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In the book of Revelation we read about 7 seals being opened, 7 trumpets being blown, and seven vials being poured out. The Bible is clear about what happens with these events for the most part. But the question that is often debated is WHEN do these things happen?
Where in the timeline are we? Have any of the seals been opened? Are we already in the time of the trumpets blowing? We are about to untangle the confusion. But as we do you are going to have questions. You will ask yourself, how can this be since “I know this other doctrine I’ve been taught contradicts it.”
The main doctrine many will have a difficult time with is the rapture. We’ve already talked about it in earlier units though. So hopefully you have already read through these units so that you can be prepared for what you are about to learn.
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.
The first clue we have as to when these events take place is in Revelation 4:1. The voice heard tells John that the following events are to take place hereafter. That means in the future.
At the time John was hearing this voice Jesus had already been raised from the dead and was already in Heaven sitting at the right hand of the Father. This can tell us that none of these events had yet come to pass. It is all to happen in the future.
But, we live in a time almost 2,000 years after the book was written. So we need to ask ourselves if the seals are still for the future, in the past, or are we currently seeing them opened today? To answer these questions we need to do a little bit of reasoning. We will work our way backwards beginning with the 6th seal.
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
Lets work our way backwards. Has the sixth seal been opened? To my knowledge the sun has yet to become black, the moon as blood, and the stars have not yet fallen to earth. Heaven has not departed, and the mountains and islands have not been moved out of their places. So we can be certain that at least this seal is not opened yet.
And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
The fifth seal begins a new season of persecution for Christians. In John’s day Christians were being killed. But remember, the events John is seeing take place are for the future. So those who died during the time of John are the ones already under the alter being told to wait until ALL of their fellowservants that will be murdered are murdered.
I believe it’s safe to assume the last Christian martyr has yet to be killed. And as of this moment there is not an all out war against all Christians. There will be in the future according to Revelation 13:15. So we can know that the fifth seal has not been opened and is for the future.
And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 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 with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
This seal shows us that a fourth part of the world will be killed. It will be with violence, hunger, death, and the beasts of the earth. This will all take place at the same time. So we have to ask ourselves if there has been a time on earth where there was one fourth of the population being killed in the same short period of time?
To my knowledge there are about 8 billion people on earth. That would mean 2 billion people is one fourth of the earth’s population. There has never been a drop in the population like that. It has only steadily climbed. So we can say that this seal is also not yet opened and is for the future.
And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.
A penny was considered a day’s wages. So this seal is telling us of a time when you will have to pay an entire days wage to get a single measure of wheat, or 3 measures of barley. Wheat was always sold at a higher cost than barley, and barley was normally the food of the poor.
So has their been a time in history when a days wages could ONLY buy you enough to eat? This would mean you had to choose between eating or having a roof over your head. There have been many local famines in history. But never a world wide famine of this magnitude. So the third seal has not yet been opened and is for the future.
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.
From the beginning there has been war. People kill one another all the time. But remember John was told this was going to be for the future. So this seal had not yet been opened at that time. But could it be open today?
The key to knowing when this seal is opened is to ask when has the world ever been at peace? There has never been a time that the whole world has been at peace. So there has never been a time that peace could be taken from the whole earth. Therefore this seal is for a time in the future and has not yet been opened.
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.
This brings us to the first seal. Someone is given a crown, has a bow but we are not told he has arrows, and he goes forth conquering. This gives us a view of someone that is placed in power by others as he is GIVEN a crown. He has a bow so he has the ABILITY to use force. But being without arrows we see that he conquers by peace.
If you have read along in this course you probably already know who this sounds like. It is the antichrist which is placed in power by others, and uses peace as a weapon to conquer.
1 Thessalonians 5:3
For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
So we see in the first seal a man come to power bringing “peace” to the earth. Again, this seal has not yet been opened and is a future event. This entire process begins with the antichrist coming to power. So until this happens we can know that none of the seals has been opened.
Now, it’s easy to assume that each seal will be opened a year apart. There are 7 years of tribulation and 7 seals. But we really are not told that each seal takes an entire year. We just know that each of these seals are opened over a period of 7 years. The final seal is to be opened at the end of the tribulation.
We know this because the Bible tells us it is opened after the heavens depart and the sun goes black.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
Again, even Jesus tells us that the 6th seal happens immediately after the tribulation. But I want you to take note of something important. He doesn’t say that He will return immediately after the tribulation. Instead He tells us other events will happen first.
This is once again showing that there will be an undisclosed period of time AFTER the tribulation BEFORE Jesus returns. This can help us understand how we can know in detail when the tribulation period will end and yet still not know when Jesus will return. This solves the main issue people have with a post tribulation rapture.
And the kings 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 dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains 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: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
Suddenly the world knows that they are in trouble. They know the wrath of the Lamb is coming. So they run and hide in the mountains and rocks. They are afraid. But the seventh seal has yet to be opened.
Instead, before the seventh seal is opened we read the following.
And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
Before the seventh seal is opened those that are saved are sealed and protected from the wrath to come. One may mistakenly see this as the rapture. But as we will read about the seventh seal being opened and the seven trumpets being blown we find that these people are still on earth.
Remember, those under the alter were given white robes and told to wait until their brethren would be killed as they were. So when we see the people gathered around the throne in verse 9 and the statement that they had come out of great tribulation we can understand that these are the people that died during that time for the testimony of Jesus.
We will talk more about this in the next unit. But for now lets recap what we have just learned. First, the seals have not been opened and will not be until the beginning of the tribulation. Then the events that take place are as follows:
Seal 1: The antichrist comes to power.
Seal 2: Peace will be taken from the earth.
Seal 3: There will be a famine like never before.
Seal 4: One fourth of the people on earth will die from violence, sickness, famine, and even the beasts of the field.
Seal 5: Christians will be persecuted and killed.
Seal 6: This signals the end of the tribulation. The Sun goes black, the Moon goes red, and the powers of heaven are shaken. People now know that the wrath of God is about to be poured out on them. But those who serve God are sealed and protected from the wrath to come.
Seal 7: When this seal is opened the trumpets begin to sound.
So now we know when the seals are opened, and what happens with each. We will go into detail on the seventh seal which is the seven trumpets in the next unit. If you are wondering about the rapture I encourage you to read the previous units on the subject.
April 22, 2022 at 7:52 pm | | No comment