LINK: Revelation 6
Note: There are many views as to when these things take place. If you would like to read about the different views of interpretation of Revelation, see HERE. Wikipedia also has a lengthy article on this subject. In short, some believe that these events have already taken place and some believe they are in the future.
Revelation 6 is the first of three seven part judgments. The trumpets are in Revelation 8-9, and the bowls are in Revelation 16. A good way to remember what happens in this chapter is "sixth chapter and six seals"! The seventh seal for this first part of judgments is not broken until Revelation 8:1.
Cross-referencing may help you in your interpretation. The events of this chapter are very similar to the events predicted by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24-25:
1) Red horse of war - Matthew 24:6-7; Revelation 6:3-4
2) Black horse of famine - 24:7; 6:5-6
3) Pale green/ashen horse of death - 24:24:7-9; 6:7-8
4) Martyrdom - 24:9-10, 16-22; 6:9-11
5) Sun and moon darkened and stars falling - 24:29; 6:12-14
6) Judgment - 24:32-25:26; 6:15-17
The imagery of the four horses is also seen in Zechariah 6:1-8. You notice that there is no cross-reference in Matthew 24 for the white horse that has a rider with no arrow. Some have interpreted this to be Christ, but the crown he wears is not a kingly crown (stephanos is the "victor's crown" and not diadema that is the "kingly crown" worn by Christ in Revelation 19:12). For this reason, many interpreters do not think this is Christ but the Antichrist posing as a world ruler who would establish a world government without war followed by destruction. (Daniel 9:26, 1 Thessalonians 5:3; Revelation 13:4).
Remember that cross-references help us interpret Scripture with Scripture and are vital for inductive Bible study! These help us understand Revelation 6:
6:12 - Isaiah 2:19-22; Joel 2:28-32; 3:15; Acts 2:14-21
6:13 - Mark 13:21-25
6:14 - Isaiah 13:9-10; 34:1-4
6:15-17 - Zephaniah 1:14-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
The fifth seal involves the response of the martyrs ("a witness") and hearkens back to Old Testament imagery where the blood represents life (Leviticus 17:11), and these martyrs under the altar gave their lives sacrificially for God's glory (Philippians 2:17; 2 Timothy 4:6). They are eager for the vindication of God's holiness and for Him to bring justice to earth and not necessarily revenge, but they are told to wait.
The sixth seal includes worldwide catastrophes! (Oh my! It keeps me wanting to cling to God and tell more and more people about Him so that they will escape His judgment!)
I am exhausted just thinking about it all and need to lie down! Keep reading and praying and worshiping!
Pray for the lost around you. Pray for opportunities to share the Good News!
Look up the cross-references above.
Lord God, we worship You as a God of justice and holiness. We look forward to the day when this will be established on the earth. In the meantime, draw many to Yourself so that they will escape this! Amen.