6:1–8 The four horsemen represent conquest, war, famine, and death. These calamities characterize an indefinite period before the Second Coming (Mark 13:6–8). Such things occurred in the tumults of the Roman Empire, and may be expected to occur now and before the Second Coming. The imagery is capable of multiple applications throughout the history of the church (Introduction: Interpretive Difficulties). The seven churches were exhorted to put their confidence, not in the peace and prosperity supposedly achieved by Roman rule, but in God and His promises of a new world (2:17; 3:12; 21:4). When tumults occurred, they were assured that the Lamb was still in control—in fact, the tumults issued from His worthiness to break the seals and from the voice of the living creatures. Such judgments represented the chastening hand of God on a rebellious world (9:20, 21). The saints would be cared for in the midst of such trials (ch. 7). They were sealed as a mark of ownership and protection (7:1–10; 9:4) and given perfect rest in the end (7:15–17). Such promises hold for saints throughout the church age, no less than for the seven churches.
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