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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 6

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-11

Throne Section-The Seals

13 It has been suggested that the Syriac version preserves the true reading here. After "blessing" it goes right on and gives every creature to the Lambkin, rather than getting praise from them, thus (combined with Vaticanus 'b'):

And honor and glory and blessing

And every creature which is in heaven

And on the earth and underneath the earth

And on the sea and all [those] in them!"

And I hear all [messengers] saying,

"To Him Who is sitting on the throne-

To the Lambkin-Be blessing and honor and glory and might

For the eons of the eons!"

1 The seals fall into two groups. The first are "the beginning of travail" ( Mat_24:8 ). Then follows "the time of Jacob's trouble" such as has not been from the beginning of creation and never shall be again ( Mat_24:21 ; Mar_13:19 ).

1 The first four seals correspond with the opening words of our Lord's address on the Mount of Olives (Mt.24-25; Mark.13; Luk_21:5-36 ) .

2 Compare Mat_24:5 . The false messiah comes forth on a white horse after the manner of the real Messiah.

2 The horse is prepared against the "day of battle" ( Pro_21:31 cf. Job_39:19-25 ). Its absence denotes peace ( Zec_9:10 ; Zec_10:3 ). They were not in common use in the land of Israel. The king was forbidden to multiply horses ( Deu_17:16 ). They were used chiefly as cavalry and for drawing chariots.

2 The bow is a symbol of distant warfare. It is probable that these four seals describe the time when the great western nondescript monster ( Dan_7:7 ) tramples upon and devours the three eastern beasts ( cf . Rev_13:1 ). This will provoke wars all over the earth.

3 Compare Mat_24:7 . Whole nations will rise against other nations. Universal conscription of manpower and all industries will make war a much more terrible experience than in the past.

5 Compare Mat_24:7 , "There shall be famines:" The Greek word zugon was used of two different Hebrew words: ol , a yoke, and maznim,

balances, scales ( Lev_19:36 ; Job_3:16 ; Dan_5:27 ; Chaldee). It may mean either a yoke or a pair of balances, according to the context. Here it seems to stand for the weighing of food in time of famine. Thus Ezekiel was given ten ounces of food and a pint or water each day ( Eze_4:9-12 ).

6 A chenix is supposed to be the daily ration for one person. A denarius was the daily wage of a laborer ( Mat_20:2-13 ). Hence a day's labor will barely suffice to buy enough food to exist.

8 The fourth horse is the ghastly greenish tinge of young or sickly vegetation.

8 The Unseen is, literally, the Unperceived , or Imperceptible. It corresponds with the Hebrew sheol ( shaul ), from shal , to ask. The unseen powers of evil which come before us in this scroll, the dragon and its messengers ( Rev_12:3-4 ), are called "the gates of the unseen" ( Mat_16:18 ) because the rulers of an eastern city sat in its gate.

8 To kill...with death ( thanatos ). This Greek word stands for two Hebrew words, one of. which is dbr , plague. In the LXX famine and plague are joined nine times ( 1Ki_8:37 ; 2Ch_20:9 ; Jer_21:7 ; Jer_21:9 ; Jer_24:10 ; Jer_44:13 ; Eze_6:11 ; Eze_7:15 ; Eze_7:15 ), in all of which they translate "plague" by "death". We also speak of the "black death".

9 The soul is the seat of sensation. As the spirit is associated with the breath and the body with the soil, so the soul (not the life) is in the blood ( Gen_9:4-5 ; Lev_17:11 ; Lev_17:14 ; Lev_17:14 ). Christ poured out His soul unto death. It represents the suffering and anguish which He endured. The blood of the sin offering was poured out at the foundation of the altar ( Lev_4:7 ). In Solomon's temple there was a vast pit under the altar to receive the blood of the sacrifices. Able’s blood cried from the ground, where it had been poured. So these martyrs are accounted by God as sacrifices on the altar. Their sensations of suffering called for vengeance on those who had sacrificed them because of their testimony. This event marks the middle of Daniel's seventieth heptad.

Compare Mat_24:9 . These martyrs are mentioned often ( Rev_2:10 ; Rev_12:10-11 ; Rev_20:4 ).

10 We bless those who persecute us ( Rom_12:14 ). In the days of the seals the "acceptable year" will have given place to "the day of vengeance" ( Isa_61:2 ; Luk_4:18-19 ). The parable of the importunate widow ( Luk_18:1-8 ) is applicable at this time. "For He wIll avenge the blood of His servants, And will return vengeance to His foes" ( Deu_32:43 ).

Verses 12-17

Throne section-The 144,000

12 Compare Mat_24:29 .

12 This cataclysm affects heaven as well as earth. There will be many quakes at the time of the end ( Rev_8:5 ; Rev_8:11-13 ; Rev_8:19 ; Rev_16:18 ).

Compare Hag_2:6-7 and Heb_12:26 . See also Hag_2:21 ; Zec_14:4-5 .

13 Figs which form in the winter are shaded so that they fail to mature and are easily shaken off in the spring. This is true also of figs without sufficient moisture or which are not fertilized. They wither and fall at the slightest shock. Figuratively the fig tree stands for government.

12 Before the great and terrible day of Jehovah comes manifestly "The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood" ( Joe_2:31 ; Act_2:20 ). Compare Isa_2:10-11 ; Isa_13:6-13 ; Isa_24:20-23 ; Isa_34:4 .

16 Our Lord quoted Hos_10:8 in referring to this time ( Luk_23:30 ). Compare Joe_2:10-11 ; Joe_2:30-31 ; Joe_3:15 .

17 See Mat_24:30 . The Son of Mankind appears immediately after the great convulsion. This seal takes us up to His advent, the same point we will reach under the seventh trumpet ( Rev_11:15 ). The following visions are a review of the period we have already traversed, filling in details and treating it from various viewpoints.

17 Two classes will be able to stand: the 144,000 and the vast multitude.

1 The four winds. Compare Mat_24:31 ; Dan_7:2 ; Dan_8:8 ; Dan_11:4 ; Jer_49:36 .

3 The wild beast's followers have the symbol of its name on their foreheads ( Rev_13:16 ); so these have His Father's name on their foreheads ( Rev_14:1 ).

4 Twelve is the number of government and the kingdom. There were twelve patriarchs, twelve tribes, etc. The Lord chose twelve commissioners who will rule the twelve tribes. The twelve times twelve thousand sealed will administer the kingdom. Here they are seen as slaves. Later they are seen as worshipers. Just as Jehovah reserved seven thousand for Himself in Ahab's days ( 1Ki_19:18 ), so He keeps these for Himself during this judgment era. Just as 1000 were taken from each tribe to go against the Midianites and none were lacking at the close ( Num_31:49 ), so with this chosen company. The full 144,000 will enter the kingdom unscathed.

Throne section-The Vast Multitude

7-8 Levi and Joseph appear here as tribes in place of Dan and Ephraim, who are "blotted out" because they introduced idolatry into Israel. Jehovah threatened to blot out the name of any tribe that served other gods and worshiped them ( Deu_29:18-26 ). The accounts of their apostasy will be found in Judg.18; 1Ki_12:28-30 . Ephraim, later, was joined to his idols ( Hos_4:17 ). They will, however, be restored to their allotment in the land (Eze.48) when the kingdom comes. But none of these are protected by God's seal during this time of affliction.

9 Palm branches were used in celebrating the feast of tabernacles ( Lev_23:40 ). It was a sign that they had come into the land. Here it is the assurance of entrance into the kingdom. The 144,000 are the first fruits ( Rev_14:4 ). These correspond to the feast of ingathering after the full harvest ( Lev_23:39 ). The fact that they come out of every nation and all tribes and peoples and languages does not forbid their being Israelites, for Jews are scattered among all the peoples of the earth. The fact that they keep this feast is sufficient evidence that they, like the 144,000, re out of the sons of Israel. These are those of the dispersion who conquer through the blood of the Lambkin ( Rev_7:14 ; Rev_12:11 ) and do not love their souls until death. They are the martyrs needed to complete those slain before the great affliction ( Rev_6:11 ) seen under the altar under the fifth seal.

14 Literal washing under the law was always in water, not in blood ( Lev_11:25 ; Num_8:21 ). The literal sense of this passage is that they cleansed themselves by their behavior, and faith in the sufferings of the One Sacrifice fitted them for God's presence. Such mingling of deeds and faith can have no place in this day of grace . Grace refuses to be mixed with deeds without losing its essential character ( Rom_4:4 ; Rom_11:6 ). God will deal differently in the coming era of vengeance.

14 This great affliction was foretold by our Lord ( Mat_24:21 ). It will be unexampled in the annals of the race. It will be shortened, or not even the elect would be saved. It is essentially an anti-Semitic outbreak on the part of the nations of the earth, in a last attempt to wipe out the name of Jehovah from the earth.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Revelation 6". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/revelation-6.html. 1968.
 
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