The Lamb Opens the Seals (Revelation Sermon 11 of 49)
May 21, 2017 | Andy Davis
End Times, Judgment
For most of my adult life, I have been a student of military history. Until the advent of the explosive power of gunpowder-based weapons, the most terrifying sound heard on the battlefield must have been the sound of the approach of enemy cavalry — mounted warriors. It must indeed have been beyond terrifying for foot soldiers, trained to stand their ground, to feel the earth shaking beneath their feet from an army of half-ton of animals traveling as fast as 30-40 miles an hour toward them. In Job 39:21-25 God boasts about the horse in military terms: “He paws the ground fiercely and charges into the fray. He laughs at fear, and is afraid of nothing. In frenzied excitement, he eats up the ground. He cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.” The horses alone would have been terrifying, to say nothing of their mounted warriors.
The first four seals bring to us one of the more famous images from the Book of Revelation: the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Here, we will see for the first time in the Book of Revelation the judgments of God unleashed on sinful Earth. His judgments will be a dominant theme throughout the rest of the book of Revelation.
In Revelation 1, John, who was in exile on the island of Patmos, has a vision, which he introduces as “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him to show his servants the things that must soon take place.” It is an unveiling of Jesus Christ, first and foremost, and of future things that we would have no other way of knowing. In his vision, he sees the resurrected, glorified Christ dressed like a priest, moving among seven golden lamp stands which represented seven contemporary local churches, but also His Church across history, showing a constant, active interest that Jesus has for local churches around the world.
Those seven churches were the focus of the seven letters which make up Revelation 2-3. In these letters, we learn both what Christ loves and is attracted to in churches, and what He hates or wants to see destroyed in them. This brings forth the beautiful balance of that which is part of healthy church life — hard work, discipline, diligence, orthodox doctrine, a genuine love for God and for one another, and a willingness to expose and to shun false doctrine. It also reveals His hatred for lukewarmness, for secret sin, and even for tolerating sin among a local body.
In Revelation 4, John saw a door standing open in the Heavenly realms, and he was invited by Christ to ascend and to go through that doorway to see what was going on there. Of course, he could not obey that unaided, but the Spirit moved him from the Earth through the doorway into Heaven in a spiritual flight. He immediately saw the central reality of the physical and spiritual universe — Almighty God, the Creator on His throne. Surrounding the throne were 24 other thrones with elders seated on them, pouring forth beautiful, powerful, continual worship for the Creator who created all things; day and night they praised Him. By His Word, they were created, and by His word, they are sustained, or continue to have their being.
As that scene unfolded before John, we saw last week in Revelation 5, the Creator God held in His right hand a scroll. The scroll was sealed with seven seals, with writing on both sides. A mighty angel cried out a challenge to all creation: “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” No one was found in Heaven, or on earth, or under the earth who was worthy, and John wept and wept as a result. One of the elders told him, “‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’” He heard this about the Lion, but turning, he saw instead a Lamb looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, a clear declaration of his deity. Jesus is the Lion and the Lamb, possessing a beautiful combination of attributes. His triumph is the victory of the cross: By His blood, He has purchased people for God from every tribe, and language, and people, and nation. When Jesus had taken the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne, worship for Him exploded and cascaded from those around the throne.
Now we come to Revelation 6. This chapter unfolds with the breaking open of six of the seals on the scroll. Because of the difficulty of interpreting the words of this and following chapters, many pastors shrink away from preaching verse-by-verse exposition of the book of Revelation. Certainty flees; at best one can render godly opinions. With careful study of other people’s opinions and interpretations, I will do my best to manage the specific challenging details. However, the large, central themes are crystal clear and we will see those repeatedly: God’s sovereign control and power over the events on earth; His active, aggressive wrath crescendoing at the end of human history, in the days, weeks, months, and years preceding the Second Coming of Christ; His love for His people; His desire to protect them from persecution or to avenge them where He allows it; and the ultimate destination of both the righteous — the redeemed, and the unrighteous — the wicked.
We can approach the seven seals in two different ways. On one hand, we could see everything described from a future perspective that none have happened yet — that John’s words describe the events at the end of redemptive history, future not only for him but for us as well. This future time is known as the Great Tribulation. Jesus described a time of tribulation — the Little Apocolypse — in Matthew 24, which can be seen as an interpretive key to the Great Apocalypse. In Matthew 24:21-22 “…then there will be great distress [or great tribulation], unequaled from the beginning of the world until now — and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” There is yet to come a terrible tribulation, unlike any that has ever been seen in human history. That language sets it apart. In this view, these events, beginning with the seven seals, are nothing we have ever experienced before; all are tied to the Great Tribulation.
A second approach, one that I personally favor, is that the events described, especially in the first five seals (though, you could extend it to the sixth seal as well, depending on how you read prophetic language) represent recurring patterns of wrath, judgment, and suffering that will happen, again and again throughout redemptive history, all over the earth. But they will find their last and greatest and most dreadful fulfillment in the events leading up to the Second Coming of Christ. Matthew 24:6-9 says, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.” During the unfolding of redemptive history that God has ordained, there have been and will continue to be regular patterns of what we will see with these first seals, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: peaceful conquest as with the White Horse; war as with the Red Horse; famine as with the black horse; and death as with the pale horse.
While all this suffering occurs in every generation, the Gospel of Jesus Christ will continue to spread to every nation and language on earth. Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” The rise and fall of wicked rulers and the general hatred of the human race for the Gospel result in much persecution of the messengers of that Gospel, suffering in every generation, leaving an unbroken trail of blood throughout twenty centuries thus far of church history. This includes the apostasy of many false believers who buckle under the pressure of persecution going on in their lifetime, in their generation. Jesus said in Matthew 24:9-10, “…you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other.”
The fifth seal unveils the ever-growing number of martyrs who will have paid the price in their own blood for the spread of the Gospel. Revelation 6:9-11 says, “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’ Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.”
We see the events of the first five seals repeated in church history, again and again, just as Jesus said we would. He said they would continue until the end of the world, but at the end of the world, in the final phase of human history under the Antichrist, we should expect a great consummation of intensified conquest, war, famine, death and martyrdom. Jesus Himself gives us permission to use this perspective in Matthew 24:37, when He said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came, and took them all away.” That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” I take that phrase, “as it was, so it will be” (or already/not yet) as a guide to look for repeated patterns of these events until the end.
I do not think this holds true throughout the book of Revelation. When we get to the trumpet judgments and the bowl judgements, we will see events described that have never happened in human history. Nothing approaching the carnage and ecological disaster of Revelation 8 or the demonic army and the subsequent suffering of Revelation 9 have ever occurred from the beginning of time until now. But we are at the beginning of the story as Jesus takes the scroll and begins breaking open these seals.
We believe that God is actively involved in maintaining the universe He created. We are not Deists, thinking that God has left us alone to our own devices and things are running by their own forces. He actively intervenes in everything, including displaying His wrath every day. In Romans 1:18, it says, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” But though it is presently displayed, the final outpouring of God’s wrath will hit levels such as we have never seen before nor even imagined. That final tribulation will begin by following the pattern unfolded in these seals.
The First Seal Broken, the First Rider Unleashed: Deceptive Peace
Let us now do the best we can to understand each of these seals in detail. The first seal is broken, and then the first rider is unleashed, bearing some kind of peace. Revelation 6:1-2 says, “I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, ‘Come!’ I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.”
The Lamb Initiates Everything
The first thing we notice, which I will repeat because it bears repeating, is that the Lamb, Jesus Christ, initiates every event that is described. Human rulers may think they are in charge, that they are making judgments and rendering decisions that will change history — that they are the movers and shakers — in reality, ultimately they are the ones moved and shaken. They are pawns in God’s overarching plan.
In Isaiah 14:26-27, we read this refrain:“This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” God has a plan; His hand is omnipotent. He sets the course of human history from beginning to end. We see this as Christ breaks open each seal; events start to move in Heaven first, and then on earth.
As He breaks open the first seal, one of the four living creatures is cued to cry, “Come!” His voice sounds like thunder. Often, voices from Heaven have overwhelming volume. It seems that John could feel it in his chest, like the sound of thunder, and flashes of lightning, and an earthquake, and the sound of many waters like a mighty, roaring waterfall. He imparts a sense of a stunning level of power among these angelic beings. In Isaiah 6, when the seraphim were crying to one another, “Holy, holy, holy”, the door posts and thresholds shook, and the temple was filled with smoke — at the sound of their voices, not God’s. These are powerful created beings; they show us how weak and puny our voices are. As the first creature cries “Come!”, the First Horseman of the Apocalypse is unleashed.
The First Horseman Described
John described this horse as being white, implying in some sense that it was physically attractive, alluring, appealing. The word “white” is generally associated with godliness and righteousness in the book of Revelation, as we see with the robes given to all of the redeemed from every tribe, language, people, and nation. The rider carried a bow, but had no arrows — no open weaponry. “He rode forth like a conqueror bent on conquest.” He sought to build an empire, but by means other than the usual military conquest. Yet, we could argue, that the bow in his hand implied the threat of a war.
The First Horseman Interpreted
Many solid, godly commentators believe that this first Horseman represents Jesus Christ and the spread of the Gospel. Their strongest scriptural is in Revelation 19:11, when Jesus is depicted at the Second Coming riding a white horse and wearing many crowns. That is compelling and not off-base to say that the first horse represents the spread of the Gospel. In Matthew 24:14, as we saw a moment ago, Jesus said, “This Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world, as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” When Pontius Pilate asked Jesus if He was a king, Jesus replied, “You are right in saying that I am a king. For this reason, I was born, and for this I came into the world: To testify to the truth.” His Kingdom is built by the testimony of the truth. He said to Pilate, “My Kingdom is not of this world.” It is not an earthly Kingdom, so it does not advance in the usual way. However, I do not think that is the best way to interpret this first horse.
First, it seems unlikely that the Lamb in Heaven would break open a seal and then show up as His own response, especially since He is coming in response to the living creature giving the command to come, as though the horses are unleashed by the order of the living creatures. Second, and more significant, in my opinion, is that the Four Horsemen should be seen together as one whole package of judgment and wrath on the earth. This first Horseman only appears to be righteous and delightful and alluring, but in truth is not. These four Horsemen bring death and judgment on the earth together. This beautiful Horseman a counterfeit Christ, looking like Christ but without His holiness or power. This theme of counterfeiting is seen throughout the book of Revelation. It will resurface in Revelation 13 with the rise of the beast from the sea, who ends up playing an Antichrist, or substitute Christ. Together with the dragon and the beast from the earth, the three comprise an unholy, ungodly trinity, which is a mocking counterfeit to the true Trinity the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.
The Temporary Success of the First Rider
This carries out the theme of already/not yet as well. A kingdom is being advanced by subtle, even treacherous means, that are different from what is expected, but extremely effective: sly treachery and a deceitful peace, rather than by warfare, though with the threat of war thinly veiled and ever-present. In Matthew 24:24-25, Jesus said, “…false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-- if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.” He spoke in the plural, not the singular, implying that we would see repeated patterns. Throughout history, there have been devious, wicked, sly politicians, who have skillfully conquered lands by evil and by treacherous treaties and false diplomacy which they later break.
This is seen clearly in the Book of Daniel. In Daniel 11:21, Daniel prophesied about one of the successors of Alexander the Great, a Greek king who was to come, in this way: “He [the previous king] will be succeeded by a contemptible [meaning of low birth] person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue.” What is intrigue? It's treachery. It is being a sly politician, possessing charisma and savvy to be able to draw people in under false pretenses in order to gain control.
Further, Daniel 11:23-24 says, “After coming to an agreement with him [another king... There's a king of the north and a king of the south who are always battling each other in Daniel 11], he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power. When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did.” He will conquer by treachery, by deceit, by lulling the people of those lands into a false sense of security.
One of my favorite verses in Daniel is 11:27. This is what I picture when I think of the United Nations or discussions between ambassadors of two pagan nations. “The two kings [king of the north, king of the south], with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time.” This happens often in the political world and other realms (such as business). There is treachery, but one king is much better at it than the other one. This man in Daniel 11 represents an actual king, Antiochus Epiphanes, who was a symbol of the future Antichrist. That is why so much detail is given to him in Daniel 11. He was a real ruler; he rose politically through treachery and intrigue; he made covenants and broke them. He set a pattern that we see acted out in history, again and again.
We saw the same pattern with Adolf Hitler in Munich, when Neville Chamberlain, afraid of a coming cataclysm, terrified of repeating World War I, sold Czechoslovakia up the river to get a piece of paper signed by Hitler, saying that Germany would never go to war against England again. In retrospect, we can see what a liar Hitler was. He was happy to sign the false treaty and send Neville Chamberlain home waving the piece of paper on the tarmac, saying, “We have peace in our time.” That lasted for another 10 months before Germany took over the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia and the whole country. No one could do anything, and within a year, they invaded Poland, setting off World War II. That is one example of many throughout history that depicts conquest through deception and treachery.
This is a recurring theme in history, but will be ultimately fulfilled right before the Second Coming of Christ. The Antichrist will come initially by appearing beautiful and attractive, but his heart is treacherous. He advances and is given a crown and “[rides] forth like a conqueror bent on conquest.”
The Second Seal Broken, the Second Rider Unleashed: War
The Lamb Initiates Again: the Second Seal is Broken
This leads to the second seal being opened, because the unloaded bow is short-lived. Revelation 6:3-4 says,“When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, ‘Come!’ Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.” Again, the Lamb initiates, and then, when He has broken the seal, the living creature cries, “Come!”
The Second Horse and Rider Described and Interpreted
When the living creature has given this order, the second horse, the fiery Red Horse, is unleashed. There is no doubt how to interpret this one — this is simply open warfare. The color red must signify the flow of blood, especially since the rider is given a sword to wreak massive slaughter. Whatever treaties, whatever promises of peace have been made have all been swept aside, and now, there is open warfare.
As we have already seen, warfare has long plagued the human race, stampeding and trampling down the pages of history with bloody red footprints. In Matthew 24:6-7, Jesus says, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” Warfare, with one nation fighting another nation, demonstrates two things. First, Satan hates all human beings; he wants all of them to die outside of Christ. When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, it was the Nazis fighting the Communist soldiers. I doubt there were many born again soldiers on either side; the ideologies represented were satanic. Millions and millions of Germans and Russians died in that conflict.
Second, this pattern is judgment from God against sinful individuals and nations. Isaiah 34:2-3 says,“The LORD is angry with all nations; his wrath is upon all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter. Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will send up a stench; the mountains will be soaked with their blood.” The blood-red carnage begins with the breaking open of the second seal. There will be an end-time fulfillment of this when the beast from the sea is given power to rule over the entire earth. No human ruler has ever ruled the whole earth. Genghis Khan conquered a quarter of the land mass of the earth, the highest of any nation in terms of real estate. But this beast from the sea will have it all.
The people of the earth will not give up their land and power easily, once they realize the intrigue and treachery that have taken place. The Antichrist will be forced to show his military power. Revelation 13:7 says, “He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.” The second Horseman, ultimately, represents the bloody conquest by a final world ruler, who will begin his conquest through deception, intrigue, and false diplomacy, but who will end his conquest by warfare, the swinging of a large, bloody sword given to him for a short time.
The Third Seal Broken, the Third Rider Unleashed: Famine
The Lamb Once Again Initiates the Next Horse and Rider
Following this bloodshed, the third seal is broken and the third Rider, Famine, is unleashed. Revelation 6:5-6 says, “When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, ‘Come!’ I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!’” Once again, the Lamb initiates events by opening the seal. A living creature responds to the Lamb’s initiative by calling out, “Come!” and the third horse and Horseman come.
The Third Horse and Rider Described
This horse is black, which, technically is not a color but rather the absence of light. It is darkness. The Rider is holding scales, which were associated with merchants in that era for weighing merchandise and money — a rod with platters or plates hanging by chains. The merchants would weigh out their goods and then calculate the currency and weigh it against standardized weights. The picture we are meant to see is that of buying and selling of merchandise. As this black horse and its Rider move across the earth, John hears a voice coming mysteriously from among the living creatures. John does not know who speaks, but the voice is like that of a merchant calling forth his price for his commodities. He is calling for the careful weighing of a quart of wheat for a full day’s work. People will work all day to get a quart of wheat to take home to feed their families. That qualifies as famine. The barley, a little more available, was a lower-quality grain, but three quarts was still not enough. Famine is truly a logical consequence of war. When armies are running roughshod over the countryside, farmers cannot plow, plant, and reap. Consider the famine going on in East Africa right now. Human warfare, resulting in anarchy, has been responsible in large part for that. The same thing happened after World War II; if it had not been for the Marshall Plan and other wealthier nations helping out, there would have been worldwide starvation in a scope scarcely imaginable.
BUT the Famine is Not Universal
Jesus said that there would be famines in various places. This famine is not universal. The voice that called out the famine conditions limited it, saying, “Do not hurt or harm the oil and the wine!” — referring to olive oil. This famine is not as bad as it possibly could be. It is possible, as some commentators believe, that the more wealthy will be able to obtain provisions but the poor will suffer, since items like oil and wine can be considered luxuries in times of famine. That is possible, though I do not know. This limitation perhaps lends a future aspect to this seal — in the Old Testament, when famine came, no one was able to get any food, no matter how rich. People could not eat their silver or gold. No food meant no food for anyone.
The Fourth Seal Broken, the Fourth Rider Unleashed: Death
Now Comes the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse!
Finally, the fourth seal is broken and the fourth Rider is unleashed. Revelation 6:7-8 says,“When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, ‘Come!' I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.” Like the other three, the initiative is with Jesus. He breaks the seal, the fourth living creature says, “Come!” and the pale horse rides forth.
The Fourth Horse and Rider Described
Where this horse is described as pale, the Greek uses the word “chloros,” from which we get the word “chlorophyll.” It is a greenish tint, what we might describe as a ghostly green. There is a sense of decay and death. The rider is clearly identified: his name is Death, like the decaying of a corpse. Hades, the grave, follows right after him. The horse and rider together are given power from Heaven to kill one quarter of the population of the earth, not only by sword, with military might, but also by famine, plague, and wild beasts. We truly do not comprehend how much God restrains animals and birds from attacking the human race, but imagine if He did not, how terrifying that would be. Note also that the sword, famine, plague, and beasts are the standard plagues given in Old Testament prophetic books about what would happen to Israel with the invasion of an army.
The horror escalates with each subsequent horse. The slaughter of one quarter of the earth’s population is absolutely mind-boggling. Every generation has experienced war, famine, and death to some degree, but this is a scope never before experienced in history. The death toll connected with World War II, including from fighting, collateral civilian casualties, death from diseases that were otherwise curable, and other factors, was at the highest between 60 and 70 million people. The population of the earth in 1940 was 2.4 billion. That is a total of 2.6% of the world's population. This carnage is 10 times that.
A literal interpretation of one quarter of the earth’s population from these first four seals renders this a definite futurist interpretation of what will happen right before the end. And yet, Jesus says in Matthew 24:8 “All these are the beginning of birth pains.”
Persecution follows with the next seal, but we will cover that in the next sermon, God willing. As a preview, Matthew 24:9-10 says, “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other…” Betrayal, persecution, and martyrdom.
Understand the Sovereign Power of Christ Over Events on Earth
Here are some quick applications.
First, understand the sovereignty of God over all things. The events of today and the future do not happen by accident. This is part of God’s plan for the ultimate consummation of the new Heavens and the new earth, the salvation of the righteous, and the condemnation of the wicked. We must understand the sovereign power of Jesus Christ over these events. He has the right to ordain and initiate these events. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Him. He owns the earth; the title deed to the earth is His by right. As he breaks open each seal, the judgments that follow are his righteous reactions to the sins of the human race. As a Christian, do not fear that the world is spinning out of control, even as we see the beginnings of birth pains: wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes in various places.
See the Pattern of “Already/Not Yet”
Second, see the pattern of already/not yet in world events that unfold each day. We may even see them escalating, but still the end is not yet come. It is not imminent in that way, though we need to be ready for death and for the Second Coming at any point. Most of these terrors are still in the future.
Prepare for the End of the Universe by Living a Holy Life and Spreading the Gospel
Third, 2 Peter 3:11-13 tells us how we should think about the end of the world: “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” It is because of sin that these judgments are coming. Ephesians and Colossians corroborate this: because of the sins of sexual immorality, of rage, and anger, and covetousness, and idolatry, these judgments will come. We Christians should flee them. We should put sin to death by the Spirit, and live holy and upright lives. As we look forward to the day of God, and speed its coming through evangelism and missions. We must take these themes out to people in the Raleigh-Durham area and share the Gospel. Many people believe these things will not happen, but we know that these words are true, and that beyond these events will come Judgment Day.
Embrace the Doctrine of the Wrath of God for Sin
Embrace the doctrine of the wrath of God for sin. We will see it many more times in the book of Revelation. It is not an embarrassing or dirty secret that God does this kind of thing; it is just and righteous for Him to bring judgments on the sinners of the earth.
Once More… Flee to Christ NOW!!!
And then, finally, at the end of Revelation 6, everybody is looking for refuge, for a cave or some other hidden place to flee the wrath to come, but they will not find it. This is an appeal to you who are outside of Christ, that you would realize that the time for fleeing is now. The refuge is available now in the Gospel. Flee to Christ. God sent Him, His own Son, into the world, to live a sinless life and die in our place on the cross, that we might have forgiveness of sins. You can escape the wrath to come, not by works — by what you do — but by trusting in Him.
Father, thank you for the words of the Book of Revelation and what we have learned through studying these words today. It's enough to make us tremble, oh Lord, to realize the kind of terrors that will come on the earth. They will be even worse than I have described here. I pray, oh, Lord, that you would please give us strength to read this, and strength to believe it. I pray that we who have already fled to Christ, who we have been delivered from the wrath to come, would realize we have a responsibility to those who have not yet trusted in Christ, to share the Gospel with them, and a responsibility to You to be holy. Thank you for the Word of God, and for the chance we've had to study it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.