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Revelation 6:9-17 “The Lamb Opening Seals 5 and 6”

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SIH STSTA ICONTHE TEXT:

 

The Opening Of Seals 5 and 6…

 

Revelation 6:9-17 KJV

(9)  And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
(10)  And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
(11)  And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
(12)  And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
(13)  And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
(14)  And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
(15)  And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
(16)  And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
(17)  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

 

 

 

THE INTRODUCTION:

In chapter 6 we begin to see the seals being opened. All seven seals represent for us the events that will lead up to the  the Christian’s receipt of their eternal inheritance:

  1. Seals 1-6 reveal the events that take place before God’s wrath falls upon the earth.
  2. Seal 7 represents God’s wrath falling which prepares the way for His eternal kingdom on the New Heavens and Earth.
  3. Scroll opened reveals the eternal inheritance of the saints which will be received at His second coming.

 

Here is a brief outline of Revelation chapter 6:…

Opening Seals 1-4 (Revelation 6:1-8)  – All four of these seals affect everyone who is living on earth

  1.  1st Seal – White Horse – False Teachers/Christs 1-2
  2. 2nd Seal – Red Horse – Wars and Rumors Of War  3-4
  3. 3rd Seal – Black Horse – Famine and Scarcity  5-6
  4. 4th Seal – Pale Horse – Death  7-8

Opening Seals  5-6 (Revelation 6:9-17)

  1. 5th Seal – Persecution/Martyrdom 9-11 – This seal is pointed towards Christians (faithful servants of Christ)
  2. 6th Seal – Heaven’s Shaken – God’s Wrath Falling 12-17 – This seal is pointed towards the unsaved (those who oppose the work of Christ on earth.

In this lesson, we will see the opening of seals five and six…

Seal Five –  We see symbolism of souls as blood flowing under the altar that finds it origins in Leviticus 4:7, 17:10-11 etc)

Seal Six – We see the symbolism of earthqukes, storms, and great changes in the heavens picturing God’s wrath.  These are found linked to God’s wrath in many places throughout the OT including Isaiah 13:9-10, 29:6, Joel 2:30-31, Haggai 2:6-7 etc)

 

THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:

Revelation 6:9-17 KJV

 

And when he had opened the fifth seal,

Following the opening of seals 1-4 which represents the types of events that must take place before Christ comes again.  These first four seals affected everyone who is living upon the earth:

  1. 1st Seal – White Horse – False Teachers/Christs 1-2
  2. 2nd Seal – Red Horse – Wars and Rumors Of War 3-4
  3. 3rd Seal – Black Horse – Famine and Scarcity 5-6
  4. 4th Seal – Pale Horse – Death 7-8

 

The seals continue to be opened as he sees seal 5 broken (vs 9-11)…

 

I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

Here, John sees the souls of those who have died as the result of their testimony for Christ.  Please keep in mind these things are symbolic in nature…

1.  The altar being spoken of is the brazen altar (altar of burnt offering) spoken of throughout the OT writings.

This is the altar where the animals lives were taken, their blood shed, and then their blood placed under this altar. (Lev 4:7, 5:9, 8:15 etc).

 

2.  In this vision, the souls of the martyrs (the physical life they lost for the cause of Christ) replace the animal’s shed blood. Picturing for us the fact their lives were taken by the hands of others as an act of sacrifice for Almighty God. These faithful saints gave their lives willingly, choosing death over compromising their ministry for their Lord as an act of worship and honor to Him.

This is why we are told their souls were slain “for the word of God” (their verbal presentation of God’s Word) and “for the testimony which they held” (their active lifestyle testimony as followers of Christ).

This symbolically represents not only the martyrs who gave their lives for the cause of Christ, but also those saints who are “living sacrifices” for Christ.  Although they are not called upon to literally give their lives for Christ, they are called upon to give up the world’s offerings and suffer abuse at the hands of others in the name of Christ as living sacrifices for Him (Roms 12:1, Phil 2:17, Hebs 13:16)

 

And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

These faithful, sacrificial saints who have gone on before us, cry out with an amplified voice saying….

  1. “O Lord holy and true”

They recognize the Lord as being totally separated from sin (holy) and faithful to His Word (true)

  1. “dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth”

These sacrificing saints know that those who have killed them, abused them and opposed them should be punished and brought to defeat.  But this has not happened on earth yet. Christ has not come back yet.  Things continue on as before with many of the wicked seemingly prospering.

Because they know He is holy and true they know that He should be judging the lost… this is why they are questioning why God has not brought vengeance and judgment upon their abusers which were still living on the earth.

  

And white robes were given unto every one of them;

Throughout the Bible white robes are associated with righteousness…

  1. the righteous of Christ that is placed upon the saint at their salvation (Isa 61:10, Luke 15:22)
  2. the righteous works and testimony of the saints that are worn like clothing by the saint (Deut 6:24-25, 1 Peter 5:5).

In this case, probably both apply.  These faithful saints are shown being given the robes of righteousness, confirming to us they were genuinely saved and possessed a testimony of righteousness as servants of Christ.  This in comparison to hypocritical “believers” that only served God out of selfish motivations, such as the lost Pharisees of Christ’s day (Matt 23:27 etc)

 

and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

These faithful saints, now that they have passed on to heaven, are told to “rest a little season”.  In other words, they can now rest from their labors for Christ and wait for Him to return to earth at His second coming.  At that time, they would return with Christ to receive their glorified bodies.

The time of their waiting is described as “a little season”.  In other words, when compared with spending an eternity with Christ, the time they had to wait (between their physical death and their return with Him at His second coming) will be a very short period of time.

During this time of waiting for the saints in heaven with Christ, time will continue passing on earth with more saints being martyred, abused and opposed as they seek to serve the Lord.  These are the times we are living in right now.  There have been faithful saints who have gone on before us and are waiting in heaven for His second coming.  Likewise, we are continuing here on earth seeking to faithfully serve our Lord while faced with martyrdom, abuse and opposition, eagerly awaiting Christ’s second coming also.

 

This fifth seal is the fifth sign of Christ’s second coming…. martyrdom and abuse of God’s people on earth as they faithfully minister for Him.  As we see these things taking place around us, keep in mind, it is to be expected, these things must take place before Christ comes again and takes us to be with Him and the saints who have gone on before us!
This event described the sufferings and afflictions of God’s people.  In the next seal, we will see Christ’s response to their question by picturing God’s wrath falling against the lost now and, especially, just prior to His second coming…

 

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal,

John now sees the opening of the sixth seal.  Showing to him the sixth sign of the second coming of Christ. 

John will be seeing great cataclysmic events taking place in nature.  These events can be summarized into two basic types of devastating events:

  1. those that take place on the earth (vs 12a, 14b)
  2. those that take place in heaven (vs 12-14) 

Certainly, it is possible that this seal points us to devastating events of nature that have, and will take place in the earth and heavens.  It is very possible that, immediately prior to Christ’s second coming there will be horrific events that will take place in the world around us.

However, with an understanding that all of these seals involve a great deal of symbolism, we can learn much more about these events that will take place before Christ’s coming than simply catastrophic events in nature.

 

and, lo, there was a great earthquake;

The first overwhelming event John sees is an overwhelming earthquake.  This is the type of earthquake that destroys much of the area that it hits.  This is an event that affects the earth but does not affect the heavens.  Throughout the Old Testament, earthquakes are linked with God’s wrath falling upon rebelliously sinful mankind.

 

John now begins to see a group of changes in the heavens…

and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, 

John sees the sun turn dark colored like the typical clothing they wore during times of great mourning and loss.  This symbolizes for us that, during times of God’s wrath falling upon mankind, it is times of great mourning and sorrow upon the lost.

 

and the moon became as blood; 

John sees the moon turning a deep red color of shed blood.  God’s wrath upon the lost will involve, in many cases the death and destruction of the lost.  This is why the moon is pictured as being blood red in color.

 

And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind

John sees the stars of heaven falling upon the earth much like a fig tree forced to drop her fruit prematurely due to a great windstorm that is striking them.  In this case. the windstorm is a picture of God’s wrath falling upon sinful mankind resulting in them losing the worldly gain that they had lived their lives to accumulate.  This would include wicked fruits that were born to gain wealth, power, fame, and fleshly pleasure.

 

And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together;

John now see the entire heavens rolled up and being totally removed.  First, the sun was blackened, then the moon was darkened, then the stars fell from the sky taking them from view.  Now finally, the entire heavens are rolled up and removed from the view of all mankind.

Throughout the Old Testament, we read of the heavens being one of the greatest tools used by the Lord to reveal Himself to mankind.  This part of the sixth seal helps us to understand that one of the great methods of judgment against the lost takes place with the gradual taking of truth from mankind.   Basically, the longer mankind rejects the Word of God the more truth is taken and the world falls into greater and greater levels of spiritual darkness and depravity.

 

and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

John now sees the great moving of mountains and islands.  Perhaps this is the result of the great earthquake, or else some other type of catastrophic event.  In either case, the basic principle is that the things that give lost mankind great security and stability are moved and no longer stable.

But keep in mind, mountains were one of the great meeting places for man with God.  With the mountain being moved out of place it helps us to see that God no longer is meeting with mankind as before.  Because the world, in general, has rejected the Lord, He no longer meets with them and shows His glory as in days past.  He removes His hand of blessing and no longer reveals Himself and His will to mankind as He used to.

Islands in the OT many times are associated with Gentile nations.  Even the Gentile nations who had been recipients and propagators of the truth of God in NT times, now have their testimony restricted and gradually removed from the earth.   Some of the greatest nations that could be counted upon to uphold the truths of God and send missionaries into all the world, no longer have a significant ministry on the earth.

 

And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

John sees the lost who possess all social positions becoming desperate as the second coming of Christ draws near.  Everyone, from the richest to the poorest, the ruler to the slave… they all try to rely upon their own ingenuity and ability to escape the great wrath of Almighty God.

We see this take place every day in the lives of those who rely upon the works of man to secure their salvation. Day after day they reject the truths of God and choose to live their life in the fulfillment of their sinful flesh.  The fruits of their labors may be great, but they are only worldly in nature.  Sadly, just as the men in John’s vision, there will come a day when they realize they cannot escape the wrath of God of their own merit or earthly accomplishements and come to realize they have no hope…

 

And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

The lost come to the conclusion that their only hope is for their life to be taken before His coming in the hope that they will escape His wrath.  However, even this effort on their part is only a fallacy.  Even in death, they must face the judgment of God.  And in the future be resurrected to stand before the Lord and be sentenced to an eternity in the Lake of Fire.

 

For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

For the lost, Christ’s second coming is a great day of distress, anguish, sorrow, and remorse of a worldly type. For the saved, it is a time of vengeance and recompense.

Keep in mind the question asked by the saints in the prior seal… “Lord why aren’t your avenging us and judging the lost”… now we see His response.  Even now, His wrath is gradually falling and the lost are being punished for abusing His people.   Although His judgment upon the lost is being shown in many ways, the greatest form of wrath during this time is the gradual taking of the truths of God from the lost world.  Finally His wrath will be shown fully as He returns to the earth in all His glory to utterly destroy the lost and purify the sinful earth.

To summarize seal number six.  We see the wrath and anger of God falling upon the lost of the world even in today’s time.  Although it may not be recognized by some believers, the taking of the truth from the world is clearly a judgment against a rebellious and sinful generation that is living upon the earth.  This taking of truth is gradual and will consistently increase leading up to His second coming.  At that point in time all hope is lost for unbelievers who now must face the wrath of God as He comes back in power and glory to destroy His enemies and purify this earth.

(Once again, please note that there are other places in the Scriptures that teach us that there will be great changes that take place in the heavens and earth at the second coming of Christ.  Therefore the cataclysmic events described in this sixth seal MAY touch upon these great changes that will take place at His second coming.  However, based upon the symbolic nature of the book of Revelation, there is much, much more that can be learned from this text.)

 

CHRIST REVEALED:

In this section of our study we see Christ revealed as the One that is “holy and true”.  In other words, He stands in opposition to sin and wickedness while remaining faithful to His promises that He has given to His beloved.  He proves this to us all by rightly avenging His people who are killed, abused and opposed as they serve Him.  His wrath is being revealed in today’s time and especially, will be revealed fully at His second coming.

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)

As we looked at the persecution and martyrdom the faithful saints of this time period along with the wrath of God falling upon the lost in today’s time, we can come to a better understanding of the events that are taking place around us.

Why do we see so many calamities taking place and seemingly on the increase?  It is because our world is rejecting Christ, His will, and those who are His servants.

Why do we see the truth gradually being taken from the world, especially from the nations that used to have such a firm grips on the truths of God?   Once again, it is a type of punishment being shown against the sinful world around us.

As we see the rejection of Christ and the truths of His Word, may we all “lift up our heads”, it is simply another sign that His coming is close at hand…

  1. 1st Seal – White Horse – False Teachers/Christs 1-2
  2. 2nd Seal – Red Horse – Wars and Rumors Of War 3-4
  3. 3rd Seal – Black Horse – Famine and Scarcity 5-6
  4. 4th Seal – Pale Horse – Death 7-8
  5. 5th Seal – Persecution/Martyrdom That Will Affect The Saints 9-11
  6. 6th Seal – Heaven and Earth Shaken – The Truths Of God Taken From World That Affect Lost Mankind 12-17

 

All of these are taking place around us now and are indicators that Christ is coming back and we need to be watching with uplifted heads!

 

In seal #7 we will see the last seal broken and the final preparatory act taking place before Christians will receive their eternal inheritance.  This seal will describe symbolically the second coming of Christ in power and glory!

 

May the Lord bless us as we seek to see Jesus in the pages of the book of Revelation.

 

 

 

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Email Contact:          settledinheaven@gmail.com

 


7 Comments

  1. Streim says:

    Thank you so much for your study of this book. I am studying it myself. I am a bit ahead of you, but your study as a great aid for me. Bless you brother Rob!
    Stephanie

    • Rob Barkman says:

      Hi Stephanie.

      I thank the Lrod that the studies are a blessing for you. Over the years, I have come to love the message of Christ that we find in Revelation, just wish I could understand more of the hidden treasures that are in the book. May the Lord continue to bless us as we seek to better understand His Word!

  2. thank you, Pastor Rob. happy New Year.

  3. […] Revelation 6:9-17 “The Lamb Opening Seals 5 and 6”. […]

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