In the previous chapter (C-11) were emphasized important prophecies given to or made by the ancient Jewish prophet Daniel, along with some related prophecies by Jesus’ Jewish apostles John and Paul. The major focus was on events taking place during the seventy heptads or “weeks” (of seven years each) foretold by the angel Gabriel (Dan. 9:24a), a time span of 490 years of which 483 years (sixty-nine “weeks” of seven years) already have passed. The final 7 years (“week”) of this period, the 70th Week, is a duration of time which has yet to transpire.
The 70th Week will commence with the confirmation of a 7-year covenant of “peace” involving Israel (Dan. 9:27a—see “the 70th Week covenant”: C-11, P-III), and the originator or primary endorser of the covenant evidently will be a man from within the European Union (EU) of nations (see “identity of the end-time ruler”: C-11, P-III). The covenant could be unique and unrelated to any others, or else may be a strengthening or reaffirmation of pre-existing treaties or accords. This pact may be the biggest news item around the world the very day it is ratified, or it might be confirmed in secret and not become public knowledge for some time. Likewise, the major proponent of the covenant may be a public figure and may gain immediate world-wide fame, or he could be virtually unknown at the time and gain the world’s attention within a short period afterward or maybe gradually over a few years.
The subsequent period of seven years, known as the 70th Week (you may wish to refer to the detailed table, “The 70th Week and Extensions: ‘Pre-Wrath’ Rapture,” at the end of P-V, S-2, as you read this chapter), will be unique in the annals of human history, because its ferocity will be unlike any other era. But it will end with the physical advent to earth of the true Messiah of Israel and of the world, Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16).
Many prophecies, especially in the Old Testament, have a single episode of fulfillment. But numerous other prophecies (for instance, Isa. 57:8; Jer. 5:15-17; Ezek. 11:17; Joel 1:4; Luke 21:20,24a) have had and/or will have two or more occasions of fulfillment. At the ends of some parts and segments in this chapter, I will list verses of prophecies which I feel will be fulfilled during the 70th Week, even though some of them already have been fulfilled—in part at least—at certain times in the past.
I have read and heard many commentaries on the Book of Revelation throughout the years. From each one, I have absorbed a few elements of value leading to a better understanding of this remarkable book. However, I never have heard one commentator whose entire explanation seemed completely plausible. I, myself, certainly do not claim to understand 100% of the meaning and symbolism of Revelation. In fact, I believe there are some things in the book which simply will not be understood until they actually happen (or, possibly, immediately beforehand). But I am confident that every detail in the book will come to pass, just as the disciple/apostle John foresaw.
I believe a brief chronological survey of Revelation is pertinent here. There will be some disagreement by others with my time order; however, this lengthy chapter will detail why I believe this to be a very credible sequence. All the terms I use here will be described carefully in this chapter.
First of all, the full and correct name of the final book of the New Testament is The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which are the first five words of the book (Rev. 1:1a). In this book, John “...testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ” (1:2). Also, Jesus, who is the central figure of the book, states to John (who “...fell at his feet as though dead” when he saw Jesus—1:17a), “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!” (1:17b,18ab). Furthermore, in the last chapter, Jesus states, “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star” (22:16). The living, glorified Jesus revealed Himself and unique future events to John decades after His resurrection.
In Chapter 1, John sees and speaks with Jesus. Chapters 2 and 3 describe churches near the end of the First Century A.D. and, I believe, aspects of the Christian Church during the “Great Tribulation” period (Seal 5) of the 70th Week. Chapters 4 and 5 show what John sees in heaven just prior to the beginning of the 70th Week on earth.
Within Chapters 6-10 is a chronological order of events, on earth and in heaven, from the beginning to a point just prior to the end of the 70th Week and including the majority of the “Day of the Lord” period (Seal 7). In Chapter 11, verses 1-14 focus on Jerusalem, beginning at the midpoint of the 70th Week, while verses 15-19 complete that seven-year period.
At the beginning of Chapter 12 is a “timeless” reference to Israel and to Satan. Then the narrative returns again to the midpoint of the 70th Week (or just prior to it), depicting events in heaven and on earth at that time. In the remainder of Chapter 12 and in Chapters 13 and 14, events continue, in chronological order, through the end of the final seven-year period. Then, events in heaven and on earth during a brief (30-day) period, following the end of the Week, are depicted in Chapters 15 and 16.
Chapters 17 and 18 describe, in detail, the worldwide false religious and political systems and their subsequent downfall. The first half of Chapter 19 lauds the aforementioned destruction by God and alludes to the long-awaited “wedding supper of the Lamb.” The second half of Chapter 19 describes the physical return of Jesus to earth to destroy the remaining enemies of Jerusalem and of God.
Finally, Chapter 20 refers to a 1,000-year period (the “Millennium”—seeC-13), during which there will be perfect, fair rule of the earth by Jesus Christ and by those who have chosen to follow and serve the one True God. And Chapters 21 and 22 describe the initial stages of the eternal realm on earth in a new, recreated universe—where there will be no more evil, death, sickness, nor pain, and where God will co-exist with mankind. There also is an invitation for everyone, who so desires, to be a part of this eternal age with God.
The Book of Revelation is the only book of the Bible which promises a blessing to anyone “...who reads the words of this prophecy...” (Rev. 1:3a) and yet another blessing to those “...who hear it and take to heart what is written in it” (1:3b). Either before or after you read the present chapter (12) in my book, I suggest that you read all 22 chapters of The Revelation of Jesus Christ, if you never have, so that you may receive a blessing.
At one point in the disciple/apostle John’s extraordinary vision, he was taken in his spirit to heaven, at a time in our future, just prior to the beginning of the 70th Week. He saw in the right hand of God “...a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals” (Rev. 5:1). A mighty angel proclaimed, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” (5:2). There was no one worthy enough to do this except for the Messiah, Jesus, “...the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David...” (5:3,5b). He appeared to John as “...a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain...” (5:6a).
After this series of events actually takes place in the future, Jesus will take sole possession of the scroll and open “...the first of the seven seals” (Rev. 5:7, 6:1a), thus permitting the countdown to resume on the last one of the seventy “weeks” determined for Israel (Dan. 9:24a) and for the world. The scroll is, in a sense, the “title deed” to the earth which only Jesus is worthy to possess and open; this is by virtue of His unique blood sacrifice on the cross which has redeemed all on the earth, who believe in Him and accept Him, back to God the Father (Rev. 5:9).
Numerous times I have seen “Visualize World Peace” on bumper stickers. As hard as it is to imagine, who but a terrorist could not want world peace? It is a wonderful concept, and I am certain that such a state of existence will be attained on this earth; but it will be by God’s intervention, not by mankind’s inept, blundering attempts to bring it about. The latter undertaking will result in world conditions which can best be described by another sticker I also have seen (a spoof of the first one): “Visualize Whirled Peas.”
It is not known whether the man who formulates the 7-year (70th Week) treaty with Israel will emerge immediately into public view or will remain behind the scenes for a time. It is even possible that the treaty itself at first will not be widely publicized; but, soon enough, the “peacemaker” and the “peace” covenant will be applauded world-wide. (I suspect that this man also will be a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, just as Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shared this noteworthy award in 1994 for their own “peaceful endeavors” in the Middle East—see “religious spiritual battles”: C-10, P-I.)
This man, the Antichrist (see “identity of the end-time ruler”: C-11, P-III), directly or indirectly, will profess to be the Messiah (Christ), which Israel has been awaiting to bring real and total peace. This will be evidenced by his initial actions, due to his apparent ability to bring peace and prosperity to a region which has known very little of this for millennia (and, I suspect, to other turbulent places in the world as well). But, ultimately, he will bring to the globe a time of chaos, sorrow, and economic disaster unknown before by humankind. Not long after his entrance onto the world scene, this planet and the lives of most of its inhabitants truly will resemble a sloppy, lumpy mess of “whirled peas.”
I believe it will take Jesus more than half of the 70th Week to open the first six seals of the heavenly scroll, with exactly the first half comprised of the first four seals. John envisioned the events to take place during the first six seals; whereas, decades earlier, I believe Jesus already had predicted and described them, calling them “...the beginning of birth pains [or sorrows]” (Matt. 24:8). Below, I will indicate what John saw in the future when each seal was (will be) opened and then, in each case, the parallel events described by Jesus.
1st Seal: “I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. ... I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest” (Rev. 6:1a,2).
Jesus: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (Matt. 24:4,5). (See also “Seal 1”: P-II, S-1.)
2nd Seal: “When the Lamb opened the second seal,...another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword” (Rev. 6:3a,4).
Jesus: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matt. 24:6,7a). (See also “Seal 2”: P-II, S-2.)
3rd Seal: “When the Lamb opened the third seal,...there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard...a voice...saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!’” (Rev. 6:5,6).
Jesus: “There will be great earthquakes, famines...” (Luke 21:11a). (See also “Seal 3”: P-II, S-3.)
4th Seal: “When the Lamb opened the fourth seal,...I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth” (Rev. 6:7,8).
Jesus: “[There will be]...famines and pestilences [plagues] in various places...” (Luke 21:11a). “All these are the beginning of birth pains [sorrows]” (Matt. 24:8). (See also “Seal 4”: P-II, S-4.)
5th Seal: “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained” (Rev. 6:9).
Jesus: “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. ... For then there will be great distress [tribulation], unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again” (Matt. 24:9,21). (See also “Seal 5”: P-III, S-1.)
6th Seal (part 1): “I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place” (Rev. 6:12-14).
Jesus: “Immediately after the distress [great tribulation] of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies [powers of the heavens] will be shaken” (Matt. 24:29). (See also “Seal 6”: P-III, S-2.)
6th Seal (part 2): “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).
Jesus: “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. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet [shofar] call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other” (Matt. 24:30,31).
In biblical times, scrolls often were tied and sealed with seven strings and seals. After all the seals and strings were removed, the scroll could be unrolled and read. Likewise, the heavenly scroll, on which is written God’s final Judgments of wrath, will be opened fully only after all seven seals are removed.
I believe that the first six seals will be contained within a time span of from four to six of the final seven years. In Isa. 34:8, if “...a year of retribution...” is literal, and in Isa. 63:4, if “...the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come...” is a reference to the Day of the Lord period, then this may an indication that God’s Judgments in Seal 7 (which equals the Day of the Lord) are to transpire for one year. In this case, the first six seals will last six years, though probably not one seal per year.
What occurs after the 7th Seal is opened (Rev. 8:1a) will be primarily supernatural events to occur during the remainder of the 70th Week (and for 30 days beyond). These events will be a result of God’s righteous wrath upon an earth filled with self-centered people whose hearts have turned cold, who are angry with God, and who will worship every “god” imaginable other than the True God.
The supernatural Judgments poured out upon the earth, following the removal of the seventh seal, will be reminiscent of nine of the ten plagues dispensed to Egypt (Exo. 7:14–10:29) after the Pharaoh would not allow the children of Israel go out to the desert to hold a festival to God and to worship Him for three days (Exo. 5:1-4—see “mistreatment of children of Israel; plagues upon Egypt”: C-4, P-I). However, the Judgments during the last portion of the 70th Week will be much more severe, and their sphere of impact will encompass a much greater geographical area, than those in Egypt. I have no doubt that “history repeats itself,” especially when concerning acts of Almighty God.
This time in the earth’s history (Seal 7: the Day of the Lord), unquestionably, will be dreadful and appalling. However, for those alive who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, there will be a blessed hope of miraculous shelter and protection (the Rapture) from these supernatural judgments (seeP-V). I have placed this part (P-V) out of chronological order due to the controversial issues relating to it and the necessity of discussing it in much detail.
Relatively soon after the literal, physical return of Jesus to the earth at the end of the 70th Week, the reign of terror of the Antichrist and all Judgments of God upon the world will end. And the next age—which truly will be one of love, peace, prosperity, and understanding for the world and its inhabitants—will ensue (seeC-13).
Next, I will go into more detail on the interpretation of John’s vision of each of the seals and on the explanation of occurrences within them. The effects of the first through fifth seals will result from satanic forces wielding great influence over people and inordinate power over the elements to induce people worldwide to hate God and to brutalize other people fiercely. All of this will be allowed (not caused) by our patient, longsuffering Lord—primarily, I believe, to demonstrate to mankind the inevitable devastating consequences resulting from our placing our collective, worldwide trust in one mortal man and from our attempting to run this world on our own, without seeking and consulting God as to the proper way to do it.
However, during the sixth seal, God will begin to intervene directly, indicating to the entire world that His Judgment is imminent. Next, finally having had enough of Satan’s tampering and mankind’s ineptitude, He first will remove those living people who truly love and are faithful to Him to be in His protective presence; and He subsequently, during the seventh seal, will proceed to unleash upon the earth His final Wrath: a by-product of His righteous Anger, which mostly has been confined within Himself throughout the ages ever since Satan, and later mankind, rebelled.
Proceed to Chapter 12, Part II
Return to the Beginning of Chapter 12, Part I
Return to the Beginning of Chapter 12
Return to the Table of Contents
Return to the Quick Table of Contents
Return to the Comprehensive Outline
Go to the The 70th Week and Extensions: “Pre-Wrath” Rapture Table
Go to the Scripture Index
Go to the Bibliography
Go to Bible Book Abbreviations
Return to the Preface
Return to the Title Page
Copyright © 1998– by Ted M. Montgomery, O.D. Most rights reserved.