Welcome to Part 4 of a 5 Part Series
In part 1 of this series (Intro) we looked at the various views of the Rapture, and introduced The Day of the Lord as our focal point to determine the pertinence of the church in the last days. In part 2 (The Day of the Lord) we took a somewhat in-depth look at what the Bible has to say about the Day of the Lord. And in part 3 (The Olivet Discourse) we looked at Matthew 24 to see what Jesus (the world’s foremost Expert on the end-times) had to say about these things.
Today, we’re going to focus on Revelation, Chapter 6; the opening of the Seven Sealed Scroll.
Summary: Revelation, Chapter 6
Below, I’ve put together a short outline of Revelation 6 which describes the opening of the Seven Seals. After this we’ll take a more comprehensive view, in terms of how Revelation 6 relates to other scriptures used thus far in this study.
- The First Seal: A White Horse – Antichrist on the Scene
- The Second Seal: A Red Horse – Ethnic and Civil Uprising / War
- The Third Seal: A Black Horse – Famine / Economic Collapse
- The Fourth Seal: A Pale Horse – Fourth of the Earth Killed
- The Fifth Seal: Martyrs in Heaven
- The Sixth Seal: Earthly and Cosmic Cataclysmic Events
- The Seventh Seal: Seven Angels with Seven Trumpets
The first thing that becomes evident to me when I look at the opening of the seals, is how they are not only progressive and grow in intensity as they are opened; but that each seal appears to be a link in the causality of the next. Much like labor pains; and very much unlike the Day of the Lord, which comes upon the world suddenly and without warning. What is not so immediately obvious though, is how that seems to change with the Sixth Seal; which happens abruptly and results in worldwide terror and chaos. We’ll look at that a bit more later.
To more clearly show the similarities of these verses, I’ve categorized them by subject as well as chronologically. I hope you’ll find this as eye-opening and fascinating as I do!
False Christs; Religious Deception
- Matthew 24:4-5 – Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.”
- Revelation 6:1-2; The First Seal – Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come”. I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer..
Many believe that the First Seal is the entrance of the antichrist onto the scene; albeit unknown at the time. His true identity will be revealed when he makes (or confirms) a covenant with Israel for seven years. The initiation of this covenant is also said to mark the commencement of the 70th week of Daniel (Daniel 9:27a).
Ethnic and Civil Uprising; Wars between Kingdoms
- Matthew 24:6-7a – You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
- Revelation 6:3-4; The Second Seal – When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come”. And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him..
The Greek word for Nation in Matthew 24 is Ethnos (Strongs 1484): A multitude, people, race, belonging and living together. Used here, it indicates ethnic and civil uprising against one another within a people group or common country.
Famine; Economic Crisis
- Matthew 24:7b-8 – In various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
- Revelation 6:5-6; The Third Seal – When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come”. I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.
The exorbitant price of food suggests worldwide shortages, rationing, and famine conditions; which would logically lead to a widespread economic crisis, as well.
A Fourth of the Earth Killed
- Matthew 24:9-13 – Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
- Matthew 24:15-16, 21-22 – “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.
- Revelation 6:7-8; The Fourth Seal – When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come”. I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.
The term ‘Wild Beasts’ above appears to be a mistranslation of the Greek word Therion (2342); which is translated simply as, beast; as it is with all other usages in the Book of Revelation. The adjective wild seems to have been added due to the destructive nature of the passage.
Also, notice that Rev 6:8 says a fourth of the population will be killed with sword, with famine, with pestilence; and by the wild beasts (or beast). This makes perfect sense in the English language, but we must remember that we’re reading a translation; but the Greek is not so simple.
According to GreekLexicon.org (among others), the word with indicates the manner in which a desired action will be brought about; (i.e. killed with a sword, or famine, or pestilence.) This is how, or the way something is accomplished. On the other hand, the word by (Hypo or Hupo 5259) carries the meaning under; (i.e. under the authority of, or working directly as a subordinate under someone or something), and indicates the agent of this action. For example, I could say: “Authority was granted a U.S. soldier to kill an enemy soldier with a gun, by the U.S. government”. The gun is the manner in which the enemy was killed, and the U.S. soldier was under authority of the U.S. Government, the agent of the killing.
In light of this, stating that a fourth of the earth will be killed with sword and with famine and with pestilence by the wild beasts becomes nonsensical. A wild beast can’t possibly perform these particular acts of violence. However, when you take into account the true meaning of the Greek words, the verse becomes more understandable and could be translated as: “Authority was given to Death and Hades over a fourth of the earth, to kill using sword and famine and pestilence, under authority of the beast.
Sounds far-fetched, right? I thought so too the first time I realized all this. But, maybe it’s not as crazy as one might think at first glance. Granted, this may not be the exact wording of the proper translation; but given the actual meaning in the original language, one would be hard-pressed to support the current English translation. I heartily encourage you to do your own word study and see what you come up with.
Martyrs in Heaven
- Revelation 6:9; The Fifth Seal – When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained. and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.
Earthly and Cosmic Cataclysmic Events
- Joel 2:30-31 – I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.
- Joel 3:15 – Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon grow dark and the stars lose their brightness. The Lord roars from Zion and utters His voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth tremble.
- Matthew 24:29 – But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
- Luke 21:25-26 – There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
- Revelation 6:12-14; The Sixth Seal, Part 1 – I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
There are far too many similarities in these verses to point out. If you read through carefully, I think you will come to the conclusion that they are all speaking of the same event. The implications are undeniable: Revelation 6:12-14 points to the time that heralds the Day of the Lord. Though it is decidedly not the Day of the Lord itself.
The Great Day of His Wrath Is Come
- Isaiah 2:17-21 – The pride of man will be humbled and the loftiness of men will be abased; and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, but the idols will completely vanish. 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. In that day men will cast away to the moles and the bats their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship, in order to go into the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs before the terror of the LORD and the splendor of His majesty, when He arises to make the earth tremble.
- Isaiah 13:11,13 – Therefore I will make the heavens tremble and the earth will be shaken from its place at the fury of the Lord of hosts in the day of His burning anger. Thus I will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud and abase the haughtiness of the ruthless.
- Matthew 24:30-31 – And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
- Mark 13:26-27 – Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.
- Luke 21:27-28 – Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.
- Revelation 6:15-17: The Sixth Seal, Part 2 – Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
Do you see any similarities? Just a few? Quite a lot? In fact, way too many to discuss here; but I will touch on this in much more detail in Part 5 of this series, The Conclusion.
Seven Angels with Seven Trumpets – Revelation 8:1-6
- When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
- And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
- Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne.
- And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.
- Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
- And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them.
Conclusion: So, what do you think?
Based on the comparisons above, does my sequence of events below (from Part 3 of this series) hold any water? Bear in mind that it was created based solely on Matthew 24, with no reference at all to Revelation, Chapter 6.
- False Christs, Religious deception (vs. 4)
- Wars, Civil unrest (vs. 7)
- Famine (vs. 7)
- Earthquakes (natural disasters) (vs. 7)
- Pestilence (Mark 13)
- Abomination of Desolation – 3-1/2 year point (vs. 15)
- Great Tribulation and Martyrdom (vss. 7 & 21)
- Gospel preached in all the world – likely during, and due to the mass martyrdom (vs 14)
- Supernatural cosmic disturbances (vs. 29)
- Gathering of the Elect (vs. 30-31)
In our next and final segment, I will wrap up our study by presenting a couple more crucial pieces of information; a logical end time sequence of events; and what I believe to be a credible summary and conclusion based on the material shared over the past several weeks.
Stay tuned for Part 5 of this series: The Conclusion
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