The first half of the 70th Week will be encompassed within Seals 1 through 4 of the scroll being opened, one seal at a time, by Jesus in heaven. Midway through, the breaking open of Seal 5 will end the first half and begin the second half of the 70th Week.
<!><!><!><!><!>At the midpoint of the 70th Week, Seal 5 will be opened. And at or just prior to this point, there will be a momentous conflict in heaven. Satan and about a third of the angels (or “stars”—Judg. 5:20a) will be ejected permanently from heaven and forced to confine their activities to the earth (Rev. 12:3,4a,7-9) and probably also to the “heavenlies” (outer space and the atmosphere) around the earth. Knowing that his remaining time of freedom is short, Satan will determine once and for all to destroy God’s chosen people, the Israelites, represented by the “woman” having the sun, moon, and twelve stars (Gen. 37:9; Rev. 12:1,13). He will want to destroy Israel (as an initial attempt to come against Jesus Himself), because he was unsuccessful in eliminating her “son” at His first coming—the Messiah, Jesus, “...who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter” (Rev. 12:4b,5) and Who effectively foiled Satan’s ancient murder scheme when He rose from the dead (1 John 3:8b).
<!>To perform this destruction, Satan will have selected a man, the “beast” or Antichrist, who will have risen to power during the first half of the 70th Week. To him, Satan (the “dragon”) will give “...his power and his throne and great authority” (Rev. 13:2b—see “agenda and human ‘pawn’”: C-7, P-III). This man, “the ruler who will come,” the same one who made a covenant with Israel at the beginning of the 70th Week, then will enter the new temple in Jerusalem, stop the sacrifices and offerings being made to God, and perform abominable acts inside (Dan. 9:26b,27—see “abomination, desolation, and distress”: C-11, P-III).
<!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!>Many will flee the city to a place in the mountain-desert (probably the rocky, “fortified city”—Psalm 60:9a—of Petra, located in Jordan and now accessible to Jews due to the Israeli-Jordanian peace accord of October 26, 1994) which God will have prepared for them (Matt. 24:15,16; Rev. 12:6a,14a). There, they will be protected by God for 1,260 days (12:6b), or 3½ years (12:14b). (Remember, a Jewish year has 360 days, discounting certain adjustments). The Antichrist’s armies will pursue these people like a river of water (12:15); but God miraculously will come to the Israelites’ rescue (12:16), possibly by defeating their pursuers in the same way the rebellious Korah and his followers were destroyed in ancient times when “...the ground...split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them...[and] closed over them” (Num. 16:31-33). In any case, enraged at this, Satan (through the Antichrist) will return to Jerusalem to persecute the people there who did not flee, “...those who obey God’s commandments [religious Jews] and hold to the testimony of Jesus [believing Christians]” (Rev. 12:17), as well as those who do not worship him as the “God” he will proclaim himself to be (2 Ths. 2:4b).
<!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!>These are Scriptures which I believe relate to the midpoint of the 70th Week: Lam. 1:10; Dan. 9:27bc, 12:1a,11a; Mal. 4:5; Matt. 24:15-18; Mark 13:14-16; Luke 21:20,21; 2 Ths. 2:3b,4; Rev. 12:3,4a,6-9,13-17, 13:1,2b,5a.
Due to the severe persecution and destruction of many people at this time, the period beginning with the opening of the fifth seal (at the midpoint of the 70th Week) often is referred to as the Great Tribulation. It will be a time of intense distress, affliction, and trial for the world. However, I do believe that, for the most part, Christians who will have kept the faith and held unswervingly and uncompromisingly to the testimony of Jesus during the first 3½ years of the 70th Week will be protected supernaturally from the worst of it. Jesus will be their Sustainer, and the Holy Spirit will be their Counselor in times of trouble (see “repentance, endurance, and overcoming” later in this segment). This will be a time when the practicing of spiritual warfare (see C-10) will be imperative. Not all Christians, however, will escape persecution leading to death. But Jesus did teach, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one [God] who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).
Jesus said that the persecution and death of Jews and Christians at this time would be because of Him (Matt. 24:9). For descendants of Israel, this will be because He is their true Messiah (since He was born through the Jewish line); and Satan hates Him and, therefore, them. For professing Christians, it will be because they have been saved, by the blood of Jesus, from the eternal destiny determined for Satan himself and because they refuse to worship the devil and the Antichrist.
<!><!><!><!><!>At that time, many non-religious Jews and non-committed Christians will even turn against those who embrace true Judaism and Christianity, betraying them and each other (Matt. 24:10). False prophets will deceive people (24:11); and, with the prevalence of wickedness, love will become a rare commodity (24:12). Jesus had a message for those who would be arrested and brought to trial during that time: “...[D]o not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit” (Mark 13:11). Moreover, “...he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matt. 24:13). Jesus also said,
Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day [of the Lord] will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth (Luke 21:34,35).
Commenting on these words by Jesus, Larry W. Poland, in How to Prepare for The Coming Persecution, has written,
God recognizes that things will be so tough that even the sheep will be tempted to be discouraged or escape into heavy drinking or let the anxieties of life get to them. Jesus exhorts them not to let that happen.
<!><!><!><!><!>Old Testament prophets foretold the ruin and distress of Israel during the Great Tribulation period, commonly referred to as the “time of Jacob’s trouble.” Jeremiah exclaimed, “Cries of fear are heard—terror, not peace. ... How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it” (Jer. 30:5,7). Daniel wrote, “There will be a time of distress [tribulation] such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then” (Dan. 12:1b). Jesus made a virtually identical prediction centuries later: “For then there will be great distress [tribulation], unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again” (Matt. 24:21). Amos forewarned, “An enemy will overrun the land; he will pull down your strongholds and plunder your fortresses” (Amos 3:11). Daniel, referring to the ruthless Antichrist, also wrote, “He will attack the mightiest fortresses...” (Dan. 11:39a).
Jesus reiterated the severity of this awesome period in history when he declared, “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive...” (Matt. 24:22a). What this means is that if humankind were left to its own misguided endeavors and undertakings, we would annihilate ourselves completely. Fortunately, God will not allow that; instead, he will intervene supernaturally before we do so, albeit in a cataclysmic manner, to remove most people’s primary focus away from each other and to turn it upon Himself, beginning with the opening of the sixth seal (seeS-2).
<!>As a quick review, the arrogant Antichrist will revoke the “peace” covenant with Israel, set himself up in the newly built Jerusalem temple, end sacrificing and offering there, slander and blaspheme God, proclaim himself to be “God,” persecute and execute those following God and professing Jesus as Lord and Savior, and seek to assume leadership of the world. (Paul said that “...everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted...”—2 Tim. 3:12; the worst of this persecution will take place during the reign of the Antichrist.) He will attempt to crush everyone who gets in his way, and his armies will “...trample on the holy city [Jerusalem] for 42 months [3½ years]” (Rev. 11:2c).
<!><!>Some feel that the extent of the Antichrist’s rule and effect of his terror will be limited to the “world” of the 10 end-time rulers or “kings” (Dan. 7:24a; Rev. 17:12a), Israel, and possibly countries in the immediate area which he will invade. I tend to believe that most of the inhabited world will be affected, including the USA if it turns its back on Israel; otherwise, I hope that God somehow will protect this country from the worst of it (Gen. 12:3a).
The wealthy “New Age” church of the 70th Week (seeP-II, S-1) is represented by the Whore of Babylon (Rev. 17:2-6). In this huge church, there will be no place for God-fearing Jews nor evangelical Christians (although a segment of this church probably will be composed of pseudo-Christians). These staunch groups will be seen as “thorns” in the sides of peace and progress and even by many as sources of the world’s problems. (True Jewish and Christian philosophies are at the polar opposite of “New Age” philosophies, with which they, essentially, are incompatible.)
<!><!><!><!><!><!>Now, Satan, the great “dragon” (Rev. 12:3,4b,7b,9a,13-17, 13:2b,4a,11c, 16:13b, 20:2a), always has craved the worship of people, God’s greatest creation (see “desire for religious worship”: C-7, P-III). This lust for worship will be intensified after his humiliating ejection and barring from heaven at the midpoint of the 70th Week. He will receive the veneration he desires from much of the world subsequent to his empowering of the Antichrist (13:2b,4a); and their advocate, the False Prophet (13:11-14), will attempt to destroy all who refuse to give it (13:15). The false-“Trinity” of this time will be Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet, counterfeiting the Father, the Son (Christ), and the Holy Spirit. Satan will give his authority to the Antichrist, just as the Father gives His Authority to the Son; and the False Prophet will glorify Satan and the Antichrist, just as the Holy Spirit glorifies the Father and the Son.
<!>After their rise to power, the Antichrist and False Prophet will plunder and ruin the wealthy “New Age” church (Rev. 17:16). Pointing to the Antichrist as “God,” the False Prophet will rule that religious Jews and true Christians—those who “...obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (12:17)—are to be killed because they will not bow down to the Antichrist.
<!>In John’s end-time vision, it was depicted that the beast would receive some type of fatal wound from which a recovery would be made: “One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast” (Rev. 13:3). Some time later, the False Prophet was seen to issue an order that there would be “...set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived” (13:14b).
Some believe that, since the “beast” can be representative of the seven world empires persecuting Israel (see “‘beast,’ ‘red dragon,’ and ‘little horn’”: C-11, P-I), the “fatal wound” could be on Head #6 (the old Roman Empire which was “dismembered” in the 13th Century) and which will be “revived” as Head #7 (the revised EU). Thus, the revised EU would be the “healed form” of the Roman Empire. The world would be astonished that such a stable comeback could be made, causing people worldwide to follow the mandates and rulings of the EU.
Others feel that, since the “beast” also can be a picture of the Antichrist, he will be killed (possibly by an assassination). Subsequently, to counterfeit the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Satan would be allowed (by God) to resurrect the Antichrist back to life again. The world would be astonished at the seeming invincibility of this man. It would be assumed that he must be the real Messiah, and allegiance would be given to him. I believe that either or both of these depictions could be possible.
<!><!><!><!>During the time period encompassed by the fifth seal, the False Prophet will direct attention to the Antichrist (just as the Holy Spirit directs attention to the real Christ) and demand that he be worshiped. He also will force everyone (who does not flatly refuse) to “...receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead...” (Rev. 13:16). Anyone without the mark will not be able to buy or sell (13:17a) and, no doubt, will face great distress, not to mention persecution.
If one of the factors enabling the Antichrist to gain world power is world economic collapse, then it will not be difficult for a panicked world to accept most any mandate from anybody in charge. However, anyone who takes the mark and/or worships the Antichrist eventually will have to contend with the wrath of God (Rev. 14:9-11). I believe that God will provide for and sustain those who refuse to take it (14:12). (It may be that the mark must be on the hand or forehead to counterfeit the Lord’s mark indicated in Exo. 13:16.) The symbol “666” is a satanic symbol (see “number ‘666’”: “satanic symbols”: C-7, P-III).
For the first time in history, the technology now is here to implant a subcutaneous microchip with a host of information about the individual into whom it is being implanted. It already is being used to track down lost animals. Likewise, there seemingly will be numerous advantages when used on people. Abducted or lost people can be found. Drug deals will be reduced due to the elimination of cash. It will be difficult or impossible for people to cheat on their taxes. And credit card and check fraud will stop because there will be no need for credit cards nor checks.
<!>The mark will be the “...name of the beast or the number of his name” (Rev. 13:17b); and the “...number of the beast...” will be “666” (13:18bc). This may mean that the numerical value of the letters of this man’s name will equal 666. It also could mean that “666” will be part of the numerical code within the mark placed on (or under the skin) of each person who takes it.
It may be that, since man’s number is “6,” a number of incompleteness and imperfection (whereas, God’s number is “7,” indicating completeness and perfection), three 6’s is simply accentuating the “human-ness” of this man as opposed to the “godliness” he proclaims. Or, “666” might be a representation of the false-“Trinity,” which never will attain the power and position of the real Trinity (seeC-6). Personally, I do not believe that anyone will know exactly what “666” indicates until the time comes to take the mark, just as I do not believe that the identity of the Antichrist or False Prophet will become public knowledge until at least the beginning of the 70th Week, and possibly even until the middle of it.
<!><!>Jesus warned that “...false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect [staunch Jews and Christians]—if that were possible” (Matt. 24:24). Then Jesus clearly indicated that the coming of the true Messiah (Christ)—that is, the initial phase of the Second Coming of He Himself (see “Second Coming”: P-V, S-1)—would be very obvious and unmistakable: “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (24:27).
Paul gave a similar warning to all who might accept, receive, and welcome the false messiah before the true one returns:
The coming of the lawless one [Antichrist] will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing (2 Ths. 2:9,10a).
John noted, from his future vantage point, that the second “beast” (False Prophet)
...performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast [the Antichrist], he deceived the inhabitants of the earth (Rev. 13:13,14a).
It could be that the bringing down of fire from “heaven” will involve deceptive, artful means with physical explanations, such as the deployment of conventional or nuclear weapons (upon the secret order of the False Prophet and/or the Antichrist) from armed spacecraft orbiting the earth. I tend to believe, however, that God simply will allow incredible, supernatural miracles to be performed by the False Prophet.
<!>Those who do not have a firm foundation on the rock of God and His precepts will be swept away by the captivating miracles and deception of that time (Luke 6:49). God will allow Satan and demons a significant but limited amount of power to perform counterfeit miracles through false Christs and false prophets (Matt. 24:24). People who do not believe in miracles will believe in them then because they will be obvious and quite astonishing; but they will be like “bait” to get people to give their allegiance (and worship) to the Antichrist and to Satan.
<!>These miracle workers probably will beguile Jews who have fled (at the midpoint of the 70th Week) to hiding places in the wilderness and who are unaware of what is going on in Jerusalem, causing them to come out, unsuspectingly, into the open (Matt. 24:26a) and to be captured or killed. It will be to their benefit to acknowledge these warnings to the ancient children of Israel:
If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him (Deut. 13:1-4).
<!><!><!><!>I believe that non-Christians (and even many Christians) will have a difficult time distinguishing between those miraculous signs performed (and increasing in number) by God through Spirit-filled Christians and those executed by Satan through false messiahs, false prophets, witches, wizards, and sorcerers. Look at the amazing special effects today in movies and even on TV commercials. Satanic counterfeit miracles will be more stupendous than any “special effects” anyone has ever seen; however, the miracles God performs through Christians will be even greater. In ancient Egypt, Pharaoh’s magicians counterfeited some of the miracles that God performed through Moses and Aaron (Exo. 7:10b-12a,20,22a, 8:6,7); but many of God’s miracles could not be matched (7:12b, 8:18a, 9:11).
Christians at that future time should remember the words of Jesus, who said, “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:39,40). This seems to indicate that true Christians performing miracles will give Jesus the credit, while non-Christians will discredit Jesus after their amazing feats, possibly implying that their miraculous powers arise “from within themselves” (the apparent fulfillment of a “New Age” ideal).
God will turn off the truth completely from those who ignore, disobey, and/or rebel against Him (see “minds not understanding, eyes not seeing, ears not hearing”: C-3, P-III) and who follow those who perform satanic miracles. He also will place a strong deception of falsehood into their minds. As Paul added,
They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness (2 Ths. 2:10b-12).
the two witnesses
Recall, from a previous chapter, that the groom at a traditional Jewish wedding had two witnesses announcing his arrival at the bride’s house just before he came for her (see “bridegroom and bride”: C-6, P-III). Likewise, Jesus will send two witnesses before He appears to take His Church of believers to be with Him (see “Bridegroom and Bride”: C-6, P-III).
<!><!><!><!>John, at the time he envisioned the newly-built temple at the midpoint of the 70th Week (Rev. 11:1), saw Jesus’ “...two witnesses [who] will prophesy for 1,260 days [3½ years], clothed in sackcloth” (11:3). They will be in Jerusalem, and they will be invulnerable to any type of enemy attack (11:5). These two men will be given supernatural power to cause it not to rain and to bring plagues upon the earth (11:6), possibly predicting and calling down the Day of the Lord Trumpet Judgments (see “Divine Judgments”: P-IV, S-1). Apparently, at the end of the 70th Week, they will be overpowered and killed, their bodies lying in a street of Jerusalem for the whole world to see (probably by satellite), but will be resurrected after 3½ days and go “...up to heaven in a cloud...” with their enemies looking on (Rev. 11:7-12).
<!><!><!><!><!><!><!>Whom are these two men, whom I believe will be valid witnesses and foretellers of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (in the air at the Rapture)? There is much speculation about their identities. A common consensus is that one of them will be the ancient prophet Elijah, who never died but was taken alive up to heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kng. 2:11b). He prophesied that it would not rain in Israel except by his word (1 Kng. 17:1), he called down fire from heaven (1 Kng. 18:36-38; 2 Kng. 1:11,12), he was predicted by the ancient prophet Malachi to be sent by God “...before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes” (Mal. 4:5), and he appeared (along with Moses) with Jesus at Jesus’ transfiguration (Matt. 17:3). Since he never yet died nor received his glorified body, and since it is appointed for man once to die (Heb. 9:27), it is presumed that he will meet his physical death at the end of the 70th Week (Rev. 11:7) back here on earth.
<!><!><!><!>The identity of the other man is more questionable. The only other person recorded in the Bible to have been translated to heaven without dying was Enoch (Gen. 5:24; Heb. 11:5ab). This was because “...he was commended as one who pleased God” (11:5c), and he was “...an example of repentance to all generations” (Sir. 44:16 in the Apocrypha). He also prophesied about judgment (Jude 14,15). As the Day of the Lord will be the final attempt by God to bring a rebellious world to repentance (turning away from its sinful ways and toward God), then Enoch certainly is a likely candidate to be one of the two witnesses.
<!><!><!>Another witness candidate is Moses, the one who announced the plagues which God poured out upon Egypt (Exo. 7:14–10:29—see “mistreatment of children of Israel; plagues upon Egypt”: C-4, P-I), resembling some of the severe end-time judgments to come (see “Trumpet Judgments”: P-IV, S-1; and “Bowl Judgments”: P-IV, S-3). Some see the fact that Moses’ grave was never found (Deut. 34:6b) as an indication that he did not die. However, the Bible clearly states that Moses did die and was buried by God (34:5,6a). Plus, Michael and Satan disputed over his body (Jude 9a).
With all of these facts in mind, and considering that Elijah and Enoch presently reside in heaven in their flesh, bones, and blood bodies, I tend to believe that these will be the two witnesses who will be Jesus’ advocates, who will prophesy, and who will perform miracles during the last half of the 70th Week.
<!><!>The resurrected, glorified Jesus told John to write to seven churches of his day: to those in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea (Rev. 1:10,11). Now, the Book of Revelation primarily is one of prophecy; thus, these seven letters most assuredly have some prophetic (as well as historic) significance. So, although the messages were directed to the people in those early churches, I feel strongly that the information contained within also has direct application to the Christian Church of the last days, which will have to endure the time of the Great Tribulation—the greatest time of distress and affliction the world has ever known up to that time (Dan. 12:1b; Matt. 24:21). The points of advice to the Christians at this future time mainly seem to revolve around repentance, endurance, and overcoming. There are similarities but also differences among the three.
repentance: “Repentance” indicates the willingness to change one’s mind about doing things which one knows are not in the perfect Will of God and, likewise, to turn around from walking away from God and run back to Him. Those in the Ephesus church were told,
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place (Rev. 2:4,5).
Many Christians during the first half of the 70th Week will lose the zeal and excitement for God that they previously possessed. I believe that many of these will be disillusioned with God, feeling He has abandoned the Church in this time of world sorrow and pain. The exhortation is to regain their initial love for God and to begin again to lead lives and to perform deeds worthy of Christians. Otherwise, they will be in danger of being left unprotected and open to severe persecution, even unto death.
<!><!>To many in the church of Pergamum, whose Christian faith previously was exemplary, the message involved a warning not to follow the teachings of false religions:
Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality [Num. 25:1-3]. Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth (Rev. 2:14-16).
Similar indulgences were practiced by members of the church in Thyatira:
Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways (Rev. 2:20-22).
The idea is that those after the midpoint of the 70th Week who have not “cleaned up their acts” (repented) of indulging in sexual immorality and following false “New Age” doctrines will be exposed to intense suffering and even death. They may be Christians, but they will not be leading exemplary lives.
<!><!>A word of repentance also was given to the church at Sardis:
I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you (Rev. 3:1b-3).
The works and deeds of many Christians during the 70th Week will not reflect a true Christian faith (James 2:17). They are admonished to repent from this hypocrisy; otherwise, the first phase of the Second Coming of Jesus (at the Rapture), at the end of the Great Tribulation period, will “...come like a thief...” to them because they will be spiritually asleep and unaware of its approach (1 Ths. 5:2—see “anticipation of ‘peace and safety’” in the next segment).
Finally, the recommendation of repentance was given to the church of Laodicea:
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will go in and eat with him, and he with me (Rev. 3:15-20).
Depicted here are Christians who are not “on fire” for (filled with the Holy Spirit of) God, a necessary condition to make it through the Great Tribulation with minimal risk of danger. These are those who will put more faith in their worldly possessions than in God, and they will be making themselves spiritually “poor, naked, and blind” by doing so. Jesus’ appearance in the clouds of the air will be imminent at that point—even “at the door.” Therefore, they are forewarned to repent and to become spiritually “rich, clothed, and perceptive” so they will be ready.
endurance: “Endurance” has to do with the ability to persevere, patiently putting up with pain, hardship, and affliction for what will be a significant period of time (½ to 2½ years—see “The 70th Week and Extensions: ‘Pre-Wrath’ Rapture”: P-V, S-2). The church at Ephesus was told,
I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary (Rev. 2:2,3).
Besides having to persevere under stress, there will be the necessity to test everyone claiming to know “the way” to safety, peace, and prosperity, since counterfeits and liars will abound.
<!>Those in the church of Smyrna were given the message,
I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are [spiritually] rich! ... Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life (Rev. 2:9a,10).
Persecution will become intense for many Christians, but they are encouraged to maintain absolute faith and hope to get through. Christians at the time should heed these words of inspiration:
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one [Christian] will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him” (Heb. 10:35-38).
<!>The people in the Philadelphian church were encouraged with this promise:
Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth (Rev. 3:10).
It is interesting to note that no fault was found with this church as it was with the others. This may represent Christians who faithfully and uncompromisingly will hold to the testimony of Jesus and to the Word of God during the first half (3½ years) of the 70th Week. (Others may do so when it is convenient or when there seems to be no apparent risk involved.) These Christians, somehow, may be protected completely by God from temptation and persecution during the “hour of trial” (the Great Tribulation), while they are still alive on the earth, in turn for their devoted allegiance to Him. Furthermore, this church was told,
I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name (Rev. 3:8).
The devoted, anointed Christians during the Great Tribulation seemingly will have access, through prayer, into the gates in the heavenlies (see “stronghold ‘doors’ and ‘gates’ in the heavenlies”: C-10, P-III) which Jesus will open and evil angels and demons will not be able to close.
overcoming: <!>“Overcoming” involves the decision to avoid the deceptive, tempting “secrets” and supposed “necessities” which the world has to offer. For instance, as was described earlier, many 70th-Week Christians represented by the church of Thyatira will be tainted with sexual immorality and “New Age” doctrine, the latter which is a satanic counterfeit (see “‘New Age’ folly”: C-9, P-I). They will experience intense suffering (Rev. 2:22b) if they do not turn away from these things. Others in the church, though, had steered clear of false religious teachings:
Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to [Jezebel’s] teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets...: Only hold on to what you have until I come (Rev. 2:24,25).
There will be great temptation to exchange the truths of God for the “New Age” lies of Satan, which will abound during much of the 70th Week. But the encouragement is given to resist (overcome) this tempting deception until Jesus comes again at the Rapture.
<!><!><!><!>There also will be other ways of overcoming during the 70th Week, especially after the midpoint. The hardest may be refusing the mark, without which one will not be able to buy or sell (Rev. 13:16,17—see “mark of the beast” earlier in this segment). Humanistic logic will dictate that, to survive, the mark must be taken. Non-believers (and probably many lukewarm believers) will accept the mark; but true, steadfast Christians will overcome the faulty rationale of the world and refuse it, knowing that this is a matter which “...calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus” (14:12). They will have a spiritual awareness that God will sustain and protect his children supernaturally during this time of great tribulation and affliction. After all, God once used ravens to feed his loyal servant Elijah hiding in a ravine (1 Kng. 17:2-6), and He used angels to release the apostles from jail (Acts 5:18,19, 12:6-10).
<!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!>During this future time of trial and ordeal, the true, devoted Christians will overcome temptations, bad habits, worldly counterfeits, and various things which the corrupt, humanistic world system will attempt to force upon the masses. For those who do overcome, a host of rewards has been promised. To every faithful Christian, Jesus has said He (“I”) will 1) “...give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (Rev. 2:7b); 2) provide protection from the “second death” (2:11b); 3) “...give some of the hidden manna...[and] will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it” (2:17bc); 4) “...give authority over the nations...just as I have received authority from my Father” (2:26,27b); 5) “...give him the morning star” (2:28); 6) dress him “...in white...[and] never erase his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels” (3:5); 7) “...make a pillar in the temple of my God,...write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God,...and...write on him my new name” (3:12); and 8) “...give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne” (3:21). John asked, “Who is it that overcomes the world?” (1 John 5:5a). The clear answer of just whom will overcome is: “Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (5:5b).
<!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!>These are Scriptures which I believe relate to Seal 5: 2 Sam. 22:5-7; Psalm 18:4-6, 46:1, 94:3-7,20,21; Isa. 5:5-7, 28:17-19; Jer. 16:18, 30:4-7,12-15; Dan. 7:8c,20b,21,25, 9:27bc, 11:36-45a, 12:1b; Hosea 13:13; Amos 3:11, 8:3ab; Hab. 1:15-17, 2:4-6,8acd,9,10a,12,17-19; Matt. 24:9-26,28; Mark 13:9-23; Luke 21:12-24; 2 Ths. 2:3b-12; 1 John 5:4,5; Rev. 2:1-29, 3:1-22, 6:9-11, 11:1-5, 12:1-13:18.
Up to this point in the 70th Week, during Seals 1 through 5, the political, social, and economic upheavals on the earth will have been primarily a result of man’s inhumanity to man—that is, man’s wrath upon man. And, although there will be a greater frequency and intensity of natural disasters (earthquakes, tidal waves, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, pestilences, famines, animal attacks) than ever before in history prior to the 70th Week, I do not see such things as examples of God’s wrath but, rather, of Satan’s wrath. Due to man’s turning from God, the Lord gradually will remove His protective hand from the earth, resulting in a marked increase in cataclysms, particularly in populated areas. In a sense, God will be allowing the most evil elements of mankind, as well as of Satan, to go on their final, great “rampage.”
Some feel that the entire 70th Week will be a demonstration of God’s wrath vented upon a rebellious world. I disagree. For one thing, I do not believe that the emergence of the Antichrist (Seal 1) can be considered a wrathful act of God. And it will not be direct acts of God, but rather Satan’s actions (probably primarily via the Antichrist), which will foster wars (Seal 2), resulting in severe famines (Seal 3) and mass death (Seal 4). Furthermore, if God’s direct wrath were being poured out upon the earth, I question whether the Antichrist even could rise to power under such adverse conditions. Finally, at some point during the afflictions of the Great Tribulation (Seal 5), the souls of slain martyrs will call out, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” (Rev. 6:10). This clearly will be a cry for vengeance against their human persecutors, not against God Himself.
However, by the end of the period encompassed by the fifth seal, God finally will have “had enough” of evil man’s pride, his inept handling of world affairs, and his persecution of God’s people. Left unchecked, mankind surely would cause its own destruction, probably via nuclear war along with chemical and biological extermination. With the opening of the sixth seal, God will begin to intervene directly, with obvious warning signs in the sky and on the earth, on a grand scale—and an entire world, awestruck and terrified, will know that an unprecedented series of events are about to occur.
<!><!><!>The changes in the luminosity of the sun and the moon, described by Jesus and by John (Matt. 24:29; Rev. 6:12cd—see “6th Seal/Jesus”: “the first six seals”: P-I), are thought by some to be a result of the heavy smoke and debris having been thrust into the atmosphere by fires and thermonuclear detonations during the 70th Week before that point. Although the latter certainly may occur and have some effect, I do not believe that it will be enough to cause the significant and eerie solar and lunar light diminution described in the Bible. I believe the phenomenon primarily will be due to supernatural intervention, just as the sun mysteriously stopped shining (not due to a solar eclipse) for three hours prior to Jesus’ death on the cross (Luke 23:44,45a). I feel this statement by the prophet Joel is evidence that it will be a wondrous and amazing miracle performed by God, just prior to the onset of the Day of the Lord:
I [God] will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord (Joel 2:30,31).
<!>Besides God’s Power affecting the sun and moon, there will be further visual evidence that His supernatural “Hand” (Jesus, the Messiah/Lamb/Lion) will be beginning to “stir up the elements” in His universe. Jesus and John noted that stars will fall from the sky to the earth (Matt. 24:29c; Rev. 6:13). Obviously the stars, in their present enormous, explosive state, could not do this. Of course, it is conceivable that they could be changed to a form where they could do so (God can do anything He wants.) But, most likely, numerous objects, looking like stars as they approach (such as meteors, fragments of comets or asteroids, or even thousands of failing man-made satellites), will come crashing into the earth in a great shower of bright streaks.
Hal Lindsey has suggested that what John may have seen was multi-nuclear warhead missiles being showered down from numerous points in the sky, appearing as plummeting balls of fire. When a nuclear explosion occurs in the air or on the ground, the atmosphere is warped and distorted due both to the explosion and to the great vacuum created, causing it to fold or roll back onto itself.
<!><!>In any case, John indicated that the sky will appear to recede “...like a scroll, rolling up...” (Rev. 6:14a); and these prophecies are corroborated by Isaiah’s ancient predictions:
The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. ... All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll... (Isa. 13:10a, 34:4a).
The picture that forms in my mind from all of this is that, coincident with star-like objects falling into the earth’s atmosphere, many of the real stars will disappear one by one (or at least seem to do so), giving the appearance that they are “falling” and also that the night sky gradually is rolling up like a scroll until there is little left to be seen. It could be that God will be altering the constellations because people refuse to perceive the true Gospel message in the stars (seeC-9, P-IV, S-1). For whatever reason, it seems that God will be initiating a transformation of sorts in the sky. Apparently, though, the full “lights out” effect will not occur at this time, as the sun, moon, and stars will undergo subsequent stages of dimming later in the 70th Week (see “Trumpet Judgments”: P-IV, S-1; and “Bowl Judgments”: P-IV, S-3).
<!><!><!>While the sky is being shaken up (Rev. 6:13), parts of the earth (or possibly even the entire earth at once) will be shaken so violently (Hag. 2:6) that the “...waters [will] roar and foam and the mountains [will] quake with their surging” (Psalm 46:3). Many believe that, at some point in the future, oceanic waters will surge hundreds of miles inland, covering regional areas such as Washington, Oregon, California, and other western states; most of Florida; eastern seaboard cities such as New York and Washington, D.C.; and other coastal areas worldwide. I believe this may occur when the waters of the great seas roar, foam, toss, and slosh violently during the sixth seal (and/or during the second and third Trumpet Judgments of the seventh seal—see “Trumpet Judgments”: P-IV.) According to Luke, Jesus described,
There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken (Luke 21:25,26).
<!><!><!>Here, “bodies” is translated from the Greek dunameis, meaning “great powers.” It may be that the demonic powers and hosts (see “hierarchy of evil angels and demons” and “powers of darkness and spiritual forces”: C-8, P-I, S-2), previously “swept” out of heaven by Satan and ultimately banned from heaven by Michael at the midpoint of the 70th Week (Rev. 12:3,4a,7-9), still will have free access to outer space and the atmosphere around the earth. However, during the cosmic tumult of the sixth seal, they literally may be shaken out of the sky (Heb. 12:26b,27), coincident with the star-like objects falling to the ground, and confined permanently to the earth. (Note also that angels can be referred to as “stars”—Judg. 5:20a; Rev. 12:4a.) If such is the case, no doubt people will be acutely aware, along with the “out of control” phenomena in nature, of this increased “alien spirit invasion” and meet it with fearful apprehension, anguish, and anxiety—as well they should.
<!>Besides “fainting from terror,” how will people react to all of these bewildering cosmic and global manifestations of God’s awesome Power? John saw the people of the future world, during the sixth seal, this way:
Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Rev. 6:15-17).
Isaiah foresaw similar activity:
Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from dread of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth (Isa. 2:19).
A question arises about these accounts: How is it that people can see the face of God at this time, thus calling on the mountains and rocks to fall on and hide them, and how do they know that the “wrath of the Lamb” and the “dread of the Lord” are at hand? I believe this is because it is at this time that the Lord Jesus (Lamb of God) appears in the clouds of the air at the Rapture event (seeP-V):
At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory (Matt. 24:30).
Unquestionably, at this time, all the people still living on the earth will realize that the true “day of reckoning” is dawning. There will be no doubt in any person’s mind that the God of the universe is real, that He does perform amazing wonders, and that He is very, very upset. Multitudes in horrific denial, yet confronted head-on with the undeniable, will run and try to hide. In reality, they will have experienced only a small “foretaste” of God’s limitless Power—an even greater amount of which will be displayed, after the opening of the heavenly scroll’s seventh seal, when His intense wrath utterly and finally is unleashed upon the earth during the great Day of the Lord (which is Seal 7—seeP-IV).
<!>After these wondrous cosmic and earthly disturbances, God will reveal a primary, radiant attribute of Himself: His Shekinah Glory (see “additional names for and attributes of God”: C-2, P-I). This is the same aspect of God which the children of Israel saw settling upon Mount Sinai (Exo. 24:15-17) and which they saw reflected in the radiance of Moses’ face whenever he had been in the presence of God (34:29-35).
<!><!><!><!><!><!>Isaiah and Ezekiel saw it (Isa. 6:1-3; Ezek. 1:25-28; John 12:41), as did Jewish disciples and apostles of Jesus: Peter, James, John, Stephen, and Paul (Matt. 17:1-6; Acts 7:55, 9:3-5). After the opening of the sixth seal, the people of the world will see it (Matt. 24:27,30a); and they will be stunned and shocked completely. In effect, when the natural light is “turned off,” the supernatural light of the Glory of the Lord will be “turned on.”
<!><!><!><!><!><!>When Jesus walked the earth, many non-accepting Jews asked Him to manifest an unmistakable “sign” from heaven (Matt. 12:38, 16:1; John 2:18, 6:30) indicating that He was the true Messiah, Whom they had been expecting for millennia and Who would save them from their foes and would bring a lasting peace. To these skeptics, He repeatedly explained that the only sign which would be given to them (validating that He is the Messiah and is the only one who will ever bring real peace) would be His resurrection after being dead for three days (Matt. 12:39,40, 16:4ab; John 2:19-22).
In the future, during the fifth seal, Israel’s people will realize that the lawless Antichrist, having revealed his “true colors” at the 70th Week’s midpoint (2 Ths. 2:3c), is not the peace-making “Messiah” they initially envisioned him to be. But, still rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, they will continue to look for a sign that the Messiah is going to come to their rescue and destroy their enemies. So, when the sixth seal is broken and the sky and earth are greatly convulsed, the religious Jews (not accepting Jesus but knowing that a Messiah will come at the time of a great “Day of the Lord”) will take this to signify that the Messiah’s appearance is impending and that “peace and safety” for Israel is at hand.
<!>However, Amos warned,
Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light (Amos 5:18).
Paul, writing to believing Christians, put it this way:
...for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night [to unbelievers]. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
But you, brothers [or believers], are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief (1 Ths. 5:2-4).
<!>Paul was indicating that a period, referred to as the “Day of the Lord,” will come upon non-believers (and even upon “believers” who are spiritually asleep, backslidden, and unprepared—Rev. 3:2,3) like hard labor pains come upon a woman just prior to delivery. For these people, the Day of the Lord’s wrath will come “like a thief in the night”—that is, totally unexpectedly. Jesus even spoke of this when He indicated that, for those who are not watchful, ready, and prepared, He will come unexpectedly (Matt. 24:42-44).
On the other hand, believers familiar with the Light of Jesus will not be “in darkness” at that time; the appearance of Jesus (see “Second Coming”: P-V, S-1) and the arrival of the awesome “Day of the Lord” will not come as a thief for them. His coming will be expected when the signs of the sixth seal (and the Shekinah Glory of the Lord) are revealed; and expectant believers joyfully will be secured from its destructive havoc (1 Ths. 5:9—see “‘Pre-Wrath’ Rapture (Pre-WR)”: P-V, S-2).
<!><!><!><!><!><!><!>Recall in John’s vision that, during the sixth seal, people were (will be) running to hide “...from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb” (Rev. 6:16). Prior to this point in the Book of Revelation, the word wrath does not occur; this is the first usage of the word, and the wrath or fury of God is referred to many times thereafter in Revelation (6:17, 11:18b, 14:10a,19, 15:1b,7, 16:19b, 19:15c). The implication, as I have stated before, is that the hardships and afflictions endured by the people of the earth prior to this time will not be a direct result of the wrath of God but, rather, a repercussion of the wrath of Satan and of people upon other people, which God will allow for a time.
<!>Also, recall Joel’s prophecy that the sun would be turned to darkness and the moon to blood (Seal 6) before “...the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31). A prophecy by Isaiah clearly sums up all the facts:
Wail, for the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. Because of this, all hands will go limp, every man’s heart will melt. Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor [travail]. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame. See, the day of the Lord is coming—a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light (Isa. 13:6-10).
It seems quite evident that the wrath of God will be associated with the Day of the Lord (which shortly will follow the signs of the sixth seal), not with the segment of the 70th Week preceding it.
I believe it is at this time, during the cosmic and earthly disturbances, that a large group of Jews will be inscribed with the seal of God. This will be to protect them from the earth-shattering occurrences yet to come. John said,
Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:2-4).
<!>These are Jews who, just prior to the beginning of the upcoming Day of the Lord, will accept Jesus as Savior and Lord and will refuse to defile and corrupt themselves with worldly things; and they later will be acknowledged by God as pure and blameless (Rev. 14:4,5). I believe that these Jewish Christians-to-be will be instrumental in spreading the gospel throughout Israel during the awesome time period following the opening of the seventh seal until, at some point, they miraculously are taken out of the world (14:1-3).
Allow me to interject a story at this point which I feel is a good example of the types of “birth pains,” pertaining to the 70th Week, which are described in the Bible. After my account, I will explain what I mean.
My good friend Barry had rented a beach house for a few weeks during several summers in Mission Beach, San Diego, inviting some friends to join him. A few times while there over the years, I had asked residents about the land stability of that peninsula, situated between the Pacific Ocean and Mission Bay. I had found out that most of the ground is landfill, which can be highly unstable if shaken.
Having a curiosity about and fascination with earthquakes and their effects (especially since they are about the only natural events which unexpectedly can affect millions of people in only a matter of seconds), I had wondered how a strong temblor would feel on that strip of land. In fact, on the summer day in 1992 that Barry and another friend and I were moving in, I told Barry that I imagined how feeling a quake there might be like riding on the surface of wobbly Jell-o. He had agreed—and we were right.
Early the next morning (4:58 a.m., June 28, 1992), I was awakened almost instantly after the shaking began. (Having lived in Orange County, the next county north, since 1975, I had been conditioned to expect such a “seismic surprise” at anytime.) After 10-15 seconds of feeling like I was atop a rubber raft in a very wavy pool, it occurred to me that, beneath the house, there was a real possibility of ground liquefaction (the super-saturation of soft, unstable land near water after severe or sustained shaking, transforming it into a type of “quicksand”). I jumped out of bed and ran to Barry’s room to warn him of the quake, if he was not aware, in case the shaking got worse. Being a very light sleeper, as I was, he was quite awake and aware.
Within 10 seconds, I was back in my “life raft” bed, riding out the remainder of nature’s rolling wonder for another 20-25 seconds. It was the longest and strongest shaker either of us had ever felt—a 7.3 centered out in the desert near Landers—and was the largest quake in the 48 contiguous states in the forty years prior to 1992. Fortunately, since we were about 125 miles from the epicenter, there was no damage where we were. But we knew very well that we probably had not seen the end of the action.
Sure enough, just over 3 hours later (at 8:04 a.m.), we could tell a second series of shock waves were arriving by the distinct signs: clanking dishes in the cabinet and jiggling rabbit ears on the TV set. Barry and I looked at each other as the main force of it struck. (The coffee mug I was holding had an earthquake fault engraved around it, along with the printed words, “Official California Mug.” I had given it to Barry the previous year for his birthday, and he happened to have brought it with him.)
This second large earthquake was a long-distance aftershock of the first quake three hours earlier, a 6.5 near Big Bear whose epicenter was closer to the dreaded San Andreas Fault (and also to us) than that of the initial quake. It was much shorter but somewhat rougher and more jolty than the first one. Fortunately, our area, being far enough away from the epicenter (about 115 miles), sustained no damage from this quake either (although many desert and mountain communities experienced severe damage from both quakes). But the entire sequence of events bore a striking resemblance, in my mind, to the two types of “birth pains” which will be experienced during the 70th Week.
Near the end of a typical pregnancy, when the time is approaching for the birth to take place, mild contractions begin. Generally, the initial contractions are few and far between, and the time between them can be many hours; these are the early stages of labor (beginning of birth pains). These pains often are bad but are somewhat more bearable than those later on. Similarly, the first (Landers) earthquake I experienced was very long, rhythmic, and constant.
However, when the birth of the baby is imminent, hard labor pains set in and continue to occur throughout the actual birth process. They often are called “pains of travail” because they can be intense and severe, although they usually tend to last for a shorter period of time. Likewise, the second (Big Bear) quake was more jarring and bumpy but did not last nearly as long as the first.
I believe Jesus indicated that the first half of the 70th Week (Seals 1-3) will be “...the beginning of birth pains [or sorrows]” (Matt. 24:8). They will be difficult times, indeed. Multitudes will die as the Antichrist gains global influence and power; and man’s impatience and anger will intensify around the world due to the great burdens brought on by wars and rumors of wars, friction among ethnic groups, earthquakes, famines, socio-economic decline, storms, floods, rapidly changing political systems, escalating inflation, and economic recession or depression. Antagonism will be vented upon other people.
After this, the “birth pains” will heighten for a time (Seal 4, Seal 5) with escalating earthquakes, hostilities between nations, famines, pestilences, and attacks by vicious beasts. Great persecution against Jews and Christians will ensue. But then the severe pain—hard labor—will start to set in. This is when God Himself, due to His wrathful fury, will become directly involved during the Day of the Lord period (Seal 7—seeP-IV)—first by giving signs (Seal 6) that something really “bumpy” is about to happen (though for a somewhat shorter term), just as the second (jolty) earthquake we felt had the preliminary signs of the rattling dishes and the vibrating TV antennae.
The time of the sixth seal will be like the early dawning of a day to follow which you know is going to turn out to be a “scorcher” because, although you cannot yet see the sun, you can see its light and already feel its warmth. These are the indications (signs) that a very hot day is in store. The “day” will be the onset of the Day of the Lord, and the “heat” will be God’s burning (but righteous) wrath against a completely rebellious, impenitent world.
<!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!>These are Scriptures which I believe relate to Seal 6: 2 Sam. 22:8,9; Job 9:5-7; Psalm 18:7,8, 46:2,3; Eccl. 12:2a; Isa. 2:10,19-21, 13:10, 34:4; Jer. 4:23-26; Ezek. 32:7,8; Joel 2:30,31; Hag. 2:6,7; Matt. 24:29; Mark 13:24,25; Luke 21:25,26; Acts 2:19,20; Heb. 12:26b,27; Rev. 6:12–7:8.
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Copyright © 1998– by Ted M. Montgomery, O.D. Most rights reserved.