Isaiah 24, “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merryhearted do sigh. The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth. They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it. The city of confusion is broken down: every house is shut up, that no man may come in. There is a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone. In the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruction. When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done. They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord, they shall cry aloud from the sea. Wherefore glorify ye the Lord in the fires, even the name of the Lord God of Israel in the isles of the sea. From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously. Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.”
The Stars Fall from Heaven and Heaven is Rolled Up Like a Scroll.
Isaiah 34:1-15, “Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter. Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment. The sword of the Lord is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the Lord hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea. And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness. For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever. But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness. They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there, and all her princes shall be nothing. And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls. The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate.”
The Sun and the Moon are Darkened.
Joel 2:30-32, “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.”
Written by Timothy BrownShare this: