The Seven Seals of Revelation

The Seven Seals of Revelation {a Bible Study} | A Virtuous Woman

Have you ever wondered about the meaning of The Seven Seals found in the book of Revelation? This is a fascinating study!

Let’s begin with the Word of God

Revelation 6

1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.

6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

 Would you be surprised to know that six of the seven seals have already been opened, have already happened?

Let’s look at history

{Footnote references are in parenthesis and footnotes can be found at the bottom of the post.}

The First Seal

Revelation 6: 1 opens up with the opening of the first seal and a white horse who went forth, conquering. This is a description of early church history, the missionary “zeal” and how the gospel ” was preached to every creature which is under heaven” (Colossians 1:23). The white horse represents purity, the pure church.

The Second Seal

Revelation 6: 3,4 tells us about a red horse, symbolizing the death of God’s people by the sword. From the second century through Constantine’s edict of A.D. 313, Christianity was illegal and scores of Christians were martyred for their faith.(1, 2, 3)

The Third Seal

In Revelation 6: 5,6 the third seal is opened and we see a black horse and rider with a pair of balances in his hand. This represents the period in time after Constantine’s edit when the church was no longer pure. Pagan rituals were brought into the church, Christians began to keep Sunday holy instead of God’s holy Sabbath. Christianity was cheapened, the standards no longer held high.(4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

The Fourth Seal

The fourth seal of Revelation 6: 7,8 shows us a picture of a pale horse whose rider is named Death and Hell is following him and power was given to them to kill. This dark and scary picture represents the Dark Ages. (11, 12)

The Fifth Seal

Next, we find in Revelation 6: 9-11 the fifth seal is opened and we see an altar with the souls of those who were slain for their faith and they are told they have to “rest for a little season” until the judgement. This symbolizes the martyrs, all the millions of God’s people through the centuries, crying out for justice.

The dark ages ended. The reformation began. Christians stood up to the Catholic Church and began the protestant movement. Pilgrims embarked on a journey to the “New World” where they found freedom from religious persecution.

The Sixth Seal

Revelation 6: 12, 13 says, “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.”

This is perhaps the most interesting and the most surprising of all. Let’s break it down:

1. “…and lo, there was a great earthquake…”

The Great Earthquake of Lisbon, Portugal on November 1, 1755 is said to be the largest earthquake in history. At least 60,000 people died. Damage was severe in Fes, Morocco where an entire village of eight to ten thousand was swallowed up. The tsunami generated produced waves 60 feet high in Cadiz, Spain, and 40 feet high in Lisbon. The tidal waves traveled on to Martinique, a distance of 3,740 miles in ten hours was rose to a height of 12 feet! In other words, the tidal wave had an average speed of 374 miles per hour.

“The most famous of ALL earthquake generated seiches occurred after a very LARGE shock in Portugal in 1755. It set bodies of water into oscillation all over western and northern Europe. Various lakes in Scotland, Switzerland, and Scandinavia began to oscillate.” – John H. Hodgson, Earthquakes and Earth Structure, p. 53 (13, 14)

2. “…and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair…”

Next in this prophetic seal, after the earthquake in 1755, the sun is darkened. And that is exactly what happened! May 19, 1780 is known as the “Dark Day.” It happened across New England and was a terrifying experience for those who were witnesses.

Noah Webster wrote about it in his dictionary: “So called on account of a remarkable darkness on that day extending over all New England… Birds sang their evening songs, disappeared, and became silent; fowls went to roost; cattle sought the barnyard; and candles were lighted in houses… The true  cause of this remarkable phenomenon is not known.” – entry “Dark Day.”(15)

Dr. Samuel Tenney (1748 – 1816), who was a physician and patriot surgeon in the Revolutionary War, was an eyewitness to the Dark Day. He wrote: “The darkness of the following evening was probably as gross as ever has been observed since the Almighty fiat gave birth to light. It wanted only palpability to render it as extraordinary as that which overspread the land of Egypt in the days of Moses. … I could not help conceiving at the time, that if every luminous body in the universe had been shrouded in impenetrable shades or struck out of existence, the darkness could not have been more complete. A sheet of white paper held within a few inches of the eyes was equally invisible with the blackest velvet.” (16)

The Bible says in Amos 8: 9: “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord God, that I will cause the sun to go down at NOON, and I will darken the earth in the broad daylight.” ESV. (emphasis mine.)

In April 1943 The American Mercury Magazine, published the following:

“They speak of it as the Dark Day, they whose forebears lived through the soul-stirring experience in 1780, echoes of which have come down through so many New England generations. It was a day on which countless thousands turned fearful eyes toward a sunless sky, nameless terror clutched at their throats. What awful portent was this? What grim visitation was at hand?… Darkness invaded the Northeast without warning on Friday, the nineteenth of Man… about ten in the morning and spread swiftly… People spoke in hushed voices. They lighted candles in the houses, and as the blackness grew deeper toward noon great numbers of them fell upon their knees at home or in the churches and sent up fervent prayers.” ( 17, and others – 18, 19, 20, 21)

3. “…and the moon became as blood…”

Joel 2:31 says, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.”

So, we have seen how on May 19, 1780 the sun was turned into darkness. What about the moon becoming as blood? Has that ever happened? This portion of the prophecy was fulfilled the night following the “Dark Day.”

Notwithstanding the fact that the moon gave no light and was not seen during most of the hours of that strange night, when it did appear, it had the reddish- copper color of blood! One witness described the supernatural happenings of the Dark Day and then discusses:

“the moon’s turning to blood… It did take place between 2 o’clock and day break in the morning of the same night after which the sun was darkened, which was said to appear as a clotter of blood [a blood-clot]; and it is the more probably, as that night, before the moon appeared, was as dark, in proportion, as the day, and of course would give the moon an extraordinary appearance – not suffering the moon to give her light. The next course, it seems, is the falling of the stars from heaven.”  (22)

In the book 7 Mysteries Solved, Howard Peth writes: “Why does it seem that reports of the Dark Day were concentrated in eastern Canada and New England and not more widespread? The answer is that the written reports would naturally be concentrated where the population centered. U.S. News & World Report printed a map showing the United States CENTER of POPULATION for each decade that the census was taken beginning with 1790.

“The U.S. News & World Report article, using official data supplied by the U.S. Department of Commerce, states that “After nearly two centuries of westward movement, the center of U.S. population has finally crossed the Mississippi River.” … The first census in 1790, put the center east of Baltimore” – which would be virtually on the coast of the Eastern seaboard! Thus when the Dark Day dawned in 1780, there may have been a few frontiersmen and Indians farther west who witnessed the miracle and talked about it, but the preserved records had to come from the literate, populated parts of our land – that is, from the East Coast…” (23, 24)

4. “…And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind…

There was a great earthquake, the sun was turned to dark, and the moon became as blood. What about the stars falling from heaven?

Jesus said, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” Matthew 24:29

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days” being AFTER the Dark Ages, these things would occur. So did the stars fall? Yes! There was a spectacular meteor shower on November 13, 1833. The New York Journal of Commerce newspaper of November 14, 1833 published an article about the meteor shower, containing this statement:

“No philosopher or scholar has told or recorded and event, I suppose, like that of yesterday morning. A prophet eighteen hundred years ago foretold it exactly, if we will be at the trouble of understanding stars falling to mean falling stars,… in the only sense in which it is possible to be literally true.” (25) (emphasis mine)

Denison Olmsted, professor of astronomy at Yale, had this to say:

“The shower pervaded nearly the whole of North America, having appeared in nearly equal splendor from the British possessions on the north to the West-India Islands and Mexico on the South, and from sixty-one degrees of longitude east of the American coast, quite to the Pacific Ocean on the west. Throughout this immense region, the duration was nearly the same.”(26)

And again Denison Olmsted said:

“Probably no celestial phenomenon has ever occurred in this country, since its first settlement, which was viewed with so much admiration and delight by one class of spectators, or with so much astonishment and fear by another class….

“The reader may imagine a constant succession of fire balls, resembling sky rockets, radiating in all directions from a point in the heavens, a few degrees south-east of the zenith, and following the arch of the sky towards the horizon….The balls, as they travelled down the vault, usually left after them a vivid streak of light, and just before they disappeared, exploded, or suddenly resolved themselves into smoke. No report or noise of any kind was observed, although we listened attentively….

“The flashes of light, although less intense than lightning, were so bright as to awaken people in their beds. One ball that shot off in the north-west direction, and exploded a little northward of the star Capella, left, just behind the place of explosion, a phosphorescent train of peculiar beauty….
“The meteors began to attract notice by their unusual frequency or brilliancy, from nine to twelve o’clock in the evening, were most striking in their appearance, from two to five, arrived at their maximum, in many places, about four o’clock, and continued till rendered invisible by the light of day.” (27)

Wikipedia states: “The meteor storm of 1833 was of truly superlative strength. One estimate is over one hundred thousand meteors an hour, but another, done as the storm abated, estimated in excess of two hundred thousand meteors an hour over the entire region of North America east of the Rocky Mountains. It was marked by the Native Americans, slaves like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass and slave-owners and others.” (28)

 

The remaining verses in Revelation 6, verses 14- 17 speak of the second coming of Jesus:

“And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”

Do you see? All that’s left to this prophecy is for Jesus to come back! How exciting is that?!

The Seventh Seal

Revelation 8: 1 says, “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.”

What does that mean? We know that a prophetic day is equal to one year:

Ezekiel 4:6: “I have appointed thee each day for a year.”

Numbers 14:34: “After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.” (29)

Note: If you are confused about this point, a day for a year is a widely held theology across denominational lines. Do some more research and/or read my article, Coming in the Clouds.

There is silence in heaven for the space of half an hour. If a prophetic day equals one year, what does half an hour equal? And the answer to that questions is… about two weeks. Why is heaven silent for two weeks? Because all the hosts of heaven have left with Jesus to bring us home!

Matthew 24: 29-31 says, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

2 Thessalonians 1: 7 says, “… when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels…”

Matthew 25: 31 says, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations…”

There is silence in heaven for the space of two weeks because all the hosts of heaven, all of creation wants to be apart of, be a witness of that glorious day! It is silent because everyone has left! For two weeks? Yes! I suspect that heaven is a week’s journey from here. So one week to come and get us, a second week for us to return home to heaven.

Footnotes below.

I hope you have enjoyed this look at the Seven Seals of Revelation. I can’t wait for Jesus to come and take us home! Aren’t you excited?

Here’s an image you can use on your own blog or pin to Pinterest or Facebook! Thanks so much!

The Seven Seals of Revelation {a Bible Study} | A Virtuous Woman

Footnotes:

  1. Second Century: Persecution and Faith
  2. Persecution from the Second Century to Constantine
  3. Edict of Milan Legalized Christianity.
  4. Constantine the Great
  5. History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, p. 380, note 1
  6. Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 153
  7. A Forgotten Promise: Part Three
  8. Constantine decreed Sunday as a day of rest in A.D. 321.
  9. Sol Invictus and Christianity
  10. How the Sabbath was Changed
  11. The Dark Ages
  12. The Trail of Blood
  13. The Lisbon Earthquake of 1755
  14. Earthquakes and Earth Structure by John H. Hodgson, p. 53
  15. Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language (Springfield, Mass.; G & C Merriam, 1869), Entry “Dark Day”
  16. Samuel Tenney, Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. 1, 1792 (Boston: Belknap and Hall, 1792), pp. 97-98
  17. John Nichols Beffel, “Dark Day in New England,” The American Mercury Magazine. (April, 1943), pp. 481-485
  18. Vincent H. Gaddis, “America’s First Black Friday,” Coronet Magazine (May, 1946), pp. 87-89
  19. R. M. Devens, Our First Century: 1776-1876, Chapter 4, “The Wonderful Dark Day – 1780,” (Springfield, Mass.: C.A.Nichols & Co., 1876), p. 95
  20. Timothy Dwight, quoted in Connecticut Historical Collections, compiled by John Warner Barber, Second edition (New Haven: Durrie & Peck and J.W. Barber, 1830), p. 403
  21. John Greenleaf Whittier, “Abraham Davenport,” in his Complete Poetical Works, Cambridge edition (Boston: Houghton Miffin Company, 1894), p. 260
  22. Benjamin Gorton, A View of Spiritual, or Antitypical Babylon (Troy, N.Y.: Published by Benjamin Gorton, 1808), p. 73
  23. Howard Peth, 7 Mysteries Solved: 7 Issues that Touch the Heart of Mankind, Hart Research Center, 2002, p.488-489
  24. U.S. News & World Report Magazine, “Westward Trail: U.S. Center of Population” (July 27, 1981), p. 6
  25. New York Journal of Commerce (November 14, 1833), p. 2
  26. Letters on Astronomy, Addressed to a Lady: in Which The Elements of the Science Are Familiarly Explained in Connexion With Its Literary History, p 348-349, by Denison Olmsted (1840 ed.)
  27. The American Journal of Science and Arts, #25, Jan.? 1834, p 363, 365, 366, 386, 393, 394, article:
    “Observations on the Meteors of November 13th, 1833,” by Denison Olmsted
  28. Leonids (see: 1800’s) on Wikipedia
  29. Coming in the Clouds, talks about “each day for a year”.
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Melissa Ringstaff

Melissa Ringstaff is a pastor's wife, serving with her husband in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of Southeastern Kentucky. She is a homeschooling mother of five plus four and Grandarlin' to 14 (so far) grandchildren. Melissa has been blogging at A Virtuous Woman since 2001. She has written several titles including Spring Cleaning for the Heart and Home, The Homemaker's Journal: Keeping House, and Christmas ADVENTures in Prophecy.

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Comments

  1. Shanniel Shakespeare says

    I am scared. I really want to live for Jesus and see him when he comes. The thing is I find myself so preoocupied with the opinions of those around me and whether I will get a chance to be married. I know these things might seem trivial but they occupy my mind so much that even when I am reading my bible and spending time with God, they sneak themselves in. I really want to spend time with Him and develop a character like God; do you have any advice?

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