Revelation 6:1 - 16:21
ESV - 1 Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, "Come! 2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.
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After the rapture, The Lamb, Christ, takes the book out of the right hand of God who sits on the throne, and breaks the seven seals one at a time, revealing the contents of each seal (Rev. 5:7; 6:1- 17 8:1). Then He gives the opened book to John to eat, revealing the contents written within (Rev. 10:1- 11). SEVEN SEALS: 1. The first seal:rise of the Antichrist (Dan. 7:8, 23- 26 8:8- 10, 20- 25 11:35- 45 2Th. 2:1- 12 Rev. 13:1- 18 17:10- 16). Anti-Christ is symbolically the white horse rider here. 2. The second seal:war caused by the rise of Antichrist (Dan. 7:23- 24 8:9, 23; Mt. 24:6- 7) The red horse is depicted in the second seal. This will be the second tri- continent war. Antichrist comes out of the ten kingdoms that will be formed in the first future tri- continent war of prophecy (Dan. 7:7- 8, 23- 24). 3. The third seal:famine caused by the first seals (Mt. 24:7). In Rev 6:5, a black horse is mentioned and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. This is a symbol of famine 4. The fourth seal:death and hell rampant because of the first three seals (Mt. 24:6- 7). Rev 6:8 reveals that a pale horse and his name that sat on him was Death. 5. The fifth seal:first martyrs of the tribulation of Daniel's 70th week (Rev. 7:9- 17 15:2- 4 20:4; Mt. 24:9- 13). Hell rides the fifth horse, which color is not mentioned. 6. The sixth seal:wrath of God begins; and the wrath of God continues in the trumpets and vials (Rev. 8:1-- Rev. 9:21; 11:15, 18; 15:1, 7; 16:1- 21 18:1- 24); it ends with Armageddon (Rev. 19:11-- Rev. 20:3 Zech. 14; Ezek. 38- 39 Joel 3; Isa. 63:1- 6 Jude 1:14 7. The seventh seal:silence in heaven before the trumpet judgments begin in Rev. 8:7 After the ministry of the angel at the golden altar (Rev. 8:3- 5), the 7 trumpet angels prepare themselves to sound (Rev. 8:6). They take their turn at blowing their trumpets, proving successive events, as with the 7 seals and 7 vials as below. SEVEN TRUMPETS: 1. The first trumpet:hail, fire, and blood rained from heaven (cp. Ex. 9:22- 26 Ezek. 38:16- 23) 2. The second trumpet:a burning meteor from heaven (cp. Rev. 16:3- 4 Ex. 9:14- 21 Ps. 78:44; 105:29) 3. The third trumpet:the star Wormwood poisoning the waters 4. The fourth trumpet:darkening of one third of the planets (cp. Ex. 10:21- 23 Rev. 16:10) 5. Announcement of three woes upon mankind. The following 3 woes are announced upon man at the last 3 trumpets such as fifth, sixth and seventh trumpets (i) Plague of demons out of the abyss to torment people for 5 months (Rev. 9:1- 12) (ii) Plague of 200,000,000 demons out of the abyss to slay a third of mankind on earth (Rev. 9:13- 21) (iii) Casting out of Satan to the earth to destroy people for 3 1/2 years (Rev. 11:14-- Rev. 13:18) Daniel's 70th week and the tribulation continued (Rev. 6:1-- Rev. 18:24; Dan. 9:27) The last 3 1/2 years of Daniel's 70th week, or the last 3 1/2 years of this age (Rev. 10:1- Rev.- 18:24) Three ways by which the demons literally kill a third of mankind: 1. The fire out of their mouths 2. The smoke out of their mouths 3. The brimstone (sulphur) out of their mouths The people not killed by these plagues only harden themselves against God and continue in demon and idol worship (Rev. 9:20- 21). These vial judgments of God happen in the last 3 1/2 years of the week punishing those who worship the beast and his image and those who take the brands of the beast. SEVEN VIALS 1. The 1st vial:sores on people (Rev. 16:2) 2. The 2nd vial:sea to blood (Rev. 16:3) 3. The 3rd vial:rivers to blood (Rev. 16:4- 7) 4. The 4th vial:great heat (Rev. 16:8- 9) 5. The 5th vial:darkness (Rev. 16:10- 11) 6. The 6th vial:Euphrates dried up (Rev. 16:12) The 3 unclean spirits:mobilization of nations to Armageddon (Rev. 16:13- 16) 7. The 7th vial:great earthquake-- literal Babylon and other cities destroyed (Rev. 16:17- 21 18:1- 24)
My understanding of the seals, trumpets and bowls are different from others. I believe the opening of the seals have already done while John was still receiving the revelations. Hence the events up to 8:1 describe the present history of the Christianity and the world. We are all living under the spell of these events. They define the characteristics of our time. The four human conditions mentioned in 6:9-7:17 are for the encouragement of the believers. 6:9-11 tells us that believers vengeance is safe in God's hand. These martyrs' souls are under the altar. The souls under altar is symbolic that martyrs' bloods, that is, life are offered at the altar of God. Their call 'How long...' (v. 10) is not a complaint against their persecutors. They are simply sleeping under the altar. It is like Abel's blood that was crying to God (Gen. 4:10). Actually Abel's blood is quiet but an unavenged innocent blood is a constant crying to God for justice. Hence the message here is that believers' innocent blood will be avenged by God. 6:12-17 tells us about the disparate condition of the unbelievers. They will have no peace whatsoever. 7:1-8 tells about the living believers, israelite and non-Israelite, male and female, married and unmarried. Once they are in the family of God they are sealed. The same people are shown to be in heaven after having been raptured before the throne of God (14:1-5). 7:9-17 tells that the spirit of those martyred go to heaven rejoicing and singing before the throne of God. Thus when a believer dies, his/her body is buried in the grave yard, the soul sleeps under the altar of God and spirit goes to heaven rejoicing and singing before the throne of God. The opening of the seventh seal reveals the future events of about 24.5 years just before the coming Lord to defeat the anti-Christ and usher the millennium rule. How I reached the 24.5 years period? There is 3.5 year period each between the sounding of sixth and seventh trumpets, and between sounding of the seventh trumpet and coming of our Lord. So from blowing of the first trumpet to the coming of our Lord there will be 24.5 years. Between the sounding of sixth and seventh trumpets the following things will happen (9:13 - 11:15): - Rise of the world leader who will establish peace and make a covenant with the Israelite people (Dan. 9:27). During this time the temple in Jerusalem will be built not for animal sacrifices but to celebrate their relationship with God and to give thanks to Him. This is indicated by the stopping of peace offerings and the grain offerings by the anti-Christ (Dan. 9:27). - Loud voice and shout of a mighty angel will take place (1 Thess. 2:17). - The ministry of two witnesses will takes place (10:8-11:14). After the sounding of 7th trumpet the following events will take place before the coming of our Lord: - The Spirit of grace and supplication will poured down on the people of Israel and they recognize Jesus, whom they had pierced, as their promised Messiah and King (Zech. 12:10; Rom. 11:12,15; Rev. 1:7). - The believers will be raptured (1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16,17; 2 Thess. 2:7; Rev. 12:5). - The world leader will break his covenant and be revealed as the anti-Christ and persecute the israelite believers (Dan. 9:27; Rev. 12:17). - During this time the plagues of seven bowls will poured down. The true nature of the god of riches (the great Babylon, the mother of all harlots) will be revealed (13:1 - 18:24). Then comes the Lord with army of His mighty angels. The anti-Christ and his prophet is cast into lake of fire. It is announced that the Bride of the Lamb is ready for the wedding. At the beginning of the millennium rule Satan is bound, believing Israelites and converted non-Israelites by their witness, whether dead or living, will in resurrected body join Christ in the millennium rule. At the end satan will be thrown in the lake, judgement before White Throne will take place. Eternity will start.
Regarding the four horsemen, at least, I had understood that these were rather images of past events, and spoke specifically of the experiences of Christian people, as opposed to events affecting the general population: The first horseman representing Christ Jesus, piercing the hearts of those who would believe, with gospel power: Why else would the rider be given a crown? And dressed in white? The second horseman represents the effects of the gospel insomuch as it causes disharmony / "loss or peace" as countrymen and even family members are turned against each other as one accepts the gospel message, and another rejects it. Jesus came not to unite but to divide. The third horseman then represents those who have suffered financial loss or pecuniary marginalization for their faith. Possibly glimpsing some way into the future, describing, for instance, the inquisition? In any case, an image of Christian men being so hard pressed that a day's wage would basically support no more than a subsistence lifestyle. Possibly even a foresight of displaced Christians of today, persecuted by the Islamic State? Finally the fourth horseman represents the Roman army during the life of the early church, when Christians were killed by a variety of means, including "death by beasts" - being slain by lions in the arenas. The "fourth part" reference highlighting the fact that across the afflicted regions or nations of the era, significant pockets of practicing Christians remained relatively unaffected by the onslaught. For instance, the persecution of the church of Smyrna was highlighted, whilst neighbouring churches presumably suffered significantly less in this respect? The fifth seal, then, the cry of the martyrs, sounds very much like events of the present day, where faithful believers, both living and dead must surely be questioning how much longer the Lord will tolerate the outrages which are being wrought upon the earth, even amongst nominally Christian nations: The widespread acceptance, glamorization, even, of immorality of every kind, legalized abortion, "assisted dying" / euthanasia? The misguided, wrong - thinking, gospel doubt or even gospel denial by the established churches? Surely, the end is nigh? Let's have that sixth seal opened....
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