Lesson 12 - The Mystery of the Seals
The Goal of these lessons is to present the TRUTH as it is in Jesus. The book of Revelation is the revelation of Jesus. What great themes are hidden in the prophetic language of the Scripture? We hope you learn more about Jesus, His character and His plan for your life.
Lesson 12 - (downloadable pdf file)
Anciently, seals were used to make a distinctive design in clay or wax, indicating authenticity, authority and completeness. They were used to seal letters, official papers, contracts and scrolls. Once the instrument was sealed, it was not possible to open it and observe the contents without first breaking the seal or seals that secured it.
The book brought to view in Revelation 5 is sealed with seven seals. Before the contents of the book can be viewed these seven seals must be broken. As the first seals are opened (chapter 6) events take place that graphically display the struggle between truth and error. Each of the first four of these seals is announced by a “beast,” or “living creature.”
1. What four likenesses are used to describe the beasts or creatures? Revelation 4:7
2. How is the voice of the first creature described? Revelation 6:1
NOTE: This description is consistent with the beast that was indicated as being the first-the lion. The lion is considered the king of beasts, and one of the appellations of Jesus is that of the Lion of the tribe of Judah. See Revelation 5:5.
3. What was the second creature like? Revelation 4:7
NOTE: The calf, or bullock, was a sin offering for the entire encampment. See Leviticus 4:13-15.
4. What was the third creature likened to? Revelation 4:7
NOTE: The figure of a man is one that is also applied to the ministry of Christ. Over and over again Christ referred to Himself as the “Son of man.” Because Christ was a man and lived as one of us, He is able to be our High Priest. See Hebrews 4:14, 15; 2:17, 18.
5. By what was the last of the four creatures symbolized? Revelation 4:7
NOTE: In the first three creatures we have seen three aspects of Christ’s ministry to consider, that of judgment. “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” See John 5:22. The eagle is a symbol of judgment. See Hosea 8:1; Jeremiah 49:22; Habakkuk 1:8.
6. What was given the rider in the first seal? Revelation 6:2
NOTE: The word for crown is stephanos, and refers to a chaplet, such as was given the victors in the public games. Paul refers to this earthly victor’s crown in 1 Corinthians 9:25, contrasting it with our imperishable crown---the token of our victory---which we will receive if faithful.
7. What color is the horse depicted in the first seal? Revelation 6:2
NOTE: White is the symbol of purity. This seal, announced by the lion, represents the message of Christ, the conquering King, given in its original purity as indicated by the phrase, “conquering and to conquer.” Having defeated Satan in His battle with sin, Christ sought to make this victory a reality in the lives of his followers. (See John 16:33; 1 John 4:4).
8. What was the color of the second horse? Revelation 6:4
NOTE: Truth, pure at its fountainhead, attracts as it flows certain elements not fully committed to it principles. As these converts mix with those who make up the body of believers, there is a gradual mixing of error with truth. Paul recognized that this principle was at work already in his day. See 2 Thessalonians 2:7. Red, a symbol of sin (see Isaiah 1:18), is also a symbol of the pure juice of the grape once it has lost its purity and the process of fermentation has wrought its corruption. See Psalm 75: 8; Proverbs 23:31. Under the second seal is represented this second phase in the progression of truth - the loss of purity and the mixture of error. Men no longer appreciate the all-sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ, as represented by the second creature, and come to depend upon their own efforts, their own wisdom and their own plans.
9. What was given to the second rider? Revelation 6:4
NOTE: The sword that was given to him, and that which takes the peace from the earth, is the sword that Jesus referred to in Matthew 10:34. See also Ephesians 6:17. The preaching of the truth, when it confronts error, takes peace away. The believers are no longer united on the truth of the Word; each seeks to use the Word to support his position. The resulting strife may result in physical violence and always results in eternal loss.
10. What is the color of the third horse? Revelation 6:5
NOTE: As apostasy increases, the darkness becomes more pronounced. The announcement of the first two seals heralded a horse and rider going forth, indicating the movement of truth, but while in this scene a horse is brought to view, no movement is indicated. The gospel, after having been corrupted, becomes apathetic.
11. What is the rider said to be holding? Revelation 6:5
NOTE: Scales (balances) were used for measuring or weighing. God is said to be weighing character in a balance. There was a line which Belshazzar crossed in transgression, and at that time he was said to be weighed in the balances and found wanting. See Daniel 5:25-28.
12. What is the color of the fourth horse? Revelation 6:8
NOTE: This pale color is indicative of grass deprived of the vitalizing rays of the sun. This correctly represented a church deprived of the Sun of righteousness, weak and without spiritual life. The church was no longer a vital force for God and as the withered fig tree (See Matthew 21:19-22), could no longer fulfill God’s purpose for it.