In this chapter, the scene shifts from future events in heaven to future events on the earth.
Verse 1 – Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.”
Verse 2 – And 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.
This rider is not Christ. Why? Because Christ is the One opening the seal. This rider comes on the scene with a bow, signifying military power. Notice, nothing is said about “arrows,” so this person will come forth as a man of peace at first – the Antichrist.
Crowns were worn by heads of state. Those who wore them usually earned or inherited them. But this man will receive his crown as a “gift,” meaning he will not earn it.
The Church has been raptured and the earth has been left in ciaos, no doubt. So, the world will be looking for a ruler who can put an end to nuclear weapons, wars, environmental and economic problems, poverty, etc.
But most of all, people will be looking for an explanation of what happened to millions of people who suddenly disappeared. This Antichrist will persecute and kill all those who oppose him. He will negotiate peace treaties that are fake.
Verse 3 – When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.”
Verse 4 – And another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.
This symbolism of the red horse is “blood” and the sword is “war.” This time was clearly prophesied by Christ in Matthew 24:6, 7. The outcome will probably be the “Ten Kingdoms Federation” over which the Antichrist will become head.
This rider has the authority to take peace from the earth. Not only will peace be taken from the nations, but from the individuals also. People will start fighting each other and killing each other for less reason than they do now.
Verse 5 – When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” And I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.
Verse 6 – And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”
War will rule the hole world after the Rapture. War will cause the collapse of social, physical, and political structures. They will destroy, confiscate, and hoard food supplies, causing famine, poverty, and death.
The set of scales always represents economic disaster and famine. The amount of money that it will take to just by a days worth of food will be astronomical!
A danarius was a day’s wage. There will be plenty of oil and wine because they do not need to be cultivated, so their ruthless destruction is forbidden.
Verse 7 – When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.”
Verse 8 – And I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. and power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with a sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.
Notice how things get progressively worse; the first horse was only partially armed – went out to conquer; the second horse carries a single large sword – taking peace and causing bloodshed through fighting. The third horse – economic collapse and famine; and the fourth – a quarter of all the earth, death and hell following.
The sword signifies continuing war and bloodshed; famine signifies starvation; plague signifies diseases; and the wild beast of the earth begin to devour and come against the people. (Remember, no peace, even among the animals.) God will show the world how wrong it was to worship “Mother Nature.” Hungry animals will turn on the unbelieving world and add to the death and eternal damnation of more than a billion people.
Verse 9 – When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.
The Martyrs whose “souls” John saw are not the Martyrs of “past ages”; those were taken up to heaven with the Church. These souls are the Martyrs who will be killed during the Tribulation Period.
After the Church is caught up, the preaching of the “Gospel of the Kingdom” will resume (Matthew 24:14). It is the souls of the martyrs of those who will be persecuted during this time that John saw. They asked that their deaths be avenged, but are told to rest for a “little while” until they were joined by others.
Verse 10 – And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
The souls of the Tribulation Saints are under the altar crying out instead of praising God around the throne with the rest of the Church. However, they are fully conscience and able to rationalize the torture, murder, and persecution they have endured. They have a sense of justice and want vindication, and they want their glorified bodies.
These martyrs will not be rebuked by Jesus for asking to be vindicated. Jesus just tells them to be patient a little longer.
Verse 11 – And a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
These saints do have a body though because they were given the white robes of righteousness representing Christ.
Verse 12 – I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.
This earthquake will be massive! The whole earth will go into convulsions. This very well could be caused by a nuclear explosion and when that happens, the sun is darkened and the moon turns blood red.
Verse 13 – And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.
Remember when interpreting Scripture – When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense. In this case we are reminded that there are stars bigger than the earth.
Since the word “stars” in the Greek translation could also be translated “meteors,” this could indicate a meteor shower and could also mean a missile attack.
Verse 14 – Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.
This does sound like a nuclear war. During a nuclear blast the wind is rapidly pushed out (displaced) for several miles, creating a vacuum at the center of the blast site. And then suddenly, this wind, like a giant tidal wave, rushes violently back into the vacuum. The sky actually rolls up on itself. This explosion will be so great that every mountain and island on the earth will move.
Verse 15 – And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hide themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains,
Verse 16 – and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!
Verse 17 – “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
Regardless of one’s status, there will be worldwide panic. Millions will rush to find cover and survival will be their only concern.
Will they then call on the name of Jesus? The Bible says they will call on the mountains and rocks to hide them. And they know exactly whom is causing all this destruction – God. Isn’t that what people do when hiding from their sin – call on everything but God?
The Lord Jesus Christ will either be your Savior or your Judge. If people reject His mercy they will be judged in absolute justice and wrath.
The “great day of His wrath” is another way of saying the Tribulation Period” has come. The multitudes of people who have rejected Jesus will recognize that day has come when the first seal is broken.
So many Christians won’t even attempt to read this book, and that’s just sad. When we read any instruction manual, do we leave out the end? No one should want to live through any part of this book, but multitudes will, because they have rejected the only One that can offer them salvation and an eternity with Christ in heaven. The Bible states that “Hell has enlarged itself,” so don’t be part of that . Make your decision today where you are going to spend eternity becasue it only get worse after this chapter.