Revelation Notes

ã Copyright Ron Graff, 2000-2013

Note: The New International Version (NIV) is used unless otherwise indicated.
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The Revelation
- Outline
- Introduction & Part 1

- Part 2

- Part 3



Wars and
Rumors of War

Gog and Magog






Fearful events

Signs in the

The End/
New Beginning


Are you ready?


Signs in the

Fearful events
  2B.  The Scene on Earth  6:1-20:15 BLB
   1C.  The Tribulation    6:1-19:21 BLB
      1D.  Opening of the Seven Seals    6:1-8:1 BLB
        1E.  First Seal - Antichrist  6:1-2 BLB

1 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!"
2 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 significant event of the future Tribulation will be the emergence of Antichrist, symbolized here as the rider on a white horse. There is another rider on a white horse at the opposite end of the Tribulation. In that case, found in Revelation 19:11-21, Jesus Christ is the conquering hero on the white horse. But in this instance, a human who is energized by Satan, begins his campaign of world conquest. He does not appear as a horrible or evil monster, but as a benevolent dictator. He is seen as a messiah, who has come to solve the world's great problems.

        2E.  Second Seal - Arms   6:3-4 BLB

3 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!"
4 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 second symbolic rider comes on a red horse which pictures the ravages of a great world-wide war. It is not likely that this war is started by Antichrist, since, as the previous verses indicate, he is seen as a messianic hero. It is more likely that this is the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39, which results in fiery destruction of the aggressors from the north when they try to conquer Israel. This could very possibly be atomic warfare, which might involve some of the nuclear powers. Antichrist could take credit for the destruction of Israel's invaders, or at least take advantage of the situation. This could be the reason for the seven-year treaty between Antichrist and Israel which was prophesied by Daniel (Dan. 9:27). If this is the case, this war would take place at the very beginning of the seven years of the Tribulation.

        3E.  Third Seal - Agony (Famine)  6:5-6 BLB

5 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.
6 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!"

This third seal and third rider appears on a black horse which symbolizes terrible famine, probably as a result of the previous world-wide warfare. Famine results from war directly when crops are destroyed by the warfare, and indirectly when the process of farming and distribution of food is disrupted by blockades and the diversion of manpower and resources for the war effort.
The result is an extensive and terrible famine. The price of food will be prohibitive. The economic impact of this famine will prepare the people of the world to be willing to have a benevolent dictator.

        4E.  Fourth Seal - Annihilation (Death)   6:7-8 BLB

7 When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!"
8 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 color of the fourth horse is translated many ways. Some Bible versions translate it as "pale,", others as "ashen," or "pale green." The Greek word is chloros, "greenish." It is the root of the well known "chlorophyll", the tiny green chemical converters in the leaves of most plants. The intended picture here is a sickly pale green which symbolizes death as a result of the former terrors of war and famine and the added threats of plague and wild beasts.
All of this is the result of a world becoming progressively damaged, corrupted and neglected.

        5E.  Fifth Seal - Anticipation  (Martyrs)
                 6:9-11 BLB

9 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.
10 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?"
11 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

The fifth seal reveals martyrs of the Tribulation period. They are "under the altar", an expression used in the Bible only here. It seems to show that they are in the presence of the Lord. This corresponds to Paul's teaching that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).
These martyrs are eager to see justice prevail. They are told to wait a little longer. This short period of trials on earth will soon be past. Toward the end of this revelation it is revealed that justice will be done and Jesus Christ will return in righteousness.

        6E.  Sixth Seal - Agitation   6:12-17 BLB

12 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,
13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.
14 The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
15 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?"

The opening of the sixth seal reveals a great earthquake, terrifying events in the skies, and a general fear of God who apparently causes all these terrible events. It is called the "great day of their wrath." Thus this sixth seal reaches right to the very end of the Tribulation period: the time of the Battle of Armageddon.
Actually, references to the Battle of Armageddon appear at various places in the Book of Revelation. This helps us understand the organization of the vision. The Seven Seals cover the entire seven-year period, while the Seven Trumpets focus on the second half of the period, and the Seven Vials refer to the events leading up to the return of Christ.

        (  ) Tribulation Saints  7:1-17 BLB
            1F.  The Sealed Ones  7:1-8 BLB

1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.
2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea:
3 "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God."
4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
5 From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben 12,000, from the tribe of Gad 12,000,
6 from the tribe of Asher 12,000, from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,
7 from the tribe of Simeon 12,000, from the tribe of Levi 12,000, from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,
8 from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, from the tribe of Joseph 12,000, from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.

These numbers are evidently meant to be taken literally since there is no obvious symbolic value to either the number 12,000 or 144,000. Since the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, it has been difficult to know which Jewish person belongs to which tribe. A great many know by the oral traditions of their families, or because of the large number of Jewish people who were already dispersed by that time, and who probably had family records with them. In any case, God knows who belongs to which tribe, and He is the one who chooses them.
The exact purpose of this sealing is not given. It seems, by the placement of this information, that they are sealed so as not to be affected by the plagues that will visit the earth, just as their predecessors were protected from the plagues in the book of Exodus. It should also be noted that Jewish believers during this time will acknowledge Jesus as Messiah, God's purpose in protecting them might be to enable them to go freely about the earth proclaiming the Gospel message to those who have not yet heard. Christians without this protection will be captured, tortured, and put to death during this time.

            2F.  The Saved Ones  7:9-17 BLB
             1G.  Enormity of the Multitude  7:9 BLB
             2G.  Exultation by the Multitude  7:10-12 BLB
             3G.  Explanation about the Multitude
                    7:13-17 BLB

9 After 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.
10 And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."
11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshipped God,
12 saying: "Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!"
13 Then one of the elders asked me, "These in white robes-- who are they, and where did they come from?"

14 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.
15 Therefore, "they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.
16 Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

As is often done during this vision, the focus returns to the throne-room of God so that the reader will know that God is in total control, no matter how great the trials become on earth. A huge, numberless multitude of martyrs is gathered, showing how great the persecution against true believers will be during this time. They are seen again in white robes, described here as symbolic of their cleansing from sin by the blood of Christ. They are no longer subject to physical needs or difficulties.

        7E.  Seventh Seal - Adjustment  8:1 BLB

1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

The seventh seal is an introduction to the next portion of the vision, the Seven Trumpets. No event is described preparatory to these trumpet judgments except silence in heaven for a short time. This dramatizes the anticipation of the heavenly observers as the intensified judgments of the second half of the seven years is about to begin.
Since the Book of Revelation does not follow a strictly chronological sequence, it should be noted that the events of Chapter 13 will take place at the midpoint of the 7 years of The Tribulation.

      2D.  Sounding of the Seven Trumpets
              8:2-11:19 BLB
        1E.  Expectation  8:2-6 BLB

2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.
3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne.
4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand.
5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

Once again, activity in heaven precedes events on earth. Seven angels prepare to sound trumpets signaling disastrous events on earth, but first a glimpse of Heaven is given to remind the reader that God is in control. In this case the prayers of the saints mingled with incense ascends to God. It may appear to the suffering believers on earth that God has forsaken them, but they can be sure that He has received their prayers and will do what is best for them.

      2D.  Sounding of the Seven Trumpets
              8:2-11:19 BLB
        1E.  Expectation  8:2-6 BLB
        2E.  Execution  8:7-11:19 BLB
          1F.  First Trumpet - Scorching of the Earth  
                  8:7 BLB

Revelation 8:7
The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

The events of the previous section, the Seven Seals, were events caused by human activity and natural, earthly disasters. This next series brings what might be called supernatural judgments. The first three appear to be the result of asteroids, meteors or comets. These are also natural, but in the sense that they are divinely directed judgments on the earth, they have a supernatural element. There seems to be a progression of disasters from space: first hail and fire mixed with blood, then what seemed like a large mountain, and later, a star.
It should be noted that these trumpet judgments could be caused by a nuclear war just as well. Hal Lindsey thinks it is more likely that the events of this chapter are the result of nuclear activity than supernatural activity; that they are the result of man's evil actions once the restraining hand of God is removed. (Hal Lindsey, There's A New World Coming, p.117)
This first catastrophe in this series could be caused by a comet or by very severe weather conditions. Comets are made of ice which would provide the water for hail. It would first vaporize, then perhaps, depending on other weather conditions descend to earth as hail. This sudden intrusion of a comet could cause extreme world-wide storms. The blood might be caused by animals being sucked up by waterspouts and tornadoes. And the fire could be extraordinary displays of lightning, which, in turn, could start forest fires in many places.. All of these events have happened before, but never to the extent of this plague, burning up one third of the earth's vegetation!

          2F.  Second Trumpet - Slaughter in the Sea  
                  8:8-9 BLB

8 The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood,
9 a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

This judgment could be caused by an asteroid plunging into the sea. Icarus, one of the smaller asteroids known to us is about one mile in diameter and is sometimes described as a small flying mountain. Other asteroids may be as large as Ceres, which is about 480 miles in diameter. Even a small asteroid crashing into one of our oceans would cause utter devastation. The fiery impact would burn and crush all life in a large portion of the ocean, and the resulting tidal waves would be beyond comprehension. These waves could capsize ships in every direction for hundreds of miles.

          3F.  Third Trumpet - Souring of the Water  
                  8:10-11 BLB

10 The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water--
11 the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

As we now know, a star is a large body of burning gases. Our own Sun is a comparatively small star, though it is 860,000 miles in diameter, compared to the Earth's diameter of 7,900 miles. This means, of course, that a star can not "fall" to the Earth, though the Earth could presumably "fall" into the Sun. However, the Greek word for star is aster, from which we get our word asteroid and the name "Esther." Thus, it is not a star as we know it, but a large asteroid that is in view here. As in the previous plague, the asteroid strikes earth, but, in this case, on land, causing widespread destruction and poisoning of the waters in a large area.
A "Falling Star" can also describe one of the angels, as in Revelation 9:1. In this judgment it seems more reasonable to expect an asteroid than an angel.

          4F.  Fourth Trumpet - Smiting of the Planets 8:12-13 BLB

12 The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.
13 As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: "Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!"

This judgment affects the entrance of light from space. The amount of light from the Sun, Moon and stars is diminished by one third. This is an apt description of what, in our generation, has been called "nuclear winter." One of the most serious side-effects of a nuclear war would be the wide-spread burning of cities and forests and the resulting soot and smoke reaching the stratosphere. This diminishing of the Sun's radiation could cause the average temperature of the Earth to cool between 18 and 36 degrees, resulting in crop failures and great ecological damage. ("Nuclear War", New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia)
The eagle flying through the heavens with a message of woe is most likely a symbolic image of an angelic being.In Revelation 4:7 one of the faces of the Four Living Creatures was the face of an eagle. The message is a warning of the dreadful nature of the next three trumpet judgments.


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Last Updated: 2/9/13
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