- 1. Introduction
- 2. The Rapture
- 3. The Tribulation Opens
- 4. Stage 1 - The Seven Seals
- 5. Stage 2 - The Seven Trumpets
- 6. Stage 3 - The Seven Bowls
- 7. The Tribulation Closes
- 8. The Thread - traced in The Rapture and The Tribulation
Stage 1 - The Seven Seals
Please note that in the image above, the seven seals are all visible at the same time - i.e. the seals appear to be parallel. It is however noted by some scholars that the scroll is actually sealed with seven seals which are in 'series'; i.e. only one seal can be seen at any one time during the procedure of the opening of the scroll. I would not at all disagree with this view.
SEAL – 1 opened:
1 I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!”
2 I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
Revelation 6 v 1-17
SEAL – 1 explained:
The White Horse and its Rider – DECEPTION
This white horse and its rider speak of the deception that will confound this world at the commencement of the Tribulation. Paul refers to this deception as – THE LIE.
The whole world will be deceived and deluded by the man of lawlessness. At the height of this deception, men will receive the mark of the beast – symbolised in the number 666.
An historic Peace Treaty will be signed between Israel and the surrounding Arab Nations. This is the start of the Tribulation. This treaty will be a massive deception designed to disarm Israel.
The subsequent chain of events which unfold in the seven years of Tribulation will unleash horrors that mankind has never witnessed before, and will never witness again.
When we think of ‘THE LIE’, we should not rule out the probability that the resurrection of saints of past ages and the disappearance of the millions of believers at the Rapture will form a part of this lie.
The masses will demand an explanation, and Governments will offer some form of hideous deception. The Rapture will be difficult to 'explain away', I would not be surprised if Governments say that this was an 'alien abduction'.
The Antichrist will want people to believe anything rather than the truth. An 'alien abduction' could be construed as the removal of all the 'religious fanatics' who caused so much trouble, now the world is rid of them. The whole world will be led astray.
The Man of Lawlessness
2 Thessalonians 2 v 1-12
1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come.
3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time.
7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendour of his coming.
9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
This passage clearly tells us that:
The Antichrist will set himself up as god in the temple in Jerusalem. This will be made possible because the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way at the Rapture. God sends a powerful delusion through the Antichrist for men to believe THE LIE.
Therefore, anyone who hears the gospel before the Rapture, but rejects Christ, might not get a second chance during the Tribulation! They will succumb to the deception of the lie and will be doomed to hell.
If you are reading this now, and the Rapture has not yet taken place; now is your opportunity to repent and get saved. If you have read and understood these words and you are not saved before the Rapture; you might not be able to repent after the Rapture.
Dear reader, you have been warned! It is not worth the risk to delay. I urge you to consider the words of this neglected Revelation, accept the Lord Jesus as your saviour while you still can.
The gospel will be preached during the Tribulation by the 144,000 sealed Jews. What if - only those who have not previously heard and understood the message of salvation will have the opportunity to get saved during the Tribulation? Is it worth the risk to delay?
Opposition to God by the world's governments will guarantee persecution and probable death for those who accept Christ during that terrible time.
SEAL – 2 opened:
3 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 Then another horse came out, a fiery red one.
Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.
SEAL – 2 explained:
The Red Horse and its Rider - WAR
This Red Horse and its rider are given power to remove peace from the earth. War will be the result of universal mistrust and upheaval as nation rises against nation.
The large sword suggests that millions will die at this time as a result of widespread war on earth.
When we read news alerts (Friday 18 November 2016), like this......
"PUTIN'S WARPATH: Russia reveals deadly missile that can reach Britain in MINUTES"
"RUSSIA has revealed a deadly missile capable of breaching NATO’s missile defence systems, Moscow experts have said."
It is not hard to imagine war breaking out across the world. On the evening news we see North Korea testing Nuclear weapons and we see the reaction of the current world Super Powers, I have no doubt that the scene is being set for the Lord's return.
Regarding Nuclear or Atomic warfare; once 'the nuclear button' has been pressed by one nation, the precedent will be set and others will follow. WW3 will happen during the Tribulation and the death toll will make that of WW1 and WW2 fade into insignificance.
I have outlined the staggering death toll during the seven year Tribulation - you can read about it on 'The Tribulation closes'. According to the bible, more than 3.5 billion people will die, this equates to more than 3,500,000,000!
SEAL – 3 opened:
5 When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand.
6 Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
SEAL – 3 explained:
The Black Horse and its Rider - FAMINE
Famine, poverty and deprivation always follow major wars. The scales suggest that food will be in short supply across the earth. When there is a shortage of food, the result is always fighting, bickering and the potential for widespread anarchy.
Governments will be plunged into disarray in the mayhem. Law and order will break down as mobs take control of godless ghettos. It is not hard to imagine law and order giving way to anarchy.
SEAL – 4 opened:
7 When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!”
8 I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
SEAL – 4 explained:
The Pale Horse and its Rider - DEATH
Death on an unprecedented scale across the entire earth will be the result of the first four seals being opened. There is currently an estimated 7 billion people on earth; therefore more than 1.75 Billion people will be killed during this single judgment seal.
During WW 2 we are told that more than 50 million people died. This death toll fades into insignificance in contrast to the death toll during the Tribulation!
Here we are talking about 1750 million people being killed. Little wonder we have the description of Hades or Hell following close behind as the souls of men and women are swept into eternity and lost forever.
Seals 1-4 include the voices of the four living creatures - "Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder 'Come'...." These first four seals announce the beginning of God's judgement which takes the form of man's self implosion in global warfare and the resulting famine, disease and death.
Seal 5 illustrates clearly how human government - under the control of Antichrist - revolts against God and touches the only tangible thing on earth that it can - those believers in Christ who repent during the Tribulation and who refused the mark of the beast.
Seals 6 & 7 will reveal a form of judgement which can only be explained and understood as divine judgement coming from the hand of Almighty God.
SEAL – 5 opened:
9 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.
10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”
11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.
SEAL – 5 explained:
Execution of saints - PERSECUTION
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.
During the Tribulation many people will hear the gospel preached by the 144,000 sealed Jews as described in Revelation 7. But because of the Antichrist and the satanic deception that controls the world's governments, many of these saints who get saved during the Tribulation, will be martyred.
The cost of following Jesus during the Tribulation will be hardship, persecution and probable death.
Later in this study, in Revelation 13, we will see how the beast forces everyone on earth to have his mark on their right hand or their forehead. His number is 666. Once an individual receives this mark they are eternally doomed, they can never be saved.
Revelation 14 v 11 confirms this...
"There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image or for anyone who receives the mark of its name."
For those who refuse this mark, there is persecution, segregation, exclusion from buying and selling and banishment from society; in many cases this will lead to death by public execution.
SEAL – 6 opened:
12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.
14 The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains.
16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?"
SEAL – 6 explained:
The Heavenly bodies are shaken – GREAT EARTHQUAKE
No hiding place!
There will be a literal earthquake of massive proportions that will affect many countries across the earth; perhaps affecting all of the known tectonic plates. The catastrophic effects will be far reaching to the extent that world leaders will seek refuge among the rocks and the mountains but will find no hiding place.
Many of the disasters and atrocities that have taken place in the first five seals would have been explained away as natural disasters and common war.
This earthquake will now be recognised as coming from God in judgement as the earth is literally shaken. This sixth seal is the start of the realisation among world leaders that God is acting in judgement. This event is not natural; this is evidently supernatural.
People all over the world, including government leaders and politicians, everyone will know that God is judging the inhabitants of earth. People will want to hide, they will want to escape from this God of righteous judgement, but there is no hiding place.
This is - ‘The Day of the Lord’!
The heavenly bodies are shaken
The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, the stars in the sky fell to earth. The heavenly bodies are affected by the judgement; now mankind, once so proud and arrogant, is powerless to do anything about the judgement of God.
At this stage there is no doubt whatsoever that God is acting in judgement on the earth and its inhabitants. For those who have received the mark of the beast, there is no turning back and no hiding place.
The earth and the heavenly bodies are shaken, mankind is powerless to prevent the judgments that are about to be unleashed in the seven trumpets and seven bowls.
Woe! Woe! Woe! to the inhabitants of the earth!
Stars falling from the sky
The stars in outer space are deemed to be bigger than the earth so this cannot be taken literally, it is graphic, symbolic - Apocalyptic language.
On one occasion, I observed a meteorite shower with my naked eye, and in a period of about forty five minutes I observed approximately ten ‘shooting stars’ – meteorites passing in view from earth.
Interestingly, and by pure coincidence, I also observed approximately fifteen satellites passing overhead on the grid. These satellites might as well have been stars; the only way I could distinguish them was by their movement and trajectory.
Perhaps what John witnessed in his apocalyptic vision was fallen satellites or indeed a massive meteorite shower colliding with planet earth.
The Day of the Lord - Note the comparison with SEAL 6
Isaiah 2 v 6-22
6 You, Lord, have abandoned your people, the descendants of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and embrace pagan customs.
7 Their land is full of silver and gold; there is no end to their treasures. Their land is full of horses; there is no end to their chariots.
8 Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made. 9 So people will be brought low and everyone humbled— do not forgive them.
10 Go into the rocks, hide in the ground from the fearful presence of the Lord and the splendour of his majesty! 11 The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.
12 The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled), 13 for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty, and all the oaks of Bashan, 14 for all the towering mountains and all the high hills, 15 for every lofty tower and every fortified wall, 16 for every trading ship and every stately vessel.
17 The arrogance of man will be brought low and human pride humbled; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, 18 and the idols will totally disappear.
19 People will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from the fearful presence of the Lord and the splendour of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth.
20 In that day people will throw away to the moles and bats their idols of silver and idols of gold, which they made to worship.
21 They will flee to caverns in the rocks and to the overhanging crags from the fearful presence of the Lord and the splendour of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth.
22 Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?
Isaiah was a prophet. Some of his prophesies related to the people of his day, some of his prophesies were spoken regarding the distant future. The above passage is one of them.
This prophecy is yet to be fulfilled and it will happen during the Tribulation when God shakes this earth in judgement. There will be no hiding place.
Parenthesis - The Key to Revelation
What is a 'Parenthesis'?
A parenthesis is a passage inserted within the main book ( ..... ) which describes that which comes before or after it.
This page offers an explanation to the structure of the book of Revelation. After the first parenthesis the Seven Trumpets are introduced.
The seventh seal introduces the first trumpet.
The seventh trumpet introduces the first bowl.
The three stages of judgement have been described as 'telescopic' in nature. i.e. stage 2 issues out of stage 1, and stage three issues out of stage 2. I find this very helpful in understanding the successive stages of these terrible judgements.
It is important to note here two aspects of God’s judgement. The arrogance of man will be brought low and all the excuses and accusations of boastful mankind will be silenced.
All the false gods and idols will topple – lifeless and powerless against the Almighty! God will stand supreme in majesty; he has no equal!
SEAL – 7 opened:
SILENCE - a link to seven trumpets
INTRODUCTION of the Seven Trumpets – the second stage of judgement
Revelation 8 v 1-2
1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
SEAL – 7 explained:
The link to the Seven Trumpets
Revelation 8 v 1-2
The first parenthesis of chapter 7 separates the first six seals from the seventh seal. The seventh seal is outlined.
There is silence in heaven for about half an hour. We have already pointed out on the creation page on Day 4 that time had a beginning.
Heaven is 'other worldly' and there is no time in heaven as we have time on earth. John tries to describe this silence in heaven as equivalent to half an hour of earth time.
I suggest that this silence is highly significant. God is perpetually worshipped in heaven by holy creatures and angels but here we have a period of stunning silence.
God’s righteous indignation, wrath and judgement is about to be poured out on the earth and its inhabitants.
The anticipation of the shock and horror is so terrifying that silence is the only appropriate response. In these moments the creator God stands supreme. There are no words, only silence!
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