Revelation 5-8

The one on the throne held a scroll in his right hand, sealed with seven seals.  The Lamb, who had seven horns and seven eyes and looked like he had been slaughtered, started opening the scroll.  One horse came out when each of the first four seals was opened, all of whom had riders.  The first rider had a bow. The second rider took peace from the earth, so people would slaughter each other.  The third proclaimed famine; the fourth was Death, who was allowed to kill a fourth of the earth.  When the Lamb opened the fifth seal, Christian martyrs came out, asking the Lord to avenge them.  After the sixth seal was a great earthquake; the sun became black, the moon become bloody, stars fell from heaven, the sky rolled up, and every person on earth hid in caves to hide from the wrath of the Lamb.

Then I saw four angels at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds.  Before they were to destroy the earth, 144,000 people of Israel were sealed, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes.  Then, I saw people from every nation worshiping the Lord.  Finally, the seventh seal was opened; seven angels with seven trumpets stood before God.  The first angel blew his trumpet, and 1/3 of the earth burned up.  The second angel blew, and 1/3 of the sea became blood; 1/3 of the sea creatures died.  The third angel blew, and a star named Wormwood fell onto 1/3 of the world’s water, turning them bitter and toxic.  The fourth angel blew, and 1/3 of the sun, moon, and stars was struck off.  Then I heard an eagle, proclaiming woe to the inhabitants of the earth.

Commentary:

  • The Lamb is Jesus, who, like a sacrificial lamb, was slaughtered as an atonement for sins
  • In this cosmology, the earth is flat and rectangular, and the sky is a dome lying on top of the earth.  This is how the sky can roll up like a scroll (6:14).
  • The sun darkening, moon turning to blood, and stars falling from heaven is a common apocalyptic motif.  It is found in Acts 2:20, Matthew 24:29, and Joel 2:31.  For the sky rolling up like a scroll, see Isaiah 34:4.
  • The first 6 trumpet blows by the angels parallel the plagues of Exodus.
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