The Seven Seals
The Fourth Seal
Revelation 6:7-8 – And when he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, ‘Come and behold!’ and I saw, and lo, a pale horse, and he who is sitting upon him – his name is Death, and Hades does follow with him, and there was given to them authority to kill, (over the fourth part of the land,) with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and by the beasts of the land. (YLT)
This represents the death that was associated with the second seal. In the quote on the previous page, Gibbon estimates that half of the Roman Empire died due to famine and disease in just a 15 year period between 250-265 A.D.
The Fifth Seal
Revelation 6:9-11 – And when he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony that they held, and they were crying with a great voice, saying, ‘Till when, O Master, the Holy and the True dost Thou not judge and take vengeance of our blood from those dwelling upon the land?’ and there was given to each one white robes, and it was said to them that they may rest themselves yet a little time, till may be fulfilled also their fellow-servants and their brethren, who are about to be killed – even as they. (YLT)
This seal represents the great persecution of Christians that took place from 303-313 A.D. under the rule of Emperor Diocletian. On February 23, 303, Diocletian ordered that the newly built church in Nicomedia be destroyed, along with its scriptures. The next day, Diocletian published an edict which ordered the destruction of all places of Christian worship and scriptures in the Roman Empire. A few days later, part of the imperial palace was destroyed in a fire. Galerius, Diocletian’s son-in-law, convinced Diocletian that the culprits were Christians, and several people were executed, although there was no evidence. This persecution continued until the Edict of Milan was released in 313. The Edict of Milan was signed by emperors Constantine I who ruled the west and Licinius who ruled the east. It returned churches back to Christians and legalized Christianity.
The Sixth Seal
Revelation 6:12-14 – An I saw when he opened the sixth seal, and lo, a great earthquake came, and the sun because black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood, and the stars of the heaven fell to earth – as a fig-tree doth cast her winter figs, by a great wind being shaken – and heaven departed as a scroll rolled up, and every mountain and island – out of their places they were moved; (YLT)
The sixth seal represents judgment on the Roman Empire from 310-395 A.D. To understand this, let us look at the symbols in Revelation one by one. Firstly, the sun represents the emperors of Rome. Constantine considered himself to be under the protection of the sun god. The moon represents the Church leaders. Revelation says that the sun became black and the moon turned into blood. This is referring to the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. which I talked about in Catholicism. The Council of Nicea legalized Christianity, however, it integrated pagan beliefs from the Cult of Isis, Mithraism, and Henotheism into Christianity. Revelation continues on to say that this caused the “stars of the heaven” to fall and the “figs” to be shaken. This image is also seen in Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 24:2 – In the one basket [are] figs very good, like the first-ripe figs, and in the other basket [are] figs very bad, they are not eaten for badness. (YLT)
Jeremiah compares figs to people. In particular, he mentions the first fruit figs. In the overcomers, I discussed how the first fruits represent the overcomers. Therefore these stars or figs are the overcomers. These were people that disagreed with the pagan beliefs of the Church. In response, the Church persecuted these “heretics.”
Next, Revelation mentions a “scroll rolling up.” Before 360 A.D. people used scrolls instead of books. Therefore a “scroll rolling up” is the same as a “book closing.” The heavenly book is the Bible. For the next thousand years, the Church stopped teaching the Bible to Christians. The Church claimed that only their leaders received revelation from God, so Christians had to trust their leaders to obtain salvation. In 663, Pope Vitalian of Rome even mandated that Church service be spoken in Latin only, depriving even more people from understanding God’s true word.
Revelation 6:15-17 - and the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich, and the chiefs of thousands, and the mighty, and every servant, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains, and they say to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall upon us, and hide us from the face of Him who is sitting upon the throne, and from the anger of the Lamb,’ because come did the great day of His anger, and who is able to stand? (YLT)
In this passage, Revelation is talking about the rich and powerful pagans during the 4th century. They hid because paganism had been banned and now Christianity was the only legal religion. In 395 A.D., Emperor Theodosius I died and he divided the succession into east and west between his sons Arcadius and Honorius. This marks the end of the judgment on Rome, and the end of the sixth seal.
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