People’s deeds will refute Satan’s criticism of God’s judgments.

SUMMARY

SUMMARY OF PREVIOUS CONCLUSIONS

To an extent, this article summarizes the articles on the seven seals. Previous articles concluded that:

    1. The sealed book in God’s right hand is the Book of Life, containing God’s judgments as to who will receive eternal life.
    2. The seals of the book are Satan’s accusations against those people.
    3. That the book is sealed up so that no one “was able to open the book or to look into it” (Rev 5:3) symbolizes that God’s created intelligent beings are unable to refute Satan’s accusations.
    4. John’s great weeping (Rev 5:4) represents the great sorrow in heaven caused by this “war in heaven” (Rev 12:7).
    5. Christ’s victory on earth brought an end to the sorrow (Rev 5:5) and caused Satan to be banished from heaven (Rev 12:8-9). Christ, on the other hand, was acclaimed trust-“worthy” to refute Satan’s accusations: “Worthy are you to take the book and to break its seals” (5:9).
    6. The CrossChrist’s victory did not immediately bring an end to the crisis. He is still busy breaking the seals today. Christ’s return and the implementation of God’s judgments are delayed until the last seal has been broken and the intelligent beings have the assurance that God’s judgments are perfect.
    7. That Jesus breaks the seals symbolizes that Christ directs events on earth to show that Satan’s objections are deceptive.

THE DEEDS OF PEOPLE BREAK THE SEALS.

Various books will be opened in the last judgment (Rev 20:12-13):

    • One of these is the book of life.
    • The other books contain the “deeds” of people by which people will be judged.

Consequently, the “deeds” of people, as recorded in the “books,” are the evidence that will allow God’s intelligent creatures to understand that God’s judgment, as contained in “the book of life,” are perfect. Therefore, when Christ breaks the seals, it symbolizes that He directs events on earth in such a way that the deeds of people will reveal their true natures; what they really are; that which the Creator is already able to see in the hearts of people, and on which He also based His judgments. These “deeds” will confirm that God judges perfectly.

Both the deeds of God’s people and the deeds of Satan’s people are recorded in the books.

THE WORLD IS PREPARING FOR THE FINAL BATTLE.

There will again be a battle between Christ and Satan; through their people on earth. Both sides are preparing for this battle:

Generally, God limits Satan with respect to what he is allowed to do against God’s people (e.g. Job 1:12). However, in this final battle, God will allow Satan to use the full force of his demonic powers unrestricted to persecute and deceive.

God’s end-time people, on the other hand, will be equipped with every spiritual power available to them. Symbolized by the seal of the living God (Rev 7:2), they will reach a level of spiritual maturity that was previously perhaps visible in individuals such as Job, but never before in God’s people as a group:

WHY GOD’S PEOPLE HAVE TO SUFFER

God does not allow His people to suffer without purpose. God claims certain people as worthy of eternal life. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. By rejecting God’s assessment or judgment of His elect, Satan actually accuses God of unfair judgment. Satan’s goal is to save himself. He wants to show to the universe that God makes mistakes in His judgments. If it can be shown that God’s judgments are faulty, even to the slightest degree, the implications for the creation will be massive. Satan and his angels would have grounds for their claim that they have been judged unfairly.

By choosing death rather than going against God’s laws, they will show that the people listed in the book of life will not surrender His principles. This will justify God’s decision to save them.

THE PURPOSE OF THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES

The frequent mention in the plagues that the worshipers of the beast do not repent, even when confronted with clear evidence that they are wrong, implies that the purpose of the plagues is to show that the people with the mark of the beast will not repent under any circumstances; that they have become haters of God—solidly confirmed in their ways—irreversibly committed to evil.

– END OF SUMMARY –

PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE

Previous articles concluded that:

    1. The sealed book is the book of life,
    2. The seals are Satan’s accusations against the people listed in the book,
    3. For the created beings of God’s universe to feel safe and happy, they need to know that God’s judgments, of who will live and who will die, are without error, and
    4. Breaking the seals symbolizes that Satan’s accusations are refuted.

The contribution of the current article is that it is the deeds of people that confirm that God judges perfectly. In other words, when Jesus breaks the seals of the book, it symbolizes that He directs events on earth so that the deeds of people will reveal their true natures. In this way is revealed that which the Creator already saw in the hearts of people, on which He based His judgment.

The current article continues to explain how:

    • The deeds of God’s people justify God’s grace and
    • The deeds of Satan’s people show that they are irreversibly committed to evil. 

To provide a foundation for this conclusion, this article summarizes the conclusions of previous articles on the seven seals.

REVELATION 5 IS THE TIME OF THE CROSS.

Revelation 5:3-4 describes a time when there was a crisis in heaven. In the right hand of Him who sat on the throne, there was a book, sealed up with seven seals (Rev 5:1). “No one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it” (Rev 5:3). This caused John to “weep greatly” (Rev 5:4). 

But, as from verse 5, the sorrow turns to joy. One of the elders said to John, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah … has overcome so as to open the book.” Then John saw “a Lamb standing, as if slain” (Rev 5:6). The symbol of a slain lamb points to Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross. The crisis in the first four verses of Revelation 5, therefore, represents the time before Christ’s death. The remainder of Revelation 5 is Jesus’ glorification at His Father’s right hand after His ascension; an event that is frequently mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament (e.g., Acts 5:31; Heb 8:1; 12:2).

CONCLUSIONS FROM PREVIOUS ARTICLES

Previous articles on the seven seals have concluded as follows:

THERE WAS A CRISIS IN HEAVEN.

    • The book in God’s right hand (Rev 5:1) is the Book of Life. It contains God’s decisions, as to who is saved to eternal life.
    • That the book of life is sealed up so that no one “was able to open the book or to look into it” (Rev 5:3) symbolizes that God’s created intelligent beings are unable to fully understand God’s judgments. God knows all things but His creatures do not. And, to judge between those that will live and those that must die (Rom 8:13), is extremely complex.
    • The seals of the book are Satan’s informed and well-articulated accusations against the people listed in the book of life (Rev 12:10). (Consider, for example, the accusations which Satan could bring in against king David.) None of God’s intelligent creatures were able to counter Satan’s arguments or to show that God’s judgments are perfect in all instances.
    • God has condemned Satan and his angels. It is to protect himself that Satan wants to show that God’s judgments are flawed.
    • John’s great weeping (Rev 5:4) symbolizes the great sorrow in heaven caused by the uncertainty over the perfect accuracy of God’s judgments, for as long as Satan’s accusations remain unrefuted, evil must continue to exist and God’s people cannot be resurrected. If those questions can never be answered, sin will always exist and God’s dead people will never be raised to life.

CHRIST’S VICTORY ON EARTH MADE AN END TO THE CRISIS IN HEAVEN.

    • Satan blamed His rebellion on God. He claimed that the fault lies with God because nobody is able to comply with God’s norms under all circumstances. Therefore, Satan claimed, God is unjust when He forgives some sinners but condemns others. To address this accusation, Jesus became a vulnerable human being and subjected Himself to Satan’s temptation and persecution. He became a human being to show that there is no fault in God’s expectations and norms – that it is possible to remain true to God under the most severe circumstances.
    • As indicated by the instruction to John: “stop weeping” (Rev 5:5), Christ’s victory on earth brought an end to the sorrow and caused heaven to rejoice.
    • The Christ-event on earth brought a huge shift in the sentiments of the beings in heaven:
      • Any sympathy which they previously had with Satan, vanished, and he was banished from heaven (Rev 12:9, 12).
      • Christ, on the other hand, became accepted as the “true witness” (Rev 3:14; cf. 1:5). As such, He was acclaimed trust-“worthy” to explain God’s judgments: “Worthy are you to take the book and to break its seals” (Rev 5:9).

JESUS STILL HAVE TO BREAK THE SEALS.

    • Christ’s death did not make an end to the crisis immediately. In Revelation 5, He received the book of life after He ascended to heaven (Rev 5:7) but He breaks the seals one-by-one in Revelation 6. The sixth seal takes us to “the great day of their wrath” (Rev 6:17). This refers to Christ’s return. In other words, He will break the seals and open the book over a period of thousands of years. Before His death, no solution was in sight. But His death—which was His victory—set a process in motion that will eventually bring the crisis to an end.
    • Jesus’ faithfulness validated the basis for God’s judgments but does not yet show that the right people are listed in the book of life. Since it is enormously important for the safety and happiness of the created beings that they are fully assured that God judges perfectly, God delays the implementation of His judgments until the intelligent beings have that assurance.
    • When Jesus breaks the seals, things happen on earth (Rev 6). That Jesus breaks the seals symbolizes that Christ directs events on earth. Since the seals are Satan’s objections to God’s judgments, these earth-events refute Satan’s objections and reveal the perfection of God’s judgments.
    • After all seals have been broken, which means that all of Satan’s accusations have been fully refuted, then there will be no further need to allow evil to reign on earth. Then Christ will return, as symbolizes by the seventh seal (Rev 8:1). The silence of that seal symbolizes the sorrow in the Father’s heart and in the whole universe at the destruction of the lost at the return of Christ (Rev 19:21).

AGE-OLD TRUTHS

I realize that these conclusions will sound very strange to the average reader. This is not how the Bible is normally explained. However, these conclusions do not change the fundamental truths of the Bible but only explain them in a different way and, may I add, explain them in a way that breaks through the usual religious clichés to explain them both logically and Biblically sound.

PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE

The contribution of the current article is that it is the deeds of people that confirm God’s judgments. By breaking the seals, Jesus directs events on earth to allow people’s deeds to reveal that which the Creator alone is able to see in the hearts of people, on which He based His judgment. As explained below, both the judgments of God’s and the beast’s people are revealed by their deeds:

By choosing death rather than go against God’s laws, God’s people will reveal the glory of God in such a way that it would be a witness to every power and authority, created or yet to be created, for all of eternity. (Rick Joyner – The Call)

The deeds of Satan’s people show that they are irreversibly committed to evil.

MAN IS JUDGED BY HIS DEEDS.

Another departure from standard theology in this article is that people are judged by their deeds. This is discussed in a separate article that concludes that:

    • Man is judged by his deeds.
    • The works of the law” refers to the external ceremonies and rituals of the Mosaic Law by which the Jews attempted to justify themselves before God.
    • The “deeds” by which people are judged include the entire being; his words, deeds, thoughts, desires, and faith.

THE DEEDS OF PEOPLE BREAK THE SEALS.

In the last judgment:

Books were opened; and
another book was opened, which is the book of life;
and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds
” (Rev 20:12).

In other words:

    • One of these books is the book of life.
    • The other books contain the “deeds” of people by which people will be judged.

This means that the “deeds” of people, as recorded in the “books,” are the evidence that will allow God’s intelligent creatures to understand that God’s judgment, as contained in “the book of life,” are perfect; why God decided that the people in the book and only they will inherit eternal life. 

However, above we argued that the seal-events confirm God’s judgments. Now we have also said that the deeds of people confirm His judgments. It follows that the seal-events are the “deeds” of people. In other words, when Christ breaks the seals, it symbolizes that He directs events on earth in such a way that the deeds of people will reveal the true nature of their hearts; what they really are.

The following two sections will discuss how the “deeds” are revealed of:

      • God’s people and
      • Satan’s people.

THE DEEDS OF GOD’S PEOPLE

THE SEALS PREDICT A HISTORY OF PERSECUTION.

The vision of the seals – received nearly 2000 years ago – predicted that the history of the church will be one of persecution. In the First Seal, the gospel goes forth. The next three horsemen describe the suffering and sacrifice of God’s people, as they live and proclaim the gospel. The Fifth Seal brings us to the specific point in history when many Christians have already died for their faith (Rev 6:9) but the persecution will continue: The souls under the altar are told that:

They should rest for a little while longer,
until the number of their fellow servants …
who were to be killed even as they had been,
would be completed also
” (Rev 6:11).

A previous article concluded that the fifth seal is the beginning of the time of the end; a term from Daniel 12. This means that the persecution, after the point in time in the fifth seal, is the end-time persecution of Revelation 13: 

The image of the beast would … cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed” (Rev 13:15).

WHY JOB SUFFERED

God does not allow His people to suffer without purpose.

Job is an example of a believer that had to suffer. Job had no idea why he suffered. In the courts of heaven, God described Job as “blameless and upright” (Job 1:8). But Satan retorted, “put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face” (Job 1:11). Then God gave Satan permission to test Job. God said: “he is in your power, only spare his life” (Job 2:6). Satan killed Job’s children, destroyed his property, and afflicted Job with horrible sores. “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God” (Job 1:22). The article on Job concluded as follows:

God claims certain people as worthy of eternal life. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. By rejecting God’s assessment or judgment of His elect, Satan actually accuses God of unfair judgment. When Satan tested Job, he has actually tested God’s ability to judge. Satan’s goal is to save himself. He wants to show to the universe that God makes mistakes in His judgments. If it can be shown that God’s judgments are faulty, even to the slightest degree, the implications for the creation will be massive. Satan and his angels would have grounds for their claim that they have been judged unfairly.

However, Job’s faithfulness proved God right. The suffering of God’s people has the same purpose.

WHY CHRIST SUFFERED

This world is part of a cosmic struggle between good and evil. Jesus came to this earth to be tested; to determine whether He would remain faithful to God under the most severe persecution and temptations. It was a contest between the Son of God and Satan.

Jesus was persecuted and suffered greatly. Based on the example of Job, we can assume that God gave Satan permission to test Jesus by all possible means. However, in this case, Satan was also allowed to kill Him. Satan did everything in his power to break Jesus’ faith in God and to get Jesus to sin. In the deepest pit of emotional torment, Jesus cried out, “my God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46) But even then Jesus remained faithful to God. He “has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb 4:15).

By His faithfulness, He won a huge victory in the cosmic war and was declared “worthy” to open the book of life (Rev 5:5, 9). This set a process in motion (the seven seals) that will result in the complete overthrow of Satan’s kingdom.

THE WORLD IS PREPARATION FOR THE FINAL BATTLE.

After the cross (Rev 12:5), when Satan was thrown out of heaven (Rev 12:8), he was thrown down to earth (Rev 12:9). In other words, the focus of the war has shifted from heaven to earth.

The world is preparing for the final battle. It will again be a battle between Christ and Satan; through their people on earth.

Generally, God limits Satan with respect to what he is allowed to do against God’s people but, in this final battle, God will allow Satan to use the full force of his demonic powers to persecute and deceive. During the darkest hour of this world’s history, the experience of Job and Christ will be the experience of the entire church.

God’s people, on the other hand, will also be equipped with every spiritual power available to them. They will receive the seal of God, which is something that only end-time believers will receive. 144000 will be sealed. This symbolic number indicates that God’s end-time people will reach a level of spiritual maturity that was previously perhaps visible in individuals such as Job, but never before in God’s people as a group:

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against … the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and … to stand firm” (Eph 6:12-13).

PURPOSE OF THE FINAL BATTLE

Through the faithfulness of God’s end-time people, Christ will win the final victory over Satan. They will show, even under the most severe temptation and circumstances, that the people listed in the book of life will not surrender His principles. This will justify God’s decision to save them. They are scared and fully aware of their sins. But they really want to believe in the God of the Bible and are willing to suffer all possible losses for Him.

RICK JOYNER ON THE FINAL BATTLE

Rick Joyner describes this end-time war well:

“The last-day church will not be greater than Paul’s generation, even if she does greater works … All that is done is done by My grace.  However, I will make more of My grace and power available to the last-day church, because she must accomplish more than the church in any age has yet accomplished.” (The Quest)

“Jesus could have judged the world after His resurrection, but the course of the world was allowed to continue so that His righteous ones could be proven and the power of what He did on the cross would be seen in mankind.”

“By choosing death rather than to go against God’s laws they will reveal the glory of God in such a way that it would be a witness to every power and authority, created or yet to be created, for all of eternity.  During this battle the glory of the cross would be revealed, and the wisdom of God would be known in a special way.” (The Call)

The main point of this quote is that this final battle will be a demonstration; firstly of God’s people, but ultimately, through them, of the glory and wisdom of God.

THEY WILL NOT DIE FOR THEMSELVES.

Jesus did not die for Himself. By remaining faithful to God under the most severe circumstances, He won the right to open the book of life. Consequently, He died for God’s people. In the same way, God’s end-time people will not die for themselves. Their faithfulness under the most severe circumstances will be the final key to refute Satan’s challenges to the grace which God grants His people. Consequently, they will suffer for the benefit of God’s people in all generations. They will show, as a witness to all intelligent beings in the universe, for all eternity, that God’s grace to His people in all ages is perfectly justified. This will enable God to make an end of sin and for Christ to return:

The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever” (Rev 11:15).

THE DEEDS OF SATAN’S PEOPLE

THE PURPOSE OF THE PLAGUES

The sixth seal is not a single event, but a time period that includes the seven last plagues, concluding with the return of Christ. The plagues are not arbitrary torment. They are a test:

The frequent mention of God’s righteousness (Rev 15:3, 4; 16:5, 7; 19:2) implies that the purpose of the plagues is to reveal the perfectness of God’s judgments.

In particular, the frequent mention in the plagues that the worshipers of the beast do not repent (Rev 16:9, 11, 21) implies that the purpose of the plagues is to show that the people with the mark of the beast will not repent under any circumstances; that they have become haters of God—solidly confirmed in their ways—irreversibly committed to evil.

They will refuse to repent, even when confronted with clear evidence that they are wrong:

They will see that the plagues do not fall on that hated minority (Rev 16:2, 10) that tormented them so much (Rev 11:10) by proclaiming the truth (Rev 14:6). They will see that the plagues only fall on the followers of the beast. They must realize, without a doubt, that this minority is God’s real people.

But they will not repent. On the contrary; they prepare to war against God (Rev 16:14-16). This will validate God’s judgment of them. It will show that God has no other option but to give “them over” (Rom 1:24, 26, 28).

TEST OF GOD’S JUDGMENTS

The seven plagues will only fall at the end of time, but they will confirm the accuracy of God’s judgments of all people that lived ever since the creation of the world.

THE WAR AT THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM

Before the Last Judgment at the end of the Millennium (Rev 20:11), all the lost who ever lived are resurrected (Rev 20:5), followed by their war against the people of God (Rev 20:7-10).

Why are they resurrected? What is the purpose of this war? 

Before the return of Christ, the heavenly beings were able to see Satan in action as the accuser (Rev 12:10).  They also have been able to witness the deeds of angels and people.  But God’s people have not received this evidence. When they are resurrected when Christ returns, they will have questions about their loved ones. They may be surprised by some people they find among the saved.  To enable them to understand, God’s people are granted 1000 years to study the “books” (Rev 20:12) and investigate the causes and consequences of everything that happened (Rev 20:4). However, they have never personally experienced seen Satan or Satan’s followers in the way that the heavenly beings saw them. For that reason, God allows a final demonstration of the nature of evil.

JUDGMENT BEFORE THEY GREAT WHITE THRONE

I saw the dead, the great and the small,
standing before the throne,
and books were opened
” (Rev 12:12).

Every person’s life is presented from the open books. The wicked see themselves just as God sees them. Each person beholds the spiritual influences of good and evil upon his or her life. They see the choices they made. He who sees the hearts and reads the motives reveals sin to them with factual clarity. The lost will know why they are condemned. Every motive will be fully exposed. The lost will admit that God judges perfectly.

FINAL CONCLUSIONS

  • The “deeds” of people, as recorded in the “books,” are the evidence that will allow God’s intelligent creatures to understand that God’s judgment, as contained in “the book of life,” are perfect.
  • When Christ breaks the seals, it symbolizes that He directs events on earth in such a way that the deeds of people will reveal their true nature.
  • God’s end-time people will show that the people listed in the book of life will choose death rather than going against God’s laws. This will justify God’s decision to save them.
  • The deeds of Satan’s people will show that they have become haters of God—solidly confirmed in their ways—irreversibly committed to evil.

ARTICLES ON THE SEVEN SEALS

OVERVIEW

REVELATION 4

REVELATION 5

REVELATION 6

    • Seal 1: The white horse is the gospel.
    • Seals 2 to 4: Bloodshed, famine and death
    • Seal 5: Who are the souls under the altar?
    • Seal 6 includes the plagues and concludes with Christ’s return.

REVELATION 7

REVELATION 8

For further reading on Revelation, I recommend Jon Paulien’s commentary. For general discussions of theology, I recommend Graham Maxwell, who you will find on the Pineknoll website.

God’s people are sealed during the Time of the End.

SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE

THE FIFTH SEAL IS THE POINT IN TIME WHEN THE ANGEL BRINGS THE SEAL OF GOD OUT OF HEAVEN.

The first four seals (Rev 6:1-8) describe the timeless realities of the church age. But the fifth seal (Rev 6:9-11) seems to be a specific point in history when the souls under the altar receive white robes and are told to rest for a little while longer (Rev 6:9-11).

The article on the fifth seal considered this question and proposes that the fifth seal symbolizes a general principle, namely that the persecution of God’s people call out to God to set things right.

However, Revelation 7:1-4, where an angel brings the seal of the living God out of heaven and 144000 are sealed, is parallel to the fifth seal. For example, both: 

    • Refer to the past, present, and to future;
    • Involve a delay until God’s people are mature;
    • Give a token of salvation to God’s people; and
    • Are followed by massive destruction.

As discussed above, the seal of God is only available in the end-timeThis means that the angel brings the seal down from heaven at a specific point in time. Then the parallels between the sealing and the fifth seal imply that the fifth seal is more than a general principle and also a point in history; the same point in time when the angel brings the seal out of heaven (Rev 7:1-3).

THE SEAL OF GOD COMES FROM HEAVEN IN THE TIME OF THE END.

Time of the EndThen the question is, what is this point in time? Since the book of Daniel is the foundation on which Revelation rests, we should find this point in history in Daniel. Since, in the fifth seal, God’s people are killed both before and after this point in time, we need to find a similar point in time in Daniel. There is such a point in time in Daniel 12, namely “the time of the end” (Dan 12:4), when the prophecies of Daniel will be understood:

    • Before that time, God’s people will be persecuted for “a time, times, and half a time” and
    • During “the time of the end,” they will “finish shattering the power of the holy people” (Dan 12:7).

For these reasons, it is proposed that the point in history, when the souls under the altar are told to rest a little while longer, and when the angel brings the seal of God out of heaven, is the beginning of “the time of the end.”

THE LITTLE BOOK OF REVELATION 10 ALSO COMES FROM HEAVEN IN THE TIME OF THE END.

This conclusion finds support in Revelation 10. In that chapter, an angel brings something else out of heaven at a specific point in time, namely “a little book which was open” (Rev 10:1-2). He gives it to John to eat and tells John to “prophesy again” (Rev 10:9-11). In doing this, John symbolizes the church receiving a special message from heaven.

What makes the prophecy of Revelation 10 particularly relevant to the discussion above is that the little open book is understanding of the book of Daniel (see discussion below). This means that the little book comes down from heaven at the beginning of the time of the end (Dan 12:4). Therefore, both the seal of God and the little book come out of heaven in “the time of the end.

– END OF SUMMARY – 

IS THE FIFTH SEAL
A POINT IN TIME?

The first horseman (the first seal) has been interpreted as the gospel going out. This does not happen at one specific point in time; it happens throughout the church age. The same applies to the bloodshed, famine, and pestilence of the next three horsemen. The first four seals, therefore, describe timeless characteristics of the church age.

But the fifth seal (Rev 6:9-11) seems to be a specific point in history. It describes God’s slain souls underneath the altar crying out:

How long, O Lord, holy and true,
will You refrain from judging and avenging
our blood on those who dwell on the earth?

But they are told to wait. Each of them is given a white robe and they are told that to:

Rest for a little while longer,
until the number of their fellow servants …
who were to be killed …
would be completed also.

IT IS NOT A POINT IN TIME.

The article on the fifth seal considered this question and found indications that the fifth seal is not a specific point in history:

    • John sees the souls under the altar; symbolizing that God’s people are sacrificed on the altar for their witness. People have been dying for their witness ever since Abel.
    • They cry out for revenge; symbolizing God’s awareness of the injustice to His people and His desire to set things right. God has always been aware of this.
    • These “soulsreceive white robes; indicating acceptance into God’s kingdom. In Revelation, people keep and make their robes white while alive on earth (Rev 3:4-5, 18; 7:14; 19:7-8). They do not receive white robes at any specific point in history.
    • And they are told to waita little while longer.” In Revelation, time is always short (Rev 1:1, 3 and 12:12), so this does not prove that this is a specific event soon before the return of Christ.

IT IS A GENERAL PRINCIPLE.

The article on the fifth seal, therefore, proposes that the fifth seal is not a specific point in history but a general principle, namely that the main point of the seals is that the gospel will go out (first seal) but it will be rejected and God’s people will be persecuted. This is consistent with the conclusion that the sealed book is the book of life and that the purpose of breaking the seals is to refute Satan’s objections to the people whom God has chosen for eternal life. By breaking the seals, Christ directs events on earth to show that God’s decisions are perfect and that the people whom God has chosen for eternal life are worthy.  Similarly, Christ admonished the seven letters:

To him who overcomes,
I will grant to eat of the tree of life
which is in the Paradise of God
” (Rev 2:7).

Revelation knows nothing of the doctrine that is so prevalent in Protestantism, namely that God randomly chooses people, irrespective of how they live. For a discussion, see, Man is judged by his deeds; not justified by the works of the law.

THE SEALING IS PARALLEL TO THE FIFTH SEAL.

Revelation 7:1-4 describes the sealing of God’s people. While four angels hold back the four winds of the earth, another angel ascends from the east (the rising of the sun) with the seal of the living God and cry out to the four angels:

Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees
until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God
on their foreheads
” (Rev 7:3).

Then follows the sealing of the 144000 (Rev 7:4). For the following reasons, it is proposed that the sealing is parallel to the fifth seal:

1. Both precede the sixth seal.

The fifth seal precedes the sixth. The sealing also must precede the sixth seal because the sixth seal has the signs of Christ’s return while the sealing of God’s people must precede His return.

2. Both refer to the past, present, and to future.

FIFTH SEAL THE SEALING
PAST Some of God’s people have been martyred. Four angels have been restraining the winds
PRESENT White robes are given to the souls under the altar after. An angel brings the seal of God from the east.
FUTURE Their brethren must be completed. The angels will continue to restrain the winds until all of God’s servants are sealed.

3. Both involve a delay
until something happens to God’s people.

      • Fifth seal – The souls must “rest a little while longer” until their “fellow servants” have been completed.
      • Sealing – The release of the winds is delayed until the servants of God are sealed (Rev 7:1-3).

4. Both complete the saints qualitatively.

      • Fifth seal – The Greek text does not contain the word “number.” It contains the verb plêrôthôsin which means “filled, completed, made full.”  The NASB adds “the number” (Rev 6:11), but put it in italics. The article on the Fifth Seal explains this as qualitative completion.
      • Sealing – 144000 are sealed (Rev 7:4-8). The article on the 144000 explains that this number must be understood qualitatively; not quantitatively.

5. In both, a token of salvation is given to the saints.

      • Fifth seal – White robes (Rev 6:11)
      • Sealing – The seal of the living God (Rev 7:1-3)

6. Both are followed by massive destruction.

      • The fifth seal is followed by the 6th seal in which a great earthquake displaces all mountains and islands.
      • The sealing is followed by the winds that “harm” the earth and sea.

7. Both are followed by the plagues of Revelation 16.

      • Fifth seal: Still another article concluded that the Sixth Seal includes or follows after the seven last plagues. This means that the fifth seal is followed by the seven last plagues.
      • Sealing: A previous article concluded that the “winds” of Rev 7:1 are another symbol for the seven last plagues. Since the sealing precedes the release of the winds, the sealing precedes the seven last plague,

THE FIFTH SEAL BEGINS THE SEALING.

It was argued previously that the seal of God is only available in the end-time. That means that the angel brings the seal of God down from heaven at a specific point in time during the church age. The parallels between the sealing and the fifth seal steer us into the direction that the fifth seal is not merely a general principle but that it:

    • Also refers to a point in history and that it
    • Refers to the same point in history as in the sealing, namely when the angel brings the seal of the living God out of heaven (Rev 7:1-3).

These parallels also imply that:

    • The seal of God is related to the white robe of the fifth seal. However, it is not the same.  Both signify acceptance into God’s eternal kingdom.  But they are different because God’s resting (dead) saints (Rev 6:11; Dan 12:13) receive the white robe while the living saints receive the seal of God.
    • The ‘completion of their “fellow servants” in the fifth seal is the same as the sealing of “the bond-servants of our God” (Rev 7:3).

WHAT POINT IN TIME IS IN VIEW?

If we then conclude that the fifth seal also describes a specific point in history, namely when an angel brings the seal of God from heaven, then the question is, what is this point in time?

It must be much later than Christ’s ascension because there are four seals between Christ’s ascension and enthronement (as described in Revelation 5) and the fifth seal. But it is before the return of Christ, for the next (sixth) seal has the signs associated with the return of Christ (Rev 6:12-17; cf. Matt 24:29). The fifth seal, therefore, is a point in history close to the end of the church age. For it to be specifically identified like this, something specific and important happens at that point in time.

THE POINT IN TIME IN DANIEL

The book of Daniel is the foundation on which Revelation is built. (For a discussion of the links between Daniel and Revelation, see the Seventh Seal. E.g. Rev 10:6; 13:2) For that reason, and because the point in time in the fifth seal must be important, we should be able to find it mentioned by Daniel’s prophecies.

Since the theme of the fifth seal is the persecution of God’s people, with the killing of God’s people both before and after this point in time (Rev 6:9-11), we need to find a point in time in Daniel’s prophecies that also has the persecution of God’s people both before and after that point in time. There is such a point in time in Daniel 12:

TIME OF THE END
– A TIME PERIOD

Daniel 12:4 reads:

But as for you, Daniel,
conceal these words and seal up the book
until the end of time;
many will go back and forth,
and knowledge will increase
” (Dan 12:4).

The phrase “end of time” sounds like one specific day right at the end of history. But Young’s Literal Translation renders it as “the time of the end,” which may be understood as a time period. For the following reasons, that is perhaps a better translation:

    • Daniel uses a different phrase for the very end of time, namely “the end of the days” (Dan 12:13 YLT) or “the end of the age” (Dan 12:13 NASB). At “the end of the days,” Daniel himself will “rise again for your allotted portion” (Dan 12:13). This is when “your people … will be rescued” (Dan 12:1) and “many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake” (Dan 12:2).
    • Furthermore, verse 4 indicates that “the time of the end” is not a point in time but a period during which “knowledge will increase,” namely knowledge of Daniel’s prophecies. This means that “the time of the end,” is not a single moment but a time period.

TWO PERSECUTIONS

Then, in Daniel 12:5, an angel asks:

How long will it be until the end of these wonders?

These wonders” refer to the resurrection of the dead and the events preceding it, as mentioned in the first verses of Daniel 12. This question received a double answer:

    • It would be for a time, times, and half a time;
    • and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed” (Daniel 12:7).

The “time, times, and half a time” is first mentioned in Daniel 7:25, where it is the period during which the evil horn will persecute “the saints of the Highest One.” This evil horn grows out of the Roman Empire and has been identified as the Church of the Middle Ages. Consequently, the “time, times, and half a time” refer to the Middle Ages. Daniel 7:25 identifies it specifically as a period of persecution for God’s people.

While Daniel 7 and 8, where we find the “time, times, and half a time” for the first time, focus on history in general, the focus in Daniel 12 is on the end-time, as indicated by the references in the opening verses to the resurrection of the dead (Dan 12:2-3) and the promise in verse 4 that Daniel’s prophecies would be understood in “the time of the end” (Dan 12:4, 9). For this reason, it is proposed that the “finish shattering the power of the holy people” (Dan 12:7) is NOT part of the “time, times, and half a time” but a separate and later period of persecution DURING “the time of the end.

Given the context in Daniel 12, the “finish shattering the power of the holy people” is the final end-time persecution that will follow after Daniel’s prophecies have been understood and preached.

POINT IN TIME IN DANIEL 12

Daniel 12, therefore, also refers to a specific point in history with persecution on both sides of it. That point in time is the beginning of “the time of the end” when the prophecies of Daniel will be understood:

Before that point in time, God’s people were persecuted for “a time, times, and half a time.

After that point in time, during “the time of the end,” the prophecies of Daniel would be become understood and preached, followed by the “finish shattering the power of the holy people.

THE BEGINNING OF THE TIME OF THE END

Since both the fifth seal and Daniel 12 refer to a specific point in time in history, with persecution both before and after this point in time, and since Revelation is built on the foundation of Daniel’s prophecies, it is proposed that the point in history in the fifth seal, when the souls under the altar are told to rest a little while longer, and when the angel brings the seal of God out of heaven, is the beginning of “the time of the end.”

THE LITTLE BOOK OF REVELATION 10 ALSO COMES FROM HEAVEN IN THE TIME OF THE END.

We encounter another point in history in Revelation 10. An angel comes down from heaven. “He had in his hand a little book which was open” (Rev 10:1-2). He gives it to John to eat and tells John to “prophesy again concerning many peoples” (Rev 10:9-11). In this prophecy, John is not only an observer but symbolizes the church. It means that the church will receive a special message from heaven with instructions to “prophesy again,” which means that the church already prophesied before it received the new message from heaven. The new message coming down from heaven, therefore, is another point in history time, with prophesying both before and after this moment.

What makes the prophecy of Revelation 10 particularly relevant to the discussion above is that the little open book is understanding of the book of Daniel. This is made clear by the many parallels between Revelation 10 and Daniel 12. Compare, particularly, the oaths in Daniel 12:7 and Rev 10:5-7. This means that John’s eating of the little book symbolizes understanding of Daniel’s prophecies and the “prophesy again” is the preaching thereof. 

Since the little book from heaven is understanding of the book of Daniel, and since Daniel 12 promised that the book of Daniel will be understood in the time of the end, the little book comes down from heaven at the beginning of the time of the end.

In conclusion:

The ‘present time’ in both the seals and in the trumpets is the point in time in Daniel 12 when Daniel’s prophecies will be understood.

Both the seal of the living God and the little open book come down out of heaven at the beginning of “the time of the end.

There is another connection between the sealing (Rev 7:1-3) and the little open book (Rev 10:1-11); both are the first part of the interlude between the sixth and the seventh elements of their respective series. Both interludes, therefore, start at the beginning of the time of the end and describe events up to “the end of the age” (Dan 12:13; cf. Rev 8:1 and 11:15), with the seventh elements being “the end of the age” itself.

FINAL CONCLUSIONS

The fifth seal symbolizes a general principle, but also a point in history; the same point in time when the angel brings the seal out of heaven (Rev 7:1-3).

This is the beginning of “the time of the end.”

This is also when the “a little book which was open” (Rev 10:1-2) comes out of heaven.

ARTICLES ON THE SEVEN SEALS

OVERVIEW

REVELATION 4

REVELATION 5

REVELATION 6

    • Seal 1: The white horse is the gospel.
    • Seals 2 to 4: Bloodshed, famine and death
    • Seal 5: Who are the souls under the altar?
    • Seal 6 includes the plagues and concludes with Christ’s return.

REVELATION 7

REVELATION 8

For further reading on Revelation, I recommend Jon Paulien’s commentary. For general discussions of theology, I recommend Graham Maxwell, who you will find on the Pineknoll website.