Summary: Paul tells us to "Behold the goodness and severity of God." In Revelation, we see God’s love and grace in His promised blessings, protection and rewards for His people, but we also see His holiness and justice displayed in His wrath towards His enemies.
REVELATION 2012: #6 – THE SEVEN SEALS
REVIEW: For the past five weeks, we’ve been going through the Book of Revelation.
Ch. 1: - John’s vision of the resurrected, powerful glorious Jesus
Ch. 2-3: - we saw Jesus in His church – if you want to find Jesus, go to church.
Ch. 4: - a vision of Heaven with God the Father, powerful Holy Creator on the throne
Ch. 5: - a vision of Jesus the Son of God, the Lamb who died for our sins.
TEXT: “Therefore consider (behold) the goodness and severity of God.” (Romans 11:22).
• In Revelation, we see two parallel themes of the goodness (love, grace) of God and His severity (holiness, justice). Jesus as both Lion (holy) and Lamb (gracious).
• People love the goodness, love, blessings and benefits of God, but don’t like His holiness.
• Paul says, “Don’t just focus on His love and grace, but His justice and holiness too.”
THE BIG IDEA: In Revelation, we see God’s love and grace in His promised blessings, protection and rewards for His people, but we also see His holiness and justice displayed in His wrath towards His enemies.
• Discuss – this is the part of the book where there is much debate over the meaning.
• Remember the blessing in Rev. 1:3: “Blessed are those who hear, read, and DO…”
CHAPTER SIX: THE SEVEN SEALS
“Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, "Come and see." And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.” (Rev. 6:1-2).
• What do horses symbolize in the Bible? Strength, terror or conquest.
• Where does the imagery of the four horsemen come from? Zechariah 1:8-17 and 6:1-8.
FIRST SEAL – RIDER ON A WHITE HORSE: Who is this Rider? Two Views:
• The Antichrist, or a false Christ, and the forces of evil
• Jesus Christ, and the victory of the Gospel
REASONS WHY I BELIEVE IT IS JESUS AND NOT THE ANTICHRIST:
• White in Revelation is always used as a symbol of Jesus or His followers.
• Jesus is described elsewhere in Revelation as a rider on a white horse (Rev. 19:11),
• one who has conquered (Rev. 5:5) and one wearing a crown (Rev. 14:14).
SECOND SEAL – RIDER ON A RED HORSE: WAR
“When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come and see." Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.” (Rev. 6:3-4).
• Parallel in Matthew 24: “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.” (v.6).
THIRD SEAL – RIDER ON A BLACK HORSE: FAMINE
“When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come and see." So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” (Rev. 6:5-6).
• Parallel in Matthew 24: “And there will be famines… in various places.” (v. 7b).
FOURTH SEAL – RIDER ON A PALE HORSE: DEATH
“When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, "Come and see." So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.” (Rev. 6:7-8).
• Where does this imagery come from? The OT prophet Ezekiel (14:21).
FIFTH SEAL – THE CRY OF THE MARTYRS: PERSECUTION
“When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.” (Rev. 6:9-11).