Revelation Chapter 6

revelation
Chapter 6

Chapter Highlights
  • The First Seal
  • The Four Horsemen
  • The Tribulation Saints
  • The Great Earthquake
Before We Begin
Chapter 6 is a chapter that shifts gears on us a little.  We now go from the future events unfolding around the throne and in heaven to future events on earth.  We have looked at what will happen in heaven between the Rapture and the Tribulation Period.  Now we turn our attention to what will happen on earth during this same period of time.  There is a lot of debate about how long this period will last. Most scholars agree that 3 years is a good possibility.  In other words we are exploring the concept that the Tribulation Period does not immediately follow the Rapture.  We are now exploring the idea of a gap or a number of years between the two events.  In order to set the stage for how there can be a gap of years between these events we want to begin with a review of the significance of the Jewish Feast Days.
The Seven Jewish Feast Days
In Leviticus 23 we find where God gave the Jews seven feast days to observe forever.  It can be shown that:
  1. Jesus was crucified on Passover or the First feast day.This first feast day is usually called The Lord’s Passover.
  2. Jesus was in the grave on the Second feast day which is called the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
  3. Jesus arose from the dead on the Third feast day which is called the Feast of Firstfruits.
  4. The Church Age began on the Fourth feast day which is called the Feast of Weeks.
  5. There is reason to believe that the Church will be raptured on the Fifth feast day which is called the Feast of Trumpets.
  6. There is reason to believe the Second Coming will occur and the Tribulation Period will end on the Sixth feast day which is called the Day of Atonement.
  7. There is reason to believe the Millennium (the 1,000 year reign of Jesus) will begin on the Seventh feast day which is called the Feast of Tabernacles.
What Bible scholars find interesting is that between the Feast of Trumpets (Rapture) and the Day of Atonement (Second Coming and end of the Tribulation Period) there is a ten day period known as the “ten days of awe,” “the awesome days”, or also known as “ten days of repentance.”  Since the seventieth week (Tribulation Period, Rev 6:17) corresponds to seven years (one day of the seventieth week = one year of the Tribulation Period), it is reasonable to assume that the ten days of awe will correspond to ten years.  This period of time will give people, Gentiles and Jews, an opportunity to grieve, mourn, repent, and accept Jesus as Messiah before the Second Coming occurs.  Once the Second Coming occurs a man’s fate is sealed.  He’s either with Jesus or against him.  This 10-year period also allows for the Antichrist to come on the scene and rise to power before the Tribulation Period begins.
Three Sevens
During the Tribulation Period, Jesus will begin to deal with the satanic trinity and man’s rebellion on earth.  His course of disciplin
  • Seven Seal Judgments
  • Seven Trumpet Judgments
  • Seven Bowl Judgments
The first six seals will be broken one at a time.  Each seal will produce one judgment for a total of six judgments.  The seventh seal will not produce a seventh judgment but will rather, produce the Seven Trumpet Judgments.  The first six trumpet judgments will each produce one judgment each for a total of six.  The seventh trumpet will produce the Seven Bowl Judgments.  When the seventh bowl is poured out, the Tribulation Period will come to an end.  God’s judgment will be finished.
A small number of prophecy experts suggest that these judgments will occur simultaneously.  This cannot be.  The seven trumpets do not begin until the seventh seal is opened, and the seven bowls do not begin until the seventh trumpet is blown.  Over the centuries people have always tried to figure out the Antichrist’s identity, since he will probably be alive when the Church is raptured.  But the problem with this is that he will be restrained and will not be revealed until the proper time.  When the true Church is raptured then, it will be time to start watching for the Antichrist, not before.  He will not stand out at first, so the best things to look for will be a popular and powerful person.  When he signs a seven-year treaty to protect Israel his identity is then, known to all who might be watching.
It’s important to note that Daniel indicates that the Tribulation Period will begin when the Antichrist confirms a seven year covenant (Dan 9:27).  This indicates that the covenant will be worked out and signed by other first, and confirmed by the Antichrist later.  Note that it will be a covenant with many.  There have been several peace agreements between Israel and others.  Some of these that have taken place in our lifetime include the Camp David Accord, Wye River Accord, The Oslo Accord, and so on.  It’s only been until recently that we had a proposed treaty known as The Road Map.  This treaty involved the whole world (the United Nations, the United States, Russia and the newly created European Union (EU).  How does society get much more of a “many” than this?  Most scholars agree that the Antichrist comes out of the EU.
Some skeptics of Bible prophecy say the Bible mentions a spirit of antichrist, but not a real person called the Antichrist.  The fact is, the Bible refers to Jesus by many different names.  He is called Son of God, Lamb of God, Savior, Christ, etc.  It’s the same way for the Antichrist.  He is called the Man of Sin, the Little Horn, the Beast Out of the Sea, the King of Fierce Countenance, the Lawless One, the Prince That Shall Come and much more.  Jesus called him the Abomination of Desolation in Mt 24:15.  Jesus didn’t say the Antichrist is a person, but he did say the Antichrist will stand in the holy place, and other verses say he will sit in the Temple and sign a covenant and demand to be worshiped.  The Bible doesn’t always call him by the name of Satan. But everyone knows what it means when it says Lucifer, Devil or Old Serpent.  It means Satan.  Everyone should know what it means when it says Man of Sin, etc., etc.
“The Antichrist will be a man who makes his debut upon the stage of world history with hypnotic charm and charisma.  He will probably come from the European Union or a country or confederation that was once part of the Roman Empire, which stretched from Ireland to Egypt and included Turkey, Iran, and Iraq.”  John Hagee, Beginning of the End, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996), 117.
The Seven Seal Judgments
  1. The first seal produces a Rider on a White Horse.It symbolizes the release of the Antichrist (Rev 6:1-2)
  2. The second seal produces a Rider on a Red Horse.This symbolizes the removal of peace on earth and causes war. (Rev 6:3-4)
  3. The third seal produces a Rider on a Black Horse.This symbolizes economic collapse and famine. (Rev 6:5-6)
  4. The fourth seal produces a Rider on a Pale Horse.This symbolizes death for unbelievers over ¼ of the earth.Satan is reaping souls for hell.(Rev 6:7-8)
  5. The fifth seal reveals Souls Under the Alter.These are the persecuted saints who missed the rapture but came to Jesus despite the persecution and death sentence that awaited them.(Rev 6:9-11)
  6. The sixth seal reveals a Great Earthquake and a cosmic upheaval of the sun, moon & stars.(Rev 6:12-14)
  7. The seventh seal introduces the Seven Trumpet Judgments.(Rev 8:1-2)
Are We Ready To Begin?
Revelation 6:1 Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” (NKJV)
With the opening of the first seal, the Tribulation Period begins.  The terrible judgments will not begin immediately or all at once. Instead, they will start slowly and build up over time.  They will not appear too bad at first but they will gain in strength and intensity quickly.  Things on earth will eventually get out of control and become so bad that mankind would destroy the earth if not for the Second Coming of Jesus.
Notice who opens the seals that kick off the Tribulation Period?  Jesus!  our kinsman redeemer.  He is in charge of the judgments and their timing.  He once said, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father” (John 5:22-23).  When he opens the first seal, one of the four living creatures will speak in a voice like thunder.
In each of the first four seals, a horse and rider are released by one of the four living creatures of chapter 4.  Each horse is waiting in its stall ready to charge out when the command is given.  They will not, however, all race out at once.  Each horse must wait for its command, and it command will be given by a different living creature when Jesus breaks a seal.  When all four living creatures have commanded their horses to come forth, all four horses will have been released.  Each living creature summons its horse by speaking just three words; Come and see.  This is consistent with what the apostle Paul taught.  The Antichrist is being restrained and cannot come forth until the restrainer (Church and Holy Spirit) is taken out of the way (2 Thes 2:6-8).  This does not mean that the Holy Spirit is removed from the earth.  Some suggest that when the restrainer is removed that means that the Holy Spirit is removed or taken away from the earth.  That is not the case as we shall discover in later chapters.  The Church however, is removed.  Jesus won’t break the 1st seal and the first living creature won’t say, “Come” until the Church is safely in heaven.
As long as Noah was on the earth, God did not send the Flood.  As soon as Noah and his family entered the ark, God then, sent the flood and judged the world.  As long as Lot and his family were in Sodom and Gomorrah, God did not send fire and brimstone to destroy the cities.  But when Lot and his family were safely out of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 18:16-21; 19:27-29), God did not hesitate to judge these cities.  Today, as long as the Church is in the world, God will not send these terrible judgments.  But as soon as the Church is taken out, God will not hesitate to pour out his wrath.  This is yet another example of the grace of God toward His Church.
The White Horse
Revelation 6:2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse.  He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (NKJV)
Chapter 19 of Revelation also speaks of a rider on a white horse.  In that case, the rider is Jesus.  For this reason, however, a few ‘experts’ suggest that the rider of the white horse in 6:2 will also be Jesus.  Most credible scholars disagree in this assessment instead, believing this rider to be none other than the counterfeit Christ or Antichrist.
A very small minority of people say the rider on a white horse of Rev 19 is some unidentified nation.  But the rider of Rev 19 is Jesus. He is followed by armies of other riders which include angels, the Church, and Tribulation Saints.  This cannot be some unknown nation.  Consistency says this rider will be a person.
He will come forth with a bow.  A bow was an effective weapon in John’s day.  It was also a symbol of military power.  Notice how nothing is said of ammunition for the bow?  Where are the arrows?  Many scholars believe that because this rider has a bow but no arrows it means that he comes with authority but has no need to present the threat of force.  Most believe his authority keeps the peace.
In ancient times crowns were worn by heads of state.  Those who wore them usually earned or inherited the right to wear their crown. This man receives his crown as a gift (Rev 13:2, 4-5, 14-15) meaning he will not earn or inherit it.
The belief is that the world will be in such a desperate state that the people will be looking for just such a person to come.  He will promise to put an end to nuclear weapons, environmental and economic problems, poverty, terrorism and more.  He will go forth as a conqueror bent on conquest, thereby abandoning his peace program in an attempt to dominate the world.  Nowhere in Scripture does it tell us that the Antichrist will dominate the whole world.  He will certainly try and he will have great authority and power, but there is no prophecy that says that he will rule the whole world.  His use of force to obtain this kind of power will result in disaster, resulting in the persecution and death of all those who oppose him.  The earth will have a very charismatic personality in the Antichrist.  One of his main goals will be to negotiate peace treaties (Dan 9:27) with the countries who oppose him.
When Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem as a man of peace, he did not ride in on a conqueror’s while horse.  Instead, he rode in on a donkey.  Riding a donkey symbolized peace and a non-threatening entrance.  When Jesus comes at the end of the Tribulation Period, it will be on the white horse of conquest.  Notice that the Antichrist does not ride in on a donkey of peace like Jesus did at his first coming.  He rides in on the white horse of conquest just like Jesus will on his Second Coming.
We need to be aware that most scholars agree that the Antichrist will rise to power in Europe.  Most believe that the European Union (EU) is the breeding ground of the Antichrist and is also the picture of the Revived Roman Empire spoken of in Dan 9:24-27.  The makes the founding of the EU very significant.  Did you know that the EU has organized their own army which they call the “Army of Peace”?
“This is the Antichrist riding on a white horse as an imitator of Jesus who will return at the end of the Tribulation, also riding on a white horse (Rev 19:11).  He goes forth to conquer the world.  Jesus does not conquer by war.  Jesus conquers by the power of the Word of God.  So this is definitely the Antichrist.”  David Reagan, Wrath of Glory, (Green Forest, AR, New Leaf Press, Lamb & Lion Ministries, 2001), 67.
“In the surge of advocates for peace, voices of dissent will be shouted down or ignored.  The peace process will cease to become a political action; it will become a spiritual mandate for a nation.  Based on the words of the prophets of Israel (2 Chron 36:15-16), I believe this peace process will lead to the most devastating was Israel has ever known.  John Hagee, Beginning of the End, 17.
Parallels Between Good and Evil in Revelation
                              Evil                                                                                 Good________________                                                             
Abaddon attacks with demon locusts (Rev 9:1-12                      Angels seal 144,000 (Rev 7:1-3)
Satan attacks Israel (Rev 12:13)                                                  Jesus breaks the seven seals (Rev 6:1; 8:1)
Evil spirits set up Armageddon (Rev 16:13-14)                             Jesus at Armageddon (Rev 19:11-21)
Antichrist comes from bottomless pit (Rev 17:8)                               Angel binds Satan (Rev 20:1-2)
Satan deceives the nations (Rev 20:7-10)                                     God sends the Holy City (Rev 21:1-2)
A Fiery Red Horse
Revelation 6:3-4 When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.”  Another hose, fiery red, went out.  And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. (NKJV)
The Antichrist will barely have his peace program off the ground when Jesus breaks the second seal.  This time it will be the second living creature who speaks the command, Come and see.
A fiery red horse will go out and its rider will have an unusual power.  He will take peace from the earth and cause men to slay one another.  This rider will charge forth with a great sword in his hand.  This is a powerful symbol of death and war.
Some scholars believe this rider is associated with Communism.  The prophet Ezekiel foretells the rise of a dictator from the far north, perhaps Russia who will go forth and attack Israel (Eze 38-39) in the last days.  He will advance with a great army carrying swords and riding horses.  He will meet defeat when many of his own troops slay each other.  God will turn each man against his brother (Eze 38:21-23) so that God’s glory may be shown (Judges 7:22).
A lot of people have trouble believing Jesus will break the seal to remove peace from the earth.  What is more difficult to believe is that Jesus will sit idly by while Antichrist establishes a satanic one-world religion that kills Christians and Jews.  It’s an act of grace because world peace without Jesus is worthless if everyone on earth is about to wind up in hell.
“Jerusalem would not be a problem if Israel itself and the nations of the world would acknowledge that the one true God “is the God of Israel” and would submit to His plans for His chosen people.  Instead, world political and religious leaders continue to defy God, determined to force their agenda upon Israel.  That policy can only lead ultimately to Armageddon and God’s judgment upon this world – and it will.”  Dave Hunt, The Gathering Storm (Springfield, MO: 21st Century Press, Mal Couch, Gen. Ed., 2005), 140.
I believed that the peace process that Yitzhak Rabin (former Prime Minister f Israel) started would never bring peace, but would lead ultimately to nuclear holocaust in the Middle East, because they’re giving away absolutely essential land assets that are indispensable for defending Israel in return for a treaty that doesn’t remove the basic cause of war in the first place.”  Hal Lindsey, Midnight Call Magazine (Columbia, SC, Midnight Call, Inc., April 1996), 11.
The Antichrist will be a false prince of peace.  God will show the world he is a fake by causing his phony peace programs to fail.  Jesus is the true Prince of Peace.  When world leaders reject him, they reject the only solution to their problems.  Then the world will be plunged into “wars and rumors of wars” (Mt 24:6).  The world has always had war, but at some point, the frequency and intensity will greatly increase.  In fact, when Jesus breaks the second seal and the living creature summons the rider on the red horse, war will escalate throughout the world.
A Black Horse
Revelation 6:5-6 When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.”  So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.  And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”  NKJV)
Peace without the Prince of Peace is no peace.  The end result can only be war.  War will rule the whole world after the Rapture.  In other words; war will affect everyone whether involved in combat or not.  These wars will be foolish and have no actual basis.  They will kill farmers, destroy land and crops and cause the collapse of social, physical, and political structures.  As always happens during armed conflict, the guys with the guns and the power will destroy, confiscate and hoard food supplies.  As we’ve seen in countries like modern day Somalia, this only causes despair, misery, poverty and death.
When Jesus opens the third seal, the third living creature will give the same command as the first two, Come and see.  This horse will be black.  Black symbolizes grief and mourning.  Its rider will hold a pair of scales that symbolize economic disaster and famine.  The scales will be used to weigh food, which will sell for an over inflated high price.  A small quart of wheat will cost the equivalent of a day’s wages, but many will not be able to survive on this, so they will be forced to buy barley.  Barley is a much cheaper and less nutritious food.  It’s usually fed to animals but now will be a staple for humankind.  Three quarts of barley will still cost the equivalent of a day’s wages.  No money will be left for clothes, housing or gas for the car.  In spite of all this, there are those with financial means who will still be able to afford luxury items such as oil and wine.
Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:31-35), but the Antichrist will be a false bread of life.  The Antichrist will prove to be a fake when his food programs do nothing but result in added famine.  Kind of like the recent efforts of our own government to control the economy through ‘stimulus’ money. 
Ultimately we will all pay for our growing budget deficits, increased consumer debt, explosion of bankruptcies, and international business corruption.  These issues alone are enough to trigger a worldwide economic collapse by themselves.  If these aren’t bad enough, we have the ever-growing worldwide threat of:
  • Terrorists overthrowing the governments of oil producing nations.
  • The prospect of oil production peaking out altogether.
  • Natural disasters or terrorists destroying oil producing facilities or refineries.
  • Natural disasters or terrorists damaging or destroying or destroying nuclear power facilities.
  • Determined efforts of Islamic terrorists and Islamic nations who support them to replace or disrupt global financial systems
  • Growing questions regarding diminished food production in the US and abroad due to loss of farmland resulting from natural disasters like drought and flood.
  • Price gouging during times of shortages.
The picture of the future is gloomy, indeed.  But Christians can be thankful and hopeful.  We believe that this coming economic collapse is restrained by our loving God until after the Rapture.
“A nation cannot continue to borrow money forever, going further and further in debt each year.  Finally, they “hit the wall” and economic collapse or hyper-inflation are the only remaining options.  Grant R. Jeffrey, Final Warning (Toronto, Ontario: Grant R. Jeffrey, 1995), 228.
“Despite the initial success of global economic unity, a worldwide economic disaster will occur, increasing the need for further global economic controls, including a personalized insignia.”  Ed Hindson, Final Signs (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1996), 181.
The Pale Horse
Revelation 6:7-8 When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.”  So I looked, and behold, a pale horse.  And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him.  And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth. (NKJV)
The world will have a false peace, then war, and then economic collapse and famine.  Things will grow progressively worse.  This obviously contradicts those who say things will get better and better.  It directly contradicts those who say that the Church will eventually bring in a perfect society.  The Bible says, “In the last days perilous times will come…evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim 3:1, 13).
The author of this study preached the funeral of a man who survived Hurricane Katrina.  His good, water, and other essentials started running out, so he left the area and drove several hundred miles to his parents’ home.  Shortly after he arrived, he was killed in an automobile accident.  Other victims of that same hurricane were evacuated to Houston, Texas.  About one month later, Hurricane Rita came along, and they had to be evacuated from Houston.  Another evacuation happened again 3-4 weeks later.  People moved to shelters when Hurricane Wilma was bearing down on Florida.  One of the shelters suffered damage.  All the people had to be relocated.  This is the way the Tribulation Period will be.  “It will be as though a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him!” (Amos 5:19).  It will be hard to escape from the calamity.
When Jesus opens the fourth seal, it will be the fourth living creature’s turn to summon the horse by saying, “Come and see.”  This horse will come out, creating an eerie sight because of its pale color.  In the Greek translation of the Bible, the word used for pale is “chloros”.  It means pale green like chlorophyll.  This horse is the color of spoiled meat and rotting flesh.  His rider and the creature following him are personified by Death and Hades.  This rider won’t be looking for the saved who have been raptured or the few who have accepted Jesus during the Tribulation Period.  Instead, he will be hunting the great mass of people who are destined for an eternity in hell.  Sadly, this horse and rider will go forth to harvest the souls of unbelievers for hell.
Let’s review the progression of the four horses. 
  • The rider on the white horse will be only partially armed.He will have a bow but no arrows.
  • The rider on the red horse will carry a single large sword.
  • The rider on the black horse will have two weapons.The first is economic collapse.The second is famine.
  • The rider of the pale horse will have four weapons.He has a sword, famine, plagues and wild animals.
Conditions get worse, not better.  Folks who subscribe to other views of Revelation believe that the Church will prevail over the course of history and usher Christ into a perfect world.  The Bible teaches differently.  Revelation shows us that things only get worse as time goes on.
The sword signifies continuing war and bloodshed.  Famine signifies starvation.  Plague signifies diseases.  Wild beasts signify the animals of the earth turn from being wary of man to fearless killers of man.  This last signal ought to be a warning to the nature lovers and politically correct who worship Mother Nature and those who value the lives of animals over the lives of human babies.  God will show the world that it’s wrong to worship Mother Nature.  Hungry animals will turn on the unbelieving world and add to the death and eternal damnation of more than one billion people.
Today we have troubling signs of plagues sweeping the earth.  Experts are sounding alarms that stockpiles of biological weapons are more than enough to destroy the world many times over.  Some believe they will become the terrorist’s weapons of choice.  One UN report reads, “al-Qaeda terror network is determined to use chemical and biological weapons and is restrained only by the technical difficulties of doing so.”  The world does not have enough facilities to produce vaccines.  For some diseases there are no known vaccines or insufficient quantities of vaccines.  Over population and increased travel make it impossible to localize epidemics.  Fleeing refugees will spread deadly diseases.  Medical facilities will be overwhelmed and some will be destroyed.  It’s a growing challenge that the UN seems unable to manage or change.
Some believe that terrorists are now working to obtain nuclear weapons as well.  When this study was written there was no idea that Iran would be attempting to manufacture nuclear weapons with the public intent of destroying Israel.  There was no hint in the air that Pakistan would become a nation run by the al-Qaeda terrorist network.  Some believe it’s only a matter of time before a nuclear incident occurs.
“It is not God’s intent that any should perish, but when people defiantly refuse God’s plan, the consequence of this disobedience is death.  The rider on the pale horse is only taking his due.”  Billy Graham, Storm Warning (Minneapolis, MN: Grason, Billy Graham, 1992), 230.
“It staggers the imagination to realize that one-fourth of the world’s population will be destroyed within a matter of days.  When I think about this awful judgment that awaits the Christ-rejecting world, it gives no satisfaction to my heart; it fires me up to get out the message that God has provided an alternative in Jesus.”  Hal Lindsey, There’s a New World Coming (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1984), 88.
Who Do We Have Here?
Revelation 6:9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. (NKJV)
Following the Rapture, multitudes will accept Jesus.  They are usually called the Tribulation Saints.  World leaders will say these Christians are a threat to world government, world peace, world religion, and the environment.  Therefore they must be dealt with. Followers of the New Age Movement teach that the earth must go through a cleansing in order to proceed to perfection.  This cleansing they envision will include the death of all who turn to Jesus.  The opening of the fifth seal switches attention from the deaths of unbelievers to the deaths of believers.  We switch from the pit of Hades to under the altar in heaven.  The four living creatures will summon no more horses.  The last three seals will be different from the first four.
Jesus obviously will not forget his people, because he showed John the souls of these slain believers gathered in a special place. They will have died because of the Word of God and because of the testimony they maintain.  Many of these will be from families of Christians who left in the Rapture.  Others will be Jews who realize the mistake they made in not accepting Jesus.  Some will have heard the Word of God for the first time.  Others will finally come to grips with their sin and turn to Jesus, who said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mt 10:28).  These believers will realize that the Antichrist can do nothing worse than kill their bodies because God has promised to raise them from the dead.  They will choose to die one death (physical), rather than die twice (physical and spiritual).
How Long, O Lord?
Revelation 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord. Holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (NKJV)
This is an odd picture.  Instead of being with the rest of the Church around the throne of God, we find these souls (Tribulation Saints) under the altar crying out for God to avenge their blood and to bring justice on the inhabitants of the earth.  Unlike those who received their glorified bodies in the Rapture, these saints will have to wait until later for their.  Because of this they will be fully conscious and able to rationalize the persecution, torture, and murder they have endured.  They will have a sense of justice and want to be raised, vindicated, and given glorified bodies.
They will cry out with a loud voice reminiscent of Psalm 94:1-3.  “O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongs – O God, to whom vengeance belongs, shine forth!  Rise up, O Judge of the earth; render punishment to the proud.  LORD< how long will the wicked, how long will the wicked triumph?” (NKJV)
They will utter the prayer Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them, for they do not k now what they do” (Luke 23:24).  They will appeal to God’s sovereign nature and to his sense of justice and fairness when they ask to be avenged.  Some people have trouble with the idea that saints in heaven will cry out for vengeance against those who sin on earth.  They suggest that these martyred souls are asking God to move against those who rejected his Word and their testimonies about Jesus, and to quickly establish his kingdom on earth (Rev 6:9).
“It’s a sobering fact that if people will not give their hearts to Christ now, while it is still easy and small cost is involved, when the Tribulation judgment sets in, although they can still be saved, it will be “so as by fire (1 Cor 3:15).”  Hal Lindsey, ibid, 93.
Rest A Little While Longer
Revelation 6:11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.  (NKJV)
These martyrs will not be rebuked for asking to be vindicated.  The will receive white robes signifying the righteousness of Jesus. Some experts suggest these robes may indicate some type of intermediate body, but whatever the case, we know that the martyrs will be able to hear, understand, and converse.  Jesus tells them to be patient.  Their condition seems to be similar to that of the rich man and Lazarus whom Jesus talked about (Luke 16:19-31).  The Tribulation Saints will be told to wait until other believers are killed.  This indicates that Jesus has a specific plan for the rest of the world.
“We learn tow important facts from this mysterious moment.  First, there will be a point at the end of time when God will judge the inhabitants of the earth.  Second, before that moment can come, other men and women equally dedicated to God and his kingdom will be martyred for the Word of God and for the testimony they maintain.  Are you prepared for the risk such words describe?”  Billy Graham, Storm Warning, 271.
“As I write this, I long for everyone to give their hearts to Christ now, when it is comparatively easy to be a Christian.  During the Tribulation, the fate of believers will be worse than what happened in the Nazi concentration camps during World War ll.  David Jeremiah with C. C. Carlson, Escape the Coming Night (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1990), 112.
Cosmic Calamity
Revelation 6:12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.  (NKJV)
When Jesus opens the sixth seal, the whole earth will shake.  John calls this shaking “a great earthquake,” but the description sounds more like a nuclear explosion.  It may be a great earthquake triggered by one or more nuclear explosions.  Whether it’s just a stand-alone earthquake, a nuclear explosion, or both it will be massive.  The whole earth will go into convulsions, and the appearances of the sun and the moon will be changed.
While the earth is going through tremendous vibrations, the sun will be darkened as if almost black, and the moon will turn blood red. It could be that one or more nuclear explosions will take place, causing the earth to shake violently and spew tons of debris into the atmosphere.  The resulting atmospheric pollution will cause darkness to cover the land.  The moon appears to turn a deep dark red color.  The 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens and the 2001 collapse of the World Trade Center Towers are vivid reminders that darkness can cover the land in the brightest part of the day.
Today the Middle East is brimming with weapons of mass destruction.  There are unsubstantiated reports that Israel and Iran have the nuclear bomb.  Couple this with unfulfilled prophecy, and we can understand why the prophet Isaiah said Damascus will be turned into a ruinous heap, and the mountains of Lebanon will be on fire.  The prophet Ezekiel said Egypt will turn to utter waste and desolation for forty years.  It is easy to see the possible results of atomic or nuclear weapons.
The prophet Joel said, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD” (Joel 2:31).  According to Ezekiel, the sword will come upon Egypt when the day of the Lord is near.
“God made clear to these martyrs that their sacrifice was an appointment, not an accident; and that others would join them.  Even in the death of His people, God is in control (Ps 116:15); so there is nothing to fear.”  Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Victorious (Colorado Springs, CO, Cook Communications, Inc., 2004), 66.
Shaken
Revelation 6:13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. (NKJV)
The Golden Rule of Interpretation states, “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense.”  This, however, is one of those instances where the plain sense doesn’t seem to make any sense.  Most stars, that we are aware of, are bigger than earth.  No star could fall to the earth as late figs drop from a fig tree without decimating the planet.
Since the word “stars” in the Greek translation could also be translated meteors, this could indicate a meteor shower.  It could also mean a missile attack.  During the Persian Gulf War, nights were filled with cruise missiles and laser-guided smart bombs.  One can easily see how someone living almost two thousand years ago would describe scenes like this as falling stars.  Whether these are missiles or meteors we do not know.  Whatever they are, they will fall to earth in abundance like overripe figs falling from a fig tree in a mighty wind.
A Giant Tidal Wave
Revelation 6:14 The sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. (NKJV)
In our natural thinking we have no idea what would cause the sky to ‘recede like a scroll’ or for ‘mountains and islands to be moved out of their places’.  To a physicist however, this could very well be another indication of a coming nuclear war.  During a nuclear blast the wind is rapidly pushed out or displaced for several miles.  This creates a vacuum at the center of the blast site.  Nature hates a vacuum so the outside winds, like a violent giant tidal wave, rushes back into the vacuum.  The sky actually does roll up on itself(Isaiah 34:1-10) when this happens.  This explosion will be so great it will cause every mountain and island on earth to move.
Skeptics say God will never allow these things to happen.  They like to say it’s impossible to move mountains and islands.  But the world will long remember that 9.0 earthquake in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004 or the Japanese Tsunami of 2011.  The Indian Ocean quake was reported to have released the energy of a million atomic bombs.  It caused a tsunami with waves thirty feet high traveling at 500 mph.  The waves struck ten nations, killed more than one hundred thousand people, injured more than one-half million, and left millions homeless.  Islands were moved from their original locations.  One report said the Island of Sumatra, an island of about 30 million people with mountains 12,000 feet high moved one hundred feet to the southwest.  Another report said the earth wobbled in its orbit and time stopped for three microseconds.  It is estimated that somewhere in the neighborhood of 250,000 people were killed.
On Friday, March 11 at 2:46 p.m. Tokyo time, the 8.9 magnitude quake struck. First there was the roar and rumble of the temblor, shaking skyscrapers, toppling furniture and buckling highways. Then, waves as high as 30 feet rushed onto shore whisking away cars and carrying blazing buildings toward factories, fields and highways.  At a small farming community called Sendai the onrushing tsunami brought with it automobiles, homes, airplanes and ocean going ships.  Everything in the path of the tsunami was pushed inland by the power rush of water and mud.  In addition to the wide spread destruction was the near meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.  By July, the count of dead and missing was above 22,000. Tens of thousands of people remained housed in temporary shelters or evacuated their homes due to the nuclear crisis.
According to the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Agency, Northern Japan was physically moved 13 inches to the west by the double whammy of the impact of the earthquake and tsunami.  Scientists recorded a shift in the polar axis of 21/2 inches.
All this reminds us of Bible stories of the sun standing still for almost a day (Joshua 10:12-13) and later moving backward ten degrees (2 Kings 20:9-11) in Old Testament times.  And it reminds us that the Bible predicts a time when “the earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and “shall totter like a hut” (Isaiah 24:20).  Don’t say God won’t let it happen.  Be thankful for the grace that’s holding it back until his Church is out of here.
“Pope John Paul ll has stated, “Our future on this planet, exposed as it is to nuclear annihilation, depends on one single factor: humanity must make a moral about-face.”  Billy Graham, Storm Warning, 57.
“The threat of a global nuclear holocaust will push the world to the brink of disaster and leave people crying for peace.  This crisis will probably be centered in the Middle East.”  Ed Hindson, Final Signs, 181.
Hiding From The Terror
Revelation 6:15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, (NKJV)
But it will be worse than when people fled the winds and floods of hurricanes early this century to sleep on bridges, gymnasium floors, and in sports complexes until they could be evacuated to remote places in other areas of the United States.  There will be worldwide panic (Isaiah 24:1-13).  Regardless of one’s status in life, all people will try to hide.  Multitudes will leave everything behind and rush into caves and bomb shelters.  Multitudes will flee their palaces.  Great generals and mighty men will turn and run in fear for their lives.  People of every class will flee and hide.  Survival will be man’s only concern.  The basic necessities of life will be scarce.  Author and speaker David Breese said, “The love of God is eternal.  His patience is not.”
Nothing Will Escape God’s Wrath
Revelation 6:16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! (NKJV)
Will these panic-stricken people call (Acts 4:12) on Jesus?  No!  Instead they will call on Mother Nature.  They will call on the rocks and mountains to fall on them, because they will want to hide from the face and wrath of God.  During the mayhem and afterward, multitudes will finally admit the existence of God.  They will even admit that it is possible to anger Jesus, but they will not turn to him.  Instead, they will try to hide, but to no avail since nothing can escape the sight of God.
The Day of Wrath
Revelation 6:17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand? (NKJV)
The day of wrath (Zeph 1:14-16) is another name for the Tribulation Period.  The multitudes will recognize the beginning of that day when the sixth seal is opened.  Sadly, we read nothing about people repenting and accepting Jesus.  We see only the realization that the dreaded Tribulation Period has come. 
Let’s Discover Daniel
In Daniel’s 70 – Weeks Prophecy, the first sixty-nine weeks of Daniel’s prophecy are the period of time (69 weeks x 7 years/week = 483 years) between the decree for the captive Jews in Babylon to return to Israel to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, and the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  Since these first sixty-nine weeks of Daniel’s prophecy were literally fulfilled, we can only assume that the seventieth week (the last week of seven years) will also be literally fulfilled.
Some people do not understand why prophecy teachers say there is a gap between the first sixty-nine weeks of Daniel’s prophecy and the seventieth week (the Church Age.  Let’s remember that the Church
Age is the period of time between the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the Tribulation Period.  A careful study of prophecy reveals that Jesus would be killed, and Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed after the sixty-ninth week.  That happened in AD 70 when the Romans overran Israel, burned Jerusalem, tore down the temple, and killed five million Jews.  Part of the prophecy has been fulfilled.  But a careful study also reveals that the seventieth week will not begin until the Antichrist signs a seven-year covenant to protect Israel.  The Antichrist will break that covenant and stop all animal sacrifices.  For this to happen, Israel had to be restored as a nation.  This happened in 1948.  The other part of the prophecy that has yet to be fulfilled is that Israel must rebuild the temple.  Heather Lee of the Blossoming Rose (see blossomingrose.com) says that the temple components have already been built and are in storage at a secret location.  According to Heather Lee, the Lamp Stands and the Cherubim are a whopping 9’ tall! 
Some believe the Church will succeed in establishing the kingdom of God on earth without the world going through the Tribulation Period.  But the angel Gabriel told Daniel the Jews would go through the entire seventy weeks before the kingdom of righteousness is brought in.  Since the earth has never experienced some of the things prophesied for that time, it must go through them before the kingdom of God can be established.
Some people believe that the seventieth week of Daniel had been fulfilled by the time Jesus arrived, but Jesus spoke of these things asfuture events (Mt 24:15) not events of the past.
Eight Reasons for the Tribulation Period
  • To fulfill prophecy.(Dan 9:24)
  • To defeat Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet.(Rev 19-20)
  • To uphold Jerusalem’s cause and punish those who mistreat the Jews.(Isaiah 34:8)
  • To punish Israel for sinning.(Micah 7:9)
  • To embarrass the Jews and cause them to accept Jesus as their Messiah.(Zech 13:8-9)
  • To punish those who claim Israel’s land.(Eze 36:1-38)
  • To punish the inhabitants of the earth for sin.(Isaiah 24:1-6; 26:20-21)
  • To cause the inhabitants of the earth to seek righteousness.(Isaiah 26:9)
Chapter Six in Review
  • The judgments of the Tribulation Period begin when Christ opens the first of the seven seals.(Rev 6:1)
  • The four horsemen will bring about the Antichrist, war, economic ruin, famine, and death. (Rev 6:2-8)
  • During the Tribulation Period people will still turn to Christ and be killed for their faith.These people will be known as the Tribulation Saints, and they will ask to be avenged.(Rev 6:9-10)
  • An earthquake will rack the earth, affecting the sun, moon, sky, land and sea.(Rev 6:12-14)
  • Following the sixth seal, fear will grip everyone on earth, affecting the sun, moon, sky, land, and sea.(Rev 6:12-14)
  • Following the sixth seal, fear will grip everyone on earth as they try to hide from the wrath of God.(Rev 6:15-17)
Study Questions
  1. What weapon did the rider on the white horse carry?
  2. What power was given to the rider on the red horse?
  3. How much will a quart of wheat cost during the Tribulation Period?
  4. What was the name of the rider on the pale horse and who was following him?

Eight Reasons for the Tribulation Period
  • To fulfill prophecy.(Dan 9:24)
  • To defeat Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet.(Rev 19-20)
  • To uphold Jerusalem’s cause and punish those who mistreat the Jews.(Isaiah 34:8)
  • To punish Israel for sinning.(Micah 7:9)
  • To embarrass the Jews and cause them to accept Jesus as their Messiah.(Zech 13:8-9)
  • To punish those who claim Israel’s land.(Eze 36:1-38)
  • To punish the inhabitants of the earth for sin.(Isaiah 24:1-6; 26:20-21)
  • To cause the inhabitants of the earth to seek righteousness.(Isaiah 26:9)