Good evening and welcome to EBible Fellowship's Bible study in the Book of Revelation. Tonight is study #1 of Revelation, chapter 6, and we are going to begin reading Revelation 5:13-14:
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
In this glorious picture that God is giving us, all of heaven (the complete kingdom of God) is praising and worshipping the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, and declaring His worthiness to receive the blessing, honour, glory and power due unto Him.
Now let us read Revelation 6:1-2:
And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
Now we are getting to the loosing of the seven seals that had bound the Book that was in the right hand of the One seated upon the throne, Eternal God. And we will find, as the first four seals are removed from that Book (which can only be a reference to the Word of God, the Bible), that one of the four living creatures will be involved in the loosing or the opening of the first four seals. Also, we will see that there are different color horses involved that will be in view with each one of the first four seals.
Just to give an overview concerning these first four seals, they really are describing God’s overall program of salvation and judgment for the New Testament era, including the church age. The first two seals will deal with the church age, especially, and then one of the seals will deal with the Great Tribulation period and the fourth seal will focus upon the Day of Judgment, the time we are presently living in. The opening of these seals really relates to the program of God for salvation and judgment throughout the New Testament era: the church age, the Great Tribulation and Judgment Day, the time of the end.
Then the final three seals get into things related to that, but we do not read of one of the living creatures opened up the fifth, sixth or seventh seals and we also do not read of a horse that is involved with the opening of those seals. It is only these first four seals that have one of the four living creatures and a colored horse of some kind that comes into view.
It says in Revelation 6:1:
And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
The “noise of thunder” accompanies the opening of the first seal. Now why would that be? Let us turn to Job, chapter 37, and we will see how God relates thunder to Himself and to His voice.
It says in Job 37:2-5:
Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth. He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth. After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard. God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.
Thunder is that booming sound that we hear in the sky, in the heaven above. It can be frighteningly loud; it can be so loud that people get nervous. It is a good illustration. And God, of course, is the One that created thunder in the physical realm and God is the one that likens His voice to thunder in the spiritual realm. Thunder is powerful and so, too, is the Word of God, the voice of God, that which comes forth out of His mouth, as we read in Hebrews 4:12:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword…
You see, the Word of God is said to be powerful, just like the sound of thunder. And in Revelation 6:1, when the Lamb opened one of the seals, the Apostle Paul “heard, as it were the noise of thunder,” and then he heard one of the four living creatures saying, “Come and see.”
So the first seal is removed from the Bible and then thunder is heard and thunder relates to the voice of God. And that makes perfect sense because the seals coming off the Bible will release what? They will release the truth that has been hidden in the Scripture, which God Himself has hidden. And when the seals are removed, they are loosed, in a sense, and set free and God’s people are now able to hear them and understand them; it is as though the voice of God is “booming.”
We were actually witnesses to this as God opened up the seals from the Word of God at the beginning of the Great Tribulation and He set in motion doctrines that came forth from His word and His people heard. These doctrines went all across the face of the earth with a mighty sound; the end of the church age sounded “loud” to the ears of many; the declaration of Judgment Day beginning on May 21, 2011 was a powerful sound that went throughout the world, so we can see why God is likening the removal of the first seal to the noise of thunder.
Now one of the four living creatures is beckoning to the Apostle John and, in turn, to us: “Come and see.” Let us go see what is being said in verse Revelation 6:2:
And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
Here, we see this sight of one seated upon a white horse with a bow. Now a bow, like a sword, can be likened to the Word of God and the things that God speaks. We read in Psalm 7:11-12:
God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.
The sword and bow are synonymous in that verse and the sword relates to the Word of God; it is a weapon in the hand of God to destroy and, likewise, the bow is a weapon in God’s hand that He can use to destroy. The Lord Jesus is seated upon a “white horse” with a bow.
And when we search the Bible to see what a horse might represent, the horse represents strength. It says in Psalm 147:10:
He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
We can quickly see how it is that a horse is a figure of strength. It is a very strong animal and men have ridden horses into battle for thousands of years. They have charged riding upon a horse toward their enemies and many of them, also, upon horses. And God speaks of the fearlessness of a horse charging into battle in the Book of Job and the terribleness of a horse’s nostrils as he goes full-bore at a fast speed right into the enemy that may have spears and swords pointed at him and, yet, there is no fear. The horse is carrying its rider into the fray – into the battle.
And the rider, here, is seated upon a “white horse,” and white in the Bible points to holiness and purity. It points to that which is without sin and that helps us to realize that the rider must be Christ Himself, the Lord Jesus. He has to be the One who is seated upon such a horse – a white horse – and we have confirmation of this in Revelation 19:11-16:
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
There is no doubt and no question that the Lord Jesus is the one seated and riding upon a white horse, in Revelation 19, into the battle of Judgment Day.
Now in Revelation 6, the scene is different. It is Christ, yes, who is seated upon the horse. It is the same white horse, but it is not the battle that comes at the end of the world during the Day of Judgment (which we are currently living through). But the battle in view here in Revelation 6:2 is the battle that the kingdom of God fought against Satan and the kingdom of darkness – the battle that raged for centuries throughout the entire New Testament church age and even beyond, but especially during that period of time.
We find that a crown was given unto Him, as we read in Revelation 19, and a name was written upon His vesture and thigh that He was KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Christ is King over all and He is the Supreme Ruler of all heavenly kingdoms and all earthly kingdoms.
And continuing in Revelation 6:2:
… and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
This is the victorious sending forth of the Gospel as Christ was victorious when He rose from the dead to demonstrate (as, too, was His entering into the human race and going to the cross was a demonstration) His overcoming of sin and Satan and His victory in overcoming death itself. God then sent forth the Word of God – the news concerning this victory, concerning the resurrection of Christ and the salvation that was available in Him into all the world – into the darkness of this world, into Satan’s kingdom, into the nations that had not previously heard. A great Light began to shine and this is the picture here as the Lord is going “forth conquering.”
The word conquer is the word translated as overcome, as we have seen several times already in the Book of Revelation. It is the same word that was translated as prevail back in Revelation 5:5:
And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
The victory of the Lord Jesus, the Lamb that was slain and rose from the dead, is what causes the Gospel also to be victorious and to conquer. Christ conquered the kingdom of Satan; He bound the “strong man” at the cross and this enabled Him to ransack his house, to ransack his kingdom.
Now it was not just God’s plan to save a great multitude throughout the 1,955 years of the church age; it was God’s plan to save a good number of individuals during that time (we do not know how many), but it was not, as we might think, an incredibly large number, but it was all that God wanted to be saved; there was never a single individual that was born and lived and died and was one of God’s elect, but somehow “missed out” on that salvation that Christ had purchased for him. No. It was always the case whenever an elect person was born into the world, that the Lord God sent forth the Gospel and reached that individual, no matter where they happened to be found in the world. If they were elect, God made sure that the Gospel reached that person’s ears and God blessed His Word to his heart and saved that individual, thereby conquering and showing forth the victory of Christ.
The fact that just a certain number were saved (the Bible likens the figure to 144,000; of course, there were many more than that), does not mean that the Gospel was any less victorious. Every one to be saved was saved and that makes God’s program of evangelization during the church age a success, in that sense.
Now we read in Revelation 6:3-4:
And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
Now, we wonder, who is this rider? Who is this individual that is seated upon a horse, a red horse? This rider seems to oppose the first rider and he seems to be doing things contrary to the Lord Jesus who is seated upon the white horse. And we would be correct in understanding that.
This rider upon the red horse is going to battle with the rider upon the white horse. We can know that due to the fact that it says he was taking “peace from the earth.” And who is peace? The Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:13-15:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
The Lord Jesus is our peace. The Lord Jesus makes peace between God and man. Previously, there was enmity; there is warfare raging between God and the sinner – the sinner that has dared to rebel against His King, Eternal God. And Christ is able to reconcile this situation for certain ones chosen by God Himself before the foundation of the world to be reconciled, to receive the salvation of God and to have their sins forgiven. And we saw in the picture of the rider of the “white horse,” where Christ is “going forth conquering, and to conquer,” and we understood that to relate to the sending forth of the Gospel.
And what is the sending forth of the Gospel but what another parable pictures it as: the sowing of seed. It is “casting” the Word of God to the left and to the right; it is sowing the seed of God’s Word upon the hearts of men, here and there, indiscriminately, not knowing who the elect are, so the Word of God went forth to all that would hear it. And the Word of God conquered whenever it reached the ears of one of those chosen individuals.
And God’s Word also accomplished other purposes, as those that brought it and the Word itself are “the savour of life unto life” (to those that are chosen to life) and “the savour of death unto death,” and even in that, as God’s Word would pronounce judgment, there was victory.
And, yet, the rider on the red horse went forth after the rider on the white horse and he had a mission and purpose – not to help men, not to save men and not to deliver any men. No – this rider on the red horse is Satan. This is the devil, as we read in Revelation 12:3:
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
The dragon, Satan, is the one that identifies with the color red, just as Christ identifies with the color white. White is for the purity and holiness of Christ; and the color red is for the devil and for his opposition to the Lord Jesus. Satan is the rider that is doing spiritual battle with Christ. As Christ sows seed that can produce fruit and peace between God and man, Satan comes to remove peace from the earth and to remove the seed sown upon men’s hearts. Satan comes in battle by bringing other kinds of gospels, other doctrines; he tries to change the Word of God, to pervert the grace of God, to twist the truth of the Bible and to turn it to a lie.
This is why it says in Revelation 6:4:
And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
The word sword in the Bible is likened to the Word of God; a “two edged sword” is used to figure God’s word. Well, Satan also takes up a sword. Satan also takes up the Word of God. He comes looking like Christ. He comes looking like a Lamb, but he speaks like a dragon. He comes handling the Word of God through his emissaries that have infiltrated the churches and the congregations, as he sows tares amongst the wheat and they come preaching the Word of God and teaching things that sound good – they sound wonderful.
Does it not sound wonderful to hear that “God loves you and He has a wonderful plan for your life”? “Oh, that is so great! That is so excellent that God loves me.” Yet, it is a lie. The one proclaiming that has no idea whether God loves you, or not. God does not love everyone, in a saving sense. He only loves His people. So through these deceitful weapons, the twisting and turning of God’s Word and the violence done to the law of God, Satan is able to “kill” those that hear these kinds of gospels, spiritually. And, yes, we would have to say it is a “great sword.” Just look at the numbers of “professing Christians” today.