Suki and Nando,
It appears that you two have been discussing the first four seals and were keying in a one point that I copied from Suzi's article copied below.
"I can not see the first four seals happening and killing one fourth of the people on the earth and the church going through it and not calling this the wrath of God."
I would like to weight in on this topic if I could. I don't believe the bible makes the statement that you quoted above. Let me explain---At the end of the first four seals or at the end of Rev. 6:8 my bible states this------
"And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth."
When I read this, my understanding is that power was given to the four horsemen over one fourth of the real estate of the earth. And in that area these four horsemen were allowed to kill by the sword (war--wars), with hunger (famine), with death (pestilence), and by the beasts of the earth. It doesn't say that they will kill one fourth the population of the earth but will have sway over one fourth of the real estate to do their evil deeds.
And if you look at what's happening around the planet one could build a rather convincing case that one fourth of the earth is under those conditions now and the four horsemen have already left their starting gates. I believe that Jesus is about to open the fifth and sixth seals which will include the Rapture of the Church--- His Bride. I wrote on this last week, I'll copy it below. I also added a section from 1Thessalonians to my original that sheds more light and understanding to the topic. And also added the "best part" that I neglected the first time I wrote it----the part where we the Raptured of the sixth seal show up in heaven.
It seems like everyone has his or her thoughts on how and when the Rapture will transpire. I would like to share my discernment on the topic for what it may be worth.
Many people believe that the Bride of Christ is taken to heaven in chapter 4 of the book of Revelation. But lets take a look at the players we find in heaven that John is viewing to see if the Raptured saints are present there in Rev. 4&5. We see----
1) twenty four elders----whomever they are, certainly not the Raptured saints
2) four living creatures----certainly not Raptured saints
3) Lion of the tribe of Judah, a Lamb----Jesus
4) Him who sat on the throne----God the Father
5) millions and millions of angels
Nowhere do we see millions of Raptured saints. So we can assume that Rapture hasn't happened yet. When we read on, we find Jesus opening the seals one by one. The first four seals are the seals characterized as the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" where war, death, famine and pestilence are allowed to happen to one fourth of the earth. I would be willing to state that one fourth of our planet is currently under those conditions and that you could assume that those four horsemen have already begun their rides.
Now every time Jesus opens one of the seals something happens. So what happens when He opens the fifth seal? People who have been long silent speak or are allowed to speak. Who are these people? They are the souls of the dead in Christ from the past and --- many, many who have believed and accepted Christ over the centuries and many, many who were martyred for Him and also those who were found righteous. Their souls have been asleep over the ages and they now are awake due to Jesus' opening of the fifth seal. A lot of these souls were enraged when they died and now that they can speak again they "cry out with a loud voice, saying,--"How long, O Lord (Jesus), holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" Jesus comforts them by giving them a white rob and tells them they should rest "a little while longer" until both the number of their fellow servants (who are still alive) and their brethren (who are still alive), who would be killed as they were, was completed. Jesus is saying to them ----wait just a little while longer until the fullness (correct quantity) of the Gentile Church, My Bride has been reached.
To reinforce what I just said above I'll include ---1 Thessalonians 4;13-18 where Paul also explains what is to go on here in the fifth seal.
"But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."
So we see that by Jesus opening this fifth seal He has awoken His followers who have been asleep, some for centuries. And that they just have to wait a short time until the fullness of the His Church is complete before they will meet with Him and the living believers in the clouds at the Rapture to receive their immortal bodies and ever be with their Lord and Savior.
Now somewhere between the fifth and sixth seals being opened this short period of time (a little while longer) and the fullness (final number) of the Church / Christ's Bride will have been accomplished.
Before I go into the sixth seal I need to tell you that throughout the Bible prior and future Rapture / "taking away" events were accompanied by earthquakes. Whatever energy process that takes place when man is transformed from mortal to immortal--- when we go from this dimension to the next--- results in an earthquake. And one more background issue, it is widely accepted that Christ's Church, His Bride will not be present in heaven above or earth below at the same time Satan and his fallen angels are. In other words they will not occupy the same space at the same time. So to take this reasoning a step farther it appears that Satan and his troops will be cast from heaven at the same time Christ's Bride will be going to heaven. (or that safe place Jesus has chosen for them)
So with all this in mind let me list the details of---- and see what happens after Jesus opens the sixth seal.
1) a "great" world wide earthquake happens where every mountain and island were moved out of it's place--------Yes, this is it, the time of the Rapture of Christ's Church. If a local earthquake was experienced when the two witnesses of Rev.11 were raptured one can only imagine how great the earthquake will be when millions of people are Raptured at the same time all over the planet when Jesus comes for His Bride after opening the sixth seal.
2) " the sky will recede as a scroll and literally roll up" and "the sun will be as black as sackcloth of hair and the moon will appear as blood."-----It appears that the result of the transition from moral to immortal --- involving this many people--- will result in such a disturbance to our atmosphere, and our dimension that "the sky will recede as a scroll and literally roll up" and the sun will appear black and the moon red.
3) "And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind."--------I believe you'll find other places in Scripture where angels are referred to as "stars". So with that in mind we see that (in the sixth seal) at the same time Jesus was taking His Bride up in the Rapture, He was casting Satan and his angels (stars) to the earth in a rapid fashion. The jury is still out as to how many of these angels that God is forcing to earth will be in UFO's. I do believe in UFO's and I believe they are controlled or inhabited by Satan's fallen angels. When they come dropping out of the sky by the thousands and thousands, the left behind will think they were under an over-ripe fig tree in a heavy gale.
4) And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!-----These are the alive "left behind" people the ones who failed to accept Jesus. They have just witnessed the most horrific experience of their lives. They experienced an unbelievable earthquake. They saw the sun turn black--- the moon turn red. They witnessed the sky roll up like a scroll. They saw thousands upon thousands of objects fall from the sky. They are missing many many friends and loved ones. And they are so scared that they just want to hide from whatever caused this extreme terror. Many of the left behind will know enough about the bible to know exactly what just transpired.
5) And the last sentence of the sixth seal---"For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" There is a lot to be understood from this last statement. Jesus is saying that the "great day of His wrath" or the great tribulation starts now at this time. Jesus promised His Church / Bride that they would escape the horrible things that would accompany "the great day of His wrath". So with this Jesus kept His promise, they are no longer on earth---they were "just" taken away. And then He challenges those who were left behind by saying "who is able to stand? He has just announced that the great tribulation starts now and------ how many of you that are left behind will accept Me during this period of My great wrath and be found worthy to "stand" in My presence during--- or at the end of it? Millions will accept His challenge and be saved during the tribulation as we read later in the Book of Revelation.
6) And the best part----as the result of Jesus' opening of the sixth seal we the dead and living Raptured saints show up in heaven. Still in the sixth seal we read in Rev.7: 9-17 that we indeed show up in heaven a few verses later.
9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and [about] the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, [be] unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
The opening of the sixth seal and the start of God's great wrath are I believe very near. Are you ready??