The Cosmic Disturbance
The vast majority of Pretribulational writers teach that The Day Of The Lord will begin with the Rapture of the church, encompass the entire 70th Week, the additional 75 days beyond the 70th week, and the millennium. This is the position of The New Scofield Reference Bible. It states that The Day Of The Lord “will begin with the translation of the church and terminate with cleansing of the heavens and the earth.” This was not the original view of Dr Scofield. In the 1909 edition of his reference Bible, Dr Scofield began The Day Of The Lord with the start of the 70th Week. In that edition of his reference Bible, he wrote, ” The Day Of Jehovah ( called also, ‘ that day’ and ‘ the great day’ ) is that lengthened period of time beginning with the return of the Lord in glory.” Others who shared this view were disciples of Dr Scofield through the influence of The Scofield Reference Bible. Dr Louis Sperry Chafer, the founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, and it’s first president, in his work, Systematic Theology, also started The Day Of The Lord at Christ’s Second Advent to the Earth. He wrote that ” This lengthened period of a thousand years begins, generally speaking, with the second advent of Christ and the judgment connected therewith, and ends with the passing of the present heaven and the present earth.”
Dr Scofield changed his position in the later editions of his study Bible. In the 1917 edition of his study Bible, he made pretribulational rapture a major facet of his work. Students of Louis Sperry Chafer like John F. Walvoord, Charles Feinberg, Charles Caldwell Ryrie and Dwight Pentecost have modified his position to reflect a starting point of The Day Of The Lord from the beginning of the 70th Seven.
In starting The Day Of The Lord from the start of the 70th Seven, they erred. The vast majority of pretribulational writers rightly affirm that the rapture must precede The Day Of The Lord. But they wrongly infer that if the Rapture is pretribulational, The Day Of The Lord must start with commencement of the 70th Week. But there are a few of them however, like Paul Feinberg and Richard Mayhue who acknowledge that The Day Of The Lord starts at or beyond the middle of the 70th Seven. In Spite of this realization, they have attempted to sustain Pretribulational rapture position. In so doing, they put a gap of three and one-half years between the rapture and The Day Of The Lord. But the Scriptures do not permit such an extended gap between the starting point of The Day Of The Lord’s Judgment and the rapture of the church. On the contrary, the word of God teaches that the very day the church is raptured, The Day Of The Lord’s Wrath begins. Our Lord Jesus The Christ addressing His disciples in the Olivet discourse said, ” And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son Of Man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the Ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all” ( Luk.17:26,27). The point of the Lord’s teaching is that the very day that Noah entered the Ark, the flood came, and destroyed them all. In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established. For confirmation and emphasis, Jesus gave them another example. ” Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the Same Day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.” ( Luk.17:28,29). The point of our Lord’s teaching is very clear here: On the same day that Lot and his family fled Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone, and destroyed them all. On the same day that Lot and his family fled Sodom, God judged Sodom. It is very clear here that the deliverance of the righteous and the immediate judgment of the living wicked earth-dwellers is used to illustrate the Second Coming of the Lord. That the Lord’s word, ” Even so shall it be in The Day when The Son Of Man is revealed removes every doubt.
Malvin J. Rosenthal has written: “Deliverance of the righteous immediately precedes the judgment of the wicked. To postulate a period of time between rapture ( deliverance) and wrath ( judgment) is to contradict the Scriptures.”
But The Day Of The Lord begins with the breaking of the seventh seal. And the rapture occurs the same day that The Wrath of God begins. It therefore follows that if The Day Of The Lord begins with the breaking of the seventh seal, the rapture cannot be pretribulational.
Here are some of the arguments that pretribulationists use to defend the premise that The Day Of The Lord begins at the commencement of the 70th Seven.
Firstly, pretribulationists designate the 70th week The Tribulation Period. By that means, they build an a priori case for the Pretribulation rapture position. They also suggest that The Day Of The Lord is a time of God’s Wrath, and that the tribulation period, by its designation is time of wrath. Therefore, The Day Of The Lord must begin at the start of the 70th Seven of Daniel, the tribulation period. This assessment which is assumed repeatedly in most pretribulational literature is fallacious because the Scriptures no where designate or refer to the 70th Week as The Tribulation Period. Besides it cannot be demonstrated that the breaking of the first five seals reflect the outpouring of the wrath of God.
The breaking of the first seal signals the emergence of a multiplicity of false messiahs in the religious circle, and in the political circle, the antiChrist who is the ultimate False Messiah( Rev.6:1,2; Matt.24:5). At the breaking of the second seal, there are wars, commotions and rumors of wars(Rev.6:3,4; Matt.24:6,7a; Luk.21:9,10). At the breaking of the thirst seal, there are famines, pestilences and earthquakes, which are the consequences of wars( Rev.6:5,6; Matt.24:7b,8; Luk.21:11a ). With the breaking of the fourth seal, The Great Tribulation( Rev.6:7,8; Matt.24:9-28; Luk.21:12-24), the time of Jacob’s Trouble( Jer.30:7), a time of distress or trouble( Dan.12:1) begins. The breaking of the fifth seal reveals the souls of the martyred saints under the golden altar of incense in heaven( Rev.6:9-11). The fifth seal is a heavenly scene which is a reflection of the martyrdom of the saints going on here on earth under the fourth seal. It does not necessarily advance the chronology of events here on Earth. It reveals the arrival of the souls of the martyred saints during the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist in heaven. Not until the breaking of the sixth seal, which initiates cosmic disturbances does God begin to actively intervene in the affairs on earth at that time. With the breaking of the sixth seal, God’s wrath is about to commence( Rev.6:12-17; Matt.24:29; Luk.21:24-28). God uses the sixth seal, the cosmic disturbances to interrupt and amputate the killing of the saints going here on Earth( Matt.24:22). But the outpouring of the wrath of God does not begin until the appearance of the Shekinah in the heavens, the sealing of the 144,000, and the rapture of the church which occurs at the breaking of the seventh seal, which is the last trump( Rev.6: 14-17; 7-8:1-6; Matt.24:29-31;Luk.21:25-28).
Secondly, some pretribulationists argue that the second, third and fourth seals of Revelation 6 indicate wars, famines, and earthquakes, which is true as we have shown above. They also go on to suggest that war is a method of God’s judgment( Lev.26:21-28; Ezekk.14:21); famine is a method of God’s judgment ( Deut.11:17; Ezek.4:16,17); and pestilence is a method of God’s judgment ( Num.11:33; 16: 46). And all these seals with the exception of the fourth which is broken precisely in the middle, are broken in the first half of the 70th seven of Daniel. Inasmuch as these Scriptures indicate that these instruments of death, wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes, are expressions of God’s wrath, and The Day Of The Lord is a time of God’s wrath; it therefore follows that The Day Of The Lord starts at the beginning of the 70th week.
There is no doubt that God uses wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes as means of divine wrath and judgment. The question is whether the wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes of the first three seals of Rev.6 originate in Satan’s wrath which are given vent through human expression, man’s inhumanity to man, or are the the wrath of God administered directly by Him? As we have seen, God plays no role in the first five seals of Rev.6. They all originate in human activities orchestrated by Satan through his minion , the antiChrist, although God is in sovereign control as the sovereign Lord of the universe, hence the supervision by the four living creatures. Men also start wars, cause famines and generate pestilences.
If God is responsible for the second and third seals, He must also take responsibility for the first which signals the emergence of the antiMessiah. If the first four seals are attributed to God, it therefore follows that God is responsible for the Great Tribulation during which the saints are singled out for extermination due to their refusal to bear the mark of allegiance to the antiMessiah. If the first four seals are God’s wrath, it therefore follows that God alone must take credit for the emergence of the antiChrist and his counterfeit religious system that is responsible for the martyrdom of His saints.
It is preposterous to attribute the emergence of the antiMessiah to God. That would mean that God has a divided house, and that God is responsible for that division within His house. And we know that a divided house cannot stand( Luk.11:17,18). How can God be responsible for the emergence of the antiMessiah which signals a movement towards the ultimate rebellion against God; the deification of man by man at the Third Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem ( 2Thess.2:4,5). Having failed with subtle peace diplomacy to gain the whole world to himself, the antiChrist will plunge the whore world into war, the red horse and rider( the second seal). With the heavy equipments of modern military technology, any world war will be devastating on the earth. The resultant devastation of war will cause famines and earthquakes , and the predictable insanitary conditions will lead to pestilences ( third seal, black horse and rider). Famines, pestilences, earthquakes cause death, aside from the deliberate annihilation of those who fail to comply with the antiMessiah by taking his mark of allegiance ( the fourth seal, the pale horse and rider). This is historic pretribulational, and premillennial interpretation of the first four seals agrees with prewrath rapture position which is biblically accurate. But to attribute the first four seals of Rev.6 to God is biblically unfounded. It stretches credulity to think that once The Day Of The Lord’s Wrath begins, the antiMessiah can assume control of the world and wreak such havoc on the earth and humanity.
It is even more egregious to start the commencement of the wrath of God from the beginning of the 70th week when we consider the fifth seal of Rev.6. With the breaking of the fifth seal, martyrs under the altar of incense in heaven are revealed. These are the believing remnants of faithful saints who have not bowed to the antiMessiah, who were killed due to their refusal to capitulate to the authority of the antiMessiah. These are not resurrected saints. They are disembodied spirits. They are souls without eternal immortal resurrection bodies. They are seen under the altar of incense of the Temple in heaven crying out to God for vengeance, with a loud voice saying, ” How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” ( Rev.6:10; cp. Matt.24:9-26).
If the seals are God’s wrath, the implication is obvious. God must take credit and responsibility for the martyrdom of His own faithful children, who refuse to give allegiance to the antiMessiah and bow to the image of the Beast, thereby forfeiting their lives. God must be held accountable for the martyrdom of His faithful saints who are humble and obedient to Him. Preposterous one may say, and that is absolutely correct. The very testimony of these martyrs belies the attribution of their martyrdom to God. They pleaded with God for divine retribution against their persecutors. God told them to patiently wait until their fellow brethren on earth who are to be martyred are also killed. There is a certain number or complement of believers to be martyred. It is a divine secret; it is not revealed to us in the Scriptures ( Deut.29:29). Immediately that number is complete, God will amputate The Great Tribulation. ” Except those days were cut short, no flesh( in context, observant Jews and Christians, and other nonconformists) will be saved ( Matt.24:22). This is the one singular most important reason why the seals cannot be God’s wrath, and The Day Of The Lord Wrath and judgment cannot begin at the beginning of the 70th week, the so called Tribulation Period.
Thirdly, pretribulationists teach that because it is the Lamb of God who has the authority to take the seven sealed scroll from the right hand of Him that sits upon the throne, break the seals, and open the scroll which leads to the unfolding of the events of the 70th week ( Rev.5,6), therefore the entire 70th week is the outpouring of His Wrath.
The Seals Are Not God’s Wrath
This argument does not make a distinction between the active will and permissive will of God, both of which are under His Sovereignty. Furthermore, it rests on an inadequate understanding of God’s purpose for the 70th week of Daniel.
Jesus as the Son Of God and the Son Of Man is given the seven sealed Scroll which is the Title Deed of the Earth. He as the True Adam, the Second Man who is the Lord from the heavens( 1Cor.15:47), is the Father’s representative in the earthly domain of His Universal Kingdom. He as the sovereign Lord of the Earth is bringing the history of This Age, Olam Haze to a consummate ending. The termination of this Age is the inauguration of The New Age, the Age to come, Olam Haba. Christ told His disciples, “…. and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the ages” ( Matt.28:20). From the start of the breaking of the seventh seal to the end of the The War Of Armageddon is the End Of The Ages. Jesus will be with His disciples till the start of the breaking of the seventh seal which marks the commencement of The End Of The Ages, which is the beginning of the outpouring of the wrath of God. The saints are exempt from the wrath of God. Therefore they must be physically removed from the Earth before the wrath of God begins. This period of time from the start of the breaking of the seventh seal to the end of the war of Armageddon is The End Of The Ages or simply The End. ” And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto The End, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the World for a witness unto all nations; and then shall The End come” ( Matt.24:12-14).
The persecution, the Great Tribulation is to go on till the end of the ages. He that endures till the end of the ages shall be saved,redeemed or rescued, that is, physically removed from the earth’s premises, the scene of the persecution. This gospel must be preached to the whole world, then shall the end ( the end of the ages ) come. Jesus is in sovereign command of all the events of the End times; everything must work in accordance with preordained plan. Besides, He is working out different plans and purposes during the 70th Week which relate to the distinctive significance of the seals, trumpets, and bowls of the Scroll of Revelation.
In the world of the Bible, seals signify authenticity, protection and ownership. They are also for the purpose of legalization and identification. The believer in Christ Jesus is sealed with the Holy Spirit which is the earnest( initial payment) of our inheritance( Eph.1:13,14). The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer is the absolute guarantee that his or her eternal salvation is secure. That He who began a good work in him or her will be faithful to complete it( Eph.1:6); and that no power in heaven and under the Earth will thwart His divine purpose for the redeemed. It is quite comforting to know that nothing can come upon us, even the midst of the worst of man’s inhumanity to man, a time when the antiChrist demands that men bow, capitulate to his authority or be annihilated, except that which has passed the security of His ineffable love. Even in the midst of The Great Tribulation, nothing can happen to the child of God except that which The Almighty God, in His Sovereign will permits. During The Great Tribulation, the believer shall be delivered up to be afflicted and killed( Matt.24:9). ” And when He had broken the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and the testimony which they held” ( Rev.6:9). Under these circumstances, the context of the 70th Week, the profound truth which is revealed in the word of God, becomes very relevant: ” And fear not them who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” ( Matt.10:28; Luk.12:5). We should not fear man who after destroying the body has no power over the soul, but rather we should fear God who has power, after destroying the body, to cast the eternal soul into hell fire. The soul of man is indestructible; every soul of man is eternal. The soul and spirit of man cannot be annihilated. When the Bible speaks of eternal life, it the quality of that life that is in view. Some, the saints, the elect of God will spend eternity in the heavenly Jerusalem, but the wicked, the condemned will spend eternity in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone.
The Scroll of Revelation, the Title Deed of the Earth, has the seven seals of the Almighty, indicating that He is the Lord of the Earth( Rev.5:1,5). ” Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of the heaven and the Earth” ( Gen.24:19). Jesus, thanking the Father for the successful mission of His disciples, addressed Him as “Lord of Heaven and the Earth” ( Matt.11:25). Prior to the commencement of the wrath of, shortly before the rapture of the church, the 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel are sealed with seal of God for identification and protection during the outpouring of His wrath( Rev.7:3); for God will not leave Himself without witnesses on Earth.
The Seals Of Revelation 6
Some pretribulation commentators also are of the opinion that the seals of Revelation 6 are not God’s wrath, but originate in the evil activities of men. John F. Walvoord commenting on the seals said: ” The judgment of war, famine, and death , and the martyrdom of the saints have largely originated in human decisions and in the evil heart of men.” Leon Morris wrote, ” The first four seals form a unity. They show us the self-defeating character of sin. When the spirit of self-aggrandizement and conquest is abroad, all God need do is let events take their course and sinners will inevitably be punished.” William Newell commenting on the fifth seal of Revelation 6 wrote, ” This fifth seal exhibits especially three things….; Third, the utter wickedness of the earth which is plainly expected to go on martyring the full complement of God’s saints.
As we have pointed out earlier, the fact that our Lord Jesus breaks the seals, signifies amongst other things, the assurance of eternal security for the martyred saints. The antiMessiah, under the permissive will of God can touch their bodies, but not their souls. The seals are not God’s wrath. They are God’s promise of eternal protection and security during man’s wrath, which is precipitated and perpetrated by the AntiMessiah who is empowered by Satan( Rev.13:4). This is the ultimate manifestation of the principle, ” surely the wrath of man shall praise thee” ( Ps.76:10). The first four seals affects one-fourth of the earth’s population( Rev.6:8). That the Lord Jesus is in sovereign control of the breaking of the seals guarantees divine protection and eternal salvation for the faithful saints who are martyred.
In a discussion of the seals, Gary Cohen wrote, ” The first four seals are seen to contain providential-type judgments. Such judgments are those which God, in His holy and wise control of all things in the world, permits to rise up out of natural causes.”
David Cooper who is a staunch defender of the Pretribulation rapture position wrote, ” At the breaking of each of the four seals, there appears upon the earth a rider upon a certain colored horse. These horses are symbols of movements and events of that period. This movement brings the antChrist to power….. A martyrdom of Tribulation saints occur at the breaking of the fifth seal. All of the things which occur under the first five seals are brought about and engineered by men who instigate and carry forward these events as indicated in Rev.6:1-11.”
As we have pointed earlier, nothing can come upon the believer except that which God in His sovereign will permits. That God is in sovereign control is elegantly attested by the fact that He breaks the seals, and supervises the sounding of the trumpets and the outpouring of the bowls. To teach that the first five seals are God’s wrath contradicts the evidence of the Scriptures, and the views and testimonies of the overwhelming majority of biblical scholars and commentators on the Scroll of Revelation. Our Lord Jesus spoke of the first five seals as signs of His coming, no where does He say they are His wrath.
In ancient Israel as well as in the modern State of Israel, the trumpet served two major purposes. Firstly, it was and is still being used to call a solemn assembly, in other words to gather the people of Israel in the presence of God. Therefore it was sounded on Israel’s feast days and at the New moon ( Lev.23:24-25; Num.10:2-3,7,10; Ps.81:3). Secondly, it was blown to sound an alarm for war and judgment ( Num.10:9; Jere.4:19; Joel 2:1). When Israel went to war with its enemies it was to bring judgment on the enemies of God. The trumpet judgments will accomplish precisely these two purposes. At the breaking of the seventh seal which opens into the seven trumpets, the church will be raptured into the presence of God, that is, called as it were into God’s presence. We will meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with Him ( 1 Thess.4:16,17). At the same time, the eschatological Day of the Lord judgment on the Gentile nations that know not God will begin. It will be meted out on both unrepentant Jews ( Ezek.20:30-38), and inpenitent Gentiles ( Is.2:12-22; 24:20-23).
As we have pointed out several times earlier, the Greek word translated bowl in the KJV is phiale. It is from this word that we derive the English word vial. Unlike in ancient Israel and in the Roman world, the vial used in modern medicine is a narrow-throated vessel. In ancient Israel and in the Roman world, it was a wide rimmed shallow dish or saucer, the content of which could easily be discarded with a quick swish. Just as Muslims use kettles, an observant Jew would use such a dish for ritual cleansing of hands before the Shabbat , and for a variety of other religious observances, at the end of which he discards the dirty water with a quick swish because the bowl was wide rimmed and shallow. The rapid outpouring of the dirty and useless content of the bowl became a metaphor, a descriptive language for the outpouring of God’s wrath on the Gentile nations that know not God.
The psalmist pleaded with God, ” pour out thy wrath upon the nations that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name. For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling place” ( Ps.79:6,7). In the same vein, Jeremiah, the weeping prophet of Israel, made the same plea to God, ” Pour out thy fury upon the nations that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on the name; for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate” ( Jere.10:25). Both of these passages of the Scriptures speak of the pouring out of God’s judgment on the nations that have not known Him, and that the outpouring of wrath will be based on their treatment of the descendants of Jacob.
God Himself responded affirmatively in Zeph.3:8. ” Therefore wait ye upon Me, saith the Lord, until the the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them my indignation, even all my fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.” The Lord will do this because He is jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with great jealousy, because He is sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease; for He was a little displeased with Israel, and the Gentiles helped forward the affliction ( Zech.1:14,15). God wanted to use the Gentiles nations to punish Israel for her sins and disobedience to Him, to correct, cleanse and purge her from her sins, but the Gentiles were overbearing in meting out divine justice to Israel, and exceeded the bounds of divine justice and decency because of their jealousy and hatred of Israel. In return, God shall reward them evil for their iniquities and wickedness.
So, there is a divine judgment of the nations, excluding Israel. For this purpose, the surviving remnant of Israel shall be hidden in Azal, taken to protective custody as it were. In the light of this judgment and the exemption of the Jewish survivors, the prophet Zechariah wrote, ” And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come , and all the saints with thee.” ( Zech.14:5). In the same vein, the prophet Isaiah wrote, ” Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.” ( Is.26:20). We can see very clearly here that Israel is exempt from the bowl judgments.
The specific judgment of God upon the Gentile nations from which, as we have pointed out Israel is exempt, shall begin at the end of the 70th Week. At the sounding of the seventh trumpet, Our Lord Jesus the Christ shall return literally to the Earth, reclaim God’s rule over the Earth usurped by Satan( Rev.11:17-17). According to Jewish calendar, the 70th week ends on the Day of Atonement( Yom Kippur). This is the occasion of Israel’s national Day Of Atonement ( Zech.12:10). Five days later will be the Jewish feast of Sukkot or Tabernacles. This will be the fifth day into the 30-day reclamation period ( Dan.12:11). On this day, the trumpet shall be blown in accordance with Jewish custom on every feast day. This shall correspond with the sounding of the seventh trumpet, at which instance God Almighty reclaims His rulership of the Earth through His human representative, an Adam, our Lord Jesus the Messiah, over the earthly domain of His Universal Kingdom. The Jewish feast of Hanukkah or the Feast Of Lights occurs 75 days after Yom Kippur. Therefore Hanukkah shall fall on the last day of the 45-day Restoration Period ( Dan.12:12). This will be the commencement of the mellinnial reign of Christ.
Therefore, the judgment of the nations will be poured out, beginning with the blowing of the seventh trumpet on the First Day Of Sukkot( Rev.11:18). Concerning that day, the prophet Zechariah wrote, ” And it shall come to pass, in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem ” ( Zech.12:9). The judgment of God on the nations will be swift, encompassing the seven bowl judgments which shall be poured out, emptied upon the Gentiles nations in a brief period of 24-25 days of the 30-day reclamation period ( Dan.12:11).
The Pretribulation Rapture position is built on the premise that the church is exempt from the wrath of God which is biblical accurate, but on the inference that the wrath of God begins at the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel which is biblically inaccurate. A cursory look and examination of The Day Of The Lord passages in Scriptures indicate that it is a period of unprecedented, awesome judgment of the nations by direct divine intervention in the affairs of men. What the mouth of the Lord has spoken, His right hand of righteousness will perform. During the wrath of God, the omnipotent arm of God is depicted unleashing God’s righteous indignation and judgment on inpenitent and recalcitrant nations of the world that know not God neither obey Him.
The foundations of this planet earth shall shall be shaken and reel and wobble under the impact of God’s wrath like a drunken man. The proposition that the antiChrist will rise to power, emerge as the ultimate demagogue, establish a worldwide rule, relocate his headquarters to Jerusalem, erect a statue or image of himself in the Holy Of Holies of the rebuilt Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah, apotheosize himself, demand worship of mortals, kill multitudes of Jews and Christians who refuse to bow to his authority and comply with his demands ( Rev.13:1-8)- all of these exetending over a period of three and one- half years into the Day Of The Lord- cannot be seriously entertained in the light of the biblical characteristics of The Day Of The Lord. The Day Of The Lord does not last for that long a period. Besides, only the Lord is exalted in that Day, and the haughtiness of men and their lofty looks shall be brought low. Concerning this the prophet Isaiah wrote,
” Enter into the Rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty. The lofty looks of men shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord shall be on every one that is proud and lofty, and upon everyone that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, and upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, and upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, and upon the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and The Lord alone shall be exalted in That Day. And the idols He shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In That Day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they have made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth. Cease ye from man , whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of? ” ( Is.2:10-22).
The idols of gold and of silver mentioned here are the little images of the antiMessiah which those who have taken his mark of allegiance shall be instructed to make for the purpose of private worship of the beast-antiChrist. At the breaking of the sixth seal, John the revelator wrote,
” And the Kings of the Earth, and the Great Men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the Mighty Men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and the rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on The Throne, and from theWrath Of The Lamb: for The Day Of His Wrath is come ; and who shall be able to stand? ” ( Rev.6:15-17).
John the revelator makes it clear that at the breaking of the sixth seal, all the living wicked earth-dwellers will suddenly realize that atheism and evolution are religious and scientific insanity respectively. The Richard Dawkins will throw away all their tons of books on evolution to seek refuge in the caves and tops of the ragged rocks from the Wrath of Him that sitteth on the throne of the Universe and from the Wrath of the Lamb of God, who execute God’s vengeance on the wicked who forsake God. In That Day, all the edifices of human achievements in defiance to God, all the Towers of Babel that men have built for themselves in defiance to God, whether they be religious, educational, whether they be in the realm of entertainment, commerce or industry shall become like the proverbial hill of beans and house of cards. In addition to the men themselves, they shall be consumed in the divine conflagration.
We can see that starting the Day Of The Lord at the start of the 70th Week, not only creates an insurmountable exegetical problem, but also compounds it by standing in opposition to the clear teaching of the Scriptures that the Day Of The Lord begins with the breaking of the seventh seal of Revelation 8 after the cosmic disturbances.
The Breaking Of The 7th Seal: The Start Of The Day Of The Lord
There is a clear evidence and overwhelming testimony that The Day Of The Lord is preceded by cosmic and celestial disturbances of considerable magnitude. Isaiah prophesied that the day of the Lord will be antedated by cosmocelestial disturbances. ” Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He shall destroy the sinners out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in it’s going forth, and the moon shall not cause it’s light to shine” ( Is.13:9,10).
The prophet Joel testified also that the day of the Lord shall be preceded by celestial disturbances. ” Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision; for the Day Of The Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining” ( Joel 3:14,15). He also said, ” And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord” ( Joel 2:30,31).
That The Day Of The Lord shall be preceded by cosmic and celestial disturbances, the Scriptures are precise. One cannot but notice the precision that there will not only be cosmic disturbance, but that it shall be before the day of the Lord. The evidential conclusion here is obvious. If The Day Of The Lord begins at the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel as the pretribulationists would have believe, it therefore follows that the 70the week of Daniel must be preceded by cosmocelestial disturbances. There is no legitimate biblical alternative evidence. This evidence poses an enigmatic and insurmountable exegetical problem for pretribulationists.
A major facet and pillar of the pretribulational rapture position is the concept and doctrine of imminency. Imminency is the teaching that no prophesied event must occur before the rapture takes place. In other words, the rapture must occur without being preceded by any prophesied event. It can occur at any moment. John F. Walvoord, the former president of Dallas Theological Seminary declared that imminency is the “Heart of pretribulationists,” and so do the majority of pretribulationists after him. However, if the day of the Lord starts at the commencement of the 70th week of Daniel, and a prophesied event, cosmic disturbance must occur first, it therefore follows that cosmic disturbance must occur outside of the 70th, before it actually begins. We can see from here that imminency, the central pillar of Pretribulation rapturism is biblically inaccurate, and therefore untenable.
The Timing Of The Cosmic Disturbance
Since the cosmic disturbance is the precursor to The Day Of The Lord, is it possible to know when it will occur? Yes! The Scriptures are very clear as to the precise time when the cosmic disturbance will occur. In the Olivet discourse, our Lord Jesus the Christ said,
” Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heaven shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son Of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son Of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet , and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” ( Matt.24:29-31). Here we can see that the cosmic disturbance occurs way into the second half of the 70th week, after the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist.
John the revelator lends his voice as the timing of the cosmic disturbances. This should not surprise us as Jesus is the actual author of the Scroll Of Revelation, John the revelator being His amanuensis. So, Jesus is the author of both the Scroll Of Revelation as well as the Olivet discourse.
” I beheld, when he had broken the sixth seal and, lo, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood; and the stars of heaven fell into the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind” ( Rev.6:12,13).
We can see here too that a specific cosmic disturbance occurs way into the second half of the 70th week at the breaking of the sixth seal of Revelation 6. Some interpreters of the pretribuation persuasion have tried to negate the significance of this truth by trying to confuse it with the heavenly disturbances of the fourth trumpet judgment ( Rev.8:12). Unfortunately, there is no parallel of thought or language to warrant such association. Besides there is a convergence of thought and language in other passages of the Scriptures ( Is.13:10; Ezek.32:7,8; Joel2:31), as do the evangelists Mark and Luke in the Olivet discourse (Mark 13:24,25; Luk.21:25). Also this particular cosmocelestial disturbance is in perfect conformity with the chronology of the Olivet discourse in Matt.24. How far inside of the 70th week of Daniel the breaking of the sixth seal occurs has been answered by Matt.24:29; after the Tribulation of those days.
Many biblical scholars have recognized and called attention to the similarity and parallelism between Mattthew ( Matt.24:5-8) and the four horses and riders of the Apocalypse ( Rev.6:1-8). That similarity is self-evident, and does not need any stretch of the imagination.
First Seal: White horse and rider
This is false religion personified in the antiMessiah who conquers by subtle peace diplomacy, deception and political intrigue ( Rev.6:1-2). ” For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” ( Matt.24:5).
Second Seal: Red horse and rider
The rider upon a red horse is given a sword, and he went forth conquering and to conquer. This signals war ( Rev.6:3-4). ” And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” ( Matt.24:6-7a).
Third Seal: Black horse and rider
The third seal is a rider upon a black horse who is given a scale to measure the food supply. Food is rationed in time of famine. This signals famine, a natural consequence of war ( Rev.6:5-6). ” And there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” ( Matt.24:7b-8). This is the end of the first three and one-half years. Famines, pestilences, and earthquakes are natural consequences of war. With modern military technology, any World War will have devastating effect on our planet.
Fourth Seal: Pale horse and rider
The fourth seal is a rider upon a pale horse who kills with hunger, sword and the beasts of the earth. This is the Great Tribulation when the antiMessiah starves to death , hunts down and kills those who refuse to bow to his authority. The beasts of the earth are the enlivened robotic images of the antiMessiah equipped with AI which identify and cause to be killed those who do not give their allegiance to the antiMessiah by refusing to be beast-marked ( Rev.6:7-8). ” Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my names sake. And then shall many be offended and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved…..” ( Matt.24:9-28).
Many commentators of the Pretribulation persuasion conclude the comparison at this point. However, a close examination of the Scriptures shows that the comparison continues.
The Fifth Seal
The fifth seal reveals a complement of faithful saints martyred for their faith. They were martyred ” for the word of God, and the testimony which they held” ( Rev.6:9-11). The fifth seal is a heavenly scene, a reflection of the killing of the saints going here on earth. Therefore it runs concurrently with the fourth seal, their disembodied souls and spirits arriving in heaven simultaneously as the killing is taking place on earth. ” Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you, and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” ( Matt.:249).
The Sixth Seal
At the breaking of the sixth seal, there are cosmocelestial disturbances. ” And I beheld, when He had broken the sixth seal, lo, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind” ( Rev.6:12,13). ” Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heaven shall be shaken” ( Matt.24:29).
” But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in the heavens shall be shaken” ( Mark13:24,25).
” And there shall be signs in the sun , and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring” ( Luk.21:25).
We can see from the above Scriptures that cosmic disturbance precedes The Day Of The Lord, and that it occurs at the breaking of the sixth seal. The sixth seal is broken after The Great Tribulation, and the The Great Tribulation is cut short or better still amputated, and ends before the expiry of the 70th Week ( Matt.24:28; Mark 13.24; Luk.21:23-25). In Rev.6:12, the cosmic disturbance occurs after the martyrdom of the saints associated with The Great Tribulation by the antiMessiah.
The sixth seal will darken the heaven and frozen the earth. The sign of the coming of the Son Of Man, The Shekinah in the heaven shall dispel the darkness and defrost the earth. “And then shall appear the sign of the Son Of Man in the heavens” ( Matt.24:30; cp, Mark 13:26; Luk.21:27). The appearance of the sign of the coming of the Son Of Man in the heavens occurs after The Great Tribulation, but before the end of the 70th Week. What is cut short, amputated is The Great Tribulation, not the forty and two months allotted to the antiMessiah to persecute the saints of the Most High.
The fifth trumpet judgment alone lasts as long as five months. The first woe corresponds with the expiration of the fifth trumpet judgement. The sixth trumpet judgment is poured out but does not expire until after the end of the 70th week. The second woe which marks the end of the sixth trumpet judgment, after the death and resurrection of the two witnesses occurs on the fourth day of the 30-day Reclamation Period. The seventh trumpet is blown on the 5th or 6th day of the 30-day Reclamation Period. Shortly before it is sounded, the mystery of God shall be finished. At its sounding, God Almighty reclaims His rule over the Earth ( Rev.11:15).
The appearance of the sign of the coming of The Son Of Man is related to the Rapture Of The Church and the Sealing Of the 144,000 surviving remnants of Israel. It occurs before the breaking of the seventh seal which marks the starting point of the wrath of God. The rapture of the church and the outpouring of the wrath of God occur on the same day. Immediately the church is raptured, the wrath of God begins. The rapture and the beginning of the outpouring of the wrath of God occur on the same day. God does not exempt His children from the wrath of Satan administered by man; but He does exempt them from His own wrath which is administered by Him. Noah was told to get into the Ark before the deluge, and Lot told to leave Sodom before God rained fire and brimstone on the cities of the plain. In like manner the church must be taken away to heaven, raptured before the wrath of God begins.
God’s wrath begins with the breaking of the seventh seal. The seventh seal has no judgment of its own. And out of the seventh seal arises the seven trumpets. The cosmocelestial disturbances introduced with the breaking of the sixth seal are preludial to the Rapture of the Church and the commencement of The Day Of The Lord Wrath. In like manner, the seventh trumpet has no judgment of its own. Out of the events trumpet arise the seven bowls. The seventh bowl culminates in Armageddon.