We pray that these posts find you well during this Holiday season. Honestly, writing about the upcoming Tribulation is very sobering. It is a reminder that we need to be found “in Christ” NOW, before the times of trouble begin. The opening of the 1st 4 seals of Revelation (4 HORSES OF THE APOCALYPSE) unleash God’s Righteous judgments on the earth during the final 7 years of mankind’s self-rule on the earth. We discussed each of these seals in our previous posts. Now, let’s take a look at the remaining 3 seals and where they may fit on our 7 year timeline.
The 5th Seal – Martyrs
Revelation 6:9: When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed.
While seals 1-4 release God’s judgments on the earth, His 4 Severe judgments according to Ezekiel 14:21, the 5th seal is giving us another glimpse into what is transpiring in Heaven. In this part of the vision, John is witnessing all of the people who died as martyrs for the Word of God and for the Testimony of Jesus UNDERNEATH the ALTER. What is John seeing?
To better understand this, we need to look back to the Tabernacle of Moses in the Wilderness. Interestingly, as I finish writing this post today, Jewish sages believe that the Tabernacle in the wilderness was completed on this day in HIStory… Kislev 25. In the Tabernacle, there was a brazen alter in the outer court where animals were slain as blood sacrifices for the atonement of sin. The brazen alter was in the outer court so that it would be the first thing the Israelites saw when they entered the Tabernacle. The brazen alter was there to remind them that they were not WORTHY to come into the presence of a Holy God without a blood sacrifice for sin. The book of Hebrews tells us that the blood of bulls and goats can never take away sin, but the animals’ blood was a type or shadow of the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE for the ATONEMENT of sin, Jesus Christ. In the Tabernacle, the animals would be slain on this alter, and the blood would be allowed to run down into the ground UNDER THE ALTER. If the Tabernacle remained in one place for awhile, I would imagine that the ground underneath would be very bloody.
The 5th seal paints a picture for us of the blood of the ALL of the martyr’s underneath the alter, perhaps from the time of Righteous Abel, including the time of the first Christian martyr Stephen, through the Church of Smyrna, continuing with the Roman persecution of Christians, the Armenian Genocide, and even today, Christians being martyr’d in the Middle East, North Korea, China, and Africa. Although the Rapture of the Bride of Christ is certain, persecution of all people coming to the knowledge of the truth (Jesus IS the truth) will continue and increase through the 7 year Tribulation. Though their blood does not atone for sin, it DOES cry out for justice. We see a very similar thing in Genesis 4.
Genesis 4:8:.And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.
the Blood of jesus, god’s perfect lamb, is the only blood that can atone for our sin. Hebrews explains that the blood of Jesus is GREATER than the blood of Abel.
Hebrews 12: 22: But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
There are some Bible teachers who think that the martyrs under the alter could not be Christians because Christians would never cry out for Justice. They teach that Christians would instead be like Jesus, or even Stephen (the 1st Christian martyr) saying “Do not hold this sin against them (Acts 7:60). But what we’re seeing in Heaven via the 5th seal is symbolic of the BLOOD under the brazen alter crying out for justice in the same way that Abel’s blood cried out to God from the ground. Literal blood obviously has no voice, so the 5th seal symbolizes the JUSTICE of God. God remembers every single individual who has been slain for righteousness sake. Not one has been forgotten. In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus explained that those who are slain for His Name, for Righteousness sake, will receive a GREAT reward in Heaven. The souls under the alter have been given White Robes, symbolizing eternal life, and are then told to rest just a little while longer until the remainder of their brethren (brothers and sisters in Christ) are also killed. There will be many Tribulation Saints martyr’d during the reign of the antichrist. God is not going to pour out HIS WRATH on this earth until all of those who will be slain for Righteousness sake is complete. Revelation 20 depicts a courtroom scene at the end of the Tribulation. Those who have been beheaded for the Name of Jesus who IS the Word of God made flesh, those who REFUSED the mark of the beast, will INDEED be RICHLY REWARDED. They will receive the crown of eternal life, ruling and reigning with Jesus in His Millennial Kingdom on earth for 1000 years. This is an encouragement for all individuals who have been “left behind” and did not make the Rapture. Blessed are ALL those who die in the Lord.
Revelation 14:13: And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.”
Revelation 20: 4: Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
The 6th seal: Sky rolls up like a scroll, Stars fall from the Heavens.
Revelation 6: 12: I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16 and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
At the opening of the 6th seal, our attention is once again drawn to the earth as we see a very serious scroll opened by the Lord Jesus Christ. Right off the bat we are shown a “great earthquake”, one in which the sun becomes black as sackcloth and the moon appears darkened and red like blood, and the “stars” from the Heavens fall to the ground. The word for earthquake in these verses is “Seismos”, which could mean a literal earthquake, or could mean a tempest or a great shaking. This could be a literal earthquake, it could be a symbolic, manmade storm or tempest (nuclear war), or it could even the eruption of a massive supervolcano like Yellowstone. Whatever this is, it’s big enough to shake up all of the world’s leaders. The description of the sky rolling back like a scroll sounds like a massive nuclear explosion. To me, it seems like this could be the start of World War III because the kings of the earth hide in the “rocks among the mountains”…they hide in their BUNKERS. When the Scripture says that “every mountain and island were moved out of their places”, God is referring to man-made governments. If thrones and dynasties long established were overthrown; if institutions that seemed to be fixed and permanent were abolished; if a new order of things should rise in the political world, the meaning of the symbol, so far as the language is concerned, would be fulfilled.
Where do we see similar imagery in the Bible matching the 6th seal? In Matthew 24 (Olivet Discourse), we see a similar scenario. Jesus warns His Disciples that when they SEE the “abomination of desolation” standing in the HOLY PLACE (JERUSALEM), the people of Judah (the Jewish people) need to RUN QUICKLY for the MOUNTAINS. The Jewish people should also HIDE THEMSELVES in the MOUNTAIN CAVES and in the CLEFTS OF THE ROCK. As a matter of fact, Jesus warned His Disciples that the destruction will happen so rapidly after the Abomination of Desolation stands in the Holy Place, that those people living in Judah should not even stop to collect their cloaks or supplies. Just GO! Many Bible scholars believe that Petra, Jordan will be a place of refuge and hiding for the Jewish people. According to the Jewish historian, Josephus, groups of Jews fled to Edom and Petra during the Babylonian invasion of Judah in the sixth century BC, when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed. When the Romans destroyed the city and the temple in 70 AD, many Jews fled to the mountains along the Dead Sea. A number of them made a futile last stand on a mountaintop at Masada. Others moved further to Bozrah and Petra south of the Dead Sea.
Matthew 24: 15: “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. 17 Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. 18 Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak.
29 “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Matthew 24 uses very SIMILAR imagery as Revelation 6:12-16, the 6th seal. In the 6th seal, we see a GREAT SHAKING or EARTHQUAKE, one that will displace sovereign governments, in which the kings of the earth will hide in the mountains, in which the sun and the moon will be darkened and the stars fall from the Heavens like figs casting her untimely figs to the ground. In Matthew 24, the Jewish people are WARNED that when they SEE the Abomination of Desolation standing in the Holy Place they need to RUN and HIDE in the MOUNTAINS. According to the 6th seal, You can best be sure that the powerful elite will be in THEIR bunkers at this time! It is so urgent a warning that the Jewish people are told that they do not have time to run back into their homes and gather supplies…they need to just GET OUT OF THERE! I pray that when this time comes, the Jewish people will have heard this warning, REMEMBER, and do exactly as Jesus says. They will if they want to SURVIVE.
We can certainly imagine that the detonation of nuclear weapons in several locations around the world would make the sky look like it rolled up like a scroll. Nukes could definitely darken the sun (at least from the vantage point of earth), and the ash, debris, and nuclear fallout could create a scenario where the moon would not give its light. But what about the stars falling from the sky? What in the world would shake the POWERS of the Heavens and cause the stars to fall from the sky?
We believe that this verse about the stars is SPIRITUAL…AND PHYSICAL. What do we mean? First, let’s look at Revelation 12, another look at the same story.
Revelation 12: 3: Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon (satan) having seven heads and ten horns (NEW WORLD ORDER), and on his heads were seven diadems (CROWNS/KINGS). 4 And his tail *swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.
Rev. 12: 7 And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, 8 and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
Rev. 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. 14 But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she *was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent
We realize this is a lot to absorb, so we’ll take some time to go through this. As we see in these passages from Revelation 12 (above), Heaven (or the Heavens) is not the floaty, peaceful cloud kind of place that many people imagine. The 3rd Heaven where God resides is peaceful, but there is WAR in the lower Heavens. Satan and his minions have been trying to remove God from His Throne and take over the 3rd Heaven. God’s Angels are fighting to stop this hostile takeover. There are real ANGELIC beings who are literally AT WAR in the Heavens now, as we speak. In fact, often our wars and conflict on earth is a “spill-over” from the fighting in the Heavenly Realms above our heads. Satan lost his place in the 3rd Heaven a long time ago; however, he still has had ACCESS to God’s Courtroom. Satan is the ACCUSER OF THE BRETHREN. The Bible tells us that satan goes before God DAY AND NIGHT accusing mankind of sin.
Revelation 12:10: Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.
You see, that’s satan’s “game”. He tempts man to sin, leads us into sin, and then IMMEDIATELY goes before God to ACCUSE us so that we will be punished or thrown into hell with him! But there is coming a day, when satan will no longer have access to the Courts of God and will be THROWN DOWN to earth permanently. This will be the start of the final 1260 days of GREAT TRIBULATION. When he is thrown down to earth by the Archangel Michael and God’s angelic army, satan will be VERY ANGRY.
Revelation 12:12: Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”
When satan is thrown down, Revelation 12 makes it clear that his fallen angels are also thrown down with him. In Scripture, Angels are also called STARS or HEAVENLY HOST. Revelation 12, Matthew 24, and Revelation 6 all paint a similar picture of the war in the Heavenlies between God’s Angels and satan’s minions. Satan and his minions are not strong enough, so they will be thrown down to the earth…The stars in the Heavens… “fall from the sky. The SPIRITUAL POWERS (ANGELIC POWERS) of the HEAVENS will be SHAKEN!
How long will the New World Order last? It will last 3.5 years. This 3.5 year period is known as “THE GREAT TRIBULATION”, and is the FINAL HALF of the SEVEN YEAR TRIBULATION. In the Bible, this period of time is also called “time (1 year), times (2 years) and half a time (6 months)“. This same time period is also known as “42 months” and even “ 1260 days.” You might have noticed that 1260 days is not exactly 3.5 years on the Gregorian calendar; however, it is EXACTLY 3.5 years on the Hebrew Calendar. One of the primary purposes of the Great Tribulation is to bring Judah (the Jewish (Hebrew) people) to their TRUE MESSIAH JESUS.
All of the Scriptures listed below refer to the “Great Tribulation”, the final 3.5 years of mankind’s self-rule on earth. The antichrist will reign over the entire earth during this timeperiod.
Daniel 12:7: I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people (Israel/Jews), all these events will be completed.
Revelation 11:2: Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city (Jerusalem) for forty-two months.
Revelation 11:3: And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”
Revelation 12:6: Then the woman (Jews/Israel) fled into the wilderness (desert/mountains) where she *had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. (Also see Matthew 24..Jesus warned Jews to FLEE at the time of the AOD).
Revelation 13:5: There was given to him (antichrist) a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.
The event in Matthew 24 titled “the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION” is DESCRIBING what occurs just prior to the opening of the 6th seal. The Jewish people are WARNED that when they SEE the abomination of desolation standing in the HOLY PLACE (JERUSALEM)..FLEE to the MOUNTAINS! BOTH Matthew 24 and Revelation 6 tell us that immediately after the AOD is seen in the Holy Place, the “STARS (FALLEN ANGELS) FROM THE HEAVENS FALL TO THE GROUND”, the sun and the moon are darkened, and both describe people HIDING in the MOUNTAINS because they KNOW what is coming! When we think about it, once the first nuke is dropped, what happens next? A nuclear exchange…and what would the “kings of the earth do”?….HIDE in their UNDERGROUND BUNKERS that are in the MOUNTAINS.
Now that we know the 6th Seal = the AOD (abomination of desolation) event in Matthew 24, we can determine WHEN it occurs on the 7 year timeline. While describing this self-same event in Matthew 24, Jesus refers back to DANIEL 9:27, which very clearly tells us that THIS AOD event occurs in the MIDDLE OF THE WEEK (the midpoint of the 7 year Tribulation). The 6th Seal occurs just prior to the opening of the 7th Seal and the sounding of the 1st Trumpet. The 6th Seal, that occurs immediately after the AOD appears in Jerusalem, is probably that FIRST NUKE that is dropped, when the kings of the earth hide themselves in their bunkers in preparation for the SUBSEQUENT NUCLEAR EXCHANGE that WILL OCCUR in the first few Trumpet blasts.
Daniel 9:27: And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week (7 years), but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”
Matthew 24:15: Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. 21 For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.
To summarize.. the first 6 seals of Revelation:
|1st Seal opened – White horse||Bride is TRANSFORMED|
|2nd Seal opened – war (Psalm 83?). America attacked?||Bride is calling Laodicea to REPENTANCE.|
|3RD Seal is opened – ECONOMIC COLLAPSE and famine||The New World Order will “save the day” and “remake” the global economic system with the MARK OF THE BEAST. First create the problem, then fill it.. with an evil solution.|
|4TH Seal is opened – Death, Famine, Pestilence, Wild Beasts (antichrist kingdom)||Hopefully Rapture (catching away) has occurred.|
|5th Seal is opened – The blood of the martyr’s cries out from beneath the Alter in Heaven..for JUSTICE.||A picture of Abel’s blood crying out from the ground….also a reminder that God has NOT forgotten those who have been sacrificed for the TRUTH…GREAT will be their REWARD. This is an encouragement for those who did not make the Rapture.|
|6TH SEAL – ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION standing in the HOLY PLACE. Potentially warning the Jewish people – RUN TO THE MOUNTAINS. Antichrist is about to decimate Jerusalem!||After the first nuke is dropped, expect a nuclear exchange, (sky rolled up like a scroll.) Matthew 24/Rev. 6/Rev. 12/Joel 2. Sun and moon darkened, satan and his fallen angels kicked from the Heavens. Sacrifice and grain offerings stop. Earthly kingdoms fall from their places. New World Order is being established. Great Tribulation (final 3.5 years) starts just after the opening of the 6th seal.|