Revelation 6:1-17 Part 10


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?”


When the Lamb looses the sixth seal, we are brought into the full reality of the last days of Israel’s existence, as prophesied in the older Scripture, and as confirmed by Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  And as John looks, he describes what he sees by the very same language of God through the prophets.

And since it is the very specific language of God, and His Own perception of His creation, we are able to go to the prophets and see where each of these seven judgmental phenomena is forthtold… those prophesies also being the language of God.

I know I’ve said this a number of times already, but let’s say it one more time before we begin this, that all of this is God’s creation; He conceived it and brought it all into being in six days.  And He conceived it and brought it into being to be in the likeness of the heaven.  That’s been evident all through the first six chapters of this Revelation.

Having destroyed the earth because of covenantal unfaithfulness, He submerged it and returned it to its void and formless state.  Then He conceived and created a second “heaven and earth” in the image of His heaven, for His Own glory, and He called it Israel – Mt Zion – Paradise – the Land of Milk and Honey – Heaven and Earth.  And He even called it His son; and it would shine with the glory of God so that all the world would know that He is God.  He covenanted with it for every good thing should it obey and be the image of His heaven, and for its return to the state of formless and void should it break His covenant.

But through the fifteen hundred years of existence of God’s beloved “heaven and earth”, Israel never believed.  And she never obeyed.  And she never anticipated God’s Messiah, Who would take away the sin of the world… choosing, instead, to be religious in her own way.  And God sent prophet after prophet to her to require her repentance, so that she would be the likeness of His heaven – on the earth.

The prophets, writing what God said, all foretold and forthfold the decreation of God’s heaven and earth should Israel not repent.  And it’s all in the language of God from His perception of His Own creation.  The prophets said to Israel what God said for them to say; and they wrote what God said for them to write.

John wrote what he heard and saw; and it’s the same language that the prophets wrote!  And therefore there should be no doubt about the source of what is written.

There should also be no doubt as to the recipients of God’s Words through the prophets.  The recipients are the princes, priests and elders and scribal pharisees of Israel, and those in their immediate surrounds.  The recipients of John’s letter, on the other hand, are the Churches of Jesus Christ, as our Lord comforts them regarding the “days of vengeance” which is coming quickly.  But, as I said, the language is the same, and it is from God… the primary difference being the “recipient”. 

Therefore all of those who say that the loosing of the sixth seal by the Lamb of God predicts some future collapse of God’s created cosmos have a vivid imagination… they certainly aren’t reading God’s Word from His perspective.  And I tend to think there’s even more to it than that.

Now.  One more thing before we get to the prophets regarding Israel’s decreation.  The “numbers” continue to startle as John sees and hears all of these things.

First, as we heard earlier, there are four horsemen on four different colored horses waiting and resting in Zechariah chapter one.  They are also the “four winds” of the four corners of “the earth”.  The four cherubs at the four corners of the mercy seat in the heaven have called forth the four great world-ruling civilizations of the earth, each of them subduing and ruling God’s “heaven and earth” as judgment of Israel for its idolatry and its harlotry.

The cherubs then, as John watches, call forth the four horsemen on the four colored horses of Zechariah to come out and bring forth four horrible disasters upon Israel – all lead by the newly crowned King of Kings.  As Jesus Himself describes them, they are the “beginning of travail”, which will soon give birth to the “daughter of Zion” – the Church of Jesus Christ – the “new Israel”, the new “heaven and earth”.

Then, upon the loosing of the fifth seal, the martyrs of Christ (martyrs due to the pursuit and persecution of the Church by judaists) (the martyrs of Christ) are waiting impatiently around the base of the altar and praying for vengeance upon their pursuers and accusers and murderers.  They didn’t know when the avenging of their blood would finally take place, but they knew, from the prophets, that it would!  They were waiting for the Lord’s Parousia – at which time the blood of all the righteous in history would finally be laid to Israel’s account.  They knew Jesus’ words, you see, from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter twenty-four.  And they knew, from the prophets, that the final “cutting off” and “decreation” would take place.  And they cried out: “When?”  “How long, Master, until You avenge our blood?”  That was a faithful cry, for they believed what he said!  It was their “testimony” for which they died.

Then the sixth seal was loosed by the Lamb.  It was the Lamb’s response to the cry and prayer of the martyrs whose blood had been shed.  It’s also interesting to note that the decreation described in the loosing of the sixth seal is parallel to the six-day creation.  It is also awe-inspiring that there are seven components of the decreation of “heaven and earth”, indicating the completeness, or totality, of its dissolution.

And just as the seventh seal and the seventh trumpet (later in the text) each contains the next set of seven judgments, here in the loosing of the sixth seal, this seventh component of judgment has to do with men.  And John sees and hears of seven classes of man (verse fifteen), showing, again, the totality of that which was coming quickly.

There are certainly more connections in the numbers, as God reveals and displays His unequivocable perfections.  And we will obviously mention them as they appear in the text.  But for now we’ll leave it with those mentioned, for we have to go to the seven final judgments as prophesied in the prophets of God.  And we’ll also see those occasions in which our Lord Himself quoted His Own Word to the prophets in the older Scripture to His disciples and to the princes and priests and pharisees of Israel.

And might I say this one more time?  As the Lamb of God looses the sixth seal, one would have to try very hard to ignore what this says!  It is so forthright and lucid and free from extraneous elements that any aberrant reading of the plain language of the text would have to be considered deliberate!  It’s almost like folks don’t want the text to say what it says. And they don’t want God to really mean what He said!  So it appears as if there’s a pre-designed, meticulous and calculated deviation from the plain reading of John’s Revelation!  Inventing an entirely different scenario from that which our Lord reveals, and imposing it over the transparent reading of the text, is just simply bizarre!

So, as we go through that which is revealed to John and his Holy Spirit-directed inscription to the Churches, those who hold and teach and preach a deviant account of what our Lord reveals here, should refrain from doing bodily harm to this messenger, and taking up his objections with the One Who revealed it.  All I do here is show you what He said; you can argue with Him about the substance of it (if you dare).

What is said here at the loosing of the sixth seal is as obvious, and is as comprehensible, and is as straightforward as it could be, for it is for the purpose of comforting the Churches in the nations about that which is happening, and that which is about to happen quickly.  As a response to the martyrs at the base of the altar, and as a comfort to the persecuted Churches in the nations, John records – in the specific language of God in the prophets – the totality of the decreation of God’s “heaven and earth”.  And that seven-fold totality is further explicated in the following chapters, beginning with the loosing of the seventh seal.

And so we begin with the loosing of the sixth seal:


“And when He did open the sixth seal a great shaking did occur….” (verse twelve)


As the Lamb looses the sixth seal, John is given a glimpse of the closing events of the “last days” as we see the prophets fulfilled.  And this seven-fold judgment upon Israel will appear to John, and be written by him (as I said), in greater detail in the coming chapters.

First let’s see that the apostles of our Lord write about our salvation in the risen and ascended Christ as a new creation.  Here is Paul in his second letter to the Church at Corinth, chapter five:


17) Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new.


And so the “Presence” of our Lord in judgment is revealed in terms of decreation.  The “old” is decreated, and there is the creation of the “new”.

The first thing that John records for us in this list of seven great judgmental phenomena is destabilization of that which The Lord has created.  It is spoken in terms of the “shaking” of heaven and earth.  Listen to the Psalmist use this very terminology in Psalm 18:


7)    Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the mountains quaked and were shaken, because he was wroth.

8)    There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: Coals were kindled by it.

9)    He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and thick darkness was under his feet.

10) And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly; yea, he soared upon the wings of the wind.

11) He made darkness his hiding-place, his pavilion round about him, Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.

12) At the brightness before him his thick clouds passed, hailstones and coals of fire.

13) Yahveh also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire.

14) And He sent out His arrows, and scattered them; yea, lightnings manifold, and discomfited them.

15) Then the channels of waters appeared, and the foundations of the world were laid bare, at thy rebuke, O Yahveh, at the blast of the breath of Thy nostrils.


Please notice the shaking of the foundations of the creation, and the thundering and lightning, and riding on the wings of the wind (which are the four colored horses in Zechariah chapter one), and the Lord “coming” in judgment in the Glory Cloud.  All of this the same language used right here in the Revelation.

Then listen to Isaiah as he writes the word of God to Israel, chapter thirteen:


13) Therefore I will make the heavens to tremble, and the earth shall be shaken out of its place, in the wrath of Yahveh of hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger.


And Isaiah again in chapter twenty-four:


19) The earth is utterly broken, the earth is rent asunder, the earth is shaken violently.

20) The earth shall stagger like a drunken man, and shall sway to and fro like a hammock; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it, and it shall fall, and not rise again.


And one more… the prophet Nahum in chapter one of his prophecy:


3)    Yahveh is slow to anger, and great in power, and will by no means clear the guilty: Yahveh has his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

4)    He rebukes the sea, and makes it dry, and dries up all the rivers………..

5)    The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt; and the earth is upheaved at His Presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.


You see, the language of God all through the Scripture is the same.  At the demonstration of His great wrath there is complete destabilization of the created cosmos.  And this is exactly what our Lord told His disciples when asked “when will these things be?” 

And this is what John saw and heard – and recorded for us – at the loosing of the sixth seal.  The created order violently convulses at the angry Presence of the One who called it into being and Who sustains it in all its parts!

Let’s go further:


“… and the sun became as black as sackcloth hair.” (also verse twelve)


The second judgmental phenomena that John sees and records for the Church has to do with the sun, as our Lord, in His great wrath, deals with what He has made.  Listen to God’s warning to Israel through His prophet Joel in chapter two:


1)    Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of Yahveh comes, for it is nigh at hand;

2)    a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, as the dawn spread upon the mountains; a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after them, even to the years of many generations.

3)    A fire devours before them; and behind them a flame burns: the land is as the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and none have escaped them.

4)    The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so do they run….


9)    They leap upon the city; they run upon the wall; they climb up into the houses; they enter in at the windows like a thief.

10) The earth quakes before them; the heavens tremble; the sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining.


And in chapter three of the prophet Joel we read this:


13) Send forth a sickle, for harvest has ripened; come in, come down, for the winepress has been filled, wine-presses have overflowed, for great [is] their wickedness.

14) Multitudes, multitudes [are] in the valley of decision, For near [is] the day of Yahveh in the valley of decision.

15) Sun and moon have been black, and stars have gathered up their shining.

16) And Yahveh doth roar from Zion….


And here is the Word of God through the prophet Amos.  Listen carefully and you’ll hear the specific prophecy that John sees fulfilled.  This is chapter three:


8)    For this does not the land tremble, and every dweller in it mourned? And all of it has come up as a flood. And it has been cast out, and has sunk, like the flood of Egypt.

9)    And an affirmation of the Lord Yahveh has come to pass in that day.  I have caused the sun to go out at noon, and caused darkness on the land in a day of light,

10) and have turned your festivals to mourning, and all your songs to lamentation, and caused sackcloth to come up on all loins, and on every head – baldness, and made it as a mourning [of] an only son, and its latter end as a day of bitterness.


Here in Amos is the prophetic Word of God regarding the flood of the Lord’s wrath “as the flood of Egypt”, and His turning off the light of the sun.

And here is the “black sackcloth” prophecy.  Isaiah chapter 50:


2)    Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer?  Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver?  Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stink, because there is no water and die for thirst.

3)    I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.


Then the third judgmental phenomenon that John sees and records for the Church:


“the entire moon became as blood.” (verse twelve) 


And we turn again to Joel chapter two, at the end of the chapter, for the specific language from God through the prophet:


28) And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

29) and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit.

30) And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.

31) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Yahveh comes.

32) And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Yahveh shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those that escape, as Yahveh hath said, and among the remnant those who Yahveh does call.


The fourth phenomenon that John sees and records has to do with the stars in God’s “heaven and earth” – Israel.  John says:


“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.”


John will see “the great wind” once again in chapter seven as the “four winds of the earth” as prophesied by Zechariah in chapter six of his prophecy.  They are the four horsemen of chapter one.

Israel as a “fig tree”, seen in connection with negative implication, is well established in the prophetic Word.  And our Lord continues that perception of Israel as a fig tree with no fruit.  Here’s what He did, as recorded by Matthew in chapter twenty-one of his Gospel:


18) Now in the morning as he returned to the city, he hungered.

19) And seeing a fig tree by the way side, he came to it, and found nothing on it but leaves; and he said unto it, “Let there be no fruit from you henceforward for ever.”  And immediately the fig tree withered away.


But the phenomenon John sees is the stars falling as a fig tree casts unripe fruit to the ground in a great wind.  Listen to the prophet Daniel as he writes what God said concerning the stars of God’s heaven and earth – Israel:


10) yea, it exerts unto the host of the heavens, and causes to fall to the earth of the host, and of the stars, and tramples them down.

11) And unto the prince of the host it exerts itself, and by it, the continual [sacrifice] is taken away, and the foundation of his sanctuary thrown down.


This, of course, is what Daniel hears of the fourth great world dominion – Rome, as it makes a final end of God’s “garden of Eden paradise”.  The stars of God’s “heaven and earth” creation were decreated, and they disappeared.

The fifth phenomenon that John sees and records for the Church is the complete and total disappearance of God’s covenanted nation:


“And the heaven was swept aside as a scroll being rolled up” (verse fifteen).


Where is Israel said to be God’s heaven and earth?  Listen to God as recorded by the prophet Isaiah in chapter 51:


16) And I put My words in your mouth, and with the shadow of My hand have covered you, to plant the heavens, and to found the earth, and to say to Zion, ‘you are My people’.


And listen to Isaiah, in chapter thirty-four, as he prophesies the rolling up of the heavens of Israel like a scroll:


4)    And all the host of the heavens have been consumed, And the heavens have been rolled together as a scroll. And all their hosts do fade, as the fading of a leaf of a vine, and as the (withering leaf) of a fig-tree.


The next great judgment phenomenon that John sees in the heaven is:


“all the mountains and islands were moved out of their places” (verse fourteen).


As a result of the complete disappearance of God’s heaven and earth – Israel – all the nations and the islands of the world are affected.  Here the “mountain theology” we’ve learned is of importance.  For the Scripture says that Mt Zion will be cast into the sea.  And a “stone” cut out of that mountain will grow into a great mountain over all the mountains and hills of the world, as our Lord’s Kingdom IS the new Mt Zion.

We’re reminded, of course, of our Lord’s statement to His disciples, that should they have faith they could move mountains.  That statement has caused all kinds of problems for people, but it’s SO obvious that Jesus was referring to the apostles’ faithful obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the coming casting down of Mt Zion into the sea of Gentile humanity.  And as John sees God’s “garden of Eden” disappear from existence, every civilization in the world, from the islands to the great countries, will be affected by the casting down of that great mountain of God into the sea.

For the sake of time, I’ll just give you one (of many) having to do with the moving of mountains.  This is God speaking to Job about His sovereign power and control over all that He has made.  Chapter nine:


5)    Who is removing mountains, And they have not known Who hath overturned them in His anger.

6)    Who is shaking earth from its place, And its pillars move themselves.

7)    Who is speaking to the sun, and it riseth not, And the stars He seals up.

8)    Stretching out the heavens by Himself, And treading on the heights of the sea….


Eventually, having been confronted extensively by God concerning His creation and His sovereignty, Job confesses and becomes poor in spirit, submitting to God’s revelation of Himself in all that He has made.

But of course the point here being that this language in the direct speech of God to Job is the same language that we read here in John’s Revelation.  It is God’s perception of Who He is and what He has made that we have to receive and understand.  And we’ll never understand God’s cosmos if we keep on trying to explain it in our own terms and from our own perspectives.

Lastly, John describes a seven-fold termination of “man” in the flood of our Lord’s wrath (verses fifteen, sixteen and seventeen). The seven categories of man in God’s heaven and earth indicate a complete end.  “Man”, in covenant with God, has broken His covenant, has killed His prophets, has killed His Son, and has now persecuted and killed His Son’s people for whom He shed His blood.  And none shall escape, regardless of privilege or status or significance.

Listen to Isaiah prophesy with the Word of God (chapter two):


20) … the idols shall utterly pass away.


19) And men shall go into the caves of the rocks, and into the holes of the earth, from before the terror of Yahveh, and from the glory of his majesty, when he arises to mightily shake the earth.

20) In that day men shall cast away their idols of silver, and their idols of gold, which have been made for them to worship, to the moles and to the bats;

21) to go into the caverns of the rocks, and into the clefts of the ragged rocks, from before the terror of Yahveh, and from the glory of his majesty, when he arises to shake the earth mightily.

22) Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for whereof is he to be accounted?


As God came thundering into the garden which He had made for man, Adam and his wife, having rebelled against God and His Law-word, hid themselves in fear and in shame.  They had broken the covenant.  And God cast them outside His garden, cursing them and all their posterity with toil and sweat and labor – and death.

And is that not what we’re reading here in verses sixteen and seventeen of the text?  In God’s paradise in which He had planted His noble vine and His green olive tree, man broke His covenant.  And at the Lord’s thundering Presence, man hid himself in fear and shame.  And knowing now what the covenantal sanctions were, they cried out for the rocks in the caves and clefts to fall on them, for the great day of the wrath of the Lamb had come.

The exact prophecy is found in Hosea chapter ten.  Listen:


8)    … the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us.


According to Luke (chapter 23), Jesus cited this very text from Hosea while on His way to His crucifixion, stating that it would be fulfilled upon idolatrous Israel within the generation of those who were present.  Listen to it:


27) And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him.

28) But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.

29) For behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the breasts that never gave suck.

30) Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.


As the Churches in the nations were reading the letter from John, the prophesied judgments against Israel were well under way.  The very same generation that had rejected and killed the Landlord’s Son (Matthew chapter twenty-one) would soon be crying out with the very words from Hosea chapter ten.

The crucified, risen, ascended and glorified Son – the sacrificial Lamb – was coming quickly in the great day of the wrath of the Lamb… ripping away and dissolving the very fabric of the creation, inundating it, decreating it, and making it as if it had never existed… returning it to its “void” and “formless” state as He did in Noah’s time.

We are now brought into the reality – the full reality – of the last days of Israel’s existence (details to follow), as prophesied in the older Scripture.  As John looks, he describes what he sees by the very language of God through the prophets.  That language is unmistakable.

Every single one of these seven judgmental phenomena were prophesied in the same language as John sees and hears and records for us; and our Lord Himself said that they were for this generation – those present at the time.  And here are the very words of our Lord Jesus Christ to John, recorded in the first chapter of this book:


“Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him to show His servants that which is necessary to be done in quickness, and He did make it known having sent through His messenger to His servant John,

who did bear witness the Word of God and the witness of Jesus Christ all he saw.

Blessed the one reading and the ones hearing the words of the prophecy and keeping things having been written in it, for the time is near.”


Most of the time I tend to resist putting things this bluntly, and choosing words like this, but in this case I consider it worthy.  For this is the “Kerygma” – the proclamation, the core preaching of the Gospel.

And it is minimal faithfulness to faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to read God’s Word as He intends it to be read.  And it is maximum unfaithfulness – deliberate scribal phariseeism – to force it to say something that God didn’t intend.  So, let the Kerygma ring true as the sound of the trumpet.  This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And this text is transparent, self-explanatory, unambiguous and indisputable.  This is what he said; and this is what He did in that generation.