The Tribulation Saints

144,000 Saints that are Sealed

Chapter seven is a parenthesis to the seals. The seals are an outline of what takes place during the tribulation and the parentheses contain more details. The seals outline clearly show that God will call out believers who become the tribulation saints. At the same time, a man will gain control over the earth and there will be widespread death. Joseph Stalin comes to mind as an example of this. While Stalin’s policies limited the death to Russia; the first seal ruler’s policies reach to the ends of the earth.

Looking at chapter seven it is clear that God wants us to focus on only the martyrs of the tribulation. There are some interesting observations to be made here. First, God has to silence the evil that is going on the earth long enough to call out, or seal, a group of Israelites to be witnesses. God gives a quiet time at the beginning of the tribulation in order to call out these chosen Jews. The word spirit actually comes from a Greek word that relates to  air (pneuma). It seems that wind is often a symbol of the evil spirits stirring up things (Ephesians 4:14, Mark 4:39). So the picture here is that God prevents any movement of the spirits for a short amount of time. The reference to the four corners of the earth does not mean that the writers thought the earth was flat, but rather refers the four points of the compass.

Calling out Israelites makes perfect sense if you believe there is a difference between Israel and the church. The church is now removed and no longer the witness it once was. It is now time for God to start to fulfill all the promises to Israel. These are called during the tribulation, whereas the church saints are saved before the tribulation. It needs to be noted that there is a need for witnesses during the tribulation. An astute observer will understand that there is an absence of witnesses at this time which require this action. The best explanation for this is that the church is no longer on earth.

As far as the number of 144,000 goes it could be literal or it could be symbolic. However if someone knows something about this, it would nice to share it. One thing we do know is they do a very effective job of witnessing during the tribulation. The reason I say this is because in verse nine the Bible tells us that a multitude, which no man can number, will be saved. It also tells us that they are from all nations. These are saved during the great tribulation as verse fourteen clear states. These are the tribulation saints, not saints from time past.

Verses fifteen to seventeen again shows the end of suffering. This is an indication that the sixth seal is the end of the tribulation and the dawning of a new era. This is another reason for me to believe that the seals, trumpets, and vials are to be seen as layered in parallel rather than connected in a linear fashion.

Seven Seals

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The Seven Seals Scroll

Seven Sealed Scroll of RevelationJesus can open the Scroll.

One of the  most exciting things to me about the book of Revelation is chapter five. In this chapter, there is a seven seal scroll that is of great importance. What is it about this book that is so exciting? As I stated in my introduction section that the book of Revelation is written in symbols that are to be understood by the other books of the Bible. This is one of the reasons the Bible is so unique and understood to be the Word of God. Here is a case in point. Dr Ironside points out that Jeremiah chapter thirty-two gives us a glimpse of what is taking place here.

In that chapter the king of Babylon has besieged Jerusalem and is ready to take it. Let stop right there for a moment. The prophets of the old testament clearly stated there are two kingdoms at war and they are Zion and Babylon. Jerusalem is the city of Zion.

Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. Psalms 48:2

Babylon is the kingdom of Satan that is at war with the people of God. We see this clearly in Isaiah chapter fourteen.

That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! Isaiah 14:4

And we find out that just as God is behind the actual city of Jerusalem, Satan is behind Babylon.

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! Isaiah 14:12

So back in Jeremiah, he understands that Jerusalem is about to be taken into captivity. I think that picture is clear. God knew that Satan was going to take His creation into captivity in the Garden. So what does Jeremiah do? In verses, seven through fifteen Jeremiah is told that he has the right of redemption to buy a field in Jerusalem and so he bought it. The interesting thing here is that there was a title deed created that was sealed with witnesses and place in a secure place. Why was this done? Because God said Israel would someday possess the land again and this deed would prove that Jeremiah’s kin would be the rightful owner of that land.

This is exactly what is taking place in Revelation chapter five. Creation had been taken into captivity by Satan and is now under the control of Babylon. However before this ever happened there was a title deep created that proved there is a true owner of Creation. That true owner is Jesus Christ who paid for it with His own blood.

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8

In Revelation six of chapter five, we are told that the Lamb of God is worthy to open the book. John had been weeping because he knew that if no one could open the book the world would remain under the control of Satan and its destruction would be inevitable. We can see this today, the world is in trouble. Man has conquered the earth because he can travel it surface in little time. There is no place that is out of reach for his weapons of destruction. We are consuming its resources and an unsustainable rate. Morality has been disregarded as an archaic idea. We all should be weeping, but we don’t have to because we now know what John did not know, that there is one worthy to open the title deed and take back creation.

8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. Revelation 5:8-10

Let us hope in the Lord, let us sing His praises. The world rings its hands at the problems we face. It panics over global warming as if there is no one to redeem it. Be we know that the Lamb has the authority to redeem it and as the Lion, He will take it back and heal it.

Linear vs Non-Linear Approach

I prefer the non-linear view

Time to start gathering comments. What is your view on how the seals, trumpets and vials fit together? I will share my understanding and we can see what we come up with.

I believe that these three sequences run non-linear, meaning that one does not come after the next, but rather they are going on simultaneously.

Revelation-Non-linear-Approach.png

Here are some reasons for believing this. It appears to me that each for these sequences are a viewpoints from which the tribulation is seen. The seals are open as Jesus judges and takes back his creation. These seals are what happens to the men that are present in the tribulation.

  1. Seal of the White Horse: One world Leader
  2. Seal of  the Red Horse: Overthrow of governments to gain control
  3. Seal of the Black Horse: A food shortage caused by the disruption of powers
  4. Seal of the Pale Horse: Death, death and more death
  5. Seal of Martyrdom: People are killed for not conforming to the new world order
  6. Seal of Judgement: The whole creation is shaken.

Here is one thought of consideration to the non-linear idea. The sixth seal seems to describe the end. To show this let’s compare Matthew 24:29-30 with the sixth seal.

29Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Here it tells us clearly that at the end of the tribulation the stars will fall, the sun is darkened and the men of the earth mourn at Jesus’ coming. Now compare this to Revelation 6:12-17.

12And 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; 13And 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. 14And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15And 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; 16And 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: 17For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

The seventh seal is a link to the first trumpet. So the seals are the tribulation from the viewpoint of humans. The trumpets may I suggest is the tribulation as seen from the fallen angels, the principalities, the rulers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12). The seventh trumpet then links us to the first vial which is the tribulation as seen from the Temple of God in Heaven. So we have three layers; the bottom layer is events as seen by men, the middle are events as seen by the angels, the highest and last is events seen from Heaven.

One last thing that needs to be brought up here is we need to understand that the seals, trumpets, and vials are outlines of the events. In between each of these outlines are details that give more depth to what has been outlined.

Okay, let have some thoughts on the matter. All it take is for you to pray for wisdom and read your bible.

BTW there are two books that I have used heavily in my studies and they John Walvoords book on Revelation and Dr. Henry Ironside commentary on the same.

The Baseline

A Baseline for this blog

In all things, we need a baseline to start from. We cannot have an effective blog if every paragraph is written in a different language. We cannot have an effective discussion unless we have a baseline on what we believe. I am not telling anybody that their viewpoint on the book of revelation is wrong, I am however saying that in this search for answers we are starting with some unwavering ideas.

The Bible

The Bible is the authoritative Word of God. It is without error and true in every way. This blog will not interject ideas that this book is just some man’s option or dreams, but rather it is God-breathed words, written down by faithful men.

The Approach

We will also understand that this discussion is from a futuristic viewpoint. *There a many approaches people  have to the book of Revelation, such as preterist, historical and futuristic. The futuristic view that we are using here declares that the events from Revelation 4:1 and on are future events yet to have happened.

As this discussion develops there will probably be added more baseline considerations to keep us heading in the right direction.

*Approach to Revelation

Introduction

I need your help! To unlock the mysteries of the book of Revelation requires the interpretation of symbols. We know this by one of the very first words of the book.

1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

The word signified means in signs or symbols. The book was sent and given in symbols to John to give to us. There are two things we should be aware of here. First is that all symbols are found within the Bible itself. No need to search the world for the understanding of these symbols. Second if they are in the book, it means one needs to be a student of the Bible. I have come to have greater appreciation for the prophetic books of the bible as a result of this understanding. However I have not come close to unlocking all the mysteries of these symbols, so please join in the search to find the truth.