The Chronology of Revelation
|Return to Part 1 | Go to Part 3|
Jesus Himself stated that He would appear “on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory” and that “all the nations of the earth will mourn” when they see Him
The aforementioned events, which will be part of the main resurrection and Rapture phenomenon, will not occur at the very beginning, nor at the very end, of the 70th Week (commonly, but erroneously, referred to as the “tribulation” period). Rather, they will take place during the cosmic and global upheavals, which will transpire subsequent to the opening of the Sixth Seal of the heavenly scroll, as described by Jesus
I believe the events immediately following the opening of the Sixth Seal will take place about a year prior to the end of the 70th Week
The Pre-Wrath Rapture will take place on a Rosh haShanah or Feast of Trumpets, in prophetic fulfillment of the first fall Hebraic feast. On this day (or, traditionally, for two days), a series of shofar or trumpet blasts is heard
Now, backing up a bit, due to the gigantic earthquake and the intense “cosmic disturbances” (visible changes in the sun, moon, and stars) of the Sixth Seal period, vast numbers of people on the earth, recoiling in sheer terror, will be hiding in caves and under rocks
In light of Jesus’ description of His future appearance in the clouds—resembling lightning flashing from the east to the west
By no means will this Rapture be a “silent and invisible” event, as advocated by those of the “Pre-Tribulation” Rapture persuasion, where the people left behind will wonder what happened to the people who suddenly will have disappeared from sight. (In case there is a Mid-Tribulation Rapture, of a “firstfruits” segment of believers, it very well may be a “silent and invisible” event, with no signs immediately preceding it.) When Jesus indicated that the day and hour of His coming (in the clouds) will be unknown to anyone other than the Father
Jesus will appear in the clouds above the earth
Soon after the Pre-Wrath Rapture takes place on a Rosh haShanah or Feast of Trumpets, four angels will be standing by
In ancient Israel, it was on Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement that the fate or destiny of every person was sealed for the following year. Since Yom Kippur is soon after Rosh haShanah (only nine days later), it seems likely that it will on this day when the 144,000 will receive the seal of the living God
Some believe that this group of 144,000 is symbolic, rather than literal, and that its members are representative of the Church or of some other segment of Gentile believers (such as a specially “anointed” class of Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example). I disagree completely. As emphasized early in this commentary, I feel it is important to distinguish between symbolic and literal passages in Revelation; and I never have seen any convincing explanation why these are not, literally, 144,000 members from the tribes of Israel, as the passage indicates.
Thus, during the 70th Week, there will be 144,000 Israelites who will revere God and will keep His lawful commands in the Torah, yet not (initially) acknowledge that Jesus is the Messiah. Once the global Rapture event has taken place (soon after the opening of the Sixth Seal), these descendants of Jacob from twelve tribes, who will have seen “the face of him who sits on the throne”
These 144,000 will receive the seal of God on their foreheads (7:3,4) to be servants of the Almighty. Evidently, they will glorify and be representatives of His until, as a group, they are caught up collectively to heaven at some point near the end of the 70th Week (14:1-3—see 144,000 caught up). Evidently, this will not be long before Jesus returns to tread the winepress of the wrath of God.
After this, John saw in heaven,
...a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”John was told, by one of the elders, that those in white robes had come out of the Great Tribulation
Those in this great multitude will be saved believers in Jesus Christ, previously both dead and alive, Gentile and Jewish. They will have been removed from the earth, via the Pre-Wrath Rapture on a Rosh haShanah or Feast of Trumpets, during the events of the Sixth Seal. These raptured believers will be in heaven, with their palm branches and rejoicing before the Lord
Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes
Commonly, but I believe erroneously, the entire 70th Week is referred to as the “Day of the Lord” (as well as the seven-year “tribulation period”). On the contrary, I believe that the Day of the Lord period—at the beginning of which God’s righteous, vengeful wrath will start to be unleashed upon the earth—will not commence until well after the middle of the 70th Week.
The main resurrection of believers and Rapture event will occur soon after the opening of the Sixth Seal. Then, chronologically, the Seventh Seal will be opened, beginning the Day of the Lord epoch—during which the initial period, the “day of vengeance,” will be dreadful and terrifying. Just as a standard Hebrew day begins with darkness that is transformed into light, the “day of vengeance” will be the “dark” portion of the Day of the Lord, which ultimately will give way to the “light” portion after the Second Advent (bodily descent) of Jesus back to earth.
In The Rapture commentary are included most of the following items, demostrating a chronological order of events:
The initial stage of the Day of the Lord—the “day of vengeance”—apparently will last approximately a year
Just after the opening of the heavenly scroll’s Seventh Seal, there will be an eerie period of complete “...silence in heaven for about half an hour”
Zephaniah said, “Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near”
The seven angels who will “blow out” the seven Trumpet Judgments may or may not be the same seven angels which represented the seven churches
Unlike what occurred during the first six seals, where no supernatural intrusion was evident, the Trumpet Judgments clearly will involve supernatural (angelic) intervention, as directed by God
John wrote of seeing an eagle, flying in midair, which called out,
Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!As will be seen, the three “woes” are important in understanding the ongoing chronology of Revelation. Clearly, the “other three angels” are those who will blow out the final three Trumpet Judgments:
This is the same Abyss into which a legion of demons once begged Jesus not to cast them
Once the First Woe (Fifth Trumpet Judgment) has taken place, the Second Woe (Sixth Trumpet Judgment) will be imminent
Up to this point in John’s heavenly vision (Chapters 4–9), the accounts of these future events have been sequential, as written. It is clear that, chronologically, the Third Woe
John saw a mighty angel (
Up to this point, Jesus’ demeanor will have been as a Lamb
The mighty angel (Jesus) is observed to announce that
in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophetsIn a letter to the Ephesians, Paul previously had explained what this “mystery” is:
And made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even ChristAlso, Paul wrote this:
In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that, through the Gospel, the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ JesusPaul also told the Romans that he did not want them to be ignorant of this “mystery”
This mystery of the ages—that Gentiles in Christ are co-heirs of the ancient promises God made to Israel—ultimately will come to pass when Jesus, the Messiah of both the Israelites/Jews (descendants of Jacob) and the Gentiles, physically returns again to earth, and all things will be under one head: Christ. This will be accomplished as the Seventh Trumpet is about to be sounded
The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever”Thus, there is a continuous and unbroken chronological description of the entire 70th Week from Revelation 6:1 through 10:7. The fact that the angel tells John to “eat” the little scroll, which John does
John reported that the scroll tasted sweet in his mouth but turned sour in his stomach. Perhaps this is because Jesus’ Second Advent to earth, at the end of the 70th Week, will be a “sweet” event; but there will remain the “sour” effects of the Bowl Judgments (maybe the tiny portion of the scroll remaining) yet to transpire after His return.
Nonetheless, as the Seventh Trumpet is about to be blown
Prior to a traditional Jewish wedding in ancient times, two witnesses (or groomsmen) would slip over to the bride’s house to announce the groom’s arrival (see bridegroom and bride). Likewise, there will be two witnesses who will precede Jesus’ coming at the Rapture for His Bride, the Church (see Bridegroom and Bride). John wrote about these two witnesses
These witnesses may be (literally) Elijah and either Moses or Enoch. If so, I lean toward Elijah and Moses, since they were the ones who appeared to Peter, James, and John at Jesus’ transfiguration
It also is possible that the two witnesses will be two people who embody the “spirit” of prophecy (as Elijah did) and the “spirit” of the law (as Moses did). After all, an ordinary man, John the Baptist, was the “Elijah” who came
If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they wantNote that these specific phenomena (fire, water turning into blood, and plagues) are among those included in the Trumpet Judgments
Concerning Moses, after he went up on Mount Sinai to meet the Lord, he was a so long in coming back down that the Israelites lost confidence in him and had Aaron build a golden calf for them to worship
Those who firmly embrace the “Pre-Tribulation” timing of the Rapture event (that is, a Rapture taking place prior to the 70th Week), and who also believe that the two witnesses will appear prior to the appearance of Jesus at the Rapture, are compelled to deduce that the 1,260 days (or 3½ years) of
The assumption (albeit, incorrect) that these plagues will take place during the first 3½ years is taken as “evidence” that God’s wrath will occur during the entire 70th Week of “tribulation” and, therefore, that the “Pre-Tribulation” Rapture must happen before the 70th Week begins. In The Rapture commentary, however, I demonstrate that the Rapture event will not take place until well into the 70th Week—at some point after the Sixth Seal has been opened—and as late as one year prior to the end of the seven-year period (see The Seventh Year).
It seems evident, then, that the two witnesses will appear and begin prophesying by the middle of the 70th Week, when the Great Tribulation will ensue. One of the things about which they will be prophesying to people is the impending Second Coming of Jesus in the clouds and deliverance via the Rapture. Proclaiming this vital message will be an attempt to convince people to embrace Jesus as the true Christ and Savior of the world, so that they can avoid the approaching Day of the Lord’s wrath
Once the Day of the Lord period has begun, the two witnesses evidently will be the agents used to call down some or all of the Trumpet Judgments upon the earth, as demonstrated by the fact that, after they are killed,
The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earthAt the end of the 70th Week, they will be overcome and murdered by the beast that has come up from the Abyss, only to be resurrected 3½ days later—after which they will be caught up (raptured) into heaven
In the section a mighty angel, it was seen that when the Seventh Trumpet is about to sound, “the mystery of God will be accomplished”
Those who adhere to a “Post-Trib” view of the Rapture event believe, due to Paul’s use of the term “last trumpet”
Incidentally, it should be noted that, in Jewish tradition, the final shofar blown on Rosh haShanah is called the “Last Trumpet.” However, the shofar blown at Yom Kippur is referred to as the “Great Trumpet,” even though Yom Kippur follows Rosh haShanah. In this sense, then, the Great Trumpet actually is the “final” or “last” eschatological trumpet that is blown.
In the section three Woes, it was shown that the “Third Woe”
Predominantly, the Third Woe will be the series of seven Plagues or Bowl Judgments
As has been described,
In most of Chapters 12-14, John makes another restatement of the second half of the 70th Week (just as he did in Chapter 11). Initially, however, two “signs” are seen—a “woman” and an “enormous red dragon” (see battle in heaven)—seeming to indicate that they are not literal but, rather, are symbolic of other things, which were present in the world long ago.
A “woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head” is seen
John noted that the woman “gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter”
More specifically, the son of the woman—and the Son of God—who came into the world was Jesus Christ
But, in addition, those who overcome the temptations, enticements and seductions of world, and who submit to the will of God, will rule with an iron scepter, along with Jesus
Incidentally, this “woman” is not symbolic of Christianity, Catholicism or the Church, a view which is embraced by some Christians. The Church did not “replace” Israel; rather, it was grafted into Israel. At a future time, Israel (Zion) will receive all of the blessings promised to her millennia ago by God
The woman, as embodied by a remnant of her Israeli “offspring,” will flee into the desert, to be protected by God, for 1,260 days
So when you see standing in the holy place “the abomination that causes desolation,” spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress [great tribulation], unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again
As shown in abomination that causes desolation, the fleeing of people from Judea will take place in the middle of the 70th Week. It cannot be assumed that everybody in Judea will flee; many may not heed the warning. Jesus indicated that they will flee to the mountains; John said that they will flee into the desert. Many Christian scholars suggest that they will flee to a place in the mountainous-desert area of western Jordan (perhaps to the rocky, “fortified city” of Petra, accessible to Israelis as part of the Israeli-Jordanian peace accord of October 26, 1994). Wherever they go, it will be a place which God will have prepared for them, and He supernaturally will take care of them there for 1,260 days.
John wrote, “The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert...”
Other than the fleeing remnant, the remainder of the woman’s “offspring” are “those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus”—that is, other Jews (those obeying God’s Law in the Torah), as well as Christians (those testifying about Jesus) who have been “grafted into” Israel
An “enormous red dragon” also is seen
Unlike what commonly is believed, Satan presently has access to heaven, just as he did in the day of Job
Michael is the angelic “prince” who always has been the special protector of Israel
There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until thenIt is at this time that “great distress” during the Great Tribulation will begin. Following Michael’s active ejection of Satan out of heaven (thereby ending any future admittance into heaven by Satan), Michael will step aside and desist from helping Israel for the remainder of the 70th Week.
For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again
Then Satan, knowing that his “time is short” and “filled with fury”
The archangel Michael presently protects Israel, for the most part, from enemies (both natural and supernatural) who would like to do that nation harm. In that sense, Michael restrains Satan and his angels from being successful in utterly annihilating Israel (in particular, Jews). Satan would like to destroy Israel and all Jews, because Israel is God’s chosen nation and the Jews are God’s chosen people. In the middle of the 70th Week, Michael will be in charge of casting Satan and his angels out of heaven and onto the earth. Then Michael will be “taken out of the way” and will “step aside” (amad) from protecting Israel against the satanic forces of evil.
At that time, “the woman” (a remnant of Jewish Israelites) will flee to a mountain-desert area
It is Michael, as Israel’s protector, who is the one presently holding back Satan’s “secret power of lawlessness.” This is the restrainer, the one to whom Paul referred when he wrote,
And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed...
(2 Thessalonians 2:6-8a).
After Satan has been unsuccessful in overtaking the remnant of Israelites who have fled (most likely to Petra to be protected by God for 1,260 days or 3½ years), he will look over the sea of humanity
Beasts in Scripture are seen to be kingdoms or nations. They also may be considered to be powerful beastly fallen angelic beings who, throughout history, have exercised a predominant ruling influence over nations and geographical areas of the earth, such as the princes of Persia and Greece, as well as Michael, the prince of Israel
The first “beast” described by John, with “ten horns and seven heads”
Daniel also saw an eleventh horn, which came up among the ten, with “eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully”
Daniel and Paul described this man as follows:
He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time [that is a year, years, and half a year = 3½ years]John confirms these accounts and gives more information about this man:
He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple [or shrine], proclaiming himself to be God
(2 Thessalonians 2:4).
The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months [3½ years]. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world
This “man of lawlessness” will become the walking manifestation of the “antichrist” spirit, also described by John:
Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father alsoAfter the “man of lawlessness” has put an end to sacrifice and offering in Jerusalem, then has set up the abomination that causes desolation in the “holy place,” this man (as the “Antichrist”) will do the following:
(1 John 2:22,23).
...every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world (1 John 4:3).
- set himself up as “God” inside the temple [shrine], denying that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God,
- speak against, blaspheme, and slander the one True God and other holy inhabitants of heaven,
- overcome and persecute Jews and Christians for the final 3½ years of the 70th Week, and
- be given Satan’s authority
(Revelation 13:2b)over every tribe, people, language and nation.
The second “beast” described by John, with “two horns like a lamb,” will “exercise all the authority of the first beast on his behalf” and “make the inhabitants of the earth worship the first beast”
If the second beast turns out to have multiple facets, perhaps the two “horns” will be leaders of two religious denominations or faiths. Or, conceivably, they could be leaders with Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish affiliations or backgrounds. But it would seem likely that they would be defectors from, or not genuine representatives of, their respective faiths, as they will point to the Antichrist as the Christ and/or as God. Potentially, they even could be the second beast’s substitutes or “versions” of the two witnesses of Jesus.
Whether the second beast is one person or a conglomerate of two entities, it will set up an image in honor of the first beast
The personification of this second beast is referred to as the “False Prophet.” Just as the true Trinity is composed of
the end-time false trinity will be composed of
- the Father,
- the Son (Jesus Christ/Messiah), and
- the Holy Spirit, who always exalts the true Christ,
- the Antichrist (false christ/messiah), and
- the False Prophet, who will point people to the false christ.
As Paul described,
The coming of the lawless one 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. 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 wickednessAs noted by John, the False Prophet will “perform great and miraculous signs” and, accordingly, will deceive the people of the earth
(2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
Some have pointed out a connection between 666 and Islam, indicating that 666 may be an encryption for “In the Name of Allah.” Plausibly, then, an Islamic or pro-Islamic authority in the world could dictate that no one can buy or sell anything unless he/she has taken the mark
John saw that, not long before the end of the 70th Week, 144,000 Israelites will be redeemed from the earth and caught up to Mount Zion in heaven
This group, from twelve tribes of Israel, will be taken up to heaven and, I feel, will be the firstfruits of subsequent Messianic Jews who will believe. Perhaps they will spread the word to descendants of Jacob, around the world, that it is their Messiah, Yeshua/Jesus, Who has appeared in the clouds of earth’s atmosphere; and this will cause many to accept Jesus as Lord. Then, the latter will be among those either to be caught up at the very end of the 70th Week, or to be part of the final dispersion and regathering, in the final harvest of the earth
Near the very end of the 70th Week, there will be warnings and prophetic forecasts announced loudly by three angels. Flying through midair, they will speak to everyone who lives on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language, and people:
I believe that the Pre-Wrath Rapture, occurring subsequent to the opening of the Sixth Seal
The 144,000 from the tribes of Israel will be sealed for protection
As noted before, in John’s restatement of the last 3½ years of the 70th Week, the two witnesses clothed in sackcloth, who will prophesy for 1,260 days during the second half of the 70th Week
Atpossibly the very same time as the two witnesses are being caught up, there will be a larger group who will be caught up (“harvested”) at the end of the 70th Week
Previously, John had described the return of Jesus to earth to reign
The Son of Man
Jesus’ depiction, in Matthew, is of the Pre-Wrath Rapture event—the first phase of His Second Coming—where His angels will gather a great multitude of saved believers (both dead and alive) to be with Him, at some point after the opening of the Sixth Seal. On the other hand, John’s description, in Revelation, is of Jesus’ Second Advent to walk on the earth—the second phase of His Second Coming—where Jesus Himself will harvest a second, final multitude of believers from the earth, at the end of 70th Week. The latter will happen in association with the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet and can be considered to be a secondary, “Post-Tribulation” Rapture event, since a larger one already will have occurred.
Upon His return to earth, Jesus also will be harvesting Jews and other Israelites from nations around the world and bringing them to Israel:
|Return to Part 1 | Go to Part 3|
|Summary of Commentaries|
|Who Is God?|
|The Rapture||The Endtimes|
|The Final Battles||The Beasts||The Creation|
|God’s Covenant: with Israel or the Church?|
|My Beliefs and Faith|
|Bible Question Emails
and Ted’s Responses
|The Holy Bible
(a novel by Ted)
of the Human Eye
Comments or questions? Email Me.
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV®
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.