Revelation 6:1-17 Part 7

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 Lamb of God having loosed the first seal, there is a pealing, thunderous voice in the heaven.  It proceeds from one of the awesome throne-creatures at the mercy seat.  And in the maelstrom of sound coming forth from the throne of God, John hears the word “Come”!

The sound, piercing the illimitable heaven, is emulated in the creation itself, as our Lord has created a likeness to the voices of His throne-creatures.  And, in hearing the booming report of a thundercloud in the midst of a storm, we have no reason NOT to remember the voices of the cherubim at the mercy seat of God, for the thunder in the storm is in the “likeness” of that which precedes it at the seat of judgment and mercy.

At the voice of the throne-creature, He comes!  The King of Glory has “come in”.  Not only has He “come” to the Father as victorious over sin and death, but He is now “coming” in judgment and deliverance.  He is crowned; therefore He does have the crown rights of the King.  And He is executor of the covenant, as He has the bow from over the mercy seat.

And He is overcoming, and that He may overcome, for His “victory-work” is continuing – and will continue… all of which puts a serious blight on any theological construct that reduces the presently reigning King of Kings to just a king in waiting!

He is NOT waiting for the queen mother to die so He can be crowned some time in the future.  John sees Him coming out already crowned!  And He has His covenantal bow; and He is overcoming that He may overcome!  And as we’ll see when we get to chapter nine, it includes a mighty overcoming of the prince of rebellion, darkness and subversion.

The horsemen on the colored horses that follow Him at the booming voices of the throne-creatures follow their King to the overcoming.  They are the second, third and fourth seals of the covenantal scroll.  They were sealed to the end of the age – as shown to Daniel.  And now they are loosed by the worthy Lamb of God to execute the terms of the covenant – all of which were promised to His apostles to come “in this generation”.

There were many there that day who would “see Him coming” in the “shaking of heaven and earth”, and in the slaughter and the famine and in the pestilence… all of which He LED at the loosing of the first seal… and all of which are the “beginning of travails”.  The abomination of desolation would soon follow, as the old “heaven and earth” would be inundated (according to the apostle Peter) in the fiery wrath of the Lamb; and His covenant of mercy and deliverance would be extended to the nations.  And all the nations of the world would know that He is God.

Verses three and four:


“And when He did open the second seal, I heard the second creature speaking: ‘COME’!


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.”


Remember in Zechariah chapter one, the prophet was shown the four colored horses and their horsemen resting under the myrtle tree, having gone to and fro and finding all at rest and at peace.  And the Lord showed Zechariah that the time was near when there would be no peace, and there would be a great slaughter, and famine, and pestilence, as “heaven and earth” – Israel – was shaken so that she would fall apart as early fruit from the fig tree falls to the ground in a great wind.

Let’s look first at the words of our Lord as He schooled His disciples about that which was about to occur “in this generation”.  Here is some prophetic words from our Lord from chapter ten of the Gospel of Matthew:


21) "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.

22) All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

23) When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.


And here is our Lord answering the question of His disciples: “When will these things be?  And what shall be the sign of Your Parousia, and of the end of the age?”  Matthew 24:


5)    For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ; and shall lead many astray.

6)    And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you be not troubled: for these things must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet.

7)    For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places.

8)    But all these things are the beginning of travail.

9)    Then shall they deliver you up unto tribulation, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all the nations for my name's sake.


And the expanded words of our Lord from Luke chapter twenty one, which is the same event as in Matthew twenty-three and twenty-four, when His disciples asked Jesus, “When will these things be?”  Here’s what Jesus told them in response to their questions:


20) But when ye see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that her desolation is at hand.

21) Then let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains; and let them that are in the midst of her depart out; and let not them that are in the country enter therein.

22) For these are days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

23) Woe unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days! for there shall be great distress upon the land, and wrath unto this people.

24) And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led captive into all the nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

25) And there shall be signs in sun and moon and stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, in perplexity for the roaring of the sea and the billows;

26) men fainting for fear, and for expectation of the things which are coming on the world: for the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.

27) And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.


All of these things, Jesus said, “in this generation”.

Our Lord was telling them that which He, Himself, had prophesied in the older Scripture.  So we need to read the prophets in order to find what He was quoting.  This rider on the red horse was called out by the thunderous voice of God’s cherub at the seat of judgment!  And he has a great sword by which he takes the peace from the earth.  Wars, and fighting, and slaughter, during which there was no love nor trust – even among families in God’s covenant nation.  Where is all of this prophesied?   The slaughtering by the sword, brought about by the direction of God’s cherub calling out the rider on the red horse…. where is it all prophesied?

Here are the very Words of God through Moses, to the nation of Israel.  Deuteronomy twenty-eight, beginning at verse fifteen (this is a lengthy passage, so please pay special attention):

15) 15 But it shall come to pass, if you wilt not hearken unto the voice of Yahveh your God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command you this day, that all these curses shall come upon you, and overtake you.


21) Yahveh will make the pestilence cleave unto you, until he have consumed you from off the land, whither you go in to possess it.

22) Yahveh will smite you with consumption, and with fever, and with inflammation, and with fiery heat, and with the sword, and with blight and mildew; and they shall pursue you until you perish.

23) And your heaven that is over your head shall be brass, and the earth that is under you shall be iron.

24) Yahveh will make the rain of your land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon you, until you be destroyed.

25) Yahveh will cause you to be smitten before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them, and shall flee seven ways before them: and you shall be tossed to and fro among all the kingdoms of the earth.

26) And your dead body shall be food unto all birds of the heavens, and unto the beasts of the earth; and there shall be none to frighten them away.

27) Yahveh will smite you with the boil of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scurvy, and with the itch, whereof you cannot be healed.

28) Yahveh will smite you with madness, and with blindness, and with astonishment of heart;

29) and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind gropes in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways: and you shall be only oppressed and robbed always, and there shall be none to save you.

30) You shall betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: you shall build a house, and you shall not dwell therein: you shall plant a vineyard, and shall not use the fruit thereof.

31) Your ox shall be slain before you eyes, and you shall not eat thereof: you ass shall be violently taken away from before your face, and shall not be restored to you: your sheep shall be given unto your enemies, and you shall have none to save you.

32) Your sons and your daughters shall be given unto another people; and your eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day: and there shall be nought in the power of your hand.

33) The fruit of your ground, and all your labors, shall a nation which you know not eat up; and you shall be only oppressed and crushed always;

34) so that you shall be mad for the sight of your eyes which you shall see.

35) Yahveh will smite you in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore boil, whereof you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot unto the crown of your head.


38) You shall carry much seed out into the field, and shall gather little in; for the locust shall consume it.

39) You shall plant vineyards and dress them, but you shall neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worm shall eat them.

40) You shall have olive-trees throughout all your borders, but you shall not anoint thyself with the oil; for your olive shall cast its fruit.

41) You shall beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours; for they shall go into captivity.

42) All thy trees and the fruit of thy ground shall the locust possess.


45) And all these curses shall come upon you, and shall pursue you, and overtake you, till you be destroyed; because you hearkened not unto the voice of Yahveh your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee:

46) and they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever.

47) Because thou served not Yahveh thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, by reason of the abundance of all things;

48) therefore shall you serve your enemies that Yahveh shall send against you, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon your neck, until he have destroyed you.

49) Yahveh will bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as the eagle flies; a nation whose tongue thou shall not understand;

50) a nation of fierce countenance, that shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young,

51) and shall eat the fruit of your cattle, and the fruit of your ground, until you be destroyed; that also shall not leave you grain, new wine, or oil, the increase of thy cattle, or the young of your flock, until they have caused you to perish.

52) And they shall besiege you in all thy gates, until your high and fortified walls come down, wherein you trusted, throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you in all your gates throughout all your land, which Yahveh your God hath given you.

53) And you shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and of your daughters, who Yahveh your God hath given you, in the siege and in the distress wherewith your enemies shall distress you.

54) The man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children who he hath remaining;

55) so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children who he shall eat, because he hath nothing left him, in the siege and in the distress wherewith your enemy shall distress you in all thy gates.

56) The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter,

57) and toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children who she shall bear; for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly, in the siege and in the distress wherewith your enemy shall distress you in your gates.

58) If you wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and fearful name, YAHVEH YOUR GOD;


63) And it shall come to pass, that, as Yahveh rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you, so Yahveh will rejoice over you to cause you to perish, and to destroy you; and you shall be plucked from off the land whither you go in to possess it.


I know that’s very long; and I shortened it considerably. But we needed to hear it.  And it began with the sword, as Israel is to be “smitten” before its enemies.  Included in Moses’ prophecy is all the famine and hunger and plagues and pestilence that will accompany the opening of the third and fourth seals.

And let me mention once again that all these things are not sequential.  In other words, they don’t happen one at a time.  They will occur all at the same time; and they will become worse and worse as the time nears for the end when the armies stand in the holy land and besiege and destroy the city of Jerusalem and the temple.

I think I’ve previously mentioned some portions of Josephus’ historical account of things as they neared the end.  He was there; and he witnessed some of it. But there was a great slaughter of Jews…. Not only in Israel, but also in many other places in the nations, as Rome obsessed over the problems with this tiny nation.

And there was no shortage of slaughter even before the siege of Jerusalem, for all the other cities and villages in Israel were overrun as if it were a plague of locusts.  And in cities and nations all through the Roman empire in which substantial Jewish populations existed, there were attempts at their extermination.  And, as Josephus wrote, the blood ran in the streets; and the lakes and streams of all of Israel were filled with the dead bodies

So, at the command from the throne to “Come”, our Lord’s horseman was called to take away the “peace” from God’s heaven and earth - Israel.  And not only were there roaming bands of thieves and political terrorists killing and robbing other Israelites; and not only were there killings between families and factions; and not only were there killings within families (all of which extended total lawlessness throughout the covenant land), but Rome became occupied with the slaughter as well!  And there was no peace!  Nations were rising up against nations, and factions rising up against factions; and parties rising up against parties.  And there was no love for the brotherhood; nor was there love in families. For our Lord had called for “peace” to be taken away!  And the rider on the red horse came out with a “great sword”!

I want to take you through the prophets, now; for Moses’ warning to Israel about what would happen should it not obey is repeated again and again and again, as our Lord, in great patience and longsuffering, sent prophet after prophet to call His covenant people to repentance.  And Israel’s response was the same each time, as they ridiculed, rebuffed, beat, stoned and killed the prophets.

Whenever there was the least indication, from a king or a priest or a tribal elder, that there might be sorrow and confession, God would “stay” His hand.  But when the princes, priests and elders of Israel pursued the Lord’s apostles and elders and deacons and Churches with great malice, the blood of all the righteous would be required of them.

In Isaiah chapter three, having exposed Israel’s unrepented and unrelenting sin of harlotry and injustice, God tells them what is going to happen to them.


24) And it shall come to pass, instead of perfume there shall be rottenness; and instead of a girdle, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a robe of display, a girding of sackcloth; brand instead of beauty.

25) Your men shall fall by the sword, and your mighty in the fighting;

26) and her gates shall lament and mourn; and, stripped, she shall sit upon the ground.


Again, God warns Israel about what is to occur.  This is from Isaiah chapter thirteen:


5)    They are coming in from a land afar off, from the end of the heavens, Yahveh and the instruments of His indignation, to destroy all the land.

6)    Howl ye, for near [is] the day of Yahveh, as destruction from the Mighty it comes.

7)    Therefore, all hands do fail, and every heart of man doth melt.

8)    And they have been troubled, Pains and pangs they take, As a woman in travail they are pained, A man will look at his friends in astonishment, their faces aflame!

9)    Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

10) For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

11) And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

12) I will make a man more scarce than fine gold; even a man (more scarce) than the golden wedge of Ophir.

13) Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.

14) And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man takes up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land.

15) Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword.

16) Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.


And hear this from Jeremiah nineteen:


3)    And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever hears, his ears shall tingle.

4)    Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, who neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents;

5)    They have built also the high places of Baal to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind:

6)    Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall no more be called Topheth, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter.

7)    And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives: and their carcasses will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.

8)    And I will make this city desolate, and an hissing; every one that passes thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof.

9)    And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them.

(Topheth, by the way, means “altar”.  Topheth was an area in which sacrifices were burned on the altar to false gods.  And “to straiten” means to surround and confine… this case, especially in order to slaughter.)


And for our edification, one more… this from Ezekiel chapter five:


8)    Therefore thus says the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, am against you, and will execute judgments in the midst of you in the sight of the nations.

9)    And I will do in you that which I have not previously done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all your abominations.

10) Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of you, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments in you, and the whole remnant of you will I scatter into all the winds.

11) Wherefore, as I live, says the Lord GOD; Surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things, and with all your abominations, therefore will I also diminish you; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity.

12) A third part of you shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about you; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.

13) Thus shall my anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the LORD have spoken it in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them.


As John witnesses the horseman on the red horse coming forth, he, of course, remembers all the prophetic Word we’ve just read; for this horseman comes to “take the peace”, that there be rancor and malice and killing and fighting and much bloodshed by the sword. 

But please remember that there were many “rescued” from the tribulations that are described by our Lord as “the beginning of travail”.  And, as the Scripture indicates, there were, over the course of four decades, a third of Israel slaughtered by the sword.

But those that were rescued from those tribulations belonged to God.  They, too, suffered hardship and stress as they were pursued by the princes, priests and elders of Israel.  But they were rescued from the tribulation brought upon the nation by the wrath of the Lamb..

They were His elect people of a covenant which He had made; and one which He remembered.  For He had a zeal for Jerusalem; a zeal for Israel; a zeal for His covenant people.  And His promise was that He would once again bring her to Himself.

And that He has.  For there is a new Jerusalem and a new Israel and a new temple that is described in great detail in the prophecy of Ezekiel.  It has come down from the heaven… one which is made perfect in every respect because of the blood of Christ.

And all of His elect of Israel, and all of His elect in the nations, are recipients of His covenant promises in a “better” covenant in Christ… a “better” Jerusalem; a “better” Israel… and, certainly, a “better” temple.  For all Israel shall be saved.

Listen to the apostle Paul as he explains this to the Roman Church:


25) For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness, in part, is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.

26) And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

27) For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

28) As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes.

29) For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

30) For as you in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

31) Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

32) For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

33) O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

34) For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been his counselor?

35) Or who has first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

36) For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.