Welcome back, eschatologists! We’re going to start a new series on Revelation chapters 8 and 9. In these chapters, the apostle John talks about the seventh seal and the seven trumpet judgments. Plus, we’ll talk about some interesting things you find in the book of Revelation. In fact, that’s what this first post is about—interesting things about the book of Revelation. Let’s begin!
Revelation Chapters 8 and 9
First in an Eight-Part Series
By Karen Thompson
Interesting Things About the Book of Revelation
Before we study the seventh seal and the trumpet judgments, I want to point out a couple of interesting things about Revelation. What is interesting about the seven seals, the seven trumpet judgments, and the seven bowl judgments is that they all have something in common. They are all divided into sets of four and three. The first four seals, the first four trumpet judgments, and the first four bowl judgments are all the same in kind—dreadful events that happen on earth. But the last three seals, the last three trumpet judgments, and the last three vials are different than the first four.
The numbers four and three have specific meaning in the Bible. As already noted, the number four is associated with God’s earthly creation. And the number three is one of four perfect numbers (three, seven, ten, and twelve), and it denotes divine perfection or completion. Four and three add up to seven, which denotes spiritual perfection, fulfillment.
God’s Wrath Completes Full Circles
The other interesting thing about Revelation is that it has many full circles throughout, elements that begin and end at the same place. Because full circles begin and end in the same place, they create twin-like elements. As an example, let’s look at a few of these full circles, and you’ll see the twin elements.
The Beginning and End of War
The war in Revelation begins with a white horse coming forth. Its rider is the Antichrist figure. He has a bow and a crown is given to him; he goes forth conquering and to conquer: “And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer” (Rev. 6:2).
The war in Revelation ends with another white horse coming forth. The rider is Jesus and He a two-edged sword coming out of His mouth and on His head are many crowns. He goes forth to conquer the Antichrist figure: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword that with it he should smite the nations…” (Rev. 18:11–16).
This full circle has these twin elements: 1) white horses with a rider, 2) weapons, 3) crowns, and 4) going forth to conquer. The first rider, Antichrist, goes forth to conquer and in the process, he takes peace from the earth. The second rider, Jesus, goes forth to conquer and in the process, He restores peace in the earth.
The Beginning and End of God’s Wrath
Let’s look at another full circle. When the sixth seal was opened, we saw the beginning of God’s wrath being poured out. It has three elements: 1) an earthquake, 2) objects falling out of the sky, 3) mountains and islands. Revelation 6:12, “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as 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. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places” (Rev. 6:12–14).
Then we see in Revelation chapter 16 the end of God’s wrath being poured out. It has the same elements as the beginning of God’s wrath: 1) an earthquake, 2) objects falling out of the sky, 3) mountains and islands. Revelation 16:18, “and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. … And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent… (Rev. 16:18–21).
So we see God’s wrath begins and ends with a violent earthquake. In the beginning of God’s wrath, the earthquake is so violent that it moves mountains and islands out of their places. But in the end of God’s wrath, the earthquake is so powerful that the mountains and islands are obliterated.
The Beginning and End of the Lord’s Judgments
We can see another full circle in the Lord’s judgments. The trumpet and vial judgments complete seven full circles, beginning and ending in the same places. The trumpet judgments take place when Antichrist breaks the covenant and invades Jerusalem in the middle of the seven years. As you study the seven trumpet judgments, you’ll see they have to do with 1) the earth, 2) the sea, 3) the rivers and water sources, 4) the sun, 5) bringing darkness, 6) the Euphrates River, 7) making a proclamation.
The seven vial judgments take place at the end of the seven years when Antichrist invades Jerusalem for the third time. Like the trumpet judgments, the vial judgments have to do with 1) the earth, 2) the sea, 3) the rivers and water sources, 4) the sun, 5) bringing darkness, 6) the Euphrates River, 7) making a proclamation. As you will see, the trumpet and vial judgments begin and end in the same place, creating seven full circles.
These are only three full circles. There are many more circles in the book of Revelation, and it doesn’t take a lot of study to find them. There are circles within circles, all concentric. It’s fascinating!
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