In Revelation, John records in 1:19 that he was commanded to “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.”
In 4:1 he records “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”
There are several times in Revelation where John writes that ‘these things’ would shortly ‘come to pass,’ or begin. And indeed, all the events discussed in Rev. 1:20 to 3:22, the Spirit speaking to the Churches, were those things that as John was writing pertained to the things he recorded ‘that are,’ or for us looking back, were.
The message to the Seven Churches was how we as Christians shall be judged, according to how we stand against the seven conditions we might find ourselves.
Those seven Churches stood or fell then…we stand or fall as we choose to walk or not.
Many of us in America and say, India or the far west of Asia may have the trial of Thyatira, to serve fornication and things offered to idols, or any of the areas in the West where we may have the trials of Pyrgamos and the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes* to contend with. In the Middle East it is the trial of Smyrna were ‘death is on the line.’ And of course any of these seven conditions may dominate an area anywhere, and an individual may face any or some or all of these in a lifetime.
But after the things that were, the judgement on the seven churches, the things that in John’s time at the writing of the book of Revelation were ‘hereafter,’ were yet in the not immediate future at that time.
This includes the opening of the seven seals, the sounding of the seven seals, the completion of ‘The Mystery of God’ (the Church) at the ‘last trump,’ and after that, the rise of the Beast and the ‘Great Wrath,’ followed by the Millennial Kingdom, The White Throne Judgement, and a new heaven and earth.
Revelation is divided into that which existed occurring at the time of John, and the things which would be thereafter. The Seven churches were already in those situations, just as we still are today. Seven divisions.
But the things John wrote about pertaining to what was for him ‘hereafter’ was also divided, the first into seven parts:
1: Opening the Seven Seals of tribulation.
2: The Sounding of the Seven Trumpets.
3: The Seven Thunders,
4: The Finishing, completion, of the Mystery of God during the sounding of the Seventh (last) trumpet.
5: Rise of the Beast and the Wrath, or ‘Bowl Judgements.’
6: Millennial Kingdom of Christ
7: White Throne Judgment and a New Heaven and Earth.
We as Christians are told we’ll be gathered, saved before the Wrath. We are not told we’ll be gathered before Tribulation. Many today are taught they will not go through Tribulation. When it visits them (like the persecution of Christians in Nigeria, Egypt, West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq) it shakes their faith in what they’ve been taught.
The last days before the sounding of the trumpets we all told there will be a great persecution.
The first four seals unleashed conquest (a great sword given him), stole peace, unleashed famine, and the fourth power to kill the fourth of the earth. In historical context it is safe to say these four seals are open.
The fifth seal is a great martyrdom of the Church. This continues until all those who shall so die are killed.
Pagans, and then a Romanized Church instituted massacres of faithful from the beginning until the eighteenth Century. Islam began its slaughter of Christians 14 centuries ago, and we are seeing another massive wave of martyrdoms at the hand of he who ‘wields the great sword.’ Christians are killed for their faith in most of the 57 Muslim states, (and in states that are not Muslim but have large Muslim minorities,) in Cuba, China, Vietnam and India.
When will this end? When the Mystery is fulfilled, the Church gathered.
The sixth seal begins with a great earthquake. Rev. 6:12-17:
“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
“And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
“And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens 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 that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
“For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
During the years before the seventh seal is opened, a 144,000 will be chosen out of ISRAEL by God and marked with His mark on their foreheads. However, within a very few years after Revelation was written, Judea was dispersed, there was no Israel of the Jews for almost 2,000 years. And the largest concentrations of the diaspora was overrun by Islan six centuries later and mostly forced to convert.
The 1883 explosion of the volcano on Krakatoa may have been this sixth seal. I personally am not convinced, but I am not discounting it.
Ash was released so that for two years the sky across the globe was literally darkened. During this time the moon appeared red all over the globe. It literally shook the position, if only slightly, of every mountain and island on earth. In fact, islands were washed away in the tsunamis.
I actually think that something more obvious this way comes, but at the time, with the initial eruption and the severe climate effects that lasted a decade, many at that time thought the world was ending.
But it is evidence at least that a severe volcanic eruption can have global effect.
And if Krakatoa was the sixth seal, oddly enough this began the zionist movement, search for a homeland, among the Jewish diaspora.
Whether Krakatoa was or was not, the groundwork for the final days and years of the opening of the last seals is laid.
It is no coincidence that the book contains the keys to standing in different circumstances in the same book as the revelation of tribulation. It is time we as the children of God reestablish ourselves in that advice, and prepare ourselves, our children, and our newly won to Christ in the message of faith and perseverance they reveal.