The Banner Of Truth 2014
Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. (Psalm 60:4 )

"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).
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 An Overview of the Revelation
Part 5
By Al Stoner
The Lamb Opens the Seven Seals

Chapter 6 contains the account of the Lamb opening the first six seals and chapter 8:1, the opening of the seventh seal. Chapter 7 seems to be of the nature of an interlude, giving us a glimpse of some things that will be transpiring at the very end of time, such as the sealing of the servants of God in their foreheads (the conversion of the Jews, vv. 1-8), and then we are given to see the great multitude of the saved which shall appear before the Lamb in Heaven (vv. 9-17). This multitude of redeemed personalities was taken from “all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” (v. 9).
 
The seven seals (and particularly the first four and the sixth) unveil the various trials and afflictions that the saints shall be called upon to pass through while they are yet in this present world.  The riders on the white horse (6:1-2), the red horse (6:3-4), the black horse (6:5-6), and the pale horse (6:7-8) represent periods of severe testing and trial that would be coming upon the church of the living God; persecution, famine, pestilence, bloodshed and war are depicted by the various colored horsemen.   
 
The Rider on the White Horse.  It seems that the rider on the white horse is representing periods of time when the gospel is preached with little resistance and opposition being brought against it by the world, and the world’s prince (cf. Jn. 16:11).  Consider the following words: “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed” (Acts 19:20).  “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7).  “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41).  “Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand” (Acts 4:4).  These all speak of times when the rider on the white horse was going forth, “conquering, and to conquer” (Rev. 6:2).
 
The Four Horsemen.  In considering these four horsemen, it is good for us to think in this manner: When the rider on the white horse mounts his stallion and begins his gallop through the earth, or through parts of the earth, there the preaching of the gospel is meeting with success that is somewhat apparent to all.  When the rider on the red horse begins his ruthless trek across continents, there prevails a time of war and bloodshed.   Wherever the rider on the black horse appears, there follows with him invariably a time of severe famine, but with a particular mindfulness and tenderness, on the part of God, of those who have believed on His Son. “And see thou hurt not the oil and the wine”, the horseman is instructed.  The rider on the pale horse brings with him certain pestilence, famine, bloodshed, and death in vast numbers (cf. Rev. 6:7-8).  
 
Come and See!  At the opening of each of these first four seals one of each of the four living creatures said to John: “Come and see!”  This is to teach us that these kinds of things are not mere happenstance, but are proceeding forth from the throne of God and of the Lamb “to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:10), both those who have the faith of Jesus, and those who do not.  The words “Come and see!” also teach us that this trial of the dwellers upon the earth has been, of God, put on display before principalities and powers  (cf. Eph. 3:10-11) to demonstrate aspects of His character that were heretofore unknown.
 
The Opening of the Fifth Seal.  The fifth seal (6:9-11) gives us a glimpse of “the souls under the altar” who had given up their lives for the gospel's sake.  These are “the martyrs of Jesus” (Rev. 17:6).   “They loved not their lives unto the death” (Rev. 12:11).   It seems that in the fifth seal, the Lord is saying, it’s time to turn our attention away from the afflictions, and trials, and tribulations that are coming upon the saints who are in the realm of the seen, and to give the due honor to those who laid down their lives for Jesus’ sake.  If men could only hear the cries of those who are presently “under the altar”, they would be afraid to mistreat the people of God, even in the slightest degree.  They are crying such things as: “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Rev. 6:10).   They are crying out to the Lord that He would avenge their blood upon the inhabitants of the earth, and no doubt, particularly upon the ones who abused them and persecuted them unto the death.   If the ungodly only knew that there were voices in the unseen realm crying out for the vengeance and righteous judgment of God to be exacted upon them!
 
The Sixth Seal.  The opening of the sixth seal (6:12-17) seems, in the judgment of this writer, to be describing to us the nature of the last times, just prior to the Lord’s return and the world's destruction. It is a time when the people of God are called upon to overcome the eroding and contaminating effects upon their faith brought on by the mere passage of time and from living in this present evil world.  This is a time when the oppositions to the followers of the Lamb are more subtle, requiring oftentimes spiritual discernment to perceive the nature of the attacks.
 
The Time of the End.  But the time of the sixth seal also is also a time that leads up unto the very end, when it will finally register upon the minds of the ungodly that certain wrath and judgment are soon coming upon them, and they are unprepared, and now there is no time to prepare.  As Jeremiah declared in his prophecy, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” (Jer. 8:20).  What a horrifying contemplation this is!
 
The Wrath of the Lamb.  And similarly in the opening of the sixth seal, John is given to see: “and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 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.  And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.  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;  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:  for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev. 6:12-17).
 
What an unspeakably frightful thought that the Lamb of God, who once was the purest and most sublime expression of God’s mercy, longsuffering, and grace, shall in the end be the One who executes the wrath of God upon all those who have rejected “the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (II Tim. 2:10).  May each of us be given grace to examine ourselves to see whether we be in the faith, and then to “warn every man” who is within the sphere of our influence. --Editor



"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).