17: Opening of the Seals (Rev 6:1-7:17)
The Lamb, who was found worthy to
open the scroll of judgment and vindication, came and took the scroll out of
the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. God is ready to judge the world,
and His judgment proceeds directly from His throne (4:5), meaning that the events that shall occur until the end of history all proceed
from God’s sovereign will. The Lamb now opens the seals one by one, revealing
God’s wrath on the earth. After the opening of the sixth seal, there is an
interlude in which an angel seals the servants of God on their foreheads.
“For the great day of His wrath
has come, and who is able to stand?” (6:17).
“Do not harm the earth, the sea,
or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”
Did You Know…?
1. Denarius (6:6): “A denarius was a Roman silver coin, worth about 16 cents; it
represented a laborer’s daily wages.” 16/63
2. Wheat…barley (6:6): “One quart of wheat would be enough for
only one person. Three quarts of the less nutritious barley would be barely
enough for a small family. Famine had inflated prices to at least ten times
their normal level.” 13/1932
3. Palm branches (7:9): “‘Palm branches’ are referred to only
one other time in the NT (John 12:13), where they are connected to the Passover
celebration. Moses provided that palms should be used at the Feast of
Tabernacles (Lev 23:40). Later they were used on other festal occasions (1 Macc 13:51; 2 Macc 10:7). Jewish
coins of the period 140 B.C. to A.D. 70 frequently contain palms and some have
the inscription ‘the redemption of Zion’ (IDB, 3:646). Palms were emblems of
the content of each seal in Chart F and give each seal a short descriptive
Mt 24:1-35; Mk 13:1-37; Lk 21:5-33 and record signs
mentioned by the Lord that also appear in the seals.
1. In contrast to chapters 4 and 5, what is the setting of
2a. How are the first four seals similar?
How do they differ from the fifth and sixth seals?
2b. What do horses symbolize? (cf. Prov 21:31).
2c. How do the fifth and sixth seal imply
the coming of more severe judgments?
3a. Compare the white horse with that recorded in 19:11-16.
3b. If the white horse represents the
true church and its rider the Holy Spirit, how would you explain verse 2?
4. What kind of world events comes to your mind when your read the description
of the red horse and its rider’s power?
5a. What is the pair of scales in the
rider of the black horse for?
5b. What is the meaning of “a quart of
wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for
a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine”? (cf.
Mt 20:2 for the value of a denarius).
6a. What is the extent of the destruction
in the fourth seal?
6b. How is the fourth seal similar to but
different from the second and third seals?
7a. Who are the martyrs and why were they
killed? (cf 13:15; 18:24; 20:4)
7b. Could the symbol of the altar have
something to do with the crying out of the saints?
7c. What does God’s reply to the martyrs
teach us about the injustice we see in the world today?
8a. As you read about the sixth seal, read also Isa 2:10,19,21; 13:10; 34:4; Ezek 32:7-8; Joel 2:31; 3:15; Zeph 1:14-18; Mt 24:29; Lk
21:25,26 about the day of the Lord. What catastrophes are recorded here?
8b. What will the unbelievers realize
when the Lamb pours out His wrath on the earth? What does this tell us about
the reason for their unbelief now?
9a. In what ways is the content of
chapter 7 a direct contrast to chapter 6?
9b. How is chapter 7 an interlude between
chapters 6 and 8?
9c. How does the question in 6:17 lead
directly into chapter 7?
10a. How are the 144,000 identified?
10b. Why are they sealed? (cf. Ezek 9:4-6)
10c. Who sealed the 144,000 and where was he
from? With what did he seal them? Why are these facts significant?
11. If Dan and Ephraim were excluded because of their association
with idolatry (Judg 18:18-19; 1Kgs 12:28-30; Hos 4:17), what warning can we the believers learn from the
12. Who sang the song of verse 10? Of verse 12?
13a. Compare the 144,000 in 3-8 and the multitude in 9-17 and record
your observations. How are these two groups different?
13b. If we interpret the 144,000 as the
tribes of the children of Israel
in a spiritual sense, who would these people be? (cf. Rom 2:28-29; 9:6,7; Gal
13c. Is it possible that the differences
between 144,000 and the multitude are just two different descriptions of the
same group (i.e. all the believers, sealed from God’s wrath but suffered during
the great tribulation)? Explain your answer.
14a. What is the great tribulation that the
multitude came out of?
14b. What was the multitude wearing? What
does it mean? (cf 3:4; 7:14)
14c. What do the palm branches suggest?(cf. Lev 23:40; Jn 12:12,13)
15a. What are the similarities between
7:9-17 and 21:1-4; 22:1-5?
15b. What does this resemblance suggest about
the chronological placement of 7:9-17?
16. From your study of this lesson, what characterizes the saved
ones? What blessings will they receive?
17. How do the visions in these chapters offer encouragement in
times of difficulties and suffering?