*** Represents Plagues where Believers AND Unbelievers die or are injured.
I’ve titled this paper as I have for one simple reason: It is NOT intended as an exhaustive commentary on the book of Revelation. It is intended as a resource for my family members who will not leave in the rapture, so that they will have a template for the chronology of events described within the pages of Revelation. For this reason, I do not even touch on the letters to the seven churches for they will have no bearing on the lives of those who are not raptured with the church.
I believe much of the book of Revelation is literal and is meant to be understood as such. Absolutely, there are parts which are metaphorical, but they are easily identified. They might not be so easily understood, but they are easily identified. I believe there are literally 21 plagues which will be opened, and the description given of each will literally come to pass upon this earth. So, if you are one of those people who sees nothing but allegory in the book of Revelation, you will not appreciate or understand this paper, but I think you should read it anyway because it will give you something to think about.
I once heard a preacher explain that Revelation was written in code so that there would be no interception of John’s letters as they left Patmos for their destinations. This preacher went on to explain that the largely illiterate recipients of John’s letters would have known exactly what they meant. This sounds ridiculous to me because they had Jesus with them in person for years and failed to understand much of what He meant when He taught using simple stories. His disciples were constantly asking Him what His parables meant. They also struggled to understand much of the letters written to them about everyday Christian life, so understanding apocalyptic literature seems a bit of a stretch even with the help of the Holy Spirit because He was with them to help them understand the everyday letters just the same. Also, I can’t imagine why there would have been interception in play for letters which spoke about events that would not happen for thousands of years. Granted, John, nor any recipient of his letters, had any way of knowing that the events would not happen for thousands of years, but had they happened before John saw death, there would have nothing any government or individual could have done to stop it. Honestly, I have no idea why literal and metaphorical styles coexist in this book beyond saying that it is simply the way God wanted it done. That’s reason enough in and of itself. I do believe the Apostle John wrote what he saw and with the help of the Holy Spirit, some time, and an honest heart, we are capable of understanding it. Obviously, we have the entire Bible, Greek and Hebrew reference books, and 2,000 years of history through which to filter/fine tune its message.
When one goes through the book of Revelation, it’s easy to see some of the dividing lines while others are not as obvious. There is nothing in scripture which states that the events listed in Revelation are listed in chronological order. If they are to agree with the rest of scripture, they can’t happen in the order in which Revelation discloses them. 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs us to “study earnestly to show yourself approved to God, a workman unashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” “Rightly dividing” is defined by the original Greek as ‘to correctly dissect the message of truth.” 3718. Chapter 12 is the perfect example of this. Not all, but most of this chapter speaks to events which have already happened either before man was created or through the events described in the Old Testament. Since Chapter 12 largely serves as metaphorical history I begin with it, correctly dissecting it from the rest of the book of Revelation so that an organized chain of events emerges, one which is cohesive with the sum total of scripture. I think Chapter 12 might very well be placed in the middle of the book simply to demonstrate that the events given are not necessarily placed in chronological order. From Chapter 12 forward, I place the remaining events in the order in which I believe they will occur, explaining my rationale as I go.
Revelation 12: 12:1: “And a great sign was seen in Heaven, a woman having been clothed with the sun, and the moon was underneath her feet; and on her head a crown of twelve stars…;” ‘Sign’ is defined as ‘an indication or wonder’4592 which helps me understand that those who live in heaven saw a great wonder. The woman is the nation of Israel, her clothes are the sun, the light of Christ, and the moon under her feet is the rest of the earth because Israel is the chosen people of God. The crown of twelve stars are the twelve tribes.
12:2: “…and having a babe in womb. She cries, being in labor, and having been distressed to bear.” The nation of Israel birthed Jesus Christ.
12:3: “And another sign was seen in heaven. And, behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns! And on his heads were seven diadems,…” This, of course, refers to Satan and the seven kingdoms which will oppress God’s people, and the ten kings which will arise at the start of the tribulation.
12:4: “…and his tail drew the third part of the stars of the heaven. And he throws them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman being about to bear, so that when she bears he might devour her child.” That Satan threw 1/3 of the stars from heaven to earth is representative of his power. In my personal opinion, because I have no scripture to support it, other than this verse, I think this means Satan used his power to position the constellations and ‘throws them to earth,’ references that humans embrace astrology as so many do. Finally, Satan tried to devour Christ when He was born, using Herod to do his dirty work.
12:5: “And she bore a son, a male, who is going to shepherd all the nations with an iron staff. And her child was caught away to God, and to His throne.” The Son born to Israel is Jesus and His ruling with an iron fist is fulfilled in Revelation 19:15. Jesus was crucified, resurrected, and ascended into heaven where He sits next to the throne of God.
12:6: “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place, it having been prepared from God, that there they might nourish her 1,260 days.” This is one of the verses in this chapter which is NOT historical. This verse references God’s command for the newly saved of Israel to flee Jerusalem. Rev. 18:4. These saints will live in relative safety in what is believed to be Petra, a rock city in the Jordanian wilderness, for the remainder of the tribulation.
12:7-9: Michael and His angels made war in heaven against the dragon. The dragon and his angels made war, but they did not have strength, nor was place found for them in heaven. The great dragon, the Devil, Satan was cast out onto the earth, deceiving the whole habitable world, and his angels were cast with him. These verses are pretty straight forward, so I’ll leave them as they are.
12: 10-12: This section speaks about the redemptive work of Christ and of His authority. God’s children overcome Satan, the accuser, because of Christ’s blood and the witness of their testimony which shares the work of Jesus with others so that they might overcome as well. The heavens are occupied with those willing to die for Christ. v.12. This verse also calls ‘woe’ to earth’s inhabitants because Satan came to earth very angry and with little time.
12:13-17: V. 13. Satan has been after Israel ever since he was cast out of heaven because Israel is the heritage of Christ. Satan has been very effective in keeping Israelites from seeing the truth of Jesus as Messiah. His deceptions have worked exceedingly well, even up to this point in time! V. 14. From here through the rest of the chapter is prophetic, not historical. The prophecy describes, in a non-specific way, the efforts of Satan to kill the nation of Israel. It says nothing about God’s wrath poured upon the earth. “Two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman,” is a metaphor that God pulls Israel out of the tribulation and tells her to flee to the wilderness. 18:4. V. 15. This verse is also prophetic in that the water out of the serpent’s face is the many nations which will come against Israel in the last days, seeking her annihilation.
V. 16. Is also prophetic in that God will use supernatural powers to protect Israel against advancing armies. It sounds as if a giant crack will open and swallow said armies of Satan.
V. 17. The dragon will be so angry that it can’t get to Israel that it will turn its attention back toward Gentile believers who might still be alive at this time. Some of these verses use the word ‘serpent’ and others use the word ‘dragon.’ The use of these describes the tandem effort of the man of sin and the indwelled man of sin whom most people call the Antichrist.
Revelation 4: Personally, I do not believe, as most people, that the rapture happens in Revelation 4:1, where John is told to ‘come up here.’ I disagree with this assessment because the language doesn’t match other rapture scriptures. Here’s what I mean: First, 1 Thessalonians 4:16 says there is a SHOUT of an archangel, NOT actual words spoken by anyone. This is a significant difference in that a person can shout without using three words. Second, it states that God’s trumpet sounds at the rapture, NOT a voice as a trumpet which is clearly stated in Revelation 4:1. The voice as a trumpet means someone is speaking loudly, not that the sound they make is that of a trumpet Third, Hebrews 10:36-39 tells us people who trust Jesus to save them will NOT draw back to destruction (loss or ruin 684), but to the preservation of the soul (animal sentient principle only 5590). The Greek language has two words which are translated 'soul.' The 'animal sentient principle only' used in this verse is also called a body. It is NOT the immortal soul which lives forever (#4151 in Strong’s)! This passage is saying that people who trust Jesus to save them will NOT suffer loss or ruin at the rapture, but their body will be preserved. This is the same word used in Revelation 6:9 for the martyred ‘souls’ who are waiting for vengeance. They are preserved as animal sentient principles ONLY, NOT as immortal rational souls. How does all this happen? I have no idea. In 1 Corinthians 15:51, Paul calls the change from corruptible to incorruptible a ‘mystery.’ If he didn’t understand it, I’m not going to spend a lot of time trying to figure it out.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 tells us we get our immortal bodies at the LAST trumpet which is the second coming of Christ as described in Rev. 11:15. Here in Revelation 4:2, John says he became ‘in spirit’ at once. This ‘spirit’ IS defined as the ‘rational immortal soul’ 4151/5590, NOT the animal sentient principle. If the rapture happens at Revelation 4:1, then it disagrees with Hebrews 10:36-39 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. Since there is such disparity between the language of Revelation 4:1 and other rapture scriptures, I’m convinced this ‘come up here’ was a single command intended for only John and in no way indicates the timing or occurrence of the rapture. After all, either John had to go where Jesus was for the duration of this vision, OR Jesus had to come to earth where John was, which would have been a third coming of Christ. Understanding the attention to detail God provides in scripture, it makes perfect sense that Jesus took John heavenward in an eternal immoral spirit just so that this event could not be confused with the rapture of the church. Why does it matter? Jesus tells us over and over that NO man knows the day or hour of His return, so if Revelation 4:1 represents the rapture of the church then it can be placed on a timeline within the book of Revelation. No event of which ‘no man knows the day or hour’ will appear in any part of the Bible describing the chronology of end time events. In other words, Jesus won’t tell us that we don’t know when the rapture will happen and then talk about it in a book filled with signs from which we can determine its timing.
4:2: After John became ‘in spirit’ he beheld a throne in heaven and One sitting on the throne
4:3: John gives a brief description of the One sitting on the throne. His appearance was like gemstones and there was a rainbow around the throne. This chapter is a song of praise to Jehovah God, Yahweh, not Jesus. I know because there is one throne present. And Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, NOT on the center throne. Mark 16:19/Luke 22:69/Romans 8:34, Hebrews 11:2…well, you get the idea.
4:4: John speaks of 24 additional thrones and of the 24 elders who sit on them. Strong’s Concordance defines the word ‘elder’ as “older, senior, specifically an Israeli Sanhedrist (also figuratively, member of the celestial council) 4245. The Sanhedrin was the Supreme Court of Israel. It possessed legal power that lesser courts did not. The best evidence I can find for the identity of these elders is located in 1 Chronicles 24:1-19. These scriptures describe those who ‘were the rulers of the sanctuary and rulers of God (meaning they ruled at His behest, NOT that they ruled over Him). Since these 24 elders in John’s vision are of authority, because they sit on thrones, it is a real possibility that these elders are the grandsons of Aaron as described in these verses. Sixteen of those rulers were sired by Aaron’s son, Eleazar, and eight were sired by Aaron’s son, Ithamar. As Gentiles, it’s easy to forget that there will also be Messianic Jews in heaven. It makes perfect sense that God would reinstate the rulers of the earthly temple as the rulers of the heavenly temple. God is good!
4:5: John describes lightning as it comes from the throne, also thunders and voices. Seven lamps of fire are burning, and these are the seven Spirits of God. The seven Spirits are listed in Isaiah 11:2. “And the spirit of Jehovah shall rest on Him; He (Jesus) will have the spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and power, knowledge and the fear of Jehovah.” Here, six spirits are clumped together by twos and represented as three parts. If you count them individually, and count the Holy Spirit itself as one, then you arrive at ‘seven Spirits of God.’ Two things I want to mention. First, I think this division of the Spirit into six different spirits is the reason for different spiritual gifts, one spirit representing certain gifts while a different spirit grants others, and so on. Second, having learned about the multi-faceted personality of God’s Spirit, I can’t help but wonder if the Holy Spirt doesn’t encompass these seven spirits in a manner similar to how God encompasses the Father, the Son, and the Spirit? Just a thought.
4:6-11: As far as I can tell, the glassy sea is a literal sea as the original Greek gives no special insight. For the life of me, I can’t understand how these creatures exist ‘in the midst of the throne, and around the throne’ at the same time. Here again, the definitions of the Greek offer no special insight, so I’ll just leave it as it is. John describes four living creatures which have four different faces; man, eagle, lion, and calf, each with six wings and being covered in eyes. I find no reason to think that these are other than what’s literally described. The definitions of the original words offer no special insight. That being said, I think that they are covered in eyes is symbolism for God’s omniscience. Without rest, these four creatures give glory to God and will do so throughout eternity. I have no idea what the four creatures represent. I failed to find any credible commentary, so I’ll leave them as the four living creatures which sit around the throne of God. The 24 elders fall down and worship Jesus, throwing their crowns before Him, crying, “Lord, you are worthy to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because You created all things, and through Your will they exist.”
Revelation 5: This is the chapter which offers praise to Jesus.
5:1-5: The scroll in this verse is the one which contains the plagues of the Seals described in chapter 6 and 8:1. This scroll is on the right of the One sitting on the throne. An angel asks who is worthy to open the scroll, and to loosen its seals. That no one in heaven was able to open the scroll or to see it, neither on the earth, or underneath the earth brought John to tears. For some reason not being able to read the seal really upset him. Then, one of the 24 elders, tells John not to weep because the Lion of Judah, Root of David, overcame so that He could open the scroll and loose its seven seals.
5:6: In the midst of the throne, the four living creatures and the 24 elders is the Lamb, “standing, as having been slain having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God having been sent out into all the earth.” This is a metaphor that Jesus embodies every aspect of the Holy Spirit.
5:7-10: God, seated on His throne, is holding the scroll in His right hand when Jesus takes it from Him. When Jesus takes the scroll, the four living creatures, and the 24 elders fall down before the Lamb, each one having harps and golden bowls full of incenses, which are the prayers of the saints. They sing a song praising Jesus because He is the One worthy to open the scroll and loose its seals. He is worthy because He was slain and His blood purchased them from every tribe, tongue, people and nation, making them kings and priests to our God, they shall reign over the earth.
5:11-14: John saw and heard myriads of myriads of angels (if this is literal, the number is 200 million. If not, who knows how many it truly is?), and the living creatures and the 24 elders, all with a great voice, saying, “Worthy is the Lamb having been slain to receive the power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” Then John heard every creature in Heaven, in the earth, under the earth, and the things that are on the sea, and the things in all of them, saying, “To Him sitting on the throne, and to the Lamb be the blessing and the honor and the glory and might forever and ever.” And the four living creatures said Amen. And the 24 elders fell down and worshiped the Living One forever and ever. From everything I’ve read in chapters 4 and 5, the primary purpose of the four living creatures and the 24 elders is the non-stop worship of God and Jesus. In the book of Revelation, they have only a limited participation outside this primary purpose.
Seal #5: I place seal number five after Chapter 5 for three reasons: First, the pre-trib rapture is taught in dozens of scriptures across BOTH testaments. For this reason, seal #5 must be opened before the rapture of the church. If not, these martyred souls will not be included in the rapture. An exclusion of them would contradict 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 which states that the dead in Christ rise before those who remain alive. Second, the description of seal five indicates a private conversation between these souls and God, it is one to which the people on earth will NOT be privy. That this conversation is private and not visible agrees with Luke 17:20, that the kingdom of God comes without observation (ocular evidence 3709), meaning there are NO visible signs which precede it. The second coming has all the signs of the tribulation which precede it, so the rapture is without visible signs. As such, this seal must take place before the signs of the tribulation begin. Third, 6:1 tells us that Jesus opens ‘ONE’ of the seals, NOT that He opens the ‘first’ seal. This is an important distinction when considering chronology of events. There is no reason Jesus cannot open the fifth seal first. The remaining seals are identified as second, third, fourth and so on, because they are subsequent, not because the plagues they contain happen in that specific order.
Seal #5: 6:9-11. Martyrs cry out for vengeance. These are NOT people who are martyred during the tribulation. First, the text clearly states these martyrs have been waiting a long time. Anyone who dies for Christ during the tribulation will not be dead long enough to even notice. In Revelation 3:10, Jesus describes the tribulation as an ‘hour’ of trial. So, the longest any tribulation saint would wait is an ‘hour’ of heaven time, IF they died on day one of the tribulation. I know there is no such thing as ‘time’ in heaven, but Jesus is speaking to us in a manner which makes sense to us. Additionally, God tells these souls they must wait until it ‘might be fulfilled also the number of their fellow-slaves and their brothers, those being about to be killed, even as they (were killed).” The underlined phrase is future tense, so it hasn’t yet happened. Clearly, this seal does NOT reference tribulation martyrs. Either Seal #5 has already happened and God has distributed their white robes and told them to wait a ‘little time,’ or it will happen immediately prior to the rapture of the Church. I don’t know which it is. I don’t think there is any way to be certain of either perspective.
Next is the Rapture of the Church: 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3: “for you yourselves know accurately the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, Peace and safety! Then suddenly destruction comes upon them like travail to the pregnant woman, and they shall not at all escape.”
Revelation 14:14-16 is the ONLY rapture scripture I’ve found in the book of Revelation, other than Jesus’ notable promise in Rev. 3:10. These three verses agree perfectly with Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:9 and 11, that Jesus will come to earth as He left; on a cloud, alone, peacefully with a blessing. I think it is also worth mentioning that the description here of this ‘coming of the Son of Man’ is completely different from the ‘coming’ of Jesus described in Revelation 19:11-21. One time is very peaceful and private, one time is very violent and public. Either this discrepancy speaks to two very different events OR the Bible contradicts itself. Clearly, 14:14-16 is placed in this book about end time events to demonstrate, one more time, hopefully unmistakably, that the rapture is separate from the second coming!
14:14-16: Jesus comes on a white cloud with a sharp sickle to harvest the earth. This passage speaks of the rapture. We know it’s NOT the second coming because, at that time, Jesus returns to earth with a sword in His mouth, accompanied by all the saints in heaven, prepared to do battle. 19:15. Here in Chapter 14, there’s no flashy fanfare, no violence, no company, and no blood mentioned in any of these three verses. Because this is the singular passage in Revelation which speaks to the rapture, it must be placed prior to Seal #4 which is a visible sign no one on earth will miss. It stands to reason that Jesus must be told by the angel to gather the church, reaping the harvest because it has dried, because ONLY God knows the timing. Since Jesus doesn’t know the timing, Matthew 24:36, He must be told when to come. Notice that Jesus sits on a cloud holding a ‘sharp sickle.’ The Greek definition for ‘sickle’ is ‘gathering tool’ 1407. ‘Sharp’ is defined as ‘keen (highly developed), rapid, swift’ 3691. Reap is defined as ‘in the sense of the crop, to harvest” 2325. Harvest is defined as ‘reaping the crop’ 2326. Dried is defined as ‘to mature, be ripe.’ 3583. That the harvest has dried means that all of those who will come to Christ have come and ONLY God knows when that time is! As a result, Jesus must be instructed to come rapture the church, reaping the dried harvest of Believers. V. 16: “And the One sitting on the cloud thrust His sickle onto the earth, and the earth was reaped.” With the definitions subbed in: And the One sitting on the cloud thrust His keen gathering tool onto the earth, and the crop of the earth was harvested. What bigger blessing could possibly exist for the body of Christ than to leave peacefully with Jesus when He arrives to take us home? This is the reason the rapture is called the ‘blessed hope.’ Titus 2:11-13.
Next is Peace and Safety:1 Thessalonians 5:2-3: “for you yourselves know accurately the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, Peace and safety! Then suddenly destruction comes upon them like travail to the pregnant woman, and they shall not at all escape.” The next thing to happen is for ‘they’ to say ‘Peace and Safety!” The word ‘they’ is not found in the Greek, unless there is a numerical index for it that the Interlinear Bible doesn’t include. It could possibly be an omission/oversight, but it’s not likely. So, we don’t know who ‘they’ are, or that ‘they’ might actually be a ‘he.’ 2 Thessalonians 2:3 tells of the man of sin who is revealed to the world after a ‘falling away’ of Believers which happens when those who do not get to leave earth ‘weep and gnash their teeth’ in pain and rage (Matthew 8:12, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30 and Luke 13:28) and are ejected into outer darkness. This ‘outer darkness’ is the earth once the church is gone. So, since the Greek cannot specifically verify that more than one person is involved (they), it makes sense that the man of sin spoken of in 2 Th 2:3 is the one who will step forward and say, “Peace and Safety” amid the chaos which will consume the world after the rapture. Daniel 9:27 tells us that this man of sin will confirm a covenant with Israel which will last one week which, in Bible math, is 7 years. I believe this covenant will be confirmed at this time and the Tribulation will officially begin as the man of sin sets out to procure ‘peace and safety’ for the citizens of the world.
Man of sin/beast. Part A. I take a different approach from most people who tackle Revelation because most people believe the man of sin becomes the Antichrist. One, I have a problem with this because the term Antichrist, with a capital ‘A’ is not used in the Bible. Nowhere in scripture is this word found. Two, it enables people to make a distinction in scripture which, I feel, impedes the proper understanding of Tribulation events. I’ll explain more as I go forward, but I’m convinced the man of sin and the beast are the same man at the same time for these reasons: First, the man of sin emerges from the midst of humanity (2 Thessalonians 2:3-10) AND the beast emerges, comes up out of the sea, sea being a metaphor for the world populace (Revelation 13:1). It makes no sense that the beast would re-emerge from the nations of the world after having already revealed his identity to the nations. How would that even work? The two of them coming out of the horde of humanity is too big a similarity to be a coincidence. In Revelation 13:1-2 we are given the metaphorical description of this ‘beast.’ It has seven heads with blasphemies written on them which represent seven kingdoms which have oppressed God’s people through the millennia; Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Meado-Persia, Greece, Rome and the forthcoming Anglo-American. I got this list online somewhere, but it does make sense and America is the final holdout for the persecution/execution of people for faith based reasons. This man of sin/beast has ten horns with crowns which represent the 10 kings he will put in place as his assistants. He has the body like a leopard. Leopards come in two colors, spotted and black, which are known as panthers. There is an argument to be made for either color. The spotted version could be a metaphor for his ability to stand out among the mass of humanity the world over because this man will be singular in many ways. OR, the black version could represent the evil he embodies. He is nothing but evil, even prior to being indwelled by Satan. He is after all, working in the spirit of the antichrist which by definition is ‘against the Messiah.’ Either way, his body is like that of a cat and we all know how good cats are at landing on their feet regardless of what comes at them. He will have the feet of a bear. When you compare bear paws to the paws of other animals the difference becomes obvious. Bears are the only animal with five toes on each foot, like a human, and their claws are twice as long as any other animal. Personally, I think the ten toes represent the 10 kingdoms and the claws represent the damage which will be done by these kingdoms. This world will be gutted by the time the man of sin/beast is done establishing world dominance. This beast is also described as having the mouth of a lion. A lion can open its mouth up to 11 inches wide. This ability gives them one of the biggest bite capacities in the entire animal kingdom. They have three kinds of teeth; the smallest at the front are used for gripping prey. The four biggest are as long as 2.75 inches and are used for ripping skin and tearing meat from the bone of its victim. The sharpest teeth are located in the back of a lion’s mouth and act like scissors to cut the meat of its prey. God chose these animals to describe the appearance and abilities of the man of sin for a reason. This man will be unparalleled in his ability to dominate and destroy those who get in his way. 13:3 states that the beast recovered from a mortal head wound, so there is a distinction between the beast prior to the head wound and after the healed wound/indwelling of Satan. One could argue that the beast re-emerges from the nations after his resurrection. However, the man will look the same except for a scar on his head. I get that, but there’s more to my rationale and it does not interfere with this unholy resurrection in any way. Second, Revelation 17:12 tells us that the beast gives authority to ten kings who will reign with him for one ‘hour.’ In Revelation 3:10, Jesus called the tribulation the ‘hour of trial.’ So, the ‘hour’ is the entire 7-year period of the tribulation. This is the same reason we know the ‘about half an hour’ in Seal #7 is ‘about’ 3.5 years. So, if these ten kings reign for one hour with the beast, then their reign must begin at the start of the tribulation. It is the man of sin who is introduced at the beginning of the tribulation (2 Thessalonians 2:3-10), so if the beast gives authority to the 10 kings for the tribulation period, he must be the same man as the man of sin, at the same time. Third, 2 Thessalonians 2:9 tells us that the man of sin/lawlessness “comes in accordance to the working of Satan,” (1 John 4:3) AND he will “have powers, miracles and lying wonders.” These are abilities this human man will have prior to being indwelled by Satan. At the 3.5 year mark, his abilities go to a whole new level because it is at this point he is possessed by Satan. Rev. 13:2. We know the beast is a human because Revelation 13:18 tells us that the number of the beast is the number of a man, NOT some supernatural being. So, the beast is a man BEFORE being indwelled by Satan and is a man AFTER being indwelled by Satan. There is nothing which exempts the beast, prior to indwelling, from being the same man as the man of sin. It obvious to me that the Bible makes no distinction between the man of sin and the beast, even from the very beginning. This becomes important as we unravel the timing of the tribulation events. Once the man of sin/beast is indwelled by Satan, I will refer to him as Beast, with a capital ‘B.’
Part B. I’m unable to determine from scripture just how long it takes, but very soon after the rapture, the beast will use the chaos caused by missing hundreds of millions the world over as his catapult to the global stage. The church is gone, so nothing prohibits his pursuit of power. Literally, there is nothing standing between him and what he wants as there is nothing to check his advance of evil. His rise will happen quickly because waiting too long will work against him. The spirit of antichrist has been working for millennia for this time in history, so there is no need for a delay for any reason. From 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 we know that he will come upon the world scene proclaiming peace and safety. Once his identity is revealed, he confirms a covenant with Israel (Daniel 9:27) and the Tribulation begins. One of the first things he does is appoint ten kings as assistants. Remember, we learned that they reign with him the entire ‘hour’ of the tribulation?’ Well, here you go. These are people who never had kingdoms of their own prior to this Tribulation reign as kings. 17:2. The beast will want people who are not entrenched within their own power strongholds. He will want kings who are new to power and compliant to his demands. For these reasons, it makes sense that he’ll choose people who are new to this amount of power. These kings are of one mind and give their power and authority to the beast. 17:3. In other words, they will work at his behest. With their help the beast will battle sovereign nations to break their national boundaries and establish his dominance as world leader (13:7-8, 12, 16), causing unprecedented global political unrest as he rousts those who are entrenched with power, waging brutal wars against those who oppose him, and making mandatory changes in business and commerce. He will move the world to a single religion (Revelation 17:1-5/13:11-15, spoken of metaphorically), along with his one world government (Revelation 17:6-13, spoken of metaphorically), and one world currency (digital/Revelation 13:16-17, spoken of metaphorically). Make no mistake, even though there are no judgments announced in heaven during Seal #7, the activity released by this man here on earth will be enormous and deadly to countless people the world over. He has spent his entire life, aided by the dark forces of this world (2 Th. 2:9), building a covert empire which will come to fruition very quickly. Through his extensive, unholy networking he will unleash a reign of terror upon the world which will only worsen at the 3.5 year mark from the date he confirms his covenant with Israel, for this is the time at which Satan will possess his body.
Next:Matthew 24:7-8/Mark 13:8/Luke 21:10-11 tell us: “For nation will be raised against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be famines and plagues and earthquakes against many places. But all these are a beginning of throes.”
Since the covenant is in place with Israel and the tribulation is officially in play, I believe Seals #1 and 2 are next. These seals deal with nations fighting nations while kingdoms fight kingdoms in the man of sin’s quest for world domination.
Seal #1: *** This seal is announced by the living creature which is the Lion. It speaks of the white horse which represents political unrest. 6:1-2. Political unrest is a normal part of life in this world, but this will be different. Right from the beginning the man of sin works his agenda. At first, he plays nice. After all, he’s charismatic, at great ease and woos people with intrigue (Daniel 11:21). Soon, however, he will tire of playing nice and will resort to the darker method of war to meet his objective. Daniel 11:23 tells us that after Israel enters the covenant with the man of sin, he practices deceit. He is strong with a few people, which I think references the 10 kings. Part of his deception includes wielding death in the name of arriving at ‘peace and safety.’
Seal #2: *** This seal is announced by the living creature which is the calf. It speaks of the red horse which represents war. 6:3-4. War is a normal part of life the world over, but, here again, this is a literal global war. The only places which won’t be at war are those who drop their borders and welcome the man of sin and his one world government. Even though they are compliant, the man of sin will pull from their citizenry men and women to serve in his army as it advances against the hold-out nations. Millions upon millions of people will die, Christian people just the same as those who aren’t Christians. I do want to say here that the number of people who have faith in Christ at this point is minimal. The only people of faith are those who were rejected by Jesus at the rapture but were not among those who ‘fell away’ from faith. These are the people who humbled themselves before God’s conviction at the rapture and decided that missing the rapture is not nearly as bad as being judged by God and going to hell after the second coming. The witnessing of the 144,000 evangelists and the Two Witnesses in Jerusalem have not yet begun, so the number of believers, at this time, is very small.
Next: Destruction: 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3: “for you yourselves know accurately the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, Peace and safety! Then suddenly destruction comes upon them like travail to the pregnant woman, and they shall not at all escape.”
I think it’s important to note here that the destruction is sudden, which is what the verse states, but most people understand it to mean only that the pains of the tribulation begin small and intermittent, growing over time. That is not how I understand this verse, nor is it how Matthew 24:7-8 describes it. The ‘suddenness’ also refers to the surprise element a pregnant woman experiences when labor pains first hit. I think this verse emphasizes that the pain of childbirth hits without notice, not only that it increases in duration and intensity as the labor progresses. I believe the ‘sudden destruction’ begins with Seal #4 and has two parts because of what Matthew 24:7-8/Mark 13:8/Luke 21:10-11 tells us. “For nation will be raised against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be famines and plagues and earthquakes against many places. But all these are a BEGINNING of throes.”
Please note the words in bold print, they parallel each other from the scripture in Matthew to the separate seal judgments. Also note that I have placed Seals #4 and 6 as I have because these are the beginning of birth pains. Matthew 24:7-8/Mark 13:8.
Seal #4: *** The fourth seal is announced by the fourth living creature identified as an eagle. Pale Horse represents death. 6:7-8. ¼ of the earth is killed (destroyed 615) by war, famine, disease (plagues), and wild beasts. Certainly, the death of ¼ of everything in the earth will be sudden destruction. Terror will grip this world like never before and the nations will look to its new leader to set things right, to make them feel better about the chaos into which they are inexplicably plummeted. This makes the rise of the man of sin’s power more meteoric and impactful.
Seal #6: *** I believe Seal #6 is also part of the sudden destruction. Why? First, the sudden destruction of Seal #4 will be far less effective if God doesn’t take credit for it. Without the involvement of God Himself, people will simply assume that mother nature has gone nuts. Remember, by this time, the world is full of people who largely have no awareness of God and it would not occur to them that He is behind any of this, especially if the government is spouting climate problems or something as silly as interference from aliens. Second, God will NOT allow Satan to steal credit for judgment which comes from the throne of God. Third, the evangelistic efforts of the 144,000 and the Two Witnesses in Jerusalem will be far less effective if God does not reveal that He is responsible for the events in play. Fourth, when ¼ of everything on the entire globe dies it’s because Someone is mad. God’s wrath is NOT limited to the back half of the 7-year period known as the Great Tribulation as many believe. There is NO scripture in the Bible which states that God’s wrath can happen only during the second half of the tribulation. This is merely a myth put in place by those who believe and preach a pre-wrath or post trib rapture doctrine. Placing Seal #6 here on the timeline does NOT negate that the second half of the tribulation will be far more deadly and horrible than the first half. That most people take Seal #6 and place it after the 3.5 year mark, is NOT the same as scripture explicitly stating that it belongs there. Yes, I know Seal #6 is the first time the word ‘wrath’ is applied to a plague, but, as I said, when ¼ of everything dies very quickly it’s because Someone is wrathful. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong, but someone will have to prove it to me using scripture.
Seal #6: 6:12-17. *** A great earthquake, the sun becomes black as sackcloth made of hair; and the moon became as blood; the stars of heaven fell to the earth….the heavens departed like a scroll being rolled up. Every mountain and island was moved out of place. Kings of the earth, the great ones, the rich ones and the commanders, the powerful ones, every slave and every freeman hid in caves and rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face (countenance 4383, so we’re talking about the actual face of God) of the ONE sitting on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of His wrath has come; and who is able to stand?” This is NOT the same event as Trumpet #7! The descriptions differ far too much. The heavens rolling back like a scroll indicate that God is giving those on earth a glimpse into the heavenly realm where they can see His face. Then those on earth ask, ‘who is able to stand?’ This harkens back to Luke 21:36 where those who leave in the rapture have no trouble standing before the Son of man, AND Exodus 33:20 where God says to Moses that no man can see His face and live. These people are fleeing from the very face of God because they know they can’t stand up under it! I think Seal #4 was God getting the attention of the world. I think Seal #6 is God taking credit for it. God full well intends that this earth will know it is Him who sits on the throne and it is Him who sends such pain and suffering to this earth. That God reveals Himself as the cause sits squarely with Revelation 16: 9 and 11 where the people of earth curse God for the pain they are suffering. This begs the question; why would people, most of whom never believed in God and would never give God the time of day, suddenly curse Him for their suffering unless He’s taken the credit for it at an earlier time? Please also note that the earth shakes so badly from the impact of heaven’s stars that the mountains and islands are shaken loose from their moorings. Millions upon millions of people will die in these earthquakes. Yet verse 24:8 tells us that these events are the ‘beginning of throes.’ Good grief what does it take to convince people that they should not want to be present for the tribulation? That Jesus tells us in Luke 21:36 we should beg to be worthy to escape ALL these things is Him telling us that it will be so bad that we don’t want to be here. This is NOT about being a coward or escapist, as post tribbers claim. It’s about listening to advice from Jesus and trusting His insider knowledge. It’s okay to trust Jesus to save you from the horrors of the tribulation! How is it any different than trusting Jesus to save you from the horror of hell? As I’ve demonstrated, I believe Seals #4 and #6 together comprise the ‘sudden destruction’ spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3. Honestly, I don’t even know for sure that Seal #4 is finished before Jesus opens Seal #6. They could happen sequentially, or overlap by any amount There is absolutely no reason why famine, war, disease and wild beasts can’t go around killing life on earth while God shakes the earth to its foundations and reveals Himself from heaven.
They shall not at all escape: 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3: “for you yourselves know accurately the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, Peace and safety! Then suddenly destruction comes upon them like travail to the pregnant woman, and they shall not at all escape.” This is the final phrase in this scripture. The church was raptured out of harm’s way and those who remain on earth for this 7-year period have no escape from the events which are about to unfold. Those on earth will remain on earth and there’s nothing to be done about it. They either live to see the second coming, or they perish as the direct result of a plague, as collateral damage from a plague, or, as we’ll see later, they’ll die because the indwelled beast kills them for refusing his mark.
Now that Seals #5, 1, 2, 4, and 6 have brought us to this point, fulfilling the prophecy of 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3, and the covenant between the man of sin and Israel is in place, I believe Seal #3 is opened. I believe Seal #3 is next for three reasons. First, Jesus Himself opens all the seal judgments. The seal judgments are the only ones Jesus opens. The trumpet and bowl judgements are opened by angels. I think during the time they are opened, and their plagues are being released upon the earth, that Jesus is at the marriage supper with the church. Rev. 19:6-11. For this reason, I believe that all the seal judgments are opened in rapid succession, covering just a matter of days. It’s not that the damage they inflict will end in the days allotted, just that they are opened. For instance, the deaths caused by Seal #4 will continue until the death of ¼ of every living thing on earth is accomplished. That number may happen in a matter of days, and it may take longer. I have no way of knowing. I can’t find anything in scripture which specifies one way or the other. Certainly, Seal #1 will continue past several days and Seal #2 will continue throughout the 7-year period of the tribulation. The man of sin/beast will always be at war with someone. There will NEVER be ‘peace and safety’ until Jesus destroys the beast at the second coming. It is illogical that Jesus would set aside His participation in opening the seals to participate in the marriage supper, only to interrupt that celebration so He could continue to open seals. Christ will be a far more attentive Bridegroom than that scenario indicates. Second, Seal #3 cannot happen after Seal #7 is opened because Seal #7 prohibits any announcements in heaven with its mandate of silence. Seal #7 does not say that heaven does not participate in what happens on earth, just that heaven is silent. Both criteria occur at the same time. I’ll explain more when I get to Seal #7. Third, we know that Seal #7 lasts for ‘about half an hour.’ Jesus tells us in Revelation 3:10 that He will deliver the church from the ‘hour of trial’ that will “come upon the habitable world in order to try those dwelling on the earth.” We know this ‘hour’ is seven years long, so it stands to reason that ‘about half an hour’ is ‘about’ 3.5 years. How this divvies out down to the day, I don’t know, but this is the reason I believe that all seven seals are opened within a matter of days. The difference between a full 3.5 years and ‘about’ 3.5 years is the span of time during which these seals are opened. Also, we must remember that if 7 years on earth is but an ‘hour’ in heaven, then the ‘days’ it takes on earth for Jesus to open the seals, is but a ‘heartbeat’ of time in heaven. In other words, the Church will not wait any length of time on Jesus while He tends to the duty of opening Seal Judgments.
Seal #3: 6:5-6. This seal is announced by the living creature which has the face of a man. The black horse represents business and commerce. The ability to buy and sell is a normal part of life the world over, but I believe at this point, under his all-encompassing banner of ‘peace and safety,’ the man of sin, who is also the beast (remember we talked about how they are the same man at the same time) begins his objective toward a one world currency. It will not be the actual ‘mark’ just yet because that is implemented during Seal #7. However, at this point, any remaining intermediate steps toward that objective will be completed. This will make the mandate of the ‘mark’ much less offensive and much more palatable to the world’s citizens. Also, by now, with so many people having vanished or been killed in the plagues sent by God, or the wars waged by the beast, resources are going to be difficult to find. Factory workers, train engineers, medical professionals, store clerks, every class of people will have been affected. There is NO aspect of life which will remain untouched. Prices for everything are going to soar because demand will soar as supply diminishes at an alarming rate. Of course, since these missing and dead people will never be replaced, and more people will be killed globally every single day and night, the price situation will NEVER be corrected. It will only deteriorate from this point forward. So, while the earth and her inhabitants die daily, the economics of everyday life will be forever altered. That this horse of business and commerce is black is no accident or coincidence. The world economy is dying as well. If you are reading this paper and have not received Jesus as Savior, this is the reason it is essential to have food and water stored and a back-up energy plan in place.
Seal #7: 8:1. There will be silence (hush, silence 4602) in Heaven ‘about half an hour.’ In Revelation 3:10, Jesus says He will ‘keep you out of the hour of trial which is going to come upon the habitable world…” Okay, we know the tribulation is 7 years long and Jesus just referred to it as an hour. This means that the ‘about a half-hour’ spoken of here in 8:1, is ‘about’ 3.5 years of time on earth. During this time, there will be no announcements made in heaven signaling the opening of any trumpet or bowl judgments. That there is no noise in Heaven in the form of judgments does NOT mean there is no activity here on earth. What will happen during this ‘about 3.5 years’ of heaven’s quiet time? 1. 144,00 Evangelists. 2. Two Witnesses 3. False Prophet a. One world government b. One world religion, manufacture of Beast image c. One world currency = Mark of Beast