After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
This scripture appears after the sixth seal is opened and just before the seventh seal is mentioned and just before the Seven Trumpets sound. It is part of the Interlude between the sixth and the seventh seal. The other part of the Interlude being the rapture of the great multitude.
The four angels mentioned in the scripture above are considered to be the same angels as the those who hold the first four trumpets.
Pre tribulationists argue that this is proof that the seals and the trumpets cannot be simultaneous as stated by recapitulationists (post tribulationists), or at least the trumpets cannot precede the sixth seal. The seals trumpets and bowls, therefore, occur sequentially.
Pre tribulationists contend that the rapture is after the sixth seal when the Great Multitude appear in heaven just before the seventh seal is opened and certainly before the seven trumpets (which are considered to be the wrath of God).
Pre tribulationists consider the events of the first sixth seals are not part of the great tribulation. (Given that a quarter of the Earth’s population are killed when the 4th seal is opened, this is a bit hard to accept)
Post tribulationists tend to be recapitulationists, stating that various visions in revelation recapitulate and occur simultaneously with other visions in Revelation thereby adding to their meaning. Like pretribulationists, they place the rapture after the sixth seal immediately before the seventh seal is opened. The rapture is also linked to the seventh trumpet which is concurrent with or simultaneous with the seventh seal.
God’s wrath is then poured out on the nations; namely the seven bowls of God’s wrath which are also part of the seventh Trumpet.
How then do post tribulationists account for this scripture which suggests that the trumpet judgements follow the seals sequentially rather than occur simulatanously with the seals.
Rev 6:12 & 14
The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.
The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.
Here we see the ‘Woman’ (Israel) flees to the wilderness where she is taken care of for 1260 days – this is the entire duration of the Great tribulation! Could this ‘Women’ (Israel) be sealed and protected right from the beginning of the Great Tribulation, before any seals are opened or any trumpets are sounded?
This would mean that the vision of the 144000 being sealed from the 12 tribes of Israel does not occur in the same sequence that it is appears in Revelation. It is a self contained vision that happens to be placed in the interlude between the 6th and the 7th seal.
It is simply not possible to describe the picture in Revelation and maintain sequence without becoming very disorganized.
Revelation is like a picture and John describes the elements sequentially one at a time but not necessarily in time sequence.
Revelation is not like a scanner or a fax machine scanning a picture from one end to the other.
But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”
Just as there is an interlude between the sixth and the seventh seal, there is also an interlude between the six and the seventh trumpet.
The 144000 Jews are sealed and the great multitude appear in heaven in the interlude between the 6th and the 7th seal. The Holy city is trampled by the Gentiles for 42 months and the two witnesses prophesy for 1260 days in the interlude between the 6th and the 7th trumpet. (An angel with a little scroll also appears in this interlude)
The rapture of the Great multitude occurs in an instant and therefore could well take place at this point in the Revelation sequence just before or when the seven seal is opened.
The ‘Women’ (Israel) is protected for 1260 days. The actual sealing of the 144000 is therefore likely to have occurred substantially before the time that it is mentioned in the Revelation sequence. Indeed, it is more than likely that the 1260 days end at the point it is mentioned in the revelation sequence.
Just as the 144000 from the 12 tribes of Israel are sealed and protected for the entire duration of the Great Tribulation, the Gentiles will trample the Holy City for 42 months and the two witnesses will prophesy for 1260 days.
The visions of the Gentiles trampling the Holy City for 42 months and the two witnesses prophesying for 1260 days are in the interlude between the 6th and the 7th trumpet.
When the seventh Trumpet sounds, the kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of our Lord. We are at the conclusion of this age. That is it. There is no more 42 months to come and no more 1260 days to come. The 42 months and the 1260 days, therefore, end with the sounding of the seventh trumpet.
As with the sealing of the 144000, the place in scripture where they are mentioned corresponds to the end of the 1260 days or 42 months over which they occur.
In other words, the Gentiles started trampling the Holy City 42 months before the seventh trumpet sounds and the two witnesses prophesied for 1260 days up until the sounding of the seventh trumpet.
Similarly, the 144000 from the 12 tribes of Israel were sealed and protected 1260 days before the seventh seal was opened.
The Great Tribulation lasts 1260 days and begins with the revelation of the Antichrist when the first seal is opened. (2Thes 2:3)
This means that the 144000 Jews are sealed at the beginning of the Great Tribulation before any seals are opened and before any trumpets are sounded.
Thus even if the seals and the trumpets are totally simultaneous, there is no conflict with Revelations 7:2-3
He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”
Therefore, these verses should not be a stumbling block to Post Tribulationists who believe in simultaneous recapitulating visions in revelation.