The Seven Seals
Sermon Series: The Divine Perspective
Sermon Title: The Seven Seals
Introduction: In Revelation chapters 6 and 7, John’s vision of the Seven Seals serves to unveil the execution of God’s plan. Instead of answering the question when, the book of Revelation is designed to help us understand the whyof our own lives and the world around us. In doing so, God equips, emboldens, and strengthens His church.
Point 1: Understanding the Seven Seals
Eschatological perspectives, as non-essential theological issues, should not hinder fellowship in a congregation. The following is one perspective. The Seven Seals, symbolic in nature, are presented with an increasing intensity but not meant to be understood to occur in a strict sequence. Rather than a literal 7-year period of the Great Tribulation, the opening of the seals is an expression of limited and purposeful judgments of God to warn and awaken those who oppose Him and to display His power in the church.
Point 2: An Overview of the Seven Seals
- Seal 1: Rider on a White Horse (Rev. 6:2)– Rather than Christ, this rider with bow and crown represents rulers of the earth. Yet this rider is no match for THE Ruler in heaven.
- Seal 2: Rider on a Red Horse (Rev. 6:3-4)– This rider, permitted to take peace, symbolizes war. God executes his divine purposes through such dangerous times.
- Seal 3: Rider on a Black Horse (Rev. 6:5-6)– With scales in hand, this rider represents the judgment of famine.
- Seal 4: Rider on a Pale Horse (Rev. 6:7-8)– This rider symbolizes the sickly pall of death. Yet even death is an opportunity for Christians to bear witness (Luke 21:13).
- Seal 5: Cry of the Martyrs (Rev. 6:9-11)– John’s vision shifts to heaven, revealing God’s plan of caring for martyred saints who are at rest with Christ. For Christians, there is no need to fear death.
- Seal 6: Earthquake (Rev. 6:12-17)– With the limited judgments concluded, earth and heaven begin to roil. Only God’s kingdom remains unshaken (Heb. 12:26-28).
- Vision of God’s People Kept Safe (Rev. 7)– The symbolic quantity of 144,000 (12x12,000) indicates a complete accounting of all of God’s elect – both Jews and Gentiles.
- Seal 7: Silence and the Seven Trumpets (Rev. 8)
The breaking open of the Seven Seals begins to reveal the contents of the scroll—God’s salvific plan. John’s Revelation is designed to produce churches that are equipped to endure trials even unto death, that are emboldened to evangelize the world, and that are to remain alert and faithful until our Savior’s appearance.
“I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8)