Revelation Study Guide: Week 11, Chapter 6
By Coty Pinckney
Read Chapter 6 of Revelation at least 3 times, without looking at notes or commentaries.
(1) Consider the progression of actions in the chapter as each seal is opened. Compare this progression to that found in Jesus' discussion in Matthew 24, especially verses 4-14 and 23-31. What similarities and differences do you find?
(2) Read Joel 2:28 to 3:21. Again, compare and contrast this passage with Revelation 6. Are these sections talking about the same event? Now read Acts 2:14-21. Does your opinion change in light of the way Peter uses the Joel passage at Pentecost?
(3) In addition, examine Isaiah 2, Isaiah 34:1-8, and Zephaniah 1:14-2:3. Also, recall that Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed and the Jews scattered in 70AD after a rebellion against Rome, prior to the writing of Revelation. To what extent do the prophecies of destruction found in the Old Testament and in Matthew correspond to the events of 70 AD? Can that event be the fulfillment of all these prophecies outside of Revelation?
(4) The lamb breaks six seals in this chapter. Try to summarize the impact of the breaking of each of the seals. What do the consequences of the breaking of the first four seals have in common? Does the same creature call out each time? The living creatures call to whom? Does the text say that the horses and their riders obey the command of the living creatures? See Zechariah 1:7-11 and 6:1-8 for other examples of horses in prophecy.
(5) When the fifth seal is broken, John looks underneath the altar. Has the alter been mentioned before? What is an altar doing in this place? Note that the blood of the sin offering was poured out at the base of the altar (Leviticus 4:7). What do the martyrs request? Are these martyrs being improperly revengeful? Are these requests consistent with Matthew 5:44? See also Luke 18:1-8.
(6) How would you describe the events that follow the breaking of the sixth seal? Consider again the other prophecies referenced above. Is this the end of time?
(7) Now compose a title for this chapter. Why does God see fit to include this chapter in the Bible? In what way do these events bring glory to (that is, display the character of) God? What impact should this have on us?
Now read Ray Stedman's sermon on this chapter and Wilcock pages 69-77. Here (and for much of the rest of the book) these two fine students of the Bible offer markedly different interpretations of these events. First, assume Stedman is correct, and consider the impact of this chapter on (a) a believer reading the prophecy in 95 AD; (b) a believer reading the prophecy in 1600; and (c) a believer reading the prophecy in 1999. Second, do the same assuming Wilcock is correct. What insights does this exercise give you (if any!)?
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