Revelation 6:1-17 Part 6


1)    And I watched when the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals; and I heard one of the four creatures speaking as thunderous sound: “COME”!

2)    And, LO!  A white horse.  And the One sitting upon it holding a bow, a crown having been given to Him.  And He did come out overcoming and that He may overcome.

3)    And when He did open the second seal, I heard the second creature speaking: “COME”!

4)    And another did come out, a red horse; and to the one sitting upon it having been given to take the peace from the earth, so that one might slaughter the other, a great sword having been given to him.

5)    And when He did open the third seal, I heard the third creature speaking: “COME”!  And, LO!  A black horse, and the one sitting upon it holding a scale in his hand.

6)    And I heard as it were a sound in midst of the four creatures, saying “a chaenix of corn for a denarious, and three chaenixes of barley for a denarious; and do not unjustly injure the olive tree and the vine”.

7)    And when He opened the fourth seal I heard a sound from the fourth creature speaking: “COME”!

8)    And, LO!  A pale horse.  And the one sitting upon it named “the death”, and “the hades” was following him closely; and authority was given them over a fourth of the earth to kill with sword, with famine, with plague, and by the beasts of the earth.

9)    And when He did open the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the lives of those who had been slaughtered because of the Word of God and because of the testimony that they were holding.

10) And in a great sound they did cry out, saying “until when, holy and worthy Master, are You not judging and avenging our blood from those dwelling on the earth?

11) And a white priestly garment was given to each one, and it was spoken to them that they should rest themselves yet a little time until also their fellow-servants and brothers who are about to be killed even as they should be fulfilled.

12) And when He did open the sixth seal a great shaking did occur, and the sun became as black as sackcloth hair, and the entire moon became as blood,

13) And the stars of heaven did fall into the earth as a fig tree casts her winter figs upon being shaken by a great wind,

14) And the heaven was swept aside as a scroll being rolled up, and all the mountains and islands were moved out of their places.

15) And the kings of the earth and the great men and the princes and the chiliarchs and the wealthy and the powerful and every slave and free did conceal themselves into the caverns and into the clefts of the mountains

16) and saying to the mountains and the rocks, “fall upon us and conceal us from the Presence of the One sitting upon the throne and the wrath of the Lamb,

17) because the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?”


The apostle John sees our Lord coming out in full stride upon the white horse that was seen by Zechariah and written in his prophecy… chapter one.  And He has been crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords… the four-cornered, golden crown on His forehead, and on it written the inscription: “HOLY TO YAHVEH”.

And John sees the bow of the covenant – the one over the mercy seat.  He is holding it in His hand.  John writes that He is coming out “overcoming and that He may overcome”, and that’s where we’re going to spend most of our time today.

The “pop” translations of this verse are just brutal in their treatment of the Greek text.  It would be comical if it weren’t so serious; but it’s as if there’s no original language from John there at all.  The better ones however, such as King James and American Standard, translate that He came out “conquering and to conquer”.  That sounds very nice, and it’s exciting language; but it’s just not right.  There’s an element of truth there, certainly; but it doesn’t do justice to the text.  And we’ll see why shortly.

The word is “overcome”.  He came out “overcoming and that He may overcome”.  And we need to explore that… at least as far as we can take it.  And I begin that task with the Gospel of John, chapter sixteen, as John writes concerning the questions of Jesus’ apostles concerning what is about to occur.  Listen to it:


20) Truly, truly, I say unto you, that you shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

21) A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but when she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for the joy that a manchild is born into the world.

22) And you therefore now have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one takes away from you.

23) And in that day you shall ask me no question. Truly, truly I say unto you, if you shall ask anything of the Father, he will give it you in my name.

24) Hitherto have you asked nothing in my name:  ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be made full.

25) These things have I spoken unto you in dark sayings: the hour cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in dark sayings, but shall tell you plainly of the Father.

26) In that day you shall ask in My Name:  and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you;

27) for the Father Himself loves you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father.

28) I came out from the Father, and Am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go unto the Father.

29) His disciples say, Lo, now You speak plainly, and speak no dark saying.

30) Now know we that You know all things, and need not that any man should ask You: by this we believe that You came forth from God.

31) Jesus answered them, Do you now believe?

32) Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is come, that you shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.

33) These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me you may have peace… in the world you have tribulation.  But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.


“I have overcome the world.”  That’s the same word is here in our text.

Also of importance to us is an occasion recorded in Luke chapter eleven in which Jesus cast out a demon.  But some pharisees in the crowd accused Him of wickedness – casting out demons by Beelzebul.  Here is a part of Jesus’ response to them:


17) And He, knowing their thoughts, said to them, `Every kingdom having been divided against itself is desolated; and house against house doth fall;

18) and if also the Adversary against himself was divided, how shall his kingdom be made to stand? for you say, by Beelzebul is My casting forth the demons.

19) But if I by Beelzebul cast forth the demons -- your sons, by whom do they cast forth? because of this your judges they shall be;

20) but if by the finger of God I cast forth the demons, then come unawares upon you did the reign of God.

21) When the strong man armed may keep his household, in peace are his goods;

22) but when the Stronger than he, having come upon [him], may overcome him, his whole-armour He doth take away in which he had trusted, and his spoils He distributes;

23) he who is not with Me is against me, and he who is not gathering with Me doth scatter.


Jesus, in this dark saying, speaks of Himself as the “stronger”; and He overcomes the strong man.  Same word as in our text.

And here is the apostle Peter, writing to the very same people to whom John is sending the Revelation – those having fled Israel and gathered in little Churches throughout the nations; he writes the very same things that our Lord told John to write to the seven Churches.  Listen to it:


1)    But there arose false prophets also among the people; as among you also there shall be false teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

2)    And many shall follow their lascivious doings; by reason of whom the way of the truth shall be evil spoken of.

3)    And in covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose sentence now from of old lingers not, and their destruction slumbers not.

4)    For if God spared not angels when they sinned, but cast them down to hell, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

5)    and spared not the ancient world, but preserved Noah with seven others, a preacher of righteousness, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;

6)    and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, having made them an example unto those that should live ungodly;

7)    and delivered righteous Lot, sore distressed by the lascivious life of the wicked

8)    (for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their lawless deeds):

9)    the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment unto the day of judgment;

10) but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of defilement, and despise dominion. Daring, self-willed, they tremble not to rail at dignities:

11) whereas angels, though greater in might and power, bring not a railing judgment against them before the Lord.

12) But these, as creatures without reason, born mere animals to be taken and destroyed, railing in matters whereof they are ignorant, shall in their destroying surely be destroyed,

13) suffering wrong as the hire of wrong-doing; men that count it pleasure to revel in the day-time, spots and blemishes, revelling in their deceivings while they feast with you;

14) having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; enticing unstedfast souls; having a heart exercised in covetousness; children of cursing;

15) forsaking the right way, they went astray, having followed the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the hire of wrong-doing;

16) but he was rebuked for his own transgression: a dumb ass spake with man's voice and stayed the madness of the prophet.

17) These are springs without water, and mists driven by a storm; for whom the blackness of darkness hath been reserved.

18) For, uttering great swelling words of vanity, they entice in the lusts of the flesh, by lasciviousness, those who are just escaping from them that live in error;

19) promising them liberty, while they themselves are bondservants of corruption; for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he also brought into bondage.

20) For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the last state is become worse with them than the first.

21) For it were better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

22) It has happened unto them according to the true proverb, ‘The dog turning to his own vomit again, and the sow that had washed to wallowing in the mire.’


“… for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he also brought into bondage.”  Same word as in our text.

And listen to the apostle who wrote the Revelation to the seven Churches, as he writes three letters of comfort and exhortation to the Church of Jesus Christ in the nations:


12) I write unto you, my little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His Name's sake.

13) I write unto you, fathers, because ye know Him who is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written unto you, little children, because you know the Father.

14) I have written unto you, fathers, because you know Him who is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

15) Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vain glory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

17) And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides forever.

18) Little children, it is the last hour: and as you heard that antichrist comes, even now have there arisen many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last hour.

19) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they all are not of us.

20) And you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all the things.  (1 John 2:12 – 20)



1)    Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

2)    Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

3)    and every spirit that confesses not Jesus is not of God: and this is the spirit of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh; and now it is in the world already.

4)    You are of God, my little children, and have overcome them:  because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.  (1 John 4:1 – 4)



1)    Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God: and whosoever loves Him that begat loves Him also that is begotten of Him.

2)    Hereby we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and do His commandments.

3)    For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments:  and His commandments are not grievous.

4)    For whatsoever is begotten of God overcomes the world:  and this is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

5)    And who is he that overcomes the world, but he that faiths that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:1 – 5)


All of these uses of overcome in John’s three letters are the exact same word as that in our text.

And now, please hear once again the messages that our Lord sent to the seven Churches:


“To the Church at Ephesus:  ‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To him that overcomes, to him will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.’

To the Church at Smyrna:  ‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death.’

To the Church at Pergamum:  ‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him that overcomes, to him will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knows but he that receives it.’

To the Church at Thyatira:  ‘And he that overcomes, and he that keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give authority over the nations:  and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to slivers; as I also have received of my Father:  And I will give him the morning star.’

To the Church as Sardis:  ‘He that overcomes shall thus be arrayed in white garments; and I will in no wise blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his messengers.’

To the Church at Philadelphia:  ‘He that overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go out thence no more: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and mine own new name.’

To the Church at Laodicea:  ‘He that overcomes, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame and sat down with my Father in His throne.’


As you can hear, to those in Christ in all seven Churches there are specific promises to the ones who “overcome”!

And should you not remember, here is the Lamb of God taking the scroll as John records at the beginning of chapter five:


1)    And I did see a scroll on the right of the One sitting on the throne having been written front and back having been sealed with seven seals.

2)    And I did see a mighty messenger announcing in a great sound, “Who worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?”

3)    And no one in the heaven or upon the earth or under the earth was enabled to open the scroll or to see it.

4)    And I was weeping greatly because no one worthy had been found to open the scroll or to see it.

5)    And one of the elders says to me, “Don’t be weeping!  Lo!  The Lion from the Judah tribe, the David Root, did overcome to open the scroll and its seven seals.”


Now, I think you can see the seriousness with which we take the words here in verse two of our text.  The word “overcome” has some serious content!  And although the verb “to conquer”, which is used in the King James version, has some elements of truth in it, this is the only place in the New Testament where the word “overcome” is changed to read “conquer”!

The primary element of “conquering” is doing battle.  But our Lord is not only the God of judgment (for which warfare is obviously a part), but He is also the God of deliverance of His people.  By His obedience, Jesus Christ has overcome the way this world operates in its cursed estate.  And He has overcome every attempt at causing Him to be disobedient and unfaithful.  And He has overcome the humiliation and isolation and pain of having the entire world – and the covenant people of God – despise and reject Him, and put Him to death.

You know, there is a reason why the Greek god of victory is called “nike”.  It’s mispronounced by the company that produces all the shoes and shirts and caps and uniforms.  But “nikn” is the word used here in all these passages that I’ve read.  In all its forms it means to “overcome”.

And we need the help of the prophetic Word (as usual) in order to get where we need to be in our understanding of that which Jesus Christ has done, and is doing, and will do.  In order to get there, I want to read from the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Church at Corinth, chapter fifteen.  At the end of the chapter, he quotes from Isaiah twenty-five.  Here’s what Paul says to the Corinthian Church:


54) So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, “death is swallowed up in victory”.

55) O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56) The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57) But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.


And here is the passage in Isaiah chapter twenty-five from which Paul quotes:


1)    O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise Thy Name; for You hast done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.

2)    For You have made of a city an heap; of a defenced city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built.

3)    Therefore shall the strong people glorify You, the city of the terrible nations shall fear You.

4)    For You hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.

5)    You shall bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low.

6)    And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.

7)    And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations.

8)    He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

9)    And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.


Isaiah’s remarks, by inspiration of Holy Spirit, foresee the ultimate destruction of the covenant nation and the holy city.  And within the context of that prophecy is the promise that our God will terminate the rebuke of His people and lift the veil from the eyes of all the nations and defeat “death”.

All of these inspired words are couched in terms of the victory of the One for Whom all have waited!  And the word “victory” is our word “nikn” – overcome!  The entire prophecy of Isaiah is the coming of the One Who will overcome… the One Who will have the final victory.

And that’s the reason that the apostle Paul can say to the Church at Corinth that, even though all things occurring and about to occur look very, very bad, and there will be provisional victories over the people of God, the Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate Victor… even over death itself!  Therefore be steadfast and immovable in the faith!

Paul says the same things to the Roman Church in chapter eight.  Listen to him:


31) What shall we then say to these things?  If God be for us, who can be against us?

32) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

33) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?  It is God that justifies.

34) Who is He that condemns?  It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right of God, Who also makes intercession for us.

35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.

38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.



“More than conquerors….”  Nikn.  More than victors; more than overcomers.  “In all these things we overcome through the One having loved us” is the translation.

And the apostle John, writing to the Churches before receiving the Revelation, writes this in 1 John chapter five:


1)    All who are faithing that Jesus is the Christ have been begotten of God:  and all who love Him that begat also love the One that is begotten of Him.

2)    And in this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and do His commandments.

3)    For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not burdensome.

4)    Because all having been begotten of God overcomes the world: and our faith is the victory – the overcoming of the world.


Now.  What John sees and records for us here in chapter six is different from that which he records in chapter nineteen.  On each occasion our Lord is riding forth on a white horse.  In that later chapter, Jesus is seen with a sword protruding from His mouth; and that’s different from that which is seen here in chapter six.

Here in chapter six He has His covenantal bow; and He will, with the assistance of three other horsemen, execute the sanctions of that covenant on the nation which has refused, for fifteen hundred years, to submit and obey.  And remember, from Matthew twenty-three and twenty-four, that the princes, priests and elders of Israel pursued, for forty years, with venomous hatred and malice, the apostles and elders and members of Christ’s Church.  And for that, Israel would suffer the consequences of the blood of all the righteous from Abel to Zechariah. The very bow over the mercy seat was turned against them with horrible judgment.

However, the view of the Christ in chapter nineteen, riding out on the white horse with the sword protruding from His mouth, indicates His proceeding to overcome the nations, after 70AD, with the Word of God – the Gospel.  I’m anxious to pursue that (when we get there).

Here in chapter six, the awful and terrifying riders on colored horses who He is leading are not messengers of hope, but are the executors of wrath.  But in chapter nineteen, all the riders following Him are riding white horses and are robed in white.  And the overcoming of the nations is one of promise and deliverance.

And, finally, we are able to see, from John’s record, that it is the Christ Who is the ultimate “overcomer”.  Everything in the history of the cosmos is at His command; and it is entirely appropriate – in fact, necessary – that He is the One represented here as the Leader of the judgment.  He is the Center of history, and it is He Who brings judgment upon the land.  His opening of the seals guaranteed the fall of Israel.  Just as He overcame to open the Book, so He rode forth in victory to implement the judgments of the scroll in history.

He overcame in His humiliation; He overcame at His crucifixion; He overcame at His resurrection; and He overcame at His ascension.  And as the already victorious King, overcoming and to overcome, He now turns the horsemen that Zachariah prophesied loose on His covenant nation.

In coming weeks we will witness the horrific and dreadful judgments following in His train.  And, at the same time, we will recognize that all attempts to find peace and safety apart from the King are doomed to failure.  The nation that will not acknowledge Him as King will suffer a similar fate at the riding out of the heavenly horsemen.  For they are always at the King’s absolute disposal.