Summary: The events that we will see with the seals are not the end of history itself. They are events that precede the end. The seals have to be broken before the book can be opened. This is exactly what Christ had said.
Now the time has come. God’s book—the Book of Destiny, the book that spells out what is to happen in the end time—is now to be opened. We need to note that the Lamb doesn’t open the book at this point. He merely breaks open the seals.
The events that we will see with the seals are not the end of history itself. They are events that precede the end. The seals have to be broken before the book can be opened. This is exactly what Christ had said.
In Matthew, the apostles had asked Christ two questions. (24:3) When would the temple be destroyed, and what would be the sign of His coming and of the end of the world?
Christ answered by giving nine signs, and He called this period of history “the beginning of “birth pains” or “leg of sorrows.” After He had given the nine signs in Matthew 24: 5-14, He said “then shall the end come.” (v. 14)
Let’s look for a moment at what Christ predicted and what is now beginning to happen in the book of Revelation.
In Matt. 24: 5-14 Christ spoke of the beginning of birth pains or of sorrows. We see that corresponds to the seven seals in Rev. 6: 1-17.
The similarity that we can see hear is that the end of the world will not come all at once.
The future will be filled with wars, natural disasters, persecutions, and the claims of false messiahs. Actually we are seeing a glimpse of all of these right now. At the end these events will intensify. But this is not all. There will be the appearance of the rider on the white horse. READ verses 1 & 2.
Who is this rider? This is widely disputed but most commentators agree on one of two possibilities.
1. One view says that the rider symbolizes the victorious Christ Himself or the victorious proclamation of the gospel. The rider is said to have been crowned. He is on a white horse. Those agreeing with this view say that the color white is always associated with Christ throughout Revelation. So they say this must be Christ.
Others argue that Christ cannot be commanded by heavenly creatures and so it can’t be Christ.
2. So the second view is that the rider represents conquest in general, the antichrist in particular. He is the deceiver and that is why he appears in white. The crown is different from the crown worn by Christ in Rev. 19. It’s the crown of the conqueror not the crown of a king.
The bow represents conquest. In the OT it is always the symbol of military power.
One writer says to note this: when the rider appears on the scene he already has a bow, but the crown is given to him. After he receives the crown, then he goes forth to conquer. This points strongly to a counterfeit Christ. Breaking this down further:
The rider has a bow. Christ doesn’t possess a bow. A weapon of war is not part of His being.
The rider is given a crown. Christ is not given a crown. We say that Christ has been crowned throughout all of eternity.
Third, the rider sets out to conquer. There is not specific time, when you think about it, that Christ set forth to conquer the hearts of men. He has always been about the mission of salvation. So there is no point at which He has to MOVE to conquer.
So the strongest argument seems to point to the white rider being the antichrist. The Scripture tells us that he will conquer the world by deception. Because people choose to go the way of sin and evil, God will judge the world.
The beginning of that judgment will be God allowing the antichrist to come upon the world scene. And he will deceive men in such a way that they will give their kingdoms to him. You ask, how can that happen?
What would cause men to turn over the government of the world over to one man.? We have been warned. A world that is full of false messiahs will claim they have the answers to life. That prepares the way for the antichrist. When the heart is empty and hopeless, it will turn to any person who promises utopia or heaven on earth.
A world that is full of violence, wars, and rumors of war will prepare the way for the antichrist. Millions of lives, homes, families, and all else will be destroyed. A devastated people will turn to any leader who can bring peace and restoration.
Natural disasters will prepare the way for the antichrist. Disaster after disaster will cause people to quake in fear. Fear will drive people to a world leader who can promise and provide economic and medical help and aid.