By Luke Johnson | September 22, 2015
Remember your church
Read your church’s letter together to remember what Jesus said to your church.
- Ephesus (Rev 2:1-7)
- Smyrna (Rev 2:8-11)
- Pergamum (Rev 2:12-17)
- Thyatira (Rev 2:18-29)
- Philadelphia (Rev 3:7-13)
- Sardis (Rev 2:1-6)
- Laodicea (Rev 3:14-21)
READ Revelation 6
Does anything in Revelation 6 remind you of your church’s letter?
Seal 1: The White Rider (6:1-2)
What is significant about the White Rider? (What does he look like? What does he have?)
What does the color white normally represent? (Think about books and movies.)
Have we come across anything ‘white’ in Revelations so far? (Look at Rev 3:4-5; 3:18)
What do you think white symbolizes in Revelation?
Who do you think the White Rider is? (We’ll see him again -- look at Rev 19:11)
So, Jesus is riding a horse with a bow in his hand, “bent on conquest”? What’s going on?
(Is this the picture of Jesus we get in the gospels?)
Compare this to Jesus’ path to the cross:
- Jesus entered Jerusalem, riding on a ___what?___ (donkey)
- He received a crown, but it was made out of ___what?___ (thorns)
- He met face-to-face with his ‘enemies’, but what was the outcome? (they stripped him, mocked him, spit on him, flogged him, killed him)
It looks like Jesus was conquered -- not the other way around. So, why is Jesus dressed as a conqueror
in Revelation 6? What is John trying to tell us about Jesus?
Remember what made Jesus worthy to take the scroll from the One-Sitting-On-The-Throne? He “triumphed” as the Lamb-That-Had-Been-Slain (5:5-6). The white horse isn’t a signal that Jesus is now some kind of battle commander. Rather, it shows that by dying on the cross to conquer sin and death, Jesus won a huge victory -- he’s the rightful king of the universe, and he proved it by raising from the dead. Jesus as the White Rider is Jesus as he really is -- the victorious saviour who conquers all evil, sin, and death.
Seal 2: The Red Rider (6:3-4)
What is the Red Rider’s job? (remove peace, make people kill each other -- it’s war!)
What do you think the color ‘red’ symbolizes when we’re talking about war? (blood, rage)
How do wars start? Think hard on this -- what lies at the root of conflict?
(selfishness and envy that grow and grow until they erupt - e.g., Cain and Abel)
Do you think the White Rider and Red Rider are allies or enemies? Why?
(Why might the White Rider work to conquer the Red Rider? What makes them different?)
Seal 3: The Black Rider (6:5-6)
Two different categories of food are mentioned in verse 6. What’s the difference:
wheat and barley (everyday food; staple of life in the 1st century)
oil and wine (luxuries!)
The necessities of life are scarce, but luxuries are in high demand.
This seal is trying to warn us about something. What do you think it is?
The warning of Seal #3 is: “Your way of life is totally out of balance! You spend all your effort getting what you ‘want’, while neglecting what you ‘need’.” The Black Rider entices people to take what they want, even if others go hungry. This is famine. This is poverty. This is selfish living that comes from following the Red and Black Riders instead of the White Rider.
Seal 4: The Pale Rider (6:7-8)
What is the Pale Rider’s job? (to kill people off with weakness and sickness)
How is the Pale Rider different from the White Rider?
- Pale Rider: makes people weak in order to kill them.
- White Rider: becomes weak (and dies!) to save people from the Black/Red/Pale Riders.
Seals 5 and 6: The Meek and Mighty (6:9-17)
Who Seal 5 about? (martyred followers of God) (6:9)
What/Who is affected by Seal 6? -- EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING!
Sun, moon, stars, mountains, islands (and conceivably all the wildlife) (vv. 12-14)
Rulers and normal people, slaves and free (v. 15)
How far-reaching is Seals 5 vs. Seal 6? (Why do you think we get a Seal with tiny reach followed by a Seal with unlimited rich?)
No one is outside of God’s authority. Whether you are a king, a slave, a Christian, or an atheist, we are all tiny little people who depend on God’s mercy. Money and a good reputation can’t save us. Being impressive, smart, or strong can’t save us. Only the Lamb-That-Had-Been-Slain can.