the seals of Revelation 6 the wrath of God?
Rev. Bill Lee-Warner
pretribulationist, the entire 70th week of Daniel is the wrath of
God. That therefore means the Seals, the Trumpets and the Bowls
are all the wrath of God. But, is that an accurate understanding?
reasons, the Seals cannot be a part of the wrath of God spoken of
so frequently in Scripture:
In the times
before the advent of the modern usage of books and after the use
of cuneiform writing and papyri, scrolls were used as the medium
for recording most information. Scrolls were most often vellum (leather)
or some form of rolled paper. To keep the contents of the scroll
from the eyes of those for whom it was not intended, the scrolls
were sealed with one or more seals, usually of wax.
were always on the outside of the scroll, never on the inside
where they would be encountered as one unrolled the scroll. That
means that all the seals must be broken BEFORE the contents can
be exposed. This is the picture we have in Revelation 5 where we
are introduced to the scroll. In Revelation 6, we have the breaking
of the seals of the scroll. Its only when the seventh seal is broken,
(all seven) that the contents of the scroll can be exposed. Therefore,
since the wrath of God begins with the breaking of the seventh seal,
(note: Revelation 8:1ff) the seals cannot be the wrath of God.
needs to be asked, "If the entire 70th week of Daniel
is the wrath of God (as pretribulationalists insist), why
are believers who are promised exemption from the Day of the Lord's
wrath (1 Thes. 1:10; 5:9 - note: "all" believers of any
age) present during this time?" (cf. Rev. 12:17; 13:7) There
must be a division during the 70th week where believers are present
and then absent as promised.
Revelation 12 the reader is in an interlude that begins with chapter
12:1 and concludes with chapter 15:4. The focus for this interlude
is the midpoint of the 70th week. In Rev. 12:12, we are instructed
regarding the casting out of heaven of the devil who "has
come down...having great wrath". In 12:17 and 13:7, we are
clearly told that the wrath of Satan is subsequently poured out
on the "saints", those "who keep the commandments
of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus." In other words,
during the time of Satan's wrath when Antichrist exalts himself,
he persecutes the saints. Clearly, there are two wraths spoken
of (during the 70th week of Daniel) and it's during the wrath
of Satan (through Antichrist) when believers are persecuted. Satan's
wrath is depicted in the fourth and fifth seals and prior to the
Day of the Lord's wrath which begins with the breaking of the
Isaiah 2:11 and Ezekiel 38:23, God tells us that He alone
will be exalted in the day of His judgment (that begins with the
1st Trumpet). In 2 Thes. 2, Paul explains that the "man of
lawlessness" (Antichrist) will exalt himself just prior to
the "day of the Lord" (2:2). That poses a problem:
God is going to exalt Himself during the day of the Lord, Antichrist
cannot exalt himself at the same time, and
the entire 70th week is the wrath of God, then how is it possible
that Antichrist exalts himself during the time that is supposed
to be when God exalts Himself? The answer is, he can't and doesn't.
Therefore, we must conclude that there must be two time periods
in view within the 70th week of Daniel: (1) when Antichrist
exalts himself, and (2) when God exalts Himself. Since God exalts
Himself during His Day of the Lord wrath (which begins with
the breaking of the seventh seal), the seals, which precede
the time of God's wrath, cannot be included in the time period
when God alone exalts Himself.
Revelation 6, we are introduced to the seals of the scroll (ch.
5). The 6th seal is clearly marked by the oft-repeated indication
of the imminent Day of the Lord, the wrath of God. (cf. Joel 2:10,31;
3:15: Matthew 24:29) In Revelation 6:12, we see the appearance
of this "announcement" of the onset of the God's Day
of the Lord wrath at the 6th seal. Following the 6th seal is the
7th which is opened beginning in chapter 8. Between Revelation
6:17 and Revelation 8:1 is Revelation chapter 7. In Revelation
7 we see clearly that the rapture takes place. (Note: 7:9-17)
- sometime during the second half of the 70th week of Daniel.
It is important to note that the wrath of God doesnŐt begin until
the 7th seal is opened.(Rev. 8:1) This ushers in the 7 Trumpet
judgments, the wrath of God spoken of in Revelation 6:17. His
wrath begins with the 1st Trumpet judgment, not the seals.
4. A final
note is that in the first three seals, the disasters are more
of a natural phenomenon. Beginning with the Trumpet judgments,
they are clearly of a supernatural nature, effected by angels
and usually associated with fire.
Christ is clearly in control of all the end-time events, it is equally
clear that the wrath of God does not begin with the seals. The world
will run its course (albeit, in an intensified way once the 70th
week begins) right up to the sign of the sun, moon and stars when
the natural lights of the universe will go out. Following this event
will be the world-wide visible return of the Lord for His own (cf.
Matthew 24:29-31), and then the Day of the Lord, the wrath of God,