Reading through Revelation – Chapter 6 – The Lamb opens the first seals

The Four Horsemen


Revelation 6:1-8

GNV

6 1 The Lamb openeth the first seal of the book. 3 The second, 5 the third, 7 the fourth. . .

1 After I beheld when the Lamb had opened one of the seals, and I heard one of the four beasts say, as it were the noise of thunder, Come and see.

Therefore I beheld, and lo, there was a white horse, and he that sat on him, had a bow, and a crown was given unto him, and he went forth conquering that he might overcome.

And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

And there went out another horse, that was red, and 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.

5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. Then I beheld, and lo, a black horse, and he that sat on him, had balances in his hand.

And I 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 oil, and wine hurt thou not.

7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

And I looked, and behold, a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed after him, and power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with beasts of the earth.


Thoughts

Here are various views of this passage and study helps. A question for us is – does Revelation also deal with the long and important history of the Church or only with the End of the Age?


Insight from other bloggers: General

And Then Messiah Shall Come

Jerry Parks, in a comment

“The Revelation in my thinking, only reaffirms the oneness of Jew and Gentile as taught in scripture. It exposes the world totally corrupted by the fall of Satan, and covers a time period from that fall through the birth of Messiah; and extends through to the end of this age and beyond. . . Revelation is historic, and it is specific to future events. It is allegorical and it is literal to His plan for His creation and, more specifically, for His people in creation. It is awesome in its revealing of His judgments and final wrath, and of His love and final rewards.”


Commentaries

The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, The Moody Bible Institute, 1962

“Note that in these first four scenes there are no names of individuals, human or superhuman, no geographical terms, and no specific events. The judgments are, as it were, of a general nature: wars have occurred often on earth, and they are often accompanied by pestilence and by scarcity of food, if not famine conditions. This would seem to be, then, just a preliminary phase of the more terrible judgments to follow.” [p. 1506]

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Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
Revelation 6

The opening of the first six of the seven seals.

“. . . [Many] hold that all these seals have been fulfilled, the sixth having been so by the overthrow of paganism and establishment of Christianity under Constantine’s edict, A.D. 312. There can, however, be no doubt that at least the sixth seal is future, and is to be at the coming again of Christ. The great objection to supposing the seals to be finally and exhaustively fulfilled (though, probably, particular events may be partial fulfillments typical of the final and fullest one), is that, if so, they ought to furnish (as the destruction of Jerusalem, according to Christ’s prophecy, does) a strong external evidence of Revelation. . . Probably not isolated facts, but classes of events preparing the way for Christ’s coming kingdom, are intended by the opening of the seals.”

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The Final Prophecy of Jesus, Oral Edmond Collins, 2007

“The Revelation provides in apocalyptic symbols a general guide to the faithful who look to see the hand of Providence in history. . . for the original readers the vision would relate to the immediate future and then lead to Christ’s victory over Antichrist and the glorious return of the Lord Jesus to establish His Kingdom. . . [p. 119] 

“Because of the function of seals and because they appear only in the beginning of the book, the seal prophecies should be understood as introductory to the other prophecies which follow. Some ancient documents used multiple seals to provide the means of reading a preliminary copy of a text while preserving as unread and protected the official text. . . Similarly here, the several seals introduce six brief sequences. When the seventh seal is opened the larger part of the book remains to be read. These pertain to the subjects of principal concern – the coming war of Antichrist against the church, Christ’s victory in that war, and the glorious consummation of this age. The details of the six seal prophecies correspond so well with events of the first three Christian centuries that the reader familiar with that history should immediately see the correlation. . .” [p. 120]

A Bible study

Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete)

Chapter 6

“The book of the divine counsels being thus lodged in the hand of Christ, he loses no time, but immediately enters upon the work of opening the seals and publishing the contents; but this is done in such a manner as still leaves the predictions very abstruse and difficult to be understood. Hitherto the waters of the sanctuary have been as those in Ezekiel’s vision, only to the ankles, or to the knees, or to the loins at least; but here they begin to be a river that cannot be passed over. The visions which John saw, the epistles to the churches, the songs of praise, in the two foregoing chapters, had some things dark and hard to be understood; and yet they were rather milk for babes than meat for strong men; but now we are to launch into the deep, and our business is not so much to fathom it as to let down our net to take a draught. We shall only hint at what seems most obvious. The prophecies of this book are divided into seven seals opened, seven trumpets sounding, and seven vials poured out. It is supposed that the opening of the seven seals discloses those providences that concerned the church in the first three centuries, from the ascension of our Lord and Saviour to the reign of Constantine; this was represented in a book rolled up, and sealed in several places, so that, when one seal was opened, you might read so far of it, and so on, till the whole was unfolded. Yet we are not here told what was written in the book, but what John saw in figures enigmatical and hieroglyphic; and it is not for us to pretend to know ‘the times and seasons which the Father has put in his own power.’”


 A little Greek

Verse 2:

Therefore I beheld, and lo, there was a white horse, and he that sat on him, had a bow, and a crown was given unto him, and he went forth conquering that he might overcome.

Strong’s Concordance

stephanos: that which surrounds, i.e. a crown
Original Word: στέφανος, ου, ὁ
Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine
Transliteration: stephanos
Phonetic Spelling: (stef’-an-os)
Short Definition: a crown, garland
Definition: a crown, garland, honor, glory.

HELPS Word-studies

4735 stéphanos – properly, a wreath (garland), awarded to a victor in the ancient athletic games (like the Greek Olympics); the crown of victory (versus 1238 /diádēma, “a royal crown”).

[4735 (stéphanos) is used of a plaited wreath (“crown”), like the one made of thorns placed on the head of Christ at His trial (Mt 27:29, Mk 15:17; Jn 19:2,5).]


Devotional Commentary

James Nisbet’s Church Pulpit Commentary
Revelation 6

Verse 8

DEATH

‘Behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death.’

There are times when the near presence and the invincible power of death are felt with peculiar solemnity. What St. John saw in apocalyptic vision we see in solemn and often startling reality.

I. The ride of death.

(a) It is long. Death has been with us as long as man has been on the globe.

(b) It is powerful. Death triumphs now over everything and everybody. The sovereign on the throne; the peasant in the cottage must alike come under its power.

II. The fight with death. — Yet for the Christian death has lost its terrors because of the resurrection of the Lord of life. He confers on all that freely and fully accept Him as their Saviour and Lord a life —

(a) Which is spiritual and therefore real.

(b) Which is holy and therefore noble and blessed.

(c) Which is eternal. What we call death is only the passage into a brighter and ampler life.

III. The final overthrow of death. — That glorious time will come when Jesus Christ shall reign, and when all enemies shall be subdued beneath His feet. And the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.


 


 

Reading through Revelation – Solid advice I stumbled upon



Brethren, here is something I found while preparing my next post on Revelation. Lord bless your labors for the Lord Jesus, our Beloved!


2 Timothy 3:16

NASB

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

2 Peter 1:19-21

19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. 20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.


“Prolonged Study Needed for the Understanding of This Book. Because of its symbolism, its saturation with Old Testament passages and themes, the various schemes of interpretation that have developed concerning this book through the ages, and the profundity and vastness of the subjects that are here unveiled, I believe that the Apocalypse, above every other book of the Bible, will yield its meaning only to those who give it prolonged and careful study. Professor William Milligan has challengingly reminded us that, ‘The book is there, and it must either be excluded from the N.T., or the Church must continue her struggle to comprehend it until she succeeds in doing so. Consider – 1. In the first place, that we start with the supposition – a supposition denied by none of those to whom these lectures are addressed – that the Revelation of St. John is part of the Word of God. This consideration settles the whole question. The simple fact that a book has been given by the Almighty to man constitutes man’s obligation to make every effort to understand it. It may be hard to do so. We may be long defeated. Not less is the effort one that we are to make; using all the appliances in our power, and watching, if we still feel that we are in darkness, for the first symptoms of light. Nothing is more certain than that had it not been intended that we should use this book, the Exalted Redeemer would not have given it by revelation to His servant John’ (Lectures On the Apocalypse, p. 4).”

The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, 1962, pp. 1500-1501.