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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Revelation 6:9-17 Seals #5 & 6

Verse 9-11 “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, doest thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”

The “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” have now made their ride, and Christ proceeds to open the rest of the seals. The fifth seal relates to the next item on the gospels’ list of signs-martyrdom. This seal is aimed specifically at the saints. This fact alone proves that these seals are not the wrath of God as “God hath not appointed us to wrath” (1 Thess. 5:9a) and this seal has no unbelievers involved at all. Also, from the gospel list we know that martyrdom occurs before the 70th week begins, so the opening of this is not part of that time frame. Saints have been martyred since the first martyr, Stephen. Rome burned many and fed those they did not burn to the lions. There have been a multitude of martyrs down through the ages. Today, around the world, people are being martyred every day for their faith. This is what makes American Christian's attitude that God would never let them suffer so repellent. It is arrogant, obnoxious, and just plain ignorant. They do not have ears to hear and will pay dearly for it.

The martyred saints are seen under the altar crying to the Lord for vengeance. These souls have a special place in heaven. Those who simply die in the Lord are not under the altar. These people are very special to God. They have apparently been waiting for some time for God to avenge them, considering their complaint. God gives them white robes, which stands for the righteousness of the saints (Rev. 19:8), and tells them that they need to wait a little while longer until everyone that has to be martyred has been martyred. There are many more that are destined to be martyred during the course of the tribulation, which is yet to come, according to Christ.

These verses show that man is conscious in heaven after death. Some theologies teach in the idea of soul sleep, that there is no consciousness from the time of death until the resurrection. These verses would refute that idea, as the resurrection has not yet occurred, yet these saints are asking for vengeance. This shows that when Paul said to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, he was indicating a conscious presence with the Lord immediately after death, not that it would merely seem that way upon resurrection after soul sleep. (2 Cor. 5:8). It would seem that there is a spiritual body that Christians inhabit after death until they receive a glorified resurrected body, as they are given robes to wear. The martyrs under the altar seem to be frustrated about the fact that they have not been seeing vengeance from the Lord on their behalf for some time. They are asking how long they have to wait. If the seals were opened immediately upon the ascension of Christ, there would not have been any martyrs yet to ask for vengeance, much less a fair-sized group that seemingly has waited a long time to get that vengeance. This would seem to be evidence that these seals were not opened immediately upon Christ’s arrival in heaven, or if they were, each seal took a period of time to take place, thereby allowing for enough time to pass for there to be a number of martyrs there, and to have given them a reason to complain of the amount of time that had passed since they had arrived. The abomination of desolation and tribulation occur sometime after this seal is opened, when one compares the list from the gospels to the seals. It is after the opening of the fifth seal, but before the Day of the Lord heavenly signs in the sixth seal that these two events (the abomination of desolation and tribulation ) occur according to the comparison of the timeline in Matthew with this in Revelation.

Verse 12-17 “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood. And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains. And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”

For ease of comparison, so that you do not have to go back to them in the blog, some of the signs heralding the Day of the Lord from the Old and New Testament are as follows: The sun is darkened. The moon turns to blood and is darkened. The stars are darkened and fall. The sky is rolled back like a scroll. The earth shakes and trembles. The earth is moved out of its orbit. Men flee to the caves and hide in the rocks and holes. People faint and their hearts will melt (with fear). Mankind will be in terror, pain, and anguish. Men will tremble (with fear).

It can be seen that these signs are exactly the same as the sixth seal. As some of them are unusual (the sky rolled up like a scroll,) and the odds of all of these events occurring simultaneously more than once in the days ahead are small, and as we don't see these exact signs again in the Revelation commentary, it is obvious that the Day of the Lord signs and the sixth seal are speaking of the same events. Added to this is the fact that the people to whom this is happening identify it as the Day of the Lord signs, as they are expecting the wrath of God to soon begin. Note that it is not God who says His wrath has begun, but man who, seeing these catastrophic signs, believes that God’s wrath is about to occur. In point of fact, before God’ wrath can begin, there is still one seal left to open. The signs that the Day of the Lord is imminent have occurred, but there is still one more seal to go before God pours out His wrath on the nations. When that seal is opened, Christ will have fulfilled all of the conditions that were set, and earth will have reverted back to His ownership. However, the condition that is written on that seventh seal has to be completed before Christ can actually begin His reign over earth without having to share it with Satan, and that will take time. Satan, although having lost ownership, still has the right of reigning until that last seal is finished, which is why antichrist is allowed to continue right up to the end of the time, times, and half a time; three and a half years; or forty-two months. As said before, there will be a dual reign for a short period of time while this last seal is played out. When finished, Satan will be done and Christ will reign supreme. It is when that happens that Christ can finally pour out God’s wrath and judgment on the nations.

As for the events themselves, it would appear that something catastrophic is happening in the heavens. We will soon see in the seventh seal that there is something happening in space near planet Earth. Whether it is an asteroid shower, a passing comet, or whatever it actually is, this is the commencing of it. Some say that this is a nuclear holocaust, and while it could be interpreted that way, the phenomena in the seventh seal seems to indicate that there is a major upheaval in space causing all of this disruption. I happen to believe that this seal is the beginning of all of that. I do not think that people would think it is the Day of the Lord's wrath, if it were a nuclear holocaust. They would simply attribute it to nations being at war. It appears that the sun and moon are not darkened (and turned to "blood") simply due to smoke filled skies from whatever occurs, but from an eclipse. The description fits an eclipse much better. Actually for the sun to be darkened in a solar eclipse, the moon would have to be between the sun and the earth. For the moon to be red (blood), there would have to be a lunar eclipse which means the earth is between the sun and the moon. For both to occur simultaneously the moon would either have to be in two places at one time, which is impossible, or a third heavenly body would have to be present to create the phenomena. (We'll see this is going to be so.) Stars falling from heaven would indicate a meteor shower. A closely passing celestial body could cause an eclipse, a meteor shower, earthquakes, and affect the earth's orbit creating tectonic movement, thereby moving the islands and mountains. Which exactly this might be is not specified at this time, so we will just concede that it is some kind of heavenly body, that is not usually in our vicinity, that is causing this. We know that something of this nature must have occurred at least once and possibly twice before in man's history. Something catastrophic precipitated the events that caused Noah's flood. Many of the plagues of Egypt also follow a scientific action and consequence pattern, if one looks for that pattern and traces it back to a catastrophic event. That does not negate the miraculousness of the events. Timing is everything. While some like to think that all of these events were/will be miraculous events in the sense that God did/will do everything ex nihilo, as stated before I believe that God prefers to use His own creation to carry out His will in a natural way whenever possible (not suspending the laws of physics), and that it is the timing of events that are miraculous.

4 comments:

  1. Connie,
    YOu really did a good job up until this:

    "The abomination of desolation and tribulation occur sometime after this seal is opened, when one compares the list from the gospels to the seals. It is after the opening of the fifth seal, but before the Day of the Lord heavenly signs in the sixth seal that these two events (the abomination of desolation and tribulation ) occur according to the comparison of the timeline in Matthew with this in Revelation."

    In fact, you brought out something about the 5th seal: there must be some time for them to first, be there, and second, to wonder why it is taking so long for God to judge on their behalf. It is possible that this seal was broken about the time that John was watching these visions, i.e. about 95 AD.

    You wrote, ""The abomination of desolation and tribulation occur sometime after this seal is opened..." This is a true statement, but what you are saying does not reflect the chronology of Revelation at all. Yes, the abomination is future to this, but way future. First the 7 trumpets must be sounded, and the first half of the 70th week must take place. These are in chapters 8 through some of chapter 11. Then, in chapter 12, we read that the woman has fled into the wilderness, just as Jesus said those living in Judea should do, when the see the abomination. The chronology of REvelation is written perfectly, just as these events will happen when they happen. We cannot "re-arrange" the book to fit out theories. The book of Revelation shows us clearly, then, that the abomination comes long after the 6th seal, which we find in chapter 6.

    You are right, the 6th seal signs are the warnings that the "day of the Lord" is about to start. But what you are missing is that the "70th week of Daniel" starts at the same time. This is clearly shown in the book of Revelation, without any "re-arranging" necessary. This is why John does not get to writing about the antichrist beast until chapter 13. He will not really be revealed as the antichrist until the abomination. You are trying to squeeze chapters 12 and 13 in between two of hte seals!!

    The "tribulation," what we should be calling the 70th week, begins with the 7th seal, and ends with the 7th vial. The time Jesus spoke of, tribulation greater than any time ever on this planet, will begins right after the abomination, which, by the way, happens in Revelation chapter 11, and goes for some part of the 42 months of authority given to the beast. We all know this time is "shortened." How does God shorten it? He shortens this time of intense pressure by the 7 plagues with the vials of His wrath.

    The 70th week ends with the 7th vial and plague, but the day of the Lord continues on.

    Lyle

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  2. Perhaps a connection to Leviticus and the altar would be in order.

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  3. Would you care to write something up on the altar? You expressed your comment as if you had something to say. I'd be happy to allow you to contribute (provided it is scriptural of course).

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  4. I like your blog. I need to regain
    my interest in the book of Revelation
    and related topics.

    Terry Finley

    http://jesusarose.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete