Continued from Part One…
As I have suggested, the Sixth Seal may unfold over a period of several days, due to the complexity of what is involved in this event. Some of the ancient writings by some of the Biblical patriarchs discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls suggest as much; some even via visions they received. One of these is purported to be written by the Apostle Thomas. Below are the main points Thomas was said to have written. After the listing of the basic events of the eight days below, I will add commentary for each one. I do want to make clear that I am in no way saying that this supposed writing by the Apostle Thomas is to be considered infallible, inspired scripture. I am however going to show that what was found to be written about his vision does not contradict inspired prophecy which we already have. He does add some details that do not contradict scripture but may give some details that may very well play out in real life, and…very soon.
- Day 1: On the first day of the judgment there will be a great marvel. At the third hour of the day there shall be a great and mighty voice in the firmament of the heaven, and a great cloud of blood coming down out of the north, and great thunderings and mighty lightnings shall follow that cloud, and there shall be a rain of blood upon all the earth. These are the signs of the first day.
- Day 2: On the second day there shall be a great voice in the firmament of the heaven, and the earth shall be moved out of its place; and the gates of heaven shall be opened in the firmament of heaven toward the east, and a great power shall be sent (smoke of a great fire shall be belched) forth by the gates of heaven and shall cover all the heaven even until evening. And there shall be fears and tremblings in the world. These are the signs of the second day.
- Day 3: And on the third day, about the second hour, shall be a voice in heaven, and the abysses of the earth shall utter their voice from the four corners of the world. The first heaven shall be rolled up like a book and shall straightway vanish. And because of the smoke and stench of the brimstone of the abyss the days shall be darkened. Then shall all men say; I think that the end draweth near, that we shall perish.
- Day 4: And on the fourth day, at the first hour, the earth of the east shall speak, the abyss shall roar; then shall all the earth be moved by the strength of an earthquake. In that day shall all the idols of the heathen fall, and the buildings of the earth, before the might of the earthquake.
- Day 5: And on the fifth day, at the sixth hour, there shall be great thundering suddenly in the heaven, and the powers of light and the wheel of the sun shall be caught away, and there shall be great darkness over the world until evening, and the moon and stars shall be turned away from their ministry. In that day all nations shall hate the world and despise the life of this world.
- Day 6: And on the sixth day there shall be signs in heaven. At the fourth hour the firmament of heaven shall be cloven from the east unto the west. And the angels of the heavens shall see above the earth the host of the angels looking forth out of heaven. Then shall all men flee unto the mountains and hide themselves from the face of the righteous angels, and say: Would that the earth would open and swallow us up! And such things shall come to pass as never were since this world was created. Then shall they behold Me coming from above in the light of My Father…Then shall the spirits and souls of all men come forth from paradise and shall come upon all the earth; and every one of them shall go unto his own body, where it is laid up, and every one of them shall say; Here lieth my body. And when the great voice of those spirits shall be heard, then shall there be a great earthquake over all the world, and by the might thereof the mountains shall be cloven from above and the rocks from beneath. Then shall every spirit return into his own vessel and the bodies of the saints which have fallen asleep shall arise. Then shall their bodies be changed into the image and likeness and the honour of the holy angels, and into the power of the image of mine Holy Father. Then shall they be clothed with the vesture of life eternal, out of the cloud of light (of witnesses) which hath never been seen in this world; for that cloud cometh down out of the highest realm of the heaven from the power of my Father. And that cloud shall compass about with the beauty thereof all the spirits that have believed in me. Then shall they be clothed, and shall be borne by the hand of the holy angels like as I have told you aforetime. Then also shall they be lifted up into the air upon a cloud of light, and shall go with me rejoicing unto heaven, and then shall they continue in the light and honour of my Father. Then shall there be unto them great gladness with my Father and before the holy angels.
- Day 7: And on the seventh day, at the eighth hour there shall be voices in the four corners of the heaven. And all the air shall be shaken, and filled with holy angels, and they shall make war among them all day long. And in that day, shall mine elect be sought out by the holy angels from the destruction of the world. Then shall all men see that the hour of their destruction draweth near.
- Day 8: And when the seven days are passed by, on the eight day, at the sixth hour there shall be a sweet and tender voice in heaven from the east. Then shall that ‘angel’ (Jesus) be revealed which hath power over the holy angels; and all the angels shall go forth with him, sitting upon chariots of the clouds of mine Holy Father, so, rejoicing and running upon the air beneath the heaven to deliver the elect that have believed in me. And they shall rejoice that the destruction of this world hath come.
The thing that is uncanny about what you have just read is how closely it follows a number of prophetic scriptures. Even though we don’t accept this ancient writing as “inspired” scripture, it is a powerful confirmation of many scriptures that are inspired and offers details to events that are very near their time of fulfillment—especially in light of recent geological and cosmic discoveries.
Day One describes a mighty Voice from the firmament and a rain of blood coming upon the earth. At first thought, at least for some people, this might sound like something out of a horror film and is consequently ignored. Some of the strange things, however, that have occurred in the last handful of years tell us that truly, some very abnormal things are going on! We have had dozens of reports of rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water turning blood red. Sometimes a possible scientific reason is given, like the red algae bloom, which causes a red tide. Most of the occurrences however have no scientific reason or even any logical rationale offered. Some people are aware of these remarkable events, but there are other things unfolding today that very few are aware of. There is a significant increase in cosmic particles that are hitting our planet. These particles are building up in the ionosphere of the earth, causing the atmosphere to become increasingly dense. The atmosphere is also heating up. Due to the changes in the atmosphere and the continuous increase of the onslaught of space particles, meteorites, and a variety of space debris, scientists are expecting the beginning of red rainstorms in the very near future. As our planet is experiencing an increasing number of “atmospheric rivers” and “rain bombs”, is it a great stretch to believe that the earth could experience rain looking like blood? The Book of Revelation does tell us that the oceans, lakes, and rivers will turn to blood!
Day Two describes the earth being moved out of its place. We find a couple passages of scripture saying things very similar in the book of Isaiah:
13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth will move out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts and in the day of His fierce anger. 14 It shall be as the hunted gazelle, and as a sheep that no man takes up…Isaiah 13:13-14a
19The earth is violently broken, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken exceedingly. 20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut; its transgression shall be heavy upon it, and it will fall, and not rise again. Isaiah 24:19-20
These descriptions are almost beyond belief for most in our modern age–with the exception of those who have gone through great earthquakes like the 9.5 in Chile in 1960; the 9.2 in Alaska in 1964; the 9.1 in Indonesia in 2004; or the 9.0 in Japan in 2011. The people who were in the epicenters of these quakes witnessed the horrible noise and the heaving and splitting open of the earth and the devastation that was caused. What we find being described in these ancient prophecies is a cataclysm of a much higher level. The description is of the planet being under such duress that it is shaken to its core and moved right out of its regular orbit around the sun! None of us have ever experienced nor can we imagine what it would be like to experience something this traumatic and literally earth-shattering.
What could it mean for the gates of heaven to be opened to the east and a great power belched forth, covering the earth and causing great fear and trembling? We can only guess but we were told that things in the cosmos would be revealed that would cause men to die of heart attacks. The physician Luke was inspired to write these words:
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Luke 21:25-27
There are many things in the cosmos that man has little knowledge of, as well as things man has never seen and so has no knowledge of at all. There are also many heavenly bodies within the solar system today that are a great threat to life on planet Earth. As big as our planet may seem to us, the earth in relation to God’s universe is less than a speck of dust! Here are a few examples:
- It would take 1,300 Earths to fit within the planet Jupiter.
- Our sun is so large that it would take 1,300,000 Earths to fill it!
- One of the largest stars known in the universe, called VY Canis Majoris, is so large that it would hold 9.3 billion of our suns within it!
This tells us that there are many things in the universe that not only does man not know of or understand, but man cannot control any of it! Only the Creator GOD controls all of His creation! The things God has planned to use in judging a wicked and rebellious human race will truly humble man. We serve an all-powerful God.
Does God bring a very large heavenly body close enough to cover most of the sky for a day? He could. Is it something that brings such a violent reaction from earth’s core that the earth emits a combination of magma, plasma, and or other elements? He could. Whatever it is, it will cause mankind great fear.
Day Three brings about an additional judgment. For the third day in a row, a voice is heard out of either the firmament, the sky, or from the heavens. At the third sounding of the voice, the visible sky rolls up like a scroll. Could it be that our three dimensional world is then opened up to another dimension? Maybe the dimension where the Throne of God is located? We find in Revelation 6:16 that mankind is allowed a glimpse of the One on the Throne, and the Lamb of God showing, not a suffering Messiah, but rather the All-Powerful Son of GOD Himself.
As this happens, the earth itself once again reacts and the abyss of hell opens up in several locations and is now open to the surface of the planet. The smoke, brimstone, and stench will then saturate the earth. Is this so hard to imagine? We all know what methane and sulfur smell like. Apparently, there will be such a large amount of this coming out from inside the earth that it will turn the atmosphere dark.
Most people have seen what happens when a volcano explodes. Can you imagine 50 or 100 volcanoes blowing their top all at the same time? Even that may not compare to what is described here.
Day Four, according to the prophecy by Thomas, is when there will be a huge earthquake. This earthquake however will be like none before it. It hasn’t been until the last few years that geologists have openly spoken of the possibility of a worldwide earthquake. Today they do. Because of the fact that new faultlines have been forming all over the world in the past few years, and of course many other major changes in process, a worldwide quake has become a major concern. In Revelation 6, we have this description:
12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. 14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place…Revelation 6:12-14
The Book of Revelation records another great judgment in which there is a worldwide quake but the two great quakes are different. In this 6th Seal earthquake, every mountain and island is moved. In the 7th bowl judgment, every mountain is knocked flat and every island in the sea is sunk underwater. In the vision that Thomas had, man’s “idols” were knocked down as well as the cities of the earth. Man’s idols in his vision could very well be all of the architectural marvels that man has such great pride in. It’s just a thought.
Day Five in Thomas’ vision has a display of great thunderings from the heavens as the light of the sun, moon, and stars are taken away. The Bible gives us an example of this happening before. It was during the ten plagues of Egypt that a great darkness came over Egypt. This darkness was so thick that no light could penetrate it. In the Book of Revelation there is a judgment of darkness that is actually so painful that people will gnaw their tongues. The prophet Joel also spoke of darkness as a judgment:
30 And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth; blood and fire and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. Joel 2:30-31
As we look back at the prophecy of the Sixth Seal in Revelation 6, we find the people of the earth responding:
15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of his wrath has come and who is able to stand?” Revelation 6:15-17
After the events that unfolded to this point, people come to realize that all that they had put their confidence in is really worthless and has no eternal value. But, if they turn to the Lord of all the earth, the Lord of Salvation, forgiveness and the eternal life that comes with it is available for the asking. Joel the prophet makes reference to this as well in his Old Testament prophecy:
And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the remnant whom the LORD calls. Joel 2:32
Something to notice: In Joel 2:30-31, he tells us that the wonders, the pillars of fire and smoke, etc., come before the judgments of the Day of the LORD begin. This is also what we find in Luke 21:25-27. It is in fact the Sixth Seal that closes out the Church Age and initiates the seven year time of Great Tribulation just prior to Messiah Jesus returning to set up His 1,000 year Millennial Kingdom in Jerusalem.
Day Six in Thomas’ vision brings about the Resurrection and Rapture of the Church into the presence of the Lord. It is at this time that Thomas saw the unsaved peoples of the earth fleeing what they were allowed to view in a cloven sky. They saw the hosts of heaven looking down upon the earth and the earth dwellers ran to the rocks and mountains to try and save their lives. In John the Revelator’s vision, earth dwellers also saw God on His Throne, and Jesus the Lamb of God standing beside Him…and they ran and hid. In Matthew’s gospel, we find these words by Jesus:
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:29-31
It is important to recognize that the phrase, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days,” is referring to the tribulation of the days throughout the Church Age, not the seven years of Great Tribulation also referred to as Daniel’s Seventieth Week.” The sun being darkened; the moon not giving its light, the stars falling from heaven (meteor storm), and the heavens shaken are all part of the Sixth Seal and its series of events discussed in this writing. The sign of the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven and His angels coming at the sound of God’s great trumpet is referring to the same event the Apostle Paul described in 1 Thessalonians below:
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
As we look back at the vision, a description is given of the spirits and souls of the righteous dead being re-joined to their bodies and then all resurrected. As they are resurrected once again there is a very great earthquake all over the world; an earthquake so strong that rocks within the mountains are broken in pieces, both within and outside of the mountains.
There are those who believe that there may be a connection between resurrections from the dead and earthquakes, myself included. Do I believe all supernatural resurrections cause physical earthquakes? I don’t really know but there are some examples in the scriptures below that we can ponder.
50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. Matthew 27:2
And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. Matthew 28:2
12 And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. 13 In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. Revelation 11:12-13
There are those who have postulated that the supernatural power needed to resurrect a body has such an effect on its surroundings that it is possible that it could cause an earthquake. This apparently happened when Jesus rose from the dead. There is also record of an earthquake at the resurrection of the saints in the city of Jerusalem and an earthquake also accompanied the resurrection of the two witnesses in the Book of Revelation. If there is anything to this theory, can you imagine the tremendous explosion of energy when all of the dead saints within the earth are resurrected at the same time? Interesting thought, for sure! The Apostle Paul had this to say about the resurrection:
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on immortality. 54 So, when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:50-54
Days Seven and Eight provide a synopsis of the devil and his angels being thrown out of heaven completely, and confined to the physical earth, and the Rapture of the Church into Heaven. There may be those who debate the validity of this happening at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week, but as Revelation 12 is carefully read and understood, we see that it is the Church that is raptured in this passage. The fallen Lucifer and his cohorts are then thrown out of heaven because they intend to destroy the Church before it can arrive. Once the Church–the Bride of Christ is in the presence of her Bridegroom, the fallen one is no longer allowed any access to God’s Heaven at all. The passage in Revelation reads as such:
1 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. 2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to five birth. 3 And another sign appeared in heaven; behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to five birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. 5 She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. 6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God, that they should, feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time. 13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. Revelation 12:1-13
I included the entire text of the first 13 verses of this chapter due to its importance to the subject of this writing. There are some important things that need to be understood in this passage. With the Bible, there are almost always layers to the prophecies and they often apply in different ways. Here in verse one when it speaks of the great sign in heaven, the woman clothed with the sun, it is speaking of a very real to life “picture story” portrayed in the heavens. It is given to this generation and was fulfilled in September of 2017. The woman in this storyline in the heavens is Israel. Israel, the birthing mother, gives birth to the Church. Although the “impregnation” of the Church was at Pentecost, the Church has been developing for the last 2,000 years and is ready to be birthed and “delivered” to its eternal life. This is where the Dragon comes in. He has wanted to destroy the Church since its inception but has not been able to. Now that the labor pains are becoming stronger and more intense, he knows that the delivery of the Church is imminent and he intends to “kill” the Church before it can be removed from the earth. He will fail. The male Child born 2,000 years ago was of course Christ, the Messiah. But this male Child that will rule and reign with her Messiah, even with a rod of iron, is the Church. It is the Church that is caught up to God and His throne. Sometime after delivery, the woman (Israel) has to flee into the wilderness. This is a Great Tribulation event when the Jews who finally find their Messiah through the ministry of the Two Witnesses and the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, have a refuge prepared for them at Petra, in what is now southern Jordan. There is much more to this passage than these few comments but these are the basics of the first few verses of Revelation 12. More details will be given in a separate study being prepared.
So, is the vision of Thomas valid? I would not include it with writings that have been inspired, but his vision of the beginning of the Apocalypse appears to be quite accurate. Although we don’t know that the events of the Sixth Seal and the prophecies that unfold with it take eight days to complete, there is nothing in scripture that says it does not take several days to fulfill. Personally, as I have stated many times, I believe the Sixth Seal is a powerful time marker. It signals the end of the Age of Grace, the Church Age. As the Seventh Seal is opened, preparations are made for the beginning of the Trumpet Judgments which open to the Bowl or Vial Judgments, which conclude Daniel’s 70th Week.