Opening of the Seven SealsMar 02, 2023
During the Great Tribulation, death will ride unbridled. Jesus tells us that the days had to be shortened or else no one would have survived!
Hi everyone, I’m Tammy Becker. Welcome to the Almighty God & Gospel Girl Podcast. This is week ten into our series of Revelation and our podcast today is titled: Opening of the Seven Seals. My podcast today will be based on the reading of Revelation 6:1-8. And if you would like to follow along with the notes or maybe you would like to find the links to anything mentioned in the podcast today, you can go to the link in the description or by visiting www.youministries.com and visiting the corresponding page. As we get started today, I would like to remind you of my disclaimer, that as always…do not take my word, or anyone’s word for what you read…get yourself in the Bible and let God discern His Word to you. I am only human and make many mistakes and do not claim to know or understand everything in the Bible…I just hope by bringing out this study that your interest is sparked enough to get into God’s Word and begin to deep dive on your own.
In Revelation 4–5, we were in heaven with John. The first thing we saw was a throne and the Lord Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, sitting at God’s right hand. He is also the Lamb, the Redeemer, and the One who is able to open the seven-sealed book, which is the title deed of this earth.
The Lord Jesus is the only One who is able to judge this earth. Who He is and what He’s done makes Him able to judge. He is God in the flesh, Creator and Redeemer of the universe. The Lord Jesus Christ alone is worthy to sit in judgment.
Now, as we dive into Revelation 6, the judgment will begin. As we study this, we must keep in mind that “no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation,” says 2 Peter 1:20—that is, you don’t interpret any prophecy by itself. Each prophecy must be looked at as a part of a system and a program, and it must fit in with the others.
From the beginning of Revelation, John gave us an orderly division of the book. Beginning with chapter 4, we study things to come. Now if it is future and if we today are in the time of “the things which are,” the period of the church, we cannot drag any of the seals, the trumpets, the bowls, or the persons into our own day. The stage is being set, but none of these things are taking place today. (Be careful not to get sucked into sensationalism Bible study. It’s not the way John put it down.)
The scene shifts from heaven to earth in Revelation 6—18, and the Great Tribulation takes place.
So what is happening on earth after the church leaves? The Great Tribulation takes place, the subject of chapters 6—18. The seven-sealed book is opened (chapters 6—8). Remember Jesus was entrusted with it (chapter 5) and found to be the only One worthy, the only One with the authority to open it. He breaks the seals, and the four horses ride out.
We need to get a big picture of the entire Tribulation before we dive into the details. Revelation 6—18, describing the Great Tribulation, is divided into four series. Each of these series describe seven pieces. The seven seals in the book are like an umbrella over the entire period. The first six seals will be open in turn and the judgments will come out. Between the sixth and seventh seal (and also between the sixth and seventh trumpets and bowls), there’s a pause, and John either explains something or answers specific questions. Then, within the seventh seal, judgment is announced with seven trumpets. The same pattern follows—six trumpets are sounded, a pause, then within the seventh trumpet, seven bowls of wrath are introduced. The entire process fits within the seals. The seventh thing he describes always opens the door to the next series (which includes seven things). This connects each of the series. The seven seals, the seven trumpets, the seven personalities, and the seven bowls of wrath are all about the same period, but from a little different angle. Sometimes we’ll see the scene from heaven, but most of this happens on earth.
In a very orderly way, it unfolds like this:
- The six seals all open and reveal themselves (Revelation 6:1—8:1).
- The seventh seal introduces the blowing of seven trumpets (Revelation 8:2–11:19).
- The blowing of the seventh trumpet introduces seven surprising people (Revelation 12–13).
- The beast out of the sea introduces the seven bowls of wrath (Revelation 15–16).
- The last bowl of wrath brings to us the judgment of Babylon, and that brings to an end the Great Tribulation Period (Revelation 17–18), and then Christ returns to earth to set up His Kingdom.
An interesting note: Remember the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11? This first organized rebellion against God happened in Babylon, and they were judged by it. Babylon also represents the last rebellion against God, both religiously in chapter 17 and politically in chapter 18. Babylon receives the first and the last judgments. This brings to an end man’s day on this earth.
In this whole overarching account, it’s important to remember that Jesus is directing everything now. He is the only One worthy to open this book. This is the Revelation, the unveiling of … Him. He is no longer the teacher walking the shores of Galilee or the inspector walking among the lampstands. Neither is He the High Priest, standing as intercessor. Now He is the executor of God’s will on the earth as He opens the seals of the book. All the judgments of the Great Tribulation flow from out of the seals. Out of the seals come the trumpets, out of the trumpets come the cast of characters, and out of the cast come the bowls of wrath.
Christ directs the entire operation from heaven. This judgment on earth will take place at the Lord’s command.
The church will be delivered from this period of judgment. Why? They are sinners, but they are saved by the grace of God. Only those who reject the grace of God go into the Great Tribulation Period. When they make their decision to refuse God’s grace offered them in Jesus Christ, they choose to be judged by the Lord Jesus Christ instead.
What we experience in chapters 4 and 5 prepares us for what follows—the judgment of the earth. In chapter 4 we saw the throne and the triune God; in chapter 5 we saw the book and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Certain factors increase the intensity and the ferocity of the Great Tribulation:
The Holy Spirit will restrain evil no longer. He will still be in the world; He doesn’t leave. Even before the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was active. When the church was born in Acts 2, the Spirit began a new ministry of baptizing believers into the body of Christ, a ministry of indwelling them, of filling them, and of leading and guiding them in this world. When Jesus Christ takes the church out of this world, that does not mean His Spirit will leave. He will still be here, but He will not restrain evil any longer. In other words, mankind will have its day during that period, along with Satan. (You definitely don’t want to be here then.)
The true church, as light and salt, will be gone from the earth. Although the church has very little influence in the world today, it still has some. But when we leave the earth, there will be none left.
Satan knows he has but a short time. He will take advantage of it during this period, and God will give him free rein. Evil men will be free to carry out their evil plans. And for a short time, the Antichrist will be able to take over this earth.
On this scene, God will execute direct judgment. His day of wrath is come; who is able to face God and stand before the wrath of the Lamb (see Revelation 6:17)?
The Great Tribulation will not break suddenly like a great tornado, but the opening of the seven seals is gradual—one at a time in a logical and chronological order, giving an overall picture of that seven-year period. The Lord Jesus Christ is in full charge, and every creature in heaven is moving at His command. He takes the seven-sealed book, and breaks the first seal right and in order, and the four horsemen ride out, introducing the Great Tribulation. The first six seals describe the events of the first three and a half years, and the last seal, the seventh, details the second half. Beginning with the riding of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, these are terrible, terrific judgments on the earth. They are so tremendous they boggle the mind just to read about them.
OPENING THE FIRST SEAL: THE RIDER ON A WHITE HORSE (VV. 1-2)
John tells us what he saw and heard: “I watched the Lamb rip off the first of the seven seals and one of the four creatures called out with a voice like thunder, ‘Come.’ Then, I saw a white horse of victory with a rider who carried a bow; and a crown of victory was given to him, and he rode out conquering.”
This is the Antichrist, an imitation of Christ, one who pretends to be Christ. He doesn’t appear as a villain; after all, Satan’s angels are angels of light. He won’t look dark and foreboding or have hidden horns or cloven feet. In fact, he’ll be the most attractive man the world has ever seen, and he’ll promise world unity and peace. The world won’t care if he comes from heaven or hell; they want peace at any price. They’ll elect him with cheers and will think the world is entering the Millennium when it’s actually entering the Great Tribulation. The Great Tribulation comes in like a lamb, but it goes out like a lion. A promise of peace is the big lie the world will swallow whole.
Even today the world is moving in the direction of a world dictator. All the nations of the world are disturbed. Lawlessness abounds and governments are not able to control as they should. This is all preparing the way for the coming of the Antichrist.
OPENING THE SECOND SEAL: THE RIDER ON A RED HORSE (VV. 3-4)
John continues with what he saw and heard: “When the Lamb broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature call out, ‘Come. And another, a fiery red horse of bloodshed, came out; and its rider was empowered to take peace from the earth, so that men would slaughter one another, and a great sword of war and violent death was given to him.”
The Antichrist’s counterfeit peace is short-lived. Immediately after the white horse rides the red horse of war on the earth. Antichrist will be revealed as a phony. He won’t bring peace because here goes the fiery red horse of war riding throughout the earth again. This will be a real world war.
OPENING THE THIRD SEAL: THE RIDER ON A BLACK HORSE (VV. 5-6)
Famine always follows war. The color of the black horse indicates mourning and a worldwide famine on the earth (see Lamentations 4:8-9;Jeremiah 4:28; Malachi 3:14). The working man will not be able to support his family, but the luxuries of the rich will still flow.
OPENING THE FOURTH SEAL: THE RIDER ON A PALE HORSE (VV. 7-8)
On this fourth horse, a greenish-yellow horse, Death comes riding in. The sword, famine, a pandemic, and wild animals will decimate the earth’s population by 25% (see also Ezekiel 14:21). Nothing will be able to stop death.
But death is more than physical. Sin and death entered the world at the same time; death comes as a result of sin. Death has an all-inclusive, threefold meaning. We think of death as referring only to the body, as physical as a result of Adam’s sin (see Romans 5:24). But death is also spiritual when it separates our rebellious spirit against God. We have no capacity for God and no desire for Him at all. Finally, an eternal death separates us from God unless we are redeemed (the kind that is coming in Revelation 20:14).
But God didn’t create man to die. Death is a penalty because Adam disregarded God’s commands. As the head of the human family, his disobedience is our disobedience. His death is our death. Now Jesus Christ is the head of a new creation. He alone can give life. He is totally responsible for the life and eternal bliss of those who are His own.
During the Great Tribulation, death will ride unbridled. Jesus tells us that the days had to be shortened or else no one would have survived (Matthew 24:22). Finally at the Great White Throne judgment, death will be destroyed (see Revelation 20:14, 21:4; 1 Corinthians 15:26).
These four horsemen riding across the earth is the fulfillment of what Jesus already told us in His sermon on the Mount of Olives in Matthew 24:5-8; John merely widens it out and gives us additional information. What he says is based on what the Lord Jesus said before He left the earth the first time: “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many [the white horse]. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars [the red horse]. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines [the black horse], pestilences [the pale horse], and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
This is the opening of the Great Tribulation.
Next time we will be talking about Why is God doing this?
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