THE SEALS AND TRUMPETS OF REVELATION RUN CONCURRENTLY

Revelation 8:2 begins the Visions of the Seven Trumpets.
In Jewish temple sacrifices, the trumpets were blown upon completion of the temple sacrifices.  Jesus was the sacrifice! So, the Trumpets began to blow after the sacrifice was completed. The Visions of the Trumpets begin at the Cross/Resurrection Event. It does not emerge from the silence of Chapter 8, verse 1 to bring on another subsequent phase of Judgment. (Note: The original manuscript did not have chapter and verse notations.)

As the first four seals typify life on Earth during the 2000 year End Time, so the first four Trumpets typify partial judgments that God brings against the Earth during this same period of time. These partial judgments take the form of natural catastrophes that will escalate in frequency and intensity until the very end, i.e. ‘birth pains’.

The primary difference between the seals and the trumpets is the focus. Although God sends rain on the just and the unjust, the seals focus primarily on the followers of the Lamb. It is the Lamb of God who was found worthy to break the seals. Although all suffer, Christ admonishes believers not to be deceived as these things will come to pass but the end is not yet. (Matt.24:6)

The first four of each of the Seals and Trumpets have to do with the entire End-Time and natural or human events that typify the end time.

Both Seal #5 and Trumpet #5 have to do with spiritual consequences for each of these groups. Seal #5 is a view in Heaven with martyrs from the entire ‘last days’. There is no view of Christians on Earth in Seal #5, so we may assume that the Age of Grace has ended; The Bride of Christ has been removed prior to Seal #6 and is not seen again on Earth prior to Christ’s physical return, at which time the Bride will accompany Him.

Trumpet #5 deals with partial judgment against those who do not follow the Lamb of God during the same time. These judgments may be natural consequences of ungodly lifestyles, but it is a time of misery, agony and demonic oppression for those who do not have the seal of God in their foreheads. I think we would have to admit that just as Christian martyrdom has typified the whole ‘end time’ so partial judgment against ungodliness also must typify the entire end time.

Seal 6 and Trumpet 6 both depict Great Tribulation, and parallel the Bowls of Wrath giving us a different perspective of the same time period.

Seal, Trumpet and Bowl #7 all depict the end of the age when God’s Victory is realized.
The difference is that the Bowls indicate complete and full judgments (God’s wrath) poured out upon the Earth, so ALL of the first six Bowls of Wrath are emptied during the ‘Great Tribulation’ or Daniel’s 70th week.

AuThor

I FOUND THE USA IN REVELATION (PROPHECY)

REVELATION 12:

In this vision, the woman is Israel. (Rev.12:1, 2) who gives birth to Christ. (Rev.12:5)  The Dragon (Satan, who carries a third of the angels of Heaven with him when he is cast out of Heaven. Rev.12:7-9) is ready to devour Christ. (Herod’s decree to slaughter all children under two years of age in Bethlehem; plus Crucifixion event)  The child was snatched up to God (resurrected) and the woman fled into the desert. (Israel into dispersion)

Timeline:  Satan was cast out of Heaven with his angels before or shortly after creation.

My opinion:  The woman (Israel) was protected by a great Eagle, (USA) out of the reach of the serpent.  The serpent spewed water like a river to overtake the woman. (Holocaust) but the earth helped the woman (WWII). This enraged the Dragon and he proceeded to make war against the offspring of the woman(Christians) …who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”

AuThor

REVELATION IS NOT CHRONOLOGICAL

 

Much of the confusion in understanding Revelation comes because people try their darndest to make it chronological.  It is NOT!  One way to demonstrate this is to ask ourselves when do certain events occur?  If a single event occurs in various chapters then we must overlap the chronology, not make it sequential.

One example:  When does God wipe away all tears?

Isaiah 25:8 prophecies that God will wipe away all tears when His victory is realized.

He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

No one suggests that this happens more than once.  Everyone agrees that God wipes away all tears after the 1000 years; after the Judgment of the Great White Throne!  And yet we find it occurring in Revelation 7:17 before the breaking of the 7th Seal!  It says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”  It says it again in Rev.21:4.  Must be the same event!

Seal #6 introduces “Great Tribulation”; and Chapter 7 displays those (the elect) who have suffered through Great Tribulation.   Rev.7:14 says, “These are they who have come out of Great Tribulation” (Jew and Gentile) Note: The martyred ‘saints’ were already under the altar in Seal #5 prior to the outbreak of Great Tribulation!

The breaking of the Seventh Seal, Chapter 8:1 is the very next verse and brings silence in Heaven for a half hour.  “When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.”

I am convinced that Dr. Doug Ezell, “Revelations on Revelation, New Sounds From Old Symbols” is correct in suggesting that the seventh seal represents the End.  It is the end of that vision and represents the end of recorded history, thus the beginning of our eternal dwelling.  Dr. Ezell says:

“In the Apocrypha there are two references to silence.  2 Esdras 6:39 reads as follows: ‘And then the Spirit was hovering, and darkness and silence embraced everything; the sound of man’s voice was not yet there.’  This statement was made in the midst of a discussion on creation.  Again, 2 Esdras 7:29-31 speaks of silence at the time of the revealing of the Messiah, new creation, and judgment:  ‘And after these years my son the Messiah shall die, and all who draw human breath.  And the world shall be turned back to primeval silence for seven days as it was at the first beginnings; so that no one shall be left.  And after seven days the world, which is not yet awake, shall be roused, and that which is corruptible shall perish.’ 

“I am not… claiming that the Apocrypha is sacred script.  I am trying to show that a first century interpretation of the end posited a belief that there was to be a silence before the new creation to correspond with the silence before the first creation.” -Dr. Doug Ezell

Revelation contains a series of seven eschatalogical visions.  Each must stand alone.  They do not run consecutively.  The Seven Seals begin with the Cross/Resurrection Event and concludes after this order ceases.

AuThor

Parallels between Matt 24:4-9 and Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Questions from His Disciples, 24:1-3;

The parallels between Jesus’ Olivet Discourse and The Seven Seals of Revelations are striking.  Shouldn’t be, I guess, since Jesus is the author of both, but it does lead to a unique way of interpreting the Seals and Trumpets that I believe makes Revelation understandable.

As Jesus exited the Temple, his disciples called his attention to the marvelous structure, and its beautiful stones. (Luke 21:5)

Jesus responded that the time would come when not one stone would be left upon another.

As they sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him and asked:

  1. When will this happen?  (that one stone will not be upon another)
  2. What will be the sign of your coming?  (emphasis mine)
  3. What will be the sign of the end of the age?

He doesn’t proceed immediately to answer the questions, but begins with an overview of time from then until the end of the age.  Notice he says, “it will be like this… a lot has to happen… but the end is not yet. (vs. 4-6)  He’s generalizing the whole period of time.  Also notice, it’s not ‘the end of the world’, it is correctly translated ‘the end of the age’.  This, according to scripture, is a ‘world without end’.  There will in fact be a new Heaven and a new Earth one day, by and by, but that will follow a ‘thousand year’ reign of Christ upon this terra firma.

Note:  This description parallels the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, in Revelation Chapter 6.

Vs.4,5:  Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.  For many will come in my name claiming, ‘I am the Christ’, and will deceive many.”   White Horse…

Vs.6,7a:  You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed.  Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.   Red Horse…

Vs.7b:  There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.   Black Horse…

Vs.9:  Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death and you will be hated by all nations because of me.   Pale Horse…

(That’s 4 of the 7 seals of Revelation 6:1 – 8:1)

From the parallels between these words of Christ and the breaking of the seals in Revelation 6, some have concluded that since Jesus is here, obviously describing the whole period of time until the end of the age, then He is doing the same thing in Revelation.  The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is not a series of events yet to come during a 7 year period of time called the Great Tribulation, but is in fact a synopsis of what life will be like on Earth for the followers of Christ during time until the end of the age.      I say for ‘the followers of Christ’ for here in Matt 24 and 25 He is speaking to His Disciples and telling them (and us) what signs to expect.

Let’s define some terms.  What can we call the period of time between Jesus’ first coming and His second coming?  In your studies you may encounter several terms:

  • Age of Grace – this is the time from Jesus’ Crucifixion / Resurrection until His Second Coming.  This is ‘Grace’ or ‘Salvation’ extended to the nations, i.e. Gentiles.
  • The Parenthesis – this is the time between the 69th and 70th week of Jewish history as recorded in Daniel 9.  Begins with crucifixion of Messiah and ends with Rapture of the Church.
  • Age of the Gentiles – this begins with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (this occurred in AD 70) and ends with the Jewish people retaking Jerusalem. (this occurred in 1967)  In Luke 21:20 ff, we see Jerusalem surrounded by armies.  Many assume this to be future and will take place during the final seven years; however, as verse 24 indicates, this has already happened.  It says   the inhabitants of Jerusalem (the Jews) “will be taken as prisoners to all the nations.” No one teaches that the dispersion of the Jewish people is yet to happen.  That began in AD 70 when the Roman General Titus besieged Jerusalem.  It was also then that the temple was destroyed with literally not one stone remaining  upon another.  That is Luke 21:24a.  Part b says that “Jerusalem will be trampled by the gentiles until the time of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”  Israel retook Jerusalem in the 6 day war in 1967 fulfilling that prophecy.
  • Church Age – almost synonymous with Age of Grace, this begins with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and concludes with the ‘catching up’ of the Bride of Christ, commonly called ‘the rapture’.
  • Last Days – We hear a lot about ‘the last days’ and people tend to get alarmed when a teacher says we are living in the last days; however, scripturally “the last days’ is the entire period of time from the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost until the Bride of Christ is raptured and the Holy Spirit’s indwelling of every believer ends.  Acts 2:14-17; (16,17a) “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people…”   also see Joel 2:28-32.  Peter said, ‘This is it!’  Happening before your eyes!

In my opinion, the Holy Spirit’s withdrawal from indwelling all believers, (something we take for granted) is depicted in 2 Thess. 2:7;  “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till HE is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed,”

Two things:

Some have objected to the above statement saying that Jesus promised ‘never to leave us nor forsake us’. That is Hebrews 13:5 where God promises never to leave us nor forsake us.  Jesus actually says, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20b)  This is the ‘end of the age’ that we are talking about!  So, i.m.o., there will come a time when the indwelling Holy Spirit will cease indwelling all believers as He now does and will revert to an Old Testament type relationship.

Also, my opinion, this bespeaks the rapture; for when the Holy Spirit leaves the scene, i.e. indwelling each and every believer, then the believers who have prepared for and are ready for this event will exit with Him.  Luke 21:36 says, “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”  As I have written in other places, ‘to stand before the Son of Man’ has two possible meanings.  One has to do with judgment and the other has to do with a wedding.  I personally do not think this refers to the Judgment Seat of Christ which comes after His return to Earth to rule and reign; rather I believe this reference is the second meaning and is a picture of the Bride of Christ presenting herself to the Groom.  It’s a picture of the Bride of Christ being escorted from this abode to stand before the Bridegroom and she is in fact presented to the Groom for marriage.

If you’ve followed in Matthew 24, you realized that I left out verse 8.  “All these are the beginning of birth pains.”  This continues the progression suggesting that Jesus is giving us an overview of the entire age.  Earlier He says, paraphrasing, “it will be like this… a lot has to happen… but the end is not yet. (vs. 4-6)  Then in verse 8 He compares the whole period of time to birth pains.  What’s the significance?   He is saying these are signs that typify the age to come, but as we get closer to the end, the signs grow in intensity and frequency right up until the big event.  As a mothers’ birth pains grow in frequency and intensity until delivery so Jesus is teaching that all these signs typify the age in which we live and YET, they grow in intensity and frequency until DELIVERY!

Question 3: What will be the sign of the end of the age?  – Matt. 24:10-14

 “At that time many will turn away from and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

WITNESSES

Dr Charles Stanley laid out beautifully that we are all witnesses. He said, “I’ve never had anyone refuse to listen when I said, Let me tell you what God did for me.”
A witness relates what he has experienced first-hand.
We are all witnesses, but many are afraid to tell what Christ has done for them because someone has falsely insisted that this means we are all to evangelize and be soul winners.
At the conclusion of Dr Stanley’s beautiful presentation, his announcer said, “there you have it; theWord calls for all Christians to boldly proclaim the gospel of salvation!
He negated the simplicity and truth Dr Stanley had just presented.
ALL are not called to proclaim; All are not called to evangelize; All are called to be witnesses, to share what God in Jesus Christ has done for them personally. And yes, God the Holy Spirit empowers that testimony.
AuThor

NO ONE IS SAVED BY WORKS OF LAW

Galatians 2:16 tells us: “for by works of law shall no flesh be justified.” People do get confused about Heaven and Hell. We live in an era where most people are closet Universalists, in that down deep they believe ALL will eventually make it to Heaven. In all my years of ministry, I’ve only once stood by a casket wherein lay someone the family didn’t think was going to Heaven. Most are convinced that we’ll all see each other on the other side. After all, We’re good people, Right?
Some believe that God has a pair of scales and if your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, then you go to Heaven; if not, you go to Hell, or Purgatory, or get another shot at it in another life. We just can’t accept that our goodness accounts for nothing as far as where we will spend eternity. Scripture is quite clear on this subject. God wants to populate Heaven with people of faith who have trusted His provision, Jesus, for that which we are incapable of attaining on our own. As declared throughout the New Testament, Eternal Life is the GIFT of God! You can’t earn it! Eph. 2:8, 9.
AuThor

Does God Hear Prayers of Unbelievers?

Does God Hear the Prayers of Unbelievers?
Quite frequently people cry out, “Oh, God!” in times of peril. Sometimes they use the term so flippantly that it means nothing, however, in times of distress, it could be called a prayer. Does God hear these prayers? Recalling God’s attributes, I would have to say that He is certainly aware of the prayers of unbelievers, but the only prayer that He has obligated Himself to hear is the prayer of repentance or the prayer of faith, in which case that person ceases to be an unbeliever…
The promises of scripture that God gives His Children are not given to unbelievers. He doesn’t promise ‘to hear them’, ‘to be with them’, ‘to protect them’, ‘to meet their needs’, or ‘to fulfill their desires’. In His mercy and grace, He certainly may, but is not so obligated.
I have five kids. Three are natural; two are adopted. With each child, we have entertained friends in our home. Some even called me Dad. I remember once my oldest daughter (adopted) asking for money to go to the movies. Her best friend followed, “Dad, can I have $10.00 to go to the movies, too?” I said, “I don’t know you!” Of course, I knew her and probably even gave her the money, but I was under NO obligation to do so. She wasn’t my responsibility. Although there is NO difference in my obligation to my natural or adopted kids, (they are all heirs and joint heirs sharing equally my inheritance) the friends will not share that inheritance.
In the case of unbelievers, they have by choice opted to: 1. Have their needs met; 2. their desires fulfilled; and 3. their identities defined apart from God.
AuThor

Halloween and Christmas, Christians swimming upstream…

Frankly, I don’t understand the affinity that adults have with ‘Trick or Treat’.
I saw on the news this morning, little bitty kids, who can hardly walk dressed in costumes to go trick or treating.
I have 5 kids (3 natural; 2 adopted) all pretty much grown and gone. With our two oldest daughters, we started them ‘giving out’ goodies at Halloween but not going themselves. After all, they got to share in the bounty they were distributing. This lasted until they were about 6 and 7 respectively, at which time one of their uncles asked if he could carry them ‘trick or treating’ with their cousins.
Not wanting to be hard-nosed, we relented. The rest is history; they were hooked. My desire was not to change the world, just NOT to celebrate the dark side.

I was more adamant about Santa Claus. We have never had Santa at our house!   Have I ever taken heat for that!  We have endured the scorn of parents and church members alike. Now, don’t get me wrong! We gave gifts and the kids got surprise gifts on Christmas morning but we never affirmed Santa.  After being told by members of our church that we should be ashamed, I asked my adult children if they had felt left out of Christmas by not having Santa.  Not one of them expressed regrets.

Several examples about how entrenched society is into Santa Claus:

My kids, each in turn would come home from school telling us that ‘we were wrong, there IS a Santa Claus’ because their friends told them so. We never told them that their friends were wrong. We had told them the truth and we knew they would remember that.

One day when Andrew was about seven, a man at church asked him, “What’s Santa bringing you sonny?” He looked up at me as if to say, “How do I respond to that dad?” I looked at him and said, “It’s OK to pretend with adults.” So, he began to tell the guy what he wanted for Christmas.

The most harsh challenge came from a church I pastored. I almost lost my job the first year because I replaced Santa.
I was asked if I would arrange for the distribution of gifts to the children at the church Christmas party. I agreed and arranged for ‘three wise men’ to give gifts. I thought things went well; the children enjoyed it, but the parents said I had broken a tradition of the church. I told them they should have handled it themselves; I knew nothing of their traditions.

So, what’s wrong with Santa?  The emphasis robs Christmas of it’s real meaning!  After all, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is  from above, and comes down from the Father…”  James 1:17

My Sheep Hear My Voice

One of my favorite passages is John Chapter 10 that we call “Jesus the True Shepherd” These are red letter words!  Jesus says, “…and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name…; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” (vs.3,4) And then in verse 27 Jesus personalizes this even more: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
I once encountered a pastor who said he had never heard God speak to him and he doubted people who claimed to have heard God speak. This response was to a statement I had made, saying that if I were to confess a fear, it would be that I would fear growing so distant to God that I could not hear him speak.
I remember another elderly minister who once questioned me about my “call into Christian ministry”. He said “tell me about your “call”; what did God say?”
I replied, “God said, ‘Author…” He interrupted me. “You need go no further, because scripture says, “His sheep hear His voice, and He calls them by name.”
I’m so glad we serve a Lord and God who created all that is, and yet He calls us by name! I don’t confess fears because, “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Tim 1:7

Did God change His ‘Plan of Salvation’ from the Old Testament to the New Testament?

Did God change His ‘Plan of Salvation’ from the Old Testament to the New Testament?

Absolutely NOT!    Scripture is quite clear, that God is unchanging.  Not exactly good news for the crowd wanting to convince us that we need to culturally compromise morality in order to attract more people to our churches.  Scripture tells us that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  (Heb.13:8)

Galatians 3:6 tells us ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness.’  Hmmm.  You understand ‘credit’; you get it now and pay later.  Abraham’s salvation was paid for on the cross, same as ours.   Our righteousness is given because we believe in Jesus and trust God.    Paul wrote Galatians because the heresy was prevalent that you come to Christ by faith but had to maintain or keep your salvation by obedience to the law.  Some people still cling to that heresy.  Paul maintains in Gal.3:13 that ‘keeping the law’ is a curse too heavy for any of us to bear.  We are told that “by works of law, shall no flesh be justified.”  We are also told that, “the just shall live by faith.” (Rom 1:17)  So, we enter by faith and we continue the life by faith.  It’s by faith from beginning to end.

Q:  So, WHY THE LAW?

A:  The law was given to demonstrate the need for a Savior.  The law shows me how inadequate my best is.   If God’s performance standard is perfection; None need apply.  It’s not a Santa Claus mentality where God is making a list and checking it twice to find out who’s naughty or nice.  Paul in Romans demonstrates that God’s standard is perfection.  If you want to make it by keeping the law; then One strike and you’re OUT!  On that basis, we fail before we start.  So, if I can’t keep the law, I need Grace.  And that’s what God provides in Christ Jesus, the gift of Life, because HE is Righteous!  I only ASK, BELIEVE, and CONFESS.  As simple as A B C!  Romans 10:9; “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”