It needs to be repeated here that many teachers and commentators think and teach that the following events and most of Revelation applies to Israel only. Upon repeated prayerful study, that is not the view of the writers at this date (2018).
Although much of the narrative is clearly Jewish, and the focal point and subject of O.T. (Old Testament) prophecy fulfilment; and in our opinion a continuation of the O.T., Gospels and Acts, there are two major events.
1) Israel's Jacob's Trouble (Jer. 30:7);
2) The retribution of Jehovah God on the Gentile Nations of the world, as described in Joel, and many parts of the O.T. which is for their treatment of Israel, and rejection of Christ Jesus Messiah. The latter seems to be subsequent to the rescue of 'remnant Israel', but which may also have an overlapping, into early Kingdom Age (Millennial) (Micah 5:15).
The scene here set, is the beginning of Almighty God's actions in 'power' to undo and reclaim what Satan has stolen from humankind via. Eve and Adam's will since Eden, and the 'Inheritance' that Israel lost by their rebellion against their Jehovah as witnessed in the Old Testament.
For an overview of the four horsemen in this Chapter, Zech. 6:1-5 may give understanding that these are Jehovah Zebaoth's actions, and are preparatory to all that is to follow, and that they are under His control.
It is interesting to note that the first 6 Seals seem quickly sequential; but the seventh is separated by time and certain events.
V.1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seven Seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of (a)thunder, one of the four Zoa saying "come", (b)(and see).
(a) The opening of the 1st Seal marked by the noise described as thunder. This is clearly the nearest description that John can give for us to begin to understand the drama that the first Seal opening will produce. The import of this action is the greatest since our Lord's death on the Calvary Cross, as it is the beginning of the Lord's direct dealing with the world, which later ushers in God's rule on Earth for 1000 years (the Kingdom Age) (Millennial).
(b) 'And see', many translations leave these words off. Dr. Bullinger was of the opinion that the word "come", should in context be 'go', as does Charles Welch.
V.2 And I saw, and behold, a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a (a)crown was given unto him: (b)and he went forth conquering, and to overcome.
(a) Clearly the crown signifies the authority given to him. There are many and varied comments and opinions as to who this rider is. Some say the Anti-Christ, others the Lord Himself, but the latter is certainly wrong as it does not fit the timing or other statements on the Lord's return (Second Advent, see Chapter 19:11-13). The Anti-Christ opinion may have veracity, as the “white horse” may indicate false righteousness; and would concur with many false religious teachings, including “New Age”!
This verse and the following, up to and including the release of the 6th Seal by the Lamb, relate to our Lord's comments to His Disciples in Matt. 24:29-30, Mark 13:24-26, and Luke 21:25-36. There the Lord relates the events leading up to His return, and they graphically show the meanings of the first six Seals when opened. This rider is tasked with removal of peace as he has a “bow” for warfare, he certainly represents the taking away of peace from the Earth, see in Zech. 1:11-21.
These horsemen and horses from Jehovah Zebaoth are setting up conditions on the Earth contrary to those that have been set up by man/Anti-Christ. They are necessary for the stage being set by Jehovah Zebaoth. As noted above Our Lord quoted these and other events to His Disciples giving a sequence up to His return. As is noted above and elsewhere these events are all under the control of Almighty God, and are initiated by the seal releasing Lamb, who is worthy; "Christ".
This gives strong indication that the wrath of God against the Nations is either simultaneous or overlapping with "Jacob's Trouble" on Israel. As it is assumed that "Jacob's Trouble" is under the control of Satan, the comments relating to the "Seal releases" primarily are directed at "Nations". The logic behind this comment is that Jehovah Zebaoth is the instigator, (with "Zebaoth" meaning all creation and peoples)!
(b) "Conquering and to Overcome"; this interpretation will not be accepted by the Christendom teachers and leaders; as it conflicts with the standard teaching now prevalent of “gentle Jesus”, Our Lord is of course gentle, just etc., but here is beginning the great retribution of Jehovah Zebaoth in "His Day", and "The Lamb", (CHRIST risen in Heaven) has just released the first Seal of the Scroll, of which only "He is worthy"!
Note: Dr. Bullinger relates this event to Matt. 24:5, as simultaneous to the rising of "false Christs" on Earth.
V.3 And when He opened the 2nd Seal, I heard the second Zoa say "go".
V.4 And there went out another horse that was red: and it was given to him that sat thereon to take (a)the peace from the Earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a (b)great sword.
(a) “The peace” this is quite remarkable, but clearly shows that in the time of the rule of man they will eventually produce "the peace", a situation that as yet has never happened. For it to be achieved worldwide, seems at present to be unlikely, but the "man of sin", who is yet to be made manifest, probably is the one who helps achieve this. It is also notable that the "peace", is reported to the Almighty in Zech. 1:11; receiving the report that "the Earth is still and at peace". It is at this point in Zech., that Jehovah Zebaoth (GOD OF ALL THE WORLD'S PEOPLES), through the "Lamb that was slain", "removes that peace", which is false, so that man's rule will be terminated, and the rule of Jehovah / Messiah will be ushered in, starting at the 1st Seal. It is probable that this "peace" starts at the same time as "the Covenant" of Dan. 9:27, which is for Israel, but spreads to the world under the false messiah! (Ezk. 38:21, Jer. 25:15-33, Lev. 26:25-33 & Ezk. 14:13-21).
(b) "Great sword"; clearly showing that warfare has returned.
Note: Dr. Bullinger relates this verse to Matt. 24:6-7.
Note: Some interpreters think it applies only to the land of Israel, not the world; however, in Zech. 1:11 it says “Earth”; it is likely that the peace instigated by the “Covenant” of Dan. 9:27, does spread to the “Earth”, as Israel is hated by so many Nations, because they are hated by Satan! (See: Satan's Motivation: ).
V.5 And when He had opened the 3rd Seal, I heard the third Zoa say, "Go". And I saw and behold a (a)black horse; and he that sat on him had a (b)balance in his hand.
V.6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four Zoa say, (b)"A choenix of wheat for a denarius, and three choenix of barley for a denarius; (c)and hurt not the oil and wine".
(a) Black in Scripture signifies famine, see Lam. 4:4-8, 5:10 & Jer. 14:1-2.
(b) A "choenix" of corn was a slaves daily ration, and was an amount usually purchased for an eighth of a denarius. Therefore prices had risen 8 fold. A "denarius" was a day's wage, (Comp. page 1891). Clearly this indicates heavy inflation and devaluing of money.
(c) It is said that oil and wine increases hunger! However, as "oil and wine" in Scripture can represent Israel, as they are derived from the Olive tree, (the religious privilege of Israel; see: OLIVE and its meaning; ) and the Vine, (the “new wine”, the new Israel, see: The Vine).
These certainly refer to that portion of Israel which are to be saved from "The Great Tribulation", i.e. "the remnant". If the Olive and the Vine idea is correct, it would indicate that Israel are at that stage not yet "Ammi"; (reinstated); but are close to it!
It is again noticeable that the instructions are issued by the four Zoa, who carry the administrative responsibility for the Earth. The number 4 in Scripture always relates to Earth, and Earth events.
Note: Dr. Bullinger relates to Matt. 24:7.
V.7 And when He opened the 4th Seal, I heard the voice of the fourth Zoa say “Go”.
V.8 And I saw, and behold, a pale green/livid horse, and his name that sat on him (a)Death, and (b)Haydes followed with him. And authority was given to them over the (c)fourth part of the Earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the wild beasts of the Earth.
(a) "Death"; straightforward symbol, Heavenly authority given to the rider to kill by the methods mentioned, but are not able to kill the PSUCHE (individual life).
(b) "HAYDES"; this is mistranslated HELL, see: Hell;
The Greek is Hades which means grave, but by much misuse and confusion is confused with the Hell of myth and legend. The Bible is the only authority on the subject, which states that in this present time (Dispensation), all who truly believe in Christ when they die await His resurrection call, (1Thess. 4:16). Those that die not believing in Christ, are resurrected at the time of the Great White Throne Judgement (Rev. 20:11-15). Our Lord said to His Disciples (Matt. 10:28), "Fear not those that kill the body, but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both PSUCHE and body in GEENNA". (Lake of Fire i.e. Second Death Rev. 20:14).
(c) " ¼ of the Earth" (population). We stand at present (2018) at approx. 7.5 billion (7,000 500,000) people on Earth. (The Global 2000 report to the President) on an exponential basis, this population would double in 20-30 years. On the assumption that the population does double in 20 years time (2038), and that these events of Chapter 6 are then current, then from approx.15,000,000,000 people 3,750,000,000, will die; and the pressure of death alone will be enormous, just in this 4th Seal, with much more to follow.
Note: This relates to Matt. 24:7. As of the present date (2018), the world's population is over 7 billion! Projections vary from Think Tank to various Universities; but the pressure on all the world’s resources is too great to sustain the present world population growth for many more years! The world’s Economists state that approx.3% GDP is needed to sustain the present (2018) world population in comfort. The world’s resources are already too depleted for continuity; so the future is bleak for a growing population!
V.9 And when He opened the 5th Seal, I saw under the alter the (a)Souls of them that had been slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
(a) See comments Rev. 20:4 (b). (Companion Bible Apps. 110 (2), 170 (3), and 13). There is much confusion on this subject. The Babylonian/Greek myth of an enduring entity called the "soul", is now established teaching in the Churches, and works against Christ's sacrificial death on the Cross. The Roman teaching in particular gives power to Priests and people for "Purgatory" relief of "unrepentant souls", by their prayers, and "special Masses". A careful study of Scripture shows that the spirit of life is given and taken by Almighty God, and by Him alone. The spirit of life and the dust of the ground = the living soul, Gen. 2:7. The word soul is used very loosely in everyday speech, which only adds to the confusion, and applies to animals and people! (See Gen. 1:20 &, 2:6, same word nephesh = soul of life).
In the important instances, care is needed to ascertain the actual intended meaning. In this case, the Greek "psucha", in context means the individual. However these "individuals", "have been slain for the Word of God", and they are in the Tribulation Age (Matt. 24:9). There is the implication that those so affected go straight to Heaven at death. In this Age, when we die, we await the resurrection of either glory with Christ, if we have trusted Him for Salvation and we are washed in His Redeeming Blood, or resurrection to precise judgement at the "Great White Throne", at the end of the Millennial Age, (Rev. 20:11-12).
In the case of the unsaved, the spirit of life returns to the Father, (Ecc. 12:7). In the case of the Christian (the true Christ one), there is the implication in Scripture, that the Christ Spirit returns to Christ, (Acts 7:59 & Philippians 1:23).
V.10 And they cried with a great voice, saying, (a)"How long, O Lord, the Holy and the true, doest Thou not judge and (a)avenge our blood on them that dwell on the Earth"?
(a) Clearly not the "Church of the Mystery" (Romans 12:19) as vengeance is forbidden and they are already Raptured in our opinion. This is for later action by Jehovah, as Owner and Ruler of all the Earth (Deut. 32:43).
V.11 And a (a)white robe was given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet a (b)little time, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that are about to be killed as they had been, should be fulfilled.
(a) As promised in (Rev. 3:4), and seen in (7:9).
(b) "How long etc."; the fact that this plea/prayer is within a "Seal", illustrates its power and appeal to Jehovah God and The Lamb, and the force it has with them for restitution. The request on a quick reading can easily get lost in the drama of the other Seals, but carries at least equal weight with God as the others. The request for vengeance on humans on Earth, to the corrupted and misguided and miss-taught human race, whose values and attitudes have been shaped by Babylon's daughter for generations, to say nothing of the false shepherds, may seem illegal and blood thirsty. That is only because the Bible has been ignored for so long by those that should have used it as the only source of Truth.
The answer to "slain souls", shows and confirms the infinite knowledge and timing of Jehovah God, in the "little time" reply; white robes being given to each one. We know from Rev. 7:14-17, that these are only given to those "that came out of the Great Tribulation".
V.12 And I saw when He opened the 6th Seal, and there came to be a great (a)earthquake/ convulsion; and the (b)Sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the (c)moon became as blood.
(a) There are many who say these events are history; (but where in the History Books?). No, they are yet future (2018), and linked to Christ Jesus' return; (Hag. 2:6-9 & 21-23; Zech. 2:6-13).
(b) "Sun"; this event hugely significant, as the Sun has been, and is the object of much pagan worship. In Ancient times from Babylon onwards, the Phoenicians, Moabites, Amorites, the Israelites, Egyptians etc., to name a few have worshipped the Sun under many names. These included; Baal, Chemosh, Moloch, and others.
Our Lord mentioned it in Matt. 24:29-30, and just before in Vs 27-28, describes the return of Himself ("Son of Man") Rev. 19:11-16, to Earth to rescue the remnant of Israel from all over the world, (Matt. 24:31). There are many references in the Old Testament to that great event.
It shows here that the Pagan myth of the Sun is under the control of The One True God, and is used as a sign of His wrath, and control of events!
(c) "Moon"; the above references and comments also apply, the moon given the status in pagan mythology "the queen of Heaven"!
V.13 And the (a)stars of Heaven fell to the Earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a great wind.
(a) This may mean meteorites or other skyward bodies. It will be clear at the time. There is clearly much disturbance in the visual Heavens!
V.14 (a)And Heaven parted asunder as a scroll, rolling itself up; and every mountain and island were removed out of their places.
(a) See: Matt. 24:35, Isa. 34:1-4 & 13:6-13. Clearly this describes Earth movement on a massive scale. This is predicted in the Prophets. Also Scripture seems to show that Jerusalem may be a sea port in the Millennial, however, the flow of water from Jerusalem is a new source, flowing East and West (Zech. 14:8 and Ezk. 47), and is for regeneration of the desert areas. This verse implies world-wide volcanic upheaval including Israel. As Israel does not have any islands the reference to such in verse 14 gives clear emphasis to the global nature of this event.
V.15 And the kings of the Earth, and the great ones, and the rich ones, and the chief captains, and the mighty ones, and bondman, and free one, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
V.16 And they say 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:
V.17 For the great day of His wrath is come; and (a)who is able to stand"?
(a) The next Chapter gives those 'able to stand'!
Clearly by that time, nobody denies God’s existence! But they still resist Him and Christ. Now the emphasis is on escaping from God and the Lamb. The amazing thing is that still the people do not seek mercy, and they still do not understand or know that escape is impossible, such has been and still is the influence of Satan and wrong teaching on their arrogance and pride over thousands of years!
See: Psm. 2:2, 68:4, 97:5, Isa. 24:19-23, 34:12, 2:10-22, Nahum 1:5, Heb. 12:26, Luke 23:30, Hos. 10:8, Joel 2:31 & Rev. 19:19.