CHAPTER 6 the 7 seals are broken and the events leading up to the
the Lord are
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. The covenant of Dan. 9:27.
Verses 3-4, Second seal: a disruption of THE
“political” peace by the same world
ruler becoming oppressive (the beast). This is breaking the covenant by
stopping the sacrifices as at Dan. 9:27.
He is given 1260 days to reign.
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
Verses 9-11, Fifth seal: The martyrs killed via
the oppressive reign of the beast. Or perhaps,
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
Rev. 6:1-2 where we see the first seal as representing the beginning of the
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
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.
The tribulation will be cut short by the return of Jesus and there will
still remain an unknown amount of time until the end of the week.
So, the focus is really on the midpoint of the
week, moving forward through the years and days leading up to Christ's
Chapter 7 gives the IMMEDIATE results from the
1. 144,000 converts on earth
2. multitude of believers in heaven who came
out of the time of oppression (great tribulation) by the rapture.
Chapters 8-9 gives the EXTENDED results from
the 6th seal; the trumpets of judgment which extend to the end of the 70th
(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
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
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
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
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 and his side-kick the false prophet.
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
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 that occur in
conjunction with the trumpets. They occur in two separate time frames.
The trumpets come from the 7th seal and the bowls come from the 7th trumpet.
THEN, chapters 17-19:4 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 Mystery
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 19:5-12 shows the bride in heaven
prepared and ready for the wedding and feast, which will be the start of the
earthly Davidic kingdom.
But before the earthly kingdom will
begin, John is shown 2 points of review.
(1) Vs 19:11-16: This review "backs up"
and shows that one event that will trigger the entire day of the Lord
scenario. It is the actual second coming of Jesus.
See article: Revelation 19:11
The second coming was symbolically shown
as occurring at the 6th seal of Rev. 6:12-17. Here, it is mentioned again.
Then, the vision skips over everything
else that will occur after that and jumps immediately to the physical
warfare at the battle of Armageddon.
(2) Vs. 19:17-21: This jumps
far beyond the arrival of Jesus at His second coming and gives a symbolic
summary of the final confrontation between Jesus and the armies of the
passage gives only a summary of that battle. Details are found throughout
the rest of the Bible and are analyzed in the study,
When Armies Move.
Then chapter 20 goes from the 1000 kingdom to
the end of the kingdom and the renovation of the universe and the last
A RESTATEMENT AND AMPLIFICATION
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
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.
After the opening of the 6th seal, we see three
(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
(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
Rev. 8:13 indicates chronological progression
by announcing 3 remaining trumpets and 3 woes.
Rev. 9: 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
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
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
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. 12:11 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
but that the final steps will now be taken to finish those things, which ends
The next three chapters provides RETROSPECT and
Chapter 12: The vision begins at the middle of
the week and just ends.
Chapter 13: The vision
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
and we see saints in heaven, standing on the sea of glass WHICH WAS EMPTY at
Then, back to the temple in heaven (from
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
specifically target "those who destroy the earth."
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
and brings us to her destruction
(the destruction of the beast) which happens at
Then 19:1-10, focuses on the
immediate results of the destruction of Babylon and the battle of
(1) The rejoicing in heaven.
(2) The readiness of the bride.
Then 19:11-21 shows the two book-ends that bring the chronology to the start
of the earthly kingdom.
(1) Vs. 11-16, The second coming of Jesus which initiated the DOL events.
(2) VS. 17-21, The battle of Armageddon which is the final earthly judgment
from the bowls of God's final wrath.
I find throughout the book of the revelation,
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
of all the symbols that need to be understood as symbols.
But the chronological key words are not