Study Guide: Revelation 6:1-8 - Birth Pains
Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.
When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.
When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!”
When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.
Main Idea: All trials and judgments are brought about and measured by our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Summary: In chapter 5, John sees Jesus (depicted as a crucified Lamb) as the only One worthy to take the seven-sealed-scroll from the hand of God. Then, chapter 6 begins as the Lamb opens the first four of the seven seals. In doing so, the famous four horsemen - conquest, war, famine, and death - are given authority to execute their purposes on the earth under the control of God.
- Take note of all of the characters mentioned in the passage. What roles does each of them play?
- Read Ezekiel 14:12-23. Note that the trials listed in this passage are also mentioned in Revelation 6:8 (famine, wild beasts, sword, and pestilence). From this text, who faces these trials, and what is God’s purpose in using them?
- Considering the struggles of the seven churches in Revelation 2:1-3:22, how might have Revelation 6:1-8 encouraged or challenged some of them?
- Romans 8:28 says, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Everything we as Christians receive from God is grace. Where do you see His grace shine through this text?
- Over the past year, we have seen interpersonal, national, and international conflict, natural disasters, a pandemic, economic struggles, and death all impact the Church. In what ways can this passage encourage us today?
- In your own life and throughout history, how have you seen God use these types of events for good?
- Can you think of someone you know who is facing a severe trial? How can you encourage them to deepen their trust in Christ in the midst of it?
Prayer: Pray that you and your church family will faithfully trust in Jesus’s control of all events, including every trial and period of suffering.
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