Revelation 6:1-8

Sunday Morning Bible Study

October 30, 2011


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

Mexico Outreach next Saturday – play video

John was imprisoned on the island of Patmos for his faith when he sees a vision of the future. John saw a door opened in heaven and he was caught up before the throne of God. He began to describe what he saw.

He sees “One” sitting on the throne with a green rainbow around the throne. Twenty-four elders with golden crowns. Lightning, thunder, and voices. Four living creatures known as the cherubim. And lots of worship.

In chapter five, John sees a scroll in the hand of God – we believe it is the title deed of the earth. Man had sold his inheritance to Satan when Adam sinned and was removed from the garden of Eden. Now in heaven it is time to purchase the property back for man. For the transaction to take place, there needs to be a “kinsman redeemer”, a close relative who can afford to pay the price of redemption. This is when Jesus steps forward and takes the scroll. He appears as a Lamb that had been slain. He is our “close relative” who has paid for our redemption.

6:1-2 First Seal

:1 Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.”

:1 seals sphragis – the seal placed upon books, scrolls

This scroll, the title deed of the earth, is sealed with seven wax seals. Each time a seal is broken, the scroll is able to be opened a little further until the next seal appears.

With the breaking of each seal, something happens.

:1 thunderbronte – thunder

:1 one of the four living creatures

These “living creatures” are the cherubim, awesome angelic beings who surround God’s throne. These are the beings that have six wings, faces like a lion, ox, man, and eagle.

Each of the living creatures will be involved with one of the first four seals.

Along with each living creature, there will be a horse and rider.

:1 Come and see

John is invited to come and see what happens when the seal is broken.


Heaven is watching

From time to time I am asked questions about heaven.
Occasionally I will be asked if people in heaven can see us on earth.
I think it’s entirely possible.
John is going to record the things that are going on in earth while he watches from heaven’s grandstand.
The writer of Hebrews tells us all about the great heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, and then links them in chapter twelve like this:
(Heb 12:1 NKJV) Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

He is painting a picture of the “games”, like the Coliseum in Los Angeles, with lots of spectators in the crowd, and we’re the ones down on the playing field.

It may be that the “witnesses” in the stands are simply a figure of speech – that the great heroes of the faith are simply examples that we are to follow.

But the word “witness” speaks of someone who has seen something. I think the implication is that heaven is watching us.

Would you act any differently if you had to live your life on the field at the Coliseum with the stands full of people? Get used to it. It’s true.

Instead of doing some of the things we do, perhaps we ought to focus on what they do on the field of the Coliseum, running our race, running to win.  Watch what the guys on the field do …

Play Eric Liddell clip from the 1981 movie, “Chariots of Fire”.

Some of you might find comfort in the fact that your grandfather is “watching” you.

Some of you might be a little freaked out to think that your mom or dad actually just saw what you did on the field a few hours ago …

:2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.

:2 horsehippos – a horse

:2 whiteleukos – light, bright, brilliant; brilliant from whiteness, (dazzling) white

:2 white horse

A white horse is a symbol of victory. After a victory, Roman generals would ride a white horse in triumph with their captives following them.

We’re going to see four horses involved with these seals.

This is similar to several visions that Zechariah saw (Zech. 1, 6).
(Zec 1:8–10 NKJV) —8 I saw by night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse, and it stood among the myrtle trees in the hollow; and behind him were horses: red, sorrel, and white. 9 Then I said, “My lord, what are these?” So the angel who talked with me said to me, “I will show you what they are.10 And the man who stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, “These are the ones whom the Lord has sent to walk to and fro throughout the earth.”
Horses seem to represent God’s activity on the earth. They are the forces He uses to accomplish His purposes.

The horses here have a little different end than the ones in Zechariah.

(Zec 6:1–5 NKJV) —1 Then I turned and raised my eyes and looked, and behold, four chariots were coming from between two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of bronze. 2 With the first chariot were red horses, with the second chariot black horses, 3 with the third chariot white horses, and with the fourth chariot dappled horses—strong steeds. 4 Then I answered and said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?” 5 And the angel answered and said to me, “These are four spirits of heaven, who go out from their station before the Lord of all the earth.

:2 a bow

This rider has a bow, but no arrows.

It is thought that this means that even though this person wields power, it will come not through warfare, but initially through diplomacy.

:2 bowtoxon – a bow

:2 crownstephanos – a crown; a mark of exalted rank; given as a prize to victors in public games

:2 conqueringnikao – to conquer; to carry off the victory, come off victorious

:2 conquering and to conquer

He went out conquering and that he should conquer

The person on this white horse is apparently growing in political power.

:2 He who sat on it

Who is this one sitting on a white horse with a bow?

Some say this is Jesus Christ because Jesus is riding a white horse in Rev. 19:11. But keep in mind that Jesus is showing up at the END of the tribulation, and we’re just at the beginning in Rev. 6.

(Re 19:11–16 NKJV) —11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
This person in Revelation 6 has some similarities – a white horse and conquering. 
There are some differences:  The word for “crown” is different in each passage – the “crown” in Rev. 19 (Jesus) speaks of royalty more than victory.


Rider #1: Antichrist

We believe this is the “Antichrist”
The word “antichrist” doesn’t mean “opposite of Christ”, it means “in place of Christ”.

He will try to take the place of Jesus as the “Messiah” and savior of the world. He will steer people away from Jesus to follow him.

The antichrist comes to power on the world scene at the beginning of the tribulation period (just like here).
He will be a world ruler that will initially bring peace, but will eventually bring war.
He will deceive many to think that he is the Christ, when he is actually from the devil.
He is described as “the prince” in Daniel’s prophecy about the end times:
(Da 9:26–27 NKJV) … And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.

It was the Romans who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70. We believe the antichrist will be connected to a form of a restored Roman Empire.

27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate…

When the antichrist comes on the scene, he will make a treaty with the nation of Israel for “one week” or literally seven years. This is the period of the Tribulation that has started here in Revelation.

We’ll learn much more about this individual when we get to Rev. 13.
Is the antichrist already in the world?
If he is, there is something that holds him back from taking power.

(2 Th 2:7–8 NKJV) —7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

What restrains the appearance of the antichrist?

I believe it is the work of the Holy Spirit through the presence of the church on the earth.

When the church is removed in the Rapture, the way will be paved for the antichrist to take center stage.

6:3-4 Second Seal

:3 When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.”

:3 He opened the second seal

Jesus, the Lamb, opens the next seal. Another of the cherubim gets involved and invites John to “come and see”.

:4 Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.

:4 fiery redpurrhos – having the color of fire, red

The word is used in the LXX in 2Kings 3:22 to describe water that was “red as blood”

(2 Ki 3:22 NKJV) —22 Then they rose up early in the morning, and the sun was shining on the water; and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood.

:4 should killsphazo – to slay, slaughter, butcher

:4 swordmachaira – a small sword, as distinguished from a large sword; curved sword

This is a “great small sword”. Could this refer to a nuclear weapon?


Rider #2: War

This could be an individual like #1, but it might just be a way of saying that there will be global war breaking out.
Jesus said,
(Mt 24:6 NKJV) And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

War has always been around and we shouldn’t panic each time a new war breaks out.

But when this war breaks out, it will be big, and we are getting close to the end.
The great sword - makes me think about the loose weapons that are out there that might be in the wrong hands.
Iran and its nuclear ambitions.
The Libyan weapons, and the problem of finding the shoulder launched anti-aircraft weapons.
It’s possible that things are falling into place for this.

Time for the next “seal”.  I have a video. Play “Wolverine” seal clip.

6:5-6 Third Seal

:5 When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.”

Jesus, the Lamb, opens the next seal. The third cherubim speaks up, “Come and see”

:5 So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.

:5 blackmelas – black

:5 pair of scaleszugos – a balance, pair of scales

We’ve been talking about the ancient marketplace about the use of balance scales for measuring things out.

This rider is carrying a pair of scales.

:6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”

:6 a voice in the midst

The voice is not of the rider with the scales, but from the area of the throne of God.

:6 quartchoinix – a dry measure that’s a little less than our quart.

This is about how much an average man might eat in a day.

:6 wheatsitos – wheat

:6 denariusdenarion – equivalent to an average laborer’s daily wage.

:6 barleykrithe – barley, the poor man’s grain.

:6 do not harmadikeo – to wrong someone; to hurt, damage, harm

“Oil” refers to olive oil, not crude oil.

It seems that the voice is saying that oil and wine won’t be harmed like the staples of wheat and barley.

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

For the common or poor person, there will be a great famine. But for the rich and privileged, there won't be any lack.


Rider #3: Economic Crash

Could you imagine working all day, getting paid, and all you can afford is a loaf of bread?
Think of it this way, how about spending $80 for a loaf of bread?
I don’t know if you are aware of it, but the economy is a pretty big thing in the news lately.
There are protests going on all around the world due to the economy.
In Greece they are protesting cutbacks because the government has overspent.
The Wall Street occupiers are protesting greed (I think)
What’s interesting is a decree that came out last Monday about the economy by no other than the Roman Catholic Church.
This is from the Reuters News service
VATICAN CITY, Oct 24 (Reuters) - - The Vatican called on Monday for sweeping reforms of the world economy and the creation of a ethical, global authority to regulate financial markets as demonstrations against corporate greed continued to spring up in major cities across the globe.

Some of you might think that this sounds like a noble thing to say.

Some of us have concerns that the worldwide end-time false religion (Rev. 17) might be tied to the Roman Catholic Church – and the idea of them suggesting a “global authority” to regulate financial markets sound like the perfect vehicle for a world dictator to come into power and …

My point? Perhaps we’re getting even closer.

6:7-8 Fourth Seal

:7 When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.”

Jesus, the Lamb, opens the next seal. The fourth cherubim speaks up, “Come and see”

:8 So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him.

:8 palechloros (chlorine) – green; yellowish pale

:8 Hades followed with him

The idea is that as “Death” rides along, killing people, Hades comes behind, collecting the souls and taking them to hell.

:8 And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.

:8 powerexousia – the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege); the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed)

:8 swordrhomphaia – a large sword carried over the right shoulder.

:8 hungerlimos – scarcity of harvest, famine


Rider #4: Death

We’re told who this rider is. Death personified.
I guess it makes sense – there has been war and famine. Now there’s death.
When this rider mounts up, ¼ of the earth’s population dies.
There are now 7 billion people on the earth. That means that 1.75 billion people would die at this time.
This could be across the entire planet, or localized in a certain continent, such as in China or Africa.

People are dying because of war, hunger, and even the wild animals killing people.

We have talked about how one of the purposes of the Tribulation period has to do with the nation of Israel – of God bringing them back to Him (Dan. 9:24-27).
We call this the time of “Jacob’s trouble”. Jeremiah writes,

(Je 30:7 NKJV) Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, But he shall be saved out of it.

Daniel writes,

(Da 12:1 NKJV) …And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book.

Jesus said,

(Mt 24:21–22 NKJV) —21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.


What do I do with this?

In our daily Bible reading we came across this on Friday:
(1 Pe 4:7 NKJV) But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.

Peter talks about us learning to pray some serious prayers.

What could we be praying for?
That we would escape.
(Lk 21:34–36 NKJV) —34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

I don’t look at the Rapture as just escapism. It’s a promise by Jesus that we could “escape” the things that are coming on the earth.

We want to live lives differently than those in verse 34.

Are you ready?