Monday, October 01, 2007

Seals, Trumpets and Bowls: Chronological or Concurrent?

Some claim that the events of the seals, trumpets and bowls overlap and take place concurrently. I don’t think that this is the case, and here are a few reasons why I believe they take place chronologically.

"When the Lamb broke the seventh trumpets were given to them (angels). Rev 8:1-2

I don't know how we can get around this clear timing indicator. Now notice the order that’s displayed when we read verse one and jump ahead to continue to read about the beginning of the trumpet judgments.

"When the Lamb broke the seventh seal...then the angel took the censer and filled it...and the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them (Rev. 8:1, 5, 6)

Also, the seals are not just simply seals without a purpose. They are on a scroll and are used for the sealing of it. It is only upon the removal of the final seal that the opening of the scroll may take place so that the contents may be viewed. What could be inside the scroll other than the wrath of God?

This thought lines up perfectly with the fact that we are “not destined for wrath.” When we take into account that Christ comes after the sixth seal to gather His Church it seems quite obvious why we see the wrath of God displayed in the judgments of the seven trumpets that follow the seven seals.

And I don't think that it's a coincidence that upon breaking the seventh seal there is a silence in heaven for half an hour (Rev. 8:1). It appears to me to be a solemn period where all of heaven recognizes that it’s going to hit the fan. They are in awe and they are sobered by the power of the coming wrath.

If the events of the seals, trumpets and bowls take place at the same time we should expect to have complete harmony, but there are many conflicts that arise when things are inspected under a magnifying glass. One such conflict occurs when the second trumpet is compared to the second bowl. When the second trumpet is blown one third of the sea creatures die (Rev. 8:8-9), but when the second bowl is poured Revelation 16:3 says that “every living thing in the sea died.” I desire more accuracy than this in order to believe these two events take place in similar timing.

Plus, an internet friend of mine presented a good argument to me the other day. In Revelation 7:3, after the sixth seal has been removed and the “earthdwellers” have hidden from the presence of the Lamb (6:14-17), we see it said:

"Don't harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants."

Remember, this is said after the sixth seal but before the seventh. Well, when we read about the first four trumpets (8:7-12) we see that the judgment associated with them is entirely about harming the earth, the sea and the trees. Why would it be said during the sixth seal to not harm the earth, sea and trees if they were already harmed previously by the first four trumpets that paralleled the first four seals?! It wouldn’t. I think this shows clear order.

What I see being portrayed is this:

"Hold back the four winds and don't harm the earth until the bond-servants are sealed. Okay, they're sealed. Now you may harm. Blow the first four trumpets to harm the earth, sea and trees."

And notice in Revelation 7:1 that it's four angels holding back the four winds so as to not harm the earth, the sea and the trees. Then we see four angels blowing four trumpets that harm the earth, sea and trees (8:7-12). Are they the same four angels? It certainly sounds like it to me, and seems to add further proof to the above thoughts. If they are the same four it only makes perfect sense that they would be told to hold back the earth harming judgments, or to not blow the trumpets, until the bondservants are sealed and it is time for them to sound their trumpets that initiate the wrath of God via the Day of the Lord.


Anonymous said...

But, Dave, the antichrist only has authority for 42 months. A natural reading would bring his demise at the end of that 42 month period. He is alive and well during the bowls, so some refining must happen with your position.\

Overall, I like the post, though.

Have fun and stay busy - Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

SocietyVs said...

If I am reading that correctly I am guessing you think all the Christians (I am also guessing at only this group) will be removed prior to 'God's wrath'?

I think the thing about revelation that is a struggle for me is that no one ever harmonizes this letter correctly (there has to be at least 100's of variations over 100's of years). At some point we see that something does not line up with the interpretation - and to be honest - I haven't looked deeply enough into it to have a solid view of the whole thing.

My closest assumption is if John wrote it - he wrote it for his generation in symbology we don't understand very clearly - but his community would have (perhaps about Roman society and oppression?).

I think what you do is interesting, to say the least, heck I still watch Jack Van Impe - this can be fascinating. It's a lot of guesswork - and guesswork that pays off very little in the hands of most skilled theologians - what makes you think your interpretation has merit? It's an honest question.

Raul Delgado said...

I agree with you. You know, for the Pre-Trib. proponent, who insists that God's Day of Wrath begins with the opening of the first Seal, they need to consider the fact that the 144,000 are Sealed (for protection) after the 6th Seal is opened, just before the 7th Seal, which contains or reveals the Day of the Lord or Wrath. If the Day of Wrath began with the opening of the first Seal as Pre-Trib. argues, than you would think that the 144,000 would have been Sealed before the opening of the first Seal.

Gone Fishin' said...

But, Orange Mailman...:o) Why don't you email me your best scenario that shows why the trumpets and bowls overlap?


Gone Fishin' said...

Societyvs>I think what you do is interesting, to say the least...<


Societyvs>heck I still watch Jack Van Impe...<

As Dr. Phil would say, "How's that workin' for ya?!" Grin.

Societyvs. >It's a lot of guesswork - and guesswork that pays off very little in the hands of most skilled theologians<

Pays off very little? If I'm wrong about everything I've ever concluded it's still one of the best and most profitable ventures I've taken in the Scriptures. I have gains so much clarity concerning God, His ways, His character, grace, vengeance, etc. There is MUCH more to eschatology that simply trying to time things out.

For one thing, it's VERY clear that the Church will not escape the future suffering. The tribulation MUST come before Christ comes to take us home, yet we are told to YEARN for His return. Most don't yearn and long for his return even if they believe in a pre-trib rapture, but let's see the average Joe long for His appearance knowing full well that the Antichrist will cause the greatest suffering the world has ever seen before Jesus returns.

I KNOW I will suffer greatly IF it happens is my lifetime, but still, I cannot wait to see Him come for me. This is one of many examples of inner growth that has come because of my ridiculous amount of hours in the subject.

Societyvs>what makes you think your interpretation has merit? It's an honest question.<

Because the MAJOR points fit precisely in my opinion, but I think that is something that you will have to find out for yourself through reading my thoughts and digging into the Bible for yourself. There's really no other way other than for each person to dive in and just do it. So what are you waiting for?!


Gone Fishin' said...

That's a great point, Raul. I had never thought of the 144,000 issue from that perspective. You have one-upped me today!


Raul Delgado said...

Actually, I borrowed that from someone else (ha-ha). So, I can't take full credit. But, anyway, that sure is something to ask a pre-tribber. Although, I'm sure that most won't concede the point, and instead they'll put a spin to it and then continue with the same old arguments.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

As a Post-tribulationalist I came to realise that my entire system depended upon the seals covering the entire Seventieth Week period.

Now that I have come to question that conclusion, the Pre-Wrath view makes more sense.

PWTribune said...

That is GREAT Dyspraxic Fundamentalist! I mean, it doesn't always feel great when we feel that we have been wrong, but it's an encouragement to me if my work helps anyone a bit.

But at the same time, I'm not as opposed to post-trib as some are. I don't think it's correct, and I think that it shows some weakness in a persons interpretation skills, but in the end it will cause absolutely no harm to a person that believes it, in my opinion. You are not in the dark assumption that you will avoid suffering as a post-tribber so it doesn't have that attached to it as does the pre-trib or preterist position.

Keep up the study and please come back and comment.


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