Summary: Message 17 in our exposition of Revelation. This message observes the events of chapter 7.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
“Who Can Stand?” Rev 7:1-17
I. PROLOGUE 1:1-20 (Things you have seen)
II. Messages to the Seven churches 2-3 (Things with are)
III. Last Days 4-22 (Things which are about to take place)
A. Heavenly worship around the throne 4-5
1. Worship the Creator sitting on the Throne 4
2. Worship the Redeemer before the Throne 5
That catalyst for this worship was the run-up to the last days. In John’s vision, Jesus appears in the throne room as the Lamb of God / Lion of Judah. The One sitting on the throne turns over the scroll sealed with seven seals. It is a scroll outlining the decreed events of the last days.
Jesus stands to break the seals and execute the final judgment on the unbelieving wicked.
His actions trigger a massive praise gathering anxious to see the restoration of God’s Kingdom on earth. The breaking of each of the seven seals securing the scroll initiates a catastrophic event.
B. The Seven seals 6:1-8:1
1. Seals 1-6
When compared to the prophetic data from the Gospels the events of the seven seals appears to either immediately precede the seven year tribulation or comprise the first 3 ½ years of the tribulation.
1. Seal #1 – White horse with a crowned arched sent out to conquer
The first horse is specially dispatched from heaven and represents the conquering power of the word of God as weapon against the evil one and that will be preached all through the earth before the end comes. Jesus warned them not to be misled by false teachers, but listen to the word. People will not have an excuse for being deceived. The Word of the Lord will powerfully go forth throughout the earth.
2. Seal #2 – Red horse with a swordsman sent out to eliminate peace and stir up murder. 6:3-4
When the truth is reject it leaves a vacuum and violence results.
3. Seal #3 – Black horse sent out to bring famine 6:5-6
It is clear that the result of this seal has to do with a lack of food or runaway inflation.
Many times such a problem comes about after extended warfare.
4. Seal #4 – The pale horse ridden by death followed by Hades sent out to kill ¼ of the population 6:7-8
This seal could possibly eliminate up to 1 billion people in a short period of time through war, famine, pestilence and wild beasts. This breaking of this seal kicks the world into absolute chaos.
5. Seal #5 – Cry of the martyrs 6:9-11
The martyrs of Biblical history cry for vengeance.
They are told to wait a little longer until the rest of special people slated for martyrdom run their course.
6. Seal #6 – Multiple natural catastrophes 6:12-17
A gigantic earthquake yet not the “big one”. Darkening of the sun. Moon turns red. Massive meteor showers. The heavens are exposed to the world to see the throne room and the source of judgment. Massive shifting of the tectonic plates.
The response of every unbeliever on earth from every walk of life? Hide us! They recognize the source of all these events but rather than repent, they want to hide. This will not be the first time they react rather than repent. They ask “who can stand in the presence of the one sitting on the throne and the wrath of the Lamb.” As catastrophic as these event are, they are considered birth pangs, only the beginning. From here on out, events become more frequent and more intense. We still have the trumpet judgments and the bowl judgments as the full measure of God’s wrath is poured out on the unbelieving world.
The “beginning of birth-pangs” (Matt. 24:8; Mark 13:8)
The first half of the Tribulation
Luke 21:11 Earthly & heavenly phenomena Rev. 6:12–17 Sixth seal
The “abomination of desolation” (Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14)
The middle of the Tribulation
2. Interlude 7:1-17
Chapter seven serves as a kind of interlude or break in the chronology. It is possible that John sees another vision detailing other things taking place sometime during the breaking of the seven seals and catastrophic events described in chapter six. It also intensifies the drama of the breaking of the seventh seal. The passage begins with the vision trigger “after this”.
Here he described events that will happen both in heaven and on earth. This chapter graphically illustrates mercy in the midst of wrath.