The topic of the timing of the beginning of the end times is a hotly debated topic in Christian circles. On the one hand, epistles state that the “last days” are imminent — or even at hand. Hebrews 1:2 says that “in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.” Peter says the Lord Jesus “has appeared in these last times” (1 Peter 1:20). Paul explained to the Thessalonians that the Lord would appear to catch them up — and that they should “comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
It seems clear that the apostles believed that the return of the Lord Jesus was imminent. On the other hand, the Lord Jesus has obviously not yet returned. There is a stark disconnect between the beliefs of the apostles and the reality we now face. Much contention has arisen as a result, where Christians tend to gravitate toward one of two camps.
The first camp believes that the end times are an entirely future event — they will start in the future and they will end in the future. The second camp believes that the “end times” or “last days” were already fulfilled by 70AD — when the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans under Titus.
Admittedly when reading the Scripture one does tend to feel tugged in one direction or another. One might even change opinions multiple times in a single session of study. There is a case for an already fulfilled “last days” and there is a case for a future “last days.”
For certain, the Scripture presents us with what seems to be a paradox. It is a common conception that the “last days” must necessarily be when the Lord Jesus returns. In other words, the days or months leading up to His return are literally the last days — they are the final days before the end. Simultaneously, Hebrews 1:2 calls the time of the Lord’s first coming the “last days.”
Instead of veering to one side or the other, it is our view that when the Scripture presents us with paradoxes, we should do our very best to find the interpretation which allows all plain interpretations of the Scripture to be true. We should lay out the facts which seem to contradict one another and find the interpretation which does not require us to discredit or ignore either side. When we do this, we risk begging the question.
It is our hope then to lay out an interpretation which unifies the concept of the “last days.” To bring this idea across, we will have to tie many threads together, so we encourage a thoughtful and slow reading of this essay.
THE FIRST REVELATION OF CHRIST
Many people consider John’s Revelation to be the first revelation of the Lord Jesus, but technically it is actually the second. Looking at Daniel 10, the figure who appears to him is none other than the Lord Jesus. He appears to Daniel in the same way in which He appears to John in Revelation 1, except Revelation 1 adds some extra imagery from Daniel 7.
When referring to His own second coming — the “Day of the Lord” — the Lord says, “that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Matthew 24:36) Therefore, if the visions given to Daniel came from angels, we must conclude that the angels themselves did not know exactly when the end would be. That is especially noteworthy, especially considering the vision from Daniel 10 goes all the way through to Daniel 12, which most certainly is the end.
Peter also tells us that even angels long to look into prophecy inspired by the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:12). Angels do not have a clear picture of how everything is going to unfold. Therefore, if Daniel received the Daniel 10-12 vision from angels, we can only assume that it is not a complete picture. This understanding in no way detracts from the vision — we assume everything Daniel received was completely accurate, but the angels only told him what they knew for sure — nothing more.
By the time the Lord speaks in Matthew 24, He Himself still doesn’t know exactly when the end is going to be. With this in mind, the jarring shift of events between Daniel 11 and Daniel 12 begins to make more sense.
Daniel 11 refers to the fall of Persia, rise of Greece under Alexander the Great and the splitting of Greece into Ptolemaic Egypt, the Seleucid Empire, the Kingdom of Macedon and the Kingdom of Pergamon. It then goes on to relate in some detail the events which transpired between the Seleucid Empire — the north — and Ptolemaic Egypt — the south. Then Daniel 12 suddenly refers to the great tribulation and the final resurrection — an obvious future event.
When we presume too much about the passage of time in the interpretation of these events, it can be rather confusing. The Lord says, “at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise.” (Daniel 12:1) We know that even during the time when Daniel received this vision, Michael the “chief prince” angel was already battling other “chief princes” for the sake of Israel. The Lord had recently returned from one such a battle as it says in Daniel 10:13,21,
13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was standing in my way for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia… 21 However, I will tell you what is recorded in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.
Not only that, but the Lord fully intended to “return to fight” (Daniel 10:20), where Michael was already battling another prince. So Michael was currently fighting (Daniel 10:21) and he would be fighting on behalf of Israel in the future as well (Daniel 12:1). Revelation 12 confirms Daniel 12:1 — the future battle, as Michael was battling Satan around the time of the Lord’s fleshly birth as well. By the time of the Lord’s birth, Michael had already been engaged in various battles over hundreds of years.
Therefore, when Daniel 12:1 says that Michael “will arise”, we assume that this is a long-term event. The Lord said that even at the time of His return, “the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Matthew 24:29) — indicating yet more heavenly turmoil. The Revelation tells us Satan — a collection of seven chief princes — will be trying to destroy Israel until the time of the Lord’s second coming and beyond. By all accounts, we can assume Michael arose to protect Israel during Israel’s Babylonian captivity and the battle hasn’t really stopped — arising multiple times to defend Israel from “chief princes”, the current one being the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.
At the time when Daniel 11 ended, Michael had already begun battle and would continue to battle for hundreds of years. If we assume the battle would continue until the time of the Lord’s second coming, we could say Michael has been battling for thousands of years. In this context, it makes sense that there could be a leap forward in time between Daniel 12:1 saying, “Now at that time Michael… will arise” and “there will be a time of distress such as never occurred”.
In Matthew 24:21, the Lord quotes Daniel 12:1 as a future event,
For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will again.
Daniel 12:1-2 confirms this future nature of the event when it continues,
1 …and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.
From the Lord and His angels’ perspective, Michael was engaged in battle and would continue to be engaged in battle until such time as the Lord returned for His second coming. During the time of Michael’s battle — but not necessarily at the start of the battle, there would be a “great tribulation.” After these events, there would be a great resurrection — something that even in our present time hasn’t been fulfilled. As we will see, this is completely accurate — yet it is not the full picture. At that time, the Lord did not know how long it would take and neither did He know how long it would take when He spoke in Matthew 24.
Incidentally, someone asks the Lord the question, “How long will it be until the end of these wonders?” (Daniel 12:6), to which it says in Daniel 12:7,
And I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish smashing the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.
As much as any would like for this to be a specific time, it is not. The Lord Himself did not know specific times, therefore we cannot interpret this as specific times. Rather, we know the time of the Day of the Lord by interpreting signs, not predicting dates. We are expected to know it this way and the Lord Himself knows it this way — as is evident here and in Matthew 24.
To summarize the point, Daniel 12:1 says “at that time Michael… will arise.” “That time” refers to the time directly after the Seleucid Empire took Palestine from Ptolemaic Egypt related in Daniel 11. Yet Daniel 12:1 continues by saying, “And there will be a time of distress”, referring to the great tribulation — an obvious future event according to the Lord Jesus (Matthew 24:21). It also refers to the resurrection in Daniel 12:2, also an obviously far-future event — which hasn’t happened yet.
The Seleucid Empire took Palestine centuries before the time of Christ, yet the resurrection hasn’t happened yet thousands of years later. Therefore, the time scale of Daniel 12:1-2 is much larger than we may originally have thought. Also, nothing in the text suggests that Daniel 12:1-2 even needs to cover a short time. The chronology given to Daniel is as follows:
- When the Seleucid Empire takes Palestine, Michael will arise to defend Israel
- Then there will be a “time of distress such as never occurred”
- After the time of distress, there will be a resurrection
The above timeline is completely accurate, but it is not specific. One might object that we are ignoring Daniel 12:7 says “that it would be for a time, times, and half a time“. Daniel 12:7 says,
And I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish smashing the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.
Much has been written over the “time, times and half a time”, yet if the Lord Jesus did not know the “day and hour”, we cannot expect that the “times” principle represents any kind of specificity. We are not saying the prophecy of “times” are not accurate — rather, they are not specific.
Prophetically, the “times” principle simply indicates the passage of a certain, unspecified amount of time. The Lord tells us in Daniel 12:7 that a certain amount of time will pass — “time, times, and half a time”, until the power of the holy people is smashed. See how the Lord gave a sign to mark the completion of the events — the smashing of the power of the holy people.
Remember, prophecy is about interpreting signs, not knowing times. How could He be specific over how long it would take if He didn’t know when His second coming would be? Yet in Revelation 10:5-7 the Lord reaches a point where He confidently states that the events are completed:
5 Then the angel [the Lord Jesus] whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven, 6 and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it, that there will no longer be a delay, 7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He announced to His servants the prophets.
Note the similarities between Daniel 12:7 and Revelation 10:5-6 — He raises His hand to heaven and swears an oath. Except in Revelation 12:6 there is no longer any delay, whereas in Daniel 12:7 the delay would be “a time, times and half a time.” Interestingly, if we put those two verses alongside one another, we could conclude that “a time, times and half a time” (Daniel 12:7) is equal to a “delay” (Revelation 12:6) — an unspecified amount of time which will be concluded when a condition is met.
So why is there no longer any delay in Revelation 10:6? Why was the “time, times and half a time” concluded? Because at that point in Revelation 10:6, the condition stated in Daniel 12:7 had been met — the power of the holy people had been smashed. How do we know this? Because by Revelation 10, the seals of the scroll handed to the Lamb in Revelation 5 had been opened. Why does the scroll being opened equate to the power of the holy people being smashed? This will become more and more apparent as we continue.
We know the Lamb in Revelation 5 represents the Lord Jesus — and we know the “strong angel” in Revelation 10 represents the Lord Jesus when cross-referencing it with Ezekiel 1, Revelation 1, Daniel 7 and Daniel 10. Revelation 6 – 8 represents the breaking of all seven seals by the Lamb. Revelation 10:8 says,
Then the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking with me, and saying, “Go, take the scroll which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land.”
In Revelation 5, the Lord has in His possession a scroll which is sealed — it is closed. In Revelation 6 – 8 He breaks open the seals — opening the scroll. In Revelation 10, the scroll is open in His hand — having opened it. What then are the seals and what is contained in the scroll?
Revelation 5:1 describes the scroll as “written inside and on the back.” The Lord says to John in Revelation 10:9, “Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” These are quotations from Ezekiel 2 and 3. Just the same way the Lord hands the scroll to John in the Revelation, He hands the scroll to Ezekiel in Ezekiel 2.
Ezekiel described the scroll as “written on the front and back” (Ezekiel 2:10), the same as in Revelation 5:1. When Ezekiel ate the scroll he said, “it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.” (Ezekiel 3:3) Something about the contents of the scroll made Ezekiel “embittered in the rage of [his] spirit” (Ezekiel 3:14). Therefore, just as the scroll was sweet and bitter for John, it was also sweet and bitter for Ezekiel.
At this point, the best way to get a full impression as to the content of the scrolls would be to read Ezekiel 2 and 3. In summary, written on the scroll front and back were “songs of mourning, sighing, and woe” (Ezekiel 2:10) for Israel. Ezekiel was chosen as a prophet to speak to the people of Israel — a great honor for Ezekiel, surely sweet to his taste.
He was tasked with telling Israel of their wickedness and he was warned repeatedly not to pay attention to them if they railed at him in response — surely bitterness in his stomach. More specifically, Ezekiel was to be a watchman for Israel to warn them away from their wickedness and to tell them that if they did not repent, “You will certainly die” (Ezekiel 3:18).
Therefore, the scroll of the Revelation is inextricably linked with Israel’s punishment. In breaking the seals, the Lord deals out punishment to Israel, as we will see. If all the seals are broken, then Israel’s power has been smashed — in accordance with the law and the prophets. If at that point the seals are open — and Israel’s power is smashed — then the condition of Daniel 12:7 was met. If the condition was met, then there would “no longer be a delay.” (Revelation 12:6)
At this point it is important to establish the timeline of events. When the Lord Jesus receives the scroll in Revelation 5, He was recently slain. Therefore, we conclude that Revelation 6 — the breaking of the seals — begins relatively shortly after the Lord’s ascent into Heaven. In other words, this was likely not long after Acts 1:9. Although if this interpretation is not self-evident and obvious enough, it will be confirmed as we progress.
DESOLATION TIMELINE — THE GREAT TRIBULATION
Few would contest that the “abomination of desolation” spoken of by the Lord in Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14 and Luke 21:20 refers to the siege of Jerusalem by Rome under Titus in 70AD. We would go as far as to say that this is undeniable, especially given that it lines up with the Daniel 9:24-27 timeline. There are a plethora of resources on this topic and we do not intent to rehash them here.
Referring to this event, the Lord quotes Daniel 12:1 in Matthew 24:21,
For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will again.
He says that the event of the siege would mark the beginning of a great tribulation the likes of which the world has never seen before. With this in mind, we can scarce imagine why anyone would see the great tribulation as a future event. This seems to be one of the greatest causes of confusion in Christian eschatological theories.
One the one hand, it is undeniable that the abomination of desolation event is the siege in 70AD, marking the beginning of the great tribulation. On the other hand, most Christian circles feel the need to see all the events of the Revelation as the great tribulation. It’s hard to pin down exactly why the event is so polarizing, but it seems most theories make needless assumptions about the length of the great tribulation. In other words, most theories stumble over the assumption that the tribulation will be a certain amount of time. As we have stated — and will be more evident as we go along — we should not be making assumptions about specific lengths of time.
Speaking of the desolation, the Lord says in Luke 21:22,
because these are days of punishment, so that all things which have been written will be fulfilled.
When the Lord says “days of punishment,” He is referring to Hosea 9:7 which says,
The days of punishment have come, The days of retribution have come; Let Israel know this! The prophet is a fool, The inspired person is insane, Because of the grossness of your wrongdoing, And because your hostility is so great.
To get the full picture, we encourage a full reading of Hosea 9. Suffice to say, the Lord directly referred to punishment specifically against Israel. He goes on to say that the desolation and great tribulation are fulfillment of what has been written — the law and the prophets. Therefore, the great tribulation is punishment for Israel specifically. To this end, the Lord continues to say in Luke 21:24,
and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the nations until the times of the nations are fulfilled.
Therefore, we conclude the following about the great tribulation:
- Started at the siege of Jerusalem in 70AD
- Begins a process of desolation and destruction against Israel
- Specifically a punishment for Israel
- Israel would be scattered among the nations
- Fulfillment of written law and prophecy
- Would be a time the likes of which the world has never seen — in a bad way
Furthermore, we would like to connect this thread to others which we have covered so far:
- According to Daniel 12, the great tribulation would continue until such time as the power of Israel is smashed completely
- Soon after the Lord was slain, He began to open seals on a scroll inextricably linked with Israel’s punishment — resulting in Israel’s power being smashed.
FIRST SEAL — WHITE HORSE
Moving back to the scroll, Revelation 6:2 tells us of a rider which goes forth as a result of the first seal being broken:
I looked, and behold, a white horse, and the one who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.
The supposedly noble imagery of this rider might impress the reader, and we suppose that is the entire point — this rider is none other than a counterfeit Christ. When the Lord Jesus returns in earnest, He will ride a white horse (Revelation 19:11), have many crowns on His head (Revelation 19:12) and He will also have His weapon of choice — a sharp sword which proceeds from His mouth (Revelation 19:15).
Revelation 6:2 tells us that this false doctrine would be given a crown — signifying authority — and would even conquer. Of course we know of the authority so-called “Christians” have wielded over the millennia, even conquering and killing in the name of Christ — something the Scripture never commanded them to do. Those who see the rider see the crown on its head — its authority — but cannot even acknowledge within themselves how weak the rider’s authority is compared to the authority of the Lord Jesus. He is the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16), with “many crowns” (Revelation 19:12) — so why would we fear any other authority?
The Scripture repeatedly attributes destructive power to the word of God. Jeremiah 5:14 says, “I am making My words fire in your mouth.” Isaiah 49:2 says, “He has made My mouth like a sharp sword.” Hosea 6:5 says, “I have cut them in pieces by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of My mouth.” The word of God is the will of God, so if any make a pronouncement according to the will of God, it will be done, just like Micaiah said to Ahab, “If you actually return safely, the Lord has not spoken by me.” (1 Kings 22:28) True to Micaiah’s word — and God’s word — Ahab died in battle that day without Micaiah having to lift a finger.
The Lord Jesus said, “For I did not speak on My own, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.” (John 12:49) Therefore, when He speaks it is like a sharp sword — a personal weapon, wielded eye-to-eye with the enemy — “even penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow” (Hebrews 4:12). His every word — and very breath — have the power of His omnipotent Father.
In comparison, the white horse rider of the first seal has a bow — merely brute force with which to enforce its authority. The natural bow is paltry and primitive in comparison with the Lord’s supernatural weapon — His word — but effective in coercing others to its authority. Of course bows fire arrows, which are compared with a deceitful tongue in Psalms 120:3-4,
3 What will He give to you, and what more will He do to you, You deceitful tongue? 4 Sharp arrows of the warrior, With the burning coals of the broom tree!
Likewise, Jeremiah 9:8 says,
Their tongue is a deadly arrow; It speaks deceit; With his mouth one speaks peace to his neighbor, But inwardly he sets an ambush for him.
Again, the imagery lends itself to showing the rider as a worker of deceit. The bow is impersonal — effective at long range, never having to confront the enemy eye-to-eye in the word of God — much like the under-handed tactics used by those under the delusion of the rider. Their tongues are deceitful, catching their enemies unawares. But Paul tells us to take up the “shield of faith with which [we] will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil” (Ephesians 6:16) — the lies of a deceitful tongue.
By virtue of this being the first seal, the imagery tells us that counterfeit Christianity will immediately proceed and take an eminent position in the events which would follow. To that effect, consider the following exchange at the Mount of Olives in Matthew 24:3-5,
3 And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many people.”
Literally the first thing the Lord describes in response to the question was a rise in counterfeit Christianity. He describes how many would come in His name and that we must not be mislead. In his brilliant exposition on counterfeit Christianity, John says in 1 John 2:18,
Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.
John clearly stated that “even now many antichrists have appeared,” proving that what the Lord predicted in Matthew 24:4 was already coming true. Unfortunately many Christian circles have invented a fable surrounding a single character known as “the Antichrist” — imagining it to be some future event. However, the Scripture never mentions such a character. The invention of this future “Antichrist” has blinded many to the reality that, according to John, many antichrists had already appeared.
We can see in the Lord’s words — and John’s words — that “antichrist” will be false doctrines of Christianity which go out into the world. Even Paul referred to those preaching “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4).
Much can be said on this topic — as we have in prior essays — but in summary for now, 1 John 3:6-7 says,
6 No one who remains in Him sins continually; no one who sins continually has seen Him or knows Him. 7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous
If we believe a doctrine which allows us to sin continually, then we have neither seen the Lord and neither do we know Him — we are believing in a “another Jesus” — a false Christ. This represents the vast majority of Christianity — and these doctrines began sprouting up as early as the time of Paul and John.
Just as the Lord said, “see that no one misleads you” — John says, “make sure no one deceives you.” The doctrine that “the one who practices righteousness is righteous” is incredibly simple — and we should make sure no one deceives us or leads us “astray from sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).
Many Christian circles use 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 to refer to “the Antichrist”:
3 No one is to deceive you in any way! For it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
This passage never actually mentions the so-called “Antichrist,” so to interpret it as such is begging the question. Rather than supporting their doctrine, the passage supports everything we have explained so far. Paul said, “No one is to deceive you in any way,” just as the Lord and John did when referring to the same topic — apostasy — following “another Jesus.” John said, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4), so an “apostasy… of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) is essentially what John is referring to in the book of 1 John.
Ezekiel 28 uses the king of Tyre as a copy and shadow for the whore of Babylon. Ezekiel 28:1 says,
Because your heart is haughty And you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods In the heart of the seas’; Yet you are a mortal and not God, Although you make your heart like the heart of God
The passage states that the whore of Babylon claims to “sit in the seat of gods,” whereas Paul says the “son of perdition… takes his seat in the temple of God.” If the whore of Babylon — a single character — represents a system of apostasy and whoredom, it should be no surprise that Paul’s “man of lawlessness” and “son of perdition” represents the same.
Therefore, the whore of Babylon also makes herself out to be God, yet she is mortal in spite of making her heart like the heart of God. Ezekiel 28:9 goes on to say,
Will you still say, “I am a god,” In the presence of one who kills you, Though you are a mortal and not God, In the hands of those who wound you?
Likewise, Revelation 17:16 says of the whore of Babylon,
And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the prostitute and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire.
These passages paint a picture of the whore being desolated in spite of ongoing arrogance — again, aligning perfectly with what has been presented so far. Ultimately then, 2 Thessalonians 2 supports the idea of a system of apostacy, which aligns itself with the delusion of the first seal.
SECOND AND THIRD SEALS — RED AND BLACK HORSE
We will slightly gloss over these two seals, but refer back to them when covering the following seals. Revelation 6:4 says,
And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that people would kill one another; and a large sword was given to him.
Directly after telling the apostles about the false Christs, the Lord says in Matthew 24:6-7,
6 And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…
We need simply gaze back through history since the Lord’s time on earth to know this too was fulfilled. Europe and the Middle East have been an almost perpetual bloodbath since that time, ravaging itself with war time and time again. The red rider was given a “large sword” — indicating the very personal nature of war. When it comes upon a person, there will be no mistaking it, and there is very little deception therein. Indeed, it is like facing one eye-to-eye, who brandishes a large sword.
Revelation 6:5-6 says,
5… I looked, and behold, a black horse, and the one who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”
Matthew 20:2 states one denarius as a day’s labor, so one quart of wheat for a day’s labor is not much — it’s probably only enough to feed one person. Barley was an older and less expensive grain during that time, so one could buy more for less money. Yet it goes on to state that the oil and wine are not to be harmed, indicating that luxuries are being upheld. The passage seems to indicate famine, yet luxuries and do-able prices for those who could afford them.
Directly after speaking of war, the Lord says “there will be famines and earthquakes in various places” (Matthew 24:7). Earthquakes are not mentioned specifically in the third seal, yet we have like for like chronology so far with antichrists, war and famine.
The Lord proceeds to say that “these things are merely the beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:8). Indeed, the great tribulation would begin in earnest only with the siege of Jerusalem, just as the Lord said, “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation” (Matthew 24:15), the tribulation will begin.
There was one such a “birth pain” in the time of the emperor Claudius. In Acts 11:28 a prophet by the name of Agabus warned of a severe famine, to the extent that Christians in Antioch resolve to send relief to the Christians in Jerusalem. Flavius Josephus writes of the same famine:
Now her [Queen Helena’s] coming was of very great advantage to the people of Jerusalem. For whereas a famine did oppress them at that time, and many people died for want of what was necessary to procure food withal; Queen Helena sent some of her servants to Alexandria, with money to buy a great quantity of corn; and others of them to Cyprus, to bring a cargo of dried figs. And as soon as they were come back, and had brought those provisions; which was done very quickly; she distributed food to those that were in want of it: and left a most excellent memorial behind her of this benefaction, which she bestowed on our whole nation. And when her son Izates was informed of this famine, he sent great sums of money to the principal men in Jerusalem.Antiquities of the Jews, book 20, chapter 2, section 5
FOURTH SEAL — ASHEN HORSE
In Matthew 13:14-15 the Lord quotes Isaiah 6:9-10,
14 …You shall keep on listening, but shall not understand; and you shall keep on looking, but shall not perceive; 15 For the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and return, and I would heal them.
Here the Lord specifies that this curse must be carried out against Israel itself. When we read it, we naturally believe the passage does not apply to us — or only applies to the Israelites to whom the parables were given. However, directly after receiving those words, Isaiah asks the question, “How long?” (Isaiah 6:11) He gets the following response in Isaiah 6:11-13,
11 … Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, houses are without people and the land is utterly desolate, 12 The Lord has completely removed people, and there are many forsaken places in the midst of the land. 13 Yet there will still be a tenth portion in it, and it will again be subject to burning, like a terebinth or an oak whose stump remains when it is cut down. The holy seed is its stump.
The answer states until Israel are desolated and until there is a holy remnant. We’ve already covered the necessary desolation of Israel, so we conclude that the delusion will continue until Israel is desolated completely. This ties back to the white rider — and first seal — which is a delusion upon Israel that they will not understand the ways of God. They will actually believe they are serving Him when, in reality, they are serving an antichrist. Isaiah 29:13-14 says,
13… Because this people approaches Me with their words And honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of the commandment of men that is taught; 14 Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous; And the wisdom of their wise men will perish, And the understanding of their men who have understanding will be concealed.
Incidentally, the Lord quotes this passage in reference to Israel in Matthew 15:8-9 — calling them hypocrites. The power of the delusion lies in this hypocrisy — that Israel imagine themselves to be serving God when they are, in fact, actively working against Him. Herein lies the power of the first seal, and hereby we know that power and delusion will persist until Israel is desolated — their power smashed — and until a pure remnant is formed.
Note how Isaiah 6:11 said, “Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, houses are without people and the land is utterly desolate” — a clear reference to Leviticus 26:31-33,
31 I will turn your cities into ruins as well and make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not smell your soothing aromas. 32 And I will make the land desolate so that your enemies who settle in it will be appalled at it. 33 You, however, I will scatter among the nations, and I will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become ruins.
The desolation described here results from four “seven times [or sevenfold] punishments” exacted against Israel. In Leviticus 26 they are famine (v20, v26, v29), plague (v21, v25), sword/war (v25, v33) and beasts (v22). The result of the punishments in Leviticus 26:31-33 are the same as the result — or final state — of the delusion in Isaiah 6. They also involve Israel being scattered among the nations, as it says in Luke 21:24, Israel “will be led captive into all the nations.” Deuteronomy 32:24-25 speaks of the same punishments,
24 They will be wasted by famine, and emaciated by plague And a bitter epidemic; And the teeth of beasts I will send against them, With the venom of crawling things of the dust. 25 Outside the sword will make them childless, And inside, terror— Both young man and virgin, The nursing child with the man of gray hair.
Verse 28 continues to say, “For they are a nation destitute of counsel, And there is no understanding in them,” again referring to the delusion present amongst Israel in and among their punishments.
Recall how Isaiah 6:13 said there would be a holy stump of Israel left — a holy remnant — as a result of these punishments. Ezekiel 14:21-23 says,
21 For this is what the Lord God says: “How much more when I send My four severe judgments against Jerusalem: sword, famine, vicious animals, and plague to eliminate human and animal life from it! 22 Yet, behold, survivors will be left in it who will be brought out, both sons and daughters. Behold, they are going to come out to you, and you will see their conduct and actions; then you will be comforted for the disaster which I have brought against Jerusalem for everything which I have brought upon it. 23 Then they will comfort you when you see their conduct and actions, for you will know that I have not done without reason whatever I did to it,” declares the Lord God.
This passage states quite clearly that the purpose of the four punishments is to produce a holy people — exactly as we saw in the passages cited above. Revelation 6:8 says,
I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and the one who sat on it had the name Death, and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, and famine, and plague, and by the wild animals of the earth.
When we read this, we should immediately call to mind the context presented above. The seal’s purpose was to exact the four seven times punishments against Israel — desolating them and producing a holy people.
Although how is the war of the second seal different from the sword of the fourth seal? The sword of the fourth seal must punish Israel specifically and cause their desolation, whereas the war of the second seal promises war between the nations themselves. In all likelihood, these two are inherently linked, as the war between the nations would simultaneously cause the sword to ravage Israelites who are among those nations.
Similarly, the famine of the third seal speaks of social conditions among the nations. People face struggle and hardship in getting food, yet there is simultaneously inequality among the people, allowing luxuries for those who could afford it. The famine of the fourth seal speaks of severe famine for Israel specifically who are among the nations.
With the above in mind, we should reflect on the statement, “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will again.” (Matthew 24:21) When considering this statement, we must place ourselves in the Lord’s shoes looking forward. We must not place ourselves in our own shoes looking forward. For us, the events from 33 – 2021AD are all history, but for the people at the time of Christ, they represent the future.
When looking at the past this way, we realize that our own past — which is their future — easily accounts for such times. We will give but one example for each of the four punishments:
- Sword — World War 2 claimed at least 70 million lives
- Famine — Famine-related deaths inflicted by Soviet Russia claimed at least 25 million lives
- Disease — The Black Death plague in the mid 1300s claimed at least 75 million lives
- Beasts — The Muslim invasions swept across the Middle East and Europe, almost succeeding in overcoming the white world
Each of these events easily eclipses every terrible event we have record of from ancient times. No one in the ancient world would be able to conceive of such calamities befalling them. Therefore, the criteria that the great tribulation must inflict on us unprecedented turmoil was certainly fulfilled, so long as we look forward from the Lord’s time on earth and not forward from our own time — which does not make sense given the words of the Lord.
FIFTH SEAL — MARTYRS
Revelation 6:9 says,
When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been killed because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained
As for their souls being underneath the altar, we will return to that point in a later section. For now, we will proceed with the rest. Referring back to the delusion of the first seal, the Lord says that “an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering a service to God.” (John 16:2) To this end, Isaiah 66:5 also says,
Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at His word: “Your brothers who hate you, who exclude you on account of My name, Have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified, so that we may see your joy.’ But they will be put to shame.
Religion and so-called “Christianity” have been the chief perpetrators of martyrdom throughout history. Revelation 17:6 says the whore of Babylon is “drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus,” proving once again that many martyrs fall to the system of apostasy of counterfeit Christianity. The Lord says in Matthew 24:9-10,
9 “Then they will hand you over to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another.
The Lord’s name is the testimony which martyrs maintain — and so they are killed and hated as a result. There have been many Christian martyrs over the millennia since the time of Christ. The phenomenon began with our Lord Jesus, but continued with Stephen in Acts 7, James — brother of John — in Acts 12 and Paul alludes to his imminent martyrdom in 2 Timothy 4:6. We see, therefore, that martyrdom also began very soon after the time of Christ.
As with the early apostles and earliest Christians, it began with persecution from Judaizers and Roman government. However, Revelation 12:11 attributes all martyrdom — whether from Judaizers, Romans or counterfeit Christianity — to a defeat of Satanic power:
And they overcame him [Satan] because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.
Revelation 6:9 also refers to Zechariah 1:12, which we will cover briefly later. Revelation 6:10 says,
and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who live on the earth?”
From this point onward, we begin to see the true identity of Israel in the end times — expounded on in detail in Revelation 7. This passage also references Deuteronomy 32:43,
Rejoice, you nations, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And will return vengeance on His adversaries, And will atone for His land and His people.”
Paul also quoted this passage in Romans 15:10 after explaining how the white, Adamic, Genesis 10 nations were able to join Israel through faith in the Lord Jesus. Therefore, the martyrs consist of both Israelites and nations. Revelation 6:11 says,
And a white robe was given to each of them; and they were told that they were to rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers and sisters who were to be killed even as they had been, was completed also.
Revelation 7 speaks of “a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all the tribes, peoples, and languages” (v9) who “come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (v14) This “great multitude” is one and the same found in the fifth seal. As we have implied already, the seals represent the great tribulation itself, because the great tribulation is punishment for Israel — just like the scroll and seals. So it makes sense that the multitude “come out of the great tribulation,” because the martyrs came from the fifth seal.
Many Christians are confused by Revelation 7, because — as usual — they see the great tribulation as a future event. For some reason, to many Christian circles the great tribulation is represented by the seven trumpets of Revelation 8 – 9 — or the seven bowls of Revelation 16 — or both. The Scripture says nothing of the sort — and as we have shown, the great tribulation began directly after the time of Christ. Therefore, the martyrs “come out of the great tribulation.” As we have shown, history easily accounts for these martyrs.
The nations who were martyred for the sake of the Lord represent “the fullness of the nations” (Romans 11:25) referred to by Paul. He goes on to say once the fullness comes in, “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26) — including the remnant of Israel according to the flesh upon whom came “a partial hardening” (Romans 11:25).
Revelation 7 itself confirms this, as by this time, 144,000 Israelites are sealed. The passage makes clear how many people from the nations there are in relation to Israelites according to the flesh — something which should make any who consider themselves to be Israelites to fear and live up to the calling of the true Israel. The Lord says in Matthew 8:11-12,
11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 12 but the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness…
The parable of the marriage feast in Matthew 22:1-10 gives a similar impression — that few Israelites are saved in relation to the nations.
Recall how we stated that the purpose of the punishments — the great tribulation — is to produce a holy remnant of people? The connection between the fifth seal of Revelation 6 and Revelation 7 proves that a holy people were produced by these times — confirming the interpretation once again. In other words, the holy people of Revelation 7 are literally the product of the great tribulation — they “come out of the great tribulation.”
Furthermore, even some of the final remnant — alive in the very last days after the great tribulation — will be required to martyr themselves, as Revelation 14:13 says, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” This passage confirms where it says of the fifth seal, “rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers and sisters who were to be killed even as they had been, was completed also.”
SIXTH SEAL — TRANSITION
As we mentioned earlier, the plight of the martyrs of the fifth seal refers to Zechariah 1:12. Zechariah 1 and 2 elaborate far more as to the events which must necessarily follow their plight. We encourage a full reading of the two chapters, as they both are a single vision. Bear in mind the pattern of the vision — first Israel suffer desolation and punishment, then the Lord returns to destroy those who desolated Israel.
This very same pattern is everywhere in prophecy — the Scripture relates it so many times, we could scarcely cover it all. We would challenge any reader of Scripture to undertake a quick end-to-end reading of the major and minor prophets and see how many times this pattern reveals itself. It also presents itself in the law — in the blessings and curses — but also very notably Deuteronomy 32, which tells the whole story of Israel’s journey from beginning to end.
The seven seals of the Revelation are telling the exact same pattern — Israel receives punishment and refinement, followed by the Lord’s wrath against the nations. The fifth seal already began telling of the transition which was to take place in the martyr’s plea for vengeance — however, the sixth seal confirms the transition in earnest. It starts by summarizing the effects of the desolation which Israel suffered. Revelation 6:12 says,
And I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became as black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood
Immediately, this verse should bring to mind Acts 2:16-21 where Peter quotes Joel 2:28-32, saying in verse 20, “The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.” However, Peter refers to the prophecy as pertinent to his own time when he said in verse 16, “but this is what has been spoke” — the “this” here refers to the events which were apparent in the early church — Peter was saying that Joel 2:28-32 was for his own time.
Peter states that the sun turning to darkness and the moon into blood is for his own time — “the last days.” The sun turning to darkness represents the desolation of Israel — along with delusion and a lack of knowledge of God’s will. The moon represents men’s actions — whether they represent the sun — the knowledge of God’s will — or not. In this case, the moon is like blood, representing the murder committed by men against the servants of God.
This aligns perfectly with the delusion of the first seal and the martyrs of the fifth seal. It represents the activity across the entirety of the great tribulation and its result — the smashing of the power of the holy people. Peter himself — by virtue of quoting the prophecy and applying it to the early church — confirms that even the sixth seal represents activity which began in Peter’s time. Everything which proceeds from the seal represents the wrath of God on the nations resulting from their evil acts against Israel.
The book of Joel also creates a distinction between the black sun and blood moon which comes “before the great and awesome day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31) — and the black sun and black moon in Joel 3:15, which happens at the same time as the harvest in Joel 3:13. The harvest (Matthew 13:30) and the black sun and moon (Matthew 24:29) are each signs of the Lord’s return. Therefore, the blood moon happens some time before His return — as Joel 2:31, Acts 2 and the account in Revelation 6 specify.
Revelation 6:14 says,
13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up…
These two verses are quoting Isaiah 34:4 — the heavenly lights disappearing again represents the delusion upon the nations, while the rest speaks of their imminent destruction. If one would just read the entirety of Isaiah 34, we need not exposit this verse at all — as the reading would speak for itself. In summary, the chapter goes into detail about destruction against Edom — being used as a shadow and copy of the nations in general. Revelation 6:14 then follows with:
…and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
The removal of mountains — and “great earthquakes” as in Revelation 6:12 — are symbols of God’s imminent wrath and displays of His power. See Exodus 19:18, Psalm 18:7, Jeremiah 4:24, Jeremiah 10:10, Jeremiah 49:21, Jeremiah 50:46, Ezekiel 26:15, Ezekiel 31:16 and Nahum 1:5. Almost every instance of the imagery in prophecy is in the context of wrath against the nations. The imagery also highlights God’s promises to His people, as Isaiah 54:10 says,
For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My favor will not be removed from you, Nor will My covenant of peace be shaken,” Says the Lord who has compassion on you.
The interpretation we have presented here is confirmed in Hebrews 11:26-28,
26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” 27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let’s show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire.
Therefore, we do not expect a literal earthquake, but something far more severe — a shaking so violent, only the Kingdom of God will survive.
Revelation 6:15 continues,
Then the kings of the earth and the eminent people, and the commanders and the wealthy and the strong, and every slave and free person hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains;
This passage quotes Isaiah 2:19 — in which case we suggest a full reading of Isaiah 2, as it will give the best picture of Revelation 6:15. In summary, the chapter speaks in detail of the Lord’s reckoning with the nations, their fear and the wrath which they will suffer. Revelation 6:16-17 concludes,
16 and they said to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the sight of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17 for the great day of Their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
Verse 16 is quoting Hosea 10:8, but the context is no more evident that when the Lord quotes it in Luke 23:30-31,
30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
In verse 31 the Lord is likely referring to Ezekiel 20:47-48 — using a fire in the forest of Negev as a parable of God’s dealings with “all mankind”,
47 and say to the forest of the Negev, ‘Hear the word of the Lord: this is what the Lord God says: “Behold, I am going to kindle a fire in you, and it will consume every green [or moist] tree in you, as well as every dry tree; the blazing flame will not go out and the entire surface from south to north will be scorched by it. 48 And all mankind will see that I, the Lord, have kindled it; it will not go out.
When making a fire, the dry wood burns best. Moist or green wood needs extra heat because the moisture buffers the wood against the heat. Ezekiel 20:48 confirms that all the wood will be burned — whether moist or dry. In Luke 23:31 the Lord extends the parable — He likens Himself to green wood which is not apt for burning, just as He was punished in spite of being innocent. However dry wood is apt for burning — just as the wicked deserve their punishment.
The interpretation lines up with everything presented here so far — the great tribulation will produce a holy people through their own suffering. The holy people are the green wood which suffered to refine them, though they are ultimately not vessels of wrath — or wood meant for burning. In other words, the judgement against them is restorative — bringing them in line with God’s ways. However, there will come a time for the dry wood to be burned — the wicked who will suffer punitive judgement. To this end, Peter describes this phenomenon best in 1 Peter 4:12-19,
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though something strange were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that at the revelation of His glory you may also rejoice and be overjoyed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory, and of God, rests upon you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God are to entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
Restorative judgement began with the household of God — the first four seals of Revelation 6 — that the pure and holy people would be produced. We need that tribulation and judgement, because we are saved “with difficulty” — just as Paul said, “It is through many tribulations that we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) Yet the time will come “for those who do not obey the gospel of God” — like dry wood, they will be utterly consumed.
As Ezekiel 20:47 said, the fire would come upon all people — but as the Lord and Peter said, the first would come upon “the household of God,” and then “the godless man and the sinner” afterward. This is exactly what the sixth seal conveys — a foreboding transition of judgement from the godly to the ungodly — a pattern revealed incessantly throughout the prophets.
As a closing thought on the topic of the sixth seal, consider Revelation 10:10-11,
10 I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. 11 And they said to me, “You must prophesy again concerning many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.”
This passage refers to the very same transition. In verse 10 the scroll pertaining to Israel’s punishment and restorative judgement was opened by the Lord and eaten by John. In verse 11 he must prophecy again — referring to the punitive judgement about to come on the rest of the nations.
SEVENTH SEAL — DAY OF ATONEMENT
As we showed already, Revelation 7 details the product of the great tribulation — the 144,000 Israelites according to the flesh and multitude from the nations who will join Israel in eternity. The holy people have been produced — and so the last seal is broken in Revelation 8:1 — concluding their judgement. Revelation 8:3-5 relates a ceremony being conducted:
3 Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense ascended from the angel’s hand with the prayers of the saints before God. 5 Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and hurled it to the earth; and there were peals of thunder and sounds, and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
The altar referred to in this ceremony is none other than the altar of incense, which was a golden altar positioned inside the holy of holies — along with the ark of the covenant (Exodus 30:1-10). More specifically, offering incense using the coals from the altar itself is the ritual of the day of atonement (Leviticus 16) — a day in which the high priest was to make atonement for the sins of all Israel.
Furthermore, Revelation 7:1-3 refers to Ezekiel 9, where obedient Israelites were marked to be saved from execution — again referring to imminent punitive judgement upon godless sinners. Following that, it says in Ezekiel 10:2,
And He spoke to the man clothed in linen and said, “Enter between the whirling wheels under the cherubim and fill your hands with coals of fire from between the cherubim, and scatter them over the city.” And he entered in my sight.
Incidentally, we have the same pattern between Revelation 7 and 8. In Ezekiel 10 the “man clothed in linen” — a reference to the Lord Jesus (Daniel 10:5) — scattered the coals. It was the high priest’s duty to conduct the day of atonement, and the Lord Jesus Himself is our High Priest forever — in “the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made by hands” (Hebrews 9:11) being represented in the Revelation starting in chapter 4. So we conclude that the angel in Revelation 8:3 conducting the ceremony also represents the Lord Jesus.
We also see a similar ceremony in Isaiah 6:6-7,
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your guilt is taken away and atonement is made for your sin.”
We see the same in Numbers 16:46-48,
46 And Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put fire in it from the altar, and place incense on it; then bring it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone out from the Lord, the plague has begun!” 47 Then Aaron took it just as Moses had spoken, and he ran into the midst of the assembly; and behold, the plague had begun among the people. So he put on the incense and made atonement for the people. 48 And he took his stand between the dead and the living, so that the plague was brought to a halt.
In the same way that Aaron — high priest — took his stand between the dead and the living, so the Lord Jesus took His stand between the dead and the living, bringing the great tribulation to a halt and guaranteeing eternal life for all God’s chosen.
Even though it doesn’t form part of the scope of this essay, we cannot go by Revelation 8 without noting how the prayers offered by the saints on the altar form the incense which goes up to God. These prayers are a crucial part of the heavenly fulfillment of the day of atonement. Therefore, we who want to be partakers of the Kingdom of God must all become very comfortable with prayer.
Remember how the martyrs in the fifth seal were “underneath the altar” (Revelation 6:9) — whereas those who are alive during the heavenly fulfillment of this event are “on the golden altar” (Revelation 8:3). Blood was always poured out at the base of the altar during a sin offering (Exodus 29:12), so the martyrs very lives are a sin offering — or possibly a drink offering as Paul refers to it (2 Timothy 4:6).
In the same way, those who will be alive during the final atonement for Israel and all of God’s chosen will live their lives as if their very bodies are sacrifices to the Lord God. Only with this mindset will the breaking of the seventh seal — and final atonement for Israel — and our restorative judgement be completed.
WHEN DID THE END TIMES BEGIN?
Many of us have been tempted to believe that when the apostles said it was the “end times” or “last days” that they got it wrong — merely because the Lord Jesus did not return during their own lives. As we have stated, they were not wrong at all — the “end times” and great tribulation began as early as 70AD.
Many of us are also tempted to believe that because the end times began as early as 70AD, that somehow they are all completed — ignoring that they culminate with the return of the Lord Jesus. He will be “coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27), “just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west” (Matthew 24:27) — something which no-one will miss or mistake for something else.
Yet for the very last days to come — and the return of the Lord Jesus — Christians must live as if they are living sacrifices and as if the Lord’s return could be any moment. If there is a shortage of Christians living their lives that way, the coming of the Lord Jesus will only be delayed longer and longer. The early church and apostles were 100% correct in the way they lived their lives — eagerly hastening the day of the Lord.
The length of the end times confuses most of us. Yet even the Lord Jesus did not know how long it was going to take. He knew only what needed to be done — break the seals and produce a holy people. He knows that the seventh seal and great atonement will not happen until the crop permits (Mark 4:29). In theory, not much needed to be done. In practice we see that “end times” represents a very long time — and that is the only way all Scriptures on the end times are able to be true simultaneously.
Here we are almost two thousand years later — and Peter told us that “with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day” (1 Peter 3:8). With this statement alone, we ought not to be confused by the passage of time. We do not experience time as the Lord does, so we should not be surprised by his iron-clad patience.
At the very least, the first five seals have been opened — the sixth as well, depending how you see things. The seals were opened a relatively short time after the Lord Jesus’ ascension — the fourth seal marking the beginning of the great tribulation. Our last two thousand years of history certainly do show a time “such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world” (Matthew 24:21) — and is that even deniable?
Through being jaded to our own history as white people, we may not have realized that yet. We do not know how many times the fate of our people hung on the precipice when battling the Huns, the Arabs and the Mongols. We do not know the horror wrought by the Black Death — families watching loved ones literally cough their lungs out — or bleeding to death from the inside — dying in a matter of days, devastating roughly a third of the population of Europe. What about being shelled while breathing mustard gas in the trenches of World War 2? Or the firebombing and mass rape of German people in its aftermath?
These events are nothing short of Biblical in proportion, yet we are deluded into thinking they are not Biblical simply because we are able to give a “secular explanation” for all of them. In the last two thousand years, our people have suffered horrors the likes of which ancient peoples could not even imagine and write about in their epic tales. These events are being systematically erased from our minds in favor of Hollywood media — or we are too busy worry about Satan squeezing our material lives — keeping us entertained, docile and angry.
Media and politics keep us bracing for something in the future — keeping us ignorant of our present and past. Many Christian circles are stuck trying to rationalize end time events in the context of what they are told — or what they fear. In practice, they try to interpret end times while fixated on Satan’s pantomime — and that’s exactly how he likes it. We as true Christians interpret the end times in the context of our duty as Christians, which transcends the fear of the world.
We understand that there is work to be done, because we are in the end times — just as all have suffered the end times for the last two thousand years. We understand that being a Christian in the end times comes with a duty to hasten the coming day of the Lord Jesus, which ought to be our sole focus. There is nothing the world is throwing at us currently which should take our attention off of our true mission, so we really have no excuse.
It’s almost as if the “burden of the day… and scorching heat” (Matthew 20:12) is over, and we are workers who have been hired at the end of the day — as evening draws nigh. Yet simultaneously, we live in an unprecedented darkness — both for our minds and for the physical continuance of our Adamic people.
In Matthew 12:38-42, the Lord said that the Ninevites and the Queen of the South would rise up against the generation of His own time on earth because they repented despite not even having the Lord Jesus with them. We ourselves live spiritually in the deep darkness of night, as Satan captures the minds of our children from when they leave the womb. Let us rise up against all other generations — being known as those who sought the Lord Jesus’ return from within the deepest night.
If it is God’s will, let us be those who work in the eleventh hour — away from the heat of the day — but within the delusion of night. Either way — if we fail, some future generation will accomplish what we could not.