Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 6:1

Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, "Come."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Animals;   Scofield Reference Index - Remnant;   Thompson Chain Reference - Lamb of God;   Lamb, Christ the;   Saviour, Christ Our;   Sin-Saviour;   Sufferings of Christ;   The Topic Concordance - Day of the Lord;   Seals;  
Dictionaries:
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Lamb, Lamb of God;   Prophet, Prophetess, Prophecy;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Seal;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Horse;   Number Systems and Number Symbolism;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Beast;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Eschatology;   Propitiation (2);   Voice (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Horse;   Lamb;   Thunder;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Lamb;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Seal;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Come;   Creature, Living;   Four;   Noise;   Revelation of John:;   Seal;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Eschatology;  
Devotionals:
Today's Word from Skip Moen - Devotion for October 11;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

When the Lamb opened one of the seals - It is worthy of remark that the opening of the seals is not merely a declaration of what God will do, but is the exhibition of a purpose then accomplished; for whenever the seal is opened, the sentence appears to be executed. It is supposed that, from Revelation 6:1-11:19, the calamities which should fall on the enemies of Christianity, and particularly the Jews, are pointed out under various images, as well as the preservation of the Christians under those calamities.

One of the four beasts - Probably that with the face of a lion. See Revelation 4:7.

Come and see - Attend to what is about to be exhibited. It is very likely that all was exhibited before his eyes as in a scene, and he saw every act represented which was to take place, and all the persons and things which were to be the chief actors.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-6.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And I saw - Or, I looked. He fixed his eye attentively on what was passing, as promising important disclosures. No one had been found in the universe who could open the seals but the Lamb of God Revelation 5:2-4; and it was natural for John, therefore, to look upon the transaction with profound interest.

When the Lamb opened one of the seals - See the notes on Revelation 5:1, Revelation 5:5. This was the first or outermost of the seals, and its being broken would permit a certain portion of the volume to be unrolled and read. See the notes on Revelation 5:1. The representation in this place is, therefore, that of a volume with a small portion unrolled, and written on both sides of the parchment.

And I heard, as it were the noise of thunder - One of the four living creatures speaking as with a voice of thunder, or with a loud voice.

One of the four beasts - notes on Revelation 4:6-7. The particular one is not mentioned, though what is said in the subsequent verses leaves no doubt that it was the first in order as seen by John - the one like a lion, Revelation 4:7. In the opening of the three following seals, it is expressly said that it was the second, the third, and the fourth of the living creatures that drew near, and hence the conclusion is certain that the one here referred to was the first. If the four living creatures be understood to be emblematic of the divine providential administration, then there was a propriety that they should be represented as summoning John to witness what was to be disclosed. These events pertained to the developments of the divine purposes, and these emblematic beings would therefore be interested in what was occurring.

Come and see - Addressed evidently to John. He was requested to approach and see with his own eyes what was disclosed in the portion of the volume now unrolled. He had wept much Revelation 5:4 that no one was found who was worthy to open that book, but he was now called on to approach and see for himself. Some have supposed (Lord, in loco) that the address here was not to John, but to the horse and his rider, and that the command to them was not to “come and see,” but to come forth, and appear on the stage, and that the act of the Redeemer in breaking the seal, and unrolling the scroll, was nothing more than an emblem signifying that it was by his act that the divine purposes were to be unfolded. But, in order to this interpretation, it would be necessary to omit from the Received Text the words καὶ βλέπε kai blepe- “and see.” This is done, indeed, by Hahn and Tittmann, and this reading is followed by Prof. Stuart, though he says that the received text has “probability” in its favor, and is followed by some of the critical editions. The most natural interpretation, however, is that the words were addressed to John. John saw the Lamb open the seal; he heard the loud voice; he looked and beheld a white horse - that is, evidently, he looked on the unfolding volume, and saw the representation of a horse and his rider. That the voice was addressed to John is the common interpretation, is the most natural, and is liable to no real objection.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-6.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

REV:6

To this point, Revelation has been relatively easy to interpret; but, beginning with this chapter, there are scores of interpretations, with multiple schools of interpreters, following all kinds of bizarre and fanciful "explanations" of what is here written. (See introduction for a discussion of some of the more important methods followed by various groups.) In a sense, one must be accounted rather bold to write confidently of things about which there is so much disagreement; but, on the other hand, there are some things which this writer brings to this study which are by no means universal. First, there is a general knowledge, at least, of what the New Testament teaches; secondly, there is a fundamental rejection of the notion that this sacred prophecy is some kind of hodgepodge cooked up by the apostle John and made up of materials gleaned from "Semitic folklore, Persian elements, Babylonian mythology, the writings of Virgil, Semitic and Hellenic mythology, the Apocrypha, and the Book of Enoch."[1] Scholars who pursue such an assumption can never know what Revelation means, simply because they are seeking its meaning in the wrong place. Thirdly, there is a deep sense of conviction that no "brand new doctrine," such as that usually designated as premillennialism, is to be found in the book. In other words, Revelation is considered to be in full and complete harmony with everything else in the New Testament. For example, the one judgment day of the whole New Testament is not a conception here replaced by a multiple series of judgments; but the references which appear to be such are repeated references to the very same judgment day (singular). Fourthly, many of the common pitfalls of supposing: (1) that the whole book refers to a period following the Second Advent; (2) that every line of it has already been fulfilled; (3) that John was restricted to current events in his terminology; (4) that an "Antichrist" is anywhere mentioned in Revelation; or (5) that the various seals, trumpets, bowls, etc., have reference to "successive events" - these and many other common assumptions which mar the works of many are here rejected and avoided.

The general assumptions underlying this interpretation are: (1) that the succeeding series of seals, trumpets, bowls, etc., and "Onward from chapter 6 are a panorama of parallel judgments";[2] (2) that "The millennium and the present age are one and the same thing";[3] (3) that the true key to unlocking the mysteries of Revelation must be sought in the Olivet discourse of Jesus (Matthew and parallels), and in other Scriptural passages; (4) that much of the symbolism in Revelation has a double application, just as was clearly the case in the Olivet discourse; (5) that the known fulfillment of a given passage in some historical event now past does not preclude its reference to some final, future event; (6) that the successive mention, for example, of such symbols as the horses (in this chapter) does not mean the reality symbolized by one of them disappeared when the next came to view, but that the various conditions symbolized were probably manifested simultaneously; and (7) that the great landmark by which the whole prophecy can be properly oriented and understood is that of the Second Advent and the simultaneous resurrection of the dead and the final judgment. Without such a "rudder" as this, the interpreter's ship is doomed to drift in all directions. That such assumptions as these are candidly and confidently made derives from a lifetime of studying the sacred text; and it surely is our prayerful hope that in none of them have we been misled or deceived.

Chapter summary: the opening of the seven seals begins here, with six of them being opened in this chapter. It should be noted that what is revealed following the opening of each seal is not said to be read from the scroll, which is never either opened or read in the whole prophecy. Rather, the contents of it, as far as it pertained to the fortunes of God's church in the world, were revealed in the visions that promptly succeeded the breaking of each of the seals.

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, Come. And I saw, and behold, a white horse, and he that sat thereon had a bow; and there was given unto him a crown: and he came forth conquering, and to conquer.

Of all those who have discussed this in their books, as far as we have investigated, William Hendriksen has the most thorough and intensive study of it; and the symbol (the white horse and its rider) which dominates these two verses was identified by him with "The Christ".[4] Although disagreeing with it, Bruce admitted that this "is the long established interpretation";[5] "many think this";[6] Roberson,[7] Cox,[8] Wallace,[9] and a very great many others might be cited; but perhaps it is more profitable to point out the reasons behind this view.

1. "The white horse ..." The color here is significant, for its contrasts with the colors of the other horses; and nowhere in Revelation is white used otherwise than as a symbol of purity, holiness, glory, etc. "In the book of Revelation, white is never used of anything evil."[10] The white throne upon which God sits is an example.

2. The choice of a "horse" in this symbolism means "war." It is a righteous war, for the horse was white, indicating truth and righteousness. "This war began when Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father in heaven, and his disciples began to go everywhere at his command."[11]

3. The rider wore a crown which was "given to him," not a crown extorted through the atrocities of war, but a gift of God. A "crown" in the Scriptural sense upon the head of some profane conqueror is impossible to believe. Only Christ fits the picture.

4. The rider on this white horse went forth "conquering and to conquer," expressions used extensively elsewhere in the New Testament of Christ. "We feel sure that had you never heard another interpretation you would at once have said, `This is the Conquering Christ.'"[12]

5. The conqueror in Revelation 19:11 is also crowned and rides upon a white horse; but he cannot be mistaken. His name is given: "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." Can this conqueror be any other? As Roberson said, "All efforts to separate the white horse of this vision from that of Revelation 19:11 are futile."[13]

Objections to this interpretation are not grounded in a proper understanding of the New Testament. For example, the notion advanced by many to the effect that the other three horsemen all represent judgments, but the conquering Christ is not a judgment, fails to take into account that the preaching of Christ's gospel is indeed the principal and leading judgment of this earth. "An odor of life unto life in them that are saved, and an odor of death unto death in them that perish" (2 Corinthians 2:16). Christ came to send, not peace, "but a sword" (Matthew 10:34). There is extensive teaching along this vein of thought in the New Testament, and all of it nullifies the objection that "Christ is quite out of place"[14] in this passage. Indeed, he is exactly where he belongs, "leading the van" of the judgments of earth. Furthermore, extensive terminology in the Old Testament corroborates this. See Psalms 45:3-5, Zech. etc. For those interested in a more extensive discussion of this interpretation, see William Hendriksen's analysis.[15]

The further objection that Christ would not have rushed off on a white horse at the behest of one of the living creatures fails to note that what we have is "a vision." It is also not inconsistent that Christ both opens the seals and appears in the visions extensively throughout Revelation.

Despite what would appear to be conclusive evidence that the crowned rider on the white horse of the first seal could hardly be any other than the Son of God, he is "interpreted" as the Antichrist,[16] "conquering military power,"[17] "the victory of selfish, lustful conquest,"[18] "the victorious warrior,"[19] etc. Most of the interpretations of this symbol as anything other than the Lord Jesus Christ and the preaching of his holy gospel are firmly grounded in a priori conceptions of such things as the millennium, the parousia, the great tribulation, the rapture, or some other stylized interpretation of the prophecy.

Some little time has been devoted to this opening of the first seal, because the way it is interpreted will color all that follows. For example, if this crowned rider on the white horse with the bow in his hand is understood to mean Jesus Christ and his worldwide program of preaching the gospel, it is clear enough that it cannot possibly refer to some relatively short period of history, but to the entire dispensation reaching from the First Advent to the Second Advent. Thus we confidently interpret it. "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matthew 24:14).

The reluctance of some to bracket Christ on the first horse with others symbolizing bloodshed, famine, and pestilence is due to a failure to see all four (even the preaching of the gospel) as a divine series of judgments upon mankind. They are operative continuously and simultaneously throughout the earth until the end of time. If it is asked why, then, do they "follow" one after another in the vision; it must be replied, "because they do follow." The gospel is preached, and the failure to obey its holy teachings causes bloodshed, famine, and death. The great paradox of the Christ is that the Prince of Peace should bring, not peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34). The principle inherent in this interpretation is that all human suffering, in the last analysis, is traceable to the fountain source of sin and rebellion against God in human hearts.

[1] James Moffatt, Expositor's Greek New Testament, Vol. V (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1967), pp. 388-390.

[2] F. F. Bruce, A New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1969), p. 642.

[3] Jay E. Adams, The Time is at Hand (Nutley, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1977), p. 24.

[4] William Hendriksen, More than Conquerors (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1956), p. 113.

[5] F. F. Bruce, op. cit., p. 644.

[6] J. R. Dummelow, Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1937), p. 1078.

[7] Charles H. Roberson, Studies in Revelation (Tyler, Texas: P. D. Wilmeth, P.O. Box 3305,1957), p. 38.

[8] Frank L. Cox, Revelation in 26 Lessons (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1956), p. 48.

[9] Foy E. Wallace, Jr., The Book of Revelation (Nashville: The Foy E. Wallace, Jr., Publications, 1966), p. 143.

[10] Jim McGuiggan, The Book of Revelation (West Monroe, Louisiana: William C. Johnson, 1976), p. 77.

[11] Frank L. Cox, op. cit., p. 48.

[12] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 115.

[13] Charles H. Roberson, op. cit., p. 38.

[14] William Barclay, The Revelation of John (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976), p. 3.

[15] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 113-118.

[16] Finis Jennings Dake, Revelation Expounded (Lawrenceville, Georgia: Finis Jennings Dake, 1950), p. 81.

[17] J. W. Roberts, The Revelation of John (Austin, Texas: R. B. Sweet Company, 1974), p. 65.

[18] Henry B. Swete, The Apocalypse of John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1951), p. 67.

[19] Isbon T. Beckwith, The Apocalypse of John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1919), p. 517.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-6.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And I saw, when the Lamb opened one of the seals,.... Of the sealed book; one of the seven seals of it, as read the Alexandrian copy, the Vulgate Latin, and the Oriental versions, and the Complutensian edition; that is, the first; so "one" is used for first in Genesis 1:5; and as appears from the following seals being called second, third, fourth, &c. These seals express events to be fulfilled; and therefore cannot respect the steps towards, and the signs of Jerusalem's destruction, and that itself, which had been accomplished some years before the vision of the seals; and which vision would have been needless: and these are called seals, because they were sealed among God's treasure, or were resolved on, and decreed by him; and because they were hidden and unknown until they came to pass; and when they were come to pass, they were pledges of what God would do in the destruction of Rome Papal, as here in the destruction of Rome Pagan: for these seals, at least the first six of them, concern the Pagan empire, and the state of the church in it; and are so many gradual steps to the ruin of it, and to the advancing and increasing of the kingdom of Christ; and these, with the seven trumpets, which the last seal introduces, reach from the times of the apostles to the end of time, as appears from Revelation 10:6. Now the opening of these seals is the revealing of the events signified by them, and expressed in the hieroglyphics here made use of, and the fulfilment of them;

and I heard as it were the noise of thunder; a voice very loud and sonorous, exciting the attention of John:

one of the four beasts saying, come and see; this was the of the four living creatures, for the word one is used in the same sense as in the foregoing clause; and this creature was like to a lion, Revelation 4:7; wherefore his voice was loud, as when a lion roars, Revelation 10:3, and is fitly compared to thunder: there is no need to look out for any particular person, as intended by this living creature; or to conclude him to be Peter, as Grotius, who was dead before this seal was opened; or Quadratus, Aristides, and Justin Martyr, who courageously appeared in the Christian cause, and made very excellent apologies for it, with success, since these lived under the second seal; it is enough in general to understand the ministers of the Gospel, who, as sons of thunder, loudly and publicly preached the Gospel, and, as lions, boldly and bravely defended, and took notice of the power and providence of God in succeeding their ministry, and in weakening the kingdom of Satan in the Gentile world, and particularly in the Roman empire; and therefore are represented as calling to John to "come and see"; observe and take notice of the following hieroglyphic, representing the success of the Gospel ministry, תא חזי, "come and see", is a phrase often used by the Jews, to stir up attention to what is about to be said; See Gill on John 1:46.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-6.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And 1 I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

(1) This is the second part of this first history (which I said was common and of the whole world) of the works of God in the government of all things. There are generally three parts to this: the forewarning, the caution, and the execution of all the evils which God sends on this world, which was scarcely postponed by him. The forewarning is set down in this chapter, the caution for preserving the Church is in the next chapter, and the execution is described in (Revelation 8:9) In each part of the forewarning, there are three points: the distinct and express calling of John to prepare himself to take knowledge of the things that are to be showed to him in the opening of the seals, the sign, and the word expounding the sign. Though the express calling of John is used in only four of the signs, yet the same is also to be understood in the rest that follow. The author of the forewarnings is the Lamb as that word of the Father made the Mediator, opening the seals of the book. The instruments are the angels in most of the visions, who explain the sign and the words of it. Now this first verse contains an express calling of John to record the opening of the first seal.
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These files are public domain.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-6.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Revelation 6:1-17. The opening of the first six of the seven seals.

Compare Note, see on Revelation 5:1. Many (Mede, Fleming, Newton, etc.) hold that all these seals have been fulfilled, the sixth having been so by the overthrow of paganism and establishment of Christianity under Constantine‘s edict, a.d. 312. There can, however, be no doubt that at least the sixth seal is future, and is to be at the coming again of Christ. The great objection to supposing the seals to be finally and exhaustively fulfilled (though, probably, particular events may be partial fulfillment's typical of the final and fullest one), is that, if so, they ought to furnish (as the destruction of Jerusalem, according to Christ‘s prophecy, does) a strong external evidence of Revelation. But it is clear they cannot be used for this, as hardly any two interpreters of this school are agreed on what events constitute the fulfillment of each seal. Probably not isolated facts, but classes of events preparing the way for Christ‘s coming kingdom, are intended by the opening of the seals. The four living creatures severally cry at the opening of the first four seals, “Come,” which fact marks the division of the seven, as often occurs in this sacred number, into four and three.

one of the seals — The oldest manuscripts, A, B, C, Vulgate, and Syriac read, “one of the seven seals.”

noise — The three oldest manuscripts read this in the nominative or dative, not the genitive, as English Version, “I heard one from among the four living creatures saying, as (it were) the voice (or, ‹as with the voice‘) of thunder.” The first living creature was like a lion (Revelation 4:7): his voice is in consonance. Implying the lion-like boldness with which, in the successive great revivals, the faithful have testified for Christ, and especially a little before His coming shall testify. Or, rather, their earnestness in praying for Christ‘s coming.

Come and see — One oldest manuscript, B, has “And see.” But A, C, and Vulgate reject it. Alford rightly objects to English Version reading: “Whither was John to come? Separated as he was by the glassy sea from the throne, was he to cross it?” Contrast the form of expression, Revelation 10:8. It is much more likely to be the cry of the redeemed to the Redeemer, “Come” and deliver the groaning creature from the bondage of corruption. Thus, Revelation 6:2 is an answer to the cry, went (literally, “came”) forth corresponding to “Come.” “Come,” says Grotius, is the living creature‘s address to John, calling his earnest attention. But it seems hard to see how “Come” by itself can mean this. Compare the only other places in Revelation where it is used, Revelation 4:1; Revelation 22:17. If the four living creatures represent the four Gospels, the “Come” will be their invitation to everyone (for it is not written that they addressed John) to accept Christ‘s salvation while there is time, as the opening of the seals marks a progressive step towards the end (compare Revelation 22:17). Judgments are foretold as accompanying the preaching of the Gospel as a witness to all nations (Revelation 14:6-11; Matthew 24:6-14). Thus the invitation, “Come,” here, is aptly parallel to Matthew 24:14. The opening of the first four seals is followed by judgments preparatory for His coming. At the opening of the fifth seal, the martyrs above express the same (Revelation 6:9, Revelation 6:10; compare Zechariah 1:10). At the opening of the sixth seal, the Lord‘s coming is ushered in with terrors to the ungodly. At the seventh, the consummation is fully attained (Revelation 11:15).

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-6.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

And I saw (και ειδονkai eidon). As in Revelation 4:1; Revelation 5:1. The vision unfolds without anything being said about opening the book and reading from it. In a more vivid and dramatic fashion the Lamb breaks the seals one by one and reveals the contents and the symbolism. The first four seals have a common note from one of the four ζωαzōa and the appearance of a horse. No effort will be made here to interpret these seals as referring to persons or historical events in the past, present, or future, but simply to relate the symbolism to the other symbols in the book. It is possible that there is some allusion here to the symbolism in the so-called “Little Apocalypse” of Mark 13; Matt 24 and the following chapters; and Luke 21. The imagery of the four horses is similar to that in Zechariah 1:7-11; Zechariah 6:1-8 (cf. Jeremiah 14:12; Jeremiah 24:10; Jeremiah 42:17). In the Old Testament the horse is often the emblem of war (Job 39:25; Psalm 76:6; Proverbs 21:31; Ezekiel 26:10). “Homer pictures the horses of Rhesus as whiter than snow, and swift as the wind” (Vincent).

When the Lamb opened (οτε ηνοιχεν το αρνιονhote ēnoixen to arnion). First aorist active indicative of ανοιγωanoigō This same phrase recurs in rhythmical order at the opening of each seal (Revelation 6:1, Revelation 6:3, Revelation 6:5, Revelation 6:7, Revelation 6:9, Revelation 6:12) till the last (Revelation 8:1), where we have οταν ηνοιχενhotan ēnoixen (οτανhotan rather than οτεhote calling particular attention to it).

One (μιανmian). Probably used here as an ordinal (the first) as in Matthew 28:1. See Robertson, Grammar, p. 671f.

Of (εκek). This use of εκek with the ablative in the partitive sense is common in the Apocalypse, as twice in this verse (εκ τωνek tōn etc.). So ενος εκ τωνhenos ek tōn (one of the four living creatures) is “the first of,” etc.

In a voice of thunder (εν πωνηι βροντηςen phōnēi brontēs). Old word used of John and James (Mark 3:17) and elsewhere in N.T. only John 12:29 and a dozen times in the Apocalypse.

Come (ΕρχουErchou). Present middle imperative of ερχομαιerchomai but with exclamatory force (not strictly linear). The command is not addressed to the Lamb nor to John (the correct text omits και ιδεkai ide “and see”) as in Revelation 17:1; Revelation 21:9, but to one of the four horsemen each time. Swete takes it as a call to Christ because ερχουerchou is so used in Revelation 22:17, Revelation 22:20, but that is not conclusive.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-6.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Of the seals

Add seven.

And see

Omit.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-6.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

I heard one-That is, the first. Of the living creatures - Who looks forward toward the east.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-6.html. 1765.

Scofield's Reference Notes

beasts living creatures. (See Scofield "Ezekiel 1:5")

Come and see Come! Omit "and see." So Revelation 1:3; Revelation 1:5; Revelation 1:7

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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.
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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 6:1". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-6.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

Ver. 1. One of the seals] That is, the first of the seals, as Genesis 1:4; Mark 16:2. Under these seven seals falls Rome pagan (saith Mr Cotton), as under the seven trumpets Rome Christian, under the seven vials Rome antichristian. So all the judgments in the Revelation are still upon Rome. Hence Mr Dent calls his exposition upon the Revelation, The Ruin of Rome.

The noise of thunder] This beast was like a lion, Revelation 4:7, whose roaring is as thunder.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-6.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

The former chapter acquainted us with Christ's receiving of the sealed book; this with the opening of it seal by seal. Christ reveals unto St. John the deep counsels of God, which were hidden and secret: the only-begotten Son, that lay in the bosom of the Father, he hath revealed them; he only received authority, and he only was endued with ability to reveal them.

Note, 1. The preparation made for St. John's vision of the seals; he standing afar off with profound reverence, heard a voice like thunder proceeding out of the mouth of one of the four beasts, who performed the office of a public crier, saying, Come and see. It is dangerous searching into God's secrets, and prying into his hidden councils, until we have a call and commission, a command and invitation, from God himself so to do; thus had St. John here; one said unto him, Come near, and see.

Note, 2. The vision itself, I beheld a white horse, and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown, &c. By the white horse is generally understood the gospel, so called in regard of the divinity and spotless purity of its doctrine: the rider upon this horse is Christ, who rode swiftly in the ministry of the apostles, and other faithful teachers in the first ages of Christianity; and he rode with a bow in his hand, and a crown on his head: with a bow, that is, with threatenings and terrors denounced against his enemies before they were inflicted upon them, as the bow is first held in the hand, then the arrow prepared upon the string, and at last shot forth: and with a crown, denoting that royal state of kingly dignity and honour to which Christ, the Lamb that was slain, was now exalted; and thus he rode on conquering and to conquer, until he had consummated his victories, in a glorious triumph over his enemies, namely, in the conversion of some, and destruction of others; thus the opening of the first seal gave the church a very encouraging and comfortable prospect of the victories, successes and triumphs, of Christ, notwithstanding the rage, subtlety, and power, of all his enemies: Christ rode on with a bow in his hand, and with a crown on his head, conquering and to conquer, until his arrows were sharp in the hearts of his crucifiers; and will thus ride on till the people fall under him, and all his enemies become his footstool.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-6.html. 1700-1703.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 6:1. καὶ εἷδον ὅτε, κ. τ. λ., does not mean, “I was a spectator when the Lamb opened a seal:”(2006) the opening of the seal is not designated as the object of the εἶδον.(2007) De Wette(2008) and Ebrard attach such a wide significance to the εἶδον, that it may include the hearing mentioned directly afterwards; the meaning is that the prophetic “beholding” properly consisted in “hearing.” It is more correct to say that what John sees when the seal is opened, he describes first in Revelation 6:2, where the repeated καὶ εἱδον refers back to Revelation 6:1. As in the vision itself, so also in its description, something heard is yet interposed.

μιαν. The cardinal number does not stand here for the ordinal,(2009) but here, as directly afterwards in the ἐνὸς τ. τ. ζ., it is only expressed that one of the seals (beasts) is spoken of. The order of succession is not marked until afterwards (Revelation 6:3; Revelation 6:5; Revelation 6:7).(2010)

ὡς φωνὴ βροντῆς. Loose construction. The voice of thunder belongs to all four beings, because they are alike superterrestrial.(2011) To the one of the four beings who speaks first, this voice is expressly ascribed, only because it is the first to speak. The thunder note of the voice has nothing to do with the contents of the first seal.(2012)

ἔρχου. Even if the addition καὶ βλέπε were genuine,(2013) a parallelizing of these words with John 1:40; John 1:47 would be inapplicable, and a critical inference as to the composition of the Apoc. by the Evangelist John would be without foundation.(2014) Not even is the note of Schöttgen(2015) here applicable: “This formula, occurring in the Holy Scriptures only in John, is the well-known בא וראה of the rabbins.

They employ it, however, as often as at the close of a disputation one approaches who makes a declaration concerning the subject.” The command ἔρχου(2016) is very simple, and is seriously meant: “John is to come up;” viz., to see accurately what proceeds from the unsealed book. This is written immediately afterwards.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/revelation-6.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 6:1. καὶ, and) By the first four seals it is shown, that all the public times of all ages, the flourishing condition of empires, war, supplies of provisions, and calamities, are subject to Jesus Christ: and a specimen of the first seal is intimated in the east, which followed in the reign of Trajan; of the second, in the west; of the third, in the south; of the fourth, in the north and the whole world. For it was towards these quarters of the world that the lion, the ox, the man, and the eagle were looking.— ὡς φωνὴ βροντῆς) See App. Ed. ii. On the nominative case, φωνὴ,(73) which displeases Wolf, but does not displease Valla, see below at ch. Revelation 16:13.— ἔρχου, ἴδε) Wolf has curtailed my words on the subject of this call: I would have my readers seek for my opinion, if it is of any consequence, from the Apparatus on this passage.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-6.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

REVELATION CHAPTER 6

Revelation 6:1-17 The opening of six of the seals in order, and what followed thereupon.

Chapter Introduction

We are now come to the prophetical, and therefore the most difficult, part of this mysterious book; as to which I judge it reasonable, before we come to open the mysterious text, (after Mr. Pool’s method in his Latin Synopsis), to premise some things which may instruct the reader of these notes, both of the things wherein the difficulties lie, and of the fairest way to find out the sense of them. Hitherto we have met with no great difficulties; what have been, have been chiefly:

1. Concerning the seven Spirits of God.

2. Concerning the seven churches, and epistles to them; whether the churches be to be considered typically, and what was written to them be to be understood in a prophetic, as well as a didactic, or a corrective sense?

But in what follows we shall find great (if not some inextricable) difficulties. To prepare a way for the explication of which:

1. I shall first take it for granted, that from this chapter to the end of the book, is revealed the most remarkable things which have happened, or shall happen, to the church of God over all the earth, from the time of this Revelation first made to John, to the end of the world.

2. Hence it followeth, that many of the things prophesied are fulfilled; but how many is hard to determine, because the time is not set when these revelations should take place; whether (as some would have it) from the beginning of Christianity, which, to me, seemeth not probable; because at this time ninety-five years were elapsed since that time, and this prophecy was concerning the things that were to be after the time of John’s being in Patmos, Revelation 1:1 22:6; or from the beginning of the time when the Jewish church and state ceased, which was twenty-six or twenty-seven years before this; or from the time when this Revelation was, which was Anno 95, or thereabouts, in the time when Domitian was the Roman emperor, and had began his persecution of the Christians, which (as historians tell us) was but five years before he was slain, for he was slain in September, 97. And for those that are fulfilled, the things spoken are so applicable to various accidents happening in that period of time, that it is very difficult ofttimes to assert the sense of the prophecy.

3. I take it for granted also, that things happened in the same order as is here described; so as the things under the second seal came not to pass till those prophesied of under the first seal were, in a great measure, accomplished, &c.

4. I agree with those who think, that what we have, Revelation 12:1-13:18, Revelation 17:1-18:24, are but a prophecy of other things that happened to the church at the same times spoken of, Revelation 6:1-10:11.

5. I do believe the visions of the seals, trumpets, and vials, Revelation 6:1-17,8:1-13,15:1-8,16:1-21, the principal prophecies, and contain the revelation of things in order as they were to happen; and of these, that of the seals is the principal.

6. I agree with those who think, that God, by the first six seals, intends the whole space from the time when the things written in this book began to be fulfilled, unto the time when paganism was rooted out of the Roman empire, which some make the year 310, some, 325. In which time (counting the beginning from the time when John was in Patmos, which was in Domitian’s time) the emperors of Rome were Nerva, Trajan, Adrianus, Antoninus Pius, Antoninus Philosophus, Antoninus Verus, Commodus, Severus, Caracalla, Macrinus, Heliogabalus, Alexander Severus, Maximinus, Gordianus, Philippus, Decius, Valerianus, Gallienus, Claudius, Aurelianus, Tacitus, Probus, Carus, Numerianus, Dioclesianus with Maximinianus, Constantius Chlorus with Galerius, Constantius with Galerus, Constantinus; in all, twenty-seven, in about two hundred years: they were all persecutors, and God allowed them short reigns. So as what we have revealed in and under the first six seals, happened within the Short space of the three hundred or three hundred and twenty-five first years after Christ; I am apt to think, after ninety-eight or one hundred of them were elapsed. These things being premised, let us now come to consider the text.

John’s vision continueth still: by the Lamb he means Christ, the Lamb oft mentioned Revelation 5:1-14; and by

one of the seals, one of the seven seals mentioned Revelation 5:1, that were set upon the book which John saw in the right hand of God the Father, given to Christ, Revelation 5:7. Christ began to discover the counsels of God relating to that first period of his church. And John heard one of the four living creatures speaking to him with a great and terrible voice, like

the noise of thunder. Inviting him to come near, or to attend and see.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-6.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

первую изпечатей Как показано в гл. 5, Христос был единственным, Кто достоин открыть книгу – совершить главное деяние для вселенной. Он вскрывает 7 печатей на книжном свитке, и каждая открытая печать показывает нарастание Божьего суда на земле в период будущей скорби (см. пояснение к 5:1; Мф. 24:3-9). Эти закрытые печатями приговоры включают все суды, до конца. За 7-ой печатью идут 7 труб; 7-я труба содержит 7 чаш.

(6:1 - 9:21) Эта часть книги дает подробное описание судов и событий годины искушения (см. пояснение к 3:10) от начала, когда была вскрыта первая печать (ст.1, 2), до 7-ой печати, труб и чаш и вплоть до возвращения Христа с целью наказать нечестивых (19:11-21).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-6.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Here begin the proper prophecies of the book extending onward from the writer’s day to the end of the world. For the general plan of the series and the principles on which its several parts are to be interpreted. In the present chapter every thing depends on the interpretation of the sixth seal. There are those who suppose that the seven seals and the seven trumpets run, either wholly or in part, parallel with each other in time, each carrying the history of the church and the world down to the era of millennial glory. Such of course apply the sixth seal to the mighty revolutions, commotions, and overturnings that immediately precede the millennial reign of Christ. But it seems impossible to reconcile this view with the plain words of the apostle in chap Revelation 8:1-2, which represent the seven trumpets as included under the seventh seal, and therefore following the sixth. Taking then this latter as the true view, we may inquire to what great event in past history the sixth seal applies. They who suppose that the Apocalypse was written before the destruction of Jerusalem very naturally refer the sixth seal to that awful catastrophe, and they find an interpretation of the five preceding seals in our Saviour’s words which describe the signs preceding that event, Matthew 24:6-14, where the triumphant progress of the gospel amidst wars, famines, earthquakes, pestilences, and bitter persecutions, is set forth, and the great catastrophe itself is described, verse Matthew 24:29, in imagery remarkably agreeing with that of the opening of the sixth seal. If, according to the more usual supposition, this book was written after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, A.D. 70, there are but two events to which the sixth seal can, with any degree of probability, be referred-the overthrow of paganism by Christianity in the first half of the fourth century, or the dissolution of the old Roman empire by the invasion of the northern barbarians. The imagery employed seems more appropriate to the latter event than to the former. If we apply the sixth seal to that mighty revolution by which the fact of the civilized world was permanently changed, it will be best to understand it as representing the dissolution of the old Roman empire, not in its successive stages, but in its entireness; in other words, the breaking up of that great central power which had, for so many centuries, kept the world in subordination, thus preparing the way for the series of desolating invasions from the north which had their origin in the decay of the Roman state, and which completed the work of its destruction.

One of the four beasts; according to the interpretation of the four living creatures that has been given, that they represent the sum of the created powers and agencies by which God administers his providential government over the world, the call to "come and see" proceeding from them will signify that the events predicted are of a providential character.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-6.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

With this chapter commenceth the Opening of the Seals. Here are six of them opened in this Chapter, the various Events of which are enumerated in Prophetical Language, and with these the Chapter closeth.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/revelation-6.html. 1828.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

onwards. The Lamb now begins to open the seals. The inevitability of history is revealed, for all is seen to be in God’s hands. He is in control of history. But this does not mean He causes it to be. It is man who chooses the way that he takes, with its inevitable results, but God in the end is the overruling force, using it for His greater purposes. The seals will follow the pattern laid down by our Lord. False Messiahs and false prophets, international wars, famine, pestilence, death, intense persecution of God’s people, earthquakes, signs in the heavens, all leading up to the Coming of Christ, and all to be experienced in these days in which his readers and we live.

The seals are opened one by one, but they are opened immediately. The events which they describe are parallel not consecutive. The false Messiahs, the great wars, the famines and pestilences, and massive slaughter (seals 1-4), together with the persecution of God’s people (seal 5) all occur contemporaneously. They present the march of world history. This has been especially the history of the world of the Near and Middle East. The sixth seal is also contemporaneous, showing a world in turmoil (see commentary), although in this case taking us on to the final judgment. In one sense it is the reply to the prayers of the fifth seal. Thus the seventh seal, which results in the blowing of the seven trumpets is also contemporaneous. These describe God’s particular judgments among the world’s self-inflicted misery.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-6.html. 2013.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

THE OPENING OF THE SEVEN SEALS

The ominous announcement--6:1.

The Lamb opened: Christ the Lamb, the only one

able to open, begins in order the opening of the seven seals.

The noise of thunder: The voice of "one of the creatures (beings)" announced the opening, with a noise like thunder. It signified the ominous import of the announcement, the awesome note of what was about to be revealed.

Come and see: This meant that the announcer was ready to show unto John what was to occur successively in the struggle with and overthrow of persecuting powers.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-6.html. 1966.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

"I saw" marks the continuation of what John had seen that chapters4,5 record, but also the commencement of revelation concerning future events on earth. Chapters1-5 have introduced this revelation. John was an eyewitness of this revelation that came to him like action scenes in a film rather than as words from the pages of a book.

When the Lamb broke the first of the seven seals on the scroll that He had taken from God, one of the four creatures invited someone to "Come." This was probably an invitation to the first horseman rather than to John or to Christ. The angel gave this command (Gr. imperative) four times ( Revelation 6:1; Revelation 6:3; Revelation 6:5; Revelation 6:7), and each time a horseman on a horse came forth.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-6.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 6:1. And I saw. This word ‘saw’ is to be taken absolutely, as in Revelation 6:2, where it is repeated.

when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals. We have no right to translate the original word for ‘one’ in this and also in the next clause, by the words ‘the first’ At chap. Revelation 4:7, where the living creatures are described, the proper expressions for the first, the second, the third, and the fourth are used. Whether, therefore, the living creatures now meet us in one same order as that in which they are mentioned there, it is hardly possible to say. The probability is that they do; out that alone will not entitle us to find a special connection between each of the four and the vision introduced in answer to its ‘cry,’ as if the lion called for subjugation, the bull-calf for sacrificial slaughter, the man for mourning, and the eagle for tearing the prey. It is enough to say that the visions are introduced with peculiar propriety as an answer to the cry of the living creatures. These beings represent redeemed creation, and it is upon the world that judgment is to fall. This last consideration also shows us that it is a mistake to imagine that the living creatures are mentioned because they are connected with a throne of grace. They are emblems of judgment, not of grace (see on chap. Revelation 4:7); and judgment is about to be executed. The living creature cries ‘Come,’ not ‘Come and see.’ In the latter case the cry would be addressed to the Seer. It is really addressed to Jesus (comp. chap. Revelation 22:17; Revelation 22:20). The cry is answered.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-6.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

I saw that the Lamb had opened one of the seven seals, or the first seal. The interpreters are much divided in expounding what is to be understood by the sealed up contents, and in applying them to such and such persecutions, persons, and events, by all which it appears that there is no certainty as to such applications and expositions, even of particular ancient fathers; though at the same time it is both certain and evident that many pretended interpretations, (that is, arbitrary inventions, from the private spirit of heretics) are both false and groundless, contrary to the unexceptionable authority (to use Dr. W.'s words) of the primitive fathers, and inconsistent with the doctrine and belief of the Catholic Church, as I may have occasion to shew that the ridiculous fable is of this number, of so many popes being antichrist, and the beast of the Apocalypse. I shall, for the satisfaction of the Christian reader, as I hinted in the preface of this book, give a short account of those expositions that are not improbable. (Witham)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-6.html. 1859.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

Instead of reading the scroll, it seems each time a seal is opened a part of its message is portrayed. One of the four beasts spoke with a voice like thunder and said "Come." It is doubtful the words "and see" belong here. John is watching and the first rider is bid to come.

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-6.html. 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

saw. App-133.

Lamb. See Revelation 5:6.

seals. Read "seven seals", with texts.

as . . . saying. Read, "one of the four zoa saying as with a voice of thunder".

beasts. See Revelation 4:6.

and see. All the texts omit.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-6.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

Note, Revelation 5:1. Mede, Fleming, Newton, etc., hold that all these seals are fulfilled, the sixth by the overthrow of Paganism and establishment of Christianity under Constantine's edict, 313 AD But, in the full sense at least, the sixth seal is future, to be realized at the coming again of Christ. The objection to the seals having been finally and exhaustively fulfilled (though particular events may be partial fulfillments typical of the final one), is that, if so, they ought to furnish (as the destruction of Jerusalem, according to Christ's prophecy, does) external evidence of revelation. But they cannot be used for this, as hardly two interpreters of this school agree on what events constitute the fulfillment. Probably, not isolated facts, but classes of events preparing for Christ's coming kingdom, are intended. The first horse marks conquests; the second, third, and fourth horses mark civil wars, scarcity, and mortality. The fifth seal marks even persecutions of Christians overruled to Christ's final triumph. The four living creatures severally cry at the opening of the first four seals, "Come;" which divides the seven, as often, into four and three.

One of the seals. 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, Syriac, read, 'one of the seven seals.'

Noise. A B C read this [ foonee (Greek #5456), or foonei (Greek #5455)] nominative, or dative, not the genitive: 'I heard one from among the four living creatures saying, as (it were) the voice (or, as with the voice) of thunder' ['Aleph (') manuscript: fooneen (Greek #5456)]. The first living creature was like a lion (Revelation 4:7): his voice corresponds to the lion-like boldness with which, in successive revivals, the faithful have testified for Christ, and especially before His coming shall testify. Rather, their earnestness in praying for Christ's coming.

Come and see. So 'Aleph (') B [ ide (Greek #2396)]; but A C, Vulgate, reject it. Alford objects to "Come and see," 'Where was John to come? Separated by the glassy sea from the throne, was he to cross it?' Contrast the expression, Revelation 10:8. It is more probably the cry of the redeemed to the Redeemer "Come," deliver the groaning creature from the bondage of corruption [ erchou (Greek #2064) echoing His erchomia]. Thus Revelation 2:1-29 answers the cry, 'went (literally, came) forth,' corresponding to, "Come." "Come" (Grotius) is the living creature's address to John, calling his earnest attention. "Come" can hardly mean this. Compare the only other places of its occurrence in Revelation (Revelation 22:17) [ elthee (Greek #2064), Revelation 22:20, erchou (Greek #2064)]. If the four living creatures represent the four gospels, "Come" will be their invitation to everyone (for their address is not necessarily to John) to accept Christ's salvation while there is time, as the opening of the seals marks a progressive step toward the end. Judgments are foretold as accompanying the preaching of the Gospel as a witness to all nations (Matthew 24:6-14; Revelation 14:6-11, to which the invitation, "Come," is parallel. The opening of the four first seals is followed by judgments preparatory for His coming. At the opening of the fifth, the martyrs above express the same (cf. Zechariah 1:10; Revelation 6:9-10). At the opening of the sixth, the Lord's coming is ushered in with terrors to the ungodly. At the seventh, the consummation is reached (Revelation 11:15).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-6.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(1) And I saw when the Lamb (the diminutive form of Lamb is still used) . . .—The words “and see” are doubtful. They are found in some MSS. and omitted in others: the authority for their omission and for their retention is about equally divided. Under these circumstances we may fairly be guided by the context. To whom is the summons addressed? Who is bidden to come? If it was taken to be addressed to the seer, we can understand why some copyist should add the words “and see.” But are they addressed to the seer? It seems difficult to see the purpose of such a command. He was near already. He had seen the Lamb opening the seal. There was no object in his drawing near. Are the words, then, addressed, as Alford supposes, to Christ? It is difficult to believe that the living creature would thus cry to the Lamb, who was opening the scroll. The simplest way of answering the question is to ask another: Who did come in obedience to the voice? There is but one answer—the horseman. The living beings cry “Come,” and their cry is responded to by the appearance of the several riders. What is the spiritual meaning of this? The living beings represent, as we have seen, animated nature—that nature and creation of God which groans and travails in pain, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. These summon the emblems of war and pestilence to come on the scene, for these things must needs be, and through these lies the way for the final coming of God’s Christ, for whom creation longs. They bid the pains and troubles come, because they recognise them as the precursors of creation’s true King. Thus their voice has in it an undertone which sighs for the advent of the Prince of Peace, who is to come.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-6.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
when
5:5-7
the noise
4:5; 10:3,4; 11:19
one
3,5,7; 4:6,7; Acts 4:20
Reciprocal: Isaiah 29:11 - I cannot;  Isaiah 48:6 - showed;  Amos 3:7 - but;  John 1:29 - Behold;  John 12:29 - thundered;  John 16:13 - he will show;  Revelation 5:1 - sealed;  Revelation 8:1 - And;  Revelation 10:2 - a little;  Revelation 19:6 - and as the voice of mighty

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-6.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

The Lamb began to open the book (or roll), and when the first seal was broken John heard a voice like thunder. That indicated a powerful voice was sounding that would demand attention. Accordingly one of the four creatures called to John to come and see.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-6.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 6:1

Revelation 6:1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as It were the noise of thunder, one of the four beast, saying, come, and see.

The Lord Jesus Christ having prevailed to open this sealed book of the Revelation, which God gave him, and he took it out of his right hand. Now John saw him open one of the seals; that Isaiah, the first in order of the seven seals of this book; It is a Hebraism, the Jews used so to express; and call the first of times, things or persons, as Genesis 1:5 one day, that Isaiah, the first day. It is also a Helenism; the Greeks used to express and call the first of Sabbaths, {Mark 16:2} prwi thv miav sabbatwn, early upon one of the Sabbaths, that Isaiah, upon the first Sabbath {Mark 16:9} For that first day of the week was the first Christian Sabbath, called the Lord's Day. See the exposition upon Revelation 1:10. SEE KNOLLYS: Revelation 1:10 So here, by one of the seals is meant the first of the seven seals. Likewise, by one of the four living creatures, is meant the first of them, and so the second, third, and fourth. { Revelation 6:2; Revelation 6:8}

And I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four living Creatures, saying, Come, and see

This invitation was given by the first of the four living creatures unto John, whose voice is like the noise of thunder, as when a lion roareth. The voice of God revealing his secret judgements by his prophets and ministers, is compared unto a roaring of a lion. { Amos 3:7-8} The lion hath roared, who will not fear? The Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesize?

Come and See,

that Isaiah, Come hither near to the Lamb, and look into this first vision, now opened by the Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ, as Mediator: Now those that are unlearned, even babes in Christ, God's little children may see, and read, and understand, so much as Christ will reveal the mysteries thereof unto them. { Matthew 11:25; Isaiah 29:11}

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-6.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

First Seal

Revelation 6:1. And I saw that[Note: It is properly: And I saw when, that is, I was a beholder when. It is better to explain thus than with several: And I beheld, when the Lamb dad opened one of the seven seals, then I heard. The hearing can certainly be comprehended under the seeing, in a more general sense. But where, as here, there is merely something to be heard, and nothing properly to be seen, the: I saw, could scarcely be so employed. But the opening of the first seal was of itself, and apart from its contents, of such moment, that it was proper for the Seer to say in regard to it, that he saw.]the Lamb opened one of the seven seals. And I heard one of the four beasts say as with a voiceof thunder: Come and see. Bengel: "The four first seals have apparently a special resemblance to each other and a close connection, as hare also the three last. In the four first the four sacred beasts exclaim after each other to John: Come; and on each occasion John saw a horse of a certain colour, and a certain power that either belonged, or was now given to him that sat on it. But in the three last seals the four sacred beasts are not mentioned, and neither is there any horse."

Expositors for the most part remark, that one of the four beasts may be as much as the first, and that this, according to ch. Revelation 4:7, may be the lion. But in harmony with only one of the four beasts and not the first being here named, is the circa instance, that there is no evidence whatever of the particular beasts being taken into account.

But why generally should such appearances of the beasts hare been announced? The answer is: because they are the representatives of the earth, on which the judgments were to be inflicted, or rather of all living beings on the earth. To the same conclusion points also the expression in Revelation 6:6 : in the midst of the four beasts.

The words: as with a voice of thunder, are used only of the first in the series, and as to the meaning also appear to belong only to this. For, this distinction corresponds with the surpassing elevation of the object. With a voice of thunder was he announced, whose voice, according to ch. Revelation 1:15, "is like a voice of many waters," of whom it is said in ch. Revelation 10:3, "And he cried with a loud voice as a lion roars, and when he cried the seven thunders uttered their voices." The voice of thunder is a suitable announcement of the God-man conqueror, who, with invincible might, carries everything before him. Especially in the third of the series the thunders would have been unsuitable. They are elsewhere found also only in connection with the greatest transactions.

The second thing peculiar to the preparation for the first appearance is the "Come and see" (in the following seals, it is merely: Come), which is spoken here to John as the representative of the whole church, which must be instructed through him regarding future events. This also points to the higher dignity of the first appearance, to the "great sight" (Exodus 3:3; Acts 7:31), which was presented in it. Bengel falsely: "This word see is put only at the first seal and its joyful contents. In the three following seals it is merely said come. They are of mournful import." In this respect there is no difference between the first seal and the others, according to the right exposition. The appearances are all joyful for the church, all terrible for the world.

There exists here a wonderfully close resemblance between the Revelation and Gospel of John. The "come and see," which rests as to its ground on Psalms 66:5, "come and see the deeds of God," and often occurs in the Talmudic and Cabbalistic books as an invitation to the attentive consideration of some important matter (see Schöttgen) is found also in John's Gospel with reference to Christ. According to John 1:40 the "come and see"[Note: The want of the καὶ ἴ δε in several important manuscripts, which has led some recent critics to omit them in the text, has no weight. For, we can perceive the reason of the omission to be, that in other codices the words are added at the second, third, and fourth seals. People sought in various ways to bring the seals into agreement with each other. For the originality of the καὶ ἴ δε there is the parallel mark of distinction in the first seal of the voice of thunder, and the agreement with John 1:47.]was the second word which was heard from Jesus by John along with his companion Andrew (see the proof for John's being the unnamed disciple of the Baptist, who on his testimony followed Jesus with Andrew, in Lampe Proleg. i. c. 2, § 2.) That word had indelibly impressed itself on the thoughtful mind of the apostle. Through him probably had it come to Philip, and here it is once more sounded forth again.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-6.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

III. OPENING OF THE SEVEN SEALS, Revelation 6:1 to Revelation 8:1.

Four Creational Seals, Revelation 6:1-8.

1.And—By decision of the divine court the seals are now, through the agency of the Lamb, about to be broken. And in each of the three series of sevens, the seals, the trumpets, and the vials—the distinction between the creational four and the divine three is decisively marked; so decisively, indeed, as to be an important aid in the interpretation.

The first four of each seven have to do with external nature; and they so correspond with each other as to show that not so much chronological order, as mutual correlation, is the basis of their succession. This fact discards fatally those methods of interpretation according to which a long consecutive human history, with dates in chronological order, is here sought to be traced. The last three of each seven have to do with more spiritual interests dear to the hearts of the elders—with men rather than physical nature, and with the Church. The six seals, nevertheless, run through a series of successive phases of the entire moral history of the world under the Messianic dispensation. The first four present the world under the aspect of the fall of man; the second, the renovation through the final doom and retribution; which is completed in the picture of the redemption and the glory in chapter 7. We have thus in the six seals the cycle of man’s moral history briefly symbolized, to be more fully evolved under the seven trumpets. The unsealing of chapter vi is a dark and gloomy series, which is gloriously relieved by the pictorial sealing of Revelation 7. Hence chapters sixth and seventh should be read as one great antithetic tableau. It is the great judgment history and contrast; woe to the profane, grace to the holy. However much the Church has misread the Apocalypse, it has ever read this great assuring fact, that with God the finality will be the eternal triumph of the right.

The Lamb opened—So that of this second apocalypse, which draws forth the third, as well as of the first, Christ is the real revealer.

One of the four beasts—Each of the four creational seals is called forth by one of the cherubic beasts. Noise (rather, voice) of thunder—The movement of this great first unsealing thus signally announced.

Come and see—Each of the four beasts utters a Come, and our English version adds, and see, as addressed to John. But the best authorities have only Come. To whom, then, was this Come addressed? Not to John, for the symbol was plainly visible to him without any coming. Clearly it is addressed to the symbol now to be released from detention by the opening of the seal, and ready to be called forth by the cherub. The fancy of Alford, that it is addressed to Jesus, (as in Revelation 22:20,) is very far-fetched.

The first seal—of CONQUEST.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-6.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 6:1. The command or invitation is not addressed to Christ (as Revelation 22:17; Revelation 22:20). If addressed to the seer, it is abbreviated from the ordinary rabbinic phrase (ueni et uide) used to excite attention and introduce the explanation of any mystery. The immediate sequel (omitted only in Revelation 6:4), , does not, however, forbid the reference of to the mounted figures; hearing the summons, John looked to see its meaning and result. The panorama of these four dragoons (“ad significandum iter properum cum potentia”) is partly sketched from Semitic folk-lore, where apparitions of horsemen (cf.2 Maccabees 3:25, etc.: “the Beduins always granted me that none living had seen the angel visions ’ the meleika are seen in the air like horsemen, tilting to and fro,” Doughty, Arab. Deserta, i. 449) have been a frequent omen of the end (cf. Jos. Bell. vi. 5; Sib. Or. iii. 796), partly reproduced from (Persian elements in) Zechariah 1:7 f., Revelation 6:1-8, in order to bring out the disasters (cf.Jeremiah 14:12; Jeremiah 21:7) prior to the last day. The direct sources of 6. and 9. lie in Leviticus 26:19-26; Ezekiel 33:27; Ezekiel 34:28 f., and Sirach 39:29-30 (“fire and hail and famine and , all these are created for vengeance; teeth of wild beasts and scorpions and serpents and a sword taking vengeance on the impious to destroy them”). An astral background, in connection with the seven tables of destiny in Babylonian mythology, each of which was dedicated to a planet of a special colour, has been conjectured by Renan (472); cf. Chwolson’s Die Ssabier, iii. 658, 671, 676 f. For other efforts to associate these horsemen with the winds or the planets, see Jeremias (pp. 24 f.) and M.W. Müller in Zeitr. f. d. neutest. Wiss. (1907), 290–316. But the proofs are fanciful and vague, though they converge upon the view that the colours of the steeds at least had originally some planetary significance. The series, as usual, is divided into the first four and the second three members. The general contents of Revelation 6:1-8 denote various but not successive phases of woe (only too familiar to inhabitants of the Eastern provinces) which were to befall the empire and the East during the military convulsions of the final strife between Rome and Parthia. The “primum omen,” for John as for Vergil, is a white horse, ridden by an archer.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-6.html. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

1. Then I saw. The Lamb breaks open the first of the seals. Come. The four living creatures (cherubim) take turns introducing a horseman.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 6:1". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-6.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.