The Lamb Opened the Sealed Book
– Revelation Six –

   Revelation chapter six gives an account of the Lamb opening six of the seven seals on the little book. It is at this point that we begin to hear many of the wild and fanatic things that are taught by men concerning the Revelation. There is no disagreement as to the first chapters in the book. The Lord addressed the churches, showed both their good and their evils and explained to them how to have God's approval.

   Now the attention of the book turns to that which was future at the time John wrote. The book began with the words, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John." (Revelation 1:1) The things John saw dealt with things that would shortly come to pass, but the principles would last throughout the history of man.

   The book of Revelation does not name people and places. It gives principles of victory for God's persecuted people. John wrote his message primarily for the encouragement of the people of his own day. Much of the book was fulfilled shortly after John wrote it by inspiration. However, the principles of the book were not exhausted then. In the time that followed John there would be many events to which these symbols and principles might well be applied.

   God intended us to understand this great book. It contains 278 references to the Old Testament. Prophecy must be obscure by its nature. It is much easier to explain prophecy looking back on it than it is to explain it looking forward. Revelation six pictured Jesus opening the sealed book that dealt with the future of man.

   Six seals are revealed in this chapter. (1) The first seal revealed a white horse with a rider that had a bow and a crown. (Revelation 6:1-2) (2) The second seal revealed a red horse with a rider that had power to take peace from the earth. (Revelation 6:3-4) (3) The third seal revealed a black horse with a rider that had a pair of balance scales in his hand. (Revelation 6:5-6) (4) The fourth seal revealed a pale horse with a rider that is named Death, and Hell followed him. (Revelation 6:7-8) (5) The fifth seal revealed souls of those that were slain for the word of God praying to God that He would avenge their blood. (Revelation 6:9-11) (6) The sixth seal revealed a time of public commotion and calamity. As Jesus opened the sealed book we observe God's purpose for the persecuted church.

   Seals one and two were opened - Revelation 6:1-4: The first seal is a picture of victory for God's people. The victor always rode a white horse after the battle. The one on the horse is royalty. He had a crown on His head. Jesus said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." (Matthew 28:18)  The one on the white horse carried a bow. The picture of the Christ was that Rome would not stand. There would be victory for the faithful Christian. God had already said, "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." (Revelation 2:10) The rider on the white horse is the "Word of God." (Revelation 19:11-13) The message is simple – those conquered by the gospel will be victorious.

   The second seal revealed a rider on a red horse. Red represents danger. You can see war or bloodshed in this symbol. Here is a picture of what the Devil did to try to stop the work of the gospel. "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." The Devil did not have this power on his on. He was "given" or allowed to have this power. The power of the Devil was not ultimate power because the power of God is greater.

   Seals three and four were opened – Revelation 6:5-8: The third seal revealed a rider on a black horse. John "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." The picture here is that of economic discrimination in a time of prosperity. A Christian man was allowed to buy only a meager amount of food for one person with his day's earnings. That left nothing for food for his family and other family needs. The persecution meant that Christians had nothing beyond the necessities of life. However, on life’s other side Christians have abundance and those that persecuted them have nothing.

   The fourth seal revealed a pale horse and a rider named Death and Hell followed him. The pale horse gave us a picture of death itself. Death killed and Hell (Hades – the grave) followed to gather the slain. God's people are given hope because there is not a complete destruction. God limited how far the destruction could go. This fact is often seen in others visions. Christians should take courage. All is not lost!

   Seal five was opened – Revelation 6:9-11: The fifth seal pictured souls under the alter crying for vindication. The soul is the real person. Our body is only a temporary house.

   These precious ones have died in the Lord and now they are in His presence. They were "faithful" to God under all circumstances. They were concerned, not for themselves but for the cause of Christ. God promised that He would judge those that opposed His cause. The saints were to wait patiently in white robes until that time.

   Seal six was opened – Revelation 6:12-17: The sixth seal pictured the day of the Lord as a Day of Judgment upon a wicked nation. John used the same idea the prophets had used to picture the judgment of God. "Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come." (Joel 1:15) This is just a picture or promise of that coming judgment.

   The Christian would think in this way, "For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" They would wonder what would happen to Christians when God brought that terrible judgment. Revelation seven helped to answer that question. The believer can stand in the face of this great wrath of God because Jesus bore the wrath the believer deserved.

   God's destructive power will come against those that do not obey the gospel and serve faithfully. To obey the gospel one must hear God's truth (Romans 10:17), be­lieve in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Jesus as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (I Peter 3:21) After baptism one must serve God faithfully regardless of circumstances. Under any condition, we are always better off to serve God.