When hearing about Revelation, some folks groan, "Oh, that tired old book!? That tired ole book has intrigued people for centuries searching for an accurate interpretation. Never has such a book tweaked so many brains! <grin> It is written in Revelation 1:3 that a special blessing is placed on those who read and hear this book. Hey, who can turn down seeing the future and getting blessed in the process??
Once we get past the barrier that it can't be understood by the average person, it becomes a challenge to know what is in store. God never meant for us to be kept in the dark. He always warns of coming events. Revelation comes from Latin "revelatio" meaning "an unveiling" and from Greek "apokalyptsis" meaning "the removing of a veil". It is the unveiling of a mystery rather "apocrypha" indicating "hidden". So why is it so hard?
Think about it from John's perspective. God instructs John to write down everything he sees and hears, but how is John to explain concepts for which he has no words? For a person who either uses his feet or a horse or donkey to get around, the idea of nuclear wars, pole shifts and supernatural events would be difficult to convey. It would be like trying to describe the fragrance of lilacs to one who has no sense of smell or explain their delicate lavender coloring to a sightless person. Sometimes finding a point of reference is pretty tough. Combine the language barriers with both the exhilarating, and at the same time, devastating "history" John sees, any of us would be overwhelmed and stupefied! It is the best of times because of the ultimate conclusion, but like death, the getting there is generally not pleasant.
In order to understand Revelation, it must be read in conjunction with Daniel for Daniel gives the key timing of events and underscores what John saw. Daniel, read alone, leaves out much detail in Revelation so they work hand in hand. Besides the books already mentioned, Joel and Thessalonians also help fill in the blanks. There are a few others as well, but the main information regarding Tribulation and events leading up to it, is mostly found in these books.
||There is a lot of talk these days that our world is totally screwed up. People fret that their kids are unmanageable and families are disintegrating. Natural disasters have reached unprecedented highs and people kill just to see what it feels like. New and previously controlled diseases are emerging and there is the ever-present threat of wars. Sound familiar?
All these events and more were predicted approximately 1900 years ago as the sign posts when the Messiah would return and set the world to rights. If you would like to read these sign posts yourself, click the Sign Post (left) for a peek at "today".
Lots of people have studied scripture and assembled to the best of their ability, a time line that depicts prophetic events. Because some words are ambiguous, it is impossible for anyone to say definitively, "By George, I've got it!" It might be wiser to say, "By George, we think we've got it!!" One of the best examples is Rapture. Nowhere in the Bible will you find this word, but the precedent and concept is there. For these reasons, people can say they strongly feel this event will happen, but there is no concrete proof. To further confuse the issue, scriptural cases can be made for pre-Tribulation rapture, mid-Trib rapture, pre-Wrath rapture and no rapture at all. So how does one decide the issue?
It is determined through study of The Word as a whole, prayer and interpretation to the best of people's ability, but this by its very nature gets people into trouble. The Bible's prophecy is never fallible, only the interpreters.
For this reason, Stan and I have indicated several possible places where Rapture could occur, but until it happens, we have to remain open on this. The same is true for when the 144,000 are sealed. If one looks in Revelation where it occurs, it is written down between the 6th and 7th Seal. However, scripture also says these Israelites are to be sealed "before the Earth is hurt". Since Seal 6 tells of a mighty earthquake, a pole shift where every mountain and island are moved AND meteors, comets or asteroids falling like "unripe figs", this also fits the description of hurting Earth. If so, then the sealing of the 144,000 belongs before the 6th Seal.
The balance of the chart is a little more straightforward. Where there are other areas in question, we've included scripture and reasoning to support the positions on the chart. Two other areas where Trib charts can disagree are what is the midpoint of Tribulation and whether or not the Seal, Trumpet and Bowl judgments run one set after the other (linearly) or are overlaid (all 3 sets of judgments running simultaneously). One indication we feel they do not run simultaneously is Revelation 15:1 which refers to the Vial/Bowl/Plague judgments as the "seven LAST judgments".
After much study, our understanding is the Bowl judgments take the entire 42 months of the Great Tribulation period . It is during this time the Two Witnesses preach unceasingly for 3-1/2 years which is also the time of Antichrist's greatest strength. During the 3-1/2 years of the Witnesses, no rain falls at all which contributes to the vast 1700 mile (2300 km) Euphrates River drying up. Logically, the events depicted in the Bowl judgments are so catastrophic man will need time between events to recover or as Matthew 24:22 and Mark 13:20 states, none would survive. 'And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved".
A NOTE TO UNBELIEVERS: Many folks wonder WHY God would be so mean to punish man with such unimaginable horrors. Tribulation has two purposes. It is
1. To shake the uncommitted and the disbelieving out of their lethargy to sign on with Him,
2. To punishment those who have deliberately chosen Antichrist as their leader. They won't be hard to miss; they'll be sporting the mark of the beast.
Who could blame God? He's done everything for us including sending His son to set us all straight. As thanks He is murdered. Probably THE most amazing aspect of this entire drama we have seen unfold over 6000 years is the denial that Christ is the Messiah! Not only did man deny His divinity, they hung this innocent on a cross and then tortured Him during the nine hours it took to die. Even after His resurrection people still rejected Him as the Son of God. With all the other prophecies in the Bible that have come to pass, how can people doubt its validity? The prophecies of the Bible are the only prophecies that are never wrong.
It's not difficult to see why God would be more than a little angry at us. Who would people rather have as their god? Money, football, work, drugs, take your pick, but few pick Him. We give thanks and acknowledge His gifts when it's convenient; and pray when we're in a jam. God is ranked near the bottom in men's hearts - when He's remembered at all. To ice the cake, many will choose the Antichrist over God. No wonder God is angry.
The Bible states quite clearly who will be the victor in all this and it won't be the scalawag commonly depicted with a tail and pitchfork. So why do people still side with Antichrist? Because they will believe the lie, the Great Deception. Antichrist still thinks he can win, but he's smokin' his own dope and trying to take as many down with him as he can. Surely if he were as smart as indicated, he would have picked up a Bible and read of his own prophesied demise. It's one of those things that makes you go "hmmmm!"
There is a lot of information packed into the chart below. We have combined research and study from many sources and as students, we continue to learn. Use this chart as a spring-board, and we encourage you to read and study the Word for yourself.
In the Service of our Messiah, Y'shua Ben Elohim b'Adam,