Revelation Chapter 6 Continued
Verses 7-8: The “fourth seal” brings “death” to a “fourth” of the population “of the earth”, through war, famine, and pestilence (compare Matt. 24:7; Luke 21:11). “Death” takes lives, and “Hell” (Hades), holds them for judgment.
Revelation 6:7 “And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.”
“Come and see”: This is a phrase often used by the Jews, to stir up attention to what is about to be said.
Revelation 6:8 “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with 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 the beasts of the earth.”
The Fourth Seal; “A Pale Horse” Or “Ashen”, the Greek word from which the English word “chlorophyll’ comes, describes the pale, ashen-green, pallor characteristic of the decomposition of a corpse. God grants this horseman the authority to bring death to 25% of the world’s population.
“Hell”: Or hades, the place of the dead, which is identified as a common and fitting partner for death (20:13; see note on 1:18). This horse represents death.
John says the rider who sat on this horse “was Death, and Hell followed with him. One quarter of the earth’s population, almost two billion people, will die as a result of a WWIII war.
I believe that this has to do with wars, such as the one in Israel now, famine and drought worldwide, and death from hundreds of other things. An example is the plant in Russia, Chernobyl, which exploded. “Chernobyl” means wormwood. The Bible says a third of water will become wormwood (Rev. 8:11). I really believe this happens later in the scenario.
That Hades follows Death shows that those slain are unbelievers, for upon death believers do not go to Hades but straight to the Savior’s side.
This “pale” here, means a sickly color, a sickly green color, as if sick to the death. “Death, and Hell” are grouped, meaning a termination of earthly dwelling. Death is inevitable for every one of us. Death of the body, that is. Hell does await some, but heaven awaits Christians. Hell is sometimes a word used for the grave. In that particular instance, Hell would follow death, because the bodies of the unrepentant will lie in the grave until resurrection day. Believers would immediately go to heaven and be “under the altar”.
I really believe this is a time in the end that is spoken of as a time when men’s hearts will fail them for fear of things that are coming upon the earth (Luke 21:26). We have the capability to knock the earth off of its axis with the nuclear bombs. Fear is rampant, not only here in the U.S., but around the world. All it would take is for one crazy man to push the wrong button and total destruction could occur.
Satan takes peace from the earth, but Christians have THE PEACE, Jesus, in the midst of the problems. In Matthew;
Matthew 24:7 “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”
Matthew 24:13, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
Verses 9-11: The “fifth seal” presents the martyrdom of Tribulation saints throughout the world. They will come to faith in Christ following the Rapture (compare 7:9-17), and many will be killed by satanic opposition to their testimony of Christ. They plead for God’s judgment on their unbelieving oppressors (Antichrist and his followers). The “white robes” depict their righteous standing before God. More saints will be martyred, since there is much more of the Tribulation to come.
Revelation 6:9 “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:”
“Fifth seal”: This seal describes the force of the saint’s prayers for God’s vengeance. Its events will begin in the first half and mark the mid-point and events following, in the 7 year period, which the last 3-1/2 years is called the Great Tribulation (2:22; 7:14; see notes on Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:3-4). The second 3-1/2 year period (11:2; 12:6; 13:5), features the Day of the Lord, in which God unleashes His judgment and wrath on the earth in intensifying waves (see note on 1 Thess. 5:2).
When the fifth seal is broken, John sees “under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.” Christians martyred for their faith (compare 7:9, 13-15; 17:6; Matt. 24:9-14; see also Mark 13:9-13; Luke 21:12-19).
Shortly after the beginning of the Tribulation there will be a great “soul harvest” in which many millions will come to faith in Christ, many as a result of the preaching of the 144,000 Jewish witnesses described (in Rev. chapter 7).
Most of these Tribulation saints will be killed by the forces of Antichrist. These martyred souls will cry out for God to avenge their deaths, but they will be told to “rest a little while longer,” until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
Imagine! Despite the desperate evil of the Antichrist, despite the horrors of war and famine and pestilence and death, God is still so much in control of earthly events that even the number of believing martyrs has been fixed by divine decree.
God tells us, as the apostle Paul reminds us in 2 Thessalonians:
2 Thess. 1:6-8 “It is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you,” “and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels,” “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
So many churches have forgotten that persecution comes to the true believer. Many teach that if you are not living prosperously, both physically and spiritually, that you are not in right standing. That’s certainly just not so, quite the opposite is true.
We must be crucified with Christ. We must get our flesh under subjection.
In Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
The Christian has tribulation which makes him strong. We are no better than our Master. If He suffered, we will suffer. The difference in our suffering and His, is that our suffering is generally not unto the death.
Revelation 6:10 “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”
John did not see these souls with his physical eye, but saw them in the Spirit. These souls were waiting for the Judge of all the earth to interrupt the evil of the devil and his persecution of the saints who remained there. Their cry was the same, in a sense, as the Christians who say, come quickly Lord Jesus.
This is not a reprimand of the Lord, but just a pleading for it to all be over. These souls are not looking for vengeance, but are just crying out for the Lord to end all of it and set up His kingdom. Who better can sympathize with our generation of martyrs than the martyrs of the past? Some of the martyrs of today are not physically killed, but are persecuted by their peers.
Revelation 6:11 “And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they [were], should be fulfilled.”
These are the ones who were martyred during the tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. White robes are the uniform issued to all believers in the Lord Jesus (see note on 3:4).
“Rest yet for a little season”: God will answer their prayer for vengeance, but in His time. God has predetermined the number of the righteous whose death He will allow before moving to destroy the rebels.
When the fullness of time comes, the time that God has chosen, Jesus will appear in the clouds and blow the silver trumpet of redemption. He will gather all believers with Him in heaven. He will not come one hour early or late. He will be on time. It will be at the specific time He chose from the foundation of the earth.
These martyrs are our fellow servants. They arrived in heaven the same way we will, through their faith unto the death. The white in these “white robes” shows that these have been victorious over the problems in this earth.
Revelation Chapter 6 Continued Questions
1. Who spoke when the fourth seal was opened?
2. What was the fourth horse’s color?
3. What was the name of the one that sat on him?
4. What was he given power to do?
5. What does this “pale” mean?
6. “Death and Hell” grouped means what?
7. What is the grave sometimes translated?
8. Men’s hearts will fail them because of what?
9. If one crazy person pushed the wrong button, what could happen?
10. What does Chernobyl mean?
11. In Matthew 24, name four terrible things that occur?
12. Who shall be saved in Matthew 24:13?
13. When the fifth seal was opened, who did John see under the altar?
14. Why were they slain?
15. What comes to the true believer?
16. Some of the modernists would have us believe what?
17. In Gal. 2:20, we are told that we must be ___________ with Christ.
18. What is the difference in our suffering and Jesus’ suffering?
19. What were these souls under the altar crying out?
20. What is the cry of the true believers?
21. What type of clothing did the martyrs have?
22. What was the reason Jesus had not already come?
23. What sign in the clouds will occur when the end comes?
24. When did God set the time for the end?