And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.Revelation 6:2
The book of Revelation is undoubtedly one of the most difficult to read among the other sixty five books in the Holy Bible. It is a book full of symbolic language, arduously mystifying and prophetically descriptive of the future of this world. This book has been the focal point of eschatology, a branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of mankind. Honestly, I’ve been attempting to read it since 25 years ago, but am still finding it difficult to break down its respective connotations, to easier interpret its contents.
Kevin DeYoung (Twitter handle @RevKevDeYoung) a theologian and author, and currently the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in North Carolina, once quoted; “Our world has retained, though it does not know it, the Christian categories of depravity and guilt, and it has lost those of mercy and forgiveness. Justification is the medication that our world so desperately needs.” Indeed, a preacher endowed with sound doctrine, could flawlessly discern the subject matter of depravity without much effort.
And without a clear idea on the meaning of depravity, it is almost impossible to understand what judgment is all about. And without understanding what judgment is all about, it will be strenuously challenging to read the book of Revelation. It’s akin to telling someone; God’s wrath is judgment for the world’s sin and as the final call for humanity to repent and worship Him, therefore go and read the Book of Revelation.
I’ve seen enough of people attempting to decode its timelines, predicting when this or that event will happen or even trying to associate prophecies described in the book to present day events. Today, you and I will still be hearing a lot of mutterings, especially on social media, like “we are now in the 4th seal” or “the rapture will happen soon” and so on an so forth. All too often, these attempts to put a date on prophetic events, will usually come to past and leaving people in a quandary of what next to expect coming, or the ones who made such dramatic statements, disappear themselves altogether.
But in the book of Revelation, the signs associated with the three sets of God’s wrath, namely the seven seals, the seven trumpets and the seven bowls, are undeniably as crystal clear as streams of clean running water. John wrote down exactly what will happen in the last days and he gave intrinsic descriptions to the exact nature of the calamities that will soon happen before the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Before we go straight to unravel the seven seals one by one, a little footnote to explain the definition of the word “seal”. In plain English, a seal would be described as a device or material that is used to close off or fasten an opening or connection, especially to prevent the escape of a liquid or gas.
In the legal industry, a seal would be something like a die or signet having a raised or incised emblem used to stamp an impression on a receptive substance such as wax or lead. This would be the wafer of wax, lead, or paper bearing such an imprint and affixed to a document to prove authenticity or to secure it.
The mysteries of the seven seals is confounded further by the fact that our God Himself is a God of Justice, a Judge, the One sitting on a throne and the One who will judge the inhabitants of the world. He is also a God of covenants, or the One who enter into agreements with men, to achieve ambitions of righteousness, justice and peace. The seals are the tools He use to turn agreements into enforceable covenants with men.
By using the connotation of seven seals, it is quite fascinating to observe the parallels of a Judge, the negotiation of agreements with men, His covenants and ultimately the insignia of the seals that attest and sets out God’s binding authority in the affairs of men. Ask a lawyer near you and he will explain to you what I’m trying to say here.
The seven types of wrath associated with the seven seals mentioned in Revelation 6, starts with a strong angel asking “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” (Revelation 5:2) The fact is this; that those in the throne room had to deliberate on opening the scrolls and seals, is possible indication of the need to read the document, words or agreement that is hidden behind the seals. Somebody somewhere have done something requiring the parties of that particular covenant to refer back to what was originally written and agreed upon.
So in Revelation 6:1-2, Christ Himself, being the only One worthy enough to break the seals (Revelation 5:9), opened the first seal. And behold, a white horse, with a Man sitting on it, having a bow and crown that was given to Him, He went out conquering and to conquer.
There are many interpretations of Revelation 6:1-2. Some say it is the coming of the false Christ. While other theologians would literally describe what is white as white. And that the Man on the white horse could only be Christ Himself returning to the world and being crowned as her King. For now, I prefer to stick with the findings of the latter. At this point in life, I have already stopped reading the book Revelation with a loose mind.
I’ll take it that the return of Christ to rule on earth is first and foremost, the most important event of all coming events and it is written and given that His impending return has a lot to do with putting the affairs of men right before God. Well, this is not the usual thing you would normally hear from inside churches; that Christ is coming back to give you all that you want in life. Unfortunately, that would be Santa Claus, and not Christ.