The Vision of Coming Judgments:
Beginning with the sixth chapter of Revelation, apostle John was given the vision of coming judgments. They are the 7 seals judgments, 7 trumpets judgments and the 7 bowls judgments (6; 8-9; 16). What John shows here affirms the teaching of Jesus in Mark 13. These are terrifying scenes of the great wrath of the Lamb. But it encourages believers to remain steadfast in their faith. The Lamb who has triumphed over sin is worthy to open the seven seals. Christ is going to judge the world (6:17). Christ told the disciples about the coming events of the end time in His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, 25). They were warned about false teachers and encouraged to remain faithful to the true gospel even unto death. The terrifying scene of the great day of the wrath of the Lamb is about to begin. Bible scholars differ on the interpretation of these events (6-19).
The First Seal: 6:1, 2:
When the Lamb broke the first of the seven seal on the scroll, John heard one of the four living creatures say with a loud voice like thunder saying “Come”. This invitation is repeated to all four horsemen. John saw a white horse and its rider had a bow. He came out to conquering, and to conquer. The rider had a crown on his head (6:2). White is a symbol of peace and purity. Bow speaks of war and the crown is symbolic of authority. Some suggest that white horse is a picture of Christ (Revelation 19:11). Others think this speaks of world evangelism (Matthew 24:14). The rider revealed here cannot be Christ because he does not hold the scroll. Most probably the rider on white horse is the antichrist who comes in the name of Christ to deceive people (Matthet 24:5). He will promise world-peace and safety to everyone. Paul warns that "When he says peace and safety, then sudden destruction comes upon them as travail upon a woman with child and they shall not escape" (1 Thessalonians 5:3). This is the Antichrist, who would sign a peace treaty with Israel (Daniel 9:26). The arms race done today in the name of peace will only lead to more destruction. Only Jesus is the prince of peace and He alone can bring lasting peace (John 14:27). This false christ is the "Man of sin", mentioned in Daniel 9:36 (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12).
The Second Seal: 6:3-4.
When the Lamb breaks the second seal, a rider on a red horse appears. The rider carries a mighty sword in his hand. He was given the authority to take peace from the earth and the world will plunge into bloodshed. Without the permission of God, Satan cannot do anything. There will be war and slaughter everywhere. This is the second phase of the reign of Antichrist. He will break the peace treaty once he made it with the nations. This will cause worldwide war and bloodshed. People become disloyal and violent because of their sin and selfishness. Christ warned that there would be wars and rumors of wars (Mark 13:7). Antichrist could promise peace but cannot deliver it. Only Christ will bring lasting peace. Peace comes only when we are reconciled to God (Romans 5:11). Worry and anxiety are the result of absence of peace. Having been justified by faith in Christ we have peace with God (Romans 5:1). Jesus Himself is our peace (Ephesians 2:14). Only Christ could bring ultimate peace in this world. John is preparing his audience to remain faithful to the gospel even unto death.
The Third Seal: 6:5-6.
When the Lamb broke the third seal, a black horse and a rider holding a pair of scales appeared. A voice from among the four living creatures cried out, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wage and six pounds of barley for a day’s wage”. The balance suggests that a system of rationing will be enforced. A denarius was a day’s wage and would buy only enough wheat for one person for one day (Matthew 20:2, 9). Because of war the production of grain will be greatly reduced. As a result there would be world wide scarcity of food. There is going to be rationing of food. People will be told not to waste the olive oil and wine (6:6). It shows that even though hardship increases, God is still in control. We are rapidly heading for that day.
The Fourth Seal: 6:7-8.
When the fourth seal was broken, John saw a pale green horse. Its rider's name is Death and Hades. These two were given authority over one fourth of the earth to kill with the sword, famine, disease and wild animals. Hades is inhabited by souls of those who died in their sin (Luke 16:23). Green is the color of a sick person or a corpse. There will be war and world wide plague. Wild animals will roam in search of food because of famine. God wants people to repent of their sins but they will not repent.
The Fifth Seal: 6:9-11.
When the fifth seal was broken, John saw under the altar, the souls of martyrs who died for the testimony of Christ. They refuse to renounce their faith in Christ and worship the false god. They pour out their lives for Christ as a drink offering (Philippians 2:17; 2 Timothy 4:6). They will cry out with a loud voice “Lord holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” They will be given white robes and told to rest a little longer until a full number of their brothers and sisters who were to be martyred had joined them. These may not be the martyrs of the church age, for they were caught up before the opening of the seals. The souls being under the altar is symbolic of people purchased by the blood of Christ. They know that vengeance belongs to the Lord and He will repay them (Romans 12:19). That is going to happen when Christ returns (2 Thessalonians 1:6-8). Though they are slain, they are alive in the presence of God. What a beautiful picture of our eternal security. They are being under the altar is symbolic of they have been parched by the blood of Christ. Believers may die but they shall live again (John 11:25). When Christ returns, believers will be comforted and the unsaved will be judged. Christians do not need to fear death and suffering because they serve a risen Savior (John 16:33). If we suffer with Christ now we shall reign with Him when he returns (2 Timothy 2:12).
The Sixth Seal: 6:12-17.
When the sixth seal was broken there was a great earthquake. Now the intensity of the judgment is increased. The sun became as dark as black and the moon became as red as blood. The stars fell to the earth and the sky rolled up like a scroll, and all the mountains and islands were moved from their places. God will pour out His judgment over nature because sin has contaminated the whole creation. This would make people panic and fearful. They looked for hiding places in caves and mountains to escape from the judgment of God. This hiding game started in the Garden of Eden. People want to escape from the wrath of the Lamb. They will cry to mountains and the rock to fall on them to hide from the wrath of the Lamb. Wrath of God is His settled attitude toward sin. No one can save us from the wrath of God except Jesus Chris. He endured God's wrath on our behalf on the cross to spare us from God’s wrath. Human history reveals the depth of their rebellion toward God. But God loved the world and sent His one and only Son to save them from sin. Those who trust Christ will receive eternal life. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the whole world (John 1:29). His atoning sacrifice is sufficient for the salvation of the whole world. But only those who trust Him will be saved. The wrath of the lamb will be far more terrible than the death of martyrs. Are you saved by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ?