The First Six Seals

In Revelation 6 we see the results of opening the first six seals. Each seal is opened in consecutive order starting with seal #1 and ending with seal #6. The first seal speaks of a conqueror on a white horse; the second of war; the third of famine; the fourth of death by sword, hunger, and wild beasts; the fifth of slain saints and saints that will be slain; and the sixth seal speaks of an earthquake followed by certain heavenly signs. Has Yeshua ever spoken of such things? In Mt 24, known as the Olivet Discourse, Messiah foretells the conditions that will arise shortly before his return to resurrect the dead. Each seal is spoken of by Yeshua in that chapter. In verses 3-8 he foretells of false messiahs and deceivers, wars, famines, and diseases that will lead to the death of many. Each of these events parallels the first four seals.

In seal #1 the rider is not Yeshua the Messiah going around conquering evil. It represents false messiahs deceiving many. Yeshua has not been conquering anyone. Heb 1:13 says Yahweh has been conquering and Yeshua has been sitting at His right hand until all his enemies have been conquered by Yahweh. It is Satan that can be transformed into an angel of light (2 Cor.11:14), or a rider with a crown on a white horse, or a false messiah. It is Satan who is now conquering those that will be conquered while the saints endeavor to overcome. It is the adversary, the great counterfeiter, who tries to deceive the very elect but fails because the elect have the plain words of the true Messiah concerning these false messiahs.

Wars and rumors of wars have been with us for centuries. They have continued to grow progressively worse until it is now questionable whether we can survive another world war. These wars are symbolized by the red horse and rider of the second seal.

Famine is symbolized in the third seal by the black horse of Rev 6:5,6. A balance is being used to provide exactly one “choinix” of wheat (one quart) for one denarius (one penny). A denarius was the usual salary for one days labor back then. The usual price of a quart of wheat was 1/8 of a denarius. This shows the severity of the famine predicted since a measure of wheat costs eight times what it usually costs.

According to Mt 24:7-9, following false messiahs, wars, and famines is death (pestilence or plagues resulting in death). Wars result in famine, famine results in death and diseases, and the death of one fourth of earths population, which kept the population of beasts in check, would cause the animal kingdom to increase tremendously. All these are the result of the fourth seal. Despite these calamities, Yeshua says that they are only “the beginning of sorrows” (vs.8). Things will get progressively worse after these four seals. The word “sorrows” is from the Greek word “odin” meaning, “a pang or throe, especially of childbirth.” Remember that point, for it will have greater meaning in our study of the resurrection of the dead.

The fifth seal pictures the martyrdom of the saints spoken of in Mt 24:9. The original assembly, the early saints, experienced terrible persecution at the hands of both Romans and Jews. Those that lost their lives cry out (figuratively speaking) for justice but they are told to wait until the full number of believers are killed. In other words, the number of saints to be killed is fixed. Once this number is reached the “great tribulation” ends. How do we arrive at that conclusion? Mt 24:21 mentions a period of tribulation that will never be exceeded in intensity. Immediately after that great tribulation the heavenly signs of the sixth seal will occur (Mt 24:29). Therefore, the great tribulation ends between the fifth and sixth seals. Those that believe in a secret rapture allowing saints to escape the great tribulation are without foundation. Just the opposite occurs. The great tribulation leads to the death of almost all the saints in preparation for the resurrection at Yeshua’s coming.

Some might ask why these saints have to die. Isa 57:1 gives us the answer; “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.” Almighty Yahweh, in His great mercy, will spare them from undergoing the tremendous persecution and trials that Satan and the Beast will subject the end-time 144,000 to during the Day of Yahweh.

The heavenly signs of the sixth seal are only figurative. Since the earth is tiny in comparison to most stars it would be destroyed instantly if hit by one. The stars of heaven are symbolic of all the seed of Abraham who live by faith (see Dan 8:10). This would be the fulfillment of Rev 6:11 where all but 144,000 saints were killed or “fell unto the earth.” Rev 6:12, referred to in Mt 24:29, is understood as a great shaking and removal of the powers of this world or its governments as we know them. It is not literal just as the heavenly signs prophesied by Joel were not literally fulfilled in Acts 2. Acts 2:16-21 was a partial fulfillment of Joel’s prophesy and Rev 6:12 is its dual fulfillment.

Rev 6:14b needs to be interpreted in light of Ezek 6:1-6. There Yahweh is addressing the leadership of Israel, not literal mountains, hills, etc. See also Isa 2:10-22 where cedars, mountains, high towers, etc., are symbols of men exalted into high positions. These will all be humbled as a result of the sixth seal. This prophesy in Isaiah goes on to describe the events of the sixth seal as stated in Rev 6:15. These men now realize that all that has happened during the sixth seal is only a small sample of the fearful judgment to come. They attempt to hide from the wrath of the Lamb but their attempts will be futile.

To sum up the events, the first five seals are the great tribulation. Once the great tribulation ends, the fifth seal ends and the sixth seal begins. After the sixth seal ends the great day of Yahweh’s wrath will soon begin (Rev 6:17). This is known as the “Day of Yahweh” throughout scripture and it is not to be confused with the great tribulation. Joel 2:31 shows the heavenly signs occurring before the Day of Yahweh and Mt 24:29 shows them occurring after the great tribulation. Therefore, the heavenly signs are the dividing point between the great tribulation and the Day of Yahweh.

The Judgment of the World

The great tribulation is the judgment or punishment of Yahweh upon His disobedient and/or backslidden children. Ezek 14:12-23 has a dual fulfillment. The calamities mentioned there happened to backslidden Israel and it will happen again to backslidden believers in the great tribulation. Notice the second, third, and fourth seals of Revelation in Ezek 14:21.

The Day of Yahweh is His judgment and wrath upon the wicked. 1 Pe 4:17-19 tells us judgment begins at the house of Yahweh. Therefore, believers are judged before the wicked are judged. Once Yahweh’s people are judged, the judgment of the world will begin. “But what about John 12:31, you may ask?” “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” Yeshua is undoubtedly speaking prophetically since Satan could not be cast out of heaven before Yeshua’s death and resurrection. Did these scriptures have their fulfillment at Messiah’s death? Rev 12:7-9 speak of a war in heaven resulting in Satan being cast out of heaven. That event takes place after the resurrection of the saints pictured in Rev 12:5. That Rev 12:5 pictures the saints and not Yeshua will be proven later.

If the judgment of the world took place at Yeshua’s death then it would have preceded the judgment of the House of Yahweh, contradicting 1 Pe 4:17. It is also stated in 1 Cor 6:2 that the saints will judge the world. Since that is true, the saints must be judged righteous and made perfect (via resurrection) before the world is judged. The saints cannot judge the world while they are yet flesh. This means the saints cannot judge the world until after the resurrection.

Rev 3:21 says overcomers will sit with Yeshua in his throne. That throne is not only his throne as King, but also his throne as judge of the world. Overcomers will sit as kings (Rev 2:26;5:10) and judges (1 Cor 6:2) after they finish the race and attain the crown of eternal life. This honor of judging the world and executing vengeance upon the wicked is proclaimed in Ps 149:5-9 as well; “Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of Elohim be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all his saints. Praise ye Yahweh.”

1 Cor 4:5 gives us the time when the saints will begin judging. It is after Yeshua returns to resurrect his people at the seventh and last trumpet. “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Master come…”

This world or social system was judged once before. Yahweh brought the destructive flood of Noah’s day upon the world because of their great wickedness. However, we read in 2 Pe 3:6,7 that the world will be judged once again because of their great wickedness. The instrument of destruction will not be water, as in the past, but instead will be an assortment of destructive plagues (trumpets and vials of Revelation) symbolized by fire. That this fire is symbolic is clearly understood from the following scriptures;

Jer 31:35,36 declare that the sun, moon, and stars will exist as long as Israel does. Therefore, when 2 Pe 3 says, “the heavens shall pass away” or “shall be dissolved,” it cannot be literal for they are ordinances forever.

Jer 5:14; 23:29 & Ps 18:7,8 all show Yahweh’s word to be like a devouring fire. That fire is kindled because of Yahweh’s jealousy (Ezek 36:5) and wrath (Ezek 38:19; Deut 32:22). That same fire of judgment burned against Yacob and yet it was not a literal fire (Ps 78:21,63).

The seventh chapter of Daniel tells us a little more about the judgment of the world that is administered by Yeshua and the saints. In verse 9 “thrones” are set in heaven. The KJV erroneously reads “cast down” instead of “set.” What thrones are these? One throne is that of the Almighty Judge, the Ancient of Days, Yahweh. A second throne would be Yeshua’s who Yahweh appointed judge of the world. A great multitude of additional thrones are set for the resurrected saints who are also appointed to judge the world (1 Cor 6:2; Dan 7:22). It is incorrect to interpret Dan 7:22 to mean “judgment was made in favor of the saints” or “the time came that they were judged to be righteous.”

Rev 20:4 uses the same language which clearly reveals that the saints sit upon these thrones and begin judging.

Dan 7:10 shows the books of judgment being opened and all the judges seated and prepared to judge. The result of their judgment is shown in verses 11 & 12. The fourth beast along with the little horn of Dan 7:20,24 are destroyed. This is the same beast of Rev 13 that is destroyed after the resurrection of Rev 12:5 and before the binding of Satan in Rev 20:2. The length of this period is shown to be 42 months (Rev 13:5; Dan 7:25). Dan. 7:25 states that, during this 3 1/2 years, there will still be saints on earth that the little horn will be persecuting. They are the remnant that are left after the resurrection of Rev 12:5. They are pictured in Rev 12:17 as the “remnant of her seed.” They are also mentioned in 1 Thess 4:17 as those that “are alive and remain” after the resurrection of the dead. These saints will eventually die at the hands of the beast (Rev 13:7) and be resurrected and caught up into the clouds to be with their brothers and their Master. (See the chapter on 1 Thess 4:16,17).

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