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The Seals

The Apocalypse – Chapter 6 – Part 1

Yesterday we covered Chapter 5 of Revelation (or Apocalypse), today we commence with Chapter 6:1-8 – The Seals. Christ has been given the book of the divine counsels. He loses no time, but immediately opens the seals. Now we are to launch into the deep. We may not fathom the whole but only hint at what seems most obvious. The prophecies of this book are divided into seven seals opened, seven trumpets sounding, and seven vials poured out.

We are not here told what was written in the book, and it is not for us to pretend to know “the times and seasons which the Father has put in His own power.” In this chapter six of the seven seals are opened, and the visions attending them are related. The Seals.

Light
 
Out of darkness into light
Into a world that’s shining bright
Out of gloom and total despair
Into a world of loving care
Out of disaster and deep distress
Into joy and happiness
Out of a world of drugs and dope
Into a life of promise and hope
Out of suffering and of pain
Into a world where you now reign
Out of a life of misery
Into a world that’s full and free
Out of the old and on with the new
Into a world that’s filled with You
Out of the day and into night
There is no darkness only Your light.
 
By the late Andrew Feakin
[passed away 16th March 2019]

Keys – The Seals

  • It is not for us to pretend to know “the times and seasons which the Father has put in His own power.”
  • Our Lord Redeemer is so sure of victory and of a glorious triumph always (and He is in us who believe and adhere to Him)
  • All who receive the gospel must receive Christ as a king, and must be His loyal and obedient subjects
  • Men go on opposing but Christ goes on conquering, and His former victories are pledges of future victories
  • When Christ comes with power into our soul He begins to conquer our enemies. He goes on conquering, in the progressive work of sanctification, till He has gained for us a complete victory
  • Whatever convulsions and revolutions happen in the world, the Kingdom of Christ shall be established and enlarged in spite of all opposition
  • Trust that Christ will do His own work effectually, in His own time and way
  • It is our duty to observe and believe the threatenings in the Word and warn others of them as well as the promises
  • He who holds the winds in His hand has all public calamities at His command. They can only go when He sends them and no further than He permits.

He went forth conquering

‘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. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and He that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto Him. He went forth conquering, and to conquer. When he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 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.

And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. Then 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.

Power was given to them

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. 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.’

Henry says – Christ, the Lamb, opens the first seal. He now enters upon the great work of opening and accomplishing the purposes of God towards the church and the world. One of the ministers of the church calls upon the apostle, to come near, and observe what then appeared. The Lord Jesus appears riding on a white horse. White horses are generally refused in war, because they make the rider a mark for the enemy. But our Lord Redeemer was sure of the victory and a glorious triumph, and He rides on the white horse of a pure but despised gospel, with great swiftness through the world.

A crown was given Him

He had a bow in His hand. The convictions impressed by the Word of God are sharp arrows, they reach at a distance. This bow, in the hand of Christ, abides in strength, and, like that of Jonathan, never returns empty. A crown was given Him. All who receive the gospel must receive Christ as a king, and must be His loyal and obedient subjects. He will be glorified in the success of the gospel.

When Christ was going to war, one would think a helmet had been more proper than a crown. But a crown is given Him as the earnest and emblem of victory. He went forth conquering, and to conquer. As long as the church continues then Christ will be conquering. When He has conquered His enemies in one age He meets with new ones in another age. Men go on opposing, and Christ goes on conquering, and His former victories are pledges of future victories.

He conquers the enemies in His people

He conquers His enemies in His people. Their sins are their enemies and His enemies. When Christ comes with power into their soul He begins to conquer these enemies. He goes on conquering, in the progressive work of sanctification, till He has gained us a complete victory. And He conquers His enemies in the world making them His footstool.

From the opening of this first seal it shows that the successful progress of the gospel of Christ in the world is a glorious sight. It is worth beholding, the most pleasant and welcome sight that a good man can see in this world. Whatever convulsions and revolutions happen in the states and kingdoms of the world, the Kingdom of Christ shall be established and enlarged in spite of all opposition.

Sad and great judgments

A morning of opportunity usually goes before a night of calamity; the gospel is preached before the plagues are poured forth. Christ’s work is not all done at once. We are ready to think, when the gospel goes forth, it should carry all the world before it, but it often meets with opposition, and moves slowly. However, Christ will do His own work effectually, in His own time and way.

The next three seals reveal the sad and great judgments with which God punishes those who refuse or abuse the everlasting gospel. Though some understand them of the persecutions toward the church, and others of the destruction of the Jews. They seem more generally to represent God’s terrible judgments which He avenges upon those who make light of His covenant.

Men, who should love one another..

The sword of war is a dreadful judgment. It takes away peace from the earth, one of the greatest blessings, and sets men to kill one another. Men, who should love one another and help one another, are, in a state of war and set upon killing one another.

Upon opening the second seal another horse appears, of a different colour from the former, a red horseRev. 6:4. This signifies the desolating judgment of civil war and strife. He that sat upon this red horse had power to take peace from the earth, and that the inhabitants of the earth should kill one another. Who this was that sat upon the red horse, whether Christ himself, as Lord of hosts, or the instruments that He raised up to conduct the war, is not clear. But those who will not submit to the bow of the gospel must expect to be cut in sunder by the sword of divine justice.

That terrible judgement

Upon opening the third seal another horse appears, different from the former, a black horse, signifying famine. The problem will not be famine so much as inflation and scarcity. That terrible judgment; and he that sat on the horse had a pair of balances in his hand (Rev. 6:5). This signifies that men must now eat their bread by weight, as was threatened (Lev. 26:26), They shall deliver your bread to you by weight. What follows in Rev. 6:6; is of the voice that cried, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny. But see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

This famine it seems fell most severely upon the poor; whereas the oil and the wine, which were dainties of the rich, were not hurt. But if bread, the staff of life, be broken, dainties will not supply the place of it. When a people loathe their spiritual food, God may justly deprive them of their daily bread. One judgment seldom comes alone. The judgment of war naturally draws after it that of famine. Those who will not humble themselves under one judgment must expect another and yet greater, for when God contends He will prevail. The famine of bread is a terrible judgment; but the famine of the Word is more so, though careless sinners have no sense of it.

Multitudes in the Valley of Decision

Upon opening the fourth seal there appears another horse, of a pale colour. A yellowish-green colour represents disease and death. The name of its rider—Death, the king of terrors. Death making fresh conquests every hour. Over a forth – the devastation is limited in scope. The attendants of this king of terrors is hell, a state of eternal misery to all those who die in their sins. In times of such a general destruction, multitudes go down unprepared into the valley of destruction. It is an awful thought, and enough to make the whole world to tremble, that eternal damnation immediately follows upon the death of an impenitent sinner.

There is a natural as well as judicial connection between one judgment and another. War is a wasting calamity, and draws scarcity and famine after it. Famine does not allow men proper sustenance, and forces them to take that which is unwholesome, often drawing pestilence after it. God’s quiver is full of arrows. He is never at a loss for ways and means to punish a wicked people. In the book of God’s counsels He has prepared judgments for scorners as well as mercy for returning sinners. In the scriptures God has published threatenings against the wicked as well as promises to the righteous. It is our duty to observe and believe the threatenings as well as the promises.

He holds the winds in His hands

After the opening of these seals of approaching judgments, and the distinct account of them, we have this general observation. That God gave power to them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with the sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earthRev. 6:8.

To the three great judgments of war, famine, and pestilence, is here added the beasts of the earth, another of God’s sore judgments, mentioned Ezek. 14:21. It is mentioned here at the last. When a nation is depopulated by the sword, famine, and pestilence, there will be a small remnant that continue in a waste and howling wilderness. These encourage the wild beasts to make head against them, and they become easy prey.

Thus the mystery of iniquity was completed, and its power extended both over the lives and consciences of men. The exact times of these four seals cannot be ascertained, for the changes were gradual. God gave them power, that is, those instruments of His anger, or those judgments themselves. He who holds the winds in His hand has all public calamities at His command. They can only go when He sends them and no further than He permits.

Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary

Prayer for the Day

Prayer: Father, I come to You. May I never presume that I can know the times and seasons which You have put in Your own power. I thank You that our Lord Redeemer is so sure of victory and of a glorious triumph always and that He lives in me. May I fully embrace the full gospel and receive Christ as a King into my heart and life. Let me be found to be a loyal and obedient subject. When men oppose me and your gospel may I realise that Christ goes on conquering, and His former victories are pledges of future victories. Come in power into my soul and conquer all my enemies. Thank You that You assures me that He goes on conquering, in the progressive work of sanctification, till He has gained for me a complete victory.

May I keep my focus on the fact that whatever happens in the world, the Kingdom of Christ shall be established and enlarged in spite of all opposition. I trust that Christ will do His own work effectually, in His own time and way. May I perform my duty to observe and believe the threatenings in the Word and warn others of them as well as to believe the promises. Thank You that You holds the winds in Your hand and that You have all public calamities at Your command. They can only go when You sends them and no further than You permits. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

The Seals!

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