Revelation 6

This entry is part 7 of 16 in the series Revelation

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” and I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer. (Rev 6:1-2)

The first of the seven seals will be broken early in the 70th week of Daniel, soon after the church has disappeared. Liberal scholars often identify the rider of the white horse as the Lord Jesus, pointing to his crown and the fact that he’s a conqueror. I think some part of their conclusion comes from watching all those TV westerns as kids, where the good guys always rode white horses.  I say that because this rider is most definitely not Jesus. He’s the anti-Christ.

What Makes You Think So?

In the first place he carries a bow. The Lord’s weapon of choice is a sword. The reason he has no arrows is that he won’t use force to make his initial impact on Earth. He comes as a peacemaker (Daniel 8:25). Since the Book of Revelation is filled with symbolism explained elsewhere in the Bible, I looked for a reference to a man with a bow, hoping to get an additional clue to this rider’s identity. I found it in Genesis 21:20, referring to Ishmael as an archer.  It’s the Bible’s first mention of a man with a bow. Earlier God said Ishmael would be a wild donkey of a man with his hand against everyone (Genesis 16:12).

As details of Islamic eschatology become more widely known, prophecy students are discovering a striking similarity between descriptions of al Mahdi, a Messianic figure from the Shiite tradition, and a figure Christians call the anti-Christ. (Please note that I’m not saying al Mahdi is the Moslem anti-Christ, called the Dajjal, but that he resembles the Christian anti-Christ.) Both come on the scene during a time of great turmoil on Earth, both come claiming a desire to restore peace, both have a seven year reign, both head a one world religion and one world government, both claim supernatural origins, and both reigns end in a battle between good and evil that brings about Earth’s final judgment.

The number of similarities between the two defies coincidence and continues to grow as knowledge of al Mahdi increases. Now with the connection between the Bible’s first archer and the man with a bow in Rev. 6, another piece of the puzzle may have fallen into place. Mohammed was descended from Kedar, second son of Ishmael, and Al Mahdi is the 12th Iman, descended from Mohammed. So he’s another son of Ishmael.

After the true Church is gone, those who also call themselves the church, but have been left behind, won’t have much trouble at all accepting Islam. They are already convinced that Islam is a religion of peace, and that Allah is another name for the God of the Bible.  And like Paul said, the anti-Christ’s display of “miraculous power” will be all it takes to deceive the whole world. Having refused to believe the truth they’ll be fair game for the lie (2 Thes.2:9-10).

Got Anything Else?

In the second place this guy’s wearing the wrong kind of crown. The Greek word for a king’s crown is diadem. But the rider on the white horse wears a stephanos, or victor’s crown. It was the award given to winners in the ancient Olympics and other public games. It was typically an ivy wreath, and in fact the word stephanos comes from a root meaning wreath. It identifies the wearer as a conqueror, but not as royalty. And in Revelation 13 where the Great Tribulation begins, we’re told that He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.

And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. (Rev. 13:7)

Why would Jesus make war with the tribulation saints to conquer them? Like I said, while he fools people into thinking he’s the Christ, he’s really the anti-Christ.

When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that men should slay one another, and he was given a great sword. (Rev. 6:3-4)

This is the point at which the anti-Christ turns to war to establish his authority over human governments and move the world toward his religion. The Moslem prophecies say this will be Islam, of course, and the Koran teaches conversion or death as the only alternatives available to “non-believers”.  Current studies speculate that Europe, far into its post Christian era, may already be on the verge of yielding to the growing Moslem influence, but other parts of the world will resist, causing much bloodshed.

If You Think This Is Bad …

Historically, the great sword held by the rider on the red horse was a long two-handed weapon wielded by mighty warriors who received double the average soldier’s wage. With overwhelming strength they hacked their way through enemy lines, leaving a gaping hole for the regular troops who followed. In just this way the anti-Christ will use supernatural power to tighten his grip on the world, enforcing his will upon the people of Earth. And remember, the Seal judgments are just the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week. The last half, called the Great Tribulation, is still to come and will be significantly more deadly.

When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard what seemed to be 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 wine!” (Rev 6:5-6)

Two things result when the world is plunged into uncertainty and wars erupt. First comes inflation, causing the prices of everything to skyrocket. When John wrote this, a denarius was the average pay for a day’s work, and that’s what it will cost to buy enough food for one day. Think of it. For many, a whole days wages will barely buy their food for that day. The next day it starts all over again. No money left for anything else.

Of course, the wealthy always benefit from inflation. When they see it coming, they’re able to convert their wealth into things that are either inflation proof, or actually increase in value during periods of inflation. The earliest example of this is comes from the Book of Genesis, when Joseph, who gained control of the world’s wheat supply on Pharaoh’s behalf, eventually acquired the entire wealth of Egypt in exchange for it. That’s what John meant by not harming the oil and wine, commodities that in his day were symbols of wealth. The vision he saw was famine amidst plenty. Both the Book of Daniel and the Moslem prophecies speak of the anti-Christ/al Mahdi showering lavish gifts on his followers while forcing his enemies into submission. (Daniel 11:39)

When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth. (Rev. 6:7-8)

The second result of war is famine and pestilence. Crops and food processing facilities are destroyed. Transportation networks are disrupted. Dead bodies are left where they fall and public health systems break down. Mass starvation and rampant disease often claim more victims than the battles that caused them. Animals become desperate for food and attack humans.

Some think the phrase “a fourth of the Earth” relates to geography and some think it describes the number of people involved. Either way, many will suffer and die during this time, while those not in the direct path of war will enjoy a false sense of peace and prosperity.

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 witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. (Rev. 6:9-11)

Just as the church has a fixed number to achieve before its time on Earth is fulfilled (Romans 11:25) so it is for believers who’re martyred for their faith following the Church’s disappearance. I believe these are the first post-rapture believers, martyred for their faith in the anti-Christ’s quest for world dominance.  Another large group will arrive in heaven soon after (Rev. 7:9) and through out the coming Great Tribulation untold numbers will be executed for the crime of believing in Jesus.  They’ll all receive resurrection bodies at the time of the Second Coming (Rev. 20:4).

An Eye For An Eye

In Hebrew the word translated “kinsman redeemer” also means “avenger of blood.” The same next of kin who was responsible for buying a relative out of debt related servitude or redeeming his lost property, was also responsible for avenging physical attacks against a relative that resulted in death (Numbers 35:18-19). The tribulation martyrs are calling for enforcement of this law.

Our Lord Jesus is our Kinsman Redeemer, come to pay our debts and buy back that which our father Adam lost. But He’s also our Avenger of Blood, responsible for bringing to justice the one who maliciously murdered our first parents and therefore all of us. Everyone who sides with Satan, called those who dwell on the Earth in Revelation, will share his punishment, just as we who side with the Lord, called those who dwell in heaven, will share His inheritance.

When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. (Rev. 6:12-14)

Some say this verse points to Matt. 24:29 and say it proves the seal judgments are an overview of the entire 70th Week.  But that can’t be true.  Although there are similarities between the two verses, they can’t be the same.  In Rev. 6:17  below the Kings of the Earth say the time of wrath has begun, but Matt. 24:29-31 describes the time just after the Great Tribulation ends.  Also Rev. 6:12-14 says the sun turns black and the moon blood red whereas in Matt. 24:29 the Sun and Moon both go dark, meaning they give no light.

A careful reading of this verse shows that the darkening of the Sun and the Moon turning to blood can’t be caused by an eclipse either.  A Solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth.  This causes the Sun’s light to go dim since a portion of it is blocked by the Moon.  But the moon, being much smaller cannot make the entire Sun turn black as this verse requires.

A Lunar eclipse happens when the Earth passes between the Sun and the Moon.  Here the intensity of the Sun’s light is not altered, but being in the shadow of Earth the Moon can turn a dark red, depending on the density of particulates in the Earth’s atmosphere.   As you can see, either one of these conditions can be caused by an eclipse of some sort, but no eclipse can cause both the Sun and Moon to be affected because it would require the Moon to be on both sides of the Earth at once.

A more likely cause would be a vast amount of particulates thrown into the atmosphere be the eruption of volcanoes or by massive fires on Earth caused by warfare.

Recently the magnetic North pole has begun drifting across Canada and is headed for Siberia. Also, the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field has weakened noticeably, being about 10% weaker now than when scientists began measuring it in 1845. Based on these findings, some scientists are now convinced that a reversal of the Earth’s magnetic poles is underway. They’re predicting that in 2012-2013 this reversal will be completed with the North pole having the polarity of the South pole and vice versa.

The Sun will also experience a polar reversal. The Sun’s magnetic poles reverse every eleven years, but in the memory of man, the Earth has never experienced a magnetic polar reversal. This double shift could produce even greater occurrences of massive quakes and volcanic eruptions of an unknown magnitude.

The Earth’s magnetic field helps protect us against harmful rays from the sun, and a polar reversal could cause this field to temporarily collapse just like the water vapor canopy around the earth collapsed at the time of the Great Flood. That event brought violent weather and drastically shortened life spans.

The effects of a magnetic field collapse would be even more severe. According to some projections, the electromagnetic energy released from the sun during a polar reversal could cause Earth’s upper atmosphere to “erupt in flames” if our magnetic field isn’t there to deflect it. Was John referring to this in saying the sky vanished like a scroll being rolled up? No one knows. We can only imagine what a sudden reversal of magnetic poles would do to life on Earth. Predictions range all the way from a temporary increase in the frequency and severity of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes to a worldwide disaster of “Biblical proportions.”  The convergence of other prophetic timelines leads me to believe that the 6th Seal Judgment might very well be John’s description of this coming dual Magnetic Polar Reversal.

Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Rev. 6:15-17)

It’s no surprise that verse 15 is reminiscent of Joshua 10:16. Of the 404 verses in Revelation, 280 are taken from the Old Testament. As they hide, the kings of the Earth unknowingly utter a prophecy we should all read carefully. “The great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” This passage has always been associated with the beginning of God’s wrath. The view that His wrath begins with the bowl judgments of Revelation 16 is a newcomer to studies of prophecy, and is incorrect.

Next time we’ll see the first group of 144,000 (there are two and they’re not the same) the arrival of an enormous group of Tribulation martyrs in Heaven, the completion of the Seal Judgments, and the beginning of round two, the Trumpet Judgments.

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