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Revelation 6 First Four Seals

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First Four Seals

There are seven seals in Revelation. They contain God’s judgments that happen after the rapture and before the second coming of Jesus.

Revelation 6:1-8

This is a Bible Study. Have your own Bible handy to look up the references mentioned.

If you do not have a Bible, I invite you to go to or another online Bible.

This is the first time I have heard of the Olivet Discourse. It comes from Matthew 24-25;   Mark 13; and   Luke 21.

As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:3

Easley gives us three facts:

  1. “The way things will be” between first and second comings.
    1. “The End is still to come” Mark 13
    2. Jesus did not provide a specific sign.
  2. John was there when Jesus was speaking about the future in the gospels and Revelation 6.
    1. “The same Jesus prophesying future events using the same language must have in mind the same circumstances.”
  3. All seven seals must be removed in order for God’s Judgement Scroll of the future to be opened.
    1. No special end-time events will be revealed until after all seven seals are broken. (Easley, 105)

Matthew 24 and the seven seals

MacArthur gives us Parallel between Matthew 24 and the seven seals:

  1. “The first seal describes a brief, false peace that will precede the final holocaust.”
    1. Matthew 24:4-5 Jesus spoke of that peace
  2. “The second seal depicts worldwide war.”
    1. Matthew 24:6-7
  3. The third seal is famine
    1. Matthew 24:7
  4. The fourth seal is death
    1. Earthquakes and plagues
    2. Matthew 24:7
  5. The fifth seal reveals martyrs under the alter
    1. Matthew 24:9
  6. The sixth seal – the sky goes black
    1. Matthew 24:29
  7. The seventh seal is the final judgments
    1. Trumpet judgment
    2. Bowl judgment
    3. Matthew 24:27-44 (MacArthur, 177)

But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Matthew 24:8 First four seals

The last three seals are worse.

“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.” Matthew 24:42

The First Seal—False Peace

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals

John was watching Jesus break the first seal.

The four beasts are cherubim.     Ezekiel 10:15 and see the discussion in Revelation 4:6-8.

Noise of thunder, “Come.”

Remember your mother calling but you did not respond. Now your daddy is calling.

I have read in several commentaries that Come here could mean “Go”.

This is from Revelation 4:6b:

“The four living creatures are thus cherubim, an exalted order of angels frequently associated in Scripture which God’s holy power (e.g., 1 Samuel 4:4;   2 Samuel 6:2: 11;   Psalm 80:1; 99:1;  Isaiah 37:16).” (MacArthur, 153)

2. white horse,

“Horses in Scripture are associated with triumph, majesty, power and conquest.” (MacArthur, 178)

“The world’s desperate desire for international peace will serve as the bait for the satanic trap.” (MacArthur, 178)

He who sat on him had a bow;

The rider is not known.

Arrows are not mentioned.

A crown was given to him, and he went forth conquering and to conquer.

Some believe the rider of the white horse is Jesus.

Remember, Jesus is opening the scrolls, therefore He cannot be the rider.

He “has won a crown from the world for his triumphant achievements leading to world peace” (MacArthur, 179)

“He will not conquer by military force, but by cunning and deceit (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11).” (MacArthur, 179)

This leads some to think the rider is the Antichrist.

It is interesting to me that the Antichrist will be seeking peace! But it is the seeking of peace that gets him “elected” as a worldwide leader.

The Second Seal—War

3. The second seal is broken, and the second beast said “Come.”

4. Now a red horse went out.

Power was given this rider to take peace from the earth.

This happens “under God’s sovereign control.” (MacArthur, 180)

The Tribulation expresses “God’s wrath poured out on the world.” (MacArthur, 180)

Men would kill one another

“There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked.” Isaiah 57:21

There was given unto him a great sword.

This “refers to the short, stabbing sword a Roman soldier carried into battle” (MacArthur, 180)

“Antichrist’s setting up of the abomination of desolation (Daniel 11:31; 12:11; Matthew 24:15) will touch off a massive conflict, described in detail in Daniel 11:36-45.” (MacArthur, 181)

Being on Earth during the Tribulation will not be pleasant!

The Third Seal—Famine

5. The third seal has been opened and the third beast said Come and see.

“The color black is associated with famine in Lamentations 5:10 (KJV).”   (MacArthur, 182)

War brings about famine “as food supplies are destroyed and those involved in food production are killed.” (MacArthur, 182)

Matthew 24:7

The pair of balances the rider carried indicates that there will be a shortage of food.

6. I heard a voice.

God’s voice? The four beasts were near the throne of God.

A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny;

A denarius is a day’s wage.

We hear about inflation in countries around the world and their buying power is greatly reduced.

Some are starving.

The measure of wheat and the three measures of barley each would feed one person per day.

The wheat would almost be enough for one person in a day.

The barley would feed three people but is low in nutrition. (MacArthur, 183)

It will be difficult to feed a family on a person’s wages.

Do not hurt not the oil and the wine.

“Basic food staples will become priceless luxuries.” (MacArthur, 183)

This is only the first half of the Tribulation with the worst coming during the second half. (MacArthur, 183)

The Fourth Seal—Death

7. Again, when the fourth seal was opened John heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

8. I looked, and behold a pale horse;

This time the horse is ashen colored. His pale body is “the gray-green color of human corpses” (MacArthur, 108)

John knew that the rider was named Death.

Death follows war and famine. (MacArthur, 183)

Hell followed with him

“While death takes the body, hades is the place where the spirit of a lost man goes.” (McGee, 943)

Power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth

If this were to happen today, 1.5 billion people would die.

To kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Death will use the following:

  1. Sword
  2. Famine
  3. Pestilence
  4. Wild beasts

Lions, Tigers and Bears are some of the first wild animals that come to mind.

MacArthur has an interesting comment:

“Most creatures dangerous to man are either extinct or isolated in unpopulated regions. But one explanation may be that the most deadly creature of all, the rat, thrives in all populated areas. Rats have been responsible for uncounted millions throughout history, both by eating food supplies, and especially by spreading disease. The most infamous and devastating occurrence of rat-borne disease was the Black Death, a fourteenth-century outbreak of bubonic plague that wiped out one-fourth to one-third of Europe’s population. In a world ravaged by war, famine, and disease, the rat population may run wild.” (MacArthur, 184)

It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:31

How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? Hebrews 2:3


In this article Scripture quotations taken from KJV.

Easley, Kendell H., Holman New Testament Commentary: Revelation. Nashville: B&H, 1998
MacArthur, John. New Testament Commentary: Revelation 1-11. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1999
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume V. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983

The Lamb of God                                         The Fifth and Sixth Seals

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