The 7 Seals of Revelation – 2

The opening of the first four seals are often referred to as the riding of the 4 horseman. This was covered in the last article. Now the events change from something that a man (the Antichrist) does and the results of his actions, to events that are caused directly by God. The judgments are getting worse.

The Fifth Seal – Rev. 6:9-11

Now the scene changes from the earth to something that is happening in heaven. We are given a look at the altar of God in heaven. And John saw that under this altar were the souls of those who hade been martyred.

There is some disagreement as to just who these souls are. Some say that they are only those who had been martyred during the Tribulation Period. Others say that they are the souls of all who had been martyred down through the ages.

It really doesn’t matter who is right. God is showing John something special. No, I don’t believe that if you are martyred, you are confined to a small space under the altar of God.  This is a vision that God gave to John so that he could understand that martyrs hold a special place in the heart of God.

Notice that they are crying out for revenge against those who martyred them. However, also notice that God does not chide them for calling for revenge. He just gives them white robes (that signify purity) and tells them to just wait a little while longer because there are more that are going to be martyred. The implication is that after that, God will carry out His revenge upon those who martyred them.

These scene does tell us something very important. No matter what people do to born-again Christians, all they can do is to kill the body. Our spirit is safe with God. When we die, we are given a new body, a spiritual body, and we are still a complete being or soul.

The first four seals are judgments that are largely inflicted by man against man. In other words, these judgments are disasters that unredeemed man inflicts upon himself. The fifth seal just shows us that God does take care of His own.

The Sixth Seal – Rev. 6:12-17

But now, there is an event that can be nothing except supernatural. There is a great earthquake. But this is no ordinary earthquake. And it is not a localized earthquake. It seems to be worldwide because people see both the sun and the moon affected. This means that those living during the day, as well as those living at night will feel this earthquake. God describes several specific things that happen.

1) The sun turns so dark that it seems to be as black as a sackcloth made of hair.

2) The moon turns blood red.

3) Stars in the sky fall to the earth like figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.

4) The sky seems to roll up like a scroll.

5) All the mountains shook and islands moved.

This looks like an enormous volcanic activity. All the earthquakes around the world cause volcanoes to erupt. Can you imagine the affects of this happening?

If you have ever been near a volcano when it erupted, you can imagine what this will look like. When all the ash is sent up into the air, it hides the sun so that it hard to see. You might only see the effects of the sun, that is, there is still some light around you but the sun, itself, is hidden from your view. Also, falling from all this ash are larger pieces of burning rock and as they fall to the earth, they look like stars falling to the earth.

God also gives us some idea of who will experience this event and what these people will experience when the sixth seal is opened.

Notice that it affects everyone on the earth. No one is left out. It mentions, kings, world leaders, rich men, military leaders, slaves and freemen. They are all so terrified that they call out to the mountains and rocks to fall on them. But notice why.

They all recognize that this is not just a normal and natural event. They recognize that it is being caused by God. And they recognize something else very amazing. It is not only being caused by God but they also recognize that it is the Lamb, that is Jesus, that is causing all this to happen.

The Interlude

Revelation 7 gives us more information about what God is doing for His children. John says “after these things,” he saw something new. This seems to indicate that God wanted John to know what He was doing for His children. That is, for those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Notice that while God is revealing what happens during the opening of the seals (or during the blowing of the trumpets or during the pouring our of the bowls of wrath), nothing is said about when the Rapture is. However, it seems to be before this interlude because it is the Servants of God that are mentioned. When Christians (the Church) are referred to before the Rapture, they are always referred to as “the Church” or “the Bride of Christ.”

Yes, we who are living now are servants of God. But those referred to in Rev. 7 are specifically called “Servants of God.” It also states in vs. 14 and 15 they these have come out of the great tribulation and are seen standing before the throne of God, serving Him day and night in His Temple.

This interlude is before the blowing of the Trumpets because the Angel called out and said in Rev. 7:3 (NIV): “do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the Servants of our God on their foreheads.” Notice that it is the earth, the sea and the trees, among others, that are affected during the blowing of the Trumpets.

The Seventh Seal – Rev. 8:1-2

This judgment is not a judgment in itself, but rather it contains the judgments of the seven trumpets. This is a series of events that are so devastating that as this seal was opened, there was silence in heaven for about a half of an hour. (v.1).

However, before the trumpets are blown, we are given another picture of the effectiveness of our prayers. We sometimes think that our prayers do no good, that God really doesn’t hear us. This picture that was given to John tells us differently.

John saw vision of an angel pouring incense on the altar of God. This incense represented all the prayers of the saints and the smoke from the burning of this incense (our prayers) ascended up before God. God receives all the prayers.

Then something amazing happened. The angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth. This caused thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightening and another earthquake on the earth.

It was now time for the blowing of the seven trumpets. Rev. 8:6 says: “Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.” (NIV)

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