Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
Click picture to visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.
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.
[6:1. The seals represent the beginning of Christ's judgment of unbelievers on the earth during the Tribulation period. There is a close similarity between these judgments and the events predicted by Christ in Matthew 24:4-31. The purpose of the Tribulation period is to punish unbelievers for their sin and rejection of Christ and to bring the remnant to faith in Christ. For the chronology of the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments, see the Introduction.]
2: And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
[6:2. The first seal initiates the worldwide conquest by the false messiah, the Antichrist (cf. Matt. 24:5). He will be the final Gentile world ruler (see 13:1-7). This horseman is not the same as the one described in 19:11, which is Christ at His second coming.]
3: And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
4: And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
[6:3,4. The second seal brings war and a lack of peace (cf. Matt. 24:6,7). The sword represents armed conflict. Perhaps the attacks on Israel mentioned in Ezekiel 38 and 39 and Daniel 11:40-44 are also in view.]
5: And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
6: And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.
[6:5,6. The third seal represents inflation and famine (cf. Matt. 24:7). The balances or scales are related to commerce and trade. The word penny, better transliterated "denarius," represented about one day's wages. Wheat and barley were considered necessities of life. A measure (Gr. choinix) was about one quart. The price given is about 10 times what was normal. The command hurt not the oil and the wine may indicate a restriction on the effects of the famine in this early part of the Tribulation.]
7: And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.
8: And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
[6:7,8. The fourth seal brings death to a fourth of the population of the earth, through war, famine, and pestilence (cf. Matt. 24:7; Luke 21:11). Death takes lives, and Hell (Hades) holds them for judgment.]