Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The First Four Seals Introduced

E) The First Six of the Seven Seals

  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.” 
   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. 
   When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” 
   Another horse, 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. 
   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.” 
  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. 6:1-8 

Horses With Wings

    There are definite indications throughout The Revelation that John did not see the “videos” in the order in which the events will occur. 

    As was said in the introduction to these posts, many episodes and pictures in The Apocalypse are figurative, and the horses in chapter 6 surely must be such. Horses represent a method of moving quickly from one place to another and horses were a method of transport to which the early church could relate; so John uses the word horses, to symbolize "speed of events". This, probably, was the way he saw them on the screen.

   The Lamb opened all seven seals, as is shown in 5:5 by the statement made by one of the elders; the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.

  After John had seen the first seal being opened, one of the four living creatures said to John, come and see.  And I saw. The word, come, tells us that John is being ushered out of the "throne room" where he was till now, to perhaps a room set up to watch videos.

   The phrase, I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, most likely refers to the first living creature, even though he does not say so.  The reason I say this is because in 6:3, for the second seal, he says, the second living creature and in 6:5, for the third seal, he said the third living creature and in 6:7, for the fourth seal, he said, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature.
   Perhaps there is some significance in the fact that these four living creatures represent the a) wild animal kingdom b) the domestic animal kingdom c) the human race and d) the birds of the air.  I

   It has been noted that the fish family is not included in this list because there will be no oceans or lakes in heaven.  Perhaps, the person who came up with that idea did not consider that the Bible also does not say that there will be any wild or domestic animals or birds in heaven!

   Mr. Smith** insists that these four horses follow in sequence, one after the other, and in the order in which they are recorded.  That, however, seems to be an impossible position to maintain, for when Zechariah saw the same four horses, he saw them first red (not white), then black (not red), then white (not black) and last gray (or pale). Zech. 6:1-3. This rearrangement of colour, might indicate that all four horses are rampaging through history at the same time and not in succession.

   The four winds of the earth may refer back to the four horsemen of Rev_6:1-8, after the pattern of Zec_6:1-8.  In that passage, four chariots with horses of the same colors of Rev_6:1-8 go out to all the earth, and are called the four spirits of heaven.  Spirits in that passage translates the Hebrew word ruach, which can also be translated winds. Guzik.  

  Many Bible students believe that the white horse represents war.  Wuest points out that the rider had a bow but no arrows.   Perhaps, the inclusion of arrows can be inferred from the possession of a bow.

   Some say that the red horse represents civil war and insurrection; the black horse: famine; and the pale horse: death by disease.  However, not all of these plagues are everywhere at the same time.   Perhaps, this is illustrated by the fact that the horses ride from one place to another.  They create war, insurrection, famine and persecution at different places at different times.

   Asimov says that many people see all four horsemen, riding in World War 1. Not only was there the bloodiest and most stupidly savage slaughter ever seen...but there was revolution in Russia...a famine in Germany and Russia...and a world wide influenza pandemic in 1918 that killed more people than the war did.  The pale horse and its riders were there, with the other three, to carry out their functions.
With a different point of view the Concordia Bible Commentary declares; we find in the first four seals the same sequence as in the words of Jesus concerning the last days in Mt 24:5-10 – (1) misleading by false Christs; (2) wars; (3) famines; (4) death by disease.  

We will look at these four seals in a little more detail in the next two posts.

** A Commentary of Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith, Seventh Day Adventist.

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