Part 015 – Breaking the first four seals

The Book of REVELATION

 

A Study

Part 015

Breaking the first four seals – Revelation Chapter 6:1-8

As we have seen in the preceding parts of this study, the 2000-year dispensation in which God deals with the Church will have been completed, prior to the breaking of these seals. This 2000-year period is unseen by all the Old Testament prophets including Daniel and it is occurring between the sixty-ninth and seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy. “Time” fulfilling Daniel’s prophecy has been stopped at the end of the sixty-ninth week. After God completes all His dealings with the Church, and removes the whole Church from the earth into the heavens, “time” in Daniel’s prophecy will be resumed, fulfilling the final seven years. The redemption of the inheritance as well as the complete restoration of Israel will occur during these final seven years referred to as the Tribulation. When each one of the first four seals is broken, a horse of a particular color is seen, and the rider on the horse has descriptions corresponding to the color of the horse. All those details being depicted are full of imagery and figurative language. On reading and studying the text, it becomes evident that all four are inseparably connected, and they are the actions of one man, occurring at different times.

Breaking of the First Seal and the Rider on a White Horse (Rev.6:1, 2)

The breaking of the first seal of the scroll will mark the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation in the Book of Revelation (Rev.6:1, 2) whereas the ratifying of a covenant by the destroying prince will mark the beginning of same period in the Book of Daniel (Dan.9:26, 27). When the first seal is broken, we see a white horse and the rider possessing only a bow with no arrows. He is wearing a crown – the Greek word used here for crown in stephanos (a victor’s crown) and not diadema (a monarch’s crown). And this man goes forth “conquering and to conquer.” From these descriptions, we can understand that though this man appears as a man of peace, he has aspirations of worldwide dominion and he will achieve it by the middle of the Tribulation (after 3½ years). And after that (in Rev.13:1, 2) he will be seen wearing a crown depicted by the word diadema (a crown worn by one actually seated on a throne and ruling over a domain). To understand how this man will accomplish his objective, we need only to compare Rev.6:2 with Dan.11:21. Comparing Scripture with Scripture is the proper way to study the Word of God. The rider on the white horse in Rev.6:2 can clearly be identified as “the prince of the covenant” in Dan.11:22, 28, 30-32, who can only be “the prince that shall come… and shall confirm a covenant with many” mentioned in Dan.9:26, 27. According to Dan.11:21, he will be “a vile person” and he will not be able to obtain the kingdom through honorable means; but he will come “peaceably” (depicted by the white horse) and obtain the kingdom “by flatteries” (depicted by the bow without arrows). The word flatteries/intrigue (Dan.11:21, 24, 32, 34) indicates that he will go forth “conquering and to conquer” in a beguiling and scheming manner through deception and trickery. This man will also possess oratory capabilities which he will use to deceive the masses (Dan.7:25; 11:36). Thus, this man will appear as one who seemingly has the answers for the intractable Middle East peace and will manage to formulate a covenant with “many” in Israel. For three and one half years this man will continue his conquest in this manner until the day arrives when his true colors are seen through that depicted by the red, black and pale horses which appear following the breaking of the second, third and fourth seals.

Breaking of the Second Seal and the Rider on a Red Horse (Rev.6:3, 4)

Israel and the covenant have the key to understand this man’s rise to power and the eventual fall from power. God has placed Israel in the midst of the nations (Ezek.5:5); stability and security surrounding Israel has direct ramifications affecting all of the Gentile nations, beginning in the Middle East and extending worldwide (Gen.12:1-3; Duet.32:8-10; Zech2:8). It is evident from the things stated in Daniel’s prophecy that the covenant which “the prince that shall come” will make with “many” in Israel will have to do, at least in part, with allowing Israel to rebuild her Temple on the Temple Mount and the reinstitution of Old Testament priesthood and sacrifices. For the Jewish people to attempt such a thing today, under the present circumstances, would present insurmountable problems. But in that coming day, this man will apparently possess the ability to solve this problem which seems to be impossible today. In Daniel’s prophecy, the things related to both his making and then breaking the covenant occupy center-stage. When this man does break his covenant, after 3½ years, in the middle of the Tribulation, things will begin to change rapidly. He will break the covenant through causing “the sacrifice and oblation to cease” and entering and desecrating the Holy of Holies of the rebuilt Temple. He will sit “in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2Thess.2:4). And when this occurs, the Jewish people in Judea are told to run for their lives, to flee into the mountains or into a place in the desert which God will have prepared for their protection (Matt.24:15, 16; Luke 21:20, 21; Rev.12:6, 14-16). The Jewish people are told to not even take time to gather any of their belongings but to flee for their lives (Matt.24:17-20). This man with his allied forces (Dan.11:30, 31) will destroy both the Temple and the city of Jerusalem (Dan.9:26). The Jewish people, who do not escape, will then “be led away captives into all nations” (Luke 21:24a). And the nation of Israel, as we know it today, will cease to exist. The cry for the utter destruction of Israel will seemingly have been realized (Psa.83:4). A destroyed Jerusalem will then “be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24b; Rev.11:2). All these things will come to pass when the second seal on the seven-sealed scroll has been broken. Peace effected through the rider on the white horse, will be taken from the earth. The man who rode out with only “a bow” in his hand (Rev.6:2), effecting peace through his eloquence and through making a covenant with Israel, is now seen as riding forth in a different manner entirely, on a red horse, and having “a great sword in his hand” (Rev.6:4; Dan.11:36-39). Positive and negative ramifications surrounding the treatment of the children of Israel are given in Gen.12:1-3 and remain just as true today as ever. Individuals and nations that befriend Israel realize blessings from God. And the converse of that is equally true. That is why when this man accords ill-treatment to Israel in the middle of the Tribulation he will be according like ill-treatment to himself. And since he will be the world ruler at that time, this man will be committing national suicide on behalf of all these nations – a sentence which will be carried out at the end of the Tribulation, when Christ returns (Isa.63:1-6, Dan.2:34, 35, 40-45; Rev.19:17-21).

Breaking of the Third Seal and the Rider on a Black Horse (Rev.6:5, 6)

Breaking of the previous seal depicted war whereas that depicted here is famine, which follows in the aftermath of war. The greatest famine in the history of the earth will grip the world for the simple reason that the greatest persecution of the Jewish people will have come upon the nation. The man riding the black horse is seen with a pair of balances in his hand and a voice is heard proclaiming, “a quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius…” This shows that only a minimal amount of food can be purchased with a day’s wage; for the general populace life will be merely a struggle for survival. The remaining statement, “…and do not harm the oil and the wine” refers to the food of the rich people; the few who have amassed huge wealth will be living in ease with unlimited provisions at their disposal. What will be the end result of war followed by famine? This is seen when this man rides forth on a pale horse.

Breaking of the Fourth Seal and the Rider on a Pale Horse (Rev.6:7, 8)

Because of that previously brought to pass (depicted by the rider on the red and black horses) the rider on the pale horse was given power over one-fourth of the population of the earth. One out of every four individuals on the earth will die, as the result of war, hunger and consequent diseases, attacks of hungry wild animals, or any number of other causes wrought by circumstances. The end result of peace being taken from the earth – resulting directly from the greatest persecution in the history of the Jewish people falling upon the nation – will be “Death” with “Hades (the place of the dead)” following fast on the heels of death. All this will occur on that coming day because of the outworking of the principles of Gen.12:3.