The 7 *seals – Revelation 6:1-8:1
The first 6 *seals – Revelation 6:1-17
v1 Then I saw when the *Lamb opened one of the seven (7) *seals. And I heard one of the four *creatures speak with a voice like *thunder. He said, ‘Come.’ v2 I looked, and there was a white horse. The rider on the horse had a bow and he received a crown. He rode like someone who overcomes. And he went out to win battles.
v3 Then the *Lamb opened the second *seal. And I heard the second *creature speak. He said, ‘Come.’ v4 Then another horse came out, but this one was bright red. The rider of this horse received power to take peace from the earth. He would cause people to fight and to kill each other. He also received a large sword.
v5 The *Lamb opened the third *seal. I heard the third *creature speak. He said, ‘Come.’ I looked and I saw a black horse. Its rider held a *balance in his hand. v6 I heard what seemed to be a voice in the middle of the four *creatures. It said, ‘a quantity of wheat costs a day’s wages. Three times that amount of *barley costs a day’s wages too. But, do not damage the oil or the wine.’
v7 When the *Lamb opened the fourth (4th) *seal, I heard the voice of the fourth *creature. He said, ‘Come.’ v8 I looked and I saw a pale green horse. The name of the rider was Death, and *Hades followed him. They had authority over a quarter of the earth. They had the power to kill with swords, with hunger, with death, and by the wild animals of the earth.
v9 Then the *Lamb opened the fifth (5th) *seal. I saw the *souls of dead people under the *altar. They had died because they believed the word of God. They had been witnesses to it. v10 These *souls called out in a loud voice. They said, ‘*Lord, you are holy and true. When will you declare that they are guilty? When will you punish the people on earth for our deaths?’ v11 God gave white clothes to each of them and he told them to rest for a little time. The people on earth will kill many more of those who, like these *souls, serve the *Lord. These *souls should wait until this is complete.
v12 Then the *Lamb opened the sixth (6th) *seal. I looked, and there was a great *earthquake. The sun became black like cloth that someone has made from black hair. And the whole moon became as red as blood. v13 The stars fell down from the sky to the earth. They fell like unripe *figs when strong winds shake the tree. v14 The sky vanished like a *scroll when it rolls itself up. And the force moved all the mountains and islands from their places.
v15 Then all the kings of the earth, the great men and the military chiefs hid. They ran into caves or among the rocks in the mountains. They hid there together with the rich people and the strong people. Everyone hid, whether they were slaves or free people. v16 They spoke to the mountains and to the rocks. They cried, ‘Fall on us. Hide us from him who sits on the *throne. And hide us from the anger of the *Lamb. v17 The great day of the anger of God and of the *Lamb has come. And nobody is able to stand firm.’
Verses 1-2: The first *seal.
The *Lamb opened the first *seal of the *scroll. He started the events of the last days. These are in the 7 *seals. The last *seal includes the 7 *trumpets. The last *trumpet includes the 7 bowls. The end of the world comes after the 7 bowls.
One of the four *creatures called out. His voice was loud like the sound of *thunder. He called for the first horseman to come. And John saw a white horse. The rider had a bow and a crown. He rode to fight and to win battles on the earth.
This rider was not Christ. Christ does come on a white horse in chapter 19. But Christ has many crowns. And, in that description, a sharp sword comes out of his mouth. But here, Christ opened the *seal that caused this rider to come.
This was an evil rider. His aim was to hurt people and to fight battles. He was powerful and he did much damage on the earth.
Verses 3-4: The second seal.
The *Lamb opened the second *seal. The second *creature called, ‘Come.’ A bright red horse came. The rider had received a large sword. He received the power to take peace from the earth.
This evil man caused people to kill each other. The red horse was the colour of blood. There were wars across the whole earth. The colour red reminds us about the blood of those who died in the battles.
Verses 5-6: The third seal.
The *Lamb opened the next *seal. As the third *creature called out, John saw a black horse. As it came, he saw the rider. He had in his hands a *balance. People would use a *balance in order to measure the weight of things.
John heard a voice from the centre of the *throne. It spoke about the price of wheat and *barley. A man could buy enough wheat for himself for one day. That would cost all that he earned in that day. *Barley was the food of poor people. It was not as good for food as wheat. So, for the same cost he could buy enough for three people. These food prices were about 12 times more than normal.
There was not enough food. So, the food was very expensive. People were poor and many died. They starved to death.
The horseman could not spoil the oil and the wine. These were necessary for people to live during those times.
Verses 7-8: The fourth (4th) seal.
After the third *seal came the fourth one. Jesus the *Lamb broke it open. The fourth *creature called for the next horse. This horse was pale, which is the colour of the skin of dead people. Death was the name of the rider, and *Hades followed him.
They received the power to kill. They had the right to kill a quarter of all the people on the earth. They used four methods to achieve this. The first was with swords. Many people died because of wars and murder. Many more people died because of lack of food. Many people died because of diseases. Even the wild animals suffered because of lack of food. So, the wild animals attacked and killed people.
*Hades is the name of the place of dead people. In *Hades, they wait for the day when God will be their judge. Those who belong to Christ will not go to *Hades. They go to be with the *Lord in heaven.
Verses 9-11: The fifth (5th) *seal.
The seven *seals divide into two groups of four and three. The first four were about the horses and riders. They were about what happened on the earth. With the fifth *seal, the events moved from earth to heaven.
The *Lord Jesus opened the fifth *seal. John saw an *altar in heaven. Under the *altar there were the *souls of those who had died. These people died because they believed in the *Lord. They believed the word of God. They had been good servants of God.
John speaks about these *souls being under the *altar. When a priest made a *sacrifice, he poured out the blood below the *altar. The idea here is that these people were like a *sacrifice. They were as a *sacrifice made to God. In fact, they died on earth. But by their death, they offered their *souls on the *altar in heaven.
They spoke to the *Lord because he has all authority. The *Lord is holy. And he will do what is right. In the end, he must punish all evil actions. The *Lord will punish the people who had caused their deaths. They knew this. These *souls asked the *Lord a question. They were asking, ‘How long must we wait? When will you punish those who caused our deaths?’
The clear answer was that the situation will become worse first. But, at the time when God chooses, he will answer their prayer. He will show his anger against the people who do not believe in him. That day of God’s anger will come upon the earth.
To each of these *souls, the *Lord gave white clothes. These clothes showed that they were clean from all *sin. In other words, God accepted them as innocent. And he gave them honour. These *souls under the *altar were at rest.
God told them to be patient. They must wait a little time. People on the earth would kill more of God’s people. Then the time will come and God will act.
Verses 12-17: The sixth (6th) seal.
John watched as the *Lamb opened the sixth *seal. The heavens and the earth shook. God had said ‘Once more, I will shake the heavens and the earth’ (Haggai 2:6).
At the same time, the sun became dark. It was as if a black cloth covered the sun. The light could not shine through it. The day became as the night. The moon glowed a deep red colour. It was the colour of blood.
Peter spoke about this event (Acts 2:20). He used the words of Joel the *prophet (Joel 2:30). He said, ‘the sun will become darkness. The moon will become blood.’ This would happen before the great and terrible day of the *Lord comes.
It seemed as if the stars fell down to the earth. They were like unripe *figs that fall from the tree in a winter storm. *Figs are a kind of sweet fruit that grow on a *fig tree.
The ancient people had a tradition. They believed that the stars would fall from the sky. When this happened, the end of the world would come.
The sky disappeared as if God had rolled it up. The mountains and islands moved.
Stars cannot fall to the earth. The sky cannot disappear like a *scroll. This is the language of poetry. It shows how awful these events will be. They will come before the *Lord returns to the earth. But it is not just poetry. It tells about real events that will happen in the skies.
At these terrible events, all the people on earth were afraid. They cried out in terror. They tried to hide from God and from the *Lord Jesus. They tried to escape from the anger of God and of the *Lamb. They would rather die than meet with God.
In the end, there will be no place to hide. All will have to meet with God. And, in that day, God will be their judge. This will be the day of God’s anger. And the *Lamb will be angry with all those who are on the earth. Nobody will be able to escape from the fierce anger of God and of the *Lamb.