The Seventh and Final Seal—The Day of the Lord
In Lesson 6, we saw the point marking the end of the Great Tribulation (Satan’s wrath on God’s Church and the nations of physical Israel), and the beginning of the Day of the Lord (God’s intervention, and His justified wrath on the gentile nations).
This intervention begins with heavenly signs fulfilling the Sixth Seal. Thousands of meteors will fall from the heavens, preceded by a great earthquake of unprecedented magnitude and intensity. This will be accompanied by numerous volcanic eruptions spewing great columns of ash, darkening the sun and causing the moon to appear blood red. These effects will be experienced worldwide.
As horrific as the meteor bombardments and earthquake will be, they will signal a time of relief for those of physical Israel who survived the Tribulation. At this point, God intervenes, cutting short this time of great suffering by destroying those who would otherwise destroy all life on earth (Rev. 11:18).
Ushered in by the seven trumpets, each event in this series (eclipsed by each succeeding event) will last for weeks or even months. In this lesson, we will cover each of the trumpet plagues, through the completion of the seven last plagues.
These events fulfill the wrath of God and the crushing of human rebellion during this age—after 6,000 years under the influence of Satan and his demons.
The Time of God’s Wrath
(1) Does Scripture tell us of a time period described as a “day” of God’s wrath? Revelation 6:16-17.
(2) Does the Day of the Lord (or Lord’s Day) typify a specific period of time as opposed to a specific day of the week? Revelation 1:10.
Comment: We have already covered the “day-for-a-year” principle in Ezekiel 4:6 and Numbers 14:34. This principle clearly applies to the Day of the Lord. The “Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10) is not referring to a particular day of the week in which the apostle John received this revelation from Christ. Those who attribute the “Lord’s day” to the first day of the week cloud the real message pointing to the incredible time of God’s wrath. Most theologians have blindly accepted this perversion of the true meaning of the Day of the Lord.
(3) What other scriptures shed light on the true meaning of the Day of the Lord? Joel 2:30-31; Amos 5:18; Isaiah 13:6-10; Zephaniah 1:14-16; 2:2-3.
Comment: This event is mentioned in over thirty different prophecies, mainly from the Old Testament. This is the time of God’s wrath against the inhabitants of the earth, particularly the leaders who rebel against God. This period precedes Christ’s Return—truly the most monumental event in history.
Concurrent with these events (at the Seventh Trumpet) will be a time defined as “terrible” (Joel 2:31) and “darkness” (Amos 5:18). During the time of God’s wrath, “every man’s heart shall melt” (Isa. 13:7) and even “the mighty man shall cry there bitterly” (Zeph. 1:14). While many scriptures elaborate on different aspects of the Day of the Lord, the few referenced here illustrate that it is the time of God’s wrath.
(4) Why will God be angry with the nations of this world? Isaiah 26:21; Zephaniah 1:17.
(5) Will God destroy the wicked, allowing only those who are more teachable to live on into the millennium? Revelation 11:18 (Notice the last phrase: “…and should destroy them which destroy the earth.”); Ezekiel 20:38 (Though directed to Israel, this is applicable to all nations who survive to that time.); Ezekiel 35:1-3, 14; Isaiah 2:12; Psalm 104:35.
Comment: All people have sinned and come short of pleasing God. They will have to repent and change their direction in life. Those who are still rebellious will be destroyed during the time of God’s wrath. They will be given their opportunity for salvation later. Scripture indicates that those who survive this period will be more receptive to God’s instruction and more teachable.
(6) What will happen to those faithful individuals who constitute the true Church of God during these end-time calamities—both the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Revelation 3:10; 12:13-14; Isaiah 2:10-11; 26:20; Luke 21:36.
Comment: Revelation 12:17 mentions the “remnant” that keeps the commandments of God and has the testimony of Jesus Christ (the spirit and understanding of prophecy). This remnant vastly outnumbers those faithful who are protected.
Those not protected are the majority of brethren in this final Church era who, because of being spiritually lukewarm, are admonished to “buy…gold tried in the fire” (Rev. 3:18)—martyrdom in the Great Tribulation.
The Seventh Seal Opened—The First Four Trumpets
(1) Upon the opening of the Seventh Seal, what did John see in vision? Revelation 8:1-2.
(2) What events announce the beginning of the trumpet plagues? Verse 5.
Comment: Just as the outset of the Sixth Seal (the heavenly signs) will be accompanied by a great earthquake, an earthquake will also accompany the beginning of the trumpet plagues. The seven trumpet plagues together comprise not only the Seventh Seal, but the entire time of the Day of the Lord.
(3) What happens to trees and vegetation when the first angel sounds the trumpet? Verse 7.
(4) What happens to one-third of the seas and oceans when the second angel sounds? Verses 8-9.
(5) How will the fresh waters be affected when the third angel sounds the trumpet? Verses 10-11.
(6) When the fourth angel sounds, what will happen to the sun, moon and stars? Verse 12.
Comment: The four initial trumpet plagues will affect one-third of: All trees and vegetation; oceans and seas; freshwater streams and lakes; and natural light.
Why will each of these elements be destroyed or diminished by one-third? Certainly, God could diminish all of these elements as much as He determined necessary. The reason these initial trumpet plagues are of measured intensity, short of what God could easily carry out, has to do with His giving various peoples and nations the opportunity to repent upon seeing God’s restrained punishment on mankind.
According to what was revealed to John, the vast majority will not repent at this time, or even later (when things become even more intense). Remember, only one-tenth of humanity are to survive, as pointed out in previous lessons.
The Fifth and Sixth Trumpet Plagues
(1) Although God will control the intensity of the initial trumpet plagues, how are the remaining plagues described? Revelation 8:13.
Comment: The three remaining trumpet plagues are described as the “three woes” because of the devastating intensity with which they will be carried out.
The first two woes—the fifth and sixth trumpet plagues—involve all-out warfare between the European Beast power and a large confederation of “the men of the east” (Russia and China and various bordering nations).
(2) What is the nature of the weaponry described as the fifth angel sounds the trumpet? Revelation 9:3-5.
Comment: To better understand this fifth trumpet plague of war, known as the First Woe, carefully read Revelation 9:1-12. For people to be painfully afflicted for five months could point to some form of chemical or biological warfare.
Note from verse 4 that the weaponry referred to has no damaging effects on vegetation. This verse also shows that those who have the seal of God in their foreheads (those having God’s Spirit) are protected from this woe.
The “king” over the Beast power orchestrating these attacks is the “angel of the bottomless pit” (Rev. 9:11), known in Hebrew as Abaddon (“a destroying angel”) and in Greek as Apollyon (“a destroyer”). Both names unmistakably point to Satan the devil.
(3) When the sixth angel sounds the trumpet beginning the Second Woe, how intense is this continued battle? Revelation 9:18.
Comment: This Sixth Trumpet Plague is essentially a counterattack by the hordes of the east against the Beast power of Europe.
Much of the symbolism of the first and second woes describes some of the weaponry of modern warfare. John portrayed what he saw using the language and analogies of his day (e.g., attack helicopters could resemble scorpions).
To better understand this counterattack, carefully read Revelation 9:13-19. This appears to be a full-scale nuclear attack against the Beast power of Europe and her allies, killing one-third of mankind.
God will allow the enemies that destroyed modern Israel to turn on each other. Yet, a significant number will survive this onslaught and unite to oppose Christ at His Return.
(4) Will such devastating warfare bring the survivors to repentance? Revelation 9:20-21.
The Seventh Trumpet
(1) Just before the Seventh Trumpet sounded, what did John see in vision? Revelation 15:1, 6-7.
Comment: Remember that the first four trumpet plagues will be only one-third as intense and devastating as they could be—giving many an opportunity to repent. This final trumpet plague and final woe represents the full wrath of God against those who refuse to repent!
(2) Before the last seven plagues are poured out, what events coincide with the Seventh Trumpet? Revelation 11:13-14.
Comment: Revelation 11:13 indicates that within the same hour that the two witnesses are resurrected, a great earthquake will strike, changing the topography of the region near Jerusalem. The two witnesses’ resurrection occurs just before the Seventh Trumpet (I Thes. 4:16-17; I Cor. 15:52).
(3) What else occurs as the Seventh Trumpet sounds? Revelation 11:15, 19.
Comment: This marks the most crucial juncture in the history of mankind—the Return of Christ, and the First Resurrection. Verse 19 shows that another earthquake occurs, accompanied by a great hailstorm.
(4) How does Christ make His triumphant entry, before conquering those who resist His Return? Revelation 19:11-16.
(5) Where will Christ arrive on earth and who will accompany Him? Zechariah 14:4-5.
The Seven Last Plagues
(1) Who will be punished by the seven last plagues? Revelation 16:1-2.
(2) How is the second of the seven last plagues different from the Second Trumpet Plague? Revelation 16:3. (Compare with Revelation 8:8.)
(3) What is the third of the seven last plagues—or “the vials of the wrath of God”? Revelation 16:4.
Comment: At this point, God turns all of the rivers and fresh waters to blood (vs. 5-7).
(4) What happens when the fourth angel pours out his vial? Revelation 16:8-9.
(5) As the fifth angel pours out his vial, will people begin to repent? Verses 10-11.
(6) When the sixth angel pours out his vial upon the Euphrates River, how will the armies gather to fight Christ at His Return? Verses 12-14, 16.
Comment: Many confuse the Sixth Trumpet Plague (Rev. 9:14-16), in which an army of 200 million gathers at the Euphrates River—with the sixth of the seven last plagues (Rev. 16:12), in which they actually cross the Euphrates River. These two separate but related events should not be confused. They occur at two distinctly separate times.
Revelation 16:13-14 clearly shows that evil spirits will go out to the kings of the earth to gather their armies in opposition to Christ’s Return. The armies gather at Armageddon (vs. 16), but the name of the battle is “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (vs. 14).
(7) What will be the outcome of this battle to oppose Christ’s Return? Revelation 19:19-21.
(8) In whose presence is the last of the seven last plagues poured out? Revelation 14:9-10.
Comment: The sixth of the seven last plagues pertains to military opposition to Christ’s Return. However, He will easily prevail over them. The seventh and final plague will then be poured out in Christ’s presence.
(9) What is the seventh and final plague? Revelation 16:17-21.
Comment: The intensity of this great earthquake will surpass that of any that preceded it in human history (vs. 18). In its wake, islands and mountains will vanish. The great hail that accompanies it is the final major catastrophic event to occur during that time—completing the Day of the Lord. Taken together, the seven last plagues “fill up” the wrath of God (Rev. 15:1). The term “filled up” means “fulfilled,” “consummated” or “completed.”
The events covered in this lesson take us up to the time of Christ’s Return and His victory over those who resist Him. Satan will be bound (Rev. 20:1-3) and the kingdom of God will be established to rule over the earth. The saints will rule with Christ for a thousand years.
This lesson was primarily intended to cover the basic story flow of Revelation. To more fully understand the events prophesied in Revelation, read our booklet Revelation Explained at Last!
Also, be sure you continue to write the scriptures listed and carefully review the literature referenced in each lesson. Upon completing the entire course, you will find the individual lessons to be a great asset in internalizing this precious truth as you periodically review them.
Future lessons on such topics as the Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day will cover more detailed information pertaining to prophecy relevant to each of these Holy Days. These lessons will contain more information (in respective order) pertaining to the Return of Christ, the putting away of Satan, the millennium and the kingdom of God, and the events which follow the millennium. The lesson on the Last Great Day will cover a wide array of prophetic events, such as Satan being “loosed a little season,” the time of the Great White Throne Judgment (the second resurrection), the purification of the earth by fire (concurrent with the third resurrection), and the New Heavens and the New Earth.
All these events following the millennium are also thoroughly explained in the recommended booklet, Revelation Explained at Last!
Lesson 8: Is Heaven the Reward of the Saved?
Millions of professing Christians believe that those who were nominally obedient or, at least, had good intentions in their physical lifetimes, go to heaven when they die. This belief is closely tied to the idea that human beings possess an immortal soul, which will be addressed in detail in Lesson 9. The vast majority of professing Christians have accepted, without question, the belief of going to heaven.
Does the Bible conclusively prove this belief to be true or false? This lesson will cover the major issues of this long-held tradition, and will show how to prove, directly from the Bible, what God says about this matter.
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