The Seven Seals Judgments

The first judgments of the seven-year Tribulation Period are the seven seal judgments John saw in chapter six of the book of Revelation. These judgments are just the beginning of the most terrible time the earth will have ever experienced. This time will last until Jesus Christ returns to earth to set up His messianic kingdom. I want to point out that the first series of events closely parallel what Jesus Christ said would be the signs of the end. Chapter 24 of the Gospel of Matthew lists these signs. Below each of the quoted scriptures from Revelation on this page I will write the corresponding signs given by Jesus in Matthew. Please note that I will maintain the order of these signs as given by Jesus as well as the order of the Book of Revelation.

The First Seal

"1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. " (Revelation 6:1-2)

"4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." (Matthew 24:4-5)

Some scholars believe that this rider on the white horse is the Antichrist. Notice that even though he has a bow for a weapon he has no arrows to shoot. This could be a reference to the peace treaty that he will make with the Jews and Gentiles. No war will be involved in his conquering of the world. The world will receive him as the man with the answers to humanity's problems. This would fulfill Jesus' prophecy that false Christs or Messiahs will appear at the end.

How will it be possible for the Antichrist to come to such a position of power in the world without conquering it by force? I believe the Bible gives us two methods he will use to attain this power.

 The Prophet Daniel mentions several times a descriptive phrase of the Antichrist (or "little horn" as he calls him): [The Antichrist has] a mouth speaking great things"; "I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spoke"; "and a mouth that spoke very great things" (Daniel 7:8; 11; 20) The Antichrist is going to be an orator the likes of which the world has never seen. Something similar has happened in our recent history.

In 1920, Adolph Hitler took over a political party that had around fifty members. By 1940 the membership of the Nazi Party numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Millions more in Germany and around the world believed in him. This was all do to the fact that Adolph Hitler was a mesmerizing orator. Because of this ability millions of people died during World War II.

The other method revolves around the Antichrist and his administration's ability to perform lying wonders and miracles. The apostle Paul said concerning the Antichrist: "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders." (2 Thessalonians 2:9) Later in Revelation we will read of the Antichrist's right-hand man who also will have this ability: "13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast [i.e., Antichrist]." (Revelation 13:13-14)

So the world will indeed be enchanted with this false messiah who will speak great words to their ears. When they see the lying wonders they will think that God Himself has come down to earth.

The Second Seal

"3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword." (Revelation 6:3-4)

"6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom..." (Matthew 24:6-7a)

As Daniel said, by peace he "shall destroy many". After the Antichrist deceives the world, he will then raise an army with weapons and will cause a world war. The Book of Revelation states: "4 And they worshipped the dragon [i.e., Satan] which gave power unto the beast [i.e., Antichrist]: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him...7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." (Revelation 13:4,7)

The Third Seal

"5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." (Revelation 6:5-6)

"...and there shall be famines..." (Matthew 24:7b)

This passage in Revelation is saying that people on the earth will spend great amounts of money to buy food (it lists a day's wages for the First Century here). In Germany after World War I, it took millions of German marks to buy a loaf of bread. In the future Tribulation Period famine from the war will be worldwide.

The Fourth Seal

"7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth." (Revelation 6:7-8)

"...and pestilences, and earthquakes, in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows."(Matthew 24:7c-8)

The current population of the earth is around six billion people. If these events took place in the next few years, more than 1.5 billion people would be killed. The death and destruction from this war will result in the spread of diseases from all the dead bodies lying around. Animals will be running loose and will be so hungry they will start attacking human beings. If numerous nuclear weapons are involved in this war it could result in an increase in earthquake and volcanic activity.

The Fifth Seal

"9 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: 10 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? 11 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 6:9-11)

"9 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. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 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 24:9-14)

During this Tribulation Period, the Antichrist and his followers will persecute those who believe in Jesus Christ. He will kill many for their beliefs during this time as John saw in heaven. Jesus said that those who endure to the end will be saved.

The Sixth Seal

"12 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; 13 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. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 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; 16 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: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? " (Revelation 6:12-17)

"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)

Cosmic events will take place possibly as a result of a worldwide nuclear holocaust or by the hand of God. The world will finally know that they have worshiped a false god. But instead of turning to the true God they will try to hide from Him. The horrific part for the world is that this is just the "beginning of sorrows".

The 144,000 Jewish Evangelists

In chapter 7 of the Book of Revelation, God stops the flow of events that John saw taking place during the Tribulation Period to show him two unique groups of His servants.

The first group consists of 144,000 Jews from the tribes of Israel who are living on the earth during the Tribulation Period. These cannot be Gentiles because John specifically mentions twelve Jewish tribes as the origin of these persons. Gentiles are not descended from the tribes of Israel.

God does something special with these Jewish servants of His. An angel of God tells four other angels who were carrying out the judgments on the earth during the Tribulation Period to stop until God can protect these Jews from harm:

"3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.." (Revelation 7:3-4)

The angel is to put the seal of God on the 144,000 Jewish servants of the Lord, which will protect them from the judgments that are to come with the opening of the seventh seal. Later in Revelation we will see that the Antichrist also requires his followers to receive a mark on their foreheads or right hands. To be a servant of God after the first coming of Jesus Christ means that you believe in Jesus as the Messiah and that you live your life according to His will. During the Tribulation these Jewish servants will be fulfilling God's will by evangelizing the people who are living on the earth at that time. These servants may have accepted Jesus as their Savior after witnessing the first few seal judgments of God. The second unique group in chapter 7 of Revelation is the result of the preaching of these Jewish servants.

After witnessing this sealing of God's servants, John saw a much larger number of persons in heaven:

"9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb...13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Revelation 7:9-10, 13-14)

A heavenly elder told John that the blood of the Lamb had saved this multitude of people during the Great Tribulation Period. Since this episode occurred right after the sealing of the Jewish servants the logical conclusion is that it was their preaching that led to the salvation of many of this multitude. As mentioned earlier in this chapter, the Antichrist and his followers will persecute and kill the followers of Jesus Christ. They will be extremely successful in this persecution during the Tribulation Period as John states that those saved and killed were too many to count.

After this interlude in the future events that John was witnessing, he now starts again with the opening of the seventh seal.

The Seventh Seal

"1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. 5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. 6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound." (Revelation 8:1-6)

Pre-Wrath Tribulationists say that the Rapture takes place at this moment because they believe this is when God begins to pour out His full wrath upon the earth and its inhabitants. The fact that John mentions that there was silence for half an hour does indicate that something, the likes of which have never been seen on earth, is about to happen.

The seventh seal starts the upheaval in the earth's weather patterns. This is in response to the prayers of the saints of God in which His justice would finally come upon the earth: "I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 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 6:9-10)

This also allows seven angels to prepare to blow their respective trumpets that will bring further judgments upon the earth.


Back to Timeline