Revelation 6 Jesus Opening The Seals

By Ray Foster

 

Jesus opens each seal and for the first four seals each of the beasts (Living Creatures) invites us to "Come and see". What was seen was a horse and a rider with the opening of the first four seals. The fifth seal, John said "I saw". When the sixth seal was opened John "beheld, and lo" there were the signs of the second coming of Jesus. When Jesus opened the seventh seal "there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour."

In a general way the seals follow the same pattern as the letters to the churches. Both the letters to the churches and the seals unfold a pattern of church experience seen in the history of the church from the time of Jesus up to the present and up until the time of the second coming of Jesus. In addition to outlining, in broad strokes, the future history of the church, there is for each church at each period of time special instruction and blessings and admonition in each church letter and in the opening of each seal. Only God could give messages and revelations that would fulfill both these objectives at the same time.

Following the chronological/historical aspect of the seals we see the following:

The first seal pictures a pure church, represented by a white horse and the rider wearing a crown and holding a bow and going forth conquering, and to conquer. Thus was the first church endowed with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The first church took the message of the risen Savior to the whole world in one generation.

Then a change came into the church and this change is symbolized by a red horse with the rider that killed others who had a great sword. Persecution characterized a church that had lost its purity and began uniting with the world governments and fought worldly crusades in the name of Christ.

The third period of the church represented further spiritual declension with the horse being black in color and the rider holding a balance symbolizing judgement and commerce. The voice from the midst of the four beasts said commercial price statements and admonished not hurting the church members symbolized by the oil and the wine (5T614). The church went into a period known as the dark ages.

The fourth period of church history is even worse with the horse being pale and the rider pictured as having a name or character of death and hell following the church. Killing people is also characterized in this time of persecution at the end of the dark ages of church history.

Then the symbols change and the transition between the darkness of the church history and the brightness of the second coming is pictured as the fifth and sixth seals are opened.

The seventh seal comes after the seventh chapter of Revelation. The 7th chapter of Revelation focuses on the saved. The 144,000 live through the great time of trouble caused by the world in revolt against its Maker. The great multitude are the saved from all ages of earth’s history. All of the saved have had the experience of tribulation in connection with the rebellion that surrounded them. All of the saved are overcomers as is the last generation to live on the earth. In the context of most of the children of God being in rebellion against Him, there is silence in heaven as this whole experiment in rebellion comes to a climax and closes. Sin and sinners have revealed their incurable rebellion, and the universe now sees their eternal destruction as merciful, both to themselves and to all created beings.

Considering the seven seals from the other viewpoint of a seven part unified revelation that is applicable and instructive to the church at every time and at all times of its history we see this:

The first four horsemen seen as the first four seals are opened represent the four classes of people that dwell on the earth. The white horse represents God’s people who profess to be God’s. The red horse represents those who profess to be God’s but are really Satan’s, though they do not know it. These are the ones that argue with the Judge in the final judgment: "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" Matthew 7:22

There are two groups of people who profess to be unbelievers. The pale horse represents those who say they do not follow God and who do not. A mixture of black and white giving a pale color, like a mixture of truth and error, is most offensive to God. The black horse represents those who Jesus talked about in His parable of the father who had two sons who were asked to work in the vineyard. The one son said, "I go" but did not (the red horse people). The other son said "I will not go, but afterward repented and went and worked in the vineyard". Those who make no profession of serving God, but in the end serve Him, are represented by the black horse.

After representing the four groups that the population of the world are divided into, God puts the spotlight, showing the inner thoughts and feelings of the martyrs, who cry in their hearts "how long?" The answer is given that there are going to be more martyrs from the last generation. When all who are going to be martyred for their faith are martyred, then the end will come.

The sixth seal gives the signs of the second coming of Jesus which have in part already been seen. The moon was seen as blood and the day was dark May 19, 1780. The stars appeared to fall from heaven November 13, 1833 and the worst earthquake occurred in Lisbon, Portugal killing about 50,000 people (about 6,000 people in the first 6 minutes) November 1, 1755. It is my current understanding that these signs will be repeated for the benefit of the last generation. In the past these signs were generally recognized as being signs of the nearness of the coming of the Lord. It is possible that when repeated, they may not be recognized generally as signs of the second coming, any more than the antedeluvians recognized the animals going into the ark as portending the end of the world in their day.

The silence in heaven during the seventh seal has a parallel when Jesus was suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. What killed Jesus was the separation from His Father. We are told that there was silence in heaven while the Father was separating Himself from the consciousness of Jesus because of sin.

"But God suffered with His Son. Angels beheld the Saviour's agony. They saw their Lord enclosed by legions of satanic forces, His nature weighed down with a shuddering, mysterious dread. There was silence in heaven. No harp was touched. Could mortals have viewed the amazement of the angelic host as in silent grief they watched the Father separating His beams of light, love, and glory from His beloved Son, they would better understand how offensive in His sight is sin." {DA 693.2}

God wants us to enter into His thoughts and feelings through the indwelling Holy Spirit. To the degree that we recognize and welcome and cherish the thoughts and feelings of God, to that degree we are changed into His character-likeness. We too will have silence in our soul in response to sin and to temptation. This is the end-point experience in becoming like God in character that the plan of salvation is moving us towards. May we live the life of God to His honor and glory day by day.