REVELATION CHRONOLOGY: Part two  


 

IN CHAPTER 6 the 7 seals are broken and the events leading up to the Day of the Lord are initiated.
Verses 1-2, First seal: a world-wide “political” conquest via a
powerful, charismatic world ruler. PROBABLY begins the 70th week.
He establishes a treaty of peace and toleration primarily between the Jews and Muslims.

 

Verses 3-4, Second seal: a disruption of THE “political” peace by the same world ruler becoming oppressive (the beast).
 

Verses 5-6, Third seal: stringent economic controls via the mark
            of the beast. (not famine)
 

Verses 7-8, Fourth seal: world-wide death as a result of the oppressive reign of the beast.
 

Verses 9-11, Fifth seal: The martyrs killed via the oppressive reign of the beast. Or perhaps, ALL martyrs from history.
 

Verses 12-17, Sixth seal: The Day of the Lord is announced and arrives. Joel 2:31; Mat. 24:29-30; Luke 21:25-27
The wrath of God is about to be poured out. In support of the chronological flow of Revelation with focus on the sections that CLEARLY BACK UP and refocus I make the following suggestion.
There is a key chronological factor in the
 book of Revelation and that is a time period of 42 months, also known as 1260 days, which we then reasonably associate with the 3 1/2 years of the last half of Daniel’s 70th week, which is 7 years in duration. This 1260 day period is always referring to that 2nd half of the week and never to the first half. IN fact, the first half is not directly mentioned anywhere in the New Testament. And it is only mentioned indirectly at Rev. 6:1-2 where we see the first seal as representing the beginning of the week.
It seems reasonable then, that seal #2 refers to the breaking of THE peace, which occurs at the MIDPOINT of the week and is the stating point for the second 1260 days or 42 months (3 1/2 years).
 

Furthermore, seals #3-5 would be showing the results of the removal of THE peace by the oppressive world ruler, who has become the beast, which Jesus called the great tribulation.


Seal #6 represents the return of Jesus at the Day of the Lord.
This will occur immediately after a divine decree cuts short (interrupts or amputates) the reign of the beast at a day and hour that is unknown. The return of Jesus is likewise at an unknown day and hour, so we can’t place it specifically. But we can place it in the SEASON which Jesus identified as the season of the tribulation, which begins at the midpoint of the week. Mat. 24:32-33; Luke
21:29
So, the focus is really on the midpoint of the week, moving forward through the years and days leading up to Christ's kingdom.


Chapter 7 gives the IMMEDIATE results from the 6th seal.
1. 144,000 converts on earth
2. multitude of believers in heaven who came out of the time of oppression (great tribulation).


Chapters 8-9 gives the EXTENDED results from the 6th seal; the trumpets of judgment which extend to the end of the 70th week
(the end of the 1260 days).


Chapter 10 announces the sounding of the 7th trumpet, but it does not sound at that time. It is “about to sound.”  It also tells John a little bit about his future, specifically that he is not to write what he has seen (probably the idea is “not yet.”) but that he is to see and tell more.


BUT in Chapter 11, before the vision gets to the sounding of the 7th trumpet, the vision back tracks to the midpoint of the week by focusing in on the reign of the beast which dominates the city of Jerusalem for 42 months, and the 1260 day ministry of the
 two witnesses. It then moves forward to the end of that period (end of the week) at which time the 7th trumpet sounds (actually, 3 1/2 days after the end of the week, after the 2 witnesses are raised) and announces that it is “time to destroy those who destroy the earth.” This will be accomplished by the 7 bowls of wrath. These take place during the remaining 26 days of the 30 day period that follows the end of the week after the raising of the two witnesses. Daniel 12:11 tells us that there will be 30 days beyond the 1260 days before the abomination will be removed.
At this point there is an interruption in the chronology. Instead of advancing to the THIRD woe (the pouring out of the 7 bowls), The vision gives us 3 chapters of amplification.


Chapters 12-14 take us away from the chronology and each have a specific separate focus.


Chapter 12 returns us to the midpoint of the week and shows the kicking out of Satan who empowers the world ruler and begins the oppression of the tribulation. This section does not bring us to the end of the week, but simply summarizes persecution activity during the last half. We know this because at the inception of this oppression, the woman (national
Israel) flees and is protected from the beast for 1260 days or 3 1/2 times (years).
Chapter 12 does not have a chronological flow. It is just a summary of the beast’s persecution of Jews and Christians.


Chapter 13 returns to the midpoint of the week, in order to amplify the activity of Satan in using the world ruler, for it tells us that this ruler (the beast) will reign for 42 months (3 1/2 years).
Chapter 13 does not have a chronological flow. It is just a summary of the beast’s reign.


Chapter 14 provides a general summary of the day of the Lord events. The vision takes John to the time just after the 6th seal, when the 144,000 are converted. This chapter summarizes activity from the time the 144,000 are saved until the end of
 Armageddon which takes place 30 days after the end of the week. By the way, the 144,000 at 14:1 are not in heaven but on earth.
See Chapter 14 for details.


THEN, chapters 15-16 return to the chronology that was interrupted after
11:19. It picks up from the time of the sounding of the 7th trumpet at the end of chapter 11, which announced that God’s wrath has come, and now focuses in on the 7 bowls of the final wrath, which take us to the end of Armageddon (30 days after the end of the week). The bowls are not judgments do not occur in conjunction with the trumpets. They occur in two separate time frames.

AND THEN, chapters 17-18 give John another “flashback” (or parenthetical visions) returning to the MIDPOINT of the week. We know this because it focuses in on the character and history of the beast and his kingdom, which BEGINS at the midpoint. This vision also shows the part that Babylon plays in the whole scenario. And that of course takes us to the end of Armageddon because that is when the beast and his empire come to an end.


Chapter 19 shows John the bride in heaven just before Jesus DESCENDS physically to the earth and then shows that descent for the
 battle of Armageddon (30 days after the end of the week) as he brings his army of ANGELS with him. By the way, there is nothing in scripture that hints that Jesus would bring his BRIDE into battle - whether it be in view of a certain victory or not.
Then chapter 20 goes from the 1000 kingdom to the end of the kingdom and the renovation of the universe and the
 last judgment.

A RESTATEMENT AND AMPLIFICATION

The seals are chronological.
Since the 6th seal involves the signs for the Day of the Lord and the arrival of the second coming of the Messiah, as per both Joel 2:31 and Matthew 24:29-30, that means that it occurs DURING the reign of the beast (the man of lawlessness), which both Jesus and Paul taught as occurring BEFORE those signs (Matthew 24:15-29), and before the day of the Lord comes (2 Thessalonians
 2:1-4).
That means that the events of the first 5 seals take place before or during the reign of the beast, which Jesus identifies as the tribulation (Matthew 24:9-29). The details of those first 5 seals were stated above.

I believe that the first seal actually begins the 70th week of Daniel with the establishment of a covenant of peace and tolerance. Then, it is the 2nd seal that begins the oppressive reign of the beast as the rider on this horse removes THE peace from the earth.
Seals 3-5 show results from the oppressive reign of the beast.

The 6th seal “announces” the arrival of Jesus and the impending judgment from God. Just as the world recognizes, “for the great day of their wrath has come (arrived); and who is able to stand,” (Rev. 6:17).


After the opening of the 6th seal, we see three significant effects.
(1) We see four angels who have authority to harm the earth, sea and trees (Rev. 7:1-2). This picture is a natural extension of the threat of divine wrath mentioned with the 6th seal. The natural and literal understanding is that the employment of these four angels would be an administration of “the wrath of the Lamb.”

(2) We have the sealing (conversion through trusting in Christ) of 144,000 Jews who are designated and recognized as servants of God before the four angels are allowed to harm (judge) the earth (Rev. 7:3-8).

(3) We see in heaven a vast multitude of believers who came out of the great tribulation (Rev. 7:9-17). It is suggested that these believers are in resurrection bodies because they are “standing” and they have palm branches “in their hands.”

AFTER the 6th seal, and AFTER the 144k are sealed, THEN the 7th seal is opened and that paves the way for the 4 angels who were told to “hold back” at verse 7:3 to now start harming. And this will be done through the first four trumpet judgments.
This is clearly chronological and sets the pattern for the entire book except at those places where "flashbacks" are indicated.


Rev. 8:13 indicates chronological progression by announcing 3 remaining trumpets and 3 woes.
Trumpets 5 and 6 sound, which symbolize the demon attack and some serious movement of troops respectively.


Rev. 10:7 gives us chronological language.
At the 7th trumpet “the
 mystery of God” will be completed. This is not the MYSTERY of the church age (Eph. 3:1-11), but the mystery that was announced by OT prophets.  Thus, the mystery about Israel’s present and future (Romans 11:25). The 7th trumpet brings to a close God’s plan for national Israel BEFORE the kingdom (the 70th week of Daniel 9).
THAT is the first indication we have that the 70th week ends AROUND the sounding of the 7th trumpet.


Chapter 11 begins at the middle of the week and goes to the end of the week (v. 1-13), and in fact takes us 3 1/2 DAYS past the 1260 allotted to the 2 witnesses.
 
And then at v. 14, we are given MORE chronological keys. Two woes are past, one is still to come, and THEN, the 7th trumpet sounds.


The sounding of the 7th trumpet announces the 3rd and final woe, which happens to be comprised of several quick slams of God’s wrath that will bring to an end any remaining opposition and INFLUENCE from the beast. The primary chronological factor of the 7th trumpet is the end of verse 18, “it is time to destroy those who destroy the earth.” And this is exactly what the 3rd woe does through the 7 bowl judgments over the next 26 days.
This is exactly what Dan. 11:11 tells us; after the 1260, there will be another 30 days in order to finally cleanse the temple from the abomination.
To me, the flow of the text provides clear chronological progression from the 2nd woe to the 3rd woe, which must refer to the next series of judgments; the bowls. This is why the bowls cannot be concurrent with the trumpets, but are an extension of the 7th trumpet.


Then at verses 15-18, we see that the time has come for certain things to be accomplished. That does not mean that all of them must occur RIGHT
NOW, but that the final steps will now be taken to finish those things, which ends with Armageddon.

The next three chapters provides RETROSPECT and AMPLIFICATION.
Chapter 12: The vision begins at the middle of the week and just ends.
Chapter 13: The vision
 begins at the middle of the week and also just ends.
Chapter 14 begins at the time the 144k are sealed and goes to the battle of Armageddon.

THEN chapter 15 picks up from
11:19, and we see saints in heaven, standing on the sea of glass WHICH WAS EMPTY at verse 4:6.
Then, back to the temple in heaven (from
11:19) and we see the 7 angels with the 7 bowls of the final wrath of God. These will be poured out either simultaneously or chronologically.  It does not matter, because it will all be within 26 days and will culminate with the destruction of “Babylon” in connection with the battle of Armageddon.
These 7 bowls constitute WOE #3
and specifically target "those who destroy the earth." They cannot be a restatement of the trumpets, because trumpets 5 and 6 are woes 1 and 2, and trumpet #7 is basically an announcement of Woe #3 and the only thing that qualifies as woe #3 is the pouring out of the 7 bowls.

Then chapter 17 and 18 reviews the history of “
Babylon” (both religious and economic Babylon) and brings us to her destruction (the destruction of the beast) which happens at Armageddon.

Then 19, brings everything together for Armageddon, both
JUST BEFORE (in heaven) and then the physical descent of Jesus for the battle.

ALL clear chronological language that I cannot ignore, nor can I find a way to rationalize. To ignore the chronology ignores the whole principle of literal interpretation, which is ESPECIALLY required in the book of The Revelation because of all the symbols that need to be understood as symbols.
But the chronological key words are not symbolic.

 
 

Questions and comments are always welcome

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