The seven seals contained secret information known only to God until the Lamb was found worthy to open the scrolls and to look on the contents. What is contained therein was only for the eyes of the Lamb.
However, through his kindness and willingness to share this information with the saints, we find the conditions and circumstances that would take place in the time frame of each seal. Most of the seals tell of the antichrist's activities and lend encouragement to the saints of each period.
First Four Seals
The first four seals describe how the four horses (doctrines) of the early church time periods changed from white to red, then to black and finally to pale. This doctrinal deterioration was brought about by the influence of antichrist.
The most commonly held view usually describes these four horses of the Apocalypse as an end-time Armageddon scene. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Four horses (doctrines) represent
four time periods of the early church.
These four horses describe the first four stages of the church. It is not an end time vision at all. It makes nice magazine covers to picture death and hell riding dramatically forth into the world. However, the truth be told, the first horse and horsemen refer to the historical situation in the Ephesus period of the church. The next three horses and horsemen pertain to Smyrna, Pergamos and Thyatira, respectively.
The story of these first four seals is the decline of pure doctrine and the ascent of false teachings. Notice that Jesus does not try to head off the apostasy as it thunders forth. Rather, he strengthens the faithful and encourages them with wonderful promises.
The evidence seems quite clear that Jesus, the Lamb, opened the seven seals before he wrote to the angels of the seven churches. Jesus said in Revelation 1:18, before he wrote to the angels of the seven churches,
"I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."
The resurrected Lamb that opened the "seven seals."
"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.
"And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne." Revelation 5:6, 7:
The "Lion" of the tribe of Judah prevailed to open the book. Notice the change of metaphor. It is not the Lion that opens the seals. It is the Lamb who receives the book or scroll. The Lamb opens all the seals.
Just because the messages to the seven messengers appear first in Revelation is no proof that Jesus sent his message to each angel before he opened the seals that covered the events of each church. Revelation was written to conceal from most people its message, as well as to reveal to those living near to him.
Hence, the "seven Spirits of God" are first described in Revelation 4. But in Revelation 1:4 John gives us the greetings of these seven Spirits.
"Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne."
This proves John saw Revelation Chapter 4 before he wrote Chapter 1.
"And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; these things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God." Revelation 3:1
The seven Spirits of God were shown to be before God’s throne in Chapter 4, but were transferred to the Lamb in Revelation 5:5, 6, and who is then said to have these "seven Spirits." Through him they were to be "sent forth into all the earth." This confirms the principle that "all things" are of the Father "by the Son" (1 Corinthians 8:6).
At the time of sending his message to the "angel" of Sardis Jesus says that he "hath the seven Spirits of God." All "seven Spirits" are sent to all the seven churches, but one at a time. They are sent through the Lamb who was declared "worthy."
What was Jesus going to do with the knowledge opened to him in each seal? He would prepare each stage of the church against the dangers facing it through its "angel." Secondly, he would place before all the churches the promises of the "seven Spirits."
Jesus inserts one of the "seven Spirits'" messages to each stage of the church at the end of each letter. That is how they are all sent forth into "all the earth."
Jesus has two objectives with each message. Warnings are given to the apostates and marvelous promises to the faithful, to encourage and strengthen them.