Revelation Chapter Six
Introduction: It is important to remember that it is the belief of this writer that Revelation Six is to be seen in the light of the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8). The sacrifice of the Lamb is an essential component of the Daily ministry of Jesus in the
In addition to the issues of the Daily Ministry of Christ is that God knows that too much information too soon will often overwhelm the infant Christian. Jesus told His disciples “I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” (John 16:12). In the book The Great Controversy, God’s messenger says the following:
“God permitted great light to shine upon the minds of these chosen men, revealing to them many of the errors of
The concept here is that God has much truth to share but He can only share as His people are able to bear the truth and use it in a manner that will be of benefit to them and for the honor of God. Thus, the Seals will be unfolded in their progressive manner to be a blessing to God’s people all through Bible time, but specifically during the time of the Holy Place Ministry. God knew that His church, as it had all through history, would have ups and downs in their experience with Him. He had already told us what will happen to the church in Revelation Chapters Two and Three and He wanted us to know that He will be able to sustain His church by the revealing of His Word through the seals.
God knows what will happen in the times of the Holy Place Ministry and He has prepared a series of revelations of truth to bless His people and to keep them focused upon Himself. God wants to take care of His people and He has made provision for them making a table for them in the presence of their enemies. (Psalms 23:1-6; Revelation 7:14-17) Thus this section of the Revelation of Jesus is to tell about how He will care for His people as their Great Shepherd as well as their Great High Priest. Jesus will reveal how He cares for His people by the revealing of His Word and His Bread, in the seals.
We must also notice one other point before we start. The study of the seals indicates that in Revelation Six-Seven Jesus opened the seals but not the book. The book will wait to be fully opened in the judgment that starts in 1844 in the
With these thoughts in mind let us begin our study on Revelation Six.
1And 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.
Author: In this text the Lamb of God opens the first of the seals. As He opens the seal the first thing that John hears is the noise of thunder which means that God is speaking and preparing to tell us something of importance. (See Exodus 19:16; 20:18-19; Hebrews 12:18-21; Psalm 18:6-13; II Samuel 22:14; John 12:27-30). Then one of the four beasts said to John “come and see.”
2And 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.
Author: John then saw a white horse. This is a symbol of a pure church. The white is the righteousness of the saints (Revelation 19:8; 7:13-14) and the horse is a symbol of God’s people – His church. (Zechariah 10:3). The individual who sat on the white horse was Jesus guiding His people to send forth arrows of truth from His mighty bow. A bow is equated to be God’s people (Zechariah 9:13) speaking the arrows of divine truth (“...As the arrows of truth pierced to the soul breaking through the barriers of selfishness, and working contrition, and finally gratitude, the Saviour was made glad.” (Desire of Ages 255), “…But the Holy Spirit sent the arguments home to hearts with divine power. The words of the apostles were as sharp arrows of the Almighty, convicting men of their terrible guilt in rejecting and crucifying the Lord of Glory.”(Acts of the Apostles 45). God is crowned with a crown of victory and eventually will have many crowns. (Revelation 19:11-12). Jesus, through His church goes forth from the time of Calvary and conquers many nations, kindreds, peoples, and tongues. Time period – 31 AD – 100 AD- the time from the ascension of Christ to the time when all of the Apostles had died and the new generation was rising without the guidance of the Apostles.
3And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
Author: After the first seal is opened and has revealed its truths, the second seal is opened and the second beast tells John to come and see what will happen next. Thus, again we see the concept of sequential revealing of truth, very similar to that of the seven churches in Revelation chapters two and three.
4And 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.
Author: Again the church goes forth but this one is red indicating that blood has been shed. Jesus told us that He came not to bring peace but a sword. (Matthew 10:34-39). We know that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. (Ephesians 6:17). Paul had warned that there would be internal struggles as some of the Christian leaders would speak perverse things to draw away disciples after themselves. (Acts 20:28-30). This would create internal division as well as the church experiencing the persecutions from the Roman Empire. All of this conflict and war was over the Word of God and how seriously one would take it. Some stood firm to Jesus, and His truths, at the cost of their lives. Much blood was shed but many souls were won to Jesus through His Word – the Bread of Life – the Revelation of Christ the Lamb of God. Time period – 100 AD – 313 AD – when the church was developing without the guidance of the Apostles subtle divisions started to come in especially during the persecutions of Nero, and Diocletian. This time period brings us down to the time of Constantine the great the emperor of Rome who introduced the time of peace and compromise for the Christine church and the mingling of church and state.
5And 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.
Author: During the time of the third seal another manifestation of the church of God is revealed. This time we have a black horse. Black is a symbol of starvation or sickness from sin. (Lamentations 4:4-10; Jeremiah 8:21; 14:1-6). In the hand of Him who rode this horse was a pair of balances. Balances were a symbol of fairness and judgment in transactions for food or other goods, as well as moral judgments. (Leviticus 19:35-37; Job 31:6; Proverbs 16:11; Jeremiah 32:10; Daniel 5:27). This church experienced the blackness of starvation for the Word of God, and the darkness that comes from the preparation of the Papacy and losing sight of Jesus.
6And 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.
Author: This time period is a time of lack of the bread of the intercessory ministry of Jesus. The Little Horn is in the process of being developed which means that the awareness of the Daily ministry of Jesus is beginning to be lost sight of ( Daniel 8:9-12; 11:30-31). This indicates that a state of famine of the Word of God is present and people are trying to buy spiritual food but it is being hidden from them. But if they are willing to ask God for help, His Word will be available to them at the low price of a penny. The food and drink of God is available to all who seek the Lord. See Famine conditions in II Kings 6:24-25 and the conditions when the Lord blesses. (II Kings 7:1-2) So even during this time of famine, the gospel of the intercessory ministry of Jesus, and His ability to feed His saints was still available through the Waldenses and the Vaudois who kept a knowledge of the Word of God and were able to offer the Bread to all who really wanted to know the truth. (See The Great Controversy pages 61-78)
The time period for this section of the history of the Table of the Shewbread is from 313AD to 538 AD and the establishment of the Papacy.
7And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.
8And 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.
Author: In the time period of this pale horse we are informed that the one who sat on this horse was Death, and Hell followed with him. This indicates that although Jesus is still watching over the church, the church is being lead by Death and Hell was the reward of those who refused the gospel and grace of Jesus. This time period finds judgments going out into the land for the sins of the church. They have started to persecute and kill those who will not follow in the intercessory ministry of Popes and priests. The four judgment issues are the sword, hunger, death and the beasts of the Earth. (See Ezekiel 14:19-21; Jeremiah 34:17) These four judgments are a follow up on the use of the sword in the time of the first horse. By the time of the pale horse people are being killed by false doctrine, to hunger for the true word of God that has been hidden by the Little Horn, spiritual death will occur and the influence of the four pagan beasts of Daniel 7:1-8, as summarized in the Papacy (Revelation 13:1-3), will be experienced in turning away from God, and His Daily intercessory ministry. This time period is 538AD to 1230 AD. 538 AD is the establishment of the Papacy and it extends to 1230 AD the time of the establishment of the inquisition “…the most terrible of all of the engines of the papacy…” (Great Controversy 59).
9And 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:
Author: In this verse God tells about the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God that were poured out on the altar of sacrifice in the courtyard. These martyrs for God gave their testimony that they would follow God even unto death and they continue to speak like the blood of Abel slain in the field by his brother. (Hebrews 11:4). Their testimony is the same as that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to Nebuchadnezzar. They said to the king “…O Nebuchadnezzar we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand O king. But if not, be it known unto thee O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Daniel 3:16-18). These men were willing to die rather than disobey God and worship false gods. Their testimony was loyalty to the Son of God.
Millions of men, women, and children sealed their testimony with their blood during the dark ages of the Papacy. They were willing to be slain for Jesus and trusted in His power to resurrect them from the dead. History declares the many people that the Papacy killed in their desire to control the consciences of people and take them away from a faith dependent upon Jesus alone.
10And 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?
Author: The blood of the martyrs of the dark ages, cried out like Abel’s, seeking for justice and judgment to set all things right. They cry, “How long before judgment, and the answer is, “Unto 2300 days then shall the sanctuary be cleansed”. (Daniel 8:14). The Fifth Seal keeps us focused on the prophecies’ and the blessings that the Word of God will deliver.
God is not teaching in this text that dead people literally speak. In Ecclesiastes 9:4-10 it clearly states that the dead cannot think, they have no love, or hatred, or envy, knowledge, or wisdom in the grave. When a person dies, that is the end of their ability to process information until Jesus resurrects that person and starts up their thinking again. (See also Psalm 146:4 and 115:17). So this text is speaking in the sense of the call for justice by the injustice that a person experiences at the hands of evil ones. (See Hebrews 11:4)
11And 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 fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
Author: God says that the righteous dead should rest a little while longer and that He will attend to justice and judgment for them. When their fellowservants shall be killed as they were, God Himself would fight for them and bring all things into judgment. (Joel 2&3).
The time period of this Seal is from 1230 AD, to 1755. The Fifth Seal covers the time of the inquisition through the time of the display of the great signs of Christ’s coming to the Most Holy Place and then for the second coming itself.
12And 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;
Author: In the opening of the Sixth Seal Jesus is alerting us that important natural events will occur which will testify of the importance of looking for and finding Jesus. In 1755 we find the Lisbon earthquake to be a fulfillment of the prophecy in this verse. 1755 is nearing the time of 1798 when the French government would take away the political power of the Papacy, open the doors for the development of the Bible societies, and bring to remembrance the intercessory ministry of Christ. God wanted the entire world to be alerted to these momentous events and He allowed this earthquake to occur, which was one of the most powerful earthquakes of the history of the earth. Please read a more detailed description in the book The Great Controversy pages 304-305. http://www.whiteestate.org/books/gc/gc.asp
Shortly after the Lisbon Earthquake, the next prophecy would be that of the sun becoming as black as sackcloth of hair. This event was described in Mark 13:24 “In those days after the tribulation, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light.” On May 19 1780 the sun was darkened for a whole day. It became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood. Both events took place on this day in history thus confirming again that God will rule the day as well as the night. This event reminds us of the plague of darkness described in Exodus 10:21-23. God displayed His power over the sun, moon, and stars. The Creator can do what He wants with what He has made.
These events brought the attention of God’s people to the various texts speaking to signs in the sky and helped people recognize that the coming of Jesus was near, (Matthew 24:29-30 and Joel 2:28-32) and that the 1260 days would soon end in 1798. All of these events were preparatory for the great events of 1844 when Jesus would come to the Ancient of Days. (Daniel 7:9-14.)
13And 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.
Author: After the great Lisbon earthquake, the next event was that of November 13, 1833. This is the most intense meteor shower ever witnessed to date. People could see the falling stars both in the day and in the night. All who saw this event were drawn to the text in Matthew 24:29-32 and they knew that the second coming was even at the door.
These three signs, the great earthquake, the dark day and the red moon, as well as the falling stars, were signs, designated by God to testify of the major events that would soon arrive in 1844. God had prophesied it and it had come to pass.
14And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
Author: This text is to describe the events surrounding the second coming of Jesus shortly after the great earthquake of Revelation 16:18-20. The sky will seem to open up and the great earthquake of Revelation 16:18-20 will move every mountain and island out of their places. All of this is to prepare for the literal second coming that will take place at some period of time after 1844.
15And 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;
Author: This verse is a New Testament application of the text in Isaiah 2:10-22 which describes the reactions of the people in the time of the “day of the Lord”. This will occur at the time of the great earthquake of Revelation 16.
16And 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:
Author: This text is also from Isaiah 2:10-22, see above in verse 15.
17For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
Author: God’s wrath will be poured out upon man and earth after probation closes and God’s people have been sealed. God reveals in Revelation 15:8 that no man can enter into the temple of God until after the seven last plagues have fallen. This text is warning us about that time in the future. The Sixth Seal sets these events into motion even though some of the events will happen after the time period of the Sixth Seal.
The Time Period for the Sixth Seal is from 1755 to 1843. The focus of this Seal is to prepare the people of the world to prepare for the great transitional period of 1843-1844, which will also be discussed more fully in the seven thunders of Revelation 10.
Revelation 8:1 And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
Author: I wanted to put this text in close proximity to the other Seals to continue to hold to the sequencing and the symbolism. As we have discussed in Revelation 17:7 answers the question of who shall be able to stand. Revelation 8:1 completes the Seven Seals. The Seventh Seal is interesting as it discusses the transition point from the time of the Holy Place Ministry of the Table of Shewbread which moves into the time of the Most Holy Place and the activities that surround the Ark of the Covenant, the Investigative Judgment, and the Cleansing of the Sanctuary of Daniel 8:14.
The concept of “silence in heaven” is one of those concepts that is amazing in its simplicity. Silence here is to gather the focus of the entire universe to prepare for the transition from the Holy Place to the Most Holy Place. Silence is to focus ones energies onto the events that will transpire. Silence is to be able to hold the attention of those interested in spiritual and heavenly events. (See Acts 21:40 where Paul is asking for silence to focus the attention of the people on what he is doing. The word “Sige” for voluntary, or elective, silence in Acts 21:40 is used only one other time in the New Testament for silence and that is in Revelation 8:1.) This transition period will be similar to that of the movements from the courtyard into the Holy Place spoken of in Acts 1:3. Jesus had been with the disciples for 40 days after His crucifixion and resurrection and Jesus returned to heaven on the 40th day. On the day of Pentecost, 10 days later, Jesus had finished the transitional activities of moving from the courtyard ministry into His Holy Place Ministry. When all was done according to God’s plans, He displayed His power in His ministry by pouring out the Holy Spirit in a special way on the Day of Pentecost – 50 days after the wave sheaf offering on that resurrection morning.
Revelation 8:1 indicates that Jesus will do something similar on the Day of Atonement in October 22 of 1844. When He had finished His transitional activities, He blessed His people on earth with an outpouring of insight as to the events that had just taken place in heaven, and the outpouring of the gift of prophecy in the writings of Ellen G. White.
In addition, the events symbolized in Daniel 7:9-14 take place during this time of silence where the Father moves into the Most Holy Place, sets up the thrones, and then Jesus is brought to Him to start the Investigative Judgment. This transitional period is what the “silence in heaven” is discussing. The time period of the Seventh Seal is from 1843-1844.
God wants us to understand the importance of the events leading up to the time of the Most Holy Place ministry. The Seals cover the events which lead us to understand Jesus, our Great High Priest, what He is doing for God’s people through His Daily ministry and to prepare His people to move with Him into the Most Holy Place in 1844.
Now we will move to the subject of the Revelation 7 in answer to the question of “Who shall be able to stand?” which was asked in Revelation 6:17.