Lesson Ten • Tribulation

Devotion 6: Bad and Worse

Pastor Patrick Rowland


This week’s focus on Revelation chapters 6, 8, and 16 brings us to read about the 7 seals (chapter 6), 7 trumpets (chapter 8), and 7 Bowls (chapter 16). One cannot help but notice the significance of 777 as you read them and the parallel of Matthew chapter 24. For today, I want to focus on Revelation chapter 6.


Matthew 24:4-8 (NIV) says, “Jesus answered: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.’”


Jesus warns of false christs, wars, destruction, power struggles, lack of food, earthquakes, and basically chaos. We read in Revelation 6:1-8, the first four seals are four different horsemen with four missions: the white horseman to conquer, the red horseman to create hostility and bloodshed, the black horseman to create poverty and famine, and the pale horseman to plague that leads to death.


Jesus called these the beginning of the “great distress.” Matthew 24:21 says, “For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equaled again.” It will be a time when faith will be tested and not all will be faithful, which leads to the fifth seal.


Revelation 6:9 says, “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.” These are the faithful martyrs, those that did not worship the false christ. They are asking Jesus for justice against the enemies of God.


It is the sixth seal that we will see the judgment or when you could say, “All Hell broke loose” (sorry if that is offensive).  The description in verses 12-17 is a world of darkness and the whole world being turned upside down. Those still on Earth will not be able to escape the distress and catastrophe that will be before them as the seventh seal is opened (chapter 8).


It is as if just when you think it could not get much worse, it absolutely does for those that remain on Earth, for those that oppose God. I hate to leave you in the middle of the story, but this is where we end today. However, remember that for us it is avoidable through Jesus.


“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).