Beginning of the action, the opening of the six seals. Believed to be some time after the rapture of the family of God. May not actually be the beginning of the Tribulation, the seven year period marking the last week of Daniel’s prophecy. That will begin with a covenant between the prince who is to come and Israel. However, the sudden removal of a large section of the population and the upheaval that will cause will plunge the world into disarray. These seals may reflect that beginning chaos. While it may not be a technical part of the Tribulation, it will serve as a wakeup call to many that God is real and His word is true. It should begin to bring some to Him as the Tribulation will.
Revelation 6:1 “…the Lamb opened one of the seals…”
Jesus is the only one worthy to do so. All things have been put under His feet. He is in full control of what happens.
2 “…a white horse…a bow…a crown…conquering and to conquer”
Triumphant king who has defeated his enemies marching in on a white horse. Kingdom against kingdom. Some rulers may see the initial chaos as an opportunity to expand their kingdoms. The superpower nations, namely the US, will probably be in such disarray that they can no longer restrain the expansion desires of smaller countries. North Korea is a good current example. They have military and technological potential to expand over other countries now, but the US and others are too much of a retaliation threat for them to act at present. Should the US no longer be a deterrent, they may take the opportunity to attack South Korea and Japan. Others would do the same.
NOTE: In reading the notes of the commentaries, it seems my view of the situation is different. Most are looking at what John saw as taking all of time or at least time since that of Christ into view. I see John’s visions as pertaining to the time of the final week or the last few years of time on this planet before Christ returns to set up His kingdom. Those two views will determine what you think the elements presented represent. Some take the white horse rider to represent Christ or the advancement of the gospel. Some the Antichrist. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell for sure which view is the proper one. We’re only given what we’re given. I choose to see it primarily as a progression of time beginning after the church age. As it says, things which must take place after this. There is also the idea of parallelism which God uses. Some aspects of what is told have been done before in different times. Brings out the idea of types. Like the letters to the churches also being representative of times within the church age.
3-4 “…the second seal…horse, fiery red…take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another…given to him a great sword”
War. Commentaries suggest the white horse meant conquering by warless means, like cold war. Fits my thinking. Reminds me of Hitler’s conquest of Austria. No bloodshed. Some in Austria agreed with him and the rest didn’t want open war due to his military strength. But after the initial movements, there is sure to be resistance which will bring about open warfare.
5-6 “…the third seal…a black horse…a pair of scales…A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine”
Famine that follows war. Stores and crops destroyed. Days wage for just a quart of wheat or three quarts of barley. Necessities. No one pays attention to luxuries like oil and wine. Doing what is necessary just to get by.
7-8 “…the fourth seal…a pale horse…Death, and Hades followed with him…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”
Something of a summary of what has happened or the results. By the time the fourth seal is opened a quarter of the world’s population die because of all that has happened, war, famine, disease, and the encroachment of wild animals into settled areas. No indication on the amount of time denoted with the seals. And we don’t have any indication of the amount of time possible between the Rapture and the covenant with Israel. I would suspect several months if not a couple of years for the settling of the chaos and for the rise of the Antichrist. He’ll have to be in a position of power in order to make the offer.
9-11 “…the fifth seal…the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held…How long…until You judge and avenge our blood…until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed”
There will be no tolerance for any who turn to Christ during the last time. The restraining hold of the Holy Spirit is removed, and evil will flow freely. Any who believe will be killed because of their faith. Time is allowed for all who believe to arrive, but no grace for the rest other than the time for the martyrs. Age of grace is over. Judgment has come.
12-17 “…the sixth seal…a great earthquake…sun became black…moon became like blood…stars of heaven fell…sky receded as a scroll…every mountain and island was moved out of its place…every slave and every free man, hid themselves…hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb…the great day of His wrath has come…”
Great upheaval of nature. Earthquakes, possibly volcanic activity. Increase of pollutants in the air from war and volcanoes could account for the sky becoming black enough to blot out the sun and moon. Meteors falling, perhaps causing more destruction. Enough natural movement to destroy mountains and move islands. Panic ensues to the point that all men regardless of station try to flee from the destruction. They believe the great day of judgment has come, but as one commentary mentioned, Jesus says it is only the beginning of sorrows. The Tribulation hasn’t even started yet. Given that level of destruction, it is clear why Jesus said that if the time hadn’t been shortened nothing of the earth could have survived.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.