Saturday, October 30, 2021

Epochal Events (9) - Seven Seals

The book of Revelation is not a set of signs that the second coming of Jesus is close. It is not a description of events leading up to the second coming of Jesus.

The vision is actually a description of the season when the fullness of the Jews receive the gospel and come to faith in Jesus as Paul prophesied in Romans 11. A key to understanding the vision is given in the prologue.

Every eye will see him, even those who pierced him (Rev 1:7).
This promise speaks of every eye seeing Jesus. Everyone in the world will have the eyes of their hearts opened to see Jesus and accept him as their Saviour and Lord. It will be a spiritual revelation, not an actual seeing. In contrast with many other verses, which speak of people seeing Jesus, this one also includes "those who pierced him". As part of a worldwide revival, the Jews will come to faith in Christ. This is a key theme of the book.

The sealing of the 144,000 in Revelation 7 is also a description of the Jews coming to faith in Jesus. Twelve represents the Jewish people, so a thousand symbolising completion. So 12,000 squared represents the majority of the Jewish people coming to faith in Jesus.

The first four seals that are opened in Revelation 6 are signs that mark the beginning of the Time of Distress during which the Jews come to faith in Jesus. They are not a sign of the second coming of Jesus.

The seals set in train the events which will begin the Time of Distress, leading to the fullness of the Jews and the time when the Kingdom is established. As each seal is opened, an event takes place on the earth.

We should remember that Jesus is the one who opens the seals. Although the events that take place are unpleasant, they will only come when he is ready. The spiritual powers of evil have no authority to bring them to pass. Because they are initiated in heaven, we know that they will bring blessing to God's people.

A seal is a mark of ownership. When something is marked with a seal, it is a guarantee that it is backed by the authority of the owner of the seal. The seven seals describe a series of events that will be used by God to refine and purify his people. Those who truly belong to Jesus will be sifted out. The seals also give the people of the world the opportunity to choose their loyalty. It will be a choice between Jesus and political power.

As each of the first four seals is opened, John sees a horseman ride forth. The horses should not be taken literally; each horseman represents an actor in human history who causes a particular event. These follow on from each other, but they may also overlap each other. The four seals are described more fully in Seven Seals.

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