The Seven Seals of War and Victory

The opening of the seven seals is described in chapter 6, and in chapter 8:1-5. The scene is still the throne room, and the Lamb is about to open the seals. First seal: white horse and rider carrying the bow. The rider wins the victory and receives a crown. Second seal: red horse and rider carrying a sword. The rider deprives the earth of peace, and people kill one another. Third seal: black horse and rider with scales of balance, brings famine, but oil and wine, symbols of healing, are spared. Fourth seal: pale horse and rider whose name is Death. Hades follows him. This is the only rider who is named, indicating that the fourth seal is a summary. The living one is at war with Death, and will conquer. Further evidence in given in the fifth seal: the souls of the dead are under the altar, under the protection of the divine, as they await the appointed time of fulfillment, with the promise that the time of suffering is short. The sixth seal reveals the wrath of the divine upon all creation. Sun, moon, stars, that is, the heavens, are assaulted. Earth, mountains, islands, and its inhabitants from all stations in life are in anguish and seek shelter from the “One” who is seated on the throne. Remember, John is seeing all of this “in the throne room.” Even the place that the divine occupies is in travail. When the Lamb open the seventh seal, there is silence in Heaven for a brief time. Calm is being restored to the place of the divine. Prayer is cast upon the earth, that is, the church again prays in the midst of its suffering. With the casting of prayer upon the earth, there is accompannied flashes of lightening, thunder and voices. These are all symbols of a theophany, meaning that the divine is again present upon the earth. The Living one is with his people. The hope of the world to come has arrived. The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad!

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