Revelation Chapter 6 Vision of the Seven Seals and Interlude
Background: three different cycles of seven: 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 bowls. Theories-1) each are three separate scenes, that happen in that order in history. 2) each are self-contained, and are a re-telling of the same thing. 3) each is a self-contained scene intended to teach something to the people about their situation. (Teach about the nature of evil and God’s judgement against it).
History: If Revelation was written A.D. 90-95 (which is most likely) Christians were undergoing persecution by the Roman emperor Domition, who is believed to have required everyone to worship at the Roman temples and required worship of himself, calling himself “Dominus and Deus” (Lord and God). There’s no definite proof of this, but is likely from other known sources and evidence. Stories say that the temple worshipers were “marked” to show they were loyal to the empire. If someone did not have “The Mark,” (anyone who didn’t worship in the Roman temples-many Christians) they were not allowed to buy or sell in the marketplaces, and were charged outrageous prices. Ex. v.6: 1 quart of wheat for a day’s pay- the amount of wheat it took to stay alive for a day, paid for with the amount of money earned in a day.
First 4 seals-4 horsemen
White horseman: a conqueror (not necessarily a good guy). Someone who is going to make sure everyone does what he wants…Could be an example of the Roman emperor. (Also referred to as the False Christ)
Red horseman: symbol of War and strife. If the conqueror doesn’t get his way, war will break out.
Black horseman: lack of something (food) famine. When war happens, tough times usually result. (See the above note about wheat and barley). “Oil and wine” probably meant that only the people who opposed the conqueror didn’t have what they needed.
Pale green horseman: color of death. (Often happens during a famine).
Meaning: the one who “came out conquering” will set off a chain of events>>>war>>famine>>death.
Fifth seal (Ch. 6:9-11) heaven:
Souls slaughtered for the word of God=martyrs in heaven. Are the martyrs calling out for God to take revenge in verse 10? Or are they looking for God’s justice and will to be done, to prevent the forces of evil from winning? (These are our Martyrs)
Sixth seal (Ch. 6:12-17) earth:
Odd occurrences in nature-earthquake, black sun, falling stars, sky vanished, etc. A dramatic change in nature usually was a sign of God’s intervention (think about what happened at the crucifixion) In this case, intervention is a judgement on those who allied with the forces of evil. (Can’t hide from God!!) (Sometimes referred to as terror)