We now pass to that section of the Book in which, under the heavenly order by earthly administration, events proceed toward the great consummation. The Lamb, holding the book, breaks the seals.
The apostle heard the voice of one crying, "Come," and he beheld one who symbolized kingliness and goes "forth conquering, and to conquer." This is the Antichrist, Satan's most complete counterfeit of the Christ Himself.
The breaking of the second seal reveals the issue of the reign of Antichrist, war and carnage. The earth is plunged into all the terrors of the despotism of false authority.
The opening of the third seal brings a revelation of the want that follows war and carnage. A commercial despotism springs up which makes scarce the necessities of the millions and leaves untouched the oil and the wine which are the luxuries of the wealthy.
The breaking of the fourth seal shows the fourth phase of misrule. Death in all its most terrible forms, by sword, famine, pestilence, and by wild beasts, sweeps away the fourth part of the earth.
On the opening of the fifth seal John heard the cry of the saints slaughtered for their loyalty to the Word of God. The end is not yet.
The opening of the sixth seal is immediately followed by premonitions of the coming One. Over all the government of the false are signs of the established order of the true. The earth itself is shaken, the sun is blackened, the moon becomes as blood, the very stars of heaven fall. The effect on earth is one of absolute and abject terror.
the Third Week after Epiphany