The Four Horsemen
The opening of the seven seals occurs immediately after Christ ascends into Heaven and they concern all living creatures. The white horse mentioned in verse 2 symbolizes the preaching of the gospel, which is clean, pure, just, and approvable in the eyes of God. The first four seals consist of four horses with the four riders who are not actual people but rather personified things. Some people interpret this verse as the rider being Jesus but it is the gospel. Immediately after Christ’s ascension, the four things began to run rampant in the Earth and they will continue until Christ’s Second Coming. The gospel started spreading in the first century and simultaneously war has continued among mankind. War causes famine and famine causes death. The reason why the first rider has a bow is to fight the enemy and the crown is because the gospel has been crowned with the glory of Christ.
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the
light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
-2 Corinthians 4:4
The second horse is the rider of war. The red color of the horse represents bloodshed which is prominent in war. When this verse says “…to take peace from the earth…” it clearly indicates war. The third horse is that of famine. The blackness of the horse symbolizes a deficiency (Jeremiah 14:1-4) and represents famished people (Lamentations 4:8-9). Here, the balance is to weigh food. Verse 6 says, “…; and do not harm the oil and wine.” because oil and wine are for man’s pleasure and tend to be in short supply. They become precious and valuable in a time of famine. The fourth and final horse is that of death. It is a pale horse because when one dies they become pale in the face. Hades is the place where the unsaved dead are kept before judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). Hades follows this horse to obtain those that Death kills. The reason why beasts are mentioned here to kill man is because one of the punishments by God upon man is death by animals, such as in 2 Kings 2:24 and 2 Kings 17:25.
The Fifth and Sixth Seals
The fifth seal discusses Christian martyrs. They are given white robes because their martyrdom was approved by God. Verse 11, when saying that the number of their fellow slaves and brothers were about to be killed, is talking about the martyrdom of the great tribulation (Revelation 20:4). The sixth seal marks the beginning of the supernatural calamities and marks the beginning of the changing into the new heaven and the new earth.
Chapter 7 shows how God will still care for His people during the time of judgment. The winds mentioned in the first verse are the winds of His judgment (Jeremiah 22:22, 51:1). The angel in verse 2 is Jesus. He is a special messenger, granted power by God. Verse 3 lets us know that the Israelites whom He has chosen will be protected during the seventh seal and the seven trumpets. These are the Israelites who keep the commandments of God during the tribulation.There are 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel.
Verse 9-17 is about the redeemed ones from all nations and all generations. They are raptured to the presence of God right before the sixth seal is opened. They’re conduct has been approved by God so they’ve been washed by the blood of the lamb, hence the white robes. The palm branches in their hands signify the victory of the saints over suffering they went through in Christ’s name and the satisfaction of being watered. The great tribulation mentioned is not the one that occurs in Revelation but rather the suffering of God’s people throughout all generations. They will have no dissatisfaction once they are living in the kingdom of God.