6th Seal, The fall and destruction of the Roman Empire throughout the known world, is a result of the wrath of the Lamb conquering over the world’s Government. A great change in Government is how Isaiah describes the sky vanishing in Isaiah 34:2-5, as well as Jeremiah’s staggering earth and shaking mountains, Jer. 4:23-25, both describing Judah’s fall & change in government. Words of judgment may not be taken literally in Zeph. 1:2-4 but the outlandish language is used to describe the judgment of Judah losing it’s government. This may be rooted in the act of God disturbing Mt. Sinai in establishing the law of Moses, changing the Government of his people, which resounds to this day, echoed in Micah 1:3-6.
“Fall on us and hide us…the wrath of the Lamb” v15-16, The epitome of Old Testament prophecy is seen from Psalm 110:4-7, about the wrath of the Lamb being fulfilled in the conquering Conqueror from the 1st seal’s white horse Archer. If we are on the winning side throughout all this conflict, we best be in Jesus with Christians that are more than conquerors, experiencing his love, Romans 8:37-39.
“Who Can Stand?” v17 The answer unfolds in Chapter 7, God’s four angels show judgment being placed in them and are holding back, yes personifying the winds of judgment from 6:13. Wind is used in the O.T., to show God’s deliverance through judgment, remember the Hebrews salvation was the Egyptians destruction, Ex. 14:21-28. The wind is used as a term for judgment against idolatry in Isa. 57:13 & Jer. 18:17. But from the east in John’s vision comes an angel of mercy, the very place where wind would bring judgment. This is consistent with the symbol of wind being both judgment and God Himself as the Spirit, Ac. 2:2 & Jn. 3:8.
“Rising of the Sun…Seal of the Living God” v2, This claims that the judgment to come is God’s judgment, He is providing security & identity for everyone sealed. A very important point to remember about God’s Judgment is: “ALL SUFFERING IS NOT THE JUDGMENT OF GOD”, This is why Ezekiel 9 is important in understanding why the righteous suffered in Ezekiel 21:3-4. Just because we are caught in the cross-fire, doesn’t mean we are not on the winning side. The spiritual warfare we are in does not guarantee our physical safety, but it does guarantee our inner spiritual safety, victory and life! This is the purpose of the seal in Ephesians 1:13-14. Tertullian wrote appx. 210AD, “if the rains don’t come, Christians are blamed, if too much rain comes and Tiber river overflows, Christians are blamed”. Temporarily that might be the way they and maybe us live but it is not the reality in which we are sealed. The effect of this seal is an eternal reality of victorious peace.
“Bond-Servants” 7:3, Here we have two pictures of bond-servants for two reasons. Firstly they are 144,000 in v4 to show the historical faithfulness of God to his children and secondly they are the great multitude no one can count, v9 to show the future fulfillment of God’s faithfulness. Depending upon your own faithfulness to God, you know whether or not you are a “bond-servant”, an adopted child servant, Romans 8:14-17.
Notice the listing of the 12 Tribes, from Judah being first, not Reuben, signifying that this is Spiritual Israel, without “Dan” because of their saturation in idolatry (Judges 18) replaced by Joseph. There is no Ephraim because of their idolatry, (Hosea 5:9-11) replaced by Levi which had no physical tribal land but are listed here.
“a Great Multitude” v9-17 resembles the festive feast of Tabernacles with it’s palm branches and song of salvation, v10 is very reminiscent of this Feast which has so much rejoicing within Jerusalem annually.
“The Great Tribulation” v14-17 Is God’s way of describing the battle every Christian soldier should be involved in, Eph. 6:10-17. The Hebrew writer described his readers as Christians which “had not struggled with sin to the point of losing blood”, Heb. 12:3-6. But this was about to change and 1st Peter 4:17 is a clear indication of the judgment of God beginning with the house of God. When it falls on humanity in general, the saints will suffer along with sinners while God’s winds of judgment sweep across the Roman Empire. Always remember that during God’s judgment, his faithful children are sealed survivors, look at Noah, Lot and Joseph as a few examples, Gen. 7:1-16, 19:15-17, 45:7, but we Christians are more than conquerors with living waters and every tear wiped away. He is the God of all comfort, 2nd Corinthians 1:3-11 & Luke 16:19-31.