The awesomeness of God as revealed to us by the vision of the throne of God, and Christ as the only one worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals (Rev 4-5) prepares us for God’s judgments (Rev 6). Revelation 6 concerns the opening of the first six seals and is divided into two parts: first, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse (Rev 6:1-8) and second, the sins of men with consequences (Rev 6:9-17).
The opening of the first four seals are the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. They are horses of a particular colour with a rider who executes judgement. The first four seals are preliminary judgements (before the second coming of Jesus) happening simultaneously throughout history rather than judgements in a chronological order. The four horsemen symbolize the depravity of humankind; sin is allowed to run its course and destroys many in the process. Briefly, the white horse represents war and conquest, the red horse represents bloodshed, the black horse represents economic ruin and the pale horse represents death. These events have happened throughout human history and will continue to happen until the second coming of Christ.
The opening of the sixth seal shows us the souls of martyred believers under the altar of God in heaven crying out for justice. God’s enemies have and will continue to kill God’s people who have testified for him. The primary activity of martyrs is to witness for Jesus, not dying. Dying was simply the result. Christians are not immune from the wrath of Satan which befalls both Christians and non-Christians. To the martyrs, God gives a white robe and tells them to be patient for the coming wrath of God against God’s enemies. Believers are thus enjoined to endure, rather than escape.
The coming of the wrath of God will happen with the opening of the sixth seal. There will be cosmic chaos and all who are not Christians will face the wrath of God. The wrath of God however has been satisfied for Christians by Jesus dying on the cross for us. At the cross, Satan has also been defeated. Hallelujah and God bless!
Pastor Boo Teong