An anonymous reader made a simple request a while back: “can you figure out where we are in revelations?” I imagine that this question is on the minds of many people these days, so it is a good question to address. In this article, I will discuss where we are today in relation to the Book of Revelation by addressing whether we have seen the opening of the first seal yet.

The Book of Revelation

I believe the Book of Revelation primarily depicts events that will impact the world in the future: the opening of the seven seals, the sounding of the seven trumpets, and the pouring of the seven vials are events that take place during the end times. The reason I believe these events will take place in the future is that I do not believe the events associated with the seals, trumpets, and vials have transpired yet. For instance:

  • There has not yet been an event where every mountain and island was moved out of place (Revelation 6:14).
  • We have not yet seen famine conditions as extreme as those associated with the third seal. In fact, barley prices and wheat prices are not even close to where they will be when the third seal is opened (Revelation 6:5-6).

The Opening of the First Seal

I stated that the opening of the seven seals would transpire in the future. Let’s take a look at the first seal to verify that its opening will occur in the future. Revelation 6:1-2 describes a rider on a white horse going forth to conquer following the opening of the first seal:

“(1) And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. (2) And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” (Revelation 6:1-2)

Some argue that Christ is the rider of the white horse in Revelation 6:1-2. Many of the people who believe the horseman is Christ cite Revelation 19’s description of Christ on a white horse as “proof” that the horseman of the first seal is Christ:

“(11) And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. (12) His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.” (Revelation 19:11-12)

Despite the fact that Christ and the first seal horseman ride a white horse, I do not believe the rider of the white horse in the first seal is Christ. The main reason why is that I do not believe it makes much sense contextually for Christ to be the horseman of the first seal. To see why it does not make much sense contextually for Christ to be the horseman of the first seal, first consider that the events of Revelation chapter 4 and chapter 5 transpire in Heaven:

“(1) After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. (2) And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.” (Revelation 4:1-2)

“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.” (Revelation 5:1)

Christ is clearly in Heaven during this heavenly scene because He moves to take the book (scroll) from God:

“(6) And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. (7) And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.” (Revelation 5:6-7)

Revelation 5:7-9 tells us that Christ is the One who is worthy to open the seven seals on the scroll:

“(7) And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. (8) And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. (9) And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” (Revelation 5:7-9)

Unsurprisingly, Christ is responsible for opening the seals. Notice the lack of a transition between the end of Revelation 5 and the start of Revelation 6 when Christ begins to open the seals:

“(10) And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (11) And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; (12) Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. (13) And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. (14) And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.” (Revelation 5:10-14)

“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.” (Revelation 6:1)

The lack of a transition suggests that the events of Revelation 6 follow after the events of Revelation 5 chronologically. This also suggests that Christ’s location between the end of Revelation 5 and the start of Revelation 6 has not changed: He is still in Heaven when He begins to open the seals.

Revelation 6:1-2 tells us that the horseman goes “forth conquering, and to conquer” after Christ opens the first seal.

“(1) And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. (2) And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” (Revelation 6:1-2)

Similarly, Revelation 6:3 tells us that Christ is responsible for opening the second seal:

“(3) And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. (4) And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.” (Revelation 6:3-4)

Again, it does not make much sense for Christ to be the rider of the white horse in Revelation 6:2 when you consider the context. If Christ is in Heaven opening the seals how could He also be the rider of the white horse in the first seal? It’s unlikely that He is both. In addition, I don’t see any evidence in the Bible that suggests Christ will conquer at the start of the end times.

Instead, I believe the rider of the white horse following the opening of the first seal is a counterfeit Christ: the Antichrist. The Antichrist will probably be considered a peacemaker who can be entrusted to uphold a covenant with many signatories, including Israel (Daniel 9:27 and Isaiah 28:15). Given the inability for world leaders to reach a Mideast peace deal over the past several decades, the Antichrist would likely be heralded as someone who figuratively came to the rescue on a white horse to bring peace to the Middle East, especially if he brokers a deal after a period of severe Mideast turmoil.

I do not believe we have seen the arrival of the Antichrist as a major political force on the world stage nor seen the confirmation of the covenant with many yet. Therefore, I do not believe we have seen the opening of the first seal yet and thereby have not yet seen the events described in Revelation 6 transpire. We still await the opening of seven seals, the sounding of the seven trumpets, and the pouring of the seven vials.