The Seven Seals
In this chapter, John is shown the opening of the Scroll with Seven Seals, which contained a description of the events that will take place later. When the Lamb opened the First Seal, John saw a rider on a white horse who is described as a conqueror bent on conquest.
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. Rev. 6:1-2
The opening of the next Three Seals revealed red, black, and pale horses that brought war, famine, and death.
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 people kill each other. To him was given a large sword. Rev. 6:3-4
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, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!” Rev. 6:5-6
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. Rev. 6:7-8
In the Book of Zechariah, the Four Horsemen are further identified as the four spirits of heaven, who stand before the Lord of all the earth.
With the first chariot were red horses, with the second chariot black horses, with the third chariot white horses, and with the fourth chariot strong dappled horses. Then I spoke and said to the angel who was speaking with me, “What are these, my lord?” The angel replied to me, “These are the four spirits of heaven, going forth after standing before the Lord of all the earth.” Zech. 6:2-5
From these passages, we learn that in the events of the First Four Seals, John was being shown the wars that have always occurred on earth and the heavenly forces behind them. The progression of these wars begins with a king who rides out as a conqueror bent on conquest (white horse) and who initiates war (red horse). The disruption of war leads to famines (black horse) and together, the above circumstances bring death by sword, famine, and plague (pale horse). The above wars are also said to bring death by the wild beasts of the earth, whose numbers multiply in lands affected by war, as explained in the following verse.
The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you. Deut. 7:22
The wars of the Four Horseman were also mentioned by the Lord, who said that wars and rumors of wars would continue like birth pains until the end comes.
“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.” Matt. 24:6-8
When we combine the Lord’s warning with the previous passages, we find that in the events of the First Four Seals, John was being shown the wars that have always occurred on earth, and that are taking place today, and that will increase in frequency and magnitude, like birth pains, the closer we get to the end. Thus, the next event to take place in the Last Days, following the Ascension of Jesus Christ, is the continuation of wars and their deadly consequences.
The Fifth Seal and the Prayer of the Martyrs in Heaven
Along with increasing wars, famines, and earthquakes, the events of the Last Days will also include an increase in the number of those who will be slain because of the Word of God and their testimony. These martyrs will cry out to God for judgment and revenge as revealed through the opening of the Fifth Seal.
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 full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been. Rev. 6:9-11
The above account tells us that as we approach the end of the Last Days, the souls of the Martyrs in Heaven, who have been killed since the time of Christ, will be gathered at the altar of God. These martyrs will call out to the Lord and ask, “How long until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” (In the Revelation, the term, “Inhabitants of the Earth”, always refers to the unrepentant among mankind.Some Bible translations use the phrase, “those who live on the earth”, to describe this same group of people.) In answer to their cries, the Martyrs in Heaven will be told that they must wait a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters were killed just as they had been. This is a reference to a future period of world-wide persecution, known as the Great Tribulation, when the full number of God’s people will be killed. (We will read about the Great Tribulation in later chapters.) The fact that the Martyrs in Heaven were told to wait a little longer tells us that the Great Tribulation will take place over a relatively short period of time. Once the full number of brothers and sisters are killed, the condition given to the Martyrs in Heaven will have been fulfilled and the next events of the Sixth Seal will begin when the Wrath of God is poured out.
The Wrath of God
When the Sixth Seal was opened, John saw all the people on earth crying out in fear as they attempted to hide from the Wrath of God.
I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid incaves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall onus and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?” Rev. 6:12-17
In these verses, we read how the Wrath of God will be poured out on the Inhabitants of the Earth, after the Great Tribulation by means of a Great Earthquake, which will remove every mountain and island from its place, and a Severe Hailstorm, which will suddenly fill the sky like a scroll being rolled up. The Severe Hailstorm will cause the people on earth to hide in caves and to cry out in fear of Him who sits on the throne and of the Lamb. The mention of kings and generals among those who will attempt to hide from the Wrath of God tells us that these events will take place during a great war, known as the Battle of Armageddon, which we will read about in later chapters.
Order of Events In the opening of the First Six Seals, we are given the following list of the major events that will take place in the Last Days and the order in which they will occur.
Order of Events of the Last Days
1. Wars, Rumors of Wars, Earthquakes, and Famines (Seals 1-4)
2. The Martyrs Pray for Judgment and Revenge (5th. Seal)
3. The Great Tribulation
4. The Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm (6th. Seal)
5. To be Announced (7th. Seal)
 The Inhabitants of the Earth are described as the unrepentant on earth in the following verses. Rev.3:10, 6:10, 8:13, 11:10, 13:8, 13:12, 13:14, 17:2, 17:8