The Tribulation Period
The 3 ½ year Tribulation is seen in the book of Revelation from Seven perspectives
*Tribulation seen as the 7th and last church age--Laodicea, Rev. 3:14-22. (See study on the 7 church ages)
*The opening of the first 6 seals-- the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse as in Chapter 6:1-8.
*Souls of those tribulation martyrs under the altar, and we see signs in the sky in Chapter 6:9-17. The opening of the 5th and 6th seals.
*The 2 witnesses--testifying for 42 months or 1260 days, Rev. 11:1-13. (See study on the 2 witnesses)
*The woman in the wilderness, Rev. 12:6,13-17.
*The Antichrist kingdom (4 views of)
1. The 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse, Rev. 6:1-8
2. The great red dragon--7 heads, 10 horns, 7 crowns on the 7th head and persecuting the woman in the wilderness, Rev. 12:3,4,13-17
3. The beast rising up out of the sea, Rev. 13:1-10, like a leopard with feet of a bear, mouth of a lion, and 7 heads and 10 horns with the names of blasphemy on it's heads making war with the saints 42 months and overcoming them.
4. As a scarlet colored beast, Rev. 17:3-17, with 7 heads and 10 horns ridden by the harlot church. So the church is astride the beast or Antichrist kingdom.
*As the harlot church-- 2 views
1. Seen as that beast with lamb-like horns, Rev. 13:11-18 or the False Prophet-- head of the Antichrist's whole church system. (See study on the False Prophet)
2. Seen as that great whore seated upon that scarlet colored beast, Rev. 17:1-18. (See study on the Harlot Church).
This is then the 3 ½ year Great Tribulation from 7 views.
The opening of the 6 seals
First we will look at the opening of the 6 seals-- the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse as seen in Rev.6:1-8, and the souls of those Tribulation martyrs under the altar and signs in the sky, verses 9-17 the 5th and 6th seals are opened.
Revelation 6:1 "And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see."
Review of chapter 6 of Revelation
First let's review Chapter 6, the 1st Seal is symbolized by a white horse rider conquering the world and that's the Antichrist overpowering the world. The 2nd Seal is symbolized by a red horse and rider taking peace from the earth and that is the warfare during the Tribulation. The 3rd Seal is symbolized by a black horse and rider bringing famine (intense famine in the Great Tribulation). The 4th Seal is symbolized by a pale horse and rider bringing widespread death during the 3 ½ year Tribulation. These 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse are indicative of the Great Tribulation during which all true Christians are slain by the Antichrist and the world is ruled and dominated by Satan himself. The 5th Seal we see the martyrs that were slain during the Great Tribulation are waiting for the resurrection. The 6th Seal the Tribulation of 3 ½ years is over; the unsaved people of the kingdom of the beast look forward, fearfully, to the opening of the final Seal, because the 7th Seal is the unleashing of the Wrath of God. In the 7th Seal are the 7 last plagues and occurs in the last 3 ½ years before the Second Coming of Christ.
Now the opening of these 6 seals is seen from the viewpoint of the throne of God. And the seals as they are opened show events which must take place in the bringing in of the kingdom. Now seals 1-4 show the 4 horsemen in 6:1-8. We'll see what these 4 horsemen represent.
Seal # 5 shows the souls of the martyred saints under the altar during the Tribulation, verses 9-11 and finally Seal # 6 shows a great earthquake and signs in the heavens at the end of this 3 ½ year Tribulation, verses 12-17. And so we have a view of the Tribulation period from a heavenly viewpoint.
"And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals...."
Now the lamb opens the first seal; and we see that in chapter 5 the lamb is said to be the only one worthy to open these seals; and we see that this is an inheritance or a will or a mortgaged inheritance of our inheritance, of our position of reigning with him and eternal life in the kingdom of God. And we see that Jesus is the kinsman-- redeemer that God raised up to buy back that inheritance being born into the human race through Mary, as the second Adam. This also shows that God is in control of what happens on earth.
"...And I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the 4 beasts saying, Come and see."
And John says, "I heard, as it were the noise of thunder." It's the voice of one of these living creatures that has the voice as of thunder. Literally, "And I heard one of the 4 living creatures saying with a voice as of thunder, Go." And so this living creature has this voice as of thunder. Possibly the 4 living creatures (the saints in heaven that were Raptured-- see study on the 4 living ones) take part in the judgment upon the earth, because as Christ overcame in this world, so they overcame in this world as they abided in Christ.
"Come and see"
And where it says, "Come and see", the words "and see" are not in our early Greek Manuscripts, only the word "Come".
And this word "Come" here is "ERCHOMAI". And "erchomai" can mean either "come" or "go" according to the context. Vines's Greek Dictionary and Thayer's Greek Lexicon agree with this, that it can mean either come or go. The context is what has to decide. And here the context leans to the meaning "go" since the horses are going forth upon the earth at the command of God. It's showing motion. This shows saints in heaven w/ God's Authority (Rev.15:7) to go forth w/ Christ to execute judgment.
And so 1 of the 4 living creatures says "go". And "go" is also the interpretation according to Rotherham. Now when this living creature says "go", here's what John sees: verse 2.
Revelation 6:2 "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."
"And I saw, and behold a white horse" Now who is this one on the white horse? Well, let's see what we can find out.
A white horse-- "white" would normally mean "righteousness". And in this case we're going to find out it's a false righteousness; that it's a psuedo righteousness. But it appears as if he is a righteous one.
And he is riding upon a horse. Now horses are connected with warfare in many scriptures. "Some trust in chariots and some trust in horses but we will trust in the Lord our God." (Psa.20:7) You see some trust in the instruments of war. Job 39:19-25 shows horses having to do with warfare.
Why the man on the white horse is the Antichrist
Now I'm going to tell you why this man on the white horse is the Antichrist, the false Christ.
*First of all read Dan.11:21. So there is one who obtains the kingdom by flatteries.
*Now we find Christ here is the Lamb who is opening these Seals and therefore, he can't be the horseman who goes forth when he opens one of the Seals. It's someone else who goes forth while the Lamb opens one of the Seals.
And the context here in this chapter is one of taking peace from the earth and bringing havoc upon the earth and Christ is not the one who does that. I know Jesus said that I came not to bring peace but a sword, but by that he qualified it in the context to mean that there would be division caused by the testimony of Christians, and they would be persecuted and that's what the sword was, the sword of division. But it's not warfare and strife and death. And so the context is taking peace from the earth, verses 4 & 8 (Read 1 Thess.5:3; Dan.8:25), but Jesus is the Prince of Peace. And he brings peace. Now the Antichrist kingdom brings war, famine, death, and hell. And that's what we're going to find in the following Seals: war, famine, death, and hell. Death and hell are part of the 4th Seal. But Christ brings peace, abundance, life, joy, and rest. That's what Jesus brings, so therefore he's not this horsemen who brings the things that follow.
Now we find that the martyrs are killed by the Antichrist, and that's in the 5th Seal in v. 9. The Tribulation martyrs are killed by the Antichrist, but Christ brings life to the believers.
*Now another reason for looking here as speaking of the Antichrist is that these horsemen are Seals 1-4. These 4 horsemen we're going to read about are Seals 1-4. Now this is not speaking of the Rapture or the Second Coming of Christ. The Second Coming of Christ in not until the 7th Trumpet of the 7th Seal, and the Rapture has already happened. So Christ's Coming to take his own has already taken place (the Rapture). The Second Coming is still in the future, and therefore this is not Christ going forth upon the earth.
Jesus is identified clearly at the Second Coming. In Rev.19:11-16 he's described clearly and there's no doubt as to who this is. (Read), But here in Rev.6:2 all we read is, "And I saw and behold a white horse and he that sat upon him had a bow and a crown was given unto him and he went forth conquering, and to conquer." So there's not a clear identification.
*Another reason is that the Antichrist deceives the nations and so we see here a bow. Now a bow is different from a sword. Jesus, King of kings, has a sword. And you know when a sword is about to strike you, you're not, unless your back is turned to the person, in mystery as to what is going to happen.
But a bow is a weapon of silence; you can be at a great distance and shoot a bow silently and therefore, we find that the Antichrist conquers the nations through deceit (Rev.13:4). His bow is as a secret silent weapon, but when Christ comes in Rev.19:15, he has a sword proceeding out of his mouth.
Also we see that the Antichrist will be given a crown. Here it says, "A crown was given to him." A "stefanos"-- a "victor's wreath." It was given unto him to have a certain victory. But Christ comes already with many diadems, many crowns; not just a crown. At the Second Coming, Jesus is said to have many crowns upon his head because he is the King of kings. He's the King of all the realms that you can be King of. That's why he has many crowns.
Why must the Antichrist go forth upon the earth and be given power and authority this short while?
Now an interesting thing to note is that the Lamb opens the Seals, and one of the four beasts or living creatures says "Go" and the Antichrist comes forth on the earth. Now this seems to be a strange thing indeed. But remember, we are seeing and we're still in the same context now; we're seeing things that must come to pass (Rev.4:1) and in this context, this is something that must come to pass in order for the kingdom of God to be brought in. Now why is that? Why does this have to happen?
We see Satan and the Antichrist limited in power in this verse here. It's God who owns the scroll (Rev. 5). It's the Lamb who opens the Seal, and it's one of the 4 living creatures that says go. And so this Antichrist kingdom, in a sense, must come to pass in light of man and his heart and his decisions and in light of God, who must judge man for his sin. And in light of Satan and what he's going to do to deceive man.
It is inevitable that mankind in rebellion against God and against His kingdom should eventually unite under one ungodly head in their rebellion, because you can't have an effective rebellion, unless you unite together, you see. Now I'm not saying everyone on earth is consciously with full intention saying, "I am living to rebel against God, and we must have a king so we can." I'm not saying that, but I'm saying that man is, in his heart of hearts, in rebellion against God. And so it's natural for him, in that state, to find himself united under one who is the rebel of all rebels against God-- Satan in his Antichrist.
Mankind is serving Satan, anyway, did you know that? Mankind is serving Satan, and it becomes official. What has already happened in their heart has become official.
And so the 2 kingdoms, the true kingdom of God and the false usurping kingdom of Satan come face to face as this thing emerges. And they come to a clear face- off and two clear standards emerge. They are very clear: one black and one white that it may become a spectacle to all mankind and what happens to you if you serve God and what happens to you if you serve the devil. God will make a spectacle of this thing before all creation, as it were, that all may know who the real King of kings is.
And the coming of the Antichrist kingdom is therefore, in that sense, preparatory to the coming of the kingdom of God, because we find a clear standard, a clear face- off, a warfare; the Lamb comes to make war against the beast, you see, at the Second Coming. The lamb emerges victorious; the forces of darkness are defeated and God is glorified and Jesus becomes the King of kings. So in this inheriting of the mortgage, you see, in this inheriting of the inheritance of God; it's necessary that there come a clear point of confrontation with the squatter in the kingdom, with the usurper, and that he must be taken out. And so this is one of those things which must come to pass. (see study on the scroll)
Now still it's not God's pleasure that there be an Antichrist kingdom. It's not His will, but in light of man and his free will and how he has chosen to listen to the devil this is one of those things that must come to pass. And God says it will come to pass. And to God this is just one of those Seals which must be broken to usher in His kingdom.
Also we see that one of the living creatures says "Go" and this horseman goes. And so we find saints standing in a position of authority with Christ. Now this position of authority with Christ is given to the manchild saints in Jesus Christ, and it's an aspect of our ruling with him. We can't begin to build a big doctrine around it, of the saints making all the things in the end times happen, you see, it doesn't say that. But it does show a position of authority with Jesus Christ, and it is partially a fulfillment of 1 Cor. 6:2 which says, "know ye not that saints will judge the world?"
"And a crown was given unto him"
Now we find that a crown was given unto him, to this rider on the horse. And a crown was given unto him and so the world grants him this authority. They give themselves over to him and the ten horns, these ten powerful men in the end- times. And it says the 10 kings give him power; they're one mind-- they give their power over to the beast, the Antichrist. And so this crown, the conquering victory is given unto him for a time. (Rev. 17:12,13)
And the devil gives it to him also ( 2 Thess.2:9; Rev.13:2), but only because God allows it. And God allowed it only because man chose to have it so. They said of Jesus, "We will not have this man to reign over us." And in John 5:42,43, Jesus said, "I have come in my Father's name and you receive me not. If another shall come in his own name; him you will receive." And that's a prophecy of this very thing: the Antichrist.
Why does the world surrender to the Antichrist and his authority
Now why do they let him come and rule over them? Why does the world surrender to him and his authority? Well, the reason is to bring in peace and safety, because they're crying out for peace and safety in a time of turmoil.
1 Thess. 5:3 (Read) So they're looking for peace and safety. Now, is that what they get? No, you never get what you bargain for when you deal with Satan, we all know that.
And so we find in the Seals following as this Antichrist rule is ushered in, verse 4 says, "Peace was taken from the earth" and as the Antichrist system murderously subdues the earth in the name of peace; peace is taken from the earth."
"And he went forth conquering, and to conquer"
And it says here, "And a crown was given unto him and he went forth conquering, and to conquer." Now that's a strange thing. He went forth conquering, and to conquer. Well, what that shows is that his goal is conquering. He went forth conquering and that's what his goal is: to conquer. It's not to usher in a glorious realm of peace and equity and justice and healing to the nations and to bring in a glorious Millennium-- that's not his goal at all; it's just to conquer. He went forth conquering, and to conquer; that was his very goal. Well, what are you going to do when you conquer? Well, I'm going to rule, I'm going to possess and control. I'm going to manipulate; everything's going to be mine. That's the heart of the devil. And that's the heart of his Antichrist.
And you know, it just reminds me when I think of these vastly wealthy men who are trying to gain control of the world: the Rothchilds and the Rockafellers, etc... and a few others like this. You know, you read about their fabulous vast holdings and for a while it's fascinating. Wow, think of that; they have dozens of homes all over the world, and they have servants in all of these homes, and every night they turn the sheets down in case one of the Rockafellers would come and stay; but they don't come. And you think, well, that's really fascinating, but the more you read about that; it just quickly gets so empty and so boring and so lifeless. It's so nothing. It's just lifeless. Peter said, "You've been redeemed out of your lifeless behavior in the world." (1 Peter 1:18,19). And that's just what this is to me-- lifeless behavior!
He went forth conquering, and to conquer. It's awesome to see; it's stunning to see what is going to happen in the end- times, but then if you look at it and compare it to the kingdom of God; it's so lifeless, you know. He just went forth conquering, and to conquer. That was his goal; just to control, just to manipulate; just to possess. It's lifeless; there's no love, there's no joy, and there's no relationship, no glory. There's just havoc.
Revelation 6:3,4 "And when he had open the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword."
The word "Come and see" could be " go." And so there went out another horse that was red. Red is literally "fire- colored." It was a fiery- colored horse and therefore we derive red from that. But literally it's the color of fire.
Now red symbolizes warfare because warfare involves bloodshed and that's red. Now the rider of this horse is war. And we'll see some reasons for that.
A horse again is a symbol of war in Job 39:19-25. And it says power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and so to take peace from the earth is another way of saying that your bringing war upon the earth. Literally this says: not that power was given to him, but simply "and it was given to him to take peace from the earth." That was what his function was-- to take peace from the earth.
And so God allowed him, this symbolic rider representing war, to take peace from the earth, and the reason the Antichrist system came in, supposedly, was to bring peace, and yet when it does come in, peace is taken from the earth. And this comes about as the Antichrist system begins to murderously subdue all rebellion that it may be one unified system. We see in Daniel 8:25 that the Antichrist by peace shall destroy many. It's a false peace.
Now it says "there was given unto him a great sword"
Now this great sword is a symbol of a great slaughter-- a great killing. That's what is done with a sword and this is as the Antichrist subdues the whole globe. It says in Revelation 13:7 concerning the Antichrist that power and authority was given unto him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. So he's going to rule the whole earth.
Revelation 6:5 "And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand."
Now balances stand for famine, because balances are scales for weighing the food carefully when it is scarce. And, therefore, the rider of this black horse is famine-- that's who he is. That's his identity. It's famine; warfare brings famine. And when this third horse goes out upon the earth here's what is said,
Revelation 6:6 "And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine."
Now a penny is a "dinarius" in the Greek and a dinarius was approximately one day's wages for an average working man. So you can put a value on it according to what the average working man makes today. If he makes 8 dollars an hour, say then that would be about 64 dollars. If he makes 5 dollars an hour, it would be about 40 dollars. But it's about a days wages and so we find that a measure, and a measure being approximately one quart of wheat, is costing a days' wages, so that's showing drastic inflation. And it shows a condition where people are forced to work and spend all their income just to survive. Possibly a whole days' wages for a loaf of bread.
And it also says "3 measures of barley for a dinarius." Now barley is an inferior grain to wheat and therefore it's said to be 3 times cheaper.
Now it also says "see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." Now the oil and the wine will be the most expensive items. And therefore, they'll be kept, primarily that is oil and wine symbolize more expensive or more luxurious items; they'll be kept for the wealthiest patrons and protected from undo spoiling. In the midst of this situation, where people are forced to come to almost a subsistence level in their lives; there will still be those wealthy ones that the oil and the wine are reserved for. And all these conditions are do to famine and drastic inflation which accompany the Antichrist take over.
Revelation 6:7,8 "And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."
These are awesome judgments indeed. The ¼ part of the earth-- if we are to take that literally, which I don't see any reason not to; then that would be over a billion people by our standards today.
"I looked he says, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him."
Hell, that is, Hades the place of the departed spirits, the unrighteous, because that's all that are left in Hades; the righteous ones having been caught up to paradise. So hell was his companion. For those who don't know God, hell follows closely with death. For those who don't know God, hell is indeed death's companion.
And we know therefore that all of this killing we see is not mainly of the Christians in the Tribulation. But, it goes far beyond that because hell does not follow for them; Christians that are killed in the Tribulation don't go to the place of departed spirits-- they go into the presence of God to await their glorified bodies. And so this is talking about death for the people in the world.
Now it says that this was "a pale horse."
A pale horse is the color of a dead corpse, literally, "a pale green horse or a pale greenish yellow." That's what the color is. And one ancient writer used the same color to describe these that had been stricken by a plague. So it's a pale green. Now, this same word is also used where it says that the plagues should not yet hurt any green thing in Revelation 9:4. Now the rider of this horse is said to be death, and hell follows with him. And it says that power was given unto them. That is, unto death and hell. "And power was given unto them over the ¼ part of the earth." So death and hell were given power over the ¼ part of the earth.
"To kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."
So these things encompass all of the first four seals. That's war which was in the 2nd Seal, and hunger and famine in the 3rd Seal. And with death, and with the beasts of the earth that's the 4th Seal.
Now the beasts of the earth is speaking about the Antichrist and his workmen-- those that follow him. The Antichrist is called a beast in Revelation 13:1, and the false prophet who is a religious leader, who causes the world to worship the Antichrist is called a beast in Revelation 13:11. So primarily, the beasts of the earth here are not animals, but the beasts of the beast system-- The Antichrist system. (Psa.49:20)
Now power was given them over the ¼ part of the earth. The whole population cannot be killed by the troubles in the Tribulation, as there would then be no one left to be affected by the plagues which are yet to come, and there still are worse plagues than this yet to come. That is, the 2nd 3 ½ years of the 7 trumpets or plagues etc.. yet to come. That's the judgment from God upon the Antichrist and his system: (Rev.8,9,15,16). And since the Antichrist on the white horse and the riders that follow after have sway over the whole earth, and that is proven in Revelation 13:15 that the Antichrist has power over the whole earth--then this cannot mean only ¼ of the globe, but ¼ part in application, in terms of the population. In other words, this doesn't mean that the war, and famine, and death will be limited to ¼ of the territory in the globe but rather ¼ of the people. It will be over a general area in the whole globe.
So those are the first four Seals, and three Seals are yet to come and the last one is the worst of all. These are awesome judgments indeed.
Revelation 6:9,10 "And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried 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?"
So we find the scene in heaven being likened unto a temple scene, and there's an altar. Now the brass altar in the court of the tabernacle in Solomon's temple is a type of this. And they were wooden altars overlaid with brass-- brass speaking of judgment. And they had a grate in the top of them and the sacrificed animals for the burnt offering were placed on this grate. They were holy burned until the ashes sifted down through. And so the altar spoken of here is a heavenly counterpart of that sacrificial altar.
So these souls had sacrificed their lives for Jesus, and for their testimony during these first 4 Seals. Because we find many of them had already been slain by the time this fifth Seal comes, and they are already under the altar having given themselves as a sacrifice.
Now they are under the altar because they have died. Just as the lambs were slain and burned and their ashes fell down below the grating. And now these souls in heaven are crying out before God, so to speak, that they might receive their immortal bodies and their inheritance. And that their death may be avenged upon the earth.
Vengeance: Now Romans 12:19 says vengeance is mine saith the Lord. Genesis 4:10 the voice of Able cried for vengeance. Rev.6:10 This is what they cried. So the slaying of these martyrs at the end of the church ages was the height of evil in the hearts of men. Men co-operating with Satan in his plans. Therefore, it deserved great vengeance, and we find that that vengeance begins to be poured out starting at the 6th Seal.
Now 6:16,17 (Read) And so when this vengeance begins to come there's fear and trembling indeed upon the earth. Read Revelation 17:6;18:24. And speaking of this very same time Isaiah 26:20,21 prophesied (Read).
Now their cries here show and represent an actual yearning that they feel. It's not just a meaningless cry or vision. That doesn't really have a fulfillment in people's hearts, it's actually a cry coming from their hearts. And they're yearning for their fulfillment.
2 Corinthians 5:1 (Read) So he has created us for this very thing, for mortality to be swallowed up in life. But, they're still waiting for the fulfillment of that; they're still waiting for that house which was from heaven, that glorified body. And it says, after they cried out, "how long does thou not avenge us?"
Revelation 6:11 "And white robes were given unto every one of them; that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled."
"And white robes were given them" And so white robes were given unto everyone of them. The righteousness of Christ to cover them. Though in a sense, they were still naked; not having that glorified body.
Paul said we want to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven. That we might not be found naked, as it were. So in a sense, they are being clothed upon by the righteousness of Christ, as awaiting their full heavenly reward. He tells them, you're righteous in me, but you still must wait a time for your full inheritance.
They were without immortal bodies, but they did have robes of righteousness. As soon as they were killed on earth, this was their reward; this robe of righteousness.
Now these martyrs are later shown in heaven with their glorified bodies in Revelation 7:9-17 (Read). Man needs a body to express himself ( 2 Cor.5:1-5).
And also in verse 11, it says that it was said unto them that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. They were to rest yet for a little season. And so from this 5th Seal to the end of the martyrdom's at the 6th Seal, which is the end of the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation-- the 6th Seal marks the end of the 3 ½ year Tribulation; they were to rest yet for a little season. From the 5th Seal to the 6th Seal their brethren are fulfilled, that is, the rest of the Tribulation saints are killed.
And so those who were killed earlier had to be waiting for their glorified bodies until the resurrection of these martyrs. (Rev.11:12) Read. And so we find that this is not as high of a position as to be caught up, in a twinkling of an eye, instantly changed and mortality putting on immortality; totally in the presence of God with your glorified bodies at once, which happened at the Rapture. This is not as high of a reward as to be caught up and not have to wait. But, the reward nevertheless comes to them.
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."
So a number of awesome things happen at the 6th Seal. Now when he had opened the 6th Seal, of course, the subject of the sentence-- the Lamb of Rev.5:5.
And he opens this 6th Seal and lo, there was a great earthquake. Now this great earthquake is the same earthquake that is mentioned in Revelation 11:13. (Read). Which occurs at the end of the 1260 days or 3 ½ years of the testimony of the 2 witnesses who are the Tribulation saints, both Jewish and Gentile Christians. So this is the very same earthquake we find the Tribulation martyrs sending them at the 6th Seal. Therefore, their waiting period for that glorified body is completed.
Now also for this same 1260 day period, we find Revelation 13:5-7 speaks of it as 42 months.
Now in Rev.11:14 we see that the second woe is past which refers to the 6th trumpet, the 6th vial, the 6th plague, they're all the same thing. Therefore, that takes you back to chapter 9, etc.., but chapter 11:1-13 takes you back to a previous time. You can't follow on chronologically here. So chapter 11:1-13 is the same period of time as the Great Tribulation, the first 3 ½ years when the saints were martyred. Chapter 11:1-13 is then a parenthesis, and 11:14 carries on from chapter 9 which talks about the trumpets and the 6th trumpet or 2nd woe is past 9:12-14 with 11:14.
Now it says that in this earthquake there were slain men-- 7,000 (Rev.11:13). Now 7,000 is a huge number and it's not just simply 7,000. This is a picture of something greater, because we find that more than 7,000 have died in earthquakes, and volcano eruptions in the past. But this did not cause the remnant to be affrighted and give glory to the God of heaven. It did not cause the whole rest of the earth to be frightened and realize this is the judgment of God.
Another reason is that it's a number 7 which speaks of a completeness-- 7,000, many. Like God told the prophet Elijah, you're not the only righteous one left, there are still 7,000 who have not bowed the knee unto Baal. And it may have been literal there, but here it's a type of a great number indeed.
Now we find that the remnant gave glory to the God of heaven in Rev.11:13. Now giving glory to God here is not out of worship and love and submission, because it says they were frightened and they gave glory to the God of heaven. This is out of guilt and fear. They acknowledge that this is the judgment of God. Even if they don't want to, they are forced to.
And so the martyrs are all slain and resurrected before this great earthquake. And what else happens during this Seal. It says Revelation 6:12 And the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood."
Now the sun became as sackcloth, it did not become black sackcloth but black as sackcloth. In a sense, the Antichrist system had extinguished the son of righteousness for a time from the earth because all Christians had been killed.
And so God darkens out the sun to show them what they've done. Now this is not symbolic; this is literally the sun becoming darkened. And it became black as sackcloth of hair which is made out of black goat's hair. The woven material.
Now the moon became as blood.
And so the color of the moon became as the color of blood. This is possibly a result of the atmosphere being filled with particles from the great earthquake. But, it doesn't have to be that way; God could cause the moon all by Himself, if He wanted to, to appear as red as blood.
Revelation 6:13 "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 so John also saw stars falling from heaven. And so this is probably and again you might underline probably a terrific shower of meteors-- shooting stars. On Nov. 13, 1933 just such a shower fell probably not nearly as dramatic as what is seen here; there was a meteor shower like this for 3 hours. And there was great fear and repentance by the people that saw it.
Now this doesn't mean that all the stars visible in the heaven left the heavens and fell to the earth. Of course, we know that if that happened there would not be anymore earth. In very short order. And also they would do more than fall to the earth.
Now also another reason for that is in Revelation 8:12 we find that there are still stars in the heaven during the 4th trumpet of the 7th Seal. There are still stars in the heavens. Now this is probably literal because the rest of the context is literal.
Now concerning this time period, we find that it's the beginning of the great terrible day of the Lord. That's what Joel said; the sun shall be darkened, the moon turned into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes, Joel 2:30-32. So this is just before the great and terrible day of the Lord.
Acts 2:19,20 A parallel passage. Now the word "notable" means very manifest or conspicuous, it says the great and notable day of the Lord. And so it's a day that is very manifestly-- the day of the Lord. And it becomes clearer that God is doing these things, and that God is pouring out these judgments. It's very manifest.
Some more references on this. Revelation 6:16. Read. So the day of the Lord, the great and terrible day of the Lord is a day of wrath and judgment.
Now some parallel passages on this
Isaiah 2:12 and 17 Now notice all the ways that this day of the Lord is spoken of. Read. That's the purpose of the great and terrible day of the Lord-- to exalt Him!
Isaiah 13:6-13 Read. It shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.
Jeremiah 46:10 Read.
Ezekiel 13:5 Read. By the time the day of the Lord comes, Israel is not prepared. But, they become prepared, the remnant when they see Jesus and His feet stand upon the Mt. of Olives and He rescues them.
Also read Eze.30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1,11; 2:31; 3:14; Amos 5:18; Obediah 15; Zec.7:8-14 that day is a day of trouble and distress. Zec.14:1 Read. Malachi 4:5; Acts 2:20; 1 Thess. 5:2,3;
2 Thess.2:2. Now you could say the Day of the Lord, in one sense, starts before this because the context of 2 Thess. 2 is the Rapture, but where it talks about the great and terrible Day of the Lord, we're speaking of this time and so on.
Now we have looked at some scriptures about the Day of the Lord, and it is indeed a gloomy day, a dark day, an awesome day, a day of judgment and so we find that the ushering in of the day of the Lord is a period of awesome judgment upon the earth. It's the Day of the Lord, the Day when God openly intervenes in the history of man.
Now we also see in another passage in 2 Peter that the day of the Lord encompasses more than just these events in the time of the Tribulation. We see this in 2 Peter 3:10-12 (Read), conversation = manner of life... to the end of v.12. So here it's called the day of the Lord and the day of God, and it says that it's a time in which the heavens and the earth shall pass away and the elements shall melt and be dissolved. And so we see that the day of the Lord encompasses the whole time of the Millennium, because other scriptures tell us that after the Millennium, that this heaven and earth will indeed literally be passed away and dissolved and there will be a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 20 and 21). Not this one fixed up, but a new one totally and that this will occur at the end of the Millennium.
And so the day of the Lord encompasses that whole time, because the day of the Lord is the Tribulation period, as well as the period of the Plagues and down through the Millennium. And so the dissolution of the heavens and the earth is also in the day of the Lord and there's a 1,000 years in between that, and that's why it says in this very same chapter 2 Peter 3:8 Read. A millennium is 1,000 Years. So the day of the Lord encompasses the Millennium. So we see that this day begins dark indeed, but then it grows from this darkness into a bright and glorious Millennial day where God has His way on earth. And there's a kingdom of peace and righteousness after God has shown what the result of man's sin is and what man and the devil can produce on the earth. Then God turns it all around and Christ comes back; he rules over the earth and it becomes a glorious day of the Lord.
Now for 3 ½ years the Antichrist's system had murdered the Tribulation saints until none were left and now for approximately the same period of time (the 2nd 3 ½ years, which includes the time of the Plagues) God pours out fearful judgments upon the earth and this is possibly a direct correspondence to the 3 ½ year Tribulation. (see study on the Plagues). So man reaps what he's sown and yet God is glorified, even in this. God is glorified in all things.
Revelation 6:14 "And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places."
So this is still talking about events in the 6th Seal. So this is at the end of that 3 ½ year Tribulation.
It says the heavens departed as a scroll when it is rolled together. Now this can not be the end of the world because we still have the Plagues yet to come. This can't be a direct parallel passage to what we just read in 2 Peter about the heavens and the earth dissolving, because we see that there are many events yet to take place here on earth. And we see passages later in which the heavens are still mentioned and therefore this must be referring to sights in the heavens at the 6th Seal. That's how it looked to John in the vision, it was as though the heavens had been rolled up like a scroll. He saw something in his vision that answered to that and that's the way God inspired him to describe it. But we see later on that the heavens are still there. For instance, in Rev.8:12 when we see the blowing of the 4th trumpet here's what happens (Read) and this is later in time. Rev.8:13 (Read). And so we see in verse 12 there that the heavens are still existing, but John did see a sign that was something definite and it was something awesome and was something visible to the people on earth.
And he also says. "And every mountain and island were moved out of their places"
So this earthquake was so great and extensive that it shifted things on earth and the whole earth felt the impact of this earthquake. But it may be a hyperbole to describe the intensity of the earthquake. Not to say that every Continent shifted and if you drew a map of the earth now, it would be all completely different, the continents and islands would be in different places. But there was a shifting and there was a shaking and that it was felt universally upon the earth, because it says every mountain and island were moved out of their places. But then again it may be every mountain and island shifted. Believe it or not, there is a worst one coming at the 2nd Coming of Christ (Rev.16:18-20).
Now what's the reaction to these things on earth? And again we see that these things are literal, because of what it causes the people on earth to feel like and how they respond.
Revelation 6:15 "And the kings of the earth, and the great 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."
Here's how the people in all stations of life responded
Revelation 6:16,17 "And said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"
They are exactly right! The great day of His wrath is come and chapters 7 & 8 begins to show you that great day of His wrath. And so the cataclysms that they see are so obviously supernatural, and coupled with the fact that they know what they have done to God's people just before this; they're aware that this is God, indeed. And it becomes so out of place for them to try to explain these things as natural phenomena, that it seems like they just stop trying out of shear fear, and they acknowledge that this is the judgment of God.
Now this is showing attitudes of fear and crying on the part of people left on earth. Even the great ones in the world system. Even among the great ones; it says among the kings of the earth and the great men and the rich men. There's an awesome fear that begins to come into their hearts.
And they say "For the great day of his wrath is come and who shall be able to stand."
Now this great day of His wrath is speaking of the 7th Seal with its 7 fold judgments. And the judgments or Plagues are poured out after the 7th Seal is opened in Rev. 8:1 (Read). There was an awesome silence before these things were poured out. So you might say, aside from the very fact of the natural, the awesome wonders of the natural things and the havoc that it's creating; how are they so cognizant that it is the wrath of God and of His Christ? And the answer to that is Rev.11:11-13. They had just seen the Tribulation saints who had been killed, rise upon their feet and ascend into heaven. I mean they had literally seen this. That's how they know that it's the wrath of God and of the Lamb. Rev.11:11-13 (Read). (A day = a year) 3 ½ days probably 3 ½ years. Them = the martyred saints. Verse 13, so this is the same earthquake we saw in the 6th Seal. So they gave glory to the God of heaven in these events, in the 6th Seal; they know that it was God who was doing these things and they gave Him glory out of fear.
So summing up a little bit on Chapter 6
We have seen in chapter 6 the 3 ½ year Tribulation and have seen it from the point of view of heaven. We see the Lamb opening the Seals and the living creatures say "go" to the 4 horsemen and we see this Tribulation period from a heavenly view.
It would be good to read about this same period of time from 2 other points of view.
*From the perspective of the church on earth, the Tribulation saints Rev.11:1-13;12:6-17.
*From the perspective of the Antichrist and his kingdom. Rev. chapter 13 and chapter 17:3-13. Also a few references: Deut.4:30,31; Isa.2:19;24:1,3,6,19-21;26:20,21. Dan.7:21-25.
This will give you the whole picture of the Tribulation period of 3 ½ years.
Now we will look at the Tribulation period from the perspective of the woman in the wilderness Rev.12:6,13-17
Revelation 12:6 "And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days."
She fled into the wilderness because God knows that's where she needs to go. The outward affliction, and the torment and the sorrow of the wilderness is going to become spiritual life for her.
The wilderness is not an actual physical place or dessert where the Tribulation saints are hiding here on the earth. There is no safe place on the earth to hide from the Antichrist during the Tribulation. Chapter 13:15 says in the last part "and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed". In verse 7, it says power was given him over all kindred, and tongues, and nations. So the Tribulation saints are not going to escape by going into some secret place in the wilderness or anything like that. It's a spiritual wilderness.
The wilderness is the Tribulation and the spiritual desolation of the whole world system by the Antichrist kingdom. You might tie in chapter 13:5-7 with that.
In verse 14, and to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place where she is nourished for a time, times, and a half of time, from the face of the serpent. So in this wilderness of the Tribulation, she's being spiritually nourished and strengthened. The two wings of a great eagle are symbolic and so that would show us that also the wilderness that she is carried into is symbolic.
Rev.17:3 Is the only other reference to this wilderness in the book of Revelation. (Read). So this wilderness is also where the beast and the harlot system is; they are located in the desolate wilderness, spiritually speaking, of this world.
So the manchild is gone and therefore there is spiritual desolation. Remember, 12:1 talks about the woman (the church) being clothed with the sun and standing upon the moon (sun = clothed with Christ, moon = lesser light = the O.T.) v.2 she's paining to deliver-- v.3 we see the last day World Government. v.4 we see THE falling away-- the great apostasy. v5 we see the woman (the church) bring forth a manchild that is caught up (Raptured) unto God. v.6 we see the woman flee into the wilderness for 3 ½ years-- the time of the Tribulation period.
It says in verse 6 that she fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God. So God prepared this wilderness just for her. So God uses the calamity of the world system and the trails of life; He uses them for our help to bring us where we need to be. So this woman fled to a wilderness prepared by God for just that very purpose, to bring her close to Him, to bring her where she needs to come in the spirit.
In the book of Jonah, it says that God had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. (Jonah 1:17). So God prepared this wilderness for the woman. The great fish brought Jonah to the place in God where he needed to be. He finally came to the place where he said, if you get me out of this fish, I will pay my vows; I'll do what you ask me to do. I'll give everything. I'll go to Nineveh and preach.
And so the wilderness of the woman is prepared by God; to bring her to the place where she's no longer lukewarm and half- committed, but where she says, Lord, I'll go with you even unto death, and she does that very thing.
So God is using Satan's very own wisdom and plan as His own preparation for His Tribulation church. God uses everything the devil does against Him to bring the saints to glory; He uses it to try them and purify them in this wilderness and it's because of His love.
And we see that this is neither Mary nor Israel at the time of Christ; neither of them fled into the wilderness for 3 ½ years after Christ was born and caught up. (see the study on prophetic events)
She has a place prepared of God. And this is the same place as the Laodicean message describes in Revelation 3:14-22. It's a place of repentance. It's a place where she can buy gold tried in the fire. It's a place where she can buy white raiment that the shame of her nakedness would not appear and eye salve that she might see and not be blind. It's a place God has prepared for her.
Some Commentators have said that this is a place where the Jews are going to flee during the Tribulation. And they identify it as Petra, which is a rock city east of the Dead Sea; a city built in a chasm in the ground. And there's only a very narrow entrance to get in there. In ancient times, people built a city right in that, and they called it Petra, the rock. The houses were carved right into the sides of the cliffs in this chasm. So they were safe and there was only one entrance into it. But, we're seeing here that this is a spiritual woman-- the church, and it's a spiritual wilderness and she's given two wings of an eagle and that's a spiritual thing. And it doesn't fit Israel, because the time of Israel's trouble is at Armageddon that's yet in the future. It hasn't happened yet. So this is a spiritual wilderness.
It says here in verse 6, that they should feed her there 1260 days. So this place is prepared by God, that they should feed her there; she needs to be fed. She needs to come into some truths in God's Word. She needs God's Word to be her strength during this time, and they are going to feed her there. And I believe that means that God is going to have His men who will feed His people even in underground meetings and in secret places. (John 21:5). They will feed her there. There will be many ministers who repent and mourn bitterly that they had denied some of the truths that their people could have had. That could have cause them to escape. But, now they turn and repent and they feed her there 1260 days.
This 1260 days is the Tribulation on the church. It's the same time as the two witnesses minister in chapter 11:3. It's equivalent to the 42 months of chapter 13:5 and 11:2. It's the same as the 3 ½ years in chapter 11:9 and 11. It's the same as the time, times, and half a time in 12:14. And also Daniel 7:25. It's also the same as the time from the first Seal to the 6th Seal in Rev.6:1-17.
So a quick look at chapter 12:1-13-- the order of things
* We see the visible church in travail paining to bring forth the overcomers (manchild), the Philadelphia church age.
* We see 7 heads crowned and therefore, we see that there is going to be a World Government system existing before the Rapture. It is almost certain that that is true.
* Now we see that before the Rapture, there is a great Apostasy, as the dragon (Satan) sweeps away one third of the stars of God, thru deception and these are true saints in this Apostasy. And it is not simply just the World Councils of Churches; these are actual stars who had a position with God. They were true saints of God that were swept away.
* We see that the manchild is born and accomplishes his spiritual ministry in the earth. And we see in parallel scriptures that the result of the manchild being born is joy and deliverance in the earth and the earth bearing fruit unto God. So we see that there is a result in the earth.
* Then we see, by connecting some other scriptures together, that right around the time the manchild is born there is a death blow to the 7th head of the beast.
* Then the manchild is caught up-- the Rapture.
* The woman flees into the wilderness.
* Satan is cast down and right then, the man of sin is possibly incarnated by Satan himself, because Rev.13:2 w/ 2 Thess.2:9 whose coming is after the inner working of Satan. He has an appointed time it says in 2 Thess.2:6.
* The 10 horns receive power to reign with the beast for 1 hour.
* You see the Raptured saints in heaven that overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.
* Then we see that the dragon makes war against the woman which brought forth the manchild.
Revelation 12:13 "And then the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child."
And so this shows us that the woman speaks of the whole church, the visible church, and now it is those that are left behind, martyrs in the Tribulation. Persecuted, Greek = to run after or pursue.
So we see that she is not delivered out of this persecution and this war against her, physically speaking. Because Rev.13:5,7,15 show that the Anti- Christ kills all those who will not take his mark and this is the very same period of time, the 42 month reign of the Antichrist in chapter 13. And it's the same period as the 1260 days that the woman is in the wilderness in chapter 12:6. So the woman is the one being persecuted; those being killed during the Antichrist's reign. The manchild has been caught up to heaven. He could not get the manchild, so now he wants the woman that the manchild came out of.
Revelation 12:14 "And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent."
So she is given two wings of a great eagle. Now a couple of parallel scriptures about the wings of an eagle: Exo.19:4 (Read) Deut.32:11,12 (Read) Psa.36:7; Isa.40:31 (Read).
So she is being carried into the wilderness. We saw already that this wilderness is an analogy; it is a spiritual wilderness. The parallel with that is Rev.17:3. I think that these two wings of an eagle speak of the strength of God that is going to preserve her during this time. God says, I bear you up on eagle's wings. It was my wings; it was my strength.
And it says here, to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle. The way I think of that, is that two speaks of sufficiency in the scriptures, sufficiency. It speaks of more than enough. It speaks of all that you need. If any have more than enough, give to him that doesn't have sufficiency. And so these two wings may speak of the all- sufficient strength to bring these Tribulation saints through this time.
Now it says, "that she might fly into the wilderness". Flying here is an analogy. I don't think she is going to be boarding 747's and landing out in the wilderness where there is a secret city or cave or something for the saints to dwell in.
Rather, she flies by the grace and the strength of God into the wilderness, into that place of testing that she needs to come into, into that place of repentance and mourning which results in her ultimate salvation. And ultimately we see these Tribulation saints standing on the sea of glass with harps in their hands and they've overcome and they're singing the song of Moses, (Rev.15:2,3).
So they do finally overcome. God by His grace gives her these two wings to fly into this wilderness that she needs to come through. The Greek for wilderness is a desolate place of any kind whether it is a desert or whatever kind of desolation. It is a desolate place. Here it is a spiritual desolation of the Tribulation period. With that you can put Rev.3:16,17, which is speaking about the Laodiceans.
Now it says here, into her place. And so it is a place designated for her. It's a place that she needs to be in and to go through. In Rev.3:18-21, (Read). Also Read 2 Cor.12:9; 1 Cor.10:13.
And it says here, Rev.12:14, "where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent."
She is nourished in this wilderness, and that is just what Jesus said to the Laodicean church. If any man will open the door, I will come into him and sup with him and he with me. You're going to be nourished in my presence if you will fully open up to me, you'll be spiritually nourished. Now this doesn't mean that their lives physically are going to be sustained, because we see that in Chapter 13 that all those that don't take the mark of the beast will be killed. But spiritually, God feeds her through repentant men of God and through the saints ministering one unto another and she is nourished enough to make it through. Nourished, this same word is found in Matt.6:26, God feeds the fowls, etc.. will He not feed you who are much better than they.
It says she is nourished for "a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent." Read Daniel 7:25 which ties in with this verse. Also Daniel 12:7.
So she's nourished away from the devil's face and his presence. She is protected from the direct influence of his wrath upon her, spiritually speaking. Because Jesus goes through the trial with her giving spiritual food, having intimate fellowship and strengthening her heart and her spirit.
Now this doesn't mean, as I said, physical protection, but rather a spiritual protection from being consumed by Satan. I really believe that the saints at that time are going to be praying earnestly and desperately for that very thing, that they would not be spiritually consumed. As they hold on to that, God will bring them through.
Revelation 12:15 "And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood."
I believe that this water as a flood is an indication of persecution through men in this world system. If the water here is representing people, as it does elsewhere in Revelation, then the flood of water would be a flood of persecution that is coming against her through this world system and through those that are co- operating with it. (Rev.17:15).
In Jeremiah 46:7,8, Egypt and that means the people of Egypt, were compared to a flood of water (Read). And so the devil through this Antichrist system is saying, I'm going to overflow and I'm going to destroy this city of God, these saints of God. Read Psa.32:6; Isa.8:5-8;43:2.
Another scripture is Isaiah 59:19. It talks about the enemy coming in like a flood, but the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against him. And so I believe that this is a flood of persecution.
Revelation 12:16 "And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth."
Now something interesting happens here. The earth is probably, and when it doesn't directly say, sometimes, you have to say well it seems to be this way, and I believe it seems to be that the earth represents the stable religious element in the world. We see the seas that are in turmoil and the waves are thrashing about, but there's the earth and it's more stable. And if we look back at the institution of religion, even false religion, even a harlot religion, back through time we see that it has been very stable, slow to move, it's an enduring institution. When Empires come and go, the religious bondage and deception stays right along with it through it all; it somehow always makes it through.
In chapter 13:11, we see that the second beast, the false prophet, it calls him-- another beast, comes up out of the earth. And he is the leader of the world church, and he is involved with religion. The first beast came out of the sea, and that was the Antichrist coming out of the unstable political situation of the world; he rises up out of that. But the false prophet rises out of the earth, and I believe that's speaking about the religious system.
Rev.13:11,12 (Read). So I believe we're talking about a religious element here, somehow helping the woman, and swallowing probably shows some kind of a slowing down of this persecution, of this flood of persecution that's coming against the woman. It somehow weakens the force of it and slows it down, although the enemy does finally have his way and destroys the saints of God. So somehow this religious element is getting in the way. Now I don't think that means that the false prophet is going to say, now let's try to be more tolerant of these people. I don't think that any mercy on the woman, on the remnant church, is going to come from the leadership of the false church. I don't believe that. I think that the leadership of the false church, including the false prophet and those around him, are going to be totally one with the Antichrist in accomplishing his destruction of the Christians. But somehow the people in this system are slowing things down. It may be the principle that the people were taught and brainwashed in order to bring in this universal system of religion and the brotherhood of man, and the fatherhood of God, and we're all one and all religions are okay. This principle and brainwashing principles which they brought in, in order to accept this system, now actually turn around and slow the thing down in the persecution of the true saints.
Because if everyone is taught that all religions are okay, then the logical conclusion of that is-- well, these people, though they seem to be fanatical and they aren't becoming one with us, we are supposed to tolerate them. And perhaps that has something to do with becoming a hindrance to get rid of these hated Christians. To get them totally out of the world so they can have their way in this false religion.
We know that it doesn't come from the leaders because in chapter 13:15, it says of the false prophet (Read). And so the false prophet has a part in causing that all who would not worship the beast will be killed. He is not slowing that down; he's in total agreement with it. But it perhaps may be that those under him in this world religious system have been too well taught that everybody's okay, and that every way is a way to God and that Jesus was a prophet, as was Mohammed and Bahai. You know the Bahais have a nine sided temple and that is an indication that there are nine major world religions and they're all a gateway into God, and Jesus was one of them. So this may be a cause of the earth swallowing up this flood.
And so, if this is the case, it is a case of Satan's own brainwash coming back against him. The deception that he used to bring the system in, now hinders what he wants to do to the people of God. It may involve religious people helping Christians, perhaps, to some extent like some people in Europe helped the Jews in WWII when they were being persecuted. However, the enemy does succeed in having all the Christians killed. And so any help that the woman receives here, when the earth opens up her mouth and swallows up the flood, is you might say, a temporary thing. It's a slowing down of the enemy's plan, but the plan finally does go through.
Revelation 12:17 "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
"The remnant of her seed" Now that means the rest of her seed or the remaining ones of her seed. Other translations say, "the left over ones" "the rest of her offspring" "the remaining ones." And so there's some left over ones of her seed. And this again is a strong indication of a Rapture that happens before the Tribulation, because one of her children was caught up, and now the rest of her children are still on earth, and they have to endure this wrath of the dragon making war against them. Not all of her children had to endure this, just the rest of her children.
"The rest implies those who were not caught up, because the only other one of her children that is seen in chapter 12 is verse 5, and he is caught up to God and to His throne before the woman flees into the wilderness for 1260 days.
"Which keep the commandments of God". Now it says that the rest of her seed keep the commandments of God. And the devil is always going to come against those who keep the commandments of God. Now these are Christians, not Jews. The Jews don't keep the commandments of God, except the 144,000 that are seen later on, after these Tribulation saints are Raptured between the 5th and 6th Seal. The 144,000 are Sealed from the Plagues after the 6th Seal before the 7th Seal is opened and the Plagues are poured out: (Rev.7:1-4;8:1). The nation of Israel does not come back into the Covenant of God until the Second Coming of Christ (Zec.12:10).
"And have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
Jesus told the Laodiceans, "I'm the faithful witness." And now they become faithful witnesses and they keep the testimony of Jesus. And so the remnant of her seed have the testimony of Jesus. And so they end up having to give their lives in order to live.
Revelation 13:1-10 (see the study on World government and the Antichrist).
It would be good to set down and read all the passages that talk about the Tribulation period in order to get the full picture--Revelation 3:14-22;6:1-17;11:1-13; 12:6,13-17;13:1-18;17:1-18;Daniel 7:25.
These all happen at the same time-- The 3 ½ year Tribulation period of the Antichrist reign. It's called 1260 days, 3 ½ years, a time, and times, and half a time, 42 months. This is the first 3 ½ years of the 7 year Tribulation period. The difference is that the first 3 ½ years is the reign of the Antichrist, and the second 3 ½ years is the time that God pours out His Plagues, trumpets or vials-- the last 3 being woes.