Revelation 6:3-11

Wednesday Night Bible Study

April 2, 1997



After reading about the events down in Rancho Santa Fe, near San Diego, with the "Heaven's Gate" suicides, it's kind of important that we be careful about the things in the book of Revelation, isn't it?

How can we avoid such delusion?

By being careful to take ALL of Godís Word.

Not just picking and choosing which passages weíre going to put into our theology.

The Bible never condones suicide, instead it is clearly Godís decision when our lives are to come to an end, not our decision.

We saw chapter four as the start of the future events, where John is raptured into heaven to find himself before God's throne.

John saw:

God the Father sitting on a throne, surrounded by the four living creatures, known as cherubim, and also surrounded by the thrones of the 24 elders.

Then we saw a Lamb, as if slain, take a scroll from God's right hand, and the scroll seems to be the title deed to the planet earth. The Lamb has come to redeem the earth, being both a near kinsman to mankind, as well as someone able to pay the price for redeeming the earth.

The Lamb has now begun the process of opening up the seven sealed scroll, beginning the process of bringing the earth back to proper ownership.

As each successive seal is opened in heaven, events are affected on the earth.

This is the beginning of what we know as the seven year "Tribulation" period on earth.

The Six Seals - Review

:2 a white horse:

This is the beginning of what's known as "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse"

:2 he that sat on him had a bow

We've talked about how this individual reminds us of Jesus, who will come on a white horse in Revelation 19, but this isn't the Christ, this is the Anti-Christ.

"anti" in Greek means "in the place of", not "opposite of".

The "anti-christ" is one who comes in the place of Christ.


Chuck Missler has this interesting observation:

The word "bow" might have another connotation other than just the device that shoots arrows.

The first time we see the word "bow" in Scripture is:

Ge 9:13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

In this setting, the "bow" (usually understood as the "rainbow") is understood to be a symbol of God's covenant with the earth, that He won't bring any more floods.

If the "bow" is a symbol of a covenant, it's kind of interesting to see that the anti-christ is a person who has a covenant with Israel:

Da 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Perhaps, when the antichrist hits the world scene, it's with this "bow" in his hand, this covenant with Israel?

Just a thought.

:2 a crown was given unto him

Satan himself will give his authority to the antichrist, and establish him as a world leader.

The Seal Continue

:3 when he had opened the second seal

Keep in mind, it's the Lamb, Jesus, who is opening the seals on the scroll.

Each time a seal is opened, the scroll is rolled open a little more, and events occur on the earth, until the scroll stops at another seal.

:3 I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

Again, this is one of the four cherubim we met back in chapter four, one of the living creatures with four faces, six wings, which lives in God's presence.

:4 another horse that was red

I kind of hate to get too much into the symbolism of colors.

To be totally honest with you, it's not uncommon to pick up four different commentaries that might comment on colors, and find four different ideas as to what they mean.

If there's any significance in the color, I think it's simply tied to the events that happen during this horse's ride, perhaps red might be a color that reminds us of war, at least of bloodshed.

:4 to take peace from the earth

This is the basic significance behind the second horse, that there is war on the earth.

After the anti-christ makes his debut on the earth, war breaks out.

It's possible that this war might be related to the wars described in Daniel (this passage was covered in detail when we went through the book of Daniel on Sunday nights, get the tape)

Prior to this passage, the king being described was Antiochus Epiphanes, but there seemed to be a break in time between verses 35 and 36, suddenly talking about a man similar to Antiochus, the antichrist. Antiochus was the ruler over the Syrian portion of the Greek empire, and was often caught in struggles with Egypt, with little Israel caught in the middle.

Dan 11:36-45 (KJV) And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. {37} Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. {38} But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. {39} Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain. {40} And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.

In the earlier passage, the king of the south referred to Egypt, and Antiochus (or here, the antichrist) was the king of the north.

But if the places are shifted, it might refer to other places.

{41} He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.

The glorious land refers to Israel, with Edom, Moab, and Ammon referring to modern day Jordan.

It has been thought that some of the Israelites will be hiding from the antichrist in modern Jordan, near the rock city of Petra (Is.16, 63)

{42} He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.

The antichrist will conquer Egypt.

{43} But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. {44} But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.

The East might refer to either China, or Iran, the North might refer to either Europe, possibly Russia.

{45} And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

He will make his command post between Jerusalem and the Mediterranean.

Keep in mind, this is only one possible link, one possible scenario.

The battles in Daniel may occur later in Revelation.

:4 that they should kill one another

kill Ė sphazo - to slay, slaughter, butcher

Itís not simple deaths involved, but ugly, slaughter of people.

:4 a great sword

The idea here is that of a huge weapon.

Could this be the use of nuclear weapons?


It could probably even describe much of the U.S. or Russian arsenal.

:5 a black horse

The third seal is opened, the third horse is colored black.

As we're going to see, it's an apt picture of the famine.

:5 a pair of balances in his hand

Balances were simply a device used in buying and selling.

We might see it today as having a cash register in hand.

:6 A measure of wheat for a penny

A measure of wheat = choinix - a dry measure, containing four cotylae or two setarii (less than our quart, one litre).

The idea is that this is about how much one person consumes in one day.

A penny = denarius - a Roman silver coin used in NT times, it was roughly equivalent to a day's wage for a common laborer. (Mat.20:2-13)

We could think of it in the sense that a man working all day at minimum wage will only be able to make enough money to feed himself.

This isn't so great if you have to pay for a mortgage, or other expenses.

It's even worse if you have a family.

We might also look at it as if a loaf of bread might cost about $50.


Though this could be descriptive of a famine, it could simply refer to what we call "inflation".

Costs just go sky high!

Ray Stedman:

During the days of the Weimar Republic in Germany after World War I, I remember as a boy hearing accounts of people taking ten thousand German marks bills, loading them into wheelbarrows, and taking them to market to buy a single loaf of bread.

Perhaps itís this inflation that leads to the antichristís economic solution, using a "mark" to buy and sell (Rev.13).

:6 three measures of barley for a penny

Barley being an edible grain, just not as high quality as wheat.

:6 see thou hurt not the oil and the wine

Not crude oil, vegetable oil.

Oil and wine aren't considered necessities, but luxuries.

The idea is that for the common person, or for the poor person, there will be a great famine.

But for the rich and privileged, there won't be any lack.

:8 a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death

pale Ė chloros (chlorine) - green; yellowish pale

Have you noticed the progression of the four horses?

First comes the antichrist.

Then comes war.

War leads to famine, as food supplies are disrupted.

Famine leads to widespread death.

It's interesting to see these same ideas mentioned by Jesus:

(Mat 24:4-9 KJV) And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. {5} For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. {6} 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. {7} For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. {8} All these are the beginning of sorrows. {9} 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.

:8 Hell followed with him

Greek - Hades

The idea is that as "Death" rides along, killing people, Hades comes behind, collecting the souls of the dead.

:8 power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth

It seems that everytime I teach through Revelation, this number has to be revised.

Current World Population:

1980 - total 4.5 billion people

1987 - total of 5 billion people

1997 - should be around 6 billion people

If this were to occur anytime in the near future, 1 Ĺ billion people will die through these events.

This could be 1 in every four persons dying, spread throughout the world, or it could refer to an entire area being wiped out, such as China (about this size).

:8 to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth

Not just war and famine, but death also by the "beasts of the earth".

Does this mean that little "Spot" might turn against his owner? J

Actually, the word means "wild animals". Keep your pets.

:9 when he had opened the fifth seal

There's going to be a little change here.

The first four seals were all accompanied by an announcement from one of the four cherubim.

The cherubim are done with their announcements.

This next event appears to take place in heaven, instead of earth.

:9 I saw under the altar

Just as there was an altar in the temple, there is an altar in heaven.

:9 the souls of them that were slain

What John sees are the "souls" of martyrs.

But these are what I think are specifically "tribulation martyrs".

These are part of the 1 Ĺ billion that have died already.

Two implications given here:

1. These people are in the "intermediate state".

They do not have there glorified bodies yet, but are just souls.

When a believer dies, he immediately goes into God's presence, yet without a body.

Paul wrote:

(Phil 1:21-24 NASB) For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. {22} But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. {23} But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; {24} yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.

(2 Cor 5:6-8 NASB) Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord-- {7} for we walk by faith, not by sight-- {8} we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

At the rapture, those who believers who have previously died will receive their glorified bodies first, then those of us who are still alive will.

(1 Th 4:15-18 KJV) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. {16} For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: {17} Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. {18} Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

2. These are Tribulation martyrs. (Rev.20:4; 13:7)

Of the Antichrist we are told:

Revelation 13:7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

Those who die during the Tribulation will receive their resurrection bodies at the end of the Tribulation.

(Rev 20:4 KJV) And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

:9 for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held

Again, these are men and women who have died for claiming to be Christians.


Be ready for persecution.

Even if the Rapture occurs before the Tribulation (the view I hold), thereís no guarantee that we wonít ever experience persecution in the United States before the Rapture.I donít want to sound "alarmist" or anything, but after the suicides in San Diego, the president came out with a statement saying that we must never allow this sort of thing to happen again.

That sounds a little scary to me, as if the government might want to keep an eye on the "cults".

According to some definitions of a "cult" in Washington, itís a person who believes the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God, and who believes that Jesus Christ is actually going to come back.

That sounds like us!

What will you do when persecution comes (and if we should still be here)?

Jesus said:

(Mat 13:20-21 KJV) But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; {21} Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Are you allowing Godís Word to go "deep" into your life?

Do you have any "depth" as a Christian, or are you a shallow person?

If you were put on trial today for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

:10 How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge

This doesnít sound too "Christian" if you know what I mean.

After all, arenít we supposed to be saying, "Father forgive them Ö"?

The truth is, there is going to be a time when Godís judgment can wait no longer.

Jesus taught us to pray -

(Mat 6:10 KJV) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

There is going to be a time that if we are to pray for Godís will, we will be praying for Godís judgment to come upon the earth.

:11 white robes were given unto every one of them

They didnít receive their bodies yet.

Just white robes. Ė see Rev. 19:8

Aside Ė the cultists in San Diego wore black pajamas, not white robes. Hmmm.

:11 that they should rest yet for a little season

Heaven is a place of rest.

Hell isnít.:11 until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilledWe have talked about how Israel will be saved with the "fullness of the Gentiles" comes

(Rom 11:25 KJV) For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.There would seem to be a number of people God is waiting to get saved, before the Rapture will occur.Here, we see that God has a number of people who will be martyred during the Tribulation, until it is over.