Journey with Daniel
“The Breaking of the 1st 6 Seals”Categories: A Month of Victory
In chapter 5 we read of the Lamb taking the sealed scroll from the One on the throne (5:7). Chapter 6 opens with the Lamb breaking the seals. When the first four seals are broken we see 4 horses carrying riders (6:1-8). The images of horses takes us back to the prophecy of Zechariah (Zech. 1:8-10; 6:1-7). However there are some differences between the horses of Zechariah’s prophecy, and the horses read of here in Revelation. Zechariahs’ pulled chariots; Revelation’s had riders. Zechariah’s brought a report; Revelation’s brought destruction. There’s also a difference in colors described. The colors of the horses in Revelation seem to correspond to the destruction they bring.
The four horses could represent 1 of 2 thoughts. Some see these four as representing the struggle of God’s people on earth. As the gospel went forth (perhaps pictured by the 1st horse and rider) it brought pain and suffering upon God’s people. This view summarizes the visions this way:
§ 1 – Triumph – The victorious gospel going forth into the world
§ 2 – Turmoil – as typified in war with the slaughter of many innocents (especially Christians)
§ 3 – Trial – such as economic hardship on those not slaughtered (especially Christians)
§ 4 – Tribulation – experienced throughout the world, climaxed by death from many unnatural causes (for both Christians and non-Christians)
The other way of interpreting these four are God’s judgment upon the wicked who persecute His people (specifically at this time – Rome). Each horse and rider represent a different tool God will wield in judgment upon the earth.
Things take an interesting shift when the 5th seal is broken. Saints who have been martyred are crying for God’s action – for His vengeance upon the enemy (v. 9-10). They’re crying for justice. They’re looking for God’s response to the suffering they’ve experienced. His answer: it won’t be very long (v. 11).
Indeed it wasn’t. The 6th seal is broken and we read of a great scene of judgment on the earth – earthquake, sun darkened, falling of stars, the sky splitting apart. God heard, and God answered. Notice the question asked in v. 17, “who is able to stand?” Who can withstand the judgment of God? Who can hide from His hand? The answer is obvious – none.
Chapter 6 is a helpful reminder for Christians then and today – God knows our suffering. God hears our prayers. And God will answer in His time. Will God judge the wicked? Will God deliver the righteous? Will God answer the cries of His people? Yes – in His time. We sing the words, “He makes all things beautiful in His time.” Don’t give up on God. Place your trust in the King on the throne, and trust that His answer, and His timing is best.
“Wonderful God, what a blessing and privilege to call on Your name. You hear our prayers. You see our tears. You know what’s happening in our lives – nothing escapes your notice. Thank you for this powerful reminder today of your justice and compassion. I trust Your judgment. I trust in Your words. And I trust in Your timing. I look to You as my Rock, my Fortress, my Strong-tower, my Strength and my Shield. Help me to wait on You. Help me to realize that Your will, Your answer, and Your timetable is always best – oh King of my life.”