There is a definite parallel between the supernatural preparation for the kingdom in history under Moses and the supernatural judgments which shall be poured out upon a rebellious world in preparation for the future Millennial Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ at His second advent. There is the same insolent challenge to the true God on the part of the Gentile powers (Ps. 2:1-3). There will be a similar gracious but infinitely greater preliminary miracle [like Ex. 7:12]—the Rapture of the Church—warning men of the supremacy of Jehovah and the ultimate defeat of all who rebel against Him. There will be the same swift progression in the severity of the divine judgments which follow, and even a striking parallel in the nature of the judgments (cf. Rev. 6:1-17+ through 18). There will be the same victorious outcome, the destruction of the antichrist and his armies in the judgment of Armageddon, and deliverance of the people of Israel (Rev. 19:1-21+). There will be another song of victory, significantly referred to as ‘the song of Moses... and the song of the Lamb’ (Rev. 15:1-3+).3Everything which transpires from this point forward is completely within the control of God. For it is the Lamb Who initiates these events and there is no judgment, famine, or plague of demons which does not ultimately serve God’s purpose in what unfolds. This is seen by the frequently found phrase, it was given which attends both good and bad events recorded here (see commentary on Revelation 6:2+).Since it is the Lamb Who unleashes the events about to transpire, we are not surprised by the close correlation between the sequence of events here and those which Jesus, the Lamb of God, taught would come (see The Synoptic Gospels).They include:4
Each of the scroll’s seven seals (cf. Rev. 5:1+) represents a specific divine judgment that will be poured out sequentially on the earth. The seals encompass the entire period of the Tribulation (Rev. 3:10+), culminating with the return of Christ. It seems best to understand the first four seals as taking place during the first half of the Tribulation, the fifth stretching from the first into the second half, (called the “great tribulation” in Rev. 7:14+ and lasting three and one-half years; Rev. 11:2+; 12:6+; 13:5+) and the sixth and seventh taking place during that “great tribulation.” Apparently the seventh seal contains the seven trumpet judgments (Rev. 8:1+-11:19+) and the seventh trumpet (Rev. 11:15+) contains the seven bowl judgments (Rev. 16:1-21+). The seven seals thus contain all the judgments to the end when Jesus Christ returns.5As the Lamb opens the seals, a sequence of events are initiated which are closely parallel to Matthew 24 (also Mark 13 and Luke 21). The first four seals are set apart from the final three in their common representation by riders on horses.“beginning of sorrows” of Mat. 24:4-8 with the first four seals of Revelation 6:1-8+ and places them during the first half of the 70th week of Daniel.7 He also observes that the Day of the Lord includes the notion of birth pangs (Isa. 13:6-10; 1Th. 5:3), so the first four seals are probably included within the first half of the 70th week (see The 70th Week of Daniel).
Since the beginning of birth pangs of Matthew 24 and the first four seals of Revelation 6+ are the same thing, and since the broad Day of the Lord will include the beginning of birth pangs, we can conclude that the broad Day of the Lord will also include the first four seals of Revelation 6+. . . . Since the beginning of birth pangs of the first half of the 70th week and the first four seals of Revelation 6+ are the same thing, the divine wrath, anger, and destruction of the Day of the Lord will also be associated with the first four seals.8living creatures
The cry itself is very brief—Ἐρχου [Erchou] ! It may be equally rendered Go, or Come! Our translators give it about as often one way as the other. It does not alter the sense here whichever way we take it. It is not an address to John, as many have regarded it, and as the questionable addition to the text—“and see”—would seem to require. John was already on the spot, beholding all that was transpiring, and did not need to be called any nearer, or to remove any further off. And if his nearer approach or further departure had been needed in the case of the first horseman, it could not have been needed for the succeeding ones. But we find the same command repeated in each successive instance. Neither can we explain why it should be such a voice of thundering power, if it was simply to call to the seer.9
1 Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 1-7 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1992), Rev. 6:1.
3 Alva J. McClain, The Greatness Of The Kingdom (Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 1959), 56.
4 Keith H. Essex, “The Rapture and the Book of Revelation,” in Richard L. Mayhue, ed., The Master’s Seminary Journal, vol. 13 no. 1 (Sun Valley, CA: The Master’s Seminary, Spring 2002), 230.
5 John MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), Rev. 6:1.
6 Albrecht Durer (1471 - 1528). Image courtesy of the Connecticut College Wetmore Print Collection.
7 “Both passages involve similar descriptions to the approaching end.”—Renald E. Showers, The Pre-Wrath Rapture View (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2001), 11. “The beginning of birth pangs and the first four seals are the same and . . . take place during the first half of the 70th week.”—Renald E. Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come (Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1995), 16. “A comparison of Christ’s description of the beginning of birth pangs in Matthew 24:5-7 with the first four seals of Revelation 6:1-8+ indicates that the beginning of birth pangs and the first four seals are the same thing.”—Ibid., 25.
8 Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come, 63.
9 J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), 125.