Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Sixth Seal

Revelation 6:12-17

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; 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.  And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
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; 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: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
First of all, I want to explain that I don't believe most of the other Prophecies people see as the same as the Sixth Seal actually are.

People like to talk about a frequent Prophetic pattern of "Signs in the sun, moon and stars", which may or may not also feature an Earthquake. But they're all actually pretty specific on those signs, and their not all the same. And the Sixth Seal is NOT the only time in Revelation there are signs involving the sun, moon and stars, and certainly not the only Earthquake.

Only two other Bible passages refer to the Moon becoming like Blood. Joel 2:31, and Acts 2 where Peter Quotes that part of Joel. I'll get to the significance of that latter.

Isaiah 13:10 says that neither the sun, moon or stars will give their light. People act like this is effectively the same, but not only are they not, they're mutually exclusive. If the Moon has a visible color it is giving light. Joel has two verses interestingly that do describe that kind of event, one in a context I believe places it between the Sixth and Seventh Trumpets. The others in Joel chapter 3 along with Isaiah 13 I think refers to the Fifth Bowl of God's Wrath, when the Kingdom of The Beast is darkened.

Matthew 24 and Mark 13's account of The Rapture speak also of both the Sun and Moon not giving light (no Blood Moon). Here stars also fall, but it's still distinct.  The event is also linked to a Trumpet, not to a Seal.  The Sixth Seal doesn't mention lightening either.

These aren't referring to Lunar and Solar Eclipses, since they're happening simultaneously. Dr. Robert Thieme tells us of the eruption on August 27th 1883, there were Earthquakes and tidal waves. And also that because of the volcanic ash the sun was blotted out and the moon looked red.

I love how Pre-Wraht people tend to argue against the idea of a Lunar Eclipse being described here.  but will also use the concept of what a Lunar Eclipse is to justify saying that the Moon turning like Blood can be the same as it being Darkened.

Even if it is valid to see the Cosmic Signs aspect of the Olivtie Discourse as having some connection to the Sixth Seal.  It's clearly to me only that the Sixth Seal begins those kinds of signs.  Pre-Wrath people want to dogmatically build doctrine on placing The Rapture in the Sixth Seal based on it having a small subsets of the Rapture related signs, signs that are not in Paul's Rapture accounts at all.  The far more universal defining features (Trumpet, Voices in Heaven, Son of Man coming on a Cloud, Resurrection of The Death, Harvest imagery)  Are not in the Sixth Seal, their Revelation parallels are in chapters 11-14.

I believe firmly that Joel 2:28-32 and the Sixth Seal are the same.

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 
And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.  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.
Now no Earthquake is mentioned in Joel. But Peter in quoting this in reference to his time clearly sees the basis for the Sun being Darkened in the Darkness that happened when Jesus was on The Cross, and there was an Earthquake there. Clearly this event in Peter's day was only a lesser near fulfillment. Revelation 6 sees a worldwide Earthquake, that rearranges Terrestrial geography like something from The Silmarillion or the AkallabĂȘth.

Remember that the Chapter divisions are not part of the original text. So Revelation commentaries, and weeks long Bible Studies always separate the Sixth Seal from Revelation 7 and the sealing of the 144,000. But when we remember to look at this in the Context of Joel and Acts, it seems to me that this is in fact still the same event, even if some time has passed.

The concept of believers being Sealed is discussed outside Revelation in Paule's Epistles. In 2 Corinthians 1:22 and Ephesians 1:13 and 4:30. All of them sound to me like their about conditions unique to The Church, that don't apply to Pre or Post Church Age believers. So I reject allegorizeing the 144,000, I believe their specific people living at a specific time, and that specific number, or each of the 12 Tribes. Not simply representing the entire Church. But I do believe their part of The Church. They're also described in chapter 14 in terms that sound a lot like The Bride of Christ to me.

To the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view this must be after The Church age has ended. To the Pre-Wrath view this is right where it ends. But I see it far more likely that this is still during the Church Age, but near it's end. A sort of Culmination or Climax. One Last Great Outpouring of The Holy Spirit, greater even then the original at the Pentecost of 30 A.D. (Maybe this will also be linked to the Passover-Pentacost season). So the Church Age can end like how it started. I reject the common Baptist view that the Spiritual Gifts were only until the Canon was complete, but I'm not strictly a Pentecostal since my Soterolgoy is Baptist. And I'm certainly not Charismatic.

Some have decided to claim all of the 144,000 will be male, because their described as men. Greek and Hebrew did NOT use any word for both of the meanings we use "man" for. The 144,000 are Anthropos, which means Man as in Mankind, the Human Race. Typically the Greek stand in for Adam, but also for Enos. So not only can they include women, but Joel saying "your sons and your daughters shall prophesy" tells us that clearly many (maybe exactly half) will be. I would not rule out Transgender and Intersex individuals either.

So like the first outpouring this finale one will be initially upon The House of Israel. 12,000 of each of the 12 Tribes.

Because it follows the Fifth Seal, which shows the Martyrs of all persecutions of The Church, who we see again in chapter 7, but in the context of the finale great persecution. I believe this happens after we've already entered the major World Wide persecution of Jesus warned us of in Matthew 24:9-14. So the usage of the term "Great Tribulation" tells us nothing about timing, as I have another study on.

There will be a falling away as Paul warns in 2 Thessalonians 2 when this happens, because in The West we'll be unprepared for Persecution. Some of those who recant and leave may be people who weren't really saved but just nominal Christians, in the Church only because they were raised in it, or some other convenient reason. But I don't believe it's impossible for truly Saved people to fall away. They could lose their inheritance because of this but not their Salvation. I recommend Chuck Missler's explanation of Hebrews 6.

But regardless of those problems, The Church has also historically grown under persecution. So while at first we react badly, in time I believe we will grow from it. So I think possibly most or even all of these 144,000 will be individuals Saved after this persecution started. So the witness of those Martyrs faithful unto death won't be in vain.

I do not believe the Multitude is already Raptured/Resurrected in Chapter 7. That their now wearing White Ropes isn't enough. I'd expect certain more specific poetic imagery if that was the case. The kind of terminology that is used in the 144,000 when they reappear in Chapter 14, of being the First Fruits and Redeemed out of The Earth. Perry Stone says the Bema Seat Judgement must have already happened here. How come no one has crowns then Perry? Their all martyrs so they should all have at least a Crown of Life. The Bema Judgment happens after the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet.

The account of The Sixth Seal is the only time the word "Wrath" occurs before the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet. And the problem is you can't build Doctrine on dialogue uttered by fallible human beings who aren't anointed Prophets of God.

That hermeneutic is of course lost on many people, there are teachers out there building doctrine on the things Jobs' idiot friends said, or justifying referring to Joseph as Jesus's father because Mary did in Luke 2 when Jesus was 12. The Bible is an infallible Book, but it still records humans saying very wrong things.

The Sixth Seal is one of the more recognizable parts of Revelation. My first memory as a small child of hearing anything from Revelation quoted is when watching the movie Ghost Busters, where Ray (Dan Aykroyd) recites it (getting the chapter it's in wrong). The world I believe will recognize the Sixth Seal when it happens. but they may not exactly get what it means right, and many Bible Prophecy teachers who are Pre-Trib or Pre-Wrath, or even Post-Trib are only helping to get people confused on what it means.

Joel 2:31 says this is BEFORE the Day of The LORD, not during it, or on it, or right when it starts, Before.

It's after the Seventh Trumpet is sounded we first see voice sin heaven declaring that God's Wrath is at hand. And then again in Chapter 14.

Only the Seven Bowls are defined as being God's Wrath. Trumpets are Biblically, among other things, warnings. The sounding of Trumpets was the warning before the fall of Jericho. The judgments from the Trumpets are merely lesser warning shots. The Seven Bowls dwarf them.

Joel 2:1-16 I believe describe the last two Trumpets, and very much back up my viewing the Seventh as The Rapture, and hence my Mid-Tribulation view. We will NOT go through God's Wrath.

I believe Revelation shows us how to fit all other Prophecy together, so that Joel might seem to contradict Revelation's order isn't an issue. Joel was given a vitally important glimpse but not the whole picture. Joel 2:23 talks of the former rain and the latter rain. These I believe are the two great outpouring of The Holy Spirit at the beginning and culmination of The Church Age. I think it is also this that prompts Joels' vision to look back before what was just described. But then Joel 3 returns to the Day of Wrath.

To add additional support to the idea that the Cosmic and Terrestrial disturbances when Jesus was on the Cross were a type of those that occur at the Sixth Seal, I'd point to Joshua 10.

In verses 12 and 13 the Sun and Moon aren't darkened or turned to a different color.  But usual behavior with them occurs.  But the Key is verse 17-18.  "But these five kings fled, and hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah.And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them: "  Sounds like a parallel to "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; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us".

But latter, those Five Kings are hung on trees in verse 26.  Not Strangled with a rope like you might assume, Biblical execution requires Bloodshed as shown by Genesis 9.  No the logical conclusion is they were Crucified.  And verse 27 "And it came to pass at the time of the going down of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees, and cast them into the cave wherein they had been hid, and laid great stones in the cave's mouth, which remain until this very day."

In Esther, Haman was hanged (also really Crucifixion, the Persians are the ones usually credited with inventing it) on the 17th of Nisan, and his sons on the 14th of Adar.  Jesus was made Sin for us. Even though he was completely without Sin, God poured out his Wrath upon him as if he where just as Evil as Haman or Hitler.

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