Revelation: The First Four Seals

June 5, 2011

As we move from chapter 4 to chapter 5, the scene is still the throne room of God in heaven. In chapter 5 we learn of a scroll, sealed with seven seals. The seven seals suggest that the message of the scroll was of imminent importance, and that only the highest authority could open it to reveal the message.

At first, John was distressed that no one could be found who was worthy to open the scroll. Finally one came forward who was:

Rev 5:6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders…

Rev 5:9 And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.

No one could mistake the symbol of the Lamb. This was none other than the resurrected Christ, standing in the center of the throne room of God! The Jews and the Romans had utterly failed to put an end to the King of the Jews. The Christians in those seven churches must have been greatly reassured that they had chosen wisely when they named Jesus as Lord!

A magnificent scene of praise follows. The new song is sung. Listening to that song, the Christians in the seven churches would have been struck by the promise contained in this line:

Rev 5:10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

They were a kingdom — and that kingdom was not Rome, but the Kingdom of God! They were priests serving the Almighty God. And it was not Caesar, but the Christians themselves who will ultimately reign on the earth. Again, the saints would be encouraged through their trials.

In chapter 6, the Lamb began to open the seven seals, to reveal the message inside.

The first four seals corresponded to four horses. The first was a white horse, whose rider was a conqueror bent on conquest. The second was a red horse, who would make men slay each other with the sword. The third was a black horse, whose rider had scales like one would find at a market. The rider called out exorbitant prices, suggesting economic stress and shortages of food. Finally, the fourth was a pale horse, whose rider brought death through the sword, famine, plague, and wild animals.

Just as He had done to Pharaoh, God would use a series of hardships to turn the heart of the oppressor, if it were possible. As in that previous case, the oppressor would not listen, bringing on his own demise, as the remaining seals are opened.

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