Stephen Caswell © 2004
This morning we will continue our series in the Book of Revelation. In chapter 6 we will see that everything that happens on earth is governed by Jesus Christ. As He opens the seals in heaven events unfold on the earth. The Lord God Almighty is sovereign over all. The seven sealed book that Christ takes out of the Father’s right hand is His plan to judge sin and establish a righteous kingdom. We will see Him unloose the 7 seals in heaven.
First Seal – Anti-Christ The Conqueror
Revelation 6:1-2: Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, Come and see. And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.
After the Lamb opened the first seal a powerful leader enters the stage of human history. In Roman times victorious generals led their armies in a home coming parade seated on a white horse. It was an honor reserved for conquerors. This leader wears a victors crown showing that he has been given authority. The bow in his hand also speaks of power. However the absence of arrows seems to indicate peaceful conquest. He will have high intelligence, great oratory ability and be a military genius. He will have a strong physical appearance and a charismatic personality. This powerful leader rides out in conquest to establish a one world government. Some theologians say that this is Jesus Christ conquering the world with the Gospel. Yet in ch. 19 the Lord Jesus Christ wears a diadem διάδημα or kingly crown, not a victor’s crown στεφανος as this man has.
Jesus warned us that false Christ’s would appear. This ruler is not Christ but Anti-Christ. Matthew 24:5: For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will deceive many. The prefix anti means both instead of and against. Through deceit he will attempt to take the place of Jesus Christ as God’s Messiah. Initially, he conquers the world through diplomacy and peace. He is hailed as the world’s savior when he brings peace to the Middle East. Daniel 9:27a: Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; He will also oppose everything good that Christ has done. A closer look at the following riders shows that he doesn’t bring lasting peace but war and bloodshed. The Anti-Christ pretends to be a peacemaker when in actual fact he is a war monger.
One day soon this man of sin will appear. For the time being God is restraining him from taking control of the world. 2 Thessalonians 2:7-10: For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
Many years ago the world leaders met together for a conference. During that conference they said this, We need a man to lead us who can solve all of our problems and bring in world wide peace. Such a man we will follow anywhere even if he is the devil himself.
Lesson: If man won’t be ruled by God, he will be ruled by tyrants. If you don’t believe the truth you will fall for the lie. If you reject God’s Son you will receive Satan’s son.
Second Seal – Anti-Christ The Warrior
Revelation 6:3-4: When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, Come and see. Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.
Most of the people in the world will think that their new leader is a good man. Many will even think that he is the Messiah. His leadership and diplomacy will be very convincing and his speeches will win over the masses. However, he has a dark side. After 3 ½ years of peace the Anti-Christ will break his peace treaty and there will be bloodshed like the world has never seen. The red horse speaks of bloodshed whilst the large sword speaks of warfare. He has been given authority to take peace from the earth. 1 Thessalonians 5:3: For when they say, Peace and safety! then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
Jesus warned us about this too. Matthew 24:6-7a: And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. Daniel 9:27: Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.
The 7 year peace treaty Anti-Christ signs with Israel will allow them to rebuild the temple. It would seem that when they complete it the Anti-Christ will move into the most holy place and proclaim himself to be God. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4: Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
At this point the Anti-Christ will demand that everyone worship him as God. Israel will see him as an impostor and flee. In turn the Anti-Christ will persecute the Jews and every believer. He will attack the saints with unbelievable cruelty. The nations of the world will become afraid of him as he wages war against all opposition. Revelation 13:4: So they worshiped the dragon (Satan) who gave authority to the beast (the Anti-Christ); and they worshiped the beast, saying, who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him? No one will be able to withstand the power of the Anti-Christ except Jesus Christ and His servants.
Lesson to learn: Only Jesus Christ can bring peace to mankind and to this world; only He is the Prince of Peace. All others are impostors!
Third Seal – Anti-Christ The Dictator
When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, Come and see. So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.
The color black is often connected with famine. A natural consequence of war is famine. There will be a worldwide lack of food. As a result, food prices will go sky high. It will take a day’s wages to pay for a day’s food. There are probably a number of reasons for this famine. Anti-Christ wont’ allow anyone to buy or sell without his mark. Christ warned there would be famines at the end of time. Matthew 24:7: For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. God will also punish the Anti-Christ by sending a drought for 3 ½ years upon his kingdom. This happens while His 2 witnesses testify against the Anti-Christ and his wickedness. Elijah did something similar to King Ahab.
Revelation 11:3-6: And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire. Lesson to learn: We must look to God for our daily needs, not man.
Fourth Seal – Anti-Christ The Destroyer
Revelation 6:7-8: When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, Come and see. So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.
In the frescoes of Signorelli we have The Teaching of Antichrist — no repulsive figure, but a grand personage in flowing robes, and with a noble countenance, which at a distance might easily be taken for the Savior. To him the crowd are eagerly gathering and listening, and it is only when you draw close that you can discover in his harder and cynical expression, and from the evil spirit whispering in his ear, that it is not Christ.
In Revelation chapter 13 we are told that this new world leader looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon. He pretends to be the savior of mankind whilst really he is a destroyer. In fact he is often called the beast in the book of Revelation. His other titles include the man of sin, the lawless one and the son of perdition.
The natural consequence of war, famine, pestilence, wild beasts and earthquakes is death. Death rides out on a pale horse to claim the bodies of those who are affected by these calamities. Hades follows after him to claim the souls and spirits of those dying without Christ. 25% of the Earth’s population will be killed as a result of Anti-Christ’s rule.
Lesson: Satan promises prosperity and brings want, peace and brings war, life and brings death. He has been a liar and murderer from the very beginning. Not the Savior
Fifth Seal – Anti-Christ The Murderer
Revelation 6:9-10: When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?
Yet amidst all of this conflict and death God saves a great multitude of people. Millions will give their lives to Jesus Christ in response to the preaching of 144,000 witnesses. There will also be 2 prophets that will preach the truth and perform miracles. The Anti-Christ will be angered by this and have many of these saints put to death. He won’t tolerate them preaching the truth. He wants to spread his lies unopposed. Therefore he will oppose all of God’s people. These martyred saints are no longer on the earth, they are now in heaven. Their suffering is over. They are safely home with the Lord.
Why are they under the altar? Because they gave their lives as a sacrifice to Jesus Christ. The foot of the altar was the place where the blood from the sacrifices was poured out. Humanly speaking we might think that they wasted their lives. But this is not God’s perspective on it. He is pleased with their loyalty and faithfulness. Revelation 12:11: And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. The word overcome means νικάω, to conquer, be victorious. Paul says, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Dying for Jesus Christ is not a waste but a privilege. 160,000 gave their lives for Christ in 1998.
These precious saints ask how long until God avenges their blood and executes judgment on the wicked. They are given white robes and told to wait patiently as others will soon join them. Christ warned His disciples that persecution would intensify towards the end of the age. Matthew 24:9-14: Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Lesson to learn: We are safe in God’s care, nothing can separate us from His love. Sacrifice made for Christ is not a waste but a privilege. Absent from the body present with the Lord. Fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell.
Sixth Seal – Christ Is Lord
The Anti-Christ is an impostor. Only Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Everything that has unfolded on earth has been ordained or allowed by heaven. Heaven truly does rule. Let’s have a close look at the Lamb’s power.
a. Over The Physical Universe
6:12: I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.
Christ’s power over the universe is supreme. He controls what happens on the earth, in the heavens and through out the universe. This earthquake will be huge. It will affect all of the earth. The Lord has promised to shake the earth one day. His authority has a direct effect upon both the fallen angels and sinful inhabitants of the earth. When the Lamb opens the 6th seal the sun becomes darkened and refuses to shine. The moon becomes like blood. This darkness will cause men to fear. These events are also predicted by the Old Testament prophets. Joel 2:30-31: And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
Isaiah 13:9-11: Behold, the day of the Lord comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine. I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. God will perform wonders in heaven and on earth at the end of the age. His wrath will be poured out on the wicked in full measure.
b. Over The Spirit World
Revelation 6:13: And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.
God’s judgment is not reserved for mankind only. He will also punish the fallen angels for their rebellion and wickedness. The stars falling to the earth refers to angels not the stars in space which are far greater in size than the earth. Angels are describes as stars a number many times in the Bible. Revelation 12:3-4 refers to fallen angels this way. God will punish these wicked spirits by casting them to the earth. They will no longer be allowed to fly through our atmosphere. They will be humbled by their Maker.
Isa 24:21-23: It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord will punish on high the host of exalted ones, and on the earth the kings of the earth. They will be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and will be shut up in the prison; after many days they will be punished. Then the moon will be disgraced and the sun ashamed; for the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His elders, gloriously. Lesson: We cannot make Jesus Christ Lord; He is Lord of the universe. But are we submitted to His rule? Does he have 1st place? He won’t bless until He has 1st place.
Seventh Seal – Christ Revealed
Revelation 6:14: Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. Revelation 8:1: When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
When you go to the theatre or the movies you can’t see anything at first because a curtain covers the stage. When all is ready the curtain recedes. The closed curtain adds to the suspense of the drama about to be revealed.
Verse 14 tells us that the sky will recede like a scroll. Why? To reveal God in all His glory to the world. The climax of all of this will be the appearing of Jesus Christ in the heavens. Jesus Christ will return as King of Kings riding on a white horse. Firstly, the sky will open and reveal heaven, the place of God’s throne. We read this in verse 14. Secondly, the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the heavens. We will see Him in all of His glory. Christ will not come immediately but tarry allowing the earth to see His glory, His power and His splendor. Thirdly, He will come to the earth. We will see Him travel through space to the earth. Revelation 8:1: When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. This is the quiet before the storm.
Matthew 24:29-30: Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Revelation 19:11-16: Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
What is the result of this revelation of God and the Lamb? Fear and panic from the wicked on the earth! Revelation 6:15-17: And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?
Military commanders often lined up against each other. They tried to intimidate the opposing army by their size and apparent might. Sometimes they stared each other out for a while before the battle trying to frighten their opponents.
Christ doesn’t try this. He succeeds. His glory and power will cause the mightiest men to tremble like a babies. The wicked will say who can stand in the great day of God’s wrath? Only the saints.
The wicked will hide in caves and in the rocks of the mountains. They will seek to hide from the glory, holiness and righteous wrath of God. When sinful man is confronted by a holy God he tries to hide his sin. Adam and Eve did this 6,000 years ago. People are still trying to hide their sin today. One day soon all of the world will try and hide from God, and they will fail dismally!
Lesson to learn: God is in control. Heaven truly does rule. Better to confess our sin and receive God’s mercy than wait till later and receive wrath.
The important lesson to learn from today’s passage is that God is in control. Since the Lord Jesus Christ has absolute power we should only fear Him. He is the one we must fear, love, serve and obey.
Jude 24-25: Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.