Life-Study of Revelationby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the past several messages we have been considering the content of the seven seals. In the book of Revelation, the number seven is composed two ways: four plus three and six plus one. Both the seven seals and the seven trumpets are composed this way. With the number seven there is addition but no multiplication. The number twelve, however, is the product of three times four. The seven seals mean that in God’s complete move His creatures will be brought to the Triune God. God’s creature—man—will also be brought to the unique God. Thus, the seven seals indicate God’s complete move. The seven seals, which are God’s complete move on the earth and in the universe, are the content of God’s economy. The purpose of God’s move is to bring His creatures, signified by the number four, to the Triune God, and to bring man, signified by the number six (man was created on the sixth day), to the unique God. The seven seals actually bring God’s creation to Himself. The fall of man, which was caused by Satan, has kept man from God. While the fall was a subtraction, God’s economy today is an addition. The fall caused man to go away from the unique God, but God’s economy and His move bring man back to Himself.
Many Christians do not understand the matters pertaining to the sixth seal and the first four trumpets. The sixth seal and the first four trumpets of the seventh seal are mainly concerned with the shaking and the judgment of the earth and the heavenly host. As a result of this shaking and judgment, the earth will no longer be a suitable place for man to live in peacefully. The sixth seal and the first five trumpets are closely related to one another in time, for there is not much of an interval between them. Some, counting from the time of the first horse, say that the great tribulation will last seven years. Those who do have not seen that Revelation covers the whole history of mankind since Christ’s ascension. Their interpretation leaves a great gap between the ascension of Christ and the end time. To have such a gap, approximately two thousand years in length, is altogether illogical according to the Lord’s prophecy, because it was in the first century that He prophesied of the things to come (1:19). Furthermore, the scroll in chapter five is a full revelation of God’s economy. As such, it must include the preaching of the gospel. The preaching of the gospel for the producing of the church is a great item in God’s economy. Because it is illogical for there to be such a great gap in this book, we believe that the four horses of the first four seals are an outline of human history from Christ’s ascension until the end of this age.
By careful study we have also seen that the last seven years will probably not begin with the time of the sixth seal, because the period from the sixth seal until the fifth trumpet, which is the beginning of the great tribulation, will be a very short time. It will not be three and one-half years. The great tribulation will last three and one-half years, the second half of the last seven years. If you count the last seven years from the sixth seal, then the time from the sixth seal to the fifth trumpet must be at least three and one-half years. Logically speaking, this is too long. Between the sixth seal and the fifth trumpet there will be four trumpets, the judgments on the earth, the sea, the rivers, and the heavenly hosts. Although it is less severe, the sixth seal, which will be the shaking of the earth and the damaging of the heavenly host, is the same in principle as that of the first four trumpets.
The sixth seal and the first four trumpets are an introduction, a preliminary, to the great tribulation. In none of these calamities will God directly touch man. This will not occur until the torment of the woe of the fifth trumpet and the slaughter by the two hundred million cavalry troops of the woe of the sixth trumpet. After the woe of the sixth trumpet, there will be the seven bowls as the last woe and as a part of the content of the seventh trumpet. The sixth bowl, which is related to the sixth trumpet, will be for the gathering for war at Armageddon. That war will be the great winepress of the fury of God trodden by the Lord (14:19-20; 19:15) when He comes down to earth to fight against Antichrist and to cast him into the lake of fire (19:11-21). This should be at the same time the seventh bowl will be poured out upon the air to bring in the greatest earthquake and the greatest hail which will be the last plague and the end of the great tribulation.
In this message, we come to 10:1-11, an insertion between the sixth and seventh trumpets. If we would understand the book of Revelation, we must know which sections are continuations and which are insertions. When we were on chapter seven, we pointed out that it is an insertion between the sixth and seventh seals, showing God’s preservation of His people. That chapter shows the vision of the marking of the remnant of Israel and the vision of the rapture of God’s redeemed ones. Chapter ten is part of an insertion between the sixth and seventh trumpets. This insertion is composed of three visions: the vision of Christ coming to take possession of the earth (10:1-7), the vision of the treading of the earthly Jerusalem by Antichrist and his armies (11:1-2), and the vision of the two witnesses (11:3-12).
We must read and study the book of Revelation until we know and are able to recite all the main facts. We should be able to summarize every chapter. In chapter one there are the seven lampstands with Christ walking among them; in chapters two and three the seven churches; in chapter four the heavenly scene; in chapter five Christ as the One worthy to open the scroll; in chapter six there are the six seals; in chapter seven an insertion showing two visions regarding God’s preservation of His people; in chapter eight there are the first four trumpets; in chapter nine the fifth and sixth trumpets; in chapter ten Christ coming to take possession of the earth; in chapter eleven the two witnesses; in chapter twelve the man-child; in chapter thirteen the beast; in chapter fourteen the firstfruit, the worship of the beast, the harvest, and the winepress; in chapter fifteen the overcomers on the glassy sea; in chapter sixteen the seven bowls; in chapter seventeen the religious Babylon; in chapter eighteen the material, political Babylon; in chapter nineteen the wedding feast of the Lamb and the war at Armageddon; in chapter twenty the binding of Satan, the millennial kingdom, the last rebellion of mankind, and the judgment at the great white throne; and in chapters twenty-one and twenty-two the new heaven and the new earth with the New Jerusalem.
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