in the Christian Library
John L. Kachelman, Jr.
I. John has just witnessed the Lamb taking the Scroll
from God's hand. Immediately the Lamb begins to open each of the seven
seals. As each is opened its symbolism is released. This Scroll symbolizes
God's eternal plan and as it is opened John will receive answers to his
questions about his brethren's plight. This section gives a panoramic view
of God's dealings with man. We see the introduction of Christ to the world;
the response of the world; and, the final fate for those who follow Christ
and those who follow the world. This panoramic view was given to encourage
our bewildered brethren. They would be encouraged to continue because they
would know reward would given to them in the end.
II. The connection of the 7 seals with the events just
studied is clear. Christ has just been crowned the conquering Lamb and
was seated at the right hand of God. Now His will moves out to ride over
the world. Soon evil opposition bathes the land in blood as harsh persecution
occurs (John 15:19). Christians are barely able to live while their enemies
live in luxury. But Christ reigns and those who trust in him will overcome
and enjoy the beauties of heaven.
III. Observe how the message of the 7 Seals bring courage to weak hearts. We focus on the Rider of the white horse as the central theme.
I. Carefully consider the following facts that are revealed about this Rider on the white horse.
A. His IDENTITY and MISSION (6:2).
1. This speaks about Jesus Christ.
a. 5:5 - He is the One who has conquered (John 16:33;
b. The horse is "white" - indicates holiness.
c. "Crown" - a victory wreath. He is victorious.
d. This same symbol is found in 19:11.
2. His mission was to go out and conquer. He has conquered
sin and death and He continues to conquer when men hear and obey His invitation.
3. Once again we find ourselves focusing on the fact that
Jesus Christ is supreme - Lord of Lords, King of Kings! NO ONE is able
to stand in His way!
B. His OPPOSITION (6:3-11).
1. As this Conquering Commander rides forth to complete His mission His followers will find great opposition from the world.
2. Notice 4 methods which are used to oppose these followers
a. Religious persecution of believers (6:3-4, 9-11)
1) "Slaughter" used to refer to the killing of sacrificial
victims offered to God (cf. Rv 5:6, 9,12; 18:24).
2) When Christ brings the gospel to the world there will
always be conflict (Matthew 10:34).
3) "Sword" signifies the sacrificial knife.
b. Economic suppression and injustice (6:5-6).
1) This indicates two extremes - some will barely live
while others would enjoy luxury.
2) Believers were forbidden to join the trade guilds by
which employment was gained because they would not worship images of the
Emperor. Their refusal meant loss of job, money, and ability to purchase
3) When people worshipped the Emperor's image they would
receive a token, or "mark" on paper indicating they had performed the required
worship. All who did not have the "mark" were unable to buy and sell (Rv
4) Believers today are often crowded out of jobs, business,
or professions because they remain true to conviction. Even today the Black
Horse is riding!
c. Physical Death (6:7-8).
1) Believers were not exempted from the sting of death. They would suffer death just like those in the world. Christianity did not offer them miraculous protection!
2) 4 methods by which death would claim the believers are given to John . . .
a) War - "sword" here refers to the battle sword.
c) Pestilence - plagues and diseases
d) Wild beasts
3) Note: The believers were subjected to these just as
unbeliev- ers. No doubt many began to ask if there was any virtue in being
a Christian since they suffered just like others and even more!
d. The apparent success of the enemy (6:9-11).
1) It seemed that Satan had won and the Lamb lost! They
had witnessed dear loved ones maimed, tortured, and killed.
2) It was, and still is, hard to keep from asking, "Why
Lord?" (cf. Jeremiah 12:1-4). Yet God tries to give an answer that will
be understood to this frustrating question (v. 11; cf. 2:10).
3. Opposition was tremendous. Many succombed to it, their
strength was not sufficient. But the Rider on the White horse is not left
facing this opposition, in the next seal the apparent success of those
fighting against Christ is only temporary.
C. His COMPLETE VICTORY (6:12-7:17).
1. We see that His mission is completed, the souls under the alter were vindicated - Christ's victory is complete.
2. The victory of the White Horseman strikes terror into
the hearts of His enemies (6:12-17). The "great day" came. It came in a
mom- ent, there was no time to prepare. A crashing universe and fright-
ened humanity is unable to surrender now. Here is a picture of the terror
of the great day, voices of thousands scream in agony.
3. The victory of the White Horseman offers protection
to the believers (7:1-8). What is the fate of believers on this great day?
All who have been sealed will be protected for they are God's people (Ephesians
1:13-14). All men bear a mark, either of evil or good. Those bearing the
mark of God will be saved, all others are lost (cf. Ezekiel 8:4-5).
4. The victory of the White Horseman guarantees eternal
happiness (7:9-17). The picture is of the heavenly redeemed. Those sealed
on earth will find a wonderful paradise. There is victory because of righteousness.
Physical ills will be removed and they will find freedom (16, 17). The
joyous song is "Victory" (v. 10), because they have followed the Lamb of
God! (7:13, 14)
II. From this passage we are able to discover some vital
lessons for modern men.
A. There is a war going on and we are involved in it.
Satan's opposition is great but it is limited! Each of his oppositions
is restricted. God is in control!
B. The way of victory is not in compromise but in faith.
Believers will find themselves involved in tribulation but they must endure
and come through it!
C. The trials we face will strengthen and refine us so
we will be prepared to enjoy heaven (1 Corinthians 3:13).
D. It is impossible to possess Christ without conflict
E. God's patience is seen as He waits for men to be saved.
But He will not wait forever (6:10; 7:3; 2 Peter 3;9).
F. The sober question, "Who is able to stand before God?"
is answered clearly - only those who have been sealed! (6:17-7:4; Ezekiel
I. The message of the Seals - The Lord Jesus Christ is
now conquering, exercising His spiritual and universal kingship. He will
ride victoriously even though Satan tries to oppress. Christ is the Victor
- He rides forth conquering and to conquer!
II. The only way you can "come through" the tribulation
of this world is by following the Great White Horseman. If you do then
let the 4 winds blow, they will no harm God's people. Let the Judgements
fall they will not hurt His elect!
Copyright 1998 by John
L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes
at no cost to others.