Bible Study

Bible Study Revelation 6

The Bible Study about Revelation 6 is online: click here. An outline for this Bible Study is available as well, click here.

Revelation 6: Six seals opened

The First Four Seals:

Opening of seals: not the contents of the scroll yet.

First four seals: group of four: four is number of the earth, four creatures represent God’s creation.

Four horses: end time, from the perspective of the earth, this creation. Horses announced by the four creatures.

First horse: different from the other three horses:

  1. Announced with a loud thunder
  2. He came to conquer: same word as 5:5 : the lion of Juda, the Root of David, has conquered.
  3. A crown was given to him: different from the diadems in ch. 13:1.
  4. White in Revelation: colour of righteousness and holiness. See 3:4,5,18, 4:4, 6:11, 7:9,13-14, 14:14, 19:11,14, 20:11.
  5. White horse: see also Rev. 19:11 : there it clearly is Jesus Christ Who is seated on this horse.
  6. Second horse is announced as another horse. Sets this and following apart from the first.
  7. Crown: sign of authority. Unlimited authority: conquering and to conquer. Other horses: limited: ‘permitted (vs. 4), do not harm oil and wine (vs 6), authority over a fourth of the earth (vs. 8).

Rider on the white horse: Jesus Christ as Judge: 1:12-18, 6:2, 14:14-16, 19:11-16.

Second horse: colour of fire and blood. Great sword! Take away the peace: God’s punishment: gives them over to war: power of Satan.

Third horse: black: colour of famine. Scales: scarcity of food. No luxury.

No damage to oil and wine: the limitation of God’s wrath.

Fourth horse: sword, hunger, death (pestilence), wild beasts: see Ezekiel 5 and 14:21, Mark 13. General devastation, misery, death.

Question:

About the second horse: taking away the peace: We see among mankind a constant push to unite the nations and try to achieve a world peace. After the first world war, there was the league of nations, which was a failure. After the second world war the United Nations is established, which still exists, but the opinions about it differ. A generation ago, there was a push for globalisation, the European Union was established, and in other parts of the world several trade pacts were established. Over the past decade, however, we see a reversal: a return to nationalism. And the pandemic of the COVID19 is expected to strengthen the push to close borders again.

How do we as Christians look at these developments? Should we support either globalisation or isolationism? Should we have an opinion about this? Or should we just see this as God’s work to mock the scheming of the nations?

Three more seals:

First four seals: four creatures: this creation is involved in calling the four horses: this creation also wants this to happen.

Fifth seal opened: heavenly perspective: God’s people join the four creatures in asking for God’s judgment to come.

Altar: sacrifice: suffering, death, but also: sacrifice pleasing to God.

Cry out to God: prayers rise to come before God as a sacrifice to Him.

Question:

About verse 10. We are being taught by our Lord that we should love our enemies and we should not take revenge. In the letter of James we read about the ‘meekness of wisdom‘. We should leave it to God to avenge. But do we pray to God for His judgment to come over those who persecute His church and resist His Word? Should we pray for that?

Great earthquake: when God speaks, the earth quakes. Exodus 19:18, Psalm 68:8, 97:4, 104:32, and other places.

Sun became black, moon like blood. See Joel 2, quoted in Acts 2:  OT description of the great day of God’s wrath.

Result: al the peoples of the earth, small and great, are terrified. They have scorned Him, and it is too late for them to repent.

Question:

Plagues (e.g. COVID19 and its ensuing panic), wars and other disasters are a warning of the coming of the Lord. The COVID19 situation plunged this world into so much misery, more as a result of the fear than the virus itself. This is the response of the world to the signs of God’s coming. How has been our response? Have we been praying more fervently for the return of the Lord? Or did we also fall for the panic and fear of this world?

7 thoughts on “Bible Study Revelation 6

  1. Thank you for the bible study teaching! the question you’ve asked is what we think and discuss, but don’t have clear answer. Could you please help to answer that? Thanks!
    About verse 10. We are being taught by our Lord that we should love our enemies and we should not take revenge. In the letter of James we read about the ‘meekness of wisdom‘. We should leave it to God to avenge. But do we pray to God for His judgment to come over those who persecute His church and resist His Word? Should we pray for that?

    1. We are often reluctant to pray for God’s wrath to come over the enemies of God and the church. And we should. We must be careful, that we are not going to pray for God to avenge us on our own enemies. Our enemies are not always God’s enemies and our suffering can also be because of our own sins. It can also happen that those who persecute us, will come to repentance, later, and confess their sins. God will then be gracious to them.
      Having said that, we should notice that the Bible does teach us to pray for God’s judgment to come over those who blaspheme Him and seek to destroy His church. And Psalm 139:19-22 also speaks about hating those who hate God. We must pray for God’s name to be hallowed, even if that means that God’s wrath will come over those who obstinately resist Him. Yes, we must pray for God’s judgment to come, also over those who persecute the Church. At the same time, we must accept that God is patient with them and still gives them an opportunity to repent, as the souls under the altar were told to be patient.
      We should never pray for revenge out of a blind hatred. If we hate others, then it is because they hate God (see Psalm 139) and resist the work of God. Not because of their person but because of their deeds. And even then we should still be willing to entertain the thought that they could repent and then we should receive them in love.

  2. When I sing Psalm 69, I pray regarding those who afflict (verse 2 in the rhymed version), taunt, shame, scorn (verse 4), hate (verse 5), disgrace and insult me (verse 7) that God will ‘charge them with crime on crime; do not release them… from the book of life blot out their names’ (verse 9). This seems like we are calling for God’s eternal vengeance on our personal enemies, and specifically asking God not to give them the chance to repent and be saved. Was it right for David to pray this? Is it right for us to sing these words?

    1. When we sing the psalms we have to be careful that we do not apply the words directly to ourselves. We should read and sing the psalm ‘Christ centred’, from a Christological perspective. That means that in psalm 69 we must take into account that David sings this as God’s anointed king, chosen by God to rule over God’s people. What the enemies do to David, they do to him as King of God’s people and with that they attack God’s people and God Himself. David is a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ, when he sings this psalm and this is a prophecy of Christ, when He is suffering in His deepest anguish. We cannot apply this to us as individual members of God’s people, but to God’s people (the church) as a whole and to Christ as our King.

  3. Re the rider of the black horse announcing “a quart of wheat for a denarius… ; do not harm the oil and wine”. You state the restriction on the oil and wine is a limitation to God’s wrath. Some Commentators agree with you, seeing these things as medicines and remedies (see Luke 10:34 where the Good Samaritan uses oil and wine). However one commentator (Dr Bremmer) sees the oil and wine as luxury items for the rich and that by leaving them untouched exacerbates the inequality between the rich and poor, between those who have little and those who have much. I like both explanations, but since these are to be seen as signs of the end times, the large gulf between those who have enough to eat (first world nations) and those who don’t (third world nations) and the inability to reduce that inequality is an ongoing sign for us.

    1. Also Dr. Schilder supported the explanation which Dr. Bremmer follows. Years ago I also thought that it was a good explanation. However, the more I read about the life of Israel and other peoples in the Middle East in those days, the more I come to the conclusion that oil and wine are not luxury articles. Wine was very common. People did not have refrigerators so they couldn’t keep the grape juice cool. For that reason they let it ferment so that it became wine and stayed good for longer time. Oil and wine are mentioned in Deut. 28:51 as common food/drink, not just for the rich but for all the people. See also Psalm 104:15, where wine and oil are mentioned together with bread as the food that man brings forth from the earth. See also Haggai 1:11. If that is true, then the explanation of Dr. Bremmer and Dr. Schilder cannot be correct.
      That doesn’t take away that your conclusion about the increasing gulf between poor and rich is certainly true. That is also a sign of the times, in which the greed and selfishness of people will increase and the love of the most will grow cold.

  4. A question by text message: When people die, their souls go directly to heaven or to hell. If this is true, does it mean that people are judged before Christ’s second coming?
    Response: Yes. The decision takes place in this life on earth. See John 3:18. Those who believe are not condemned but those who do not believe are condemned already. If you believe, you have eternal life, now already. Not later when you die, but if you believe, then you will not die, even though you (i.e. your body) dies, see John 11:25-26. Judgment day will be the public announcement of this judgment in the sight of all the world. What we know about ourselves and about believers, will then be made public, also for all those who persecuted us. Christians who die for Christ, know that they live. But it will be terrible for their persecutors on the day of judgment when they will hear that those whom they killed, now reign with Christ and will judge the world with Christ.

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