Part 5. Seals, Trumpets and Vials

As it was mentioned earlier, the 7 seals, 7 trumpets and 7 vials all fit within the timeframe of the Great Tribulation. I will further support this by establishing the relationship between these three and the Great Tribulation’s beginning and end.

The Beginning – The First Seal

The 6th Chapter begins with the opening of first seal and the vision of a “White Horseman”:

1And 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.

2And 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.

Let us identify this character using the general context of the verse and description of this horseman.

Verse 2, tells us that “a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

Many today hold a view that this horseman represents Jesus Christ, pointing out the following similarities between the two:

  • Rides on a white horse

11And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”

Rev19:11

  • Has a crown

And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.”

Rev. 14:14

  • Is a conqueror

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.

Rev. 5:5

However, besides these similarities, this “white” horseman does not fit the description of our Lord for several reasons:

1. Verse 5 tells us that the horseman went forth to conquer—to become a victor. But our Lord is already a victor. The Scriptures clearly tell us that our Lord has already “overcome” the world (John 16:33), death (Rom.6:9, 2 Tim.1:10), and Satan (John 12:31). In fact, Christ’s victory over these things happened about 2,000 years ago and makes it possible for us to use this victory in our daily lives today. Through His victory we also can overcome the world, sin and be His “workmanship” (Eph. 2:10) and His people.

2. Some may say that verse 5 describes Christ’s return when He and His heavenly armies destroy the armies gathered against Jerusalem (Rev.19:21). However, the Battle of Armageddon does not happen until the end of the Great Tribulation, when the Beast is destroyed by being cast alive into a lake of fire (Rev. 19:20). Whereas, we see this horseman appear when the first of seven seals is opened. As I will show later, all these seals encompass the whole span of the Great Tribulation, which lasts for 3.5 years. The events of first seal will happen years before the Battle of Armageddon.

3. The other notable difference between this horseman and our Lord is in the weapons they carry. We see from the Scriptures that Christ has a sword (out of his mouth) (Rev.19:15; Rev. 1:16, Rev. 2:12, 16), not a bow.

4. One of the most significant reasons for believing that this horseman does not represent Christ lies within the contexts of the events of the first four seals. It would be logical to think that all four horsemen represent either positive or negative characters, not a combination of both. We can’t, for example, attribute the first horseman to a positive character and the other three to negative characters. If we look at the other three horsemen, we see that they bring killings (verse 4), hunger (verse 5-6) and death (verse 7) to the earth, and this certainly doesn’t fit the profile of someone who is on God’s side. This can be seen in verse 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.

In Corinthians 15:26 it is written that death is our enemy:

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death”

Also, in 4th verse it is written that the second horseman will remove peace from the earth:

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.

Removing peace from the earth so that people will kill one another is always performed by Satan and his demons, not someone who is on God’s side. Indeed, Satan can only do this when God allows him to do it, as in the case of Job.

Therefore it is logical to conclude that this “white” horseman, who went out to conquer, is not Christ, but the Antichrist or the Beast. We know that the Beast will be given great authority and power and that he will rise to rule over the whole earth.

Thus, the first seal marks the initial appearance of the Beast and the start of his 42 months rule, known as the Great Tribulation.


The End – The Seventh Trumpet, The Seventh Vial and the Seventh Seal

Next we are going to examine the seals, trumpets, and vials to determine how they fit within the 3.5 year Tribulation period. At first glance, it may look like that the events of the seven seals, vials and trumpets all occur in chronological order: seals first, trumpets next, and then the vials. But at a closer look one can see that the events occurring during the seven seals, trumpets, and vials are somewhat independent of each other’s timeframes.

It can be shown that the seventh seal, the seventh trumpet and the seventh vial will occur almost at the same time, just before Christ’s second return and the Rapture. By comparing the events of the sixth seal and of the seventh vial side by side, it can be noticed that these events are nearly identical to each other.

Moreover, as I have showed above, the Lord’s return will occur after the last (seventh) trumpet is sounded, which marks the end of the Great Tribulation, the Wrath of the Lamb, and the start of the Millennium. It would be illogical to conclude that God’s judgments will carry on after Christ’s coming…such as the vials being poured out after the seventh trumpet is sounded. We don’t see this in the book of Revelation. The Scriptures make it very clear that the last trumpet starts the new Millennium—when Christ will rule over all kingdoms of the earth:

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”

But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.”

This supports the idea that events described in the seventh seal, trumpet and vial end almost at the same time—with Christ’s second coming. As I have showed above, the seventh trumpet signifies Christ’s Second Coming, the Rapture, the start of the New Millennium and thus the end of Wrath of the Lamb. So too does the last vial and seventh seal. The Scriptures tell us that the pouring out of the seven vials ends the Wrath of God (Rev. 15:1). And if we look at the events occurring after the sixth seal is opened and compare these to other places verses in the Scriptures, one can see that these events take place just before Christ’s Second Coming. Revelation 6:12-14 (the sixth seal) gives us a description of a certain cosmic cataclysm which will happen after the sixth seal gets opened. This “cosmic” event is a very distinct one and is mentioned also many times in the Old and New Testaments as an event which precedes the coming of the Lord.

12…the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

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.

14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together:”

Revelation 6:12-14.

The same event described in other verses in the Bible with implication that the Second Coming of our Lord occurs right after these events:

But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,

And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.

And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory

Mark 13:25-27

 

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.”

Joel 2:31

This same event is also mentioned in Matt. 24:29, Luke 21:25-27, and Isaiah 24:23.

All these verses imply that this cosmic cataclysm will occur right before the coming of our Lord.

In addition to the above, it can be shown, using a side-by-side comparison, that the earthquake described in the 6th chapter (sixth seal) is identical to the one described in the 16th chapter (seventh vial).

Both chapters talk about a certain earthquake, a very unusual and extremely powerful earthquake, “the great earthquake” (verse 12). Chapter 6 gives us some characteristics about this quake (verse 14): “every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” This shows the terrific magnitude if this earthquake. It will not be just an ordinary earthquake, but an exceedingly strong earthquake never experienced by humans before.

Now let us look at Revelation 16:17-21 where the Bible tells us what will happen after the seventh (the last) vial is poured out:

And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.

And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.”

The above mentioned verses from Rev. 16:17-21 and Rev. 6:12 are describing the same event, “the great earthquake,” which, unlike any other earthquakes, will occur globally (not locally). There we see the destruction of every “city of the nations” (Rev. 16:20), and movements of mountains and islands mentioned both in chapter 6 and 16 (Rev. 16:21 and Rev. 6:14).

From this we also see that the events of the sixth seal and the seventh vial have one common occurrence, “the great earthquake.” This means that the two are, at least partially, overlapping.

Below is a timeframe diagram showing the last seals, trumpet and vial:

 

 

Seals and the Wrath of God

Having identified the start and end points for the Great Tribulation, in terms of seals, trumpets and vials, we can now look at how the rest of these fit within the 3.5 year period.

It can be noted that all these seals, trumpets, and vials are acting like time markers which could either initiate events or represent periods of time under which certain events take place. An import key to understand the sequencing of the trumpets, seals and vial within the 3.5 year timeframe lies in Revelation 6:

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:

10And 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?

11And 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 fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

Rev. 6:9-11

Here we see the souls of Christians killed for their testimonies. According to the context of this chapter, we see that all this happens during the Great Tribulation at the time when the 5th seal is opened. These souls are crying to have their deaths avenged:

10And 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?

The next verse explains that they are to wait for a short time until the other Christians are also killed like they were. Only after the other Christians are killed, by implication, will God judge “them that dwell on the earth” for the shed blood of the martyred Christians. This places the start of God’s judgments after the fifth seal is opened. From Revelation 15, we know that the vials signify the end of God’s Wrath. That it, the Wrath of God ends with these punishments:

1And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

Rev. 15:1

Other translations say “with them the wrath of God is ended” (NRSV).

The events that happen during the sounding of the trumpets are similar in nature to those happing with the pouring out of the vials. These are primarily cataclysmic disasters of extreme severity. The main difference between these two groups is the severity of the events. The vial plagues are more severe and effect the whole world (not just a third part of it). It can be concluded that the events of trumpets also constitute the Wrath of God much like the vials do which start some time later. This means the Wrath of God starts with the trumpets, that is, with the first trumpet when hail and fire are cast upon the earth (Rev. 8:7). This places the first trumpet after the 5th seal.

The 6th seal describes a variety of cataclysmic events, many of which are described under the vials and trumpets, such as the global earthquake leveling all mountains and cities, and the darkening of the sun and moon. In other words, the 6th seal describes the whole Wrath of God period that leads up to Christ’s second coming. During the last seal, nothing really happens other than a short period of silence much like the calm before an important event. In this case, it is the coming of the Lord.

The events described in first four seals are not God’s judgments, since the Wrath of the Lamb does not start until after the 5th seal is opened. These events in the first four seals will be initiated by demonic powers, something God allows for His own purposes. We believe that all these events will be used to pave the way for a new global leader to take total world domination. In other words, the first five seals describe the initial part of the Tribulation period which is before the start of God’s Judgments. This period starts with the establishment of the Beast’s global power and finishes with his total global control.

 

Refer to Diagram 2 – Diagram 2. Tribulation Timeline for the timeline of Tribulation events.

2 comments


  1. so okay we agree quite a bit but the Lord showed me that His wrath does not look like angels pouring it out which angels are pouring out the plagues and or judgments of god. The Lord showed me pretty clearly the wrath being filled up with the vial judgments and or plagues is just that. His wrath comes to it’s boiling point when the people do not repent of their evil with the vials being poured out.

    2 Peter 3:10 tells us pretty clearly that fire is the wrath of God, as does Zechariah chapter 14 shows us men being consumed where they stand. The Lord when i asked Him how is it that the vials are your wrath? He answered by showing me that verse filled up in chapter 15, then in chapter 14 showed me again Jesus is the one doing the wrath of God not the angels.

    But your so close to speaking what the Lord has shown me and you seem to understand perfectly that the 7th trumpet 7th vial and 6th seal are the same things hurray!!

    Also i see from about us that you are here in the NW? I am in Washington state living in Marysville do any of you speak English? And is your services conducted in Russian? How far are you from me?

  2. admin

    Hello Tammy,
    I’m glad to hear that we have similar views on the sequencing of trumpets, vials and seals. I’m a bit surprised to hear of someone who has similar views to ours.

    Yes, I speak English, as nearly all of us do in our church. However, all our services and Bible studies are conducted in Russian.

    Part of our ministry is conducting seminars on the book of Revelation to Russian and Ukrainian speaking churches in US, Canada and abroad.

    Our pastor carried out over 180 seminars in various evangelical churches to date. (I just returned from Ukraine 3 days ago, where we presented these seminars to various churches)

    In this seminars we concentrate primarily on these four major topics:
    1. Signs of Christ Second Coming (Things which would indicate that the time is near)

    2. Post tribulation rapture (Biblical foundations for post-tribulation rapture. History of pre-tribulation and post-tribulation views. Evaluation of pre-tribulation rapture theory in the light of the Scriptures…. etc)

    3. The Antichrist / The Beast (His origins and country of birth, etc.)

    4. Church during the Great Tribulation

    ****

    I live in Canada 30 min from the US border. But I frequently visit Bellingham area, because some of us live in the US in that area.

    So, it appears, that you also hold post-tribulation rapture view, or am I mistaken?

    I wrote the commentary on the Book of Revaluation based on our views. However, I haven’t fully finished it.
    Let me know if you have any questions. We can have a discussion.

    Regards,

    Steve D.

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