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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, April 02 2020

The Book of Revelation - Timetable for the end time

The book of Revelation not only describes in detail the events leading up to Christ’s return, but also reveals what will happen beyond that time in heaven and on earth.

The Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, could be viewed as history written in advance.

Revelation 6:2-8, for example, outlines the same conditions Jesus Christ described in the Olivet Prophecy presented here in the Book of Revelation symbolically as the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The white horse represents a powerful, conquering religious deception, the red horse warfare, the black horse famine and the pale horse represents the sickness and disease inevitably following warfare and food shortages. According to this prophecy, war, violence, starvation and disease may take hundreds of millions of lives. “. . . 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” (Revelation 6:8).

The book of Revelation goes on to expand on the events described in the Olivet Prophecy through a series of seven “seals.” In the time of the Apostle John, who was inspired to write this book under the inspiration of Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:1-2), official correspondence was customarily fastened with a wax seal. To read what was inside, the seal had to be broken and the scroll unrolled. This is what John saw in vision describing the breaking of the seals on seven prophetic scrolls.

The opening of the first six seals provide further information concerning the major events and trends leading up to Christ’s return and continue to expand on the conditions described in the Olivet prophecy:

  • First seal (Revelation 6:2): religious deception (compare Matthew 24:4-5)
  • Second seal (Revelation 6:3-4): war (compare Matthew 24:6-7)
  • Third seal (Revelation 6:5-6): famine (compare Matthew 24:7)
  • Fourth seal (Revelation 6:7-8): disease (compare Matthew 24:7)
  • Fifth seal (Revelation 6:9-11): tribulation and persecution of true Christians (compare Matthew 24:9-13; Luke 21:12-19)
  • Sixth seal (Revelation 6:12-14): an earthquake and heavenly signs (compare Matthew 24:7; Luke 21:11).

The seventh and last seal is divided into seven “trumpets,” which are not described in the Olivet Prophecy and are sometimes referred to as “the seven trumpet plagues.” Chapters 8 and 9 of the Book of Revelation describe the events to occur at the first six trumpets:

  • First trumpet (Revelation 8:7): devastation of earth’s vegetation.
  • Second trumpet (Revelation 8:8-9): devastation of oceans and seas.
  • Third trumpet (Revelation 8:10-11): devastation of rivers and fresh water.
  • Fourth trumpet (Revelation 8:12): sun, moon and stars partially darkened.
  • Fifth trumpet (Revelation 9:1-11): a satanically influenced military power.
  • Sixth trumpet (Revelation 9:13-19): appearance of an enormous rival military power in opposition to the military might described as the Fifth Trumpet

After all this tragedy we are told mankind in general still refuses to turn to God. “But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:20-21).

Fortunately, as a result of God’s mercy and His desire to save humanity from their sins (I Tim 2:4) the blast of the seventh trumpet announces the triumphant return of Jesus Christ to earth. “The kingdoms of this world” come under Christ’s dominion as the Kingdom of God is at last established.