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17: Opening of the Seals (Rev 6:1-7:17)
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17: Opening of the Seals (Rev 6:1-7:17)

The Basics


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.

Key Verse

“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.” (7:3).

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 victory.” 9/486







Key Words/Phrases

General Analysis

1.   Record the content of each seal in Chart F and give each seal a short descriptive title.

2.   Read 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.

Segment Analysis


1.         In contrast to chapters 4 and 5, what is the setting of chapter 6?

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 exclusion?

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 3:26-29)

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?

Final Thoughts

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?

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Publisher: True Jesus Church