Jesus, the Lamb, has the scroll and opens the first six seals. Each brings forth a portion of judgement on the earth. This is just the beginning of what we, as the human race, have “earned.”
Let me start by reminding you that I am NO expert in bible theology or end times prophecy. I’m just going to share what was impressed upon me as I read. We are getting to the deeper parts of John’s vision and I’m no more certain than you are of exactly how everything sits on God’s “calendar.”
A few things I DO believe are: 1) Jesus will remove His church in the rapture; 2) There will be a great tribulation that will last for seven years for those who remain; 3) There is an antichrist who will become a whole world leader and deceiver of many; 4) there will be new believers birthed during the tribulation that will be added to the roles in the end; 5) GOD is in control and HE has the right to structure ALL of this in HIS order, my “beliefs” don’t constrain Him.
Those “cautions” or “disclaimers” being said, let’s see where the Spirit takes us today.
When I was first reading this section and read about the four creatures saying “Come” I thought they were talking to John and telling him to watch what was about to happen. My bible helps clued me into the idea that they were actually calling forth the four horses and riders. John just happened to be alerted to the change because of the call.
The first horse’s intentions aren’t as easy to discern as the other three. We know that he has a crown and a bow and “he came out conquering, and to conquer” (verse 2b). My bible helps clued me into the idea that this is a politically inspired conquering. I can see that easily with the way our world works now. The bow is a long range weapon. It isn’t used in close combat. It speaks to me of behind the scenes manipulation to control political powers. Secret liaisons, deals, and maybe even assassinations to put into power people who will serve a secret agenda. This allows “conquering” in quiet and with minimal bloodshed.
The second horse is what naturally follows after political scheming takes place. People are upset! And the new changes will most likely produce a backlash. This rider has a sword so close combat is in order. “Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another” (verse 4b). Our world has such a tenuous hold on “peace” as it is. There has not been one day without fighting somewhere in the world for a LONG time. I thought it was since the beginning of WWII but I can’t find that statistic. What I did find is another alarming statistic.
I don’t see that number of “entirely peaceful years” growing until the return of Jesus. It only gets worse from here. And the red horse and its rider don’t help matters at all. We EARNED this reputation and the rider is just showing us the truth of it.
The third rider brings what naturally follows conflicts; rising prices and shortages. If you don’t believe me just look at history. One extreme example is when Ben-Hadad seized Samaria in the time of Elisha. People were even eating their own children for survival. Shortages are a byproduct of war as supply lines are cut in order to increase pressure on the “enemy” to surrender. If Germany hadn’t run out of gas during WWII the outcome might have been different.
The fourth horse is another natural follower of war; death. Death isn’t confined to the battlefield in war. There are civilian casualties from the effects of war. This rider brings death in battle, death by famine and death by disease. His “ride” even affects the wild animals. He is allowed to kill “a fourth of the earth” (verse 8b). That is an ENORMOUS amount of casualties!
After the four creatures have called forth the riders, Jesus continues opening seals. He has opened four, one for each rider, and there are three remaining. The fifth one doesn’t unleash a horrible event but confirms one that has already been taking place. When Jesus opened the fifth seal then the voices of those slain for Him could be heard coming from the alter. They gave their lives for Him but those in attendance that day were not the totality of those who would lose their lives for His sake. “How long before You will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (verse 10b). I don’t know if their number included ALL the martyrs of the centuries or those from the tribulation period only.
The very first murder in the world was because of jealousy over God’s favor. One brother lived to honor God while the other didn’t. Able was essentially killed for God. Christians die every day in parts of the world, simply for professing faith in Him. Jesus WILL settle the accounts but it will happen in HIS time. Those “under the altar” were not being tortured but given rest and a white robe. There were many but not ALL of their complement had been brought together. I wonder if this complement will be those who ride with Him out of Heaven when He returns as The Conquer.
The sixth seal is now opened and the foundations of the earth and creation itself are shaken! “When He opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale” This will be an earthquake of MASSIVE proportions! I believe it will surpass a 10 on the Richter scale. I do not doubt that the sun’s changes will be involved in this unprecedented event. As the sun and moon are integral to our earth’s integrity. The heavenly bodies provide the gravity that keeps us in place, and our place provides just the right elements for our atmosphere. I would say ALL those elements are compromised during the opening of the sixth seal. This is the beginning of the end of the earth itself.
I will guarantee that this last seal has NOT happened yet. Some may try and argue that some of the seals have already been opened but NONE can argue this one has. I don’t see ¼ of the world’s population having been killed by sword, famine and disease at one time either, yet. ALL of these prophecies WILL happen.
Father God, I appreciate the warning you are giving me. I don’t know how to apply this to my life today except to be aware of what’s to come. I’m GLAD I know the conclusion to all that is still to come; YOU WIN! I also know that things here have to get much worse before the end comes. That is the hope I hold onto as this world goes from bad to worse. You are STILL in control and nothing happens without you knowing about it.
Thank You Holy Spirit for helping me walk through this letter. I KNOW there is SO MUCH MORE in this letter than I have seen yet. Reveal to me exactly what I need each time I read. I leave it ALL in Your hands.