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Lesson 5: The Seven Seals *

Introduction: Last week we learned something glorious: Jesus opened the scroll that no one else (including our Father in Heaven) was "worthy" to open. The idea that God the Father was not worthy seemed ridiculous, until we thought about it a little more. Jesus saved us eternally by His perfect life, His sacrifice on the cross, and His resurrection on our behalf. Jesus opened the future for us! This week we learn more about this scroll and our future. Let's plunge into our study of Revelation and learn more!

  1. Opening the Scroll

    1. Let's revisit Revelation 5:3 by reading it. What does it mean to "look inside" the scroll? (Our study this week involves looking inside the scroll. We study the future made possible by what Jesus has done for us.)

      1. What does this say about the understanding of heaven with regard to the outcome of Jesus' mission here on earth? (Taken literally, it means that heaven did not know whether Jesus would succeed. The future was sealed and only Jesus could open the future to success.)

        1. Does that mean that God the Father did not know whether Jesus would succeed? (The answer to this is above my level of understanding. This raises questions about the omniscience of God (God's knowledge of everything) as well as the nature of the Trinity.)

        2. Do you think Satan poured everything he had into defeating Jesus at the cross? (No doubt Satan's knowledge of the situation is better than our knowledge. If he did his best to make Jesus sin, that tells us that he thought he could prevail.)

    2. Read Revelation 5:5. The elder tells us that Jesus' triumph opens the scroll and the seven seals. Why is that true? (By Jesus' victory, our future is open. God's version of the future, rather than Satan's version, will now play out. Let's turn to that next.)

  2. First Seal

    1. Read Revelation 6:1-2 and compare Revelation 6:15-16. What does this brief comparison of the first and sixth seals reveals about the nature of the seals? (These are important landmarks in history beginning with Jesus' victory at the cross and His Second Coming.)

      1. Compare this with our study of the seven churches? (The seven churches revealed a history of the Christian church. The seals are a parallel: they reflect the conflict between good and evil.)

    2. Look at Revelation 6:1-2 again. Who is this rider? (Read Revelation 19:11-13. This is a triumphant Jesus.)

      1. Which triumph is this? (Jesus' triumph at the cross. The later picture of Jesus on a white horse in Revelation 19 is a picture of His Second Coming.)

      2. What "conquest" is Jesus undertaking in Revelation 6:2? (The conversion of humans to His side. Jesus won the war against sin and Satan, the battle continues for the hearts and minds of humans.)

    3. Read Acts 2:1-3 and Acts 2:40-41. What made this great day possible? (The Holy Spirit.)

      1. What do you think is the "bow" of Revelation 6:1? (Comparing Acts 2 makes me think it is the Holy Spirit. A bow, as in "bow and arrow," can project power through the air. That is part of the power of the Holy Spirit.)

  3. Second Seal

    1. Read Revelation 6:3-4. Do you think "red" is symbolically a good or bad color? (Read Revelation 12:3-4. The red dragon represents Satan, so I will conclude this is not a good color.)

    2. Read Acts 12:1-3. What do we find recorded after the disciples begin their gospel work? (Persecution comes. John's brother, James, was one of its early victims. Other Christians lost their lives because of their gospel work.)

  4. Third Seal

    1. Read Revelation 6:5-6. What does the color black tell us? (Read Jeremiah 4:27-28. Darkness is a picture of mourning. Even today we wear black at funerals.)

    2. Look again at Revelation 6:6. What do these prices reflect? (Commentators indicate that these are very high prices, thus suggesting a famine.)

    3. Read Acts 11:28. What do we find here? (Famine over the entire Roman empire!)

    4. Read Matthew 24:1-7. How does famine play into the time of the end? (I have read accounts of how terrible it was in Jerusalem when Rome laid siege to it and ultimately destroyed it. People were starving. In addition, famine is one of the signs of the end of the world.)

  5. Fourth Seal

    1. Read Revelation 6:7-8. What does the color "pale" tell us? (This is explicit, it signifies death.)

      1. What happens when this seal is opened? (The population of a fourth of the world is in trouble!)

      2. On commentator I read suggested that this is a fourth of the Roman world, not the population today. What do you think about that idea? (Read Revelation 9:14-16. The information that the number of cavalry soldiers is two hundred million does not sound like a reference to a portion of the population of the earth during the time of the Roman empire.)

    2. Look specifically at Revelation 6:8. Who is doing the killing? (Riders named Death and Hades.)

      1. Read Revelation 20:14. Is Jesus behind these killings? (Jesus is the enemy of Death and Hades because He destroys them. But, it appears that Jesus allows this: "they were given power over....")

      2. When we looked at the Revelation 9 reference, it said a third of the population died. Does Revelation 6:8 say that a fourth of the population dies? (No. It says that Death and Hades were given power over a portion of the world.)

        1. Knowing what you do about the nature of Jesus, do you think that He authorized this? (Just like Adam and Eve chose to turn the earth over to Satan, so I believe that the people in this section of the earth turned it over to Death and Hades. Jesus merely permitted their choice.)

  6. Fifth Seal

    1. Read Revelation 6:9-11. Are these martyrs in heaven? Or, is this symbolic?

      1. Some forcefully argue that this text says nothing about the state of the dead. What do you think? (Read Luke 9:30-32. We won't get sidetracked into a long study on this, but the Bible reveals that some humans have been taken directly to heaven (Elijah) and some raised to life and taken to heaven (Moses). Because Moses and Elijah are heroes of faith, I don't think this is common, but this shows what God has done in the past. These martyrs could be in heaven.)

    2. Re-read Revelation 6:11. What does this tell us is going on during this seal? (Christians are being killed for their faith as an ongoing matter!)

  7. Sixth Seal

    1. Read Revelation 6:12-14. Is this a regional event? Would a reasonable reading of this be fulfilled by something that happened in a small region of the United States? (The reference to a "great earthquake" could be a regional event. On the other hand, "every mountain and island was removed" is a world-wide event.)

      1. Is the earthquake related to the islands moving? (If it is, then none of this is a regional event.)

      2. What does that mean that the "sky receded like a scroll?" (Physics shows that we can see the past and the future in the in the stars. Just like we can hear and see a train when it is coming towards us, so we can see events in the sky coming towards us. This is a world-wide event.)

    2. Read Revelation 6:15-17. How do these kings have the time to hide? If the Second Coming of Jesus is instant and world-wide, are the wicked not stopped right where they stand? (This further supports the conclusion that the entire world will see things happening in the galaxy that will tell them the universe is collapsing.)

    3. Friend, are you ready? Do you want to hide or cheer when Jesus comes again? Why not confess that Jesus is Lord and accept His white robe of righteousness - His life, death and resurrection on your behalf? Why not do that right now?

  8. Next week: The Sealed People of God.
* Copr. 2019, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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