It started with the drama at the throne (Revelation 5). The scroll containing the inheritance of the children of God was sealed with seven seals, and no one could open it. No one, that was, until the slain Son of God appeared. Because he died and rose again, he is worthy. He had borne the wrath they deserved. Because of this, he is both just and the justifier of sinners (Romans 3:26). Those who trust in him escape the wrath to come and become co-heirs with Christ. He then began to open the seals one by one.
He breaks the first seal, and a conqueror appears on a white horse. He has a bow and a crown. He has authority and the means to fulfill God’s plan (Revelation 6:2). What great hope this is to a church that watched the world kill many of its members. They will not be conquered; they have a champion who will fight their battle.
Jesus removes the second seal, and there is a red horse, and its rider uses the wickedness of the wicked against themselves (Revelation 6:4). This seal is the first major blow against them. There is no honor among the wicked, and when their backs are against the wall, they strike out at whoever is closest to them. Like the armies of the Old Testament, amongst whose ranks God sowed confusion, he will cause them to pour out judgment on themselves. Christians who the enemies of God have brutalized will see those same enemies brutalize each other.
He opens the third seal, and there is a Black Horse. Its rider disrupts the economy. He makes the necessities of life scarce (Revelation 6:5-6). For those who put their faith in mammon, their god fails them. The church sees this and understands that God’s word stands true; it is the rock upon which they stand. The children of God, at this time, may feel the hunger in their stomachs, but the foundation upon which they stand does not move.
The Lamb that was slain breaks the fourth seal, and a pale horse whose rider is death appears and kills a fourth of the population with sword, famine, and pestilence (Revelation 6:8). Those who think they control their own destiny are proven wrong and shaken to the core. Why do the nations rage? The Lord in heaven laughs (Psalm 2). The wrath of the ungodly has come, and who can stand? They built their lives on sinking sand, which shifts and swallows them up.
After the four horsemen, we see the fifth seal removed, and under the altar, we find the martyrs asking God for justice. He gives them white robes and asks them to be patient a little longer. A few more brothers and sisters will join them before this is finished (Revelation 6:9-11). The future of the children of God cannot be thwarted by the murdering hands of the enemies of God. Do not fear those who can kill the body. There is great hope for anyone in the persecuted church who had family or friends taken by violence because of their faith. They are not lost, and there will be a heavenly reunion.
The sixth seal is opened, and great calamities of nature unfold. The earth quakes, the sun darkens, the stars fall, and the kings of earth run in fear (Revelation 6:12,15). The rulers of this world will realize it is not mother nature they should have honored, but the Creator of heaven and earth. They made nature their god (Romans 1:25), and their god consumed them. God’s judgment is cosmic. It encompasses all of creation.
All this takes place before the scroll containing our promised future has even been unrolled. If you do not yet know Jesus, there is still time to repent and place your faith in Him. As Augustine once said, “God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but he has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.”
Christian, do not be alarmed at wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6). The first six seals are the birth pangs of the blessings to come. Do not fear, precious child of God. No matter what happens in this life, there will be a glorious unfolding for you.