Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 6:7

When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, "Come."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Animals;   Famine;   Horse;   Vision;   Scofield Reference Index - Remnant;   The Topic Concordance - Day of the Lord;   Seals;  
Dictionaries:
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Prophet, Prophetess, Prophecy;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Horse;   Horseman;   Number Systems and Number Symbolism;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Beast;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Eschatology;   Horse;   Voice;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Horse;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Book;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The fourth beast - That which had the face of an eagle.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 6:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-6.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And when he had opened the fourth seal - See the notes at Revelation 5:1.

I heard the voice of the fourth beast say - The flying eagle. See the notes at Revelation 15:7. As in the other cases, there does not appear to have been any particular reason why the fourth of the living creatures should have made this proclamation rather than either of the others. It was poetic and appropriate to represent each one in his turn as making proclamation.

Come and see - See the notes at Revelation 6:1.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 6:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-6.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And when he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, Come. And I saw and behold, a pale horse: and he that sat upon him, his name was Death; and Hades followed with him. And there was given unto them authority over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with famine, and with death, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

It is wrong to read of these continuing scourges of war, famine, and disease as if they were, in any sense, unlimited. The oil and wine were not to be hurt under the black horse, and in the case of the pale horse, even the extensive arsenal of destructive weapons could not give him any authority over anything beyond "the fourth part of the earth." Thus, God's merciful providence for mankind is plainly evident in these awful calamities. Some have been perplexed that God would permit such a thing as the disasters depicted under the last three of these horsemen. Caird thought that, "We may be pardoned for asking whether the Lamb who lets such horrors loose on the world is really the same person as the Jesus of the gospel story."[29] A comment like that is grounded in blindness to the great mercy of God evident even in these four judgments; and also, there is a blindness to the truth that it was not the Lamb who let loose the horrors - that epic mistake belongs to Adam and his posterity. Man, having rebelled against his Creator and being expelled from the Paradise of God, may thank only himself for the manifold miseries which drown the world in sorrows. The progression of these visions is one that exhibits the following: (1) God permits people to continue the enjoyment of freedom of their will. God will not procure obedience through coercion. (2) The progression of disastrous human calamities is not permitted to ravage without limitation, but each of them is limited, a fact that will often recur in subsequent visions. (3) Nor are these terrible riders permitted to go alone. At the head of the van is the white horse with its crowned rider; and all of the others "following" him means that they are not permitted to destroy except under the rules of divine restraint. Moreover, that first rider carries the news of the everlasting gospel, capable of saving all who were ever born on earth. It has the double quality, however, of making even worse those who hear it and reject it, a quality which fully entitles the Rider of the first seal to take his place with the other "judgments" upon mankind, indeed not as their equal, but as their king and leader. For "Neither does the Father judge any man, but he hath given all judgment unto the Son" (John 5:22).

The above analysis of these four riders absolutely requires that the first be understood as the Lord Jesus Christ. The denial of this can lead to exactly the kind of pessimism mentioned by Caird.

"The futurist interpretation holds that these seals refer to terrible judgments upon humanity at the end of this age."[30] However, such an explanation leaves out of sight the undeniable truth that every morning's newspaper carries the account of what these ravaging horsemen are doing, not at some future time, but right now all over the world.

Kill with the sword ... "No significance should be attached to John's choice of a different word for 'sword,' from that in 5:4. The two words are synonyms."[31]

There is a remarkable similarity in these symbols. The sword is a feature of the second and fourth; and famine is prominent in the third and fourth, the latter being the most terrible, displaying the powers, not only of the second and third (sword and famine), but also the dimension of death by wild beasts. The very personification of the grave itself attends the rider of the pale horse. Significantly, there is no suggestion of any identity in the fourth with the white horse and its rider, indicating emphatically that there is a fundamental difference between the first symbol and the three following.

There would appear to be also a progression of some kind in the last three. War, as bad as it is, affects relatively minor proportions of the earth's peoples. Famine, which, in many instances, attends war and is a resulting consequence of war, is a far more extensive destroyer; and the combined elements of destruction evident in the fourth go far beyond the devastation of both the others put together.

How long do these three ravaging horsemen operate? There is nothing in the text to suggest that they shall ever cease until the Second Advent. They are represented as proceeding against mankind from an authority in heaven identified with the Throne himself; and not one of them was pictured as returning prior to the sending of the others, or at any other time. The finding of successive ages or periods of history in these symbols is contrary to the known destruction represented by all three being operative throughout history. There is no historical period when any one of them may not be said to prevail.

The difficulty of understanding Christ as the rider of the first horse, or rather the whole symbol as a figure of Christ, is admittedly present; but the failure to do so is a far greater difficulty. From the beginning, it has been pointed out that "judgment" is the theme of Revelation (Revelation 1:7); and the very fact of there being "four" of these symbols grouped together adds to their identification as judgments upon mankind. As Roberson pointed out:

Three being the divine number takes precedence when the fortunes of the church are under consideration, and four being the number of the world takes the lead when judgments on the world are described.[32]

We have noted this phenomenon before, and it will recur again. The inclusion of Christ himself as a participant in this judgment series is not merely in keeping with his character as judge of all mankind, but also with the whole purpose of Revelation. And how is Christ, throughout this dispensation, judging the world? The answer: from his throne in heaven (Matthew 19:28), by the preaching of the gospel of Christ in all nations through his followers, and by the witness of the church, his spiritual body. The gospel judges all who hear it. Most significantly, no bad result of any kind was indicated in the progression of the throned rider on the white horse! As Lenski said: "Those who think of Christ or Christianity here are not far wrong."[33] But does not preaching the gospel refer to the church? In the context here, it refers to the impact of the gospel upon unbelievers, to whom the gospel is also preached; and the fact of their unbelief results in its being an adverse judgment of themselves.

[29] G. B. Caird, The Revelation of St. John the Divine (New York: Harper and Row, 1966), p. 82.

[30] Ralph Earle, Beacon Bible Commentary, Vol. 10 (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1967), p. 543.

[31] Robert H. Mounce, op. cit., p. 156.

[32] Charles H. Roberson, op. cit., p. 41.

[33] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 221.

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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 6:7". "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 when he had opened the fourth seal,.... Of the seven seals of the sealed book; that is, when the Lamb had opened it, or took it off, as in Revelation 6:1;

I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, come and see; this living creature was that which was like an eagle, and was on the north side of the throne, answerable to the standard of Dan, which was on the north of the camp of Israel, and had the figure of an eagle upon it; and the opening of this seal begins with Maximinus the Roman emperor, who came from Thrace, far north. This living creature was not James, the brother of our Lord, who had been dead long ago, as Grotius imagines; nor Cyprian, as Brightman thinks, though he lived under this seal; but the ministers of the Gospel in general in the times referred to are intended: and it may denote some decline in the Gospel ministry, that they had not the courage and strength of the lion, as the first Gospel preachers; nor the patience and laboriousness of the ox, the next set of ministers; nor the solidity and prudence of the man, the ministers that followed them; and yet they retained some degree of light and knowledge, sagacity and penetration, and contempt of the world, signified by the eagle; these invite John in a visionary way to come and see the following hieroglyphic.

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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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 6:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-6.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

6 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

(6) The fourth sign joined with words of declaration is, that God will devote a quarter of the world to death and hell, or the grave, by all those methods at once, who individually and in order he had summoned to change their minds. To these are also added the wild and cruel beasts of the earth (Leviticus 16:22). Thus according to his wisdom, God dispenses the treasures of his power, justly towards all, mercifully towards the good, and with patience or longsuffering towards his enemies.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 6:7". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-6.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

and see — supported by B; omitted by A, C, and Vulgate. The fourth living creature, who was “like a flying eagle,” introduces this seal; implying high-soaring intelligence, and judgment descending from on high fatally on the ungodly, as the king of birds on his prey.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
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 6:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-6.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

I heard the voice of the fourth living creature — Toward the north.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 6:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-6.html. 1765.

Scofield's Reference Notes

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

Come and see Come! Omit "and see." So Revelation 6:1; Revelation 6:3; Revelation 6:5

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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 6:7". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-6.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

Ver. 7. {See Trapp on "Revelation 6:3"}

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 6:7". 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 fourth seal opened represents a pale horse, (pestilence,) with death riding upon it; and hell, that is, the grave, followed it: denoting, say some, all the calamities of sword, pestilence, and famine, which Christ Mark 13 foretold should come upon the Jews, and cause an universal devastation of their city and nation, and as universal a destruction of their persons.

Note here, 1. How death is represented as sitting upon a pale horse; by a horse, for his strength, there is no resisting of him; for his swiftness, it is always posting towards us; for his office and use, which is to cut off, and carry away; and by a pale horse, for its ghastliness. Death has a grim and ghastly countenance, that strikes terror into all hearts, and paleness into all faces.

Note, 2. As terrible as death was, it must and did receive power before it could destroy and kill: I beheld a pale horse, and he that sat on him was death, and hell followed with him: and power was given to them.

Learn thence, That all the executioners of God's wrath and vengeance, sword, pestilence, and famine, death of all kinds, do act by commission, yea, they all come forth with limited commission; power was given to them.

Others conceive, that by this pale horse the persecution of the primitive church was represented under the Pagan emperors, who made her face look pale like death, by the loss of a vast quantity of blood and spirits, when the church was mowed down like a meadow, and sprang as fast.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 6:7". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-6.html. 1700-1703.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The beast mentioned Revelation 4:7, that had the face of a flying eagle, inviteth John to attend to the opening of

the fourth seal, that is, the revelation of the counsels of God, as to what should happen to the church (within the Roman empire) in the fourth period, which is conceived to have begun with Maximinus, about the year 237, and to have ended with the reign of Dioclesian, 294.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 6:7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-6.html. 1685.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The Lamb broke the fourth seal, and the fourth living creature called the fourth horseman out.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 6:7". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-6.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

-8

The fourth seal....a pale horse, the rider's name death. It is also expounded of trials, afflictions, persecutions, and especially of plagues, over four parts of the earth, by which may be denoted the great power and extent of the Roman empire. In the Greek we read, over the fourth part of the earth; which some reconcile, by observing that the Roman empire had dominions under it in all the four parts of the world, east, west, north, and south; and that its dominions might be said to comprehend the fourth part of the world. (Witham) --- By the pale horse, and the rider, death, who sat upon it, followed by hell, are meant that dreadful mortality which ever attends famines, &c. He had power to kill with sword, with famine, &c. All these evils came upon the Roman people, and history has preserved the memory of them, to shew the truth of the prophecy here delivered by St. John. (Grotius; Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 6:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-6.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

And see. Supported by B omitted by A C, Vulgate. The fourth living creature, "like a flying eagle," introduces this seal: high-soaring intelligence, and judgment, swooping down on the ungodly, as the king of birds on his prey.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 6:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-6.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.
1,3,5; 4:7
Reciprocal: Revelation 8:1 - And

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 6:7". "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

No description is given of the voice of the beasts (living creatures) after the first one. But in each case (up to the fourth) the call to attention is made to John that he would be sure to see what was about to be revealed.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 6:7". 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 6:7

Revelation 6:7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

The fourth living creature, { Revelation 4:7} was the eagle-eyed teachers in the church of God, who did foresee another dispensation of God, and said,

Come, and See

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 6:7". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-6.html.