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Revelation Chapter 6

In Revelation chapter 6, the mysterious sealed book introduced in chapter 5 is finally opened. There are some clues that the sealed book is the book of Daniel which was sealed (Daniel 12:4). As each seal is opened, there is an invitation to come and see the contents.

Revelation Chapter 6 - The First Seal

"And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see." (Rev 6:1)

There is no indication here as to which of the four beasts gives the invitation. The beasts have loud voices sounding like thunder. Thunder seems to be associated with significant events in the heavenly sanctuary:

"And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God." (Rev 4:5)
"And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake." (Rev 8:5)
"And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail." (Rev 11:19)

It seems that when each seal is removed something within the scroll is visible as, in each case, the invitation is given to "come and see." There would be no point in saying "come and see" if nothing could be seen until all seven seals were removed.

"And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer." (Rev 6:2)

This section of Revelation describes what are commonly referred to as the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." The historical approach to understanding these verses sees them as the history of the church parallel to the messages to the 7 churches (when also understood as an overview of history) however there is no evidence from the verses that they correspond to periods of history. A rider on a white horse is also described in Revelation 19:

"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." (Rev 19:11-15)

This passage is a good clue as to who the rider of the white horse is. A rider controls, or at least directs a horse, which, by its willingness to follow directions, allows the rider to reach a destination or achieve a purpose. It is interesting that the "armies in heaven" which we could surmise to be angels are also riding upon or directing white horses.

If the rider upon the white horse is Jesus, who or what is represented by the horse? We need to investigate the symbolic use of horses in scripture. It is interesting that there are also four horses in the book of Zechariah and they are even of the same colors:

"And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses. Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord? And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country." (Zech 6:1-6)

Here is a comparison of the horses of Revelation and Zechariah:

Revelation Zechariah
white red
red black
black white
pale grisled/bay

Another passage in Zechariah makes a connection between God's people called "his flock the house of Judah" and a horse - "his goodly horse in the battle":

"Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field. For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd. Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle. Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together." (Zech 10:1-4)

The "bow" also appears as it does in Revelation 6:2. The bow is also likened to God's word:

"Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers." (Hab 3:9)

Horses also appear in the book of Joel in the context of the day of the Lord and a battle:

"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 the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. ... The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array" (Joel 2:1-5)

From this, I would suggest that the horses of Revelation 6 can be viewed as people in the setting of judgment and last-day events. Logically, the four different horses might represent four groups of people. Now we want to see if there is a way to identify these four groups that makes sense in the setting and has other scriptural support.

That the rider on the white horse is Jesus directing His people to go forth "conquering and to conquer" is not difficult to see. Here is one more verse in support of the idea that God's people are symbolized by horses involved in a conflict:

"I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots." (S.Sol 1:9)

God's people will be involved in a battle that will ultimately be successful:

"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matt 16:18)

Let's go on now to look at the remaining three horses.

Revelation Chapter 6 - The Second Seal

"And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword." (Rev 6:3-4)

The color of this horse is red which would seem to match its activities - to "take peace from the earth." If the horse is representing a group of people, they are killing one another which is not what Jesus would direct them to do. It seems that the rider on the horse is someone else - these people are being directed by another power. This would seem to match this passage in Hebrews:

"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;" (Heb 2:14)

God's people do not kill one another. It is those controlled by the rider on the horse that are doing that. "They" is referring to the people symbolized by the horse. There is a passage from Zechariah describing the activities of red horses that further helps to identify this symbol:

"I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white. Then said I, O my lord, what are these [the horses]? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These [the people symbolized by the red horses] are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. And they [the people symbolized by the red horses] answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest." (Zech 1:8-11)

It seems that they were sent on a mission. The report they bring back: "all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest" may be a false report based on:

"Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! ... Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter:" (Eze 3:3,10)

The color red is also significant in other ways. We can see red as a color of judgment:

"Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come." (Isa 63:1-4)

Red is also used as a symbol of sin:

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isa 1:18)

Red is even used to describe the devil himself:

"And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads." (Rev 12:3)

At this point, I am going to clarify further this understanding of the identity of the first two horses and their riders.

The white horse ridden by Jesus represents His obedient 144,000 who are engaged in the final conflict. They are those who will give a message to the world and will bring in the great multitude. This group will be examined more closely in chapters 7 and 14 where the 144,000 are described in more detail.

The red horse is ridden and controlled by Satan himself and they are those who are the leaders in deception who will lead many astray. Jesus often distinguished between the leaders and the people that they were misleading:

"Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." (Matt 15:14)
"For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed." (Isa 9:16)
"His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber." (Isa 56:10)
"The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" (Jer 5:31)
"And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel." (Eze 14:9)

Now let's go on to look at the black horse.

Revelation Chapter 6 - The Third Seal

"And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand." (Rev 6:5)

The rider had a pair of balances in his hand. These signify judgment or trade.

"Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure.Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt." (Lev 19:35-36)
"Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?" (Amos 8:5)
"TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting." (Dan 5:27)

As Revelation 6 is obviously given in an end-time and judgment setting we could ask who does the judging. We are told plainly :

"For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:" (John 5:22)

If the rider on the black horse is Jesus, how can that be? Does He ride two horses at once? Of course, neither rider is literally riding a horse; it is symbolic of their control or direction of the horse which, in turn, symbolizes a group of people involved in the judgment. Zechariah speaks of black horses:

"The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country." (Zech 6:6)

The north country, in scripture can be related to Babylon (Jer 25:9, 50:9, Eze 26:7). There is a call towards the end of Revelation for God's people to come out of Babylon:

"And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, ... And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her (Babylon), my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Rev 18:2, 4)

Note that the black horse is not Babylon itself but the true followers in Babylon. These are called out just in time so that they do not receive of the plagues. This verse may be connected to this call:

"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." (John 10:16)

Those in Babylon who are part of its system and do not come out are either the leaders who are classified as part of the red horse - they also have professed Christ or they have never made a commitment or have lost their commitment and are classified as part of the last horse.

"And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." (Rev 6:6)

A "measure" is the daily ration for one person and a "penny" is a day's wages.

"And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard." (Matt 20:2)

Barley, being of lesser value than wheat, is the food of the poorer people. A day's wages being only enough to buy food for the day indicates famine conditions.

"Oil" represents the Holy spirit and "wine" represents doctrine whether good or bad. Oil and wine are both used to indicate fruits of the harvest.

"Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil." (Joel 2:24)

Revelation Chapter 6 - The Fourth Seal

"And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth." (Rev 6:7-8)

"Hell" is equivalent to the grave which naturally follows death. What does "kill with "death" mean? It sounds like a strange thing to say. However, a verse in Ezekiel helps to understand it.

"For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?" (Eze 14:21)

We can line up the symbols from Ezekiel and Revelation as follows:

Revelation 6:8 Ezekiel 14:21
sword sword
hunger famine
death pestilence
beasts noisome beast

In this comparison, death is equivalent to pestilence which could be a plague or disease.

The Beasts of the Earth

The word "beasts" in Rev 6:8 would seem to indicate simply animals but there is a clue in this parallel usage by Ezekiel. Is Ezekiel suggesting that the noisome (whatever that means) beast is going to cut off from Jerusalem both man and beast? Are beasts going to cut off (which in many uses means to kill) the beast?

The answer lies in the fact that, in that verse, there are two different original words used for "beast." The last word of the verse - beast - is H929 (behaymaw) and is translated as beast 136 times and as cattle 53 times. So that can certainly mean a beast, an actual animal, as is commonly understood.

The first use of beast (in the phrase "noisome beast") is translated from the Hebrew word "chay" (Strong's H2416) as:

live 197, life 144, beast 76, alive 31, creature 15, running 7, living thing 6, raw 6, misc 19; 501

The original word for "noisome" is translated that way two times but translated as "evil" 442 times. Here are its various renderings in the KJV:

AV-evil 442, wickedness 59, wicked 25, mischief 21, hurt 20, bad 13, trouble 10, sore 9, affliction 6, ill 5, adversity 4, favoured 3, harm 3, naught 3, noisome 2, grievous 2, sad 2, misc 34; 663

So, using the most common renderings for the words noisome beast in Eze 14:21, we would have something like "evil life." It doesn't seem that the "noisome beasts" of Eze 13:21 are actual beasts at all and with Rev 6:8 being a parallel passage its "beasts" are not actual animals either. Remember, that beasts are often used in prophecy to represent nations.

The Pale Horse

In the previous seals, we identified the horses with groups of people. I am going to propose that the pale horse represents a group of people that we could identify with atheists and people who have never claimed to be Christians or committed their lives to the Saviour.

In Zechariah's prophecy the pale (there called "grisled") horse is mentioned:

"The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country." (Zech 6:6)

From the standpoint of Jerusalem, their greatest enemies were identified as coming from the north (Babylon) and from the south (Egypt).

"From thence it passed toward Azmon, and went out unto the river of Egypt; and the goings out of that coast were at the sea: this shall be your south coast." (Josh 15:4)

Egypt can certainly be connected to atheism in the actions of Pharaoh who boldly denied the existence of the God of heaven. He worshipped many other Gods (which were affected by the plagues that fell) and regarded himself as the highest God. He boldly spoke against the authority of heaven and proudly answered Moses proposal to let Israel go:

"... Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go." (Exo 5:2)

The pale color of the fourth horse can be thought of as close to death; indeed these have never had (the right or any claim to eternal) life.

One suggestion of the "fourth part" is that it might be better understood in light of Eze 14:21 as more like:

"And power was given unto them over the fourth part the four sore judgments of the earth, to kill with ...
There are Not Four Horseman of the Apocalypse

Next comes the 5th seal but not a 5th horse. Before we get to the message of the 5th seal let's look more closely at the idea that the horses represent groups of people. This will also help with the question: "why not another horse?"

If the 7 seals are parallel to 7 churches and are a summary of periods of history it would seem logical that there should be 7 horses just as there are 7 churches. But if the horses represent, not church history, but groups involved in the judgment could we be done with horses after the fourth because the 4 horses together include all of humanity that are to be judged?

By looking at people in the setting of judgment (as opposed to the people living during periods of New Testament history, as in the historical understanding of the 7 churches) all people who have ever lived are included.

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." (2 Cor 5:10; also Rom 14:10)

There are also 4 groups in Rev 22:12 that correspond to the four horses:

"He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still." (Rev 22:11)

These four groups can be compared to the four horses as follows:

Rev 22:11 Horse Group of People Rider  
holy white God's army of 144,000 Christ judgment begins at the house of God
filthy red professed Christians Satan depending on own righteousness (filthy rags)
righteous black God's people in Babylon Christ come out of her my people
unjust pale never professed Christ Satan never justified in the first place

I said above "in the setting of judgment." Is it a setting of judgment? Well consider these points:

  1. the book described in chapter 5 is being opened
  2. the riders carry judgment items:
    1. Christ (the judge) carries a pair of balances
    2. Satan (the destroyer) carries a sword
  3. "Come and see" suggests to examine the evidence
  4. the rider on the white horse in chapter 19 is said to judge

It makes sense that judgment might follow some kind of a chronological order. There is one clue about the possible order given by Peter:

"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" (1 Pet 4:17)

Even taking into account Peter's statement, there are two possibilities (and perhaps more) for the order in which the groups are judged.

1. Judgment follows a chronological order beginning with Adam (the first born) or with Abel (the first who died and therefore the first case closed) and going through all the cases of the saved and then going through all the cases of the lost.

saved and lost

Intuitively, this doesn't make sense. How does a judge decide who should be in the saved group to be judged first? That decision itself is an act of judgment. Are all who are considered among the house of God to be judged before any of the lost?

2. This judgment is referring to the judgment of those living when judgment passes to the living. There has to be a judgment of those alive on the earth before the Second Coming because Christ brings rewards with Him at that time.

"And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." (Rev 22:12)

It is interesting that this verse immediately follows verse 11 discussed above which could be understood as "case closed." He has made up his mind - "let him be" the way he has chosen.

Is it possible that this judgment is referring to the judgment of the living beginning with the house of God - the cases not yet closed? Peter, at least at the day of Pentecost, thought he would be among the living at the Second Coming.

"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:" (Acts 2:16-17)

In this scenario, the order of judgment might look like this:

dead judged

So, can you see that there is a problem with the commonly-used term "four horsemen of the apocalypse"? It implies that there are 4 different riders. That cannot be proven biblically. There are 4 horses - 4 different horses - but we are never told there are 4 different riders - that is an assumption. It is the rider that controls the horse and the horses are, of course, symbols. If the horses represent people, people can be divided, on a most simple level, to the lost and the saved and there are two individuals that ultimately control or direct those two groups.

Further evidence that an evil power, not from God, controls the red and pale horses is that, in each case, their rider is given permission or power or leave to do something that they may have been previously restrained from doing:

"And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth ..." (Rev 6:4)
"And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them ... to kill ..." (Rev 6:8)

God, through His agents, restrains or holds back evil to protect His created beings. When people reach a certain point of rejection of God He leaves them to the gods they have chosen and withdraws His presence or protection. Remember God's angels holding back the winds from hurting the earth (Revelation 7:1-3).

God's direct involvement in guiding the white and black horses is shown in the terminology describing the rider of the white horse being so obviously parallel to Revelation 19:11-15 and in the "voice from the midst of the four beasts" (which would be the throne of God) that is heard with the black horse.

Revelation Chapter 6 - The Fifth Seal

"And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:" (Rev 6:9)
"Under the altar" - where is that? Remember, this was written about 96 AD - there was no temple on earth as it was destroyed in 70 AD. "The souls of them that were slain for the word of God..." Who or what were these souls? The Biblical use of soul(s) is very much misunderstood and will be dealt with in another study on this site. For now compare this similar verse:
"And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground." (Gen 4:10)

"Blood crying out" is obviously a figurative expression. Sacrificial blood was poured on the ground at the bottom of the altar. The people referred to in Revelation 6:9 were, in a sense, sacrificed.

"And the priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the LORD, which is in the tabernacle of the congregation; and shall pour all the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation." (Lev 4:7)

The Bible equates blood with life:

"Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh." (Deut 12:23)

In this verse, "life" and "soul" are both translated from the same Hebrew word, "nephesh."

"For the life {H5315} of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul {H5315}." (Lev 17:11)

Therefore, from the two verses above, we have the following:

      life = soul (Lev 17:11)
     blood = life (Deut 12:32)
then we could say, algebraically, that
     soul = blood

We need to understand that this is highly symbolic. There is no altar of sacrifice in heaven - the sacrifice of the heavenly antitypical system was Jesus who died on the earth. Souls are not in heaven. Blood represents the life. The next verse continues in the same figurative sense.

"And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" (Rev 6:10)

"They" are those that were slain. Again, this is speaking of the dead as though they were alive. We see something similar in Revelation 20:

"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." (Rev 20:12)

In this case, dead people are referred to as standing before God which, of course, they cannot physically do, but they are standing before Him in the sense that their name has come up in the judgment and their record is being examined.

In Revelation 6:10, the dead are asking: how long till the living ("them that dwell on the earth") are judged? How were they answered?

"And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." (Rev 6:11)

The "rest" is referring to them remaining the grave. The question in verse 10 was about time and the answer was given accordingly - "a little season."

Revelation Chapter 6 - The Sixth Seal

"And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places." (Rev 6:12-14)

Verses 12-17 give the second of six descriptions of the Second Coming in Revelation. There are six physical events listed. Have these events happened yet? Some would say that, yes, four of the events happened between about 1755 and 1833:

Signs of the End Suggested Fulfillment
A great earthquake Nov. 1, 1755 (the Lisbon earthquake)
Sun becomes as black May 19, 1780
Moon becomes as blood May 19, 1780
The stars of heaven fell Nov. 13, 1833 (meteor shower)
Heaven departed as a scroll not yet
Mountains and islands moved not yet

Another verse describing the Second Coming mentions a great earthquake but in that case it is with or after the seventh plague not hundreds of years before:

"And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great." (Rev 16:18)

All of these events are described as happening in a time of judgment. Has judgment started yet? - some would say "yes, it started in 1844" (but that is another topic). Many believe that the sixth seal marks the beginning of the judgment of the living.

"And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;" (Rev 6:15)

There are seven categories of people mentioned in verse 15; pretty much everyone is included from top to bottom of society:

  1. the kings of the earth - seems to be just that; the same original Greek word is used in every case in Revelation for "king" or "kings" including:
  2. "And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father ..." (Rev 1:6)
  3. the great men - Gk: "megistanes" similar to English "magistrates"
  4. the rich men - the rich; people with money
  5. the chief captains - The authorized version translates the original word as "chief captain" (19), "captain) (2) and "high captain" (1) in its total of 22 uses. The On-line Bible gives the meaning "the commander of a thousand soldiers ."
  6. the mighty men
  7. every bondman everyone, either bond or free, even if also in the categories above
  8. every free man

They are described as hiding from Jesus as He comes. This sounds somewhat like Adam and Eve who hid themselves when God came to visit them in the garden:

"And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden." (Gen 3:8)

They were hiding because of fear:

"And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." (Gen 3:10)

They felt fear because of guilt from sin and because of their expectation of how God might react to their sin. Those hiding in Revelation 6:15 are hiding for a similar reason as shown by what they say in the next verse:

"And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:" (Rev 6:16)

Having rocks fall on them sounds like it could even be deadly but the alternative - a face-to-face meeting with the Son of God - must be an even worse prospect for them.

"For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Rev 6:17)

They seem to understand "his wrath" differently than how the Bible, rightly understood, describes the wrath of God.

Hopefully, you have learned something about Revelation chapter 6. The concept that there are not "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" may be new to many readers but I think you can see that it is Biblically supported. We will now have to wait until chapter 8 before the contents of the seventh and last seal are revealed. In the meantime, chapter 7 will tell us about a very significant group of people.  

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The Greek has multiple words for forgiveness? God forgives (charizomai) whether we ask or not. Receiving forgiveness (apheimi) is by our choice.
God always forgives!


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