And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. (Revelation 14:15)
At this point in the Revelation account, we have come to the last half of the Tribulation. We have seen that in the midst of the terrible judgments coming upon the earth, God in His mercy continues to reach out to a lost and rebellious world by way of the 144,000 witnesses, the two Old Testament prophets brought back to earth to testify by way of wonders and miracles so that no one on earth will have an excuse for rejecting God. At the midpoint of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will desecrate the Temple in Jerusalem by claiming to be God and demanding that he be worshiped as God. At this time, the Antichrist is fully possessed by Satan, and God allows him to kill the two prophets, and the 144,000 who, up until this point have been protected by God. In the previous verses, we see the 144,000 in the heavenly Mount Zion with Jesus. However, God continues to show His mercy by sending His angels to proclaim the Gospel all around the earth so that all on earth (who have not yet accepted the “mark of the beast”) will have the opportunity to turn to Christ. Of that time Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14, emphasis mine).
Now we arrive at the final one year and nine months that remain in the Tribulation (as I understand the chronology). John gives us a quick summary previewing what is to come; the details will be revealed in the chapters that follow.
“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” (Revelation 14:14). Undoubtedly, “the Son of man” refers to Jesus, and He wears a golden “stephanos” – a victor’s crown, not a “diadēma” a royal crown. Although the final battle between the forces of Satan and Christ is yet future, the victory is sure, and Jesus is the Victor. He carries a sharp sickle in His hand prepared for the harvest. Larkin points out that “This is not the ‘Harvest of the Church.’ … This is the ‘Harvest’ of the Gentile Nations … The ‘Harvest and Vintage’ are JUDICIAL. That is, they are for the purpose of Judgment. The account here is anticipative.” We can look forward to the details of that judgment when the seven bowls are poured out in Chapter 16.
“And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe” (Revelation 14:15). Again, this looks forward in anticipation of the end when the final battle takes place at the battle of Armageddon.
“And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. (Revelation 14:16). At that time, He returns to the earth on a white horse followed by His saints on white horses. His sickle will be the “sword,” which is His Word, that proceeds out of His mouth. The battle, if one can call it that, will be no battle at all, for the victory will be decisive and instantaneous.
“And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God” (Revelation 14:17-19). There is great excitement in heaven. The end is here and Jesus will soon take His rightful place as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. However, for those with the mark of the beast and those who have rejected God despite all of His efforts and offer of salvation, this is very bad news. On the other hand, for those saints who have managed to survive the seven-year Tribulation, their “blessed hope” is about to be realized.
“And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs” (Revelation 14:20). The “winepress” is “without the city,” i.e., outside of Jerusalem. It is the Jezreel Valley, a.k.a. the Valley of Megiddo, a.k.a. Armageddon. This valley in northern Israel extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the Joran River south of Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee). It covers an area of roughly 380 square kilometers or 146.7 square miles. The blood of Jesus’ enemies will fill this “winepress” as high as a horse’s bridle. It is “the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Revelation 19:15).
In a Messianic passage, the Prophet Isaiah sees the coming Lord like this. “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come” (Isaiah 63:1-4, emphasis mine). John records it this way. “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God” (Revelation 19:13, emphasis mine).
For those who reject Christ, the end will not be nice. That is putting it mildly. Reader, if you do not know the Savior, do not wait any longer. The time is short. Please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”
And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. (Revelation 11:3)
In the previous chapter (Revelation 10), John introduced us to a “mighty angel” carrying a Little Book who instructed John to eat it. There is a debate as to the identity of this “mighty angel.” I am in the camp that believes this “mighty angel” is none other than Jesus Christ, and the chapter that follows supports this claim, I think.
As you may know, John did not write his Apocalypse with chapter breaks, paragraphs, verses, or sentences separated by periods. Scholars added modern formatting schemes centuries later for ease of reading and locating book, chapter, and verse. John’s was one continuous writing. Therefore, Chapter 10 flows right into Chapter 11.
“And he [the “mighty angel”] said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the [mighty] angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein” (Revelation 10:11; 11:1). Angels do not command men to “prophesy” without the qualifier “thus saith the Lord.” That this angel gives such a direct command argues in favor of this being Christ. Immediately, John receives a measuring rod with which he is to measure the Temple. “What temple?” one might ask. Since the destruction of Herod’s Temple in AD 70, no physical temple building (of God) has existed on earth nor in Jerusalem in particular. This is not the “temple” in heaven, as we will see in the verses that follow.
Presently, there is no temple for John to measure, nor did one exist at the time of John’s writing, so this must still be future. However, it is not too far in the future. Devout Jews in Israel, known as the “Temple Mount Faithful,” are labeled as “an extremist Orthodox Jewish movement, based in Jerusalem, whose goal is to rebuild the Third Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and re-institute the practice of ritual sacrifice.” That description takes a very antisemitic point of view; however, the goal is real. As far as I know, everything is ready for the third Temple to be built. “Today, of course, radical Islam holds sway over the Moslem [SIC] world, and until this phenomenon is defeated, the likelihood of a peaceful preparation for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple remains nil.”
John is given instructions to measure this future temple, but he is told not to measure the outer court “for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” Forty-two months is three and one-half years representing the remaining three and one-half years of the seven-year Tribulation and which is known as “Great Tribulation.” Chronologically, this starts at about the time that the first trumpet sounds. This is also when Antichrist defiles the Temple setting himself up to be worshiped as God. Right now, however, we are in a “parenthesis” as John provides some “behind-the-scenes” details.
The “mighty angel” continues, “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth” (Revelation 11:3-4, emphasis mine). Another reason for concluding that the “mighty angel” is Jesus is because He “will give power” to His “two witnesses.” No normal angel would make such a claim. He identifies these two witnesses as “two olive trees” and “two candlesticks.” The prophet Zechariah saw these two olive trees, and he asked the messenger, “So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? … Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” (Zechariah 4:4,14). That they are anointed signifies that they are set apart for a special purpose and they “stand by the Lord of the whole earth” awaiting their assignments. Now comes the time for the “mighty angel” to give them their assignments.
These two will prophecy (i.e., preach) for 1260 days or three and one-half years (based on a 360-day year). Earlier we saw that the three and one-half years referred to the last half of the Tribulation. Remember, we are in a parenthesis at this time and this three-and-one-half-year period refers to the first half of the Tribulation; the time when the six seals are opened. During this time, the 144,000 sealed servants of God are preaching all over the world protected by God. Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, these two witnesses are preaching proving again that “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, emphasis mine).
They are given supernatural power for their mission. “And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will” (Revelation 11:5-6). The identity of these two prophets has been a topic of debate over the years. Some suggest that they are Enoch and Elijah because the Bible records that neither of these men died. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27); therefore, these two are good candidates for the role since neither experienced death; however, we see later that they do indeed die.
Still, there are others that suggest that the two witnesses are Moses and Elijah. They conclude this from the miracles they are said to perform – fire to devour their enemies (Elijah), shut up the rain (Elijah), turn water into blood (Moses), and smite the earth with plagues (Moses). Another point they argue is that these two are the two that met with Jesus at the Transfiguration, and together they represent the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah), which are the Word of God. Of the two views, I think the latter offers greater substance; however, I am not ready to make a dogmatic stance either way. For all we know, from John’s description (who, by the way, was present at the Transfiguration), it could be two totally different characters.
Regardless, they minister for the first 3½ years of the Tribulation. “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” (Revelation 11:7-8, emphasis mine). We are introduced to “the beast” in Chapter 13; however, he has already been on the scene since the opening of the first seal. Prior to this, no one could touch the two witnesses, but this is their appointed time to go, which is the only reason “the beast” has the power to kill them. Their bodies are left to rot in the street of the “great city, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt.” We conclude that the city is Jerusalem because we are told that it is the city where “our Lord was crucified.” Why Sodom and Egypt? Currently, Israel boasts a large homosexual population. Tel Aviv is listed as one of the top gay-friendly cities in the world. Aside from a minority of practicing and orthodox Jews in Israel, the majority of the population is mostly secular of which many are atheists having come out of Communists countries. One might say they are in “spiritual bondage.” So, Sodom and Egypt are apt descriptions for Jerusalem.
“And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” (Revelation 11:9-12, emphasis mine).
The whole world witnesses this amazing event. Many years ago, even within my lifetime, eschatology students wondered how it would be possible for the whole world to witness this event. Today, there is no question. We see events take place in real time from around the world. So, the world will see and hear the preaching of these two prophets. They will witness fire proceed from their mouths when they are attacked. The world will know who is stopping the rain and who is bringing the plagues. And when they are killed, the world will celebrate. For three and a half days they will see their dead bodies in the streets of Jerusalem. Then suddenly, all the world sees life return to their lifeless bodies, and they will rise. Then the microphones that are aimed at the revived figures will pick up the thunderous voice commanding, “Come up here!” The two will slowly lift off of the ground and slowly ascend until they disappear into the clouds. We have been here before! More than three and a half years before millions all over the earth heard the same command and instantly vanished from the face of the earth. John heard the same command and was transported into heaven to record these events. “And their enemies beheld them” (11:12). This time, the Rapture is no secret.
“And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven” (Revelation 11:13). I suspect that “the remnant” are Jews that recognize the significance of what they have witnessed. They heard the message of the two prophets along with the message of their brothers, the 144,000, and they believe, “and gave glory to the God of heaven.” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6) and that applies to both Jews and Gentiles. In the end, Israel will be saved, but it will be a remnant, and it will be through faith in Christ alone, Who is the Only Way.
“The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly” (Revelation 11:14). Close parenthesis.
The time is drawing near. The pieces of the end-times puzzle are falling into place and Christ’s return is closer now than at any time in history. Reader, are you prepared to meet Him? If not, check out my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”
 The first Temple was Solomon’s Temple. The second Temple was Zerubbabel’s Temple built after the return from Babylonian captivity and later expanded by Herod the Great. The third Temple is the Tribulation Temple that will be defiled by Antichrist (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:4).
And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. (Revelation 10:10)
The sixth angel has sounded his trumpet releasing a horde of demons upon the earth. One trumpet remains to sound, but at this point, John shifts our focus to events in heaven.
“And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire” (Revelation 10:1).
John has observed angels performing mighty tasks to this point. In Revelation 5:12 John describes a “strong angel” announcing the worthiness of the One who can open the six-seal book. In Revelation 7:2, John introduces us to an angel with the authority to seal the 144,000 servants of God. In Revelation 8:3-5 we have an angel with a golden censer filled with incense taken from the altar before God’s throne, and he casts it upon the earth in preparation for the sounding of the seven trumpets. Then, from Revelation 8:6-9:21, there follow seven angels sounding seven trumpets of judgments.
Now, John sees “another mighty angel” whose description excels those who preceded him. John does not identify this angel, but the description he gives reminds us of Jesus Christ. Could this angel be Jesus? The late and respected end-times prophecy teacher, Tim LaHaye thinks not.
The Lord Jesus Christ does not appear in the book of Revelation as an angel. In fact, we will look in vain for a presentation of him as an angel after the incarnation. Ever since Jesus took on flesh, died for the sins of men, was crucified, was resurrected, and ascended into heaven, He has always appeared as the Son of God in His essential deity. Although this angel possesses some Godlike characteristics, he is not God. Part of the problem could well be a failure to understand the nature of angels. Although far beneath the character of God, they are created beings of unusually high order.
I am not prepared to take a dogmatic stance on this view, but from my perception of John’s description, this could be none other than Christ. In the first place and with deference to Brother LaHaye, Jesus often appears to Israel in the Old Testament as “the Angel of the Lord,” and we recognize Him because He takes credit for what “the Lord” is going to do. No angel of God would dare do that. Note too that I said He appeared to “Israel.” The prophet Jeremiah calls the Tribulation “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” “Jacob” is another name for “Israel.” The time of Tribulation has a twofold purpose: (1) to bring judgment on a God-rejecting world, and (2) to cause the redemption of Israel and fulfill God’s covenant with Abraham.
Tim LaHaye could be right. However, let us examine carefully John’s description of this “mighty angel.” He comes down from heaven “clothed with a cloud.” After His resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven and was taken up in a cloud. The angels that stood by on that day told His disciples that He would descend to earth in like manner. When Jesus returns for His Church at the Rapture, Paul says that we will be “caught up” (raptured) together with the resurrected saints “in the clouds” to meet the Lord in the air. So this image of the angel “clothed with a cloud” certainly fits Christ.
There is a rainbow upon his head which reminds us of the rainbow surrounding the throne of God. His face shone like the sun harkening back to John’s first encounter with the risen Christ. Also, “his feet as pillars of fire” reminiscent of John’s first encounter where he records, “And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace…” (Revelation 1:15). The angel carries a “little book” or scroll not unlike the seven-seal scroll whose seals the Lamb opened.
Furthermore, this “mighty angel” places “his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth” (10:2) showing his authority over the earth. This, after all, reveals the content of the seven-seal scroll. It is the title deed to the earth and this “mighty angel” claims possession by placing His feet on His property.
I certainly could be wrong. I am far from infallible; however, I am not alone in this view. Clarence Larkin, from whom Tim LaHaye patterns much of his thinking on Revelation, takes the position that this “mighty angel” is Christ.
Who this “MIGHTY ANGEL” is we do not know unless he be Christ Himself. In the Old Testament the Son of God was called the “ANGEL OF THE LORD” (Ex. 3:2-18), and as we are now in that part of the Book of Revelation that deals mainly with Israel it is nothing less than what we should expect to hear, Christ spoken of as a “MIGHTY ANGEL.” Then the description of this “MIGHTY ANGEL” seems to point to the same Person that John saw standing amid the “Lampstands” in chapter 1:12-16, or Christ Himself. The “ANGEL” was clothed in a CLOUD, there was a RAINBOW upon His head, His face was as it were the SUN, and His feet as PILLARS OF FIRE. No mere angel was ever before or since described in the Scriptures as appearing like that. Then He is described as crying with a loud voice, as a lion roareth, and Christ is spoken of in this Book (Rev. 5:5) as “THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH”; and in the chapter that follows the same “MIGHTY ANGEL” speaks of the “Two Witnesses,” as “MY WITNESSES,” which is further indisputable evidence that this “MIGHTY ANGEL” is no other than Christ Himself. This interpretation makes clear what follows. For when this “MIGHTY ANGEL” places His right foot upon the sea, and His left foot on the earth, and swears that there shall be “TIME NO LONGER,” or “NO LONGER DELAY” (margin), it is Christ taking formal possession of the Earth and Sea, and declaring that there shall be no longer delay in dispossessing the false claimant Satan.
I have another advocate in Henry M. Morris Jr., Ph.D. and contemporary of Tim LaHaye. Dr. Morris also sees this “Mighty Angel” as the Lord Jesus Christ.
This mighty angel can be none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Both in the Old Testament and in the Book of Revelation, in His preincarnate state and in His postresurrection [SIC] state, respectively, Christ is presented a number of times as a glorious angel (or “messenger”) of the Lord.
That this angel is not one of the created angels (not even one of the seven powerful angels that stand in God’s presence) is evident from the context in general and from His appearance in particular. John saw Him coming down from heaven, and this to reach the earth itself. He is Creator, Redeemer, and Heir of the earth and now is symbolically coming down to lay claim to His possession. Whether or not He is ready yet to take possession, He must at least let those in heaven and on earth know His claim.
That He is the same glorified Son of man seen by John at the beginning of the Apocalypse is clear from three striking marks of identification. As He descended from Heaven, He was arrayed in a glory cloud, His face was like the sun (it was not the sun, but “as it were” the sun), and His feet were “as pillars of fire.” Those are precisely the characteristics noted by John in the first chapter of Revelation.
“And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not” (Revelation 10:3-4). Regardless of one’s view of this “Mighty Angel,” one cannot deny that he wields great authority. Since I can be just as wrong about this as the next man, I will go with my understanding that this “Mighty Angel” is the Lord Jesus Christ for consistency. When He speaks, His voice resounds like the roar of a lion. He is, after all, “the Lion of Judah.” Then when He roars, seven thunders echo His voice. John begins to write as instructed in the beginning, but he is stopped from recording what he heard. I wonder what it was that he heard. It reminds me of what Daniel experienced. He records, “And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end” (Daniel 12:8-9). John may have heard something reserved for the Millennium or beyond that would be too awesome for us to comprehend at this time.
“And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: 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” (Revelation 10:5-7, emphasis mine). Some may see verse 6 as evidence in opposition to this angel being Christ because he swears “by him that liveth forever and ever” showing deference to God. However, we can find many examples in the Gospels of Jesus giving deference to God the Father for all His actions, so this should not seem strange to us. The “Mighty Angel” declares “that there should be time no longer.” This does not mean that time will end, but rather that it should “delay no longer” as Larkin suggested above. Albert Barnes, who preceded Larkin, concurs.
This is a very important expression, as it is the substance of what the angel affirmed in so solemn a manner; and as the interpretation of the whole passage depends on it. It seems now to be generally agreed among critics that our translation does not give the true sense, inasmuch:
(a) As that was not the close of human affairs, and
(b) As he proceeds to state what would occur after that.
Accordingly, different versions of the passage have been proposed. Prof. Stuart renders it, “that delay shall be no longer.” Mr. Elliott, “that the time shall not yet be; but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, whensoever he may be about to sound, then the mystery of God shall be finished.” Mr. Lord, “that the time shall not be yet, but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel,” etc. Andrew Fuller (Works, vol. vi. p. 113), “there should be no delay.” So Dr. Gill. Mr. Daubuz, “the time shall not be yet.” Vitringa (p. 432), tempus non fore amplius, “time shall be no more.” He explains it (p. 433) as meaning, “not that this is to be taken absolutely, as if at the sounding of the seventh trumpet all things were then to terminate, and the glorious epiphany – ἐπίφανεια epiphaneia (or manifestation of Jesus Christ) – was then to occur, who would put an end to all the afflictions of his church; but in a limited sense – restricte – as meaning that there would be no delay between the sounding of the seventh trumpet and the fulfillment of the prophecies.” (emphasis mine)
That “mystery of God” that “should be finished” must have been what the thunders voiced and that John was prohibited from writing down. It must be too wonderful for words!
“And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings” (Revelation 10:8-11, emphasis mine).
John experienced what the Old Testament prophet, Ezekiel experienced almost 600 years before. The “little book” is the Word of God that to the believer is sweet and nourishing, but sharing it with an unbelieving world can cause heartburn. It is not easy to confront a sinner with his sin and declare to him what awaits him unless he repents. Eternal life in hell is a message no sinner wants to hear and they will often attack the messenger because of the message. Jesus said, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18-19).
The time is drawing near. The pieces of the end-times puzzle are falling into place and Christ’s return is closer now than at any time in history. Reader, are you prepared to meet Him? If not, check out my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”
 Tim LaHaye, Revelation Illustrated and Made Plain, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1981) p. 144.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (Matthew 24:29)
The first seal,the white horse, introduced the Antichrist. The second seal,the red horse, brought global wars. The third seal,the black horse, brings economic collapse. War and economic collapse result in famines and pestilences. The fourth seal releases the pale horse bringing death by way of war, hunger, and pandemics. These will not be start and stop events. Once the start, they will progress throughout the Tribulation period. The fifth seal brings persecution and death to those who profess Christ during this time. These Christians are not the Church which was raptured before the beginning of the Tribulation. These are those who come to faith in Christ during the Tribulation. They are the “Tribulation Saints” who are seen under the altar of God in heaven.
“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” (Revelation 6:12-14, emphasis mine).
It is difficult to determine from this passage exactly when these events occur. We know the Tribulation is seven years from Daniel’s prophecy, but within that period of time, pinpointing the specific events presents a challenge. The seventh seal that follows presents seven trumpets that herald more severe judgments. The seventh trumpet (that seems to come at the midpoint (3½ years into) of the Tribulation) announces the seven bowl judgments that occupy the final 3½ years of the Tribulation and are even more severe. When the judgments of the final bowl are completed, Jesus returns to earth with all of His saints, i.e., the Church.
Jesus said that earthquakes, the sun darkening, the blood moons and stars falling from the sky would take place during the Tribulation, but He did not specify a time sequence. Perhaps in His humanity, He was not privy to that information. Remember He said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36). However, now in His resurrected body, in His place at the right hand of the Father, He surely knows every detail, which He then reveals to John.
My guess is that the sixth seal judgments begin one or two years into the Tribulation. We already experience an increase in seismic activity all around the globe, even in places where these things rarely happen. Eastern Turkey and northern Syria have been continually shaking since February 6, 2023. In the same time frame, other Magnitude 5+ earthquakes have been reported around the Mediterranean Sea along the coast of Lebanon, Israel, Cypress, and others. This, along with the looming world economic collapse, wars and rumors of wars, and the efforts of globalists to bring in a one-world government, is what Jesus called the “beginning of sorrows,” i.e., “labor pains.”
The sixth seal also brings astronomical events. Jesus predicted these too. On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse crossed the United States from the northwest, beginning in Washington state, to the southeast, exiting the South Carolina coast. On April 8, 2024, another total eclipse will cross the southern border of Texas, just below the Big Bend along the Rio Grande, and will take a path northeastward and exit around the middle eastern border of Maine. Its trek will intersect the previous eclipse path at Carbondale, Illinois, which lies in the New Madrid Seismic Zone. Minor earthquakes frequent this area; however, in the winter of 1811-1812, it experienced an earthquake estimated to be between magnitude 7 and 8, and geologists predict another big one in the future. From 2017 to 2024 is seven years – a biblical number of completion. Could 2024 bring a devastating earthquake where X marks the spot that further removes America from end-times prophecy? It is certainly possible. What we do know from Scripture is that earthquakes will play a major role during the Tribulation.
Jesus and John both predict stars falling from the sky. The Greek word translated “star” is astēr, and it refers to any luminous celestial body – a star, a planet, a comet, a meteor, etc. Some have suggested that what John saw were modern incoming missiles falling from the sky. They do look like “falling stars” – meteors. However, neither Jesus nor John employ simile (“like” or “as”) in their descriptions of these falling objects. So, where we can assume that they are not actual stars or planets which would obliterate the earth, we can conclude that these are meteors or asteroids. They do light up when they enter our atmosphere and they do have the potential to cause severe damage. The possibility concerns NASA enough to keep watch on asteroids crossing earth’s orbit.
With all the chaos taking place on the earth during the Tribulation, I am dumbfounded by the attitudes of the people going through these judgments. “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?” (Revelation 6:15-17, emphasis mine). They fully understand the source of these judgments and still they persist in their sin and refuse to repent. Later on, when things get even worse, they not only hide, but they blaspheme God knowing that the judgments come from Him.
Before the seventh seal is broken, there is an interlude that explains what else is taking place on earth during this time. I will examine that later.
Reader, are you prepared for what is coming to the world? You do not need to go through the Tribulation, God’s wrath, that is coming upon the world. Read my page on “Securing Eternal Life,” and ask Jesus to save you from the wrath to come.
“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” (Revelation 6:9, emphasis mine). Who are these “souls … slain for the word of God?” With minimal effort, we can infer that these are martyred Christians. We make that conclusion based on a verse that follows. “And white robes were given unto every one of them…” (Revelation 6:11).
There are some students of end-times prophecy who use these verses to reject the doctrine of the Rapture of the Church. They use these verses to prove that the Church will go through and suffer persecution in the Tribulation. Hear what these martyrs cry. “And 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?” (Revelation 6:10). We know from Verse 9 that they “were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.” No doubt they are Christians who have died for their faith, and they plead for God’s vengeance on the earth-dwellers that caused their suffering. From the response given to them, we understand that other Christians still remain and suffer on earth. “And 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 fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (Revelation 6:11, emphasis mine). Obviously, there are Christians going through the Tribulation with the expectation that they will be martyred.
This would be a solid no-Rapture argument if these verses are the only verses used to make the case. However, making a case based on only a single passage is poor hermeneutics. We need to examine the whole counsel of God’s Word.
I hold the pre-millennial/pre-tribulation view of eschatology. The Pre-millennial view holds to a seven-year Tribulation period before Christ returns to establish His 1000-year reign on Earth. The pre-tribulation side says that Jesus will come to receive His Bride – the Church – prior to the Tribulation. I covered some of these points in my article “The First Sight.” However, here it may be worth the extra time and space to support that stance.
First of all, the time of Tribulation is for the purpose of restoring Israel and God fulfilling the promise He made to Abraham to make him a great nation and give him a land (the land of Israel) as an everlasting covenant or promise. God must keep His promise otherwise none of the promises He makes to us can be trusted.
The prophet Daniel laid out the time determined for Israel. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy” (Daniel 9:24, emphasis mine). The Hebrew word translated as “weeks” is shebû‛âh, which is a period of seven (years in this case). By applying simple multiplication, we conclude that Israel was given 490 years until the anointing of “the most Holy,” i.e., Jesus Christ. That time started when Cyrus gave the command for the Jews to return to Judah and for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple. Obviously, more than 490 years have elapsed. However, Daniel’s prophecy breaks up the timetable so that after 483 years, “shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself” (Daniel 9:26). Several biblical scholars have calculated the time and have verified the accuracy of the prophecy determining that Jesus was crucified (“cut off”) exactly 483 years to the day as predicted by Daniel. That leaves seven years (“one week”) to complete Israel’s timetable. Daniel immediately transitions to the final week which begins when “the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” (Daniel 9:26, emphasis mine). This “prince,” we conclude, is the Antichrist. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:27, emphasis mine). Antichrist, a.k.a. “the beast,” shows up on the scene and promises peace for Israel for seven years (“one week”).
Again, the timetable seems to fail. Considering that the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was “cut off” in AD 30 (arguably), the 70th or final week would have concluded in AD 37; but the Temple was not destroyed until AD 70. However, the Bible is NEVER wrong, so why have almost 2000 years gone by since the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ with no fulfillment of the 70th week? Enter the Church.
Part of Israel’s responsibility as God’s chosen people was that they should be a “priest” nation to the rest of the world. “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 19:6, emphasis mine). They failed in this responsibility by adopting an exclusionary attitude toward other nations, i.e., Gentiles. Furthermore, when their promised Messiah revealed Himself, they rejected and crucified Him. However, God’s plan has always been for the redemption of all people. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, emphasis mine).
God has temporarily set aside Israel and temporarily replaced it with the Church to accomplish His plan of spreading the Gospel, the “good news,” around the world. John reminds us that “… Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:5-6) However, He is not done dealing with Israel. Paul is clear on this matter:
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. (Romans 11:25-32, emphasis mine).
Let me highlight some important points in the passage above. In addressing the church in Rome, Paul declares God’s dealing with Israel a “mystery.” He addresses some of these things in bits and pieces in other parts of the letter to the Romans, but here the message is concise. First, Israel is spiritually blind in that they do not recognize their Messiah. This spiritual blindness will continue until the time of the Gentiles, i.e., the Church, is completed. Second, all Israel – at least all that survive the Tribulation – will be saved. This happens when Jesus returns in His second coming. God says through the prophet Zechariah, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me [God/Jesus] whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10, emphasis mine). That has not happened; this event is yet future. Third, there is the promise of a Deliverer coming out of Zion that will turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Israel). The Deliverer came but He was rejected; so, this promise is yet future. Fourth, Israel (Jews) are enemies of the Gospel for our sake, the Gentile Church. However, they are still “elect” for their fathers’ (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel) sakes, and “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance,” i.e., God is not going to change His mind about it. Finally, God has concluded or determined this in order that all may receive mercy.
So far, I hope, I have established that the time of Tribulation is for the sake of restoring Israel so that God can fulfill His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel). The final week of Daniel’s prophecy is intended for Israel “to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy” (Daniel 9:24). This time is not meant for the Church. In speaking of “the Day of the Lord,” which will come “as a thief in the night,” Paul assures us, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9, emphasis mine). The Church is not appointed for the wrath of God. That time is reserved for the spiritual restoration of Israel.
Even now, the Church is experiencing persecution around the world. Christians are being killed for their faith in all of the Muslim countries, including China, in India, and in several African countries. In many western nations, including the United States, “soft” persecution is taking place where Christians are being “canceled” by social media and other media outlets. Laws are being enacted that declare much of the Bible, particularly those portions speaking against sodomy, as hate speech. Pastors that speak against such topics are in danger of being arrested. It is happening in Canada, and it will soon come here. But that is the wrath of man, not the wrath of God. The Church will not face the wrath of God.
Jesus promised to take His Bride home to be with Him. That event, known as the Rapture, will take place in an instant. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, emphasis mine). John gave us a glimpse of this when he says, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne” (Revelation 4:1-2, emphasis mine). To the church of Philadelphia, Jesus promised, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10, emphasis mine).
The Tribulation is not for the Church. The Bride will be with the Bridegroom during this awful time on earth. So, who are these souls under the altar that were killed for the Word of God and for their testimony? These are those that missed the Rapture and had to go through the Tribulation. Perhaps they were CINOs (Christians In Name Only) who were not saved but retained enough Bible knowledge to recognize what was taking place. At that point, they will truly believe in the Gospel, but it will cost them their lives. Others will be those who came to faith by the witness of those who are being saved. Still, others will believe because of the preaching of the 144,000 witnesses described in Revelation 7, 14 or from the preaching of the two witnesses in Jerusalem. If that is not enough, God sends a Gospel angel to preach the Word to all the world. As Peter said, God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). These will be saved, but it will cost them their lives. To these, Jesus said, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9).
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14, emphasis mine). I am constantly amazed at the love of God for a sinful world. He gives every opportunity for people to repent, ask forgiveness, and place their trust in Jesus Christ who is the only Way, Truth, and Life. Even so, many who will recognize that all the judgments that will follow come from God, will still refuse to repent and will curse God instead.
Reader, are you prepared for what is coming to the world? You do not need to go through the Tribulation, God’s wrath, that is coming upon the world. Read my page on “Securing Eternal Life,” and ask Jesus to save you from the wrath to come.