“The Unveiling of Jesus”
IV. Chp. 6-19 The tribulation on earth: (1:19c) “The things which will take place after this”
Chp. 6-9 The first half
“Who is able to stand?”
II. Vs. 1-8 The four horses of judgment
III. Vs. 9-17 Two responses to judgment
The fourth chapter what got a glimpse of the throne and Him who set upon it. The fifth chapter
introduces us to the title deed to the earth and the only one worthy to lose its seals. Both of those
chapters dealt with the activity of heaven and the response to that activity, worship. The raptured
church has cast their crowns at His feet in an attitude of surrender now it is time for those upon
the earth to do so as well. The scene before us is the beginning of the preparations for this as
judgment is unleashed upon those who “refused to love the truth that they might be saved” (2
Thess. 2:10). This will be a judgment that will last for 19 chapters and will conclude with Jesus
return to set up His righteous reign. Absent for these 19 chapters is the churches presence which
will not be brought up until the twenty-second chapter.
II. Vs. 1-8 The four horses of judgment
Several things need to be mentioned as we start this chapter:
1. The judgments recorded here although allowed by God do not proceed from God. It is
not until the seventh seal is opened and the start of the trumpets that we see judgment that
originates from heaven.
2. Based upon this evidence what is recorded here is nothing more than the natural
progression of the human race left to its own desires apart from any preserving
influence from the Church. In 2 Thess. 2:7-8 Paul wrote that, “He who now restrains will
do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the
Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His
coming.” The question is, “What does Paul mean when he says, He who now restrains?”
Jesus told His disciples in Matt. 5:13-14 “You are the salt of the earth and the light of the
world.” Jesus clearly reveals the work of His Church under the power of the Holy Spirit as
both preserver and revealer. During the tribulation period there will be those who will be
saved and as such sealed by the Holy Spirit but the work of the Holy Spirit through the
Church as a restraining influence will no longer be in effect. This exactly fits Jesus’ own
prophetic outline of event during the tribulation period:
-A strong deception: Matt. 24:4-5 <> Rev. 6:2
-Followed by war: Matt. 24:6a <> Rev. 6:3-4
-Followed by famine: Matt. 24:7a <> Rev. 6:5-6
-Followed by death: Matt. 24:7b <> Rev. 6:7-8
The white horse of peace
Vs. 1-2 John hears one of the four living creatures tell him to come and see. John is greatly
astonished by what he sees. There are three possibilities as to the identification of the first rider
a. The rider represents the Church that is spreading the gospel: The reason for this
interpretation is because of the color of his horse being white which is usually the
color for victory as well as holiness. This coupled with the crown given to him and
his seeming victory is the reason given for this interpretation. There are three things
that make this interpretation unlikely.
1. What follows this rider’s victory of the gospel: War, famine and death not what
you would expect from the gospel.
2. It does not fit the prophetic timetable of Daniel or Mathew 24.
3. The weapon of the Church would not be a bow but rather a sword: According to
Eph. 6:17, the word of God
b. The rider is Jesus: This interpretation is believed because in chapter 19:11 we do see
Jesus coming on a white horse but that is the end of any similarities between the two
riders. There are five objections to this interpretation as well.
1. The outcome of His coming, as well as the timing of His coming does not fit.
2. The rider in 6:2 conquers by way of bow, Jesus according to 19:15 by “a sharp
sword out of His mouth”. That which follows Jesus in the 19th chapter are the
armies of God not war, famine and death.
3. Jesus does not come in the beginning of the tribulation as we see here but rather at
the end as we see in the 19th chapter.
4. Though this rider has a crown it is a different word then the “many crowns” of the
19th chapter. Here the word in Greek means a crown won by being victorious
where the word in Greek in the 19th chapter is one worn only by a sovereign King.
5. Logistically it doesn’t fit as you have Jesus the Lamb of God opening the seal,
then is placed in the seal!
c. The rider is the anti-christ: This fits the time frame of Daniel as well as Mathew 24.
In fact Daniel revered to the anti-christ as “the prince who is to come and as the little
horn” (9:26-27, 7:8,21-22), which will uproot the ten horn confederacy of the revived
Roman empire by speaking great words and prevailing against the saints for a time
until the Ancient of Days comes and judges. The fact that this rider is on a white
horse with a crown fits Jesus words in Matthew 24:4-8 as he will come with great
deception that according to 2 Thess. 2:11 the people will believe the lie.
The Red Horse of war
Vs. 3-4 As John opens the 2nd seal he hears yet another living creature saying “come and see”
then sees a horse fiery red. Later on in chapter 12:3 and in chapter 17:3 the devil is associated
with this “fiery red” color which is the color of terror and death. This fits the prophetic timetable
as Paul explains to the Thessalonians in 1 Thess. 5:3 saying that “they say, “Peace and safety!”
then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they
shall not escape.” The first 3 ½ years satan will be riding the “white horse” conquering to
conquer then switch to the “fiery red” one at the midpoint of the tribulation and take the peace he
brought about during the first 3 ½ years from the earth. Notice what taking the peace does as
John says “that people should kill one another”. Once the restraining influence of the Holy
Spirit’s work is removed with the Church, society will act upon their feelings. James says as
much in 4:1-2 as he asks the rhetorical question “Where do wars and fights come from among
you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?
You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you
do not have because you do not ask.”
The black horse of famine
Vs. 5-6 Black in the bible is the symbolic color of famine (Lam 5:10). Throughout history you
will see famine always following war. The pair of scales John sees shows the scarcity as food
will have to be rationed. A days wage will purchase only enough wheat for one person’s meal a
day and only enough barley for three meals for one person. Verse 6 also indicates that there will
be oil and wine available which suggests that the famine will not be based upon sacristy of
product but rather on sacristy of money as a huge class distinction between the poor and wealthy
The pale horse of death
Vs. 7-8 Pale is the color of putrid green which is the color of death. The rider is called Hades and
death hardly what you would expect of the white horse rider was either the Church or Jesus! In
Rev. 1:18 and 20:14 we see it is Jesus alone who has the keys of Hades and death as well as the
power to cast both into the lake of fire. The power that this rider has is given the name of this
rider is “death” and Hades followed with him. I believe that this is a reference to the antichrist
and satan whom he will drive his authority from. The power given them will have specific
limitations and will be seen in a fourfold manor of death.
a. First we are told that their destructive effect will be over only ¼ of the earth.
There are currently around 6 billion people on this earth thus 1 ½ billion people will
die in one of these four ways listed below. That would currently be the population of
China, U.S. and Indonesia, which are the top three populations in the world. To put
this in perspective in World War 2 the combined loss of life both of military and
civilian was 51 million so just multiply that by 30.
b. Second the fourfold manor of death is Sword, hunger, death or pestilence and
the beasts of the earth. There will be complete chaos upon the earth during this time.
It is important to realize that God has removed the restraint which has given way to
mankind get what they have so longed for: A world without the influence of the Living
God. The world will be free to pursue any and every lust without any moral or legal
restraint. In the 60’s people sang of this time as the “dawning of the age of Aquarius”
where new enlightenment would produce a society unhindered by the bondage of
Christianity, free to experience all that their minds can achieve. This is what John
sees and records as the world’s achievement.
III. Vs. 9-17 Two responses to judgment
In the 5th and 6th seals we are given two responses of mankind of the loosening of the first four
seals. It is the same two responses of people today concerning the truth about Jesus.
Vs. 9-11 The identification of these martyrs is understood by two things:
a. When they appear: After the fourth seal which indicates that they have come from
the tribulation period.
b. What they cry out: For the Lord to avenge their blood, which had been shed by
those who dwell on earth.
These martyred believers are under the altar and in the O.T. we are told that the priest would
poor out the blood or life of the sacrifice at the base of the altar showing the giving of life for the
glory of God. So these believers have been shown what Heb. 11:38 says that “the world was not
worthy” of them. These believers responded to the event of a world apart from the restraint of the
Holy Spirit in the Church by becoming believers of Jesus as they “had been slain for the word of
God and for the testimony which they held.”
The great cry of their hearts is “how long”. The question they ask in not whether or not
God will judge and avenge them but how long until He does. Why do they ask for this in light of
the fact the Steven as his death in acts 7:60 prayed for God’s forgiveness? The answer is
1. They ask not for vengeance but for God’s judgment that would bring the
establishment of His kingdom!
2. They long to be clothed in the permanent righteousness of Christ instead of the
temporary white robe.
3. Their death is neither an accident nor without purpose, it was an appointment to
which still others were to be added. The enemy is not winning God is fulfilling the
fullness of His plan.
After they are dead they were given white robes. Those who have already been raptured as well
as those who have already died will have bodies that have put on immortality (1 Cor. 15:51-54, 1
Thess. 4:13-17). We know that they are no longer in their earthly bodies and that they have been
clothed in the righteousness of Christ (white robes) but beyond this we cannot be sure and will
have to wait to see what the Lord has for them. They are in a place of rest and comfort where
God is in control. What a contrast between these martyred believers and those who run from the
presence of the Lord!
Vs. 12-17 The opening of the sixth seal and the reaction of those in the world system.
We get a great lesson on biblical interpretation: Always interpret the bible literally as
long as it makes sense to do so! John’s use words here, he sees “a great earthquake” then
describes the sun becoming black like “sack cloth” and the moon becoming the color of blood.
We can safely interpret this passage as a great earthquake and the effects of it were the darkening
of the sun and the coloration of the moon. The words “as and like” indicate this is what John is
saying as you don’t see the use of either of those words to the fact that there will be a great
Vs. 12-14 This is the first of three great earthquakes recorded in revelation the other are found in
11:13 and 16:18-19. This earthquake happens as the 6th seal is opened which signals the
beginning of the worldwide catastrophes upon the earth. Nothing more than speculation here but
what appears to happen is perhaps a meteor shower upon the earth (stars of heaven fell) which
causes the shifting of the earth and an immediate change in climate (a fig tree drops its late figs
when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and
every mountain and island was moved out of its place.) This is not the even the biggest of the
three earthquakes recorded that being the one in 16:18.
Vs. 15-17 John records four responses of those in the world system who survive the sixth seal:
a. Every class of people is equally affected by these catastrophes and react the same
to them. The world will finally untie without any class distinctions and it is in
judgment as they say together, “who is able to stand?” (Verse 17)
b. Their reaction is consistent to what all of mankind has reacted towards God
since the fall. In Gen. 3:8 Adam and Eve seek to hide themselves from the presence
of God, here those in the world do the same.
c. Their fear is based upon escaping the wrath instead of coming to the Lord. The
foolishness of a hardened heart as it knows it cannot stand and yet is unwilling to
knell thus can only run away and wish for death thinking this will hide them from the
presence of God.
d. “Hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the
Lamb!” Mankind has no doubt as to whom this wrath is coming and the reason for it.
The wrath proceeds from the “Lamb not the Lion which is to say: Those in the world
will fully understand of the sacrifice of Jesus and would rather run from His love
and grace and into His wrath.
Oct.2 Revelation Study
Categories: Revelation Study