In chapters four and five of Revelation we were given a glimpse of the throne room of God and the book with seven seals. The events taking place in these chapters were absolutely majestic. There was the Father, the four beasts, the 24 elders, and myriads of angels. There was Jesus as both Lion and Lamb. There was a future vision of the redeemed sing the Song of Moses and the Lamb.
Now in chapter six, we have the opening of the seven seals. This will be a picture of things happening on the earth, while chapters four and five focused on events taking place in heaven.
This is to teach us the very important lesson of having heavenly thoughts before we have earthly thoughts. Each day, we should begin the day with thoughts of heavenly things. Too often we are so encumbered with the things of this world that we scarcely think of heaven. If we were to begin the day with heavenly thoughts, we will find greater success with the things on earth.
In addition, we are to learn that earthly events do not happen in a vacuum. Heaven is not only interested in earthly events and the salvation of man, but is exceedingly active in helping suffering humanity.
As we continue our study in this second vision encompassing chapters four through seven, we notice that the seals begin with four symbolic horsemen with their rider.
The color of the horse represents the spiritual condition of the church, and the rider her responsible leader. These four horsemen historically represent the church from its apostolic roots to the Papal apostasy. The remaining seals describe God’s attempt to rescue the church from deep apostasy before the final judgment.
In chapter four, we saw the Jesus’ sacrifice had been accepted, and all of heaven welcome the world’s Redeemer at His ascension. Now we shall see the application of His sacrifice and how things are judged as a result.
“The Lamb opened one of the seals”
The Lamb, Jesus, opened one of the seals which would permit a certain portion of the scroll to be read.
One of the four living creatures says, “Come and see.” This must be the first living creature—the lion. The second seal is associated with the second beast, and so forth.
“noise of thunder”
A voice of thunder could be referring to a loud voice for everyone to hear, or a voice that has spoken with authority that these things are so. Certainly a lion has a loud thunderous voice.
As we behold the unfolding of the seven seals, we want to keep in mind what we learned from the prophet’s code. This section, chapters four through seven, will teach us how God has judged through the centuries, from the early church till the second coming of the Lord.
Chapters four and five showed us the throne room from whence God judges. Now we shall see in the seven seals how God has judged each era within the Christian dispensation. Of course, we begin with the first seal, namely, the white horse. While this will be descriptive of the early church from 31-100 AD, it is also descriptive of a particular spiritual condition, namely, a saved condition. Take the time to contemplate how each seal is described, and prayerfully consider how God judges it.
What do we learn about judgment in verse 1? We see that it is the Lamb that shall judge the world. He who laid down His life for sinful humanity, has the right to judge the world.
The First Seal
The Early Church, AD 31–100
“a white horse”
The horse is often symbolic of war.See Job 39:19-25. Solomon said in Proverbs 21:31, “The horse is prepared against the day of battle.” In Zechariah 10:3, the prophet said, God had made the house of Judah “as his goodly horse in the battle;” that is, he had made them like the victorious war-horse.
The horse was an emblem of fleetness, and, consequently, of the rapidity of conquest. In Joel 2:4 we find, “The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.” In Jeremiah 4:13, we find, “behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as the whirlwind; his horses are swifter than eagles.”
This first horse is a white horse. White is representative of righteousness. Revelation records, “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.” Revelation 19:8
A white horse would represent the early church swiftly winning the battle against evil, through the righteousness of Christ as they battle or war against sin. We conquer error with truth. We triumph over evil with righteousness.
“had a bow”
A bow is often emblematic of war.The main weapon in our warfare against evil is the Word of God. It is also the standard by which everyone will be judged.
“a crown given unto him”
It is a victor’s crown, not a royal crown. It is the symbol of a life of righteousness. Paul said, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8
Again, Paul writes, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” 1 Cor. 9:25
“The crown and the throne are the tokens of a condition attained; they are the tokens of self-conquest through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, page 549
“and he went forth, conquering and to conquer.”
He went forth as a conqueror, that he might conquer. He went forward determined to win the battle. He had conquered before, and he will conquer again. It was important that he kept going forward conquering.
The picture as a whole represents triumph. Knowing that the prophecy begins in the day of the prophet, we would see here the triumphs of the early church spreading the gospel to the whole known world.
“In the days of the apostles the Christian believers were filled with earnestness and enthusiasm. So untiringly did they labor for their Master that in a comparatively short time, notwithstanding fierce opposition, the gospel of the kingdom was sounded to all the inhabited parts of the earth. The zeal manifested at this time by the followers of Jesus has been recorded by the pen of inspiration for the encouragement of believers in every age.” Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, page 578
The description of the white horse is not only a description of the purity of the early church and their success in taking the gospel to the whole known world, but we are also given God’s ideal for our spiritual or saved condition.
In other words, if we would see the kingdom of God, we need to be riding on a white horse. Through the righteousness of Christ we are to battle against evil, instead of giving into evil. We will be successful if we have His righteousness and are willing to engage in the battle against our sinful nature.
What else do we need? We need the bow of God’s Word. It is not the opinions of men or the traditions of the church whereby victory is gained. It is through the inspired Word of God. Sola Scriptura.
We must also have the attitude of conquering and to conquer. By faith in God’s power to deliver us from evil, we shall be victorious.
But if we get off the white horse of Christ’s righteousness and begin to take the reins in our own hands, we shall meet with defeat. If we do not stand on God’s Word as our foundation, we shall fall. If we do not believe we can overcome, we have already met with defeat.
The Second Seal
Verses 3, 4
The Compromise Church, AD 100–313
“another horse that was red”
The second horse is red. Just as white is the symbol of purity and righteousness, red or scarlet is the symbol of sin. See Isaiah 1:18. The color red reminds us of the red dragon (12:3), the scarlet-colored beast (17:3), and the harlot church dressed in scarlet (17:4). After the death of John around AD 100, the church began to lose hold on its purity of doctrine. The church began to adopt false doctrines and pagan rites. Paul wrote concerning this coming apostasy. See Acts 20:28–30; 2 Thessalonians 2:3–7.
“to take peace from the earth”
After Jesus spoke to His disciples about preparing a place for them in heaven (John 14:1–3), Jesus encouraged them, saying, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” John 14:27. We have peace with our Lord Jesus Christ as we are in agreement with Him. It is through conformity to His perfect will that there is peace between us and God. The Bible teaches, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165. See also Isaiah 26:3; 48:18; 57:20, 21. When the church departed from the purity of the Word, she was then in disagreement with God. Having departed from the truth, she lost both the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the power of the Spirit. Having lost the peace of Christ and the power of the Spirit she turned to the state to do her bidding.
“kill one another”
The weapon of the early church was the bow, representing the Word of God. See 2 Corinthians 10:3–5. The Word was not used to destroy people, but to destroy sin, ignorance, and error that had enslaved people. But the “great sword” of the rider of the red horse was used to “kill one another.” This was not the two-edged sword of the Word through the Spirit, but the sword of compromise.
This is a lost condition
God had judged the spiritual condition of this church as red. No doubt under this condition anyone riding a red horse is lost. Obviously, all of us want to be riding on white horses having purity of doctrine and a life corresponding to it. But if we begin to compromise the truth for political, economic, or social gain we will be riding a red horse. Have you compromised truth due to peer pressure? Have you rejected truth because of the pull of family tradition?
Who is the rider of your life? Christ is not the rider of the red horse. There are plenty of priests and pastors that teach error. They present pleasing fables, traditions, and words that simply do not edify. It is important for you to hear truth preached. Yet, it is not enough to prefer the hearing of truth, we must bring our lives into conformity to the truth through the working of the Holy Spirit.
And what is the testimony of your life? Do you say and act in a way that destroys peace in the family, in the church, at work, and in the community? Or does your life, through the Spirit, promote peace, joy, faith, and love? If your weapon in life is a sword that kills spiritually, you are working against Christ. Your sword must be the Word that has the power to convert the most unpromising of men.
The life that promotes peace is a Christlike life. The more we are unlike Christ the more pain, suffering, and death we bring to this world. The Prince of Peace, the Lord of life wants to live in us that we may become the salt of the earth. As salt, we are to help preserve this world from further decay into sin and compromise.
The Third Seal
Verses 5, 6
The Apostate Church, AD 313–538
“a black horse”
Black is the opposite of white. It is therefore used symbolically to represent evil, not purity; moral darkness, instead of moral excellence; spiritual famine, rather than the filling of the Spirit; and mourning, instead of joy. See Jeremiah 4:28; 8:21; Rev. 11:2, 3.
The digression of these horses from white, to red, to black, well represents the continued spiritual downfall of the Catholic Church and other religious groups. If the compromising under the red horse was not bad enough, the apostasy grew even worse during the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries. Pagan rites increased and took on Christian names. The following quotations attest to Rome’s acceptance of pagan rites and ceremonies:
“And indeed, all writers who are acquainted with antiquity, be they lay or clerical, Protestant or Papal, Italian or foreign, agree as to the pagan origin of Rome’s present usages and ceremonies.” Forsyth, Italy, 31.
“In England Romanists are usually indignant when it is said that their ceremonies were originally heathen. In Italy, on the other hand, that origin is regarded as proof of the wisdom of the Church which has converted a heathen people and their heathen customs into a Christian people and Christian ceremonies.” Hobert Seymour, Pilgrimage to Rome, 228.
“Romanism is simply the old Roman paganism revived under Christian names. Romanism and paganism bear to each other the most exact and extraordinary resemblance.” Guiness, Romanism and Reformation, 198.
“It is permitted the church to use for purposes of piety, the ceremonies which the pagans used for purposes of impiety in a superstitious religion, after having first expiated them by consecrations, to the end that the devil might receive a greater affront from employing in honor of Jesus Christ that which His enemy had destined for his own service.” Cardinal Baronius, Ecclesiastical Annals, chapter 36.
“A pair of balances”
A pair of balances has ever been used as a symbol of judgment. But would the leaders of the black horse judge justly? The thickening union between the Church of Rome and the state led to the persecution of the true church. While the apostate church compromised under the red horse, she unjustly judged fellow believers during the time under the black horse.
Cardinal Manning quoted one of the popes as saying: “I claim to be the supreme judge and director of the consciences of men—of the peasant that tills the fields, and the prince that sits on the throne; of the household that sits in the shade of privacy, and the legislature that makes laws for kingdoms. I am the sole and last supreme judge of what is right and wrong.” Vide Quirinus, Appendix 1, page 832.
Wheat and barley
A measure of wheat for a penny was about eight times its normal worth in those days. This would indicate that there was a great famine for the most basic staple of life. In other words, there was a spiritual famine. The people were not being spiritually fed by these apostate leaders. Barley, on the other hand, was more plentiful. However, it represents a cheaper grade of food. Barley was normally used to feed horses. The precious wheat—the Bread of Life—was replaced with the cheaper grade of barley—the traditions of men.
This selling of symbolic wheat and barley may also refer to the commercialization of the church. Enormous profits were made by the apostate church through the sale of relics, religious rites, and indulgences. Even prayers for the dead, burials, and marriages were performed for a price.
The ministry of the Word under the white horse, which was precious and pure in the early church to further Christ’s kingdom, was now controlled by unscrupulous men for personal gain. In their adulteration of the Word, the people were malnourished.
Oil and wine
Oil was used for anointing and represents the Holy Spirit. Wine was used by Jesus to represent His precious blood. Wine is also symbolic of spiritual blessings. The oil and the wine therefore represent the work of the Holy Spirit in leading us to repentance. It is through the Spirit that we are wooed to accept the precious blood of Christ. It is through the Spirit that we receive the gift of repentance and all other spiritual blessings. The command to “hurt not the oil and the wine” means that the rider was restricted or limited in his power to adulterate the truth. God would, even during this time of terrible famine, convert and feed His faithful people.
It is apparent that riding on a black horse is worse than riding on a red horse. The creeping compromises of the red horse were piling up, and the horse became black. Church traditions superseded Scripture. Spiritual famine was the result. Judgment became unjust.
When we begin to compromise our faith, it is easier to compromise it again. We water down our Christianity, and we go from a white horse to a red horse. Then we begin to judge others unjustly, and we go from the red horse to the black horse. Our only hope is to get back on the white horse.
Have you judged others unjustly? Have you accepted an impoverished diet of having very little in the way of prayer, study, and the sharing of God’s Word?
The Fourth Seal
Verses 7, 8
The Church of Death, AD 538–1798
The Pale Horse
Is there something worse than riding on the black horse? Yes, it is riding on the pale horse—the chlorine horse. The word pale comes from the Greek word chloros, from which we get chlorine. The color is representative of death. Hence, the rider’s name is “Death, and Hell followed with him.”
In this era of the church, the Papacy dominated the world both religiously and civilly. The result was the death of millions. “Power was given” to these apostate church leaders and they slew “the fourth part of the earth, to kill with the sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with beasts of the earth.” This is the time of the Dark Ages of Papal rule described elsewhere in Scripture. See Daniel 7:21, 25, 8:24; 11:33; Matthew 24:21, 22; Revelation 13:7; 17:6. The “beasts of the earth” represent the nations that the Papal power used to enforce her decrees and to punish all dissenters. Beasts in Bible prophecy symbolically represent political powers. See Daniel 7:17.
“That the Church of Rome has shed more innocent blood than any other institution that has ever existed among mankind, will be questioned by no Protestant who has a competent knowledge of history. The memorials, indeed, of many of her persecutions are now so scanty that it is impossible to form a complete conception of the multitude of her victims, and it is quite certain that no powers of imagination can adequately realize their sufferings.” Lecky, History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe, Volume 2, 32.
In a standard Catholic work published in 1911, it is boldly claimed that the church has the divine right to:
“Confiscate the property of heretics, imprison their persons, and condemn them to the flames.… In our age the right to inflict the severest penalties, even death, belongs to the church.… Since experience teaches us that there is no other remedy the last recourse is the death penalty.… There is no graver offense than heresy, and therefore it must be rooted out with fire and sword. It is a Catholic tenet which must be faithfully held, that the extreme penalty not only may, but must be inflicted on obstinate heretics.” Institute of Public Ecclesiastical Law.
The Papal power never was on a white horse. Her origins were on the red horse of compromising the truth to support her unbiblical traditions. Refusing to repent, yet having ample opportunity to repent, she became black and then pale. Lucifer himself began with one percent rebellion and end up in one hundred percent rebellion.
When you refuse to repent and desire to control the conscience of others, it will lead even to murder. Where does all the violence of our world come from? Is it the result of following the truth? No, it is the result of supporting error. Is it the result of humility? No, it is the result of selfish pride. Is it the result of purity and moral excellence? No, it is the result of corruption. So why were over one hundred million people murdered by the Church of Rome from 538 to 1798? It was the result of error, selfish pride, and corruption.
Have you harmed others due to your own misconceptions and falsehoods? Have you harmed anyone because of pride? Have you harmed anyone because of immorality in your own life? Then you are riding on the pale horse. The only solution is to get on the white horse of purity of doctrine and moral excellence.
Notice how the seven seals parallel the seven churches in chapters two and three:
First Church Era: Ephesus: AD 31–100
First Horse: White: AD 31–100
Second Church Era: Smyrna: AD 100–313
Second Horse: Red: AD 100–313
Third Church Era: Pergamos: AD 313–538
Third Horse: Black: AD 313–538
Fourth Church Era: Thyatira: AD 538–1798
Fourth Horse: Pale: AD 538–1798
The Fifth Seal
The Martyrs, AD 1517–1755
The altar represents the earth on which the saints of God were slain for the Word of God and for their testimony. They were slain by those riding the pale horse. The blood of these faithful martyrs cries out for justice. These are not faithful martyrs crying out for “vengeance” in heaven. But their “blood” cries out like that of innocent Abel.
They had committed no crime. They were not guilty of murder, but they were murdered. They were not guilty of compromising the truth; they believed and preached the Word. They were not guilty of some shallow religion; they had a testimony to give. Hence, the blood of these reformers appeals to the Lord for justice.
The white robes are symbolic of the righteousness of Christ which was credited to them when they accepted Jesus as their personal Savior, and it was imparted to them as they walked in the Spirit. The white robe reminds us of the white horse. Jesus was their leader, not the pope. They chose purity of doctrine over church traditions. They chose a life of moral excellence over corruption. These saints were God’s church in the wilderness. See Revelation 12:6, 14.
“Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us. ‘All our righteousness are as filthy rags.’ Isaiah 64:6. Everything that we of ourselves can do is defiled with sin. But the Son of God ‘was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.’ Sin is defined to be ‘the transgression of the law.’ 1 John 3:4, 5. But Christ was obedient to every requirement of the law. He said of Himself, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O My God; yea, Thy law is within My heart.’ Psalm 40:8. When on earth He said to His disciples, ‘I have kept My Father’s commandment.’ John 15:10. By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God’s commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness. Then as the Lord looks upon us, He sees, not the fig-leaf garment, not the nakedness and deformity of sin, but His own robe of righteousness.” Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, page 311, 312
“rest. . . until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed, as they were”
Here is predicted another inquisition. It is sad to think that the Dark Ages of Papal supremacy will be repeated. The Bible clearly predicts such a time. See Daniel 11:44 -12:1; Revelation 13:15–17.
It should seem evident to us all that the church that persecutes and kills others is not Christ’s true church. The false church acts as judge of our world. It judges unjustly. It wars against the truth. It wars against the saints. It wars against Christ. It is none other than antichrist. Anyone who would kill another person for his religious faith is riding on a pale horse. It matters not if you think that someone else is a heretic, you have become a murderer.
Clearly those who ride on the white horse are saved. Those faithful servants slain during the fifth seal are also saved. But those who have the characteristics of the red, black, and pale horse are lost. This is how God has judged in the past.
The Sixth Seal
Signs of Christ’s Return, 1755 to the Second Coming
The sixth and seventh seals are closely tied together. Revelation 6:12–17; 8:1. They signal events in the natural world that point to the soon return of Jesus. He is coming back! And He will bring His reward with Him to every white, red, black, and pale horse.
A Great Earthquake
Jesus had predicted that there would be earthquakes in different places that would herald His return. See Matthew 24:7. “A great earthquake” would mark the opening of the sixth seal. This great earthquake was none other than the Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755. Up to that time, it was the most gigantic earthquake ever recorded. Lisbon, Portugal was devastated by both the quake and the tidal wave that followed. The estimated loss of life in Lisbon alone was 90,000.
The following are some reports about the great Lisbon earthquake:
“The effects of the earthquake of the first of November, 1755, were distributed over nearly four million square English miles of the earth’s surface; a most astonishing space and greatly surpassing anything of this kind ever recorded in history!” Nourse, History and Philosophy of Earthquakes, 334.
“Among the earth movements which in historic times have affected the kingdom of Portugal, that of November 1, 1755, takes first rank; as it does also, in some respects among all recorded earthquakes. The first shocks of this earthquake came without other warning then a deep sound of rumbling thunder, which appeared to proceed from beneath the ground, and it was immediately followed by a quaking which threw down almost the entire city.” William Herbert Hobbs, Earthquakes, 142, 143.
“At twenty minutes to ten that morning, Lisbon was firm and magnificent, on one of the most picturesque and commanding sites in the world, a city of superb approach, placed precisely where every circumstance had concurred to say to the founders, Build here! In six minutes the city was in ruins. … Half of the world felt the convulsion ... For many weeks, as we see in the memoirs of that time, people in distant parts of Europe went to bed in alarm, relieved in the morning to find that they had escaped the fate of Lisbon one night more.” Parton, Life of Voltaire, 208, 209.
Sun and moon darkened
May 19, 1780, is known in history as The Dark Day. The night following, the moon had the appearance of blood. As predicted, the dark day followed the great earthquake.
“The Dark Day, May 19, 1780—so called on account of a remarkable darkness on that day extending over all New England. In some places, persons could not see to read common print in the open air for several hours together. Birds sang their evening songs, disappeared, and became silent; fowls went to roost; cattle sought the barnyard; and candles were lighted in the houses. The obscuration began about ten o’clock in the morning, and continued till the middle of the next night, but with differences of degree and duration in different places. … The true cause of this remarkable phenomenon is not known.” Webster’s Dictionary, 1869 edition, under its Explanatory and Pronouncing Vocabulary.
The falling stars
This prophecy was fulfilled on the night of November 13, 1833, by the greatest meteor shower ever recorded.
“The whole heavens seemed in motion, and little need have been borrowed from a morbid sensibility to imagine that the opening of the sixth seal was indeed at hand, when the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree castesth her untimely figs when she is shaken of a mighty wind. Never before has it fallen to our lot to observe a phenomenon so magnificent and sublime.” American Daily Advertiser, Philadelphia, November 15, 1833.
These signs in the natural world followed the persecutions of the Dark Ages. They were signs to these unjust judges that He who judges justly is coming.
Verses 14-17 Future Events
Following these natural phenomena, John now takes us to the majestic coming of the Son of God. The world’s vast inhabitants will be unprepared and will try to hide from Him who is coming. They had judged others, but they were not ready for the judgment. They spurned the truth, now they must face the truth.
It has been said that we should take things literally in the Revelation, unless it is obviously symbolic. We had taken the events of verses twelve and thirteen literally with the great earthquake, the sun becoming like sackcloth, and the falling of the stars. As such, they met their literally fulfillment. But what about verses 14-17?
There is no reason not to take these verses literally as well. When every case has been decided in the heavenly courts for either eternal life or eternal death, then Jesus will come the second time. The seven last plagues will begin to fall, and the earth will lie in complete desolation for one thousand years. Therefore, it is reasonable to accept Revelation 6:14-17 as literally.
There will be great commotion in the sky or the heavens. Verse 14. Every mountain and island will be moved. Verse 14. If mountains and island only moved a little, no life could withstand such a shaking. Under the seventh plague we are told, “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.” Revelation 16:17-20
Under the seventh plague islands “fled away, and the mountain were not found.” This doesn’t sound like a thousand years of peace on the year as taught by many false teachers. Rather, the seven last plagues and the future events described under the sixth seal will devastate the earth.
“The powers of heaven will be shaken at the voice of God. Then the sun, moon, and stars will be moved out of their places. They will not pass away, but be shaken by the voice of God. . . The earth looked like a desolate wilderness. Cities and villages, shaken down by the earthquake, lay in heaps. Mountains had been moved out of their places, leaving large caverns. Ragged rocks, thrown out by the sea, or torn out of the earth itself, were scattered all over its surface.” Ellen G. White, Early Writings, pages 41, 290
They had murdered millions of God’s people before the close of probation. They tried to destroy the 144,000, but were unable. They realize for the first time they are on the wrong side and it is too late. They had been deceived by the apostate religious leaders who had gain control of the governments of the world. Now they chose to hid from the face of Jesus who is coming on a cloud of angels. The day of God’s wrath has come and they have no protection. Their hands are bloody by the persecution of the saints “who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12
“who is able to stand?”
Obviously the unsaved do not stand during this time. Those who chose to worship the beast instead of the Creator, will not stand. Those who worshiped the image of the beast, the union of church and state, will not stand. Those who received the mark of the beast, will not stand. The answer to this question is found in the next chapter. It is those who have “the seal of the living God.” Revelation 7:2
“Then all faces gathered paleness, and those that God had rejected gathered blackness. Then we all cried out, ‘Who shall be able to stand?’ Then the angels ceased to sing, and there was some time of awful silence, when Jesus spoke: ‘Those who have clean hands and pure hearts shall be able to stand; My grace is sufficient for you.” Ellen G. White, Early Writings, page 16
“The mighty angel is seen ascending from the east (or sun rising). This mightiest of angels has in his hand the seal of the living God. . . Those who are planning sin and acting it, will be passed by. Only those who, in their attitude before God, are filling the position of those who are repenting and confessing their sins in the great anti-typical day of atonement, will be recognized and marked as worthy of God’s protection.” Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers, pages 444, 445
While the unjust judges dragged men and women from their beds at night, the Judge of all the earth provides clear signs to the world’s inhabitants that the day of judgment is coming. A great earthquake is a sure sign of God’s displeasure with the human family. The Dark Day was yet another visible sign of judgment. The stars enlightening the sky remind us of the spectacular and glorious coming of Jesus with all His angels.
Those who judge unjustly cannot even look upon the face of God. Yet in our little world they claim to rule in Christ’s stead while He is in heaven. The coming of Christ will reveal everything. It will tell us who truly loves Christ and His truth, and those who love their power, prestige, and possessions. Sad to say, it will then be too late to change.
Am I ready to close my life record? Am I in agreement with God? Or, are there sins that I have not yet confessed? And, what will I do to warn others of the soon coming of Jesus and the judgment that is already under way?
The Seventh Seal
The Second Coming
While the seventh seal immediately follows the sixth seal, there is a parenthetical chapter between the recording of the sixth and seventh seals. This form of writing was to teach us that the events of chapter seven must take place before the breaking of the seventh seal and the coming of Christ. The purpose of this parenthetical chapter is to answer the all-important question, “Who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:17.
The seven trumpets of Revelation are written in the same fashion. There is the description of the first six trumpets in chapters eight and nine. The seventh trumpet is not described until chapter eleven. Chapter ten is a parenthetical chapter, indicating that the events of chapter ten must take place before the seventh trumpet is sounded.
We saw that the latter part of the sixth seal pictured terrible convulsions upon the earth. The wicked were fleeing from Jesus who was riding on a cloud of angels. The unsaved cried out for the rocks and mountains to fall upon them. In contrast, the breaking of the seventh seal finds silence in heaven.
The great day of judgment has come, and all of heaven stands in breathless silence. The Lord takes off His priestly robes and puts on His kingly robes. All have been judged. It has been declared that they were either on a white, red, black, or pale horse. The day of the Lord is now come. As the Bible declares, “Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God; for the day of the Lord is at hand.” Zephaniah 1:7. “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” Ezekiel 33:11.
Others have suggested that there is silence in heaven because no one is there. When Jesus returns the second time, He is bringing all His holy angels with Him. See Matthew 25:31
Perhaps the key to the silence in heaven is the reference to “the space of half an hour.” If a day represents a year in Bible prophecy, a half hour would represent seven days. Consider the following statement:
“Then Jesus’ silver trumpet sounded, as He descended on the cloud, wrapped in flames of fire. He gazed on the graves of the sleeping saints, then raised His eyes and hands to heaven, and cried, ‘Awake! Awake! Awake! Ye that sleep in the dust, and arise.’ Then there was a mighty earthquake. The graves opened, and the dead came up clothed with immortality. The 144,000 shouted, ‘Alleluia!’ as they recognized their friends who had been torn from them by death, and in the same moment we were changed and caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.
“We all entered the cloud together, and were seven days ascending to the sea of glass, when Jesus brought the crowns, and with His own right hand placed them on our heads.
He gave us harps of gold and palms of victory. Here on the sea of glass the 144,000 stood in a perfect square. Some of them had very bright crowns, other not so bright.
Some crowns appeared heavy with stars, while others had but few. All were perfectly satisfied with their crowns. And they were all clothed with a glorious white mantle from their shoulders to their feet. Angels were all about us as we marched over the sea of glass to the gate of the city. Jesus raised His mighty, glorious arm, laid hold of the pearly gate, swung it back on its glittering hinges, and said to us, ‘You have washed your robes in My blood, stood stiffly for My truth, enter in.’”
Ellen G. White, Early Writings, page 16, 17
With the seventh seal, the saints are on their way to heaven. What a precious scene.