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A. In this article we will discuss the fifth and sixth seal judgments that “the Lamb, “Christ,” unleashes upon the earth (vv 7, 9). It is important to remember that Christ is responsible for these judgments being poured out on the unbelievers that are left behind from the rapture. Christ is no longer seen as the “Lamb of God;” per John 1:29, ““Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Christ has become “the Lion of the tribe of Judah,” per Rev 5:5, “behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.”
B. The opening video shows people whom were left behind from the rapture, and have come to saving faith in Christ. These tribulation saints are seen being martyred at the hands of the forces of the antichrist. The “2012” at the end of the video is irrelevant.
1. In the video we see the superimposed words of Matthew 24:13, as follows: “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” [Consider the MSB note on vs 13: endures to the end . . . be saved. Cf. 10:22. The ones who persevere are the same ones who are saved. This does not suggest that our perseverance secures our salvation. Scripture everywhere teaches precisely the opposite: God, as part of His saving work, secures our perseverance.]. The words of Matthew 24 were spoken by Christ to Jews about the conditions that will confront Jews during the Tribulation through the forces of the antichrist; these will be Jews that will be left behind from the rapture. The persecution of the antichrist will also come against Gentiles who are left behind and come to saving faith in Christ.
2. Daniel 9:27 tells us that the antichrist will make a treaty with Israel, which marks the beginning of the Tribulation. Midway through the seven-year Tribulation the antichrist will break that covenant, which will be the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Revelation 12:7-17 tells us about the resulting attack that Satan makes on Israel. Revelation 12:6 tells us that Israel will flee from the forces of the antichrist for three and a half years, which will be until the Battle of Armageddon (Rev 19:11-21). In Matthew 24:15-20 Christ tells about the Jews fleeing from the antichrist during the Tribulation, which corresponds to Rev 12:6. The reason for the contents of this paragraph is to show that Jews, in total, will be the target of the antichrist throughout all of the Tribulation. The events of the opening video, and Matthew 24:13, relate to all Jews whom are left behind from the rapture, regardless of whether those Jews have will have accepted Christ as Messiah, or not.
II. Translation Considerations. “The New American Standard Bible (NASB) translation was chosen for this, and other studies, because of two main reasons. First, the NASB capitalizes the first letter of pronouns that relate to God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit); not all Bible translations show that same respect for God. Second, the NASB has a history of correctness in translation.”
III. Text: Revelation 6:9-17.
The Fifth Seal—Martyrs
9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 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 dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.
The Sixth Seal—Terror
12 I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16 and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence 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?”
IV. Comments. (MSB=MacArthur Study Bible; NAC = New American Commentary; RSB=Ryrie Study Bible; WRC= Walvoord Commentary).
A. 6:9-11 (NAC)
1. “the souls of those who had been slain.” These are the souls of those who have been slain because of their testimony to Christ, and because of their adherence to the word of God remain in a disembodied state, until all of the saints who are to be killed in the Tribulation have completed their destiny.
2. ““How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” They are asking how long before all of these things will be completed.
3. “there was given to each of them a white robe.” The white robe assigned each of these martyr-spirits as a pledge of future and final glory, and a consoling proof that no judgment awaited them.
B. 12-17. (MSB)
1. 6:12. sixth seal. The force described in this seal is overpowering fear (cf. Luke 21:26). While the first 5 seals will result from human activity that God used to accomplish His purposes, at this point He begins direct intervention (cf. Matt. 24:29; Luke 21:25). The previous 5 seals will be precursors to the full fury of the day of the Lord which will begin with the sixth seal (v. 17). The events described in this seal unleash the seventh, which contains the trumpet judgments (chaps. 8, 9; 11:15ff.) and the bowl judgments (chap. 16). “great earthquake.” There have been many earthquakes prior to this (Matt. 24:7), but this will be more than an earthquake. All the earth’s faults will begin to fracture simultaneously, resulting in a cataclysmic, global earthquake. “moon became like blood.” Accompanying the earthquake will be numerous volcanic eruptions; and large amounts of ash and debris will be blown into the earth’s atmosphere, blackening the sun and giving the moon a blood-red hue (cf. Zech. 14:6, 7).
2. 6:13. “stars of heaven fell.” The word “stars” can refer to any celestial body, large or small, and is not limited to normal English usage. The best explanation is a massive asteroid or meteor shower. “late figs.” Winter figs that grow without the protection of leaves and are easily blown from the tree.
3. 6:14. “sky receded as a scroll.” The earth’s atmosphere will be somehow dramatically affected and the sky as we know it disappears (cf. Is. 34:4). “every mountain and island was moved.” Under the stress created by the global earthquake, great segments of the earth’s plates will begin to slip and shift, realigning whole continents.
4. 6:16. “wrath of the Lamb.” Earth’s inhabitants will recognize for the first time the source of all their trouble (see note on 9:6). Incredibly, prior to this they will be living life as usual (Matt. 24:37–39).
5. 6:17. “great day.” The sixth seal will commence what the prophets call “the Day of the Lord.”
1. 6:11. “rest for a little while longer.” I.e., wait a little while. It is difficult for these martyrs to understand why God would allow their murderers to live; yet, God asks these saints to trust Him.
2. 6:12. These cosmic disturbances are predicted elsewhere in scripture (Isa 34:4; Joel 2:30-31; Matt 24:29).
3. 6:16. When the Tribulation comes, men will act as if they believe the end of the world is at hand, not simply talk as if it were.
6:17. “Who shall be able to stand?” The answer is obvious: Only those who avail themselves of the grace of God, even though they suffer a martyr’s death in this future tragic period. This is brought out in the next chapter. The given revelation emphasizes the importance of partaking of the grace of God in this present age with the bright prospect of the Lord coming for His own.
A. It is important to know that all of the individuals that are mentioned in the Tribulation are Jew and Gentile unbelievers whom were left behind from the rapture of the church (John 14:2,3,6; 1 Cor 15:50-54; 1 Thes 4:13-18). As I have mentioned in previous articles, the purpose of the Tribulation is to draw unbelieving Israel to saving faith in Christ. Unbelieving Gentiles will be blessed by the judgments that are being poured out on the Jews, and Gentiles. Without the tribulation, all unbelievers would have an appointment with Rev 20:15. It will be through the judgments of the Tribulation that unbelieving Jews and Gentiles will bypass the Great White Throne Judgment (for unbelievers) of Rev 20:15, and proceed to the Eternal State of the new heavens, new earth and new Jerusalem (Rev 21:1-3), where they will spend eternity with God. However, those whom come to faith in Christ during the Tribulation will most likely be martyred by the forces of the antichrist.
B. In Genesis Chapters 1 and 2, we see perfection in the creation of God. Whether it was human, animal or natural, there was no flaw present. “There was not a tear to be shed. Neither was there death or mourning or crying or pain,” as will be the condition of the eternal state (Rev 21:4). There were no natural phenomena of disasters; alligators didn’t eat little dogs. But, the perfection that we see in the opening two chapters of Genesis ended with the sin of Adam and Eve. The resulting curse brought about death and flaw, in human, animal and natural. During the Tribulation we see the result of the curse being used by God to draw unbelieving mankind back to the fellowship that was present between God and mankind in the Genesis account of creation, before the onset of the fall and curse. As we view the world now, and later in the Tribulation, we can see that the flawed world “of human, animal and natural,” is not what God had planned for His creation. All of the perfection of Genesis Chapters 1-2 is gone. Such perfection will be present in a limited capacity during the Kingdom Age of the millennial reign of Christ, but will be just as perfect in the Eternal State, as it was in the creation of God (Revelation 21:5, ” “Behold, I am making all things new.”).
VI. Additional information on Rev 6:9-17 can be found in a sermon of Dr. Andy Woods (Th.M., J.D., Ph.D.).
A. See YouTube: Revelation Episode 24. God’s Perfect Timing. Revelation 6:9-17
B. Dr. Andy Woods has a law degree from Whittier College and a PhD in Bible Exposition from Dallas Theological Seminary. He was a Full-Professor of Bible and Theology at the College Biblical Studies in Houston, TX (2009-2016). He is currently the President of Chafer Theological Seminary and Pastor of Sugar Land Bible Church. Andy also speaks on a variety of topics at Christian Conferences worldwide. Credentials of Dr. Woods can be found on my Equipping Site Page, “About Sources.” I encourage everyone to purchase Andy’s book, “The Coming Kingdom (Andrew M. Woods). Andy’s teachings provide provide a great deal of understanding of the Bible.
VII. Video Details Of This Article.
A. Revelation Martyrs.
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