In the book The Last Trumpet: The Mystery of God is Finished and a New Age Begins, author Robert Johnston explores biblical prophecy and the promises of God that relate to the end times. This excerpt is from chapter 3:
The Seals Are Opened
And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
IN THE YEAR AD 81 the Roman Empire imprisoned the apostle John on the island of Patmos off the coast of Greece because he preached the Word of God and testified about Jesus. During this time in history Christians were being pressured to accept the Roman cult of emperor worship.
John testifies that he was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10 NASB) and heard a voice telling him to write what he saw in a book and to send the book to the seven churches in Asia. These seven churches, which were in existence at the time of John’s writing, represent believers who will be living at the time of the day of the Lord. John was told to write “the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things” (v. 19 NASB).
He saw “one” sitting on a throne in heaven, and in his open hand was a book written on the inside and back, which was sealed up with seven seals (Rev. 5:1 AMP). No one was worthy to open the book until Jesus appeared like a lamb that had been slain; he was found to be worthy to break open the seven seals. As the first five seals were broken open, each appeared to reveal events caused by humans and not as judgments of God until the sixth seal was broken open. When the sixth seal was opened, it revealed God’s intervention. Even though God didn’t appear to cause the events preceding the opening of the sixth seal, he permitted them to take place. The events appear to be precursors of God’s judgments, which follow the sixth seal. The first five seals may be what Jesus described to his disciples in Matthew 24:8 (AMP) as “the early pains” or “the beginning of sorrows” (KJV). The opening of the first six seals (Rev. 6:2–17; 7:9–17)revealed the following events in this order:
- The First Seal—The Antichrist will receive a crown and go forth to conquer nations.
- The Second Seal—The world will be thrown into the turmoil of war, and men will slay one another.
- The Third Seal—The world economy will become inflated, and basic food will become scarce, but oil and wine will be protected.
- The Fourth Seal—One-fourth of the world’s population will die as the result of being slain by men, famine, and wild beasts.
- The Fifth Seal—Many believers will be killed because of preaching the Word of God and testifying of Jesus.
- The Sixth Seal—God will intervene for his people by causing a great earthquake, which will cause the sun to become black and the moon to turn red like blood. The stars will fall from the sky, and the sky will split apart and roll up like a scroll. Then every mountain and island will be moved out of their places. All mankind will live in fear, believing that the wrath of God is coming. The resurrected and raptured saints will meet Christ in the air.
At the same time this is happening, God will seal and protect his servants, who will remain on the earth after the rapture of the saints takes place. Four angels will hold back the winds so they won’t blow on the earth. Another angel, possessing the seal of God, will tell the other four angels not to harm the earth or sea until the bond servants of God possess the seal on their foreheads.
John saw the number of those who were sealed, and one hundred forty-four thousand were sealed from the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. The Bible doesn’t say that Gentile believers will be sealed, but 2 Peter 2:9, Psalm 34:7 and Psalm 91:11 promise that they will be protected while their faith is being tried. The time frame of this event (the resurrection, rapture and sealing) is shortly after the midpoint of the seven-year tribulation period. The book of Enoch, also referring to the events of the last half of the tribulation period, says, “But with the righteous He will make peace, and will protect the elect, and mercy shall be upon them.”2 The book of Enoch is not in our Bible, but Jude, the half brother of Jesus, directly quoted a portion from Enoch 1:9 about the day of the Lord in the book of Jude (vv. 14,15).
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