Chapter 6 Seven Seals
The opening of the first four seals reveals four spiritual beings that are riding horses, commonly called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Their arrival on earth causes a massive spiritual shift. The world stage is being put in place for end time events.
Even at the start of the sixth seal, no visible harm has been inflicted on the earth (Revelation 7:3). Therefore, it is reasonable to interpret that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are released in the spiritual realm. It is also clear that the fifth seal does not bring any immediate harm to the earth (Revelation 6:9-11).
The impact of each horseman is foretold as each one of these spiritual forces is announced. This situation is similar to a chess match, where the outcome is already known. If the queen is to take out both bishops, then it could be stated that the queen has authority over the bishops as the queen is placed on the board. That is how these four horsemen should be viewed.
SEAL #1: 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. (Revelation 6:1-2)
The Spirit of CONQUEST comes into the arena. With intensified power and authority, demonic forces go forth to expand the kingdom of darkness. Safety will be offered in an increasingly dangerous world, as the fight to control the heart and mind of every living person intensifies.
SEAL #2: 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. (Revelation 6:3-4)
The Spirit of WAR rides a red horse. Jesus said about global conflict that nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. He then spoke about famine, which can be found at the third seal, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. (Matthew 24:7)
SEAL #3: 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.” (Revelation 6:5-6)
The Spirit of FAMINE results in devastating food shortages. A denarius was a common wage for a day’s work, meaning that people will expend their entire income to obtain food (Matthew 20:2).
SEAL #4: 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. (Revelation 6:7-8)
The fourth angel is named DEATH. That Hades was following Death possibly refers to the unseen world that appears following a person’s death. The exact meaning of “Hades” is uncertain; the common understanding is that Hades is a place of torment. Another, older interpretation is that it contains two very different places. In addition to a place of torment for condemned persons, there also is a peaceful setting where God’s people reside (Luke 16:22-23). Some people see COVID-19 as being pestilence.
A Call for Justice
SEAL #5: 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. (Revelation 6:9-11)
The martyrs in heaven likely witnessed the four horsemen and understood that this signaled the onset of the end-times. The martyrs ask how long will it be until those who murdered them are judged. They are told to wait patiently because others were to be martyred as they had been (Exodus 29:12; Leviticus 4:7).
The Visible Seal
SEAL #6: 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. (Revelation 6:12-14)
As people look at the blood moon, they are seeing something much like how the earth appears to Christ; the earth is stained with innocent blood (Proverbs 6:17). At that time, the entire world, to include every mountain and island, shakes. This shaking is likely caused by asteroids slamming into the earth, one after another, similar to how a fig tree casts its unripe figs upon the ground when shaken by a great wind. As these objects streak out of the sky and pound the earth, it appears as if stars of the sky fell to the earth.
Jesus provided the best commentary for this sixth seal in the Olivet Discourse. Just a few days before his crucifixion, Jesus answered questions his disciples asked about the end-times. The setting was the Mount of Olives, overlooking the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus spoke about two signs that would appear in the sky, while answering this question: “what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3b)
Jesus began by giving a partial answer to the first question: what will be the sign of Your coming? For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matthew 24:27) The return of the Son of Man will cover the entire sky, from the east all the way to the west. It is possible that Jesus will be orbiting the earth thousands of times per second, personally covering the entire sky over all the earth; this streaking across the sky would appear like lightening (Luke 17:24). Jesus provides a more complete description of this event in just a moment.
Jesus then answered the second question: what will be the sign of the end of the age? His answer was that 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. (Matthew 24:29b) This corresponds to events at the sixth seal: 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 (Revelation 6:12b-13a). Both narratives tell of profound changes to the sun, moon and stars.
Jesus had been responding to these questions in the order that they were asked, but that is not the order in which they occur. It is the sun being blotted out and the moon turning blood red that occurs first. So, He returned to describing the sign of the return of the Son of Man, to place His answer in chronological order. Remember the initial description was that it would be as lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west; that it would cover the entire sky.
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. (Matthew 24:30) The corresponding verse at this sixth seal states: The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. (Revelation 6:14) Both are descriptions of an event that will cover the entire sky, all over the world.
|Jesus foretold (Matthew 24:27-30)
|John observed (Revelation 6:12-14)
|Sign: End of the Age
|sun will be darkened,
|sun became black
|moon will not give its light,
|moon became like blood
|stars will fall from the sky,
|stars of the sky fell to the earth,
|Sign: Return of the Son of Man
|as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west
The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up
As the sign of the Son of Man appears in the sky, angels rapture Christians from the earth. This is how the rapture is described: 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. (Matthew 24:31) As Jesus flashes across the sky, appearing as lightening, angels accomplish this harvest. This lightening will likely be accompanied with a thunderous noise; Christ’s appearance will be with power and great glory.
The sign of the return of the Son of Man immediately follows the sign of the end of the age. When that initial sign occurs, it will be critically important that you know that very soon, the early rapture will occur. Jesus said once you become aware that day has arrived, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. (Luke 17:31b-34)
When the initial sign, which is sign of the end of our age, appears in the sky the wrong priority would be to make sure your emergency supplies are in order. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28) At the moment you become aware that the sign of the end of the age is occurring, focus only on your impending redemption – focus on Christ, and Christ alone. Remember the mistake Lot’s wife made – and do not look back at the world you are about to leave. When Lot was called to leave Sodom, his departure took place within 24 hours.
Learn from another mistake made in Sodom. The two angels, appearing as men in the following story, sent Lot to warn his two sons-in-law. Then the two men said to Lot, “Whom else have you here? A son-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whomever you have in the city, bring them out of the place; for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the Lord that the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, and said, “Up, get out of this place, for the Lord will destroy the city.” But he appeared to his sons-in-law to be jesting. (Genesis 19:12-14)
The sign of the end of the age puts Christians on notice, that they are being called to immediately depart. It is at that moment that angels are being instructed to identify who will be selected for this early rapture.
During the sixth seal, the earth has not yet been harmed: And I saw another angel … and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, (Revelation 7:2) This is a fifth angel, and he is about to give instructions to the four angels (horsemen) from the first four seals, concerning when they will bring destruction upon the earth. “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” (Revelation 7:3)
Those who receive this seal are identified as being the bond-servants of our God. Three distinct categories of believers are found in Revelation: servants, saints, and those who fear God. … the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name (Revelation 11:18b). Here servants are being referred to as prophets. Peter foretold that God’s servants would prophesy: EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:18)
Servants of Christ exist in every nation, tribe, people and tongue. Because of the focus on Israel in Revelation, details are given about its impact on Israel; this seal will be placed on the foreheads of 144,000 Israeli believers. And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel (Revelation 7:4). These Israelis are never again seen on earth but are later seen on Mount Zion, which is an expression that means “heaven” (Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 14:1).
Next these bond-servants are seen following their rapture into heaven. John observed, After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; (Revelation 7:9). The palm branches indicate this is a Palm Sunday type of celebration, a celebration of deliverance.
A question is asked about the identity of those who suddenly appeared in heaven: “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” (Revelation 7:13b) The answer is that “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:14b) The answer clearly states that this multitude was drawn out of the great tribulation; they were just raptured from earth. That more than just the 144,000 Israeli believers were raptured is evident from the number being a great multitude which no one could count.
Popular interpreters of Bible prophecy often teach that those arriving in heaven were martyred, and deny that a rapture occurs at the sixth seal. But other places in Revelation, martyrs are clearly identified, given special recognition. To not have mentioned that all those participating in that gathering were martyrs would have been remarkably inconsistent (Revelation 6:9; 20:4).
The sole purpose for placing a seal on the servants of God is for protection. Yet the most common interpretation is that those sealed become gifted evangelists; supposedly 144,000 supernaturally empowered evangelists come from this moment. However this sealing appears to be very similar to a previous one, when selected believers received a mark on the forehead.
At that time the LORD gave an angel these instructions “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.” But to the others He said in my hearing, “Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity and do not spare. Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark (Ezekiel 9:4b-6a).
SEAL #7: 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. (Revelation 8:1-2)
After Jesus broke open the seventh seal on the scroll, this document can be opened and put into effect. The seven trumpets that soon follow will result in a scorching of the earth. For such reasons, there is silence in heaven, but only for a moment.
|Seen on earth?
|Seal #1 (Revelation 6:1-2)
|Angel on a white horse (Spirit of Conquest)
|Seal #2 (Revelation 6:3-4)
|Angel on a red horse (Spirit of War)
|Seal #3 (Revelation 6:5-6)
|Angel on a black horse (Spirit of Famine)
|Seal #4 (Revelation 6:7-8)
|Angel on a pale horse (Spirit of Death)
|Seal #5 (Revelation 6:9-11)
|Martyrs ask God to avenge their blood.
|Seal #6 (Revelation 6:12-17)
|The moon appears covered with blood; people panic.
|Early Rapture (Revelation 7)
|Rapture of the Philadelphia Church
|Seal #7 (Revelation 8:1)
|Preparation for seven trumpets
PARTIAL RAPTURE THEORY