Studies in Daniel and Revelation

What must soon take place, Part One

That phrase, “What must soon take place,” refers to the future events Jesus revealed to John while John was in exile on the island of Patmos. During his exile, the apostle was given a glimpse of what the world would be like in the future, both his and ours. It is interesting to note that both John and the Old Testament prophet Daniel both saw prophetically the same future time and both men were in exile when they were given their visions.

The future begins with Revelation 4:1, so everything John saw from that point on is what will be happening in the future, even though John writes as though the events were happening at the moment he saw them.

1. The future in heaven, 4:1—5:14

A. The Heavenly Tabernacle. From chapters 4 and 5, we learn that there exists and will exist in heaven a literal tabernacle, after which the on Earth was patterned, Hebrews 8:1—5; 9:1—10, 22—24; 10:1.

  1. The heavenly door, 4:1.
  2. The heavenly throne, 4:2—5. This throne is seen throughout the book of Revelation. It is also described in Daniel 7:9—14; Isaiah 6; Hebrews 8:1; 12:1—2.
  3. The heavenly elders, 4:4—11; 5:8—10; 7:13; 11:16—19; 14:3; 19:4. These elders are redeemed individuals; the word “elder” is never used to describe angels or other worldly creatures. Their white robes represent their righteousness.
  4. The sea of glass, 4:6. This area is located in front of God’s throne and is where the saints and angels gather to worship the Lord at various times (7:9—17; 15:2—4).
  5. The living creatures, 4:6—8. These created beings sole purpose seems to be to declare God’s holiness. They are seen throughout the book.
  6. Worship, 4:9—11; 5:8—14.
  7. The scroll, 5:1—4; 10:1—11. This scroll or book is central to the Revelation for within its pages are contained the events that make up our future. This particular book is not the “Book of Life,” nor does it contain any names or promises or anything other than the Biblical text indicates. The “seals” that secure the scroll are the seals of 6:1—8:1.
  8. The Lamb, 5:5—7. This is the symbol of Christ, the root of David, as taught in Gen. 49:10; Micah 5:1—2; 2 Sam. 7:8—17; Ps. 89:35—37; etc.

2. The Lesser Tribulation, or the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week, 6:1—9:21

The seven seals and the first six trumpets take place in succession during the first half of the Tribulation. The seventh trumpet introduces the second half of the Tribulation, also known as the Great Tribulation.

A. The First Six Seals, 6:1—17.

  1. The first seal, 6:1—2. The rider of the white horse seen as this seal is opened in represents the rise of the Anitchrist at the beginning of the Tribulation. The events of this seal fulfill the prophecies of Daniel 7:8—9, 23—25; 8:8—10, 20—23; 11:35—45.
  2. The second seal, 6:3—4. This is picture of the war that will result following the rise of the Antichrist, Dan. 7:24; 11:40—45.
  3. The third seal, 6:5—6. This symbolizes a great famine following the war.
  4. The fourth seal, 6:7—8. Death and Hell are symbolized by riders on horseback. Death and Hell are always the result of any war. See also Matthew 24:6—7.
  5. The fifth seal, 6:9—11. Here is a picture of the first martyrs of the Tribulation. These are people who will find the Lord after the Rapture and during the Tribulation. They will be killed sometime between the Rapture and fifth seal.
  6. The sixth seal, 6:12—17. This seal introduces the time of God’s wrath. The first five seals describe the wrath of man, which will be bad enough but nothing compared to the misery that many will face when God pours out His wrath because of the persecution of His people. There will seven horrific events that happen under this seal: an earthquake, the dimming of the sun, the darkening of the moon, a meteor shower, and cataclysmic events in the sky and changes in the geography of the earth.

Parenthetical Passage, 7:1—17

Chapter 7 is the first of several “parenthetical passages” in the book of Revelation. These are so named because they contain additional information about events just revealed. They are a pause in the action that gives the reader an expanded view of particular events or persons that will help them to understand what John saw.

This parenthetical passage sheds some light on events in-between the 6th and 7th seals that will be happening concurrently during the main events of those two seals. These two events are as follows:

  • The sealing of the 144,000 Jews, 7:1—8. We know these people will be Jews because they are taken from the tribes of Israel. They get saved after the Rapture and will be sealed or marked by God as they pass through the coming trumpet judgments so they would not be harmed (9:4). The 144,000 will be caught up to heaven under the 7th trumpet. The seal will be the name of the Father written on their foreheads.
  • The Tribulation saints, 7:9—17. These Gentiles will find the Lord, like the 144,000, after the Rapture and will die for Christ, the majority of them slain by the Antichrist.

C. The 7th Seal, 8:1

The 7th Seal, 8:1. The 7th seal seems pretty mild; silence in heaven.

Parenthetical Passage, 8:2—6

This is the second pause; it explains the work of the priestly angel and the preparations for the upcoming trumpet judgments. These are events that will happen after the 7th seal and just before the first trumpet.

The following trumpet judgments are literal; they are just as literal as the plagues upon Egypt and will be for the exact same purpose: to protect Israel during the first half of the Tribulation.

D. The First Four Trumpets, 8:7—12

  1. The first trumpet, 8:7. Hail, fire and blood, the destruction of a third of the earth.
  2. The second trumpet, 8:8—9. One third of the sea turned to blood.
  3. The third trumpet, 8:10—11. One third of the fresh water rivers poisoned.
  4. The fourth trumpet, 8:12. Destruction of one third of the planets.

Parenthetical Passage, 8:13

The third parenthetical passage is a brief one, a single verse; a pronouncement of three woes.

E. The Final Two Trumpets, 9:1—21

  1. The fifth trumpet, also known as “the first woe,” 9:1—12. Demonic creatures will be let loose upon the Earth. They will torment human beings but will not kill them.
  2. The sixth trumpet, or “the second woe,” 9:13—21. Two hundred million supernatural demonic creatures will be freed from the Abyss and will proceed to slay one third of all human beings.

This event will conclude the first half of the Tribulation. The worst is yet to come.


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