You have to think of the Seals in the book of Revelation as an overview of all that will occur from the signing of the peace treaty until the Great Earthquake that follows the battle of Armageddon. The events of the trumpets and the bowls of wrath all take place within the Seals. It is the initial way God shows us the end from the beginning.
More succinct detail is given in the trumpets and the bowls of wrath revealing the order of the events. This is evidenced by the transition of the Seventh Seal which begins to narrow the focus on each succeeding events as they unfold until the culmination of the return of Christ. See the charts that further illustrate this concept.
The Book Opened—The First Seal—False Christ
6:1 And I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, "Come." 2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering, and to conquer.
The book of Revelation in its entirety can be thought of like a container full of videos that in themselves are full of videos, or one might say wheels within wheels, or spheres within spheres, and or chapters within chapters that are all playing out at the same time. That is why it is so difficult to put events into a chronological order. Every detail, jot, and tittle is there for a reason to help us understand the Word of God.
“And behold a white horse,” The color white implies a “good” guy. “and he who sat on it had a bow”. The bow is a weapon that you strike with from a distance. You shoot arrows with a bow, one after another ever how many you shoot. “and a crown was given to him” The crown, in this case, is the prize winners crown and not that of a king. “and he went out conquering, and to conquer.” The definition of “conquering “and “conquer” means: to overcome and take control of (a place or people) by use of military force.
The Second Seal—War
3 And when He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” 4 And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men should slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.
“And when He broke the second seal” The word “when” indicates a passing of time. Logically it would take some time to position one’s self for war. “And another, a red horse” Red is the color of blood and is associated with war. “and to him who sat on it”; the “him” may be a different person or could be the same person in a different phase of the event. Remember the war has two components: The King of the North and the King of the South. “It was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men should slay one another;” The word “granted” indicates that a higher authority has control over the rider and what he is commissioned to do. The war is going to be a very bloody war untold deaths on both sides. “and a great sword was given to him.”. This means war to an extraordinary degree.
The Third Seal—Famine
5 And when He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” And I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard as it were a voice in the center 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.
“And I looked, and behold, a black horse,”; The horse is black; the opposite of white which indicates the war is going to produce nothing but death. “and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.” Scales are used to weigh things out to determine a value that will be used in exchange for something of equal value. This indicates that a barter system is going to be used and will be the means of survival to get food, or other necessities of life. “And I heard as it were a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, [The voice in the center has to be God almighty. It is God who is going to set the standard of the barter.] “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” We can infer from this Seal the world economic system is going to take a monstrous hit.
Note: The silver content of the denarius under the Roman Empire (after Nero) was about 50 grains, or 3.24 grams or 1/10 of a troy ounce. On June 6, 2011, this was about $3.62 in US dollars in value if the silver was 0.999 pure. The fineness of the silver content varied with political and economic circumstances. A dime weighs 2.2 grams.
Jesus In Mathew 20 speaks a parable about the laborers being hired to work in the vineyard saying: “And when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard.”
This establishes the fact that the wages for a day’s work, (if a person can find it), is going to amount to about .50 cents an hour! Therefore a man is going to work a day just to buy a quart of wheat. And oil (presumably fuel) and wine (drink) will be very costly.
Here is what Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 24:
7 The new wine mourns, The vine decays, All the merry-hearted sigh. The gaiety of tambourines ceases, 8 The noise of revelers stops, The gaiety of the harp ceases. 9 They do not drink wine with song. Strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.10 The city of chaos is broken down; Every house is shut up so that none may enter. 11 There is an outcry in the streets concerning the wine; All joy turns to gloom. The gaiety of the earth is banished. 12 Desolation is left in the city, And the gate is battered to ruins. 13 For thus it will be in the midst of the earth among the peoples, As the shaking of an olive tree, As the gleanings when the grape harvest is over.14 They raise their voices, they shout for joy. They cry out from the west concerning the majesty of the Lord. 15 Therefore glorify the Lord in the east, The name of the Lord, the God of Israel In the coastlands of the sea.16 From the ends of the earth we hear songs, “Glory to the Righteous One, “But I say, “ Woe to me! Woe to me! Alas for me! The treacherous deal treacherously, And the treacherous deal very treacherously.”17 Terror and pit and snare Confront you, O inhabitant of the earth.
The Fourth Seal—Death
7 And when He broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, "Come." 8 And I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death, and Hades was following with him. And authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.“ I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” The Seraphim which surround the throne of God are very powerful creatures endowed with great authority from God, make these announcements one by one. God is controlling all these events according to His sovereign will.
Jesus said in Mathew 24: vs “21 for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. 22 “And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short.”
And I looked, and behold, an ashen horse. The color ashen means pale, or skin without color, sickly, a deathly paler. This is the color of the skin when you have sickness and disease, or pestilence. “and he who sat on it had the name Death, and Hades was following with him”. Here Death, whoever he is, sits on the horse. We know from scripture that God used the angel of Death to kill all the firstborn of Egypt. So this is a created entity of God, however, in the end, he will be thrown in the lake of fire along with Hades. “and Hades was following with him”. Hades, the personification of hell and all its inhabitants. Rev 20: 14 “And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.”
This Seal speaks to all those that are going to be killed by any of these means: sword, famine, pestilence and wild beast are all unbelievers. Their destiny is the lake of fire.
“And authority was given to them (the four horsemen) over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.” Again they, the four horsemen, are given authority by God Almighty, and they are limited to kill over a “fourth” of the earth.
This term a “fourth of the earth” does not mean that 25 percent of the earth’s population is going to be killed by these four but a fourth of the earth’s area or landmass is where all this death occurs.
The following graphic depicts a fourth of geological earth.
one quarter [a 1/4 part] of the earth that contains more than one third of the earths population.
The fourth quarter that contains well over a 1/3 of the earth’s population.
The fourth of the earth’s land mass, the geographical area where the war of Armageddon is going to take place will span all of the middle east to the shores of the “kings of the east” and from the northern parts of Russia south to the equator.
Joel Richardson, in his book "the Mideast Beast" fully documents this war and the Area it will be fought in.
If you take a globe of the earth and quarter section it off as shown in the above left graphic; That is: divide it with a longitudinal line from pole to pole through the Atlantic along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge correspondingly on the other side up through the Pacific Ocean via the International Date Line. Then the Equator as the Latitudinal
half that separates the planets north half from south half. This divides the planet into four equal parts.
One part contains Central and North America with their adjacent oceans.
A second part contains South America with its adjacent oceans.
A third part contains the European landmass eastward across Russia to the Pacific and from northern Russia south to the Equator. This is the region where the war is going to be fought.
The forth part is the South African continent with its adjacent oceans.
Actually, about 1/3 of the earth's total population is going to die from war.
Those that remain will die by means of earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, poison water, famine, intense heat, asteroids, comets and who knows what else.
Here is some scripture that supports my assertion:
Isaiah 13:9 “Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it”.
Isaiah 24: 6 “Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty. Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.”
Zephaniah 1: 18 “Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them
On the day of the Lord’s wrath; And all the earth will be devoured in the fire of his jealousy, For He will make a complete end, Indeed a terrifying one, Of all the inhabitants of the earth.”
The Fifth Seal—Martyrs
9 And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, should be completed also.
Here John is shown the martyrs that will be killed in the tribulation. As I made the case earlier, Christians are going into the tribulation and many will be martyred. The bible specifically tells us that the “beast” will make war against the saints and overcome them.
The martyrs want to know “how long…” because the resurrection has not yet taken place. They are told to wait until their number is completed.
You can read a more thorough explanation of this truth in the Chapter; “What time the Rapture”
The Sixth Seal—Terror
12 And I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14 And the sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16 and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17 for the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?"
What John is being shown here is a different perspective of the “Day of the Lord”. In Rev 16:18 John sees the battle of Armageddon. The focus here is the multitude of armies gathered against Jerusalem however; here God is showing John that the Great Earthquake on the day of the Lord will affect everyone on earth. This scene shows the reaction of the earth's kings and leaders, great men, commanders, the rich and strong along with the slaves and freemen; basically everyone. WW3 has been going on for some time now in the Mideast and the world should know through news accounts that it culminates at the Battle of Armageddon. During the period leading up to this earthquake there have been other earthquakes that have devastated the earth, but of this one, they cry out: “…who is able to stand?”
The earthquake mentioned here is the same as the earthquake referenced in Rev 16: 18 and Ezekiel 39.
The reason I believe this is so is that Joel Richardson in his brilliant book: "The Mideast Beast", gives extremely compelling convincing evidence that the war of Ezekiel 38 & 39 and Armageddon are one and the same. In the same way, the prophecies of Jesus in Mathew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13 are all descriptions of the same events. By putting them all together you can understand the whole picture of what Jesus was telling his disciples about future events. The Gospel’s in each of these accounts omits some facts that were included in the other accounts and vice versa. By reading all three gospels parallel to each other one can comprehend the “big picture”. So is it here.
The Seventh Seal transitions to the Trumpet events.
However it is significant to note that beforethe trumpets events unfold and at the end of the sixth Seal John says 7:1 “After this [referring to the last six Seals] I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind should blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” And John continues.
A Remnant of Israel—144,000
4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: 5 from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, 6 from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, 7 from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, 8 from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.
These two events are the true beginning of the chronological order of all the events in the book of Revelation. That is to say with the signing of the peace treaty with Israel these events will begin to occur. No wind will blow on the earth thus triggering the worldwide famine.
Also in this interlude between the Seals and the Trumpets John sees the Church in heaven. What John is seeing here actually takes place after the Rapture which happens after the sounding of the 7th Trumpet.
Here is the scripture: A Multitude from the Tribulation
9 After these things [referring to the four angels and the 144000 sealed] I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying,“Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
13 And one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and from where have they come?" 14 And I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 "For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple, and He who sits on the throne shall spread His tabernacle over them. 16 "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes.”
Then the 7th Seal is opened: The Seventh Seal—the Trumpets
8:1 And when He broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand. 5 And the angel took the censer, and he filled it with the fire of the altar and threw it to the earth, and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake. 6 And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them.
Again another event is shown which actually triggers the Trumpets and that is there is silence in heaven for about a half hour signifying how solemn the time is. When the half hour passes the angels are given the trumpets and told to prepare to sound, however before they do all the prayers of the saints that have been prayed up to this point are added to the incense from the altar of God and thrown to the earth. Then all hell breaks loose. Then comes peals of thunder, sounds and flashes of lighting all over the earth and an earthquake.
To sum up: After the signing of the peace treaty and before we hear the sound of the 1st Trumpet there will be: 1, no wind blowing on the earth. 2. 144000 remnants of Israel is sealed. And 3. The judgment of God on the nations begins signaled by the silence in heaven for half an hour followed by peals of thunder, sounds, and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.