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Revelation 6-7

Sunday (Revelation 6:1-4)

The Seven Seals

6:1 I looked on when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a thunderous voice, “Come!”

6:2 So I looked, and here came a white horse!

The one who rode it had a bow, and he was given a crown, and as a conqueror he rode out to conquer.

6:3 Then when the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come!”

6:4 And another horse, fiery red, came out,

and the one who rode it was granted permission to take peace from the earth, so that people would butcher one another, and he was given a huge sword.

Prayer

Lord, the tribulation of living in a fallen world is a reality for many, yet the “great tribulation” is yet to come. May I face the daily tribulations with my eyes on You for comfort, guidance, power, and wisdom.

Summary & Commentary

It is interesting that while Jesus open the seals it was one of the four creatures who spoke the instruction to the horseman inside.

There is some debate as to the identity of the “conqueror”; tradition has wanted to identify it as Jesus, but the larger context argues strongly for Satan – coming as an angel of light but intent upon conquest for his own sake versus conquest for the purpose of justice. The NET Translators Notes observe that the phrase used for “conqueror” in the original language differs from that used in cases referring to Jesus or to believers.

And element of this tribulation to come would be the killing, perhaps murder, of many at the hands of their fellow humans.

Interaction

Consider

The joy that believers are not spared from the Tribulation, the Lord God allows us to remain to testify for the sake of the still-teachable unsaved.

Discuss

What are some of the ways that “conquer” may be realized in the lives of humans?

Reflect

The conqueror was given a crown, indicating permission from the Lord God, and His authority – but also under His control.

Share

What does your fellowship teach about the great tribulation? What about the troubles that have come against various groups of people in various regions of the earth in the time since Jesus returned to heaven (the “end times”)?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a person or group of people for whom He wants you to pray as they are facing a “tribulation”.

Action:

Today I will pray and will ask at least one fellow believer to pray in-agreement as the Holy Spirit has led.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Monday (Revelation 6:5-8)

6:5 Then when the Lamb opened the third seal I heard the third living creature saying, “Come!”

So I looked, and here came a black horse!

The one who rode it had a balance scale in his hand.

6:6 Then I heard something like a voice from among the four living creatures saying,

“A quart of wheat will cost a day’s pay and three quarts of barley will cost a day’s pay.

But do not damage the olive oil and the wine!”

6:7 Then when the Lamb opened the fourth seal I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come!”

6:8 So I looked and here came a pale green horse!

The name of the one who rode it was Death, and Hades followed right behind.

They were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill its population with the sword, famine, and disease, and by the wild animals of the earth.

Prayer

Lord, You will allow the course of Your perfect justice to flow, but You set limits and You gather-in those who are Yours. May I never doubt Your love and protection such that I will never be overwhelmed, so long as I rest in You, and am certain that I will never be destroyed.

Summary & Commentary

The choice between more barley for the same as less wheat describes a choice between quantity and quality – though according to some commentaries a days pay (a denarius) would be a very steep price – typical of disaster or wartime.

Olive oil was used in cooking, in religious rituals, and it was burned with a wick for light.

It may also have been used on the body and hair but not in the raw form for anointing.(Exodus 30:26-33 describes the unique oil-based recipe for anointing.)

Wine was used to cover the bitter taste of water and was part of both celebrations and religious rituals.

This is the Tribulation and believers are not spared.

It is a time when everyone is confronted by the consequences of the lifted-hand of protection of the Lord God and are pressed to choose where they will stand; with Job's wife “Curse God and die?” or with Job who, despite some confusion, refused to disrespect his Lord.

Death rides a light green horse and is followed by Hades, their realm for killing is limited, they are called forth but are not immediately released.

Interaction

Consider

The circumstances of the tribulation are challenging at every level, a shortage of resources, spiritual attack, and constant challenges to health and safety.

Discuss

What are some practical ways to help people to comprehend the desperate circumstances of the tribulation? Perhaps illustrations from regions of the world where Christians already face most of these challenges.

Reflect

The Lord God requires certain boundaries “do not damage the olive oil and the wine”.

Share

When have you been challenged because of your faith? Perhaps in a non-Christian home, in school, or in the workplace.

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a challenge that is coming, or that may soon-escalate.

Action:

Today I will ask the Holy Spirit to give me comfort, strength, and wisdom to face what is to come. I will also ask a fellow Biblical-Christian to pray in-agreement with me and to be an accountability partner and an encourager.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Tuesday (Revelation 6:9-11)

6:9 Now when the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been violently killed because of the word of God and because of the testimony they had given.

6:10 They cried out with a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Master, holy and true, before you judge those who live on the earth and avenge our blood?”

6:11 Each of them was given a long white robe

and they were told to rest for a little longer, until the full number was reached of both their fellow servants and their brothers who were going to be killed just as they had been.

Prayer

Lord, You honor those who cling to Your name, even at the sacrifice of their earthly lives. May my faith grow and remain strong daily so that I also will stand no matter the cost.

Summary & Commentary

The faith of those described was solid as they were killed because of it.

Their sense of justice was also intact as they inquired of the Lord God when, not if, He intended to exercise His sovereign justice.

Since believers are still on earth and are being killed this must still be the Tribulation, prior to the Wrath, and the number of those to be killed – specifically for their faith – was not yet complete.

Looking ahead in Revelation to vs 6:17 we learn that this is prior to the Wrath of God. The Rapture cannot have occurred prior to the Tribulation.

There is an oddity here, not actively addressed in our prior Revelation Notes – we are seeing a unique subset of believers in a conscious state – presumably these a special few who have been called for this specific role – apart from the majority who are “asleep”.

Interaction

Consider

Those who had been killed suffered specifically because of their steadfast faith.

Discuss

Do we have practical ways to prepare to endure trouble and to resist the temptation from the Enemy to convert a test – designed to strengthen and empower – into a temptation to rebel against God?

Reflect

The call for justice was not selfish, those who were given white robes had already sacrificed everything, their cries for justice were born of their desire to see an end to the fallen world and the birth of “a new heaven and earth” and perfection with the Lord God.

Share

When have you heard it explained that the Lord God tarries in His return for lack of sufficient martyrs?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a place where your faith is especially vulnerable to worldly threats.

Action:

Today I will prayerfully acknowledge my weakness, I will ask a fellow believer to be my accountability and prayer-partner as I allow the Holy Spirit to heal and mature me.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Wednesday (Revelation 6:12-17)

6:12 Then I looked when the Lamb opened the sixth seal,

and a huge earthquake took place;

the sun became as black as sackcloth made of hair,

and the full moon became blood red;

6:13 and the stars in the sky fell to the earth like a fig tree dropping its unripe figs when shaken by a fierce wind.

6:14 The sky was split apart like a scroll being rolled up,

and every mountain and island was moved from its place.

6:15 Then the kings of the earth, the very important people, the generals, the rich, the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains.

6:16 They said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who is seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb,

6:17 because the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to withstand it?”

Prayer

Lord, the time will come when Your patience wears thin and You conclude things. May I stand confidently before Jesus, not because of my righteousness, but because of His in my stead.

Summary & Commentary

John was struggling to describe apocalyptic imagery. Also, events were being previewed for John and were not actually happening, in linear time, as he was seeing them – they were being viewed from a perspective outside of time.

Matthew 27:45-56 described similar events of darkness, earthquake, a torn veil, etc., but this went beyond those events; adding a red full moon, falling stars, and moving mountains and islands – the magnitude was massive.

In the timeline of future (linear time) events the Tribulation was almost over, then the believers would be set-apart by the Lord God (see Rev. 7), and only then would the full Wrath of God be poured out on those who had rejected Jesus, persecuted His children, and had asked to be kept-apart from the Lordship (and love) of God.

Worldly standing was rendered meaningless as the imminent arrival of Jesus terrified those who had chosen the idolatry of worldly things, be it fame, fortune, and power, or bitterness, lust or human-tradition, rather than the only One worthy of worship.

Interaction

Consider

John was seeing a preview of the end of the world, one may wonder how well he comprehended what he was seeing, and how much he was distracted from the overwhelming emotion of that by the necessity of recording things per instructions.

Discuss

How might you help fellow believers to conceptualize the series of events up to this moment in John's report?

Reflect

What kind of hardness of heart exists that, even in the midst of the Tribulation, some will refuse the Lord's invitation to Heaven?

Share

When have you an example of a disaster where poor and rich alike recognized their common bond of powerlessness and need?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the patterns of your response to trouble – do you tend to try to make it through only using you own strength?

Action:

Today I will partner with the Holy Spirit as I move toward a greater dependence upon Him – so that when trouble comes I will naturally allow Him to be my strength and will also be ready to be used by Him to encourage and testify.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Thursday (Revelation 7:1-8)

The Sealing of the 144,000

7:1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth,

holding back the four winds of the earth so no wind could blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree.

7:2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the east,

who had the seal of the living God.

He shouted out with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given permission to damage the earth and the sea:

7:3 “Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees until we have put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”

7:4 Now I heard the number of those who were marked with the seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed from all the tribes of the people of Israel:

7:5 From the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed,

from the tribe of Reuben, twelve thousand,

from the tribe of Gad, twelve thousand,

7:6 from the tribe of Asher, twelve thousand,

from the tribe of Naphtali, twelve thousand,

from the tribe of Manasseh, twelve thousand,

7:7 from the tribe of Simeon, twelve thousand,

from the tribe of Levi, twelve thousand,

from the tribe of Issachar, twelve thousand,

7:8 from the tribe of Zebulun, twelve thousand,

from the tribe of Joseph, twelve thousand,

from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.

Prayer

Lord, while You will allow destruction to purge Your fallen-creation, You will first protect those whom You have set-apart for Your special purposes. May I trust that You are omnipotent, perfectly just, and filled with grace – loving me despite my failures – keeping me for the day that You bring me home, purified of all unrighteousness.

Summary & Commentary

The “four winds” here is similar to that of Daniel 7:2. The prior Revelation texts described forces poised to bring all manner of destruction, political, economic, health, and weather. Here they are held-back prior to God's special “seal” being administered.

There is considerable discussion as to the literal or figurative meaning of this text; does this literally mean only genetic and/or legal descendants of these tribes, or does this refer to the spiritual descendants of the faithful of these tribes? Perhaps it refers to “completed” or saved Jews? The answer to these questions is not critical to salvation, or to the righteous living of believers before the Lord God, so it is not appropriate to explore in greater detail in this survey-type Study.

It is worthy of note that in the following text there are many others not so “sealed” who are described as “dressed in white” and “sheltered” by God – proving the notion that the number of 144,000 represents “the only saved people” (as touted by some cults) is invalid.

Interaction

Consider

The is an impending doom for those who have rejected the salvation of Jesus.

Discuss

What are some differences between the text of Revelation and what pop-theology teaches?

Reflect

Be amazed at the way that the Lord God stops everything, to seal and shelter those who are His, prior to pouring out His Wrath upon the earth.

Share

What is an example of believers, or at least people who claim to be believers, whose faith is shallow because they believe that they will not only avoid the Tribulation but even avoid serious trouble in their day to day lives? What happens to their “faith” when trouble comes?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you someone He wants to reach with you as His instrument.

Action:

Today I will share these texts with someone who is confused about the last days of the End Times so that they are not living a shallow and weak life which will be easily overwhelmed when trouble comes.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Friday (Revelation 7:9-12)

7:9 After these things I looked, and here was an enormous crowd that no one could count,

made up of persons from every nation, tribe, people, and language,

standing before the throne and before the Lamb dressed in long white robes,

and with palm branches in their hands.

7:10 They were shouting out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, to the one seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

7:11 And all the angels stood there in a circle around the throne

and around the elders and the four living creatures,

and they threw themselves down with their faces to the ground before the throne and worshiped God,

7:12 saying, “Amen! Praise and glory, and wisdom and thanksgiving, and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”

Prayer

Lord, it is inconceivable to mere humankind what it will be like to be in Your presence, so we are grateful for the glimpse You gave to John to share with us. May I practice now the giving of honor and worship to You that will be so much a part of eternity.

Summary & Commentary

The “an enormous crowd that no one could count” is encouraging as is the fact that every nation, tribe, people, and language will be present.

Note, not every philosophy or religion but every nation, tribe, people, and language; there is only one path to Heaven.

All will be wearing white robes, signifying that they have been made-righteous by Jesus.

The presence of the palm branches, echoing the circumstances of Jesus' entrance to Jerusalem prior to His final days, is interesting. This time the worship is fully-informed, genuine, and eternal!

Wisdom flows from the Lord God, His power is omnipotent, and strength comes from Him to us.

Interaction

Consider

Every nation, tribe, people, and language will have some who will have heard and responded rightly.

Discuss

Is Christians were to view themselves as among those wearing white robes might that help them to resist the things that attack their righteousness here on this fallen-earth?

Reflect

The events that John viewed were outside of the linear time of fallen-earth, they were a glimpse into post-Great Tribulation, post-Wrath, post-Great White Throne Judgment, post-New Heaven & Earth.

Share

When have you contemplated the majesty of the Lord God and bowed in humble worship?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you one are in which He wants you to be more-surrendered so that He may draw you nearer to the righteousness that will be yours in eternity.

Action:

Today I will humbly surrender that area of my life which the Holy Spirit has designed. I will ask a fellow believer to pray in-agreement, and to be my accountability partner, as I intentionally keep that area surrendered as I look ahead to the next and the next.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Saturday (Revelation 7:13-17)

7:13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These dressed in long white robes – who are they and where have they come from?

7:14a So I said to him, “My lord, you know the answer.”

7:14b Then he said to me, “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

7:15 For this reason they are before the throne of God, and they serve him day and night in his temple, and the one seated on the throne will shelter them.

7:16 They will never go hungry or be thirsty again, and the sun will not beat down on them, nor any burning heat,

7:17 because the Lamb in the middle of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of living water,

and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Prayer

Lord, You have promised to bless those who suffer for Your name, despite the challenges of the Great Tribulation. May I allow Your Holy Spirit to be my strength, no matter the challenge that comes because of my faith, so that I may stand because of You.

Summary & Commentary

The Lord challenges John to identify a group who are in “long white robes” and he could not.

John humbly acknowledged his lack of knowledge and the superior knowledge of the Heavenly-elder.

In the implied sequence of events it again appears, from this text, that believers will experience the Great Tribulation.

The “lamb” Who is “seated in the middle of the throne” is the One Who will shelter them; yet another affirmation of the deity of Christ.

The “throne” is used literally, rhetorically, and symbolically in the Bible. It is clearly identified as the seat of the Lord God and of Jesus. The mother of a disciple inquired about a seat for her son and was chastised by Jesus. It is used rhetorically as in “the throne of grace” or putting someone or something on the throne instead of the Lord. And it is used symbolically, as in the angel pouring out the cup on the throne of the beast (see Rev. 16).

Interaction

Consider

The Great Tribulation will be a very difficult challenge and those who stand for Christ will be blessed for their faithfulness.

Discuss

Could the intention of a Heavenly-elder questioning John for his knowledge be that the Lord wanted his readers to have no doubt that John was a messenger and not himself a Heavenly-being?

Reflect

The throne of the Lord God has always been His and always will be.

Share

When have you been caused by the Holy Spirit, through a respectful challenge from a person of Biblical integrity, to acknowledge the limits of your knowledge?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you someone who has suffered greatly due to their faith in the Lord.

Action:

Today I will pray for the one who has suffered for the Lord; I will give thanks that they received His strength, thanks that He found them willing instruments, and thanks that He has allowed me to know their testimony – so that it may strengthen my faith.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated - http://bible.org

Note 1: These Studies often rely upon the guidance of the NET Translators from their associated notes.  Careful attention has been given to cite that source where it has been quoted directly or closely paraphrased. Feedback is encouraged where credit has not been sufficiently assigned.

Note 2: When NET text is quoted in commentary and discussion all pronouns referring to God are capitalized, though they are lower-case in the original NET text.

Commentary text is from David M. Colburn, D.Min. unless otherwise noted.

Copyright © 2012 by David M. Colburn. This is a BibleSeven Study – “Revelation” Section – Revelation 4 – 5 – prepared by David M. Colburn and edited for bible.org in June of 2012. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.

Related Topics: Curriculum