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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Revelation

(Return to Framework Contents)

 

(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for verse-by-verse study or meditation. To focus each verse we have also added in italic a description of what is happening)

[NOTE: As we move on through this particular book it might be worth while reminding ourselves that this is a book of prophecy and prophecy often uses analogies and other picture forms that leave it open to different interpretations. Although these notes may make occasional references to this, what we provide are only meant as very basic notes to aid the reader digesting what they read, and any deeper comments about schools of interpretation etc. are beyond this goal.]

  

To go to Ch.7 CLICK HERE

  

FRAMEWORKS: Revelation 6: The Seals Opened

 

v.1,2 Seal One – a Conqueror

v.3,4 Seal Two – Peace removed and extreme violence

v.5,6 Seal Three – Famine

v.7,8 Seal Four – Death – a quarter of the earth

v.9-11 Seal Five – Martyrs revealed

v.13-17 Seal Six – Massive earth & skies upheaval

 

[Note: In this chapter of six seals being broken (each one along the edges allowing a bit more of the scroll to be unrolled) we first see a series of FOUR ‘judgments' being released. Some would say these are specific acts of God but an equal interpretation is that after the first one (that some suggest are the Gospel period) the following three are all increasing effects of sinfulness on the earth: violence, famine, and then increased death by violence, famine & plague. The fifth seal reveals the frustration of the martyrs which paves the way for the sixth seal, mighty destructive upheavals on the earth and in the sky. We have to wait a chapter for the seventh seal to be opened.]

 

 

v.1,2 Seal One – a Conqueror

 

v.1 (the lamb & one of the creatures [a different one each time] herald the first judgment) I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!”

v.2 (a white horse [?purity] with a conquering king) I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

 

v.3,4 Seal Two – Peace removed and extreme violence

 

v.3,4 (red [?for blood] a remover of peace and bringer of killing) When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.

 

v.5,6 Seal Three – Famine

 

v.5 (a black horse [?death] with scales suggesting shortages) When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand.

v.6 (measurements suggesting famine & shortages) Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day's wages, and six pounds of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

 

  

v.7,8 Seal Four – Death – a quarter of the earth

 

v.7,8 (a pale horse [?ebbing life] brings Death by four forms) When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by [i] sword, [ii] famine and [iii] plague, and by the [iv] wild beasts of the earth. [note, one leads on to the other]

 

v.9-11 Seal Five – Martyrs revealed

 

v.9 (sacrificed martyrs) When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.

v.10 (they call for justice) They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”

v.11 (they are only the first ones) Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.

 

 

v.13-17 Seal Six – Massive earth & skies upheaval

 

v.12,13 (earth & skies upheaval) I watched as he opened the sixth seal . There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, [?symbolic warning of ‘top people'?] as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.

v.14 (utter devastation) The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

v.15-17 (no one feels secure any longer – complete revelation & understanding of what is happening) Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains.

They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”

 

[Comment: In Rom 1:24-28 we are given a picture of God standing back, taking off His hands of restraint from the each and letting sinful mankind go in a downward spiral of self-destruction. There it was limited but here we have a picture of larger ‘judgments' which can be largely attributed to the folly of godless mankind. It is only at the end that the catastrophes of the heavens and earth seem to take us beyond that, although the descriptions of v.12-14 are reminiscent of the pictures of a total nuclear holocaust which even now is just waiting to happen. Time alone will tell. Whether it is the direct hand of God or God opening the door for the folly of mankind, again only time will tell. But remember, behind it is the Lamb of God opening up the way for it all to happen.

 

Note: In the ‘sevens' there are six laid out and then a gap. After the first six seals being opened there is the gap of chapter 7 (the martyrs and survivors), and the seventh seal opening appears at the start of chapter 8 as the precursor of the 7 trumpets sounding the next series of judgments]

 

8:1(silence implies waiting for the impending doom ) When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

 

FRAMEWORKS: Revelation 7: The Martyrs & Survivors

 

v.1-3 Preparations for Sealing
v.4-8 The 144,000 Sealed
v.9-17 The Great Multitude in White Robes

v.1-3 Preparations for Sealing

 

v.1 (angelic control over the earth is seen by John) After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.

v.2 (an angel comes with a specific purpose) Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea:

v.3 (this almost seems to step backwards as if giving insight into what has already happened before the judgments of chapter 6) “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”

   

 

v.4-8 The 144,000 Sealed

 

v.4 (a symbolic symmetrical picture? of literal Israel, or of the church (?), sealed with a mark of ownership for subsequently protection) Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

5 From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,

from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,

from the tribe of Gad 12,000,

6 from the tribe of Asher 12,000,

from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,

from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,

7 from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,

from the tribe of Levi 12,000,

from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,

8 from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,

from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,

from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.

    

v.9-17 The Great Multitude in White Robes

 

v.9 (whatever the first group, we now see all the redeemed of history) After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

v.10 (they declare Christ's salvation) And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

v.11,12 (those closest to the throne give glory to God for this) All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”

v.13 (one of the elders challenges John) Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”

v.14 (he explains they are the saved who have come through the terrible ordeals of the fallen world) I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

v.15 (therefore they have access to, and serve, God) Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.

v.16 (now they have eternal security and provision) ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,' nor any scorching heat.

v.17 (now they are with their great Shepherd) For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.'  ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'”

 

 

[Comment: The more commentaries you pick up the more interpretations of this chapter you will find. Two particular points of debate arise here.

 

(i) Identity: Noting what is here we see two groups:

•  v.4 “from all the tribes of Israel” ?only Jews

•  v.9 “a great multitude…. from every nation, tribe, people and language” ?including saved Jews

The first group have no qualification except belonging to Israel and there is no indication where they are, or of their future.

The second group stand before the throne and are clearly the redeemed who have a future with Christ.

The mystery is more the meaning of the first group.

In chapter 14 there is another 144,000 but clearly not the same group. Some have suggested various mathematical permutations to arrive at the figure and perhaps the safest thing to say is that the set number is clearly used to mark out these particular people. In its simplest form it, it would be to say that in the mystery that is Israel throughout the ages, there are a number of them known to God who remained true to Him – those from the various ‘faithful remnants' that appear in the Old Testament.

     

(ii) The Great Tribulation: Again there are a variety of suggestions about the meaning of this term from v.14 above.

•  Some have suggested that this simply describes life in the fallen world where rejection of God and opposition to His people is common.

•  Others have suggested that it refers only to a particularly harsh time in the End Times.

   

On the one side, the church of the first three centuries experienced particularly harsh persecution sometimes and the letters of James and Peter in particular reveal a scattered church struggling to cope with persecution. At the present time (and throughout Church history) there have always been, and still are, large parts of the church suffering under persecution around the world.

On the other there are indications in this book that this end time will be particularly difficult. As we have said before, time will tell and maybe it is pride that declares any of us have the only right solution.]