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The Book of the Revelation has always been regarded, by all who have taught it, as unlike any other of the books in the Bible.
Revelation is not only the ending to God’s Word, it is also an invitation from God.
To prepare us for our overview of all 17 verses of Revelation 6, look with me again at the first 8 verses of Revelation 1. Right from the opening words of this book, God explains to us:
Why Would God Want Every Church of Every Generation to Study the Revelation of Jesus Christ?
As we read these eight verses we will see the purposes of God for culminating the Bible with this Book called Revelation. Please stand with me and listen to why God has sent the book of Revelation to us Christ’s church:
Revelation 1:1-8 (NKJV) The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
These first 8 verses show us where God is going with this message He wanted every generation of Christ’s church to hear, to read, and to do. What exactly are we to hear and read?
To Emphasize the Glory & Power of Christ
- So we can see, follow, and trust Jesus Christ as the Almighty God, the Son: that is the message of chapter 1’s immense description of the Risen, Glorified, and now Unveiled Christ.
That is who Jesus really is. God wants the Risen Christ unveiled to our understanding. He is no longer humbled and in the form of a servant. He is Omnipotent & Almighty. Think of Jesus as: ” The Alpha & Omega, The Beginning & the End, Who was and Who is and Who is to come, the Almighty”.
That is whom we love, serve, and trust today.
- So we can know that Almighty Jesus Christ is watching & working with His churches: that is the message of chapter 2 & 3’s amazing seven letters.
That is why Paul said that Jesus is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think. Jesus is the Almighty Savior of the Church. Nothing is too hard for Him in our personal lives, family lives, and ministry lives.
That is who we pray to: Almighty Jesus. That is who we abide in: Almighty Jesus. That is what God wanted us to see, to know, and to be blessed by in Revelation.
- So that we can see what happens when Almighty Jesus Christ Returns: for His bride the church to bring them around God’s Throne, that is the message of chapters 4 &5. That is what God wanted us to see and understand the immensity of what that means.
Almighty Jesus the Judge, to the world as King to pour out His wrath upon sinners and to rescue Israel, that is the message of chapters 6-19. Jesus has designed each stage of His return. First people are allowed to be as bad as they want to be, and the world goes crazy and ¼ of them die. Then Jesus begins to unleash the wrath of God. Then the world shakes, and people cower, and Jesus returns in blazing fire taking vengeance on rebels.
That is what God wanted us to see, understand, and be blessed to know that all sin will be dealt with, no one will escape the Great White Throne of Christ’s Judgment.
A picture has been said to be worth a thousand words. What pictures can we draw from these verses to help us understand and do what He desires us to do?
God’s Plan Pictured for Us
Almost every Bible teacher who interprets the Scriptures normally, the way we would any other thing we read, comes to the conclusion that all of the prophecies in the Old Testament about Israel as a nation, are like the events described in Revelation 6-19: they are both events in the future. That’s how they were plainly described in both places as future, unique, and global.
Such a plain, simple, and normal treatment of God’s Word necessitates that we distinguish clearly between God’s plans for Israel and for the Church. My perspective on explaining God’s Word could be described as: interpreting the Scriptures consistently using the literal, grammatical, historical method; and from the pre-tribulational, pre-millennial perspective.
Revelation’s Seven Clear Events
The Book of the Revelation takes us through seven very clear and simple events in the 22 chapters. Here they are exactly in the order revealed by God in His Word:
- Christ’s church on Earth (chapters 1-3); Then we see
- Christ’s church in Heaven (chapters 4-5, 19:1-10) by way of His coming to take us to Himself promised in John 14, Acts 1, 1 Cor. 15, and 1 Th. 4. Then we see the promised
- Tribulation events in Heaven and on Earth, with two halves as described in God’s Word (chapters 6-18), then the
- Second Coming (chapter 19:11-21), then the
- Earthly Millennial Rule of Christ (20:1-6), then the
- Final Rebellion and Great White Throne final judgment (20:7-15), and then
- Eternity & Heaven (chapters 21-22).
Those clearly described events look even clearer with a chart picturing them. With the chart the events that are explained and described in other parts of the Bible can be fit clearly into place.
Now watch as I place around the framework of Revelation, the other two events that Jesus, John, Paul & Luke add into this amazing panorama of the future. Those events are the Rapture of the Church and the Bema Seat Judgment of Believers.
First, John records how Jesus promises us a place in His Father’s House that He is going to prepare for us (John 14), that He is coming back to receive us and take us home.
Second, Luke 24 adds that Jesus left His disciples in an event seen only by them, while he blessed them and went up into the clouds. Luke continues in Acts 1 capturing Jesus saying that He was coming back in the same way He just left: for His disciples, seen only by them, showing down His blessings.
Finally, Paul explains that this private, unseen by everyone but believers return of Christ was going to be a snatching (Greek work harpadzo, Latin word rapturos) that takes place in a twinkling of an eye and involves only those of His Church who are living and dead (1 Th. 4). Then Paul adds that what follows is a judgment of the faithfulness of each believer at the fires of Christ’s Bema Seat (1 Cor. 3 & 2 Cor. 5).
So those are the “extras” that Paul gives us to fit into the seven-part grid of Revelation. So a map of God’s plans for Earth, us in the Church, all lost people, and the Jews His chosen people of promise looks just like that.
Most dispensational Bible teachers, who interpret the Bible primarily as literal so they see a clear difference between Israel and the Church: would hold to something like these seven simple events in Revelation.
Now, applying the insights of our Almighty and Returning King, look at a quick survey of what that means in the 17 verses of Revelation 6.
The Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Seal # 1: The White Horse & Rider is that global deception, false peace and prosperity and the rise of the superman called the Antichrist. The Bible does not say how long this period lasts but it could last up to 42 months since the Antichrist is only allowed to do his evil for 42 months. What all happens during this first seal? The Antichrist rises as a superman in the world scene. He solves the Aran-Israeli problem (Dan. 9:27) by making a peace agreement/covenant. Then he allows Israel to build a Temple (Rev. 11:1). That may take up to 42 months.
Seal # 2: The Red Horse & Rider is the rapid spread of the Revived Roman Emperor’s widening conquest of humanity through bloodshed and war, which God tells us that he “takes peace” (v. 4). The great sword is the same word that is used for a Roman Legionnaire’s smaller, battle sword used for close in warfare. So this is killing, warfare, and death from fighting.
Seal # 3: The Black Horse & Rider is the spread of famine and scarcity. Upheaval, unrest, and warfare disrupt global food supply chains and there is widespread starvation.
Seal # 4: The Pale Horse & Rider is the horrific duo of Death and Hades. Death takes the body and the Grave or Hades takes the soul. The means of such death across the world will be all of the warfare and famine of the second and third seals, plus the addition of most likely pestilences and plagues called “beasts”. All told the first half of the Tribulation’s seven year (Daniel’s last week of the 70) is a net loss of one in four humans.
Seal # 5: The Prayers of the Martyrs are unleashed. Just as our prayers for God’s Kingdom to come are going to be reflected in His wrath during the Tribulation, here we see those who have been slain for their witness for Christ. They are in heaven, so they are perfected, so nothing they do is wrong or sinful. It is righteous in Heaven to ask God to judge the evildoers of this Earth. The martyrs pray, and God powerfully responds. Those prayers break forth in the next seal. As if a global dictator, global wars, famines, pestilences, and death were not enough, now we see God’s Wrath in action. All of the troubles of the Tribulation so far, were generated by humans. Now comes a little taste of the Wrath of God.
Seal # 6: The Wrath of God is unleashed and the whole Earth shakes. What an awful time that will be. God unleashed six forms of wrath and touches every level of humanity. Look at the exact wording John uses.
Revelation 6:12-17 (NKJV)
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. 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. 14 Then
- the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and
- every mountain and island was moved out of its place.
- 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, 16 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! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
Why Would God Want Every Church of Every Generation to Study the Revelation of Jesus Christ?
That is what God is doing. That is what He wants us to know. But the purpose is not for us to try to figure out every detail of how all that fits in our world today.
The purpose is to see Jesus Christ clearly as the Almighty God the Son. Risen. Walking among us in His Church today. Coming is Fiery Indignation taking vengeance on all who reject Him.
What exactly has He left us to do? Go into all the world and declare the wonders of Him who has called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.
That is the Gospel.
That is our Mission in Life.
That is what we are going to answer for at His Bema seat.
How good and faithful are we being today as His servants?
That is all that matters forever!