“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” Revelation 6:1, 2
In our last chapter we saw a book ‘sealed with seven seals’ and no one could open it until Jesus appeared as a ‘Lamb, as it had been slain’. Now we’re going to look at this book. It is not like our books; back then their books were scrolls. These were long strips of paper or fine leather, rolled around two sticks so that as you read them you would unroll from one side and roll up on the other side.
That is why the book could have seven seals, and as each seal was opened, you could see part of the story of the book. This ‘book’ that only Jesus was worthy to open up and show to us, shows a prophetic history of His church, His congregation of believers.
Just as the messages to the seven churches represented different periods of time in the progress of the true church, so now the seals on this book go over the same history, but it shows us the Great Apostasy, which allowed Papal Rome to develop out of what was once a pure church.
The messages to the churches followed the history of the true believers, but the seals show the apostate ones that did not heed the messages. All through both Daniel and Revelation, you will find the history of the world, from the time of Christ to the Second Coming, told over and over again. But each time it is told, it is showing us additional information.
As the first seal is opened, we see a white horse galloping out over the earth; this represents the early church in its purity, carrying the gospel message to the world. It is the same as the ‘Ephesus’ church. Notice it was the first ‘beast’ that shows it; the Lion, representing Jesus and the Law, this beast is the spirit of this pure church. The Crown (Greek=Stephanos, a wreath of Victory) showed how this church would conquer as the truth of the Gospel of Jesus went throughout the world.
“And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red; and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.” Revelation 6:3, 4.
Now the second beast, the calf or ox presents the second horse. In this period as the church was turning more to the world, the true people of God suffered, and had to make great sacrifices to stay loyal to God’s Word. The calf or ox was an animal slain on the altars. This horse is no longer white and pure, it is red, the color of sin and blood. The church began to be corrupted. The ‘mystery of iniquity’ was at work in Paul’s day. Errors began to arise, and the love of the world came in at an early date. This happened as it became more popular to be a Christian and some influential pagan leaders joined the church. Instead of throwing away their heathen ideas and following the Bible only, they began to try and mix their pagan ideas with the Bible.
They thought they could do this, and make the Christian religion even better, and more acceptable to the people, but if you put muddy water in clean water, you have all muddy water. They didn’t want to give up their ‘Great Learning’ and prestige from heathenism, but as they tried to bring their pagan ideas into the Bible and the church, they did not make the church better; they lost the pure truth of the Gospel and followed worldly ways.
It was at this time that many of the errors and wrong ideas that are found in the modern versions of the Bible first happened. The former heathen leaders, now Christian in name only, mixed their ideas into the Bible, and when Emperor Constantine ordered fifty copies of a new Bible to be written, these ideas were put into them. Some of those old manuscripts are still around today, but the true church of Jesus never accepted them. The Roman church used them. They are what the writers of the new modern translations largely use today, and their influence is to confuse the true children of Jesus.
This horse goes up to the time of Constantine, A. D. 323, where the church began to ask for help from the government, and to flatter and try to please the Emperor, instead of serving God.
When we do not follow the Word of God faithfully and we begin to do things like the world, and want the power and pride of the world, then we loose our peace with Jesus. In this period, ‘There was continual war and trouble.’ Only Jesus can give us real Peace, and He tells us this does not ever come from the world. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you”. John 14:27
The Bible shows us another group who have no peace (rest), it is those who ‘worship the beast’. Revelation 14:11
“And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” Revelation 6:5, 6
The third beast, the man-face, shows us another horse. This time it is black. It is the opposite of the first one. It is totally false. It is totally following the ‘wisdom’ of man and has rejected the Gospel of Jesus. This is the time of the full setting up of the Roman Papacy. Now the idea of selling the gospel to the people for money, had come to be the big thing. The ‘wheat and the barley’, God’s Word, the ‘bread of life’, was to be sold to the people for money. The rich had spiritual advantages that the poor had no access to. This horse goes from Constantine’s time to 538 when the Papal See came into full power.
The voice that said, “Hurt not the oil and the wine,” is not spoken by any one on earth, but comes from the midst of the four living creatures; a voice from heaven. This shows that even though men may not care for Jesus’ true sheep, yet the Lord was watching over them in this period of horrible darkness.
Jesus makes sure that the true spirit of Christianity is kept alive somewhere, and not entirely lost. In this darkness, some true believers began to flee into wilderness areas where they could keep the true gospel and read and obey the true Bible.
Jesus is the True Shepherd and He never leaves His true sheep to be destroyed by false ministers. He teaches them Himself with His Holy Spirit from the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy writings.
“And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold, a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” Revelation 6:7, 8
Now, the eagle-face shows us a horrible horse. Our Bible calls it ‘pale’, but the Greek word used means ‘ghastly’, like something dead and moldy; ‘pale of yellowish color’ that is seen in blighted or sickly plants. No horse is ever really this color, and no true church is ever like what this papal monster had become.
The eagle in the Bible is an unclean bird that savagely kills and eats other animals and birds. Now from 538 to the time of the reformation in the 1500s, (most of the 1260-year time when the Papacy was to rule the world), this corrupt church made it her business to kill and destroy all others who dared to disagree with her.
The ‘sickly-plant’ color was good to describe this time, as the ‘light’ from the Bible was taken from the people, and if you keep the light from a plant, it turns this sickly, pale color.
Just as Satan was allowed time to clearly show to the universe what his evil ideas would lead to, so this beast-power church was allowed to rule for a set time and show what it stood for. Millions and millions of faithful Christians died for their faith and millions more perished from hardship as they fled this cruel power. Only God really knows how many this savage power killed.
Someday we will meet these dear souls in heaven, who loved Jesus enough to die for His truth.
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” Revelation 6:9, 10
No more beasts or horses now; this seal shows us the symbol of the blood of the slain, faithful ones crying out to God. This is just the same as when God said that Abel’s blood cried out to Him. It does not mean that all these martyrs are somewhere in a little box under the altar, crying. All those who died in that terrible persecution are asleep in their graves, waiting for Jesus to wake them up when He returns.
What does ‘under the altar’ mean? This world is what the ‘courtyard’ of the earthly sanctuary represents. The altar of burnt offerings, where the lambs were killed and burned, was in the courtyard. It was on this earth that the Lamb of God was slain. So the idea of being ‘under the altar’ shows them asleep in their graves on this earth.
“And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” Revelation 6:11.
White robes were given to every one of them. They had been accused by the Papacy as vile heretics, and executed as criminals; their character had been robed in darkness. But the Reformation exposed the cruel crimes of the Papacy, and showed the truth about the holy martyrs of Jesus, and clothed them with white robes. Hence, the sermons, the prayers, and songs of praise of the Christian church, have held these millions of the slain for Jesus’ name, up to the world in spotless purity.
The time of this seal is the reformation which began to bring to the end, the Papal rule of the 1260 years. But it wasn’t over yet, others were yet to witness for their faith as martyrs, “their brethren, that should be killed as they were.”
It was at this time that a man named Fox, and others, began to collect up the stories of the martyrs that died for their faith and put them into books. God wanted their bravery and faith recorded and not forgotten. We can read the stories today and be encouraged, that the same Jesus who gave them strength and courage to be faithful to Him, will do the same for us.
Some people don’t like to read the stories of the martyrs ,as they imagine it makes them afraid, but when you think about how Jesus helped them, we can get courage, not fear, as we learn of their true faith.
“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.” Revelation 6:12, 13
Now we come to the end of the 1260 year period that ended in 1798. And we see some amazing things. We live in the times of this seal.
First; ‘a Great Earthquake’. This earthquake was real and hit Europe on the 1st of November, 1755. Its center was in Lisbon, Portugal, where the headquarters of the terrible inquisition had been. It hit on a ‘Holy day’ and all the churches were destroyed and thousands were killed. They ran screaming, carrying their images of saints and crucifixes and clung to the altars in the churches, but all in vain. People and priests perished together. The earthquake affected at least four million square miles of the earth’s surface.
Next; the Sun was Darkened May 19, 1780. Candles were lighted in many houses. Birds were silent and disappeared. Fowls retired to roost. It was the general opinion that the Day of Judgment was at hand. It was midnight darkness at noonday. . . .Thousands of people, who could not account for it from natural causes, were greatly terrified; and indeed, it cast a universal gloom on the earth. The frogs and night-hawks began their notes. (See Great Controversy, 1888, p. 307)
The Moon as Blood. The moon refused to give her light that night; and when it did appear, it bore the appearance of blood as described in this prophecy.
The Stars Fell. The stars of heaven fell Nov. 13, 1833. Other meteor showers have been seen at different times, but this was the most remarkable and extensive. This amazing seal goes from verse 6:12 all the way to the end of chapter 7. We are right now living between verse 13 and 14. The things that are going to happen in verses 14-17 are when Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven.
People who have a lot of power, think they can get away with whatever they want to do, but someday soon, things will change.
“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.” Revelation 8:1
Now we momentarily skip chapter 7 that gives us more information about God’s people getting ready on earth for Jesus’ coming.
In chapter 8:1 we see silence for half an hour. In prophetic time, half an hour would be one week of real time; however, we also are told in Revelation 10:6, that “time, that is prophetic time, is no more”. The last time prophecy ended in 1844 and although there are many prophetic events that takes place after that, none are ‘time prophecies’. So, while we can have some thoughts about what this ‘silence’ possibly means, it is not a hard and fast prophetic fact. Here is one thought.
The sixth seal ends with the wicked aware that Jesus is returning to earth to rescue His people, and crying for the rocks and mountains to fall on them. They, who have fought against God’s truth, would rather be buried alive than to see the face of the One who died to save them. The One who they refused to obey and whose followers they killed and tormented.
Now if you go to a house and nobody is home, it is silent, isn’t it? Well, if all the angels, and Jesus and all the beings in heaven are away, as they come to earth to gather the faithful ones and bring them home to the New Jerusalem, heaven would be silent, wouldn’t it?
Some have said that when the redeemed children of God are taken into the cloud, to travel back to heaven with Jesus, it will take seven days. Heaven will be silent as all the holy beings travel with the rescued ones from earth to the Holy City. But oh what a lot of rejoicing and happy songs will fill it after they arrive. We can’t even imagine.
I hope each one of you will be there that happy day.
There is also a second thought about these words; when Jesus announces the close of probation and mercy no longer pleads for unrepentant sinners; there will be a solemn time of awful silence. Every time something takes place that has great importance in the great controversy, there is no holy created being that is going to do anything else but be silent and observe what takes place.
“And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:14-17
The word-picture in these verses takes place as the people see Jesus coming in the clouds. What a sad situation! Jesus loves us all so much that He came and died for us, to make a way for us to be saved. Heaven has done everything possible to help people get ready to go home with Jesus, but most people won’t be ready.
Why? Because they wanted their own way and continued in their own sinful habits and pleasures and refused to obey God’s law. Now as they see He is really coming, and He is going to put a stop to all their cruel, selfish deeds, they want to be buried alive rather than see the face of the One who loved them so much.
Here just a short while before, these rulers and dictators were getting ready to kill all of God’s true people that were left. Then they were proud and boasting, making fun of those dear people who refused to disobey God, telling them how they were going to all be killed. Now these bullies are seen screaming to be buried alive; what a change.