The last article was a kind of intro into this series, so you can take a look at it if you want, but it is not necessary before reading this one. In this article, I want to explore what might be revealed to us presently within the first seal. First, I need to back things up a bit.
What is Being Sealed?
And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals (Revelation 5:1).
“Him that sat on the throne” is God the Father. What is the book He holds in His right hand? I cannot say for certain, but there are other instances in Revelation when a book is mentioned. Are these the same book?
In Revelation 10 a great angel appears with a “little book.” The book is opened, seven thunders utter mysteries, and the mysteries are sealed. We are told that this “mystery of God” will be finished when the seventh angel sounds. John was then instructed to take the little book and eat it up. It was sweet in his mouth, but his belly was made bitter.
There is also the book of life, which is mentioned on multiple occasions throughout the scriptures. Then there is the written word of God.
We can speculate on the nature of the book in Revelation 5. I think in some capacity, there is only one real “book” and all things are contained in this “book.” Therefore, what matters most is the knowledge written therein pertaining to life, especially concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We cannot understand the things that pertain to life without Jesus revealing these things to us.
This notion carries through to what is written next in Revelation 5. Who is worthy to open the book?
Why is Jesus the Only One Who Can Open the Book?
2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth (Revelation 5:2-10).
I don’t want to get into the depths of what is being discussed in the above scriptures at this time. If you’re curious and you would like to talk about these things, let me know. I’d be happy to. The point for now is this declaration: The Lamb that was slain is the only one found worthy to open the book and to loosen the seven seals. Of course, the lamb is Jesus Christ.
What Do Open Seals Reveal?
I think we can assume that the act of opening a seal is a symbol for revealing information. What kind of information is being revealed?
Here’s what I mean when I say that any mentioning of “the book” is only one book, and at its core this is the book of life: This book can contain all kinds of knowledge as revealed by the fullness of the Spirit of God. This knowledge can go two ways in the end: life or death. It depends on how the knowledge is received.
If the knowledge is received on “good ground” (the parable of the sower in the field, Matthew 13), then we are receiving life and we bear the fruits of life. We are also falling on the right side of that “two-edged sword” which is the word of God (Hebrews 4:12). If not, then that very same word, that very same knowledge that brings life to many, will bring death.
So, when looking at these seals, we want to look at them as one who is being given knowledge pertaining to life.
However, as with a two-edge sword, we should be careful in how we handle this knowledge. We should be reverent, never taking such things lightly, because in so doing we also take the blood of the Lamb lightly. The blood of the Lamb also has a life and death application, depending on whether we drink His blood in a worthy or unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:29).
The First Seal
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.
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.
The one on the white horse reflects the coming of Jesus. He will come on a white horse, as we see in Revelation 19. However, I do not think the person mentioned here in Revelation 6 is truly Jesus, but an imposter. Why do I believe this Christ figure is an imposter?
For one, a crown was given to him. That means this false figure received a kind of authority that is not innately his own. Since God grants all authority, but in Him is no darkness, we can determine that this authority is given by God through the prince of this world, or Satan. Another reason I believe this to be a false Christ is because we know that a false Christ must come (the son of destruction/perdition) before Jesus returns (Mark 13, 2 Thessalonians 2).
There are two ways I see this.
- The false Christ figure is that final antichrist who will deceive the nations before Jesus returns.
- The false Christ figure represents something spiritual within Christianity, both on a global scale and pertaining to many of us individually.
How do I come to these conclusions?
If not Jesus Himself, which I believe it not to be, then this figure on the white horse represents a person or persons acting in the name of Jesus. In the final sense, this could have to do with antichrist. In the present sense, this considers any who act in the name of Jesus falsely or with a heart that needs repenting of.
Consider the totality of Christian history. Our history is riddled with people and ideas that go around “conquering and to conquer,” all the while doing so in the name of furthering the kingdom of heaven. This is why we have so many denominations, for example. These leaders and ideas become a sort of crowned “king” that lay law down, divide, and conquer.
These “kings” take many forms, dating all the way back to the first king of Israel, Saul. Beginning with Saul until now, when the people of God become king in place of the King of Kings, division follows. So does murder, as we will see in the second seal. There are many “kings” today. Many denominations, many religious leaders, many individuals who go around “conquering” in the name of the kingdom of heaven but going about it in the wrong way.
How do we know if a religious leader is acting in the name of the Lord in sincerity or falsely? Here are some indicators, though they can be hard to spot at times:
- Unrighteous motivations like money, social status, and power.
- Becoming overly dogmatic about a non-salvation issue, resulting in an approach that forgets love for the brethren.
- Laying laws on people that do not promote inner righteousness, but outward legalism.
- Laying laws on people that are oppressive and negligent of our Christian liberties — liberties that are used to serve our brethren, not serve sin without consequence.
What Does This Seal Mean for Us?
Beware of “kings” who go about establishing their own kingdom instead of furthering the kingdom of heaven. This begins with those of the faith. After we hold our own Christian leaders accountable, then we can look to other kinds of worldly “kings.” These “kings” are governments and social ideologies that go about conquering in the name of their kingdom (their idea of utopia on earth).
These can include any social trend that calls evil good then tries to impose that evil as a virtue onto others while calling those who oppose unrighteous. Many such things are trending these days, but judgment begins at the house of God, so we should begin looking to our own wrongdoing first. After-all, history teaches us that it is the failings of God’s people that leads to oppression by worldly rulers in the first place.
We should look at ourselves first, always.
Since judgment begins at the house of God, this first means judging ourselves. Each individual is a temple, and we need to get our house in order. If we are not honest with ourselves, then we are at risk of judging others for things we do and we become hypocrites. So, let’s consider. How do we set ourselves up as a conquering king, all the while thinking we are acting in the name of Jesus? If we are sincere in heart, the Holy Spirit will convict us and guide us to repentance. Jesus will forgive us.
However, we should not think we are above these things. Here are some examples (many based on my own failings):
- Becoming so stern about an issue of doctrine or other non-salvation issue that we cause divisions among the brethren.
- Trying to impose our sense of righteousness on others in a manner that does not consider the liberty of our brethren, but instead places unfair bondage or judgment on them.
- Attempting to force someone into repentance through harsh words or actions.
- Having a know-it-all mindset that considers any who oppose as an enemy or outsider in the faith.
The only One who can open our hearts to the knowledge that brings life is Jesus Christ.
If we are one who is hardened to our sinful state and continue therein without repentance, then the love of the Lord is not truly in us. However, we all have blind spots, or seals, that we need opened. It’s always a good idea to pray that the Lord will continue to reveal the hidden darkness in our heart and give us the knowledge of life we need in order to overcome.
We should also remember that the hard are blind. They cannot see what is sealed within, nor can they see the light that can save them. Do not despise them or attempt to bully them into repentance. This will only harden them further. Approach such a person with humility. Be straight forward, but not overly harsh. If they cannot hear you, let it go. Pray for them.
Both the knowledge of our sin and the knowledge of life are important. How we receive these things speaks to whether we will be found on the side of life or the side of condemnation and death.
What can we learn from the 1st seal today?
As Christians, our lives are meant to be lived in Jesus name. However, if we claim the title of Christian and go around doing things in opposition to the kingdom of heaven, instead fueling the kingdom of this world or our own agenda, then we are not acting like Jesus. Instead, we are a kind of antichrist. Hard reality, but again, there is none who is above this and if we acknowledge these shortcomings and repent, there is forgiveness. There is life.
An important point:
No sincere Christian should look at themselves as a kind of antichrist. This is not an accusation towards anyone and is not meant to discourage anyone. In the end, there is only the sincere Christians and the unbelievers. If we are sincere, then we are not fated with the horsemen. Do not actually peg yourself as the horsemen, only see the tendencies within that need repenting of. As mentioned earlier, the way we handle the things of God matter. All of the warnings given through our history, the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles are given for a reason.
There are real horsemen who appear as Christians but are not, and since they claim Christ, they must be judged as Christians. That does not mean we are lumped in with that judgment. We also cannot judge anything before its time, so we should be extremely careful in pegging someone as false. It’s better to defend and encourage the brethren, not align ourselves with “The Accuser.” The blood of Christ, when revered, will cleanse us. Jesus will defend us. I hope this makes sense.
We should pay attention and be attentive to our salvation. If we are sincere, we should grow in reverence for the warnings we are given in the word and greatly appreciate the blood of Jesus that cleanses us. In so doing, we will grow in the knowledge of the Lord, and we will receive mercy, forgiveness, and life. Salvation that is neglected is revealed to be no salvation at all, only hard heart delusion and death.