"The Book of Revelation, An Eschatological Study of the Endtimes", by Chad J. McCoy
THE FIFTH SEAL -
Rev. 6:9-11: When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.
As the fifth seal is opened, John sees an altar. The Amplified Bible says that the souls he saw were "at the foot of the altar".
But regardless of whether they were at the foot of the altar or under the altar, these souls are identified as people who were killed "because of the Word of God and because of the stand they had taken". (New American Standard Bible)
While most souls are sent to Hades when they die, it appears as if those slain for Christ's sake are given a special place at the altar by the throne of God.
They ask God at this point when he will judge the ones who killed them, and avenge their deaths.
They are given white robes, which are symbols of righteousness and holiness, which they have earned.
They were then told to wait patiently just a little longer.
God has a plan. He is counting the number of those who are being killed for believing in Him. When the slain reach a certain number, a number that only He knows, then will He judge the earth.
Notice that nothing is loosed upon the earth at this point. No more horses or riders, or judgements, or disasters. This does not mean that the four horsemen have ceased from their patrol; just that nothing further is unleashed upon the earth at this time.
The opening of the fifth seal is the ceremony that heralds the issuing of the white robes unto the holy martyrs.
There is nothing that happens on earth that will allow us to know when this happens. We will know that it has taken place only when the sixth seal is opened.
THE SIXTH SEAL -
Rev. 6:12-17, 7:1-17: I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14 The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face 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 can stand?"
7 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: 3 "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." 4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
5 From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,
from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,
from the tribe of Gad 12,000,
6 from the tribe of Asher 12,000,
from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,
from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,
7 from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,
from the tribe of Levi 12,000,
from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,
8 from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,
from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,
from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.
9 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
"Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb."
11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
13 Then one of the elders asked me, "These in white robes-who are they, and where did they come from?"
14 I answered, "Sir, you know."
And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore,
"they are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.
16 Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat upon them,
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
he will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
The first thing that happens after the opening of the sixth seal is a great earthquake.
There is reason to believe that this earthquake may be world-wide. Along with this earthquake, several other things occur, (which I will get into shortly) and afterwards the bible says that the kings, princes, generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and free man tries to hide in caves and in the mountains.
When the bible says every slave and free man, it has effectively said "everyone in the world". Everyone can be put in one of those two categories. You are either one or the other. You cannot NOT be one of the two.
In addition to this earthquake, we read that the sun will turn black. This is clear that it means the sun will darken completely. Somewhere on this earth, it is always day. But at this time, wherever the sun is, it will be darkened, and become night.
The moon will turn blood red.
Stars will fall to the earth violently. We are sure of the violence, because the bible says they will fall to the earth in the same way that figs drop from the fig trees when they are shaken by a strong wind. If a great windstorm is shaking trees, the figs are torn off from their branches violently, and hurled to the ground. In the same manner, so will these stars fall to earth.
Now I looked up this word "star" in the original Greek language. Normally I don't do this sort of thing, but I know that if even one star, (let alone many stars) hit the earth, this world would be vaporized. The heat of a star is such that all life on this earth would be destroyed long before the star could ever actually hit us. This couldn't be actual stars - common sense says so. So in order to find out what it could be, I went to the original language.
This word star, in the Greek, is "aster" meaning "a strewn star". This word "aster" has its origin in the word "stroo", meaning "to spread - as a carpet; as in making a bed; furnishing; spread; strew". In other words, a spreading star.
It's amazing how much the Greek word "aster" looks like our word "asteroid". The flavor of the word (spreading, as if to spread out a carpet or bed) paints a picture of what we would call a shooting star, or maybe a comet.
So it's not stars, as we know them, that hit the earth (even the smallest star would incinerate the earth), but asteroids, or meteors, or what we would call "shooting stars".
The bible says that the sky rolled up like a scroll. I don't have much experience with scrolls, but projector screens were used a lot in the 70's and 80's. I can imagine the sky rolling up like one of those projector screens when you pulled on its cord.
What exactly does this mean? Think about the changes that are taking place here. The sun turns dark. The moon turns red. Asteroids begin impacting the earth. All of these changes happen so quickly, that to one who happens to be watching the sky at this precise instant, it will appear as if the sky is rolling up like a projector screen.
Think about it: One instant you have daylight. In the next, darkness overtakes the earth.
Normally, darkness comes up gradually, creeping over the land as it turns from late evening to early night. But this darkness is going to hit instantly; so quickly in fact, that it will appear as if the sky, or the daylight just scrolls up and away, and is gone.
In addition to all of these things, the bible says that every - (read it, EVERY) mountain and island is moved. This gives further credence to the idea that the earthquake that hits will be world-wide.
When all of this happens, everyone on earth will know what has happened: that this is the Wrath of the Lamb.
When the sun turns dark in the middle of the day, when the moon turns blood red, when asteroids start hitting the ground, when a world-wide earthquake hits… people only have to go as far as the nearest bible to find answers. When this happens, people will know that the disasters were sent by God.
After this, four angels take up positions at the four corners of the earth. In other words, the north, south, east, and west. They are keeping the wind from blowing across the earth even the slightest little bit.
It appears that these are fallen angels, for two reasons. Reason one is the fact that another angel comes up from the east, and John describes this angel as having the seal of the living God. He didn't describe the first four angels in this manner. That would lead us to believe that he didn't describe them as having the seal of God because they didn't have the seal of God. What kind of angel would not have the seal of God? Fallen angels.
Reason two is the fact that they were given power to harm the land and sea; in effect, the whole world. It is true that in the past, angels have been used of God to do damage. But they have always been acting on God's express orders.
Exodus 33:2 : I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.
In this passage, the Lord says he will send an angel ahead of the children of Israel, who will drive out the people from the land. How did the angel drive them out? Perhaps with violence? Maybe. But if so, the angel is doing it because God ordered him to drive them out.
Numbers 22:23 : When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.
Numbers 22:31 : Then the LORD opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.
This angel was sent to kill Balaam. If Balaam's donkey hadn't moved out of the way of the angel, Balaam would have been killed. Again, this angel was sent by God.
2nd Samuel 24:16,17: When the angel stretched out his hand to destroy Jerusalem, the LORD was grieved because of the calamity and said to the angel who was afflicting the people, "Enough! Withdraw your hand." The angel of the LORD was then at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 17 When David saw the angel who was striking down the people, he said to the LORD, "I am the one who has sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Let your hand fall upon me and my family."
As you can see here, this angel was destroying Jerusalem. He was doing it at the order of God, and he stopped at the order of God.
You can look up other instances of "destroying angels" for yourself, and you will see that they act on the order of God.
These four angels in Revelation are not told by God to harm the earth, or to harm the water. They are given permission to do so, but not orders to do so. This makes me think, combined with the lack of the seal of God, that these are fallen angels. God has given Satan permission to do as he will with the earth, but He has not given Satan orders to destroy it, or its people. Satan has permission, not a directive.
Job 1:9 : The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger."
God gives Satan permission to do what he wants with Job's possessions, but orders him… what? Not to harm Job. He doesn't order all of the tragedy that befell Job, but he allowed it to happen. There is a difference.
Satan's angels all share the goal of destroying God's creations, whether that be people or the earth itself. This is what they want to do. They don't need orders from God to engage in these activities. They will do these things as much as they are able. All they need is permission.
Holy angels, on the other hand, do not have this same motivation. They live to carry out the commands of God. So if God commands them to destroy a city, they will do so. They will not do this any time they feel like it. They are ministering spirits, first and foremost. They are not destroying spirits. They will cause destruction only if God orders it.
Hebrews 1:14: Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?
And that is the difference between these four angels that are holding back the winds and the holy angel with the seal of God. These four angels are not told to harm the earth, they are given permission. That says to me that these are demons.
Does it matter to us, whether these angels are holy or evil? Not really. We know that the wind will cease to blow upon the earth. It doesn't make much difference to us WHO is doing it.
What IS important, is that we see the angel with the seal of God tell these other four to wait. Although they had been given permission to destroy the earth, they were told they could not begin until 144,000 Jews were sealed with the seal of God.
There has already been much destruction upon the earth by this time, but it has been done by the horses of the seals, or by God himself, here in the sixth seal. (The earthquake, meteors, sun, and moon disturbances were not caused by a horse and rider - evidently this was accomplished by the hand of God himself.)
However, these angels are going to be allowed to unleash even more disaster upon the world. This earth is not going to be a very pleasant place to be.
So the 144,000 Jews are given the seal of the Living God, and we can then conclude that the four demons are given permission to begin their reign of terror.
In heaven, John sees a huge crowd of people appear. They are clothed in white robes, and are holding palm branches as they give praise to God and the Lamb.
One of the elders asks John - "Who are all these people, and where did they come from?"
John says "You know." In other words he says "I have no idea. You tell me."
The elder answers by saying that these are believers who have come out of the