And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book
written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
The book of Revelation lists three slots of seven judgments that will occur near or during the tribulation. First is the seal judgments, followed by the trumpet judgments, and finally the vial or bowl judgments. We are the closest to the seal judgments, being the first set. Some believe that these judgments have already began. Whether or not this is the case is up for debate. However, the Scriptures give two definite signs of the presence of the seal judgments.
The seal judgments are detailed in Revelation Chapter 6. The Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, holds a book having seven seals. The judgments occur as He breaks each seal, hence the term “seal judgments.”
The First Seal
1. 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.
2. 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.
This is the first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The rider is a conquerer. As his horse is white, he is probably regarded as a hero. At the end of the tribulation, Jesus rides in on a white horse (Rev. 19:11), followed by the saints, also on white horses (Rev 19:14). Therefore, this false hero may be the antichrist, because he imitates Jesus. His weapon is a bow. Remember that the bow was the weapon of Esau, Issac’s firstborn, whom the Lord rejected in favor of his brother, Jacob (see Gen 27:1-4). A crown was given to him. This suggests that he is given a position of authority, but he doesn’t inherit the position, like a king.
The Second Seal
3. 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.
While the first rider is a conquering hero, the second rider comes bringing war. Peace is removed, and nations war against nations. His horse is red, the color of blood, and also the color of Communism. Is there a link between this judgment and Communism?
The Third Seal
5. 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.
6. 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.
This seal ushers in either a severe famine, an economic calamity, or both. A measure of wheat sells for a penny, literally a days wage. (“And when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard,” Matt 20:2) According to the Schofield Reference Bible, the Greek word translatedmeasure here means approximately one quart. Whether economic disaster (hyperinflation) or famine, the price of food skyrockets. As for the oil and wine, the meaning of “hurt not” is unclear. It may mean that the oil and wine will not be affected by the famine. It may mean that the price of oil and wine will become prohibitively expensive. Note that the oil means cooking oil, not petroleum. The context dictates that it is food that becomes expensive. Not only does this rule out petroleum, it provides stronger evidence for the famine scenario over the hyperinflation scenario.
The Fourth Seal
7. 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.
This final Horseman brings horrible judgment, killing one quarter of the world’s population. The rider is Death, and he kills by various means: war, starvation, and wild beasts. He also kills “with death,” which suggests pestilence like black death. He rides a pale horse, having a sickly or deathly appearance. Death targets only the unsaved, as Hell follows him, awaiting the souls of the dead. This is important to note, because the righteous have yet to be sealed to protect them from the judgment. This happens between the sixth and seventh seals.
The Fifth Seal
9. 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:
10. 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?
11. 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.
The Four Horsemen having been released to do their damage, we are now given a vision of martyred saints. These were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. Will Christians be martyred for clinging to the true Word of God, the KJV, and not accepting the perverted Alexandrian versions? These martyrs seek the Lord to avenge their blood, and they are told to wait. No judgment occurs with the fifth seal, yet it foretells that the Lord shall surely avenge the murder of His saints.
The Sixth Seal
12. 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.
15. 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;
16. 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:
This seal results in a great, worldwide earthquake. This is second only to the earthquake of the seventh vial judgment (see Rev. 16:17-20). This earthquake causes mountains and islands to move out of their places, and causes much damage around the world. This earthquake triggers volcanic activity, causing much ash to be spewed into the atmosphere, causing the sun and moon to be darkened (see also Joel 2:10, 31 and Joel 3:15). It is uncertain what is meant by heaven departing as a scroll. It depends on whether heaven means the earth’s atmosphere or outer space. If it is the atmosphere, the “falling stars” may be communication satellites falling to earth. If it refers to outer space, remember that God has stretched out the heavens (ie, outer space), creating the red shift often claimed as the evidence for the Big Bang. “Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out;…” (Isaiah 42:4). If this is visualized as the stretching out of a scroll, it can be understood how God could contract it as a scroll. This earthquake sends multitudes running into caves and underground bunkers, and ushers in the day of the wrath of the Lord.
The Seventh Seal
1. And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
2. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
The seventh seal simply brings in the trumpet judgments. This happens after a pause in judgment, during which 144,000 Israelites and a multitude of Gentiles, all servants of God, are sealed with His protection. God’s judgment is not on the righteous, but on the backslidden and lost.
Are we currently in the seal judgments?
Some believe that we may already be in the seal judgments. Others will insist that we are not, because we have not been raptured yet. (The danger of this thinking will be covered in another article.) Can we know for sure? The description of the forth and sixth seals give specific clues indicating the presence of these judgments. The first, second, third, and fifth seals are rather general, giving no specific signs. The second seal is very generic. It describes most of the twentieth century, and many previous periods. The first seal, a conquering hero, is also quite generic. It could be used to describe many individuals. Even the famine of the third seal is nothing unique. Famines have occurred throughout history.
However, the fourth seal produces a series of disasters which result in the deaths of one quarter of the world population. This will be hard to miss. Some may dismiss the separate events as unrelated. But with one of every four people dead, there will be few that are not affected by this judgment. This is the first definite sign. The second is the earthquake of the sixth seal. The description gives detailed information on this judgment. This earthquake is worldwide, and results in the sun and moon darkening, and the movement of islands and mountains out of their place. As this will be felt worldwide, causing much death and destruction, it will be impossible to miss. It will be in the news for months. This massive earthquake will be the definite sign that we are in the seal judgments. However, by this time, they will be nearly over. We will then be able to look back, and identify the other judgments in world events.
In conclusion, the seal judgments are coming. I cannot say for certain when, or whether or not we are already in them. But we certainly have not reached the fourth seal. Some maintain that events of the past few years have fulfilled the first two, with the third being imminent. Regardless to the timing, we need to be right with God, doing His will, that we may gain His protection during these uncertain and dangerous times.