The opening of the 7 seals...
A friend recently asked me, "What is your opinion on how many of the 7 seals have been opened?" To be completely honest, I have not thought or studies the seals much, so I thought I had better take a look. According to the Doctrine and Covenants (77:6) the seven seals are each a representation of the 7 periods of the Earth's continuance (in the D&C it is referred to as being 1000 years, but I am assuming that these are the same as "days" in genesis and are more of a figurative timeframe than actual periods of 1000 years), and represent the will and mind of God in those periods. So we can look at the seals in that way and see what might be included in each of the seals. [For more, visit http://www.lds.org/manual/new-testament-student-study-guide/the-revelation-of-saint-john-the-divine/revelation-5-7-a-book-with-seven-seals?lang=eng] With that being said, there are always levels of understanding in revelations such as the one that John saw on Patmos, and we can apply them to what we are seeing today, we are even counselled to do so by Nephi (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/1-ne/19.23?lang=eng). Instead of using each of the seals as a separate metaphore, let us look at them combined together in the Book John saw.
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.
In this section we have a king (hence the crown) who is going out to conquer and is succeeding. He is uniting the world under his reign, and because he is king under his currency. In the world today, the US dollar is king among curreny, and is used in most financial transactions. The would could be considered united under the control of the central banks as well, it need not be a government, it could be the banks, but the world is under their control. I am calling this one opened, and if you think I am wrong, try missing a mortgage or credit card payment. Second Seal
3 And when he had opened the asecond 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 apeace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
The next rider is out making war (the opposite of peace) and causing that men kill one another. The great sword is a symbol of leadership of a warrior king (see David and Nephi for examples of this concept). The people of the world are chafing at the control (or slavery) they are under because of those who control the money and trade. They fight against it the in different ways, from war to terrorism. Second seal: opened.
The third seal is again about commerce, and more specifically food rationing. A weeks wage at the time of the revelation was a penny, and a measure of wheat for a penny is expensive. The barley, being a lesser grain, is less expensive, but not as good for you. The balances are again related to trade and commerce, and in this case we have a scarcity of food. The majority of people at the time of the revelation would have grown their own food and traded for what they didn't have. Instead we see them dependent on a central controlling agency for their food, which has become scarce, and they have to buy it. Famine, on a world wide scale. We have this today, low quality food is prevalent, and cheap, while high quality foods are more expensive and less readily available; and how many of us could grow food if we needed to? Third Seal: opened.
8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill withasword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
The pale rider, who is death, followed by hell. Ask anyone who has seen combat if it is fun, if they would like to see it again, and the answer is always no. Here we have war, famine, and all nature rising up to afflict mankind. We have wars and terrorism (death) all around the world, we eat the flesh of animals that we should receive with thanksgiving (D&C 89) after it has been processed beyond all recognition. Inner-city youth are killing one another at an alarming rate. We are surrounded by death and famine. Fourth Seal: opened.
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and aavenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
11 And awhite brobes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should crest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
The martyrs of God, calling out from the altar for justice upon those who rejected their testimony, are told to be patient until those that should follow them in death for the testimony of Christ should be killed (Joseph Smith for example, using the original 7 periods concept). The spirits of the righteous call upon the Lord for an end to the killing, and yet even today men, women, and children are put to death for their testimonies of Christ in places like Egypt, Yemen, and elsewhere. This seal, I believe was opened long ago, and continues to this day, with the righteous calling on the Lord to hasten his work.
13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her auntimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
15 And the akings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the bdens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the amountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
The sun darkened, the moon turned to blood, and the stars falling from the sky. This has always sounded like a meteor shower with multiple impacts casting up dust and causing volcanic eruptions. This is the last seal before Christ comes at the opening of the seventh, and we have seen just this sort of thing before in the Book of 3rd Nephi (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/8.5-22?lang=eng) right before the coming of Christ in the Americas. The weeping and wailing described in Revelation sounds just like the Nephites when the day of wrath was poured out on them. I think this is the seal that is now opening. Pollution has darkened the sun, and the moon glows red in the sky because of it. Volcanoes and violent weather ravage the planet, and we see earthquakes in diverse places as well. This seal is breaking now, and we will see its fulfillment when the Lord is ready to return.
The next several chapters describe the second coming of the Lord, and the events associated with it. It is too large to past in here, but I recommend reading it, as it is a magnificent piece of scripture. This seal is yet to open, for it will initiate the millennial reign of Christ with His saints, when the work of the salvation of mankind will be completed, and we will present the Lord with a book of our generations from now back to the days of Adam, and the Lord will declare that the work is done. Will we have tribulations and hard times before the coming of the Lord, yes, we have always had hard times and tribulations, and in the end, the only thing that matters is how we deal with these hard times. Do we become bitter and angry at God for sending them to us, or allowing us to pass through them (remember that we begged him to let us go through them in the pre-existence), or do we rather draw closer to our family and our Savior and learn to accept them the way that he accepted them in the garden and on the cross. That, in the end, is really all that we can do, for just as in the two sacred gardens (Eden and Gethsemane), there is no other way.