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

This is an article in the series on the vision of the book with the seven seals (Rev 4:1-8:1).

Summary

The Fifth Seal is the Sealing.

The first four seals (Rev 6:1-8) describe the timeless realities of the church age. But, AFTER many of God’s people have died for their testimony, the fifth seal (Rev 6:9-11) describes a specific point in history when God’s people are given white robes and are told to “rest” for a little while longer UNTIL their fellow brethren are completed (Rev 6:9-11).

In Revelation 7:1-8, AFTER the four angels have been holding back the four winds of destruction for an undefined period, an angel brings the seal of God to earth and tells the four angels to continue holding back the four winds UNTIL all of God’s people are sealed.

For the following reasons, the sealing (Rev 7:1-8) is parallel to the fifth seal: 

1) Both precede the sixth seal. Since the sixth seal begins with the signs of Christ’s return (Rev 6:12-14) and ends with Judgment Day (Rev 6:15-17), the sealing of God’s people, logically, must be completed BEFORE the sixth seal. The fifth seal, obviously, is also before the sixth.

2) Both refer to a specific point in history that divides time into the past, the present, and the future.

3) Both announce a delay:

        • In the fifth seal, God’s people must continue resting.
        • In the sealing, the angels must continue holding back the four winds.

4) In both, the purpose of the delay is to allow God’s people to become ready:

        • In the fifth seal, the delay is required because their brethren must be “completed” (Rev 6:11). This has been interpreted as completion in character; not in literal number.
        • In the sealing, the delay is required because God’s people must be “sealed” (Rev 7:3).

5) In both, a token of salvation is given to God’s people, namely white robes and the seal of God (Rev 6:11; 7:3).

6) Both are followed by massive destruction:

        • The fifth seal is followed by the massive destruction of the sixth seal (Rev 6:12-14).
        • The sealing is followed by the release of the four winds of destruction.

These similarities imply that the fifth seal and the sealing describe the same thing. In particular:

(a) The point in time in the fifth seal is when the angel brings the seal out of heaven.

(b) The completion of “their fellow servants” is equivalent to the sealing of the 144000.

The Beginning of the End

Time of the EndAs discussed in another article, the seal of God is only available in the end-time. This section proposes further that God’s people are sealed during Daniel’s “time of the end:”

Since the book of Daniel is the foundation on which Revelation rests, we should be able to find the point in history, as described in the fifth seal, also in Daniel.

In the fifth seal, God’s people are killed both before and after this point in time. There is a similar point in time in Daniel 12, namely the beginning of “the time of the end” (Dan 12:4, 9):

        • Before “the time of the end,” God’s people will be persecuted for “a time, times, and half a time” and
        • During “the time of the end,” God’s enemies 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 for a little while longer, and when the angel brings the seal of God, is the beginning of “the time of the end.” Consequently, God’s people will be sealed during “the time of the end.”

The Little Book

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 so, 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 similarities between Daniel 12 and Revelation 10 implies that the little open book is understanding of the book of Daniel. 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 – 


The Fifth Seal

A General Principle

The article on the fifth seal found indications that the fifth seal is a general principle:

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 God 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. This was also always true.

These “soulsreceive white robes; indicating acceptance into God’s kingdom. However, 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 one specific point in history.

And they are told to waita little while longer.” But God’s people have always been waiting (cf. Rev 12:2).

The article on the fifth seal, therefore, proposes that the fifth seal symbolizes 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. As Jesus said:

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.)

A Point in Time

But the fifth seal is also a point in history.

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, which are the consequence of preaching the gospel. The first four seals, therefore, describe timeless characteristics of the church age.

But the fifth seal points to a specific point in history AFTER many of God’s people have been martyred but BEFORE many more will be martyred (Rev 6:9-11).

The Sealing is the Fifth Seal.

Revelation 7:1-4 describes the sealing of God’s people. While four angels are holding 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 cries 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. Before the Sixth

Both the sealing and the fifth seal precede the sixth seal.

The fifth seal precedes the sixth.

The sixth seal begins with the signs of Christ’s return (Rev 6:12-14) and ends with Judgment Day (Rev 6:15-17). The sealing of God’s people, logically, must be completed BEFORE He returns and, therefore, before the sixth seal.

2. A Point in History

By referring to the past and to the future, both describe a point in history:

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 They must rest until their brethren have been completed. The angels will continue to restrain the winds until all of God’s servants are sealed.

3. A Delay

Both announce a delay:

      • In the fifth seal, the souls must “rest a little while longer.
      • In the sealing, the release of the winds is delayed (Rev 7:1-3).

4. Until God’s People are Ready

In both cases, the delay is until God’s people are ready:

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 as a literal number.

5. A Token of Salvation

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. Massive Destruction

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 (Rev 6:12-14).
      • The sealing is followed by the winds that “harm” the earth and sea (Rev 7:3).

7. The Seven Last Plagues

Both are followed by the plagues of Revelation 16:

Fifth seal: The article discussing the sixth seal has concluded that the first part of the sixth seal (Rev 6:12-14) is the seven last plagues. This means that the fifth seal is followed by the seven last plagues.

Sealing: Another 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 also precedes the seven last plagues.

Conclusions

Based on the parallels between the sealing and the fifth seal, we conclude as follows:

1) The sealing and the fifth seal are different symbols for the same thing:

The fifth seal describes the specific point in history when the angel brings the seal of God from heaven.

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).

2) The seal of God is related to the white robe of the fifth seal but 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.

3) Since it was previously argued that the seal of God is only available in the end-time, the fifth seal also describes the end-time.

The Beginning of the End

If we conclude that the fifth seal describes the specific point in history as when the angel brings the seal of God from heaven, then the question arises, what point in time is that? To be identified so specifically, it must be very important:

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.

It seems to be shortly before the return of Christ, for the next (sixth) seal begins with the signs associated with His return (Rev 6:12-17; cf. Matt 24:29). The previous article has concluded similarly that the seal is only available in the end-time.

The book of Daniel is the foundation on which Revelation is built (e.g., Rev 10:6; 12:14; 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 in Daniel’s prophecies. There is a similar point in time in Daniel 12, namely the beginning of the time of the end. To explain:

The Time of the End

Daniel was told:

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 “the end of time” may sound like the end of history but this verse implies that, during “the end of time,” “knowledge will increase,” namely, knowledge of Daniel’s prophecies. “The time of the end,” therefore, is not a point in time but a period leading up to the end. In support of this:

1) Young’s Literal Translation renders it as “the time of the end,” which implies a period. For the following reasons, that is perhaps a better translation:

2) 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). On that day, Daniel himself will “rise again” (Dan 12:13) and “many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake” (Dan 12:1-2).

Persecution Before and After

Since the point in time in the fifth seal is both preceded and followed by the killing of God’s people (Rev 6:9-11), we need to find a similar point in time in Daniel.

After Daniel was told about the time of the end (Dan 12:4), an angel asks:

How long will it be until the end of these wonders” (Dan 12:5)?

These wonders” refer to the resurrection of the dead and the events preceding it, as mentioned in the first verses of Daniel 12. That 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).

Time, Times, and Half a Time

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 as a period of persecution for God’s true people.

Finish Shattering the Power of the Holy People

In Daniel 7:25, where we find the “time, times, and half a time” for the first time, the focus is on history in general. But in Daniel 12 the focus 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 by 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.

The Point in Time in Daniel 12

The beginning of “the time of the end,” therefore, is a specific point in history with persecution both before and after it:

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 become understood and preached, followed by the “finish shattering the power of the holy people.

Conclusion

Since both the fifth seal and Daniel 12 refer to a specific point in history, with persecution on both sides of it, 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.”

I would also like to propose that the entire book of Revelation is written from that time perspective (cf. Rev 17:8, 10; 13:3).

The Little Book

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.” The word “again” means that the church already prophesied before it received this new message from heaven. The new message coming down from heaven, therefore, is another point in history time, with prophesying both before and after that moment.

What makes the prophecy of Revelation 10 particularly relevant to the discussion above is that the little open book symbolizes 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 in Revelation 10:5-7. In other words, John’s eating of the little book symbolizes understanding of Daniel’s prophecies, and the “prophesy again” is the preaching thereof. 

There is another connection between the sealing (Rev 7:1-3) and the vision of the little open book (Rev 10:1-11), namely that both are the first of a two-part interlude between the sixth and the seventh elements of their respective series. Both interludes, therefore, begin 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). Both the seventh seal and the seventh trumpet describe “the end of the age” itself.

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 also comes down from heaven at the beginning of the time of the end.

Therefore, 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.

Final Conclusions

The fifth seal and the sealing describe the same thing. In particular:

(a) The point in history in the fifth seal is when the angel brings the seal out of heaven. This is the beginning of “the time of the end.” This is also when the little open book (Rev 10:1-2) comes out of heaven.

(b) The completion of “their fellow servants” is equivalent to the sealing of the 144000.


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