I want to express in this post why I believe we will not be on earth when Jesus opens the Seals.
I know there are other sincere watchers who have differing ideas on this. I am OK with that. I think the main thing for all of us is to keep our hearts set on Jesus. Period. He loves us to pieces and wants us to enjoy His Love, His Peace, His Joy. He has given Himself to us. He is the only One worthy of our hearts' and minds' focus. It is all about us getting to truly know Him.
As I approach Revelation, it is a book pointing to Jesus. There is a lot in it that is a benefit to know and study for that reason alone.
It also includes some things that refer to us as members of the Body of Christ.
Having said that, I also believe that because it is penned by the apostle John, it is written to remnant Israel first and foremost.
Paul is our apostle. Does that mean I can not benefit from the writings of Peter, John, James, Matthew, Mark, and Luke? All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness. Fact.
Yet, in Galatians 2:9, James, Peter and John were focused on the circumcision. Paul and Barnabas were to focus on the Gentiles. As I referenced in my last post, the Holy Spirit severed, completely cut off and separated Paul and Barnabas from the assembly they were working with to perform another work. Paul's focus was going to shift to the body of Christ.
The mysteries of God that applied to the Body of Christ were revealed to Paul. His writings are directed to the body of Christ (for that reason I do not think Hebrews was written by Paul but another apostle). The other apostles writings in the scriptures were focused on the circumcision. I believe 1 and 2 Peter will have great benefit to those who will suffer and die in the Tribulation years. I believe 1, 2 and 3 John will have great benefit to those in the Tribulation who will be alive when Jesus returns to earth.
So John is writing to Jews. Even in the first part of Revelation, in the letters to the seven assemblies, there is a very distinct focus on Jews. I do not want to go into it here in detail, but one example is 2:9 and 3:9 where Jesus describes a blasphemy by those who say they are Jews but are not. Also, the rewards are conditioned upon whether or not the listeners overcome. For us in the Body of Christ, we are already overcomers because we are one with Jesus in Spirit (I Cor 6:17) and all of the promises are "yes" to us because we are in Him.
Remnant Israel will not become New Creations until after the 1000 year reign when God will create a new heaven and a new earth. In the body of Christ, because of our union with Him, we are already new creations. What we have been given is the Spirit reality of what Remnant Israel will come to experience but over time.
So, I do not believe the messages to the seven churches applies directly to us. Can we learn out of them? Sure, but we error in assuming that we are the audience. John is an apostle to the circumcision. Paul is our apostle.
That is my premise as I approach Revelation. Now, I understand that some think that the letters are an overview of the history of the Body of Christ, and that at this time we are in the assembly characterized by the church of Laodicea. I think there is validity in that, yet those who hold to this will see the seals being open right after Jesus ascended, and that the fifth seal has already been broken and we are waiting for the sixth seal. At that point I think there is an error in interpretation.
It is possible that both can be true, that there has been a set of seals opened over time during the church age in a spiritual warfare sense, and that there is also seven seals that are yet to be opened after we ascend. However, those who hold to the seals being opened over church history do not tend to allow for a full set of seals to be unleashed in the physical dimension reality as well. In other words it is not an either/or but a both/and. A set of seals that have impacted the body of Christ over the centuries (perhaps) but also a definite set of seven seals that will some kind of impact on remnant Israel.
Revelation 5:9 is a song sung by the 24 elders. It says, "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." (KJV) I believe the 24 elders are representatives of us in heaven. It is not remnant Israel focused because of it referencing every people and every nation. In the body of Christ, our union with Him is our ultimate, so much so that there is really no need to make a distinction between Jew or Greek in our focus between each other.
This verse (5:9) is one verse where the set of manuscripts a particular Bible translation is drawn from becomes essential. Young's Literal Translation and the KJV are created from a set of manuscripts that are not the same as other translations. Normally, I use a variety of translations. However, in this verse, a number of other translations do not have the elders as singing including themselves, or "us". This is a big difference. When I have an significant interpretation issue, I personally rely on Young's. This is a premise of mine, just so you know.
Some might suggest that the elders are angels, but I do not think that is valid because they have crowns in 4:10. In the Greek that is the word "stephanos" not the word "diadema". A stephanos crown is a reward for service (or winning in Greek competition). The diadema crown is the type like that worn by Jesus when He comes back to the earth, indicating a position of authority because of who the person is.
That is why the elders cast their crowns before the throne. It is an acknowledgement that what they did was only because of who God is.
In other words, the elders are human beings. When singing the song of praise for redemption, they would end up including themselves in what Jesus did. Therefore, the translation into English should be "us". The elders are representatives of the peoples from all nations. In other words, the body of Christ. We are already in heaven at this point.
Another reason I think this is when I tie Daniel and some information from his visions into Revelation. As many of you may already know, when the Bible mentions "spirit" it can also refer to breath or wind.
I think of the first four seals being of the release of four pretty nasty and powerful spirits who will be working together under constraints by the Most High God. In Revelation 6:8b it says that authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth. I use to think that this was just referring to the forth seal spirit and minions. However, when I look at the detail, it describes/includes what the first three spirits will be doing as well. In other words, they are working together.
I believe in Daniel 7:2, there is a reference to these same four nasty spirits, working together, having been released. As many of you may already know, when the Bible mentions spirit it can also refer to breath or wind. Here the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. I believe these are the four spirits released by Jesus when He breaks the four seals, and together they stir up people of the earth symbolized by the great sea. I believe this vision is for the end times by the fact that later on in the chapter, starting at verse 9, Daniel sees a scene in heaven which is the same as the scene in heaven that John saw in Revelation 4. The vision in Daniel 8 is tied to the vision in chapter 7 (see Daniel 8:1). And note this, in 8:17, the angel specifically tells Daniel that the vision is for the time of the end.
The vision of the four beasts in Daniel 7 and the vision of the ram and the goat in Daniel 8 apply to these end times. They are not a duplication of Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a statue as is commonly taught. We are actually seeing the stage getting set in terms of what is happening in the middle east right now.
We have a number of Sunni Muslim countries building up a massive force on the border of Syria, or planning on doing so in the next couple of weeks with the intention of removing Assad, basically. (Their plan is to have 350,000 troops, over 22,000 tanks, over 2000 aircraft, and over 400 helicopters in place.) Yet, Assad is backed by Russia and Iran (Shia Muslim). In Daniel, the ram is Iran. When the Sunni forces go into Syria, the vision of Daniel says that Iran will come in and devastate those armies. The goat, which is Turkey in particular, will recover at some point and then devastate Iran. Out of this massive Muslim Civil War, the Antichrist will arise.
I have to point you to my source for this. It is a book "Daniel Revisited: Discovering the Four Mideast Signs Leading to the Antichrist" by Mark Davidson. I am not able to lay out his teaching very well in this post so I encourage folks to get a copy. I was able to download it as a Kindle Book. I did not accept all that he presented but I did see the majority of what he expressed as very scripturally valid and insightful.
What I am trying to say is that with what is happening in the middle east, I believe we are very close to going home. If I am understanding the visions of Daniel properly and how they tie into Revelation, especially in terms of us being gone before the seals are open and the four nasty spirits are released to amp up the warfare mindedness and its consequences, then we will be gone soon.
Please take any of what I express to the Lord.