Study Notes

Revelation 6:1-17


John is seeing a vision of the future. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, has taken the seven-sealed scroll, the title deed to the earth, and is about to open it.

6:1-2 Breaking The Seals

In order to open the scroll, the seven seals need to be broken. The breaking of these seals begins what we know of as "The Great Tribulation." As Jesus, the Lamb of God, breaks the first seal, it signals one of the cherubim to call forth a white horse and rider.

The First Seal

The rider is wearing a crown. You may have heard people teach that this is Jesus Christ, because in chapter 19, Jesus is riding a white horse and wearing many crowns. But this is not Christ. It is the man we call antichrist.

The Devil's Counterfeits

One thing we discover when we read the word of God, is that satan is an excellent counterfeiter. We could even go so far to say that he never has an original idea, but that everything he does is imitate in a desperate attempt to be like God. Let's look at six ways the devil imitates God.

#1: The Messiah

God brought a manifestation of Himself on earth in the form of a man, Jesus Christ. The devil thinks that was an idea worth imitating, and will bring his own "messiah" - the antichrist. He will appear like Christ in so many ways, that many will be deceived by him. Even Bible scholars have been deceived into thinking that the guy on the white horse is Christ.

# 2: The Miracles

When God sent Moses to deliver the Israelites from the hand of Pharaoh, he performed miracles. The first was that Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and it became a serpent.

Exod. 7:11-12 Then Pharaoh also called for {the} wise men and {the} sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts. For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents.

The second sign was turning the Nile River to blood.

Exod. 7:22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts...

The third was brining a plague of frogs.

Exod. 8:6-7 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. And the magicians did the same with their secret arts, making frogs come up on the land of Egypt.

It is evident that satan can duplicate many miracles of God. Just as Jesus performed miracles to remove people's doubt, we can see satan doing the same thing today. This deception will only intensify as the last days approach.

2Ths. 2:9-10 ...the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness ...

The devil's counterfeits are deceiving.

#3: The Lion

As we saw in our study of chapter five, Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah who is ready to conquer. The Bible periodically describes God as a lion, a picture of Him in his conquering judgment. The devil imitates this too, for we read,

1Pet. 5:8 ...Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

He wants so badly to be perceived as God.

#4: The Prophets

God has chosen to speak to the world through prophets. Of course, satan has imitated this as well. Peter wrote,

2Pet. 1:21-2:1 prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies...

God's prophets imitated by the false prophets.

#5: The Mark

Next week, we will see that God seals his people with a mark on their foreheads. Not being a very original thinker, satan steals the idea directly, and creates his own "mark of the beast" in chapter 13. This also is placed on the forehead (or the right hand) of his people.

#6: The Resurrection

Jesus Christ showed the world that He was God by being killed and then raised from the dead on the third day. His resurrection is the proof of everything He spoke.

The Scriptures show us that satan will make sure to raise his messiah from the dead as well. In chapter 13, we will read,

Rev. 13:3-4 And {I saw} one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed {and followed} after the beast; and they worshiped the dragon, because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?"

The antichrist will die, yet be healed. This will convince the majority of the world that he indeed must be a god.

Don't Be Deceived

The purpose of this teaching is for you to realize that satan is very good at imitating God. It is therefore imperative that we test everything against Scripture.

1John 4:1-3 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the {spirit} of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

If something seems to be from God, but is drawing attention away from Jesus, or doesn't line up with what the Bible says, then it is straight from the pit.

The Antichrist

What do we learn about the antichrist from these two verses? Four things:

A White Horse

He's riding a white horse - he's going to look like the world's "knight in shining armor."

Have you ever wondered why so many world leaders have tried and failed to broker a peace deal in the Middle East? Whoever does that will be hailed as a man of peace, having done the impossible - making peace between the Arabs and the Jews.

But the one who will succeed at this task will be the antichrist. You see, the angel Gabriel told Daniel that the prince who is to come...

Dan. 9:27 "...will make a firm covenant with the many for one week..."

The Great Tribulation is going to begin when the antichrist makes a "firm covenant" - a 7-year peace treaty - in the middle east. The Jews will hail him as their Messiah, who has finally come. Even today, if you ask many Jews in Israel how they will recognize their Messiah, they will tell you, "He will bring us peace."

This covenant brokered by the antichrist will find a peaceful solution where none that came before him could. He will truly be riding in on a white horse.

Carrying a Bow

Notice that he's carrying a bow, but there are no arrows or quiver mentioned. This would seem to indicate that he conquers without shedding blood.

His world rule will be instituted politically, rather than militarily. We find this insight when we look to see what the bow represents in Scripture. When we look at the first time a bow is mentioned, we see that it is in Genesis 9, when God places His bow in the clouds as a covenant between Himself and mankind.

I believe that the bow the antichrist is holding represents his covenant with Israel - that he rises to power by bringing peace to the Middle East conflict.

It is amazing in today's society how public opinion is shaped and molded through the news. A charismatic, dynamic, attractive man who brings peace to the middle east will surely be able to sway public opinion towards him and the "new world order" in his favor.

Wearing A Crown

Thirdly, he's wearing a crown. Not just any crown, but a "STEF-an-os," the crown of one who has been victorious. He's wearing a victor's crown - his power comes from some sort of victory - at first, his ability to bring peace, later, his ability to conquer all who stand in opposition to him.


Ultimately, he appears conquering, and will conquer. The middle east isn't the limit of his scope. World popularity is not all he's looking for. It is complete world domination that he will want.

Over the coming chapters, we will learn more about this man called antichrist.

6:3-4 A Red Horse

Then the Lamb breaks the second seal, and the second cherub says, "proceed." John sees a red horse and rider with a great sword in his hand, and they take peace from the earth. The breaking of this seal releases war upon the earth.

You see, once the antichrist rises to power, war breaks out upon the earth. It would seem that there are nations that oppose his power, and World War III breaks out. The rider of this horse is a man with great power - having the ability to send men into combat, even having his finger on "the button." He is a commander either for the antichrist or the opposition.

The result of his exercise of power is cataclysmic - peace is taken from the earth.

6:5-6 A Black Horse

With the breaking of the third seal, a black horse and a rider proceed. The rider has a pair of scales in his hand. The outbreak of World War III brings terrible inflation to the earth.

Those of you who remember the days of the Carter administration, when inflation skyrocketed and interest rates were double what they are today can appreciate what a nightmare that is.

A denarius is a day's wage. If you can imagine the economy being so bad that you have to work all day just to feed yourself. But notice something: The wine and the oil, these things that represent luxury, are plentiful. Even in the midst of terrible famine and inflation, there is still a self-indulgent standard of living. Oh, you might not be able to afford to eat, but many will still have their big screen TV and leased Lexus.

6:7-8 An Ashen Horse

The Lamb breaks the fourth seal, and the fourth cherub says, "proceed." Then an ashen horse is beheld by John. And Death sat upon it. Death goes out, and between war, famine, disease, and wild beasts, kills over a fourth of the population of the world. The population of the world today is just under 6 billion, with projected numbers being up to 7 1/2 billion in twenty years. One fourth of the people on the earth - 1 1/2 to 2 billion people - will die in a very short period of time as a result of this war and the following famine, disease, and wild animals.

6:9-11 The Fifth Seal

After the rapture of the church, many people will be saved. There will be those that treated the gospel lightly, figuring that there would always be time, and now realize that they were left behind. There will be others who are looking for answers and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation. Still others, who had rejected the gospel outright will realize that it was true and repent.

But it won't be the same world anymore. Religious freedom will be gone. Preaching the gospel of Christ won't just get you labeled a "Jesus freak" - it will get you killed. The intolerance of carnal people combined with the craziness of the time will result in many martyrs - people being slain because of the Word of God and the testimony they maintain.

In heaven, they will be asking God how long it will be before He judges those on the earth that had rejected Christ and killed them. It will not happen yet. There are first many more martyrs to come.

6:12-17 The Sixth Seal

God is not simply sitting back and waiting for more martyrs. He is continuing to demonstrate to those who dwell on the earth that He is judging their sin. Hoping for repentance, he sends a massive earthquake and supernatural signs in the heavens.

But for many, there is no repentance. Although many will acknowledge that it is the judgment of God, they will hide, not repent. The apostle Peter told us that the Lord is...

2Pet. 3:9 ...not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Today, you have an opportunity to avoid these terrible times. Repent and believe in the the gospel.

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