Revelation Chapter 6
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” and I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer. (Rev 6:1-2)
The first of the seven seals is broken early in the 70th week of Daniel, after the church has disappeared. Liberal scholars often identify the rider of the white horse as the Lord Jesus, pointing to his crown and the fact that he’s a conqueror. I think some part of their conclusion comes from watching all those TV westerns as kids, where the good guys always rode white horses. I say that because this rider is most definitely not Jesus. He’s the anti-Christ.
What Makes You Think So?
In the first place he carries a bow. The Lord’s weapon of choice is a sword. The reason he has no arrows is that he won’t use force to make his initial impact on Earth. He comes as a peacemaker (Daniel 8:25). Since the Book of Revelation is filled with symbolism explained elsewhere in the Bible, I looked for the first mention of a man with a bow, hoping to get an additional clue to this rider’s identity. I found it in Genesis 21:20, referring to Ishmael.
As details of Islamic eschatology become more widely known, prophecy students are discovering a striking similarity between descriptions of al Mahdi, a Messianic figure from the Shiite tradition, and a figure Christians call the anti-Christ. (I’m not saying that al Mahdi is the Moslem anti-Christ, called the Dajjal, but that he resembles the Christian anti-Christ.) Both come on the scene during a time of great turmoil on Earth, both come claiming a desire to restore peace, both have a seven year reign, both head a one world religion and one world government, both claim supernatural origins, and both reigns end in a battle between good and evil that brings Earth’s final judgment.
The number of similarities between the two defies coincidence and continues to grow as knowledge of al Mahdi increases. Now with the connection between the Bible’s first archer and the man with a bow in Rev. 6, another piece of the puzzle may have fallen into place. Mohammed was descended from Kedar, second son of Ishmael, and Al Mahdi is the 12th Iman descended from Mohammed. Jack Kinsella, in his commentary entitled “The Third Pillar of anti-Christ” makes an excellent case for Islam being the religion of anti-Christ. (The Omega Letter Intelligence Digest Vol: 53 Issue: 25 – Saturday, February 25, 2006 www.omegaletter.com) When you read it, you’ll understand that after the Church is gone, those who also call themselves the church, but have been left behind, won’t have much trouble at all accepting Islam. And like Paul said, the addition of a few “miracles” into the mix will be all it takes to deceive the whole world (2 Thes.2:9).
Got Anything Else?
In the second place this guy’s wearing the wrong kind of crown. The Greek word for a king’s crown is diadem. But this one wears a stephanos, or victor’s crown. It was the award given to winners in the ancient Olympics and other public games. It was typically an ivy wreath, and in fact the word stephanos comes from a root meaning wreath. It identifies the wearer as a conqueror, but not as royalty. And in Revelation 13 where the Great Tribulation begins, we’re told that He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. (Rev. 13:7) Why would Jesus make war with the tribulation saints to conquer them? Like I said, while he fools people into thinking he’s the Christ, he’s really the anti-Christ.
When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that men should slay one another, and he was given a great sword. (Rev. 6:3-4)
This is the point at which the anti-Christ turns to war to establish his authority over human governments and move the world toward his religion. The Moslem prophecies say this will be Islam, of course, and the Koran teaches conversion or death as the only alternatives available to non-believers. Current studies speculate that Europe, far into its post Christian era, may already be on the verge of yielding to the growing Moslem influence, but other parts of the world will resist, causing much bloodshed.
If You Think This Is Bad …
Historically, the great sword was a long two-handed weapon wielded by mighty warriors who received double the average soldier’s wage. With overwhelming strength they hacked their way through enemy lines, leaving a gaping hole for the regular troops who followed. In just this way the anti-Christ will use supernatural power to tighten his grip on the world, enforcing his will upon the people of Earth. And remember, the Seal judgments are just the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week. The last half, called the Great Tribulation, is still to come and is significantly more deadly.
When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard what seemed to be 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 wine!” (Rev 6:5-6)
Two things result when the world is plunged into uncertainty and wars erupt. First comes inflation, causing the prices of everything to skyrocket. When John wrote this, a denarius was the average pay for a day’s work, and that’s what it will cost to buy a quart of wheat, about enough food for one person for one day. Think of it. For many, a whole days wages will barely buy their food for that day. The next day it starts all over again. No money left for anything else.
Of course, the wealthy always benefit from inflation. When they see it coming, they’re able to convert their wealth into things that are either inflation proof, or actually increase in value during periods of inflation. The earliest example of this is comes from the Book of Genesis, when Joseph, who gained control of the world’s wheat supply on Pharaoh’s behalf, eventually acquired the entire wealth of Egypt in exchange for it. That’s what John meant by not harming the oil and wine, commodities that in his day were symbols of wealth. The vision he saw was famine amidst plenty. Both the Book of Daniel and the Moslem prophecies speak of the anti-Christ/al Mahdi showering lavish gifts on his followers while forcing his enemies into submission. (Daniel 11:39)
When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth. (Rev. 6:7-8)
The second result of war is famine and pestilence. Crops and food processing facilities are destroyed. Transportation networks are disrupted. Dead bodies are left where they fall and public health systems break down. Mass starvation and rampant disease often claim more victims than the battles that caused them. Animals become desperate for food and attack humans. Some think the phrase “a fourth of the Earth” relates to geography and some think it describes the number of people involved. Either way, many will suffer and die during this time, while those not in the direct path of war will enjoy a false sense of peace and prosperity.
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 witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. (Rev. 6:9-11)
Just as the church has a fixed number to achieve before its time on Earth is fulfilled (Romans 11:25) so it is for believers who’re martyred for their faith following the Church’s disappearance.
An Eye For An Eye
In Hebrew the word translated “kinsman redeemer” also means “avenger of blood.” The same next of kin who was responsible for buying a relative out of debt related servitude or redeeming his lost property, was also responsible for avenging physical attacks against a relative that resulted in death. The tribulation martyrs are calling for enforcement of this law.
Our Lord Jesus is our Kinsman Redeemer, come to pay our debts and buy back that which our father Adam lost. But He’s also our Avenger of Blood, responsible for bringing to justice the one who maliciously murdered our first parents and therefore us. Everyone who sides with Satan, called those who dwell on the Earth in Revelation, will share his punishment, just as we who side with the Lord, called those who dwell in heaven, will share His inheritance.
When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. (Rev. 6:12-14)
As you would expect, since the Tsunami of 2004 scientists have been watching the recent spate of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in the Far East very closely. They’ve found that during the three year period ending in 2005 when the study was conducted, the incidence of underwater quakes and volcanic eruptions had increased by 88% over the norm while continental earthquakes had gone up by 62%. In a single four month period the earth experienced the three largest earthquakes in the last two hundred years. Most of this increased activity came in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a chain of 160 active volcanoes stretching from the East Asia rim to the West Coast of the Americas.
During the same time the magnetic North pole has begun drifting across Canada and is headed for Siberia. Also, the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field has weakened noticeably, being about 10% weaker now than when scientists began measuring it in 1845. Based on these findings, some scientists are now convinced that a reversal of the Earth’s magnetic poles is underway. They’re predicting that in 2012 this reversal will be suddenly and dramatically completed with the North pole having the polarity of the South pole and vice versa.
In 2012 the Sun will also experience a polar reversal. Although the Sun’s magnetic poles reverse every eleven years, the Earth has never experienced one in the memory of man. This double shift could produce even greater occurrences of massive quakes and volcanic eruptions of a magnitude that could actually cause a significant continental shift.
The Earth’s magnetic field helps protect us against harmful rays from the sun, and a polar reversal could cause this field to collapse just like the water vapor canopy around the earth collapsed at the time of the Great Flood. That event brought violent weather and drastically shortened life spans.
The effects of a magnetic field collapse would be even more severe. According to some projections, the electromagnetic energy released from the sun during a polar reversal could cause Earth’s upper atmosphere to “erupt in flames” if our magnetic field isn’t there to deflect it. Was John referring to this in saying the sky vanished like a scroll being rolled up? No one knows. We can only imagine what a sudden reversal of magnetic poles would do to life on Earth. Predictions range all the way from a temporary increase in the frequency and severity of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes to a worldwide disaster of “Biblical proportions.” The convergence of other prophetic timelines leads me to believe that the 6th Seal Judgment might very well be John’s description of this coming dual Magnetic Polar Reversal.
Who Invited Them?
What’s more, in 2005 a branch of Orthodox Judaism announced that their messiah figure (not Jesus) would arrive in 7 years. That’s 2012. And 2012 is one of those “hot button” dates in occult and new age prophecies. The ancient Mayan calendar ends in December of 2012, and pagans view this as a sign that this age is coming to an end, and our utopian future is just over the horizon. The internet is bulging with websites on the subject, so be careful as you research this critical date. And above all, remember that the Rapture of the Church comes in Revelation 4. Revelation 6 happens after we’re gone.
Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Rev. 6:15-17)
It’s no surprise that verse 15 is reminiscent of Joshua 10:16. Of the 404 verses in Revelation, 280 are taken from the Old Testament. As they hide, the kings of the Earth unknowingly utter a prophecy we should all read carefully. “The great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” This passage has always been associated with the beginning of God’s wrath. The view that His wrath begins with the bowl judgments of Revelation 16 is a newcomer to studies of prophecy, and is incorrect. The Wrath of God begins in chapter 6, placing the Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church in Chapter 4, right where pre-Trib Rapture believers have seen it all along.
Next time we’ll see the first group of 144,000 (there are two and they’re not the same) the arrival of an enormous group of Tribulation martyrs in Heaven, the completion of the Seal Judgments, and the beginning of round two, the Trumpet Judgments.