This article will cover six of the seven seals of Revelation. These are also known as  the Seal Judgments in the book of Revelation. We are in the midst of an in depth study of the book of Revelation and this article covers the beginning of what is known as the Tribulation Period.   This period of time is described both in the Old and New Testaments. It is going to be the most traumatic time in the history of the world for the human race. It will be one catastrophe after another. It will be increasingly difficult to navigate as the seven-year Tribulation Period unfolds.

Before we jump into the details of the seal judgments, let me share with you what I  have learned about the purpose of God’s dealing in humanity as I have studied the book of Revelation for many  years.  In the early years when I studied these events I thought that God was furious with the world and He just wanted kill and destroy as many people as possible. But as I have come to understand all about the Tribulation Period the image that I have of God has changed from that of an angry God to that of a God who wants to see as many people come to Christ as possible.

The gospel began in the heart of God. The scripture tells us that God is not willing that any should perish but that all might have eternal life.  One of the things that happens to all humans is that we quickly fall into a false state of security.  God is good and He created the world with crops and seasons, and food, and sunshine and it is easy for people just to go on about their lives without thinking of God. Often a tragedy will occur in someone’s life and they may think of God for a few days, but then they soon fall back into that false security of normal, and God goes off to the side.

I believe that the Tribulation Period is meant to cause people to lose that sense of security and make up their minds about Jesus Christ.  The most important decision that anyone will ever make is to decide to follow Christ. When you compare all of eternity with a few years of difficulty on earth, those difficulties seem very small.  God would rather have billions in the world going through hard times and see many turning to Him, rather than for all to stay in a secure world and never turn to Him. The events of the Tribulation are designed to cause men to look to God and turn to Jesus Christ. In fact, I believe the greatest revival that will ever happen will happen during this time of Tribulation. Millions will turn to Christ. They will have to pay a price to follow Christ, even being beheaded, but they will turn to Him with all their hearts. By the end of the Tribulation, people will have made up their mind about Jesus. They will either accept Him, turning to Him as their only hope, even being willing to give their lives or they will fall into line with the Antichrist and his system, taking the mark of the Beast, worshipping his image, and dooming themselves into an eternity without God. Let’s jump into Revelation 6 and understand what God does to shake up humanity.

As we look at what unfolds in the Tribulation Period, we will see the seven Seals of Revelation, then the seven Trumpets, then the seven Bowls of wrath that are poured out on the earth.  There are some people who try to say that these three judgments all happen simultaneously, but that could not be possible because the seventh Seal introduces the seven Trumpet judgments, and the seventh Trumpet judgment introduces the seven bowls.  Understanding that we know that these judgments occur in a chronological pattern.


As Revelation 6 opens, the first seal of seven seals is opened.  This seal introduces what is known as the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. In dramatic imagery God reveals the evil that man brings upon man.  For many centuries as history has unfolded we have seen the evil that men do to each other. We watch the news at times with horror and we say, “How could anybody do that to another human being?”  We have seen Hitler destroy millions of Jews. We have seen wars. We have seen weaponry developed that can destroy entire cities. Anyone with any sense of decency is shocked when this type of evil occurs. As Jesus opens the first seal and reveals the Four Horsemen, it is to show all the world how evil men have become.

Revelation 6:1-2  “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 first four seals reveal horses and riders in the form of striking imagery.  An examination of the context reveals that this is not something that is meant to be seen literally, but rather it is a clear dramatic presentation of events that are happening. The fact that Christ as the Lamb is the One who opened the first of the seven seals shows us that the Sovereign God of the Universe is allowing this to happen.  We have studied the four living creatures and know that they are in the presence of God around the throne, yet they thunderously call forth the first rider.

Should we try to name who these riders are?  We obviously cannot call them by name. While we can speculate about some of the riders, it is impossible to try and name all these riders because the fourth rider is death and death is not a person. I believe that it is not Gods intent to reveal individual personalities but rather that these horsemen reveal world conditions.  These riders represent man’s inhumanity to man.  Those in control of the affairs of the world have always caused fellow humans to suffer.  Wars, famine, death, are not new but  the extent to which the world will suffer will be astronomically greater than before.


The four horsemen of the apocalypse are the first four of the seven seals of Revelation.


Revelation 6:1-2  “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.”

 Identifying this rider is the key to understanding the other three horses.  I feel that we can be fairly confident in revealing the role of this rider.  He is the Antichrist.   Whether or not, he will actually appear in a parade or in some military ceremony riding a white horse is purely speculation. Although I could easily see that happening. What we do know is that many great world emperors and would be conquerors rode white horses:  Napoleon, Alexander the Great, and probably many others. It is interesting to note that Jesus also will ride a white horse in Revelation 19.  The Antichrist is going to do all that he can to imitate the True Christ. He will seek to be worshipped. He will have a false religion around him. He will definitely have a “Messiah Complex”.  So, it would not surprise me if he intentionally chose a white horse to feign his identity as the real Christ.

The bow in the hand is a symbol of aggressive warfare, but there are no arrows signifying that he will conquer by diplomacy rather than war. He will usher in a false peace and will be extremely popular with the masses. The world will think that he will solve their problems. And he will be able to extend his influence with words and diplomacy and he will be hailed as a hero in the beginning.

The fact that he is was given a crown shows that he will be successfully as people fall in line with his leadership and rulership.  But like the emperors before him, he will not be happy until he has world domination.  He rides as a conqueror bent on conquest. He was given a crown means that he was given authority to rule. How he gains that is yet to be seen.

One of the things that we do see currently in our society is the thinking that as long as there are many governments in the world that we will always have problems.  Many hold the view that the solution is a one world government. This would bring a one world currency and economic system as well, and those two things will solve the problems of the world.  And we can see how the world is getting smaller as globalization increases. I definitely believe that the United Nations is a forerunner of the Antichrist.  While many times they don’t seem to have the power to actually do all that they want to do, the UN is preparing the minds of the citizens of the world to get used to the idea of a one world government.

Globalization is definitely a sign that points toward how close we are to seeing the Antichrist come riding in to power.   The antichrist will ride the wave of globalization as he seeks to conquer nations.  Under his administration their will be financial globalization as he brings everyone into a one world economic system where one can’t buy or sell without being in the 666 system.  He will have to have technological globalization in order to put this system into place. Their will be political globalization as he through treaties and war bring all the world under his domain.  Cultural and Sociological globalization will be happening as he will start a one world religion through the False Prophet. We already see the idea for this in bumper stickers that say co-exist with the letters being from various religions around the world. His grab for world power will also be a call for ecological globalization in order for the government to take over the food industry with promises of enough food for everyone.


Revelation 6:3-4  “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.”

 The red horse is obviously a symbol for war.  There is no evil greater than war, and that is where man’s inhumanity to man has been seen in horrendous ways.  The color of the horse is red which is the color of blood.  It is also interesting that the imagery of fire is used to describe the red horse as a “fiery red one”.  Fire is an obvious symbol of war.  Although the antichrist will be able to make considerable headway in conquering the world through diplomacy.  Not every nation and not every peoples group will easily fall in line. Some will choose to rebel and to fight.  Many have suggested that the rider on the red horse would be the military leader of the newly formed coalition of the antichrist’s government.  Whoever he is he will be all about war.  The scripture says, “Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other.”  The large sword is symbolic of military power.  Obviously, the military operations will be brutal. Men will fight and die as they try to stop this world domination.  This may be a wide spread and bloody war. It is doubtful that this will last years, but it may last for a few months.   The impact of the war is seen in the next rider who presents himself.


Revelation 6:5-6 “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!”

The black horse is an evident symbol of famine.  When wars are occurring, no one is thinking about growing crops or raising farm animals. In fact many times, resources are confiscated by the military to feed the soldiers. Black is used to depict famine in  other portions of scripture.

Lamentations 4:8-9

 “But now they are blacker than soot;
they are not recognized in the streets.
Their skin has shriveled on their bones;
it has become as dry as a stick.

Those killed by the sword are better off
than those who die of famine;
racked with hunger, they waste away
for lack of food from the field.”

After WW1 there was a great famine.  Germany was touched in a powerful way. One historian says, “beginning in fall 1916 the German potato harvest failed due to the spread of “late blight,” as fungus destroyed the potatoes just as they were about to be harvested or shortly afterwards. The harvest could have been prevented with a common fungicide, but this was no longer available because a key ingredient, copper, had been set aside for the country’s war industry. Further compounding the misery, the winter of 1916 was one of the harshest in decades, leaving peasants especially vulnerable to disease and starvation. By the end of the “Turnip Winter,” as it became known, hundreds of thousands of Germans had starved to death, including around 80,000 children; for the whole war, an estimated 750,000 Germans perished from malnutrition.” But that was just the beginning.  Another historian says, there was a “British and French blockade that prevented ships carrying food and weapons from getting to Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey until 1919, caused malnutrition and starvation across Europe and the Ottoman Empire—for years after the war ended.”   Millions were hungry and hundreds of thousands died. All of this was the result of war.

I cannot imagine the devastation that will be caused by this war, let alone the famine that will follow in the aftermath of it.  It is possible that millions of people will literally starve to death as the supply chains break down as a result of war that will be brought on  by the Antichrist hope for world dominance.

Another thing that tends to happen after a world war is inflation.  Such will be the case during the tribulation. The balances in the hand of the rider of the black horse indicate a scarcity of food.  The voice that John hears from among the four living creatures speaks of hyperinflation.  At the writing of this article, I had been to the store to purchase a brisket to smoke for a family gathering. The cost of that brisket at Costco was over $100.00.  I was complaining about inflation.   The voice from among the living creatures said, ““A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages.” A quart of wheat would be just a diet that would barely sustain one person. Three quarts of wheat might sustain food for a couple of people.  The scripture indicates that you will have to work a whole day just to earn enough to buy the food that is necessary for one day.  This will not leave anything for the family or elderly or bills such as water, or electricity.   This will be the plight of billions of people on the planet as the experience man’s inhumanity to man. First the war, followed by famine and hyperinflation.

The rich, however, are not going to be so devastated as indicated by the fact that the rider on the black horse is not instructed to damage the oil and the wine, which are traditionally foods for the rich.  The famine will take a toll on the common people.

Some say, well I can always depend upon my social security and the monies I have saved in the bank to be able to sustain me.  An economic collapse followed by the reestablishment of a new economic system could devastate all of these types of programs and resources.


When we get to the fourth seal, we see the end result of man’s inhumanity to man.  It is death.

Revelation 6:7-8  “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.”

The pale horse is literally shown as being pale or corpse like signifying death.  The death rate of the first 21 months of the tribulation period will be tremendously high.  One fourth of the population would be killed, about a billion and a half people. At the time of the writing of this article the world population is over 7.9 billion. That means that almost two billion people will die during this part of the Tribulation.  Some by the sword – by wars and other violence. Some by famine and plague- starving because of hunger or disease.  In some areas if the famine is severe, disease will begin to ravage the people.  The last phrase of these verses speak of death coming “by the wild beasts of the earth.” What does this mean? Some have speculated that the animal kingdom will revolt and begin to attack humanity.  Others say that this is a reference to the wild governments of the earth that are known as beasts. In Daniel, the governments of the world are referred to as beasts. In Revelation 13 the “beast” coming out of the sea symbolizes the Antichrist and his government. All I know is that if the bible says, that one quarter of the earth will perish. They will perish.

The fact that Hades follows close behind indicates that these are the unsaved dead.  This is sad indeed. Not only will they suffer in this life, but they will also suffer in the next. Had they only turned to Jesus.


Revelation 6:9-11 introduce the opening of the fifth seal. The horsemen of the Apocalypse have now been let loose on the earth.  We now are introduced to those we call the Tribulation Saints.  They differ from the church because the church will go in the rapture, but the Tribulation Saints are those who have chosen Christ during the Tribulation.   “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.”

I honestly believe that this is one of the good things that will come out of the Tribulation. Many people will come to Christ as a result of the Rapture, the horrific events that are taking place on the earth.  This will begin a great soul harvest. It will be a revival on the earth that will be unprecedented as people turn to Christ.  However, it will also be a time of great persecution for these children of God.  Many of these may be converted as a result of the great witness of the 144,000 who will preach his Word. The bible says that they are slain. This refers to the fact that they did not die a natural death but that they will be killed. They were martyred because of the Word of God and the testimony they had maintained.

They are seen in Johns vision as under the altar and wearing white robes. The altar in heaven and it shows that they are believers who will live eternally with God.  Their prayer, “How long Sovereign Lord” will not deter persecution because this time must be completed in order to fulfill the plan of God.  It also shows us that their death is precious in the eyes of God. It is comforting to know that it is only “for a little season.”

Rev. 7:9After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.”

 Revelation 7:13-14 “Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes —who are they, and where did they come from?”  I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”


The sixth seal is opened up by Jesus only to reveal a great catastrophe on the earth.

Revelation 6:12 says “ I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake.”

 Experts have been warning that a great earthquake could come at any time. In California, they always talk about the big one. Those who study this have heard of the ring of fire that show the great stress our planet is under. But this will be a huge earthquake.

 Revelation 6:12 says, “The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red,”

This often happens after volcanic eruptions.  A big volcano can completely blacken the sky.  And Volcanic ash can make the moon turn red.

Revelation 6:13 says, “13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.” This may be a prediction of a meteor shower on top of everything else.  Meteors are falling to the earth, doing damage. There has been an earthquake a huge volcano. The sky is black.

Revelation 6:14 “The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.”

 This may refer to the way the ash cloud covers over the sky. But what is interesting is the reaction of the people of the earth:

Revelation 6:15-17 “Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

It is apparent that many of these people know that they are in the Tribulation period.  The fifth seal predicts the persecution of those who believe in the Lamb, this seems to be God’s answer poured out in judgment. They know it is Gods judgment by their statement “the wrath of the Lamb”.  It is interesting to note that they do not call out on God for mercy.  They only look for a place to hide.  They know God is judging them, but their only response is to look for a place to hide.  These things are all designed by God to get people to turn to him. If they won’t call out on him in those perilous times, they certainly would haven’t called out to him in good times.

These are only an introduction to the great cataclysms that will come on the earth during the remaining time of the Tribulation.  Just imagine what those days will be like, the antichrist assumes control, wars, famine, death, persecution, earthquakes, volcanoes, meteor showers, and one fourth of the world population dies.  Why would anyone want to enter this period? The good news is you don’t have to. You can get right with God today and go in the rapture.