Hi Bruce,I don't see the need to take the Seals out of order at all. ;) Here are the many reasons I do not subscribe to a 6th Seal rapture:I see the birthpangs in Matthew 24 as being similar, yet different than the Seal Judgments. The birthpangs affect regions in increasing frequency and intensity and will culminate in specific global Judgments after the Tribulation starts. I believe the fact that we are teetering on the verge of the current birthpangs having global consequences shows us how close we are to the start of the Tribulation. We are already seeing hints of that regarding the economy.
To drive home this point here are the parallels between the birth pangs and the Seals. Notice how the wording in Matthew 24 pertains to things happening "here and there", or regionally, wheras Revelation 6 is global in view with massive consequences:
Also keep in mind, that the purpose of God's Wrath is to wipe out His enemies to cleanse the land. This was the case back in the OT, where God used Israel as His weapon of Wrath to cleanse the land before His people could live there. When Israel fell deep into idolatry, God used other nations as His weapon of Wrath in order to cleanse the land of the idolatry that was running rampant. While God judges nations still today, it has not been since the OT, before the cross and advent of the Age of Grace, that God has poured out Wrath to cleanse the land. As we can see in the Seal Judgments, God will begin to cleanse the entire Earth of His enemies in preparation for the Millennium. A fourth of the population is killed in the 4th Seal alone! We will come back to this in a minute.
There are other factors in the Seals that have me convinced that none of the Seals have been broken yet. While violence is increasing, I do not believe that peace has been taken from the Earth. While it is certainly increasing, and even widespread in many Muslim countries and recently in Mexico, I do not see people killing one another on a massive scale globally. The following passage really describes anarchy on a global level, which will surely be prevalent between the rapture and the setting up of a global government:
Revelation 6:3-4 When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.
Another factor, is that we still have a healthy middle class in the world. The following passage suggests that when this Seal is broken there will only be people who are really rich (the elite/the oil and wine) and those living in poverty:
Revelation 6:5 -6 When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”
Has a fourth of the population really been killed other than by natural means since Christ came to Earth?
Revelation 6:7-8 When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. 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.
For argument's sake, let's take a look at this past century, since most of the population has/is living during that time. Right now we have over 6 billion people; collectively over the last century, we can probably add 1-2 billion. Have 1.5-2 billion people died of war, hunger or beasts? If you look at the big population reducers (WW1, WW2, and the influenza epidemic) you are looking collectively at about 100 million. Let's say "death" here refers to natural disasters (since "death" occurs to 100% of people I don't see that in view here). That would amount to about 3.5 million. (These stats I found from wikipedia).
So conservatively let's say 200-500 million have died from war, hunger, natural disasters or beasts. That is no where near the 1.5-2 billion needed to fulfill the quarter of the population killed from this centrury. In fact, if you take 500 million of let's say 8 billion for the whole century...that comes to a little over 6%....and that is conservative. So you can see that if we are awaiting a 6th Seal rapture, we have a loooong way to go.
There has been only one time in history that about a fourth of the population was killed, and that was during the Black Death. However, it was not across the globe, but mainly affected Europe. Therefore it does not fit the global requirement described in Revelation 6. According to this website, it took 200 years for Europe to recover their population. Obviously, we wouldn't be having an exponential increase of population if we were losing the percentage of population that Europe did during the Black Death.
As for the 5th Seal, I'll concede that you could go either way in interpreting that for over the last 2000 years vs just the Tribulation.
Now, going back to the first Seal, I believe that it covers the confirming of the covenant explained in Daniel 9 between the antichrist and Israel. The fact that the rider on the white horse has a bow with no arrow, indicated that they initially come with diplomacy, which fits with Daniel 9. Being a literalist, I don't spiritualize this to be fulfilled by the "spirit" of antichrist being on Earth either, but in the ultimate antichrist: the beast. Some believe this is speaking of Christ Himself, but Christ will be coming in Wrath and desctruction, not diplomacy.
I stand in agreement that we do not have long to find out everything. ;)
Amy Van Gerpen
Bruce Warner (22 Oct 2011)
"RE: Amy V"
Hi again Amy,All very good points! I believe that the Book of Revelation is chronological in part , but not entirely.The opening of the 5th seal tells us where the martyrs are located under the alter in heaven. They are told to wait there until they are joined by their fellow servants and brothers who are to be killed/martyred in the future during the great tribulation.I believe that the rapture of the Church happens during the time of the opening of the 6th seal just before God's wrath: "For the great day of His wrath has come".I do agree that the multitude in heaven, who I believe to be the raptured Church, is continualy being added to by those saints who are yet coming out of the great tribulation by means of natural death rather than being martyred.Hopefully we won't have to wait much longer to see how it is to be all workrd out.YBIC, Bruce Warner