Paul Wilson (6 July 2011)
"RE: Commentary on Revelation Chart"
Then why write it in a confusing manner???
why not write the book “he opened the first seal then the first angel
sound his trumpet then the first angel poured out his vial”?? It would
make more sense to do that if they are in this manner then to list each
seal THEN each trumpet THEN each vial. God is not the author of
confusion that he would write this very important book in a coded
manner. It is chronologically written: seals then trumpets then vials.
Just because the 3 judgment types share features does not mean they
Robert Gray (5 July
Introduction to the Chart:
A number of
years ago my wife and I were sitting in a local restaurant discussing an issue
that had come up in our studies on prophecy. We had noticed that in
Revelation there seemed to be repetitive plagues or tribulations, even in some
cases repeated as many as three times. We began to compare the seals
with the trumpets and with the vials and they seemed to overlap
consistently. We took a napkin and began to overlay repetitive
events over the top of each other (vertically) rather than
We have since revisited this idea a
number of times and finally felt that it was time to share it with
others. The foundation of this study is a pair of charts which are
attached to and the heart of this commentary.
The Highway of
Have you ever driven down a highway and saw a sign that said
Chicago or Atlanta or some other city 250 miles away. I think we all
have. I remember driving down the main highway in South Dakota and in
the middle of the bad lands their was a sign that stated how far cities were
from that point such as Paris, London and Hong Kong. Of course this was
an attempt at humor as they were thousands of miles away and certainly they
were not in sight by any stretch of the imagination. I like to think of
some prophecy in this same way. God gives us a road map for the future,
but, in many cases when those road maps were first issued the events predicted
were thousands of years into the future and how these events would play out
were impossible to imagine by those who penned those prophetic
Now there is something that begins to occur as you drive down
the highway. The milage to distant places begins to lessen. I live
in the midwest so as I drive closer to St. Louis for instance, the milage goes
from 50 miles to 40, 30, 20, etc. As I travel closer to the city new
markers begin to appear announcing accommodations and places to purchase food,
gas and where other roads split off to take me to other destinations.
More and more information begins to appear on billboards and road signs as I
get closer to my destination and I begin to get a clearer picture of the route
ahead. Finally I top a ridge on the Highway and off in the distance I
begin to see the vague outline of the city ahead and the famous St. Louis
Arch. Now our little road trip gets more interesting as we are even now
still several miles away and with every mile we get closer greater and greater
clarity comes to the picture, we begin to see individual buildings and objects
of interest in clearer detail and we see the maze of roads and bridges which
allow us entrance to that city and to our final destination. It is at
this point that a road map takes on a great deal of importance for our
destination, as somewhere out there in that maze our map will take us directly
to the end of our travels. Up to this point general information was
sufficient but now that we have nearly arrived a map gives us specific
directions and shows us what turns to expect.
I said all of this
to demonstrate how important a road map becomes when your destination is
somewhere that you have never been before, and how very important it becomes
the closer we get to that destination. Eventually it becomes essential
in order for us to be able to navigate to our final location.
ways prophecy serves the same purpose. When Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel,
Daniel and a host of other prophets wrote about prophetic events often
referred to as end times or last days they were essentially incomprehensible
to them, like my signs in the bad lands they were simply and totally out of
sight thousands of years into the future. Still they were the Words of
God and as such they were penned with the authority of Divine Inspiration as
accurate and reliable guides to the future.
Some of those early
prophetic road maps did have mile markers which have historically been viewed
and led us closer to their final destination. Daniel in writing about
the Kingdoms was able to see a couple of those signs come into greater clarity
as Babylon fell and the Medo Persian empire arose, but, still future the rise
of Greece and eventually the Roman empire were markers which for Daniel were
still out of sight. Certainly Isaiah could not have imagined the coming
Messiah still centuries into the future or what the world of that day and age
would be like even though he penned the words concerning the suffering servant
and his rejection by the Jews of that yet still future
Ezekiel who wrote so much about the eventual restoration of
the nation of Israel wrote about events still some 2400+ years into the future
and could not even begin to comprehend what that future world would look like
or what form that restoration would take. I very much doubt that he
could imagine the holocaust or the modern world of today, it would be
unfathomable to him. Yet much of what he wrote about, the restoration of
the land, the language, the land becoming like a garden and so much more has
accurately portrayed events which have occurred only within the past 6
decades. It should be noted that other events he spoke of still are
coming into focus.
The road maps were laid out accurately and
informatively thousands of years before they were ever needed or meant to be
used. But are “We there Yet”? Do the maps need to be brought out, dusted
off and used for guidance and direction for our imminent and perhaps immediate
Are We There Yet?
This brief question has been
asked hundreds, perhaps innumerable times in the past to question whether or
not we have arrived at some destination. In fact it is the question
which has become the source of much humor even commercials “Are We There
Yet”. In the prophetic time sense, recently, that question has begun to
take on greater meaning. Our world has seen more changes in the last two
centuries than in all of the 6000 years of history prior to them. In
fact changes have occurred at a phenomenal rate just since 1948 less than 6
decades ago. I was listening to a Hal Lindsay broadcast about how many
things occurred just in that interesting year, such as the birth of a tiny but
world shaking nation, the invention of the transistor the beginning of the UN
and on and on and on. In just one year so many world shaking events
occurred and the pace of change since that point has simply been incredible,
so much so that it makes the head spin simply thinking about it.
increases in science and technology just since then would require volumes of
detail which this study could not possibly undertake. But there is a
more fundamental question that must be answered before we can answer the
question, “Are We There Yet”.
Of course the answer to the question like
that of any traveler whether in space or in time is totally dependent on
another question. What is our destination? There are quite a
number of prophetic destinations.
The most common destination is
of course the last days. Another common destination is the
tribulation. Others are the Rapture, the second coming and still another
is the millennial reign followed by eternity. All of these are
destinations named on the prophetic road mad. The course of this study
is a road map of the tribulation period. However before we can arrive at
this portion of the map we must first go through the last days and the rapture
of the church.
For the purpose of this study it would be
simplest to state up front that we believe in the pre-tribulation rapture of
the glorious bride of Christ and that the tribulation is a period of time
during which mankind will have one last chance to receive Christ although at
enormous peril. It is a time when God will finally bring the Jew to that
point of receiving their true Messiah, their promised restoration and finally
bring to a conclusion this present age with the coming of the King of Kings
and Lord of Lords!
So “Are We There Yet”. Well not quite, but, I
think that we are close and that we are about to depart from the main drive
and enter into the maze of roads that define the tribulation hour. I
think that we can see the individual buildings and we are about to cross the
Mighty Mississippi and enter the city at large. In other words or more
simply put, “We are really, really close”!
Okay so now I’m on the bridge crossing the Mississippi let’s
get out the road map and take a look at it, after all up ahead is the
interchange and where do I go from here?
Well our Road Map first is a
historical event. This is an interesting statement because it is also a
future event but it is still historical. Why?, you might ask. The
answer is simply God the Word who spoke this prophecy to John the Revelator,
lives outside of time and to Him they are both future and historical.
God spoke of history as something that is certain and that has already been
established. There are no uncertainties in His eyes the questions have
all been answered and the events established, in other words historical, and
yet to us they are still future, yet to occur. Our road map analogy
would be that our destination is at it’s current location, it is established
but it is yet future to us because we have not yet arrived.
map of course is outlined for us in the book of Revelation. I cannot
overstate this enough, the road map exists, it is full of detail and for those
who make use of the map it will make more and more sense as we come to each
turn of event and with each turn our destination will come ever closer to it’s
Our next question might well be, which map?
There are several interpretive maps out there that are meant to bring clarity
to the situation and not all of the maps agree! So which map. Well
there is only one supremely accurate map and that is of course the book of
Revelation itself as penned by the divinely inspired John the Revelator.
That, however, brings us to our version of the roadmap and perhaps
another way of looking at that historical book possibly in a new and
Please open the attached
Features of the chart.
The number 1 feature is
that the chart looks for events to unfold over a period of 7 years, as such
this chart agrees with most charts of this type. A second feature of
this chart is that it has 7 seals, trumpets and vials along with explanations
of events surrounding those events. A third feature of this chart and
where it differs from previous charts is the way these articles are
aligned. This requires a degree of explanation.
This chart was
practically first drawn on the proverbial napkin at a local restaurant when
the subject was being discussed a number of years ago and after noticing how
similar the seals trumpets and vials appeared to be. We got into one of
those “what if” discussions and the napkin begin to look something like what
the attached chart looks like now. Of course it has since been
considerably refined since then but that was it’s starting
How does it work
Well all road maps have
orientations, usually North, East, South or West. This map has as it’s
In Revelation chapter 4 we see a door opening in
heaven and a command come up here and I will show you what must take place
after this. Notice the historical and future context of the words.
Historically these events must occur, but they are still future
At this point we are introduced to the four and twenty elders,
the throne room of God and all of it’s occupants. In chapter 5 we are
introduced to the map! It has seven seals on it. The seals were
mighty and there was no one found who could break them.
this, each seal was an announcement of a future event. For that event to
occur the seal had to be broken and the announcement was brought forth in a
voice of thunder.
Let’s look a little further on in Revelation
in chapter 8 we see 7 angels with trumpets, and with each sounding another
event is triggered which brings yet increasingly greater degrees of
destruction to the earth.
Now curiously and I am skipping a lot of in
between stuff for now, we see in chapters 15 - 16, 7 vials or bowls poured out
which parallel the seven trumpets in many ways.
In all 21
separate events plus some other events which are occurring in heaven at the
What we have done is line up the seals - The
announcement in heaven of events to come. The Trumpets - The
proclamation of the events upon the earth and the vials - The plague
associated with the proclaimed event and it’s result. Interestingly the
vial is poured out on a different objective and affects the same items as the
1st trumpet fire voices of thunder,
lightning, earthquake hail blood 1/3 trees and all green grass burned
1st vial - poured out on the land followed by grievous sores on
those with mark of the beast
2nd trumpet - great mountain cast into the
sea 1/3 sea turned to blood and 1/3 ships destroyed.
2nd vial - poured
out on the sea and the sea becomes blood and all life in the sea
3rd trumpet - falling star 1/3 rivers of fountains turn
3rd vial - poured out on the rivers and the rivers and fountains
4th trumpet - 1/3 sun and moon and day
4th vial - poured out on the sun - sun scorches men with great
fire and heat
5th trumpet - star falls abaddon arises sting and torment
men with the mark for 5 months
5th vial - poured out on the seat of the
beast, beast and his kingdom full of darkness men gnaw their tongues for
6th trumpet - 4 angels loosed from the river euphrates 1/3 of men
killed by fire and brimstone 200,000,000 man army marches
6th vial -
poured out on the euphrates - euphrates dries up making way for the kings of
the east and 3 unclean beasts gather the kings to armageddon
trumpet - great voices in heaven crying thy wrath has come give reward and
destroy them that destroy the earth.
7th vial - poured out on the air
great voice from the temple says it is done voices thunder lightning
earthquakes Jerusalem divided and the nations fall.
As can be seen the
trumpets and vials are parallels. Just a thought, the trumpet is the
proclamation and begins an event or sets it into motion as in the 2nd trumpet
where 1/3 of sea turns to blood. The vial is the event brought to
completion as the sea turns fully into blood and all life dies. The
seventh trumpet, seventh vial and seventh seal are almost a mirror image of
each other indicating to us that they are occurring nearly at the same
time. Silence for 1/2 hour, followed by great voices saying thy wrath
has come and it’s time to destroy the destroyer, followed by a great voice
saying “it is done”.