My thoughts on this chapter have continued to evolve over the last several years. I also want to clarify again that I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture of the church; I’m just not sure I agree with many that the tribulation starts with the opening of the seals. (Note: I define the tribulation as the last seven years on earth before Jesus returns as King of kings to establish His kingdom. It is also known as the 70th week of Daniel.)
Daniel 9:24–26 “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”
Note that the first 69 weeks ended when the “Messiah,” Jesus Christ, the Son of God in flesh, was “cut off” or killed. The 70th week will commence when the coming antichrist confirms a covenant with the Jews for “one week,” or seven years, the last seven years before Jesus returns to establish His kingdom.
Rev. 6:1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
Rev. 6:2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
Rev. 6:3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
Rev. 6:4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
Rev. 6:5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
Rev. 6:6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.
Rev. 6:7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.
Rev. 6:8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
This chapter begins with Jesus opening the sealed scroll. The opening of each of the first four seals is followed with one of the four beasts telling John to “come and see” what happens on earth as a result of the opening of that seal. As Jesus begins to open the seals, He is preparing the way for the rule of the Antichrist during the 7 years of tribulation known as Daniel’s 70th week. There are some people that think the rider on the white horse is Jesus. I don’t see how; He is the one opening the seals. These riders and horses are all related; they all represent judgment.
The judgments of the first four seals seem to mirror the signs given by Jesus during The Olivet Discourse where He identifies the signs that will signal His physical return to establish His kingdom.
Matthew 24:6-7 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. (Mark 13:5-8 and Luke 21:8-11 are companion records of this teaching. See topical study, “The Olivet Discourse.”)
The signs given in the Olivet Discourse are compared to birth pains, and birth pains are always connected to impending birth.
Matthew 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
“sorrows” = a pang or throe, especially of childbirth
I think the rider on the white horse represents Satan going forth to exert his power and influence on the world eventually gaining his greatest influence through the being we call Antichrist. His purpose is to go forth and conquer the world. Note that he is carrying a bow. Research indicates that this word references the arc or crescent shape of the weapon he carries. The scientific names of some organisms were derived from its Greek root “toxon” because of their shape, e.g. toxoplasma. The word is singular and would seem to indicate a bow with no reference to arrows; in other words, he will conquer without using physical force. He will first appear as a man of peace, an angel of light, but his actions are toxic (poisonous).
2 Corinthians 11:14–15 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
The Antichrist will be victorious as indicated by his crown (Greek, stephanos – a wreath, the prize in public games or competition). Significant to note is that the crown he wears represents authority, but it has been given to him—not earned. Upon creation God gave man dominion over the earth.
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Man basically handed the control of this world over to Satan when he chose to sin by believing Satan rather than trusting God. Satan has been busy ever since seeking control of men.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour….
2 Corinthians 4:3–4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Paul makes it clear that when Jesus called him to witness to the Gentiles, it was to deliver them from the power of Satan unto God. His call as stated in Acts 26:18 was to “open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”
It has ever been Satan’s desire to attain the position of God…
Isaiah 14:12–14 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
… and he will eventually attempt to establish his throne as God in the temple in Jerusalem during the tribulation.
2 Thessalonians 2:3–4 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Satan will be greatly assisted in accomplishing his objective by producing “lying wonders,” apparent miracles that many will assume has to be from God. They will be greatly deceived.
2 Thessalonians 2:8–10 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
The second rider is on a red horse and carries a sword; his purpose is to eliminate any kind of peace on earth by provoking people to kill one another. Notice that the power of this rider also is given to him. By whom? The One who possesses the authority to open the seals—Jesus.
This rider falls right in line with the next “sign” that Jesus identified to His disciples as part of the birth pains that would precede “the end,” the destruction of the world as we now know it under the rule of Satan and the establishment of a true new world order when Jesus returns as King of kings.
Matthew 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
Matthew 24:6-7 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom….
I think a look at history proves that beginning in the twentieth century, war and rumors of war on a worldwide scale have increased dramatically both in number and intensity.
When the third seal is opened, we see a black horse with a rider that is carrying a pair of balances or scales. He is empowered to destroy the world’s economy and promote worldwide poverty. The picture painted is one of famine although there will still be many that will enjoy life with plenty and luxury. Though there has always been a distinction in social levels among the peoples of the world, I think that the last decade in particular has shown a marked change in the world financial picture. The economics of the nations of the world are interdependent on one another more than ever before, and the distance of the gulf between the rich and poor continues to increase at an exponential rate.
I looked up the original words for oil and wine and was reminded that they are representative of the main crops associated with Israel. Maybe this is an indication that the rider on this horse is not allowed to affect the crops of the nation of Israel during this time. In His book entitled Footsteps of the Messiah, Arnold Fruchtenbaum states that he believes the command not to touch the oil and wine are an act of God’s mercy since they were used for medicinal purposes.
Again, this rider and the next directly connect to the final signs identified as birth pains by Jesus in Matthew.
Matthew 24:7-8 “… and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
The opening of the 4th seal brings forth a rider called Death on a pale (chloros = pale green) horse. This rider is the only one that has a companion that follows him—Hell. (Death for the body; Hell for the soul.) They are given power to kill a fourth of the people on planet earth using: 1-sword (violence; seems to be distinct from wars), 2-hunger (famine), 3-death (includes disease and pestilence), and 4-beasts of the earth. I have often heard commentators use the beasts of the earth to represent germs and viruses, but according to the Greek, it is referring to wild, dangerous, venomous animals or beasts. I think the germs and viruses would be included in “death.” It is interesting that the companion rider is Hell. We know that when believers die, they are absent from the body and present with the Lord; and I believe that will continue to be true for all believers since the resurrection of Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:6–8 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
It’s always hard for me to process the death of so many knowing that earth’s population is currently over 7 billion. The 25% that die will be a cumulative result from violence, famines, disease, and “death” specifically caused by the actions of these last two riders over the period of time impacted by this seal.
All of these riders represent Satan and his followers at work wreaking havoc and accomplishing God’s purpose. Thinking—Satan as the “god of this world” is allowed to influence events—causing famines, introducing new diseases, etc. and working through evil men. He may have more direct influence than we realize. We certainly know that God allowed him to use evil men, control the weather and cause disease in his attacks against Job (cf Job 1-2).
I noted that Wuest’s expanded Greek translation for “Come and see” as each rider was addressed at the opening of each seal was actually, “Be coming.” That emphasized to me that the effects resulting from the opening of each seal would occur over an indefinite period of time. This supports the connection between these seals and the description of the signs as birth pains as identified in the Olivet Discourse. It leaves room to speculate regarding the timing of the opening of the seals and the actual start of the tribulation or 70th week of Daniel.
Rev. 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
Rev. 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
Rev. 6:11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
“under the altar” – the place of sacrifice
At the opening of the fifth seal we see martyred souls under the altar asking God when He will avenge their deaths. Again, this fits right in with the narrative from Matthew.
Matthew 24:9–10 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
Though Jesus was talking to His Jewish disciples and Matthew is writing to the Jews, He is also talking to those that formed the foundational pillars of the church. Though there is specific address to the Jewish people as a whole in some of the wording in Matthew, it also addresses the death of true Christian martyrs throughout history whatever their ethnicity.
Another quote from Seiss that I liked applied here, “All martyrs are contemplated as sacrifices to God. And as sacrifices to the heavenly altar, their souls pass into the sacred receptacle beneath that altar. It is precisely the place where we would most naturally expect them to be….”
David Guzik also made a pertinent point: “That these souls are under the altar emphasizes that their life blood was poured out as an offering to God. The idea is drawn from Leviticus 4:7, ‘And he shall pour the remaining blood at the base of the altar of the burnt offering.’”
I have most often heard these verses taught as representing those who have died as martyrs during the first part of the tribulation, but I now believe these are martyrs from the church age.
It’s interesting that they are not rebuked for wanting God to take revenge on and judge with condemnation those responsible for their deaths. Instead, they are just told to rest and wait for a short period of time. What are they waiting for? For the death of the final martyr of the church age. The phrase “should be fulfilled” indicates that there is a number that will make full or complete. As always, God knows the end from the beginning—down to the final martyr of the church age.
Note from Dixie: “They are not questioning if God will judge; they know He will. They are asking how long they will have to wait to see this judgment.”
Psalm 58:10 The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.
Psalm 58:11 So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.
Again, Joseph Seiss has a quote that applies: “There are no voices of command from heaven under this seal, and no messengers dispatched from the throne; for the reason, that bloody persecutions of God’s servants come from beneath—not from above. It is the devil who is the murderer from the beginning, and by him, and his seed, has all martyr blood been made to flow that ever has flowed or ever will.”
The martyrs are given white robes to cover them while they wait. The entry for “robes” indicates that it is a garment that is a mark of dignity. They have been given a special position of honor in heaven, and vengeance on their behalf will be God’s at the perfect time.
Deuteronomy 32:35 To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
Psalm 94:1 O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.
Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
The fact that they are referred to as souls seems to indicate that they have yet to receive their resurrected bodies. I think they will join the body of Christ before the throne that is referenced in Revelation 7:9 when their number is complete and believers are resurrected to their immortal bodies at the rapture.
“they should rest yet for a little season” – Once again we note that the perspective of time from heaven is quite different from the perspective on earth.
Psalms 90:4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord
as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
It is in light of that truth that I believe these seals are already open. As to exactly when each of the first four seals were opened, I do not know. The fifth seal is outside the scope of those described as birth pains, and I believe represents all the martyrs of the church age. It could also indicate that the first four seals were opened shortly after Jesus ascended to heaven.
Rev. 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
Rev. 6:13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
Rev. 6:14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
Rev. 6:15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
Rev. 6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
Rev. 6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
When Jesus opens the sixth seal, several things happen.
16-17 indicates that this time is recognized as the wrath of the Lamb (Jesus). Isaiah also talks about this time.
Isaiah 2:20-21 In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
The truth is that you can’t hide from God.
Jeremiah 23:24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.
The results from the breaking of this seal are very wide-ranging and chaotic. Many questions come to mind. I’ve heard many commentators relate some of these events to the aftermath of a nuclear explosion. John’s terminology does allow for comparison to something when he uses the term “as.” He is saying that this is what he sees—an actual earthquake, a changing of color of the sun and moon, and an actual falling of the stars from heaven toward earth (then he gives a word picture of what their falling looks like). It’s a little harder to understand what he is saying regarding the heavens being rolled together; he is clearly trying to paint a word picture of what he is seeing in this instance. Then, he goes right back to actual happenings—mountains and islands being moved out of position and men hiding in caves.
There is no specific location identified as the center point of these events. They appear to have worldwide impact. This earthquake is so powerful that it causes the mountains and islands of the earth to change positions. The 9.0 earthquake in Indonesia in December 2004 and the Japan Earthquake in March 2011 could foreshadow this event. Following is an excerpt from Wikipedia regarding these quakes.
Re 2004: “The magnitude of the earthquake was originally recorded as 9.0 on the Richter scale, but has been upgraded to between 9.1 and 9.3. At this magnitude, it is the second largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph. This earthquake was also reported to be the longest duration of faulting ever observed, lasting between 500 and 600 seconds (8.3 to 10 minutes), and it was large enough that it caused the entire planet to vibrate as much as half an inch, or over a centimeter. It also triggered earthquakes in other locations as far away as Alaska.”
Re 2011: It was “one of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900. The earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that reached heights of up to 40.5 metres (133 ft)….The earthquake moved Honshu (the main island of Japan) 2.4 m (8 ft) east and shifted the Earth on its axis by estimates of between 10 cm (4 in) and 25 cm (10 in).”
I have also read articles in the past year regarding the possibility of a coming polar shift and its impact on the planet, which would be worldwide.
For the sun to turn black might reference an extended eclipse-like effect. The red moon would provide even less light than normal for the night. The effects on the sun and moon would appear to be temporary since the trumpet judgments will again affect these heavenly bodies (Rev. 8:12 & 16:8). This would fit in with the limited duration of an earthquake and the dissipation of the effects of volcanoes or nuclear warfare—although the damage resulting from its impact would be enduring.
Haggai has another good cross reference to these events:
Haggai 2:6-7 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.
Henry Morris provides some scientific insight: “…the vast worldwide network of unstable earthquake belts around the world suddenly will begin to slip and fracture on a global basis and a gigantic earthquake will ensue. This is evidently, and naturally, accompanied by tremendous volcanic eruptions, spewing vast quantities of dust and steam and gases into the upper atmosphere. It is probably these that will cause the sun to be darkened and the moon to appear blood-red.”
It would seem that the stars falling toward earth are just allowed to get close to earth, and then God supernaturally destroys them before they destroy earth since that is not His intent at this time. This could be supported by the terminology in Isaiah talking about the host of heaven dissolving.
Isaiah 34:4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.
The emphasis seems to be on instilling a godly fear into man. God is trying to get his attention before it is too late to recognize who He is and turn to Him in faith and repentance. This reasoning seems to be supported with a cross reference in Joel talking about this time.
Joel 2:30-32 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
Only this verse and Acts 2:20 and Rev 6:12 reference the moon turning to blood before the day of the Lord comes.
Acts 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come.
I keep looking for a clue regarding the heavens rolling up like a scroll and the mountains and islands being moved out of their places since they are mentioned as a pairing in the same sentence. In Isaiah the pairing is with the heavens rolling together and the hosts of heaven falling and dissolving. I guess it could be the optical illusion that one would get from seeing the stars hurtling from the heavens toward earth at such speed. I really don’t know. Again, the key seems to be the fear that will be put into man and forcing him to recognize that there is a “God” who controls the universe and is trying to get his attention.
Thoughts from Dixie: “In the creation, God ‘stretched out the heavens like a curtain and here He rolls it up again.’”
Psalm 104:2 Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain.
Isaiah 40:22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.
Note that verse seventeen specifically states that men recognize that the “great day of His wrath is come.” In context, the “His” is in reference is to the One on the throne and the Lamb (identified as Jesus, the risen Savior in chapter 5).
This great day of wrath is referenced many times in scripture. It is a time in which God will exact vengeance against His enemies and all that is wicked in this world. Although God has exacted judgment against the nations of the world throughout history as recorded in scripture, this “day of the Lord” or great day of wrath judgment will be worldwide and will occur just before Jesus returns as King.
Isaiah 2:10–12 & 17 Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low… And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.
Isaiah 13:6&11 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty….And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
Nahum 1:2 God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.
Malachi 4:5–6“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD….
Acts 2:19–20 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come….
1 Thessalonians 5:1–3 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
Most people lump together the tribulation period, the 70th week of Daniel, and the day of the Lord, but it is clear to me that they are directed toward different people groups with different purposes. The tribulation is directed toward the people of Israel and the city of Jerusalem as a refining fire to produce a purified remnant of believers that accept Jesus as the Messiah. The day of the Lord is directed in wrath, vengeance and destruction against the wicked world and His enemies. Though I believe these two periods of time occur basically in conjunction with one another; I do not believe that God’s wrath necessarily begins at the same time as the 70th week.
I am convinced that the events of the sixth seal begin the final “day of the Lord,” the time of God’s wrath and vengeance against His enemies and all that is wicked in this world. It is this time from which believers are promised deliverance; and they will be seen standing before the throne in chapter 7.
It was through Peter Goodgame that I became associated with the writing of David Lowe associating the rapture of the church with the great earthquake of the 6th seal. The following quote is from Part 3 of his article, “The Day of the Lord: When, How, and Why?” at www.redmoonrising.com.
“One of the most important books ever written on the subject of the resurrection of the Church appeared in 2005. Written by Bible scholar David Lowe, it is entitled Earthquake Resurrection - Supernatural Catalyst for the Coming Global Catastrophe. Lowe’s in-depth study has led him to the same conclusions regarding the prophetic timeline that are put forth in this study. (His book is also where I was introduced to the picture of the ascension of Jesus to the right hand of God in Revelation 4-5 that was mentioned earlier in this article). Lowe points out that there are twelve Biblical accounts of resurrections from the dead. Of these twelve, nine of them are simply resurrections back into mortal bodies, while three of these accounts describe resurrections into immortal bodies. In each of these cases of resurrection to immortality the resurrection is accompanied by an earthquake. This happens at the resurrection of Jesus (Matthew 28:2-7); at the resurrection of the “many saints” that appeared after Jesus’ resurrection (Matthew 27:51-53); and at the resurrection of the Two Witnesses of Revelation (11:11-13). If earthquakes are indeed somehow directly and supernaturally connected to the phenomenon of resurrection to immortality, then what does that mean for this world when the dead in Christ from throughout the world and from throughout time are raised to immortal bodies at that profound moment prior to the onset of the Day of the Lord?
[My note: I must state, however, that scripture does not tell us that the “many saints” were resurrected with immortal bodies; we are not told whether they lived to die again or were taken up to heaven after appearing to others.]
David Lowe comments on this possibility: “If the resurrection power to raise Jesus Christ, the "many saints," and the two witnesses caused the earthquakes that were associated with each of their resurrections, then what about the future resurrection of the dead in Christ? Consider the explosive magnitude of an exponentially larger resurrection of the dead in Christ in the future. Many millions of those who have died in covenant with Jesus Christ throughout history will be instantaneously and simultaneously resurrected from the dead and transformed to immortality with the same dynamic power....With all this supernatural activity happening in a moment's time, might it be possible that severe geological activity will result, causing a magnetic disturbance and changes to the structure of earth's surface? If this magnitude of energy is unleashed worldwide at the resurrection event, when the Lord's shout of command and the trumpet sound of God's voice awakens the dead in Christ, then a global shaking would certainly result.” (p. 99)
There is another quote I would like to include that was taken from Mr. Goodgame’s article in which he was quoting from John Abent’s book, Signs in the Heavens: Biblical Prophecy and Astronomy. He states that the sixth seal and seventh bowl judgments “form a giant inclusio in the Greek. With the sixth seal open we are told that the great Day of God’s/the Lamb’s wrath ‘has come’ and with the seventh vial we are told ‘it is done.’”
I just realized that I hadn’t expressed my thoughts clearly regarding the timing of the tribulation or 70th week of Daniel in relation to the “day of the Lord” or time of God’s wrath. It would seem that the events of the 6th seal that are set into motion by the rapture will set the stage for the Antichrist to establish his 7-year covenant. The world will be desperate for a leader who can instill confidence. Remember, he will be a man of supernatural ability and will make use of lying wonders in this time of chaos and destruction. I see this as a pre-tribulation and pre-wrath rapture.
2Thessalonians 2:8-11 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie….
This appears to be a good place to talk about other things that I believe will be happening on earth in the first part of the tribulation, which will run more or less concurrently with “the day of the Lord.” I believe the two witnesses (to be discussed in chapter 11) will be on active duty during the first half of the tribulation since their death seems to occur with the 6th trumpet/2nd woe. They are witnessing on earth for the first 3.5 years; then antichrist is given full power for the last 3.5 years. It would appear that he comes on the scene in full power after Satan is banished from heaven. But we will discuss that more fully when we reach that section.