Part 017 – Breaking of the fifth seal (continued)

The Book of REVELATION

 

A Study

Part 017

Breaking of the fifth seal (continued) – Revelation 6:9-11

The seven seals

We have seen that the first four seals of the seven sealed scroll (Rev.6:1-8), covers in an overall manner, the complete seven years of the Tribulation. Then the breaking of the next two seals (Rev.6:9-17) adds to the picture by presenting a summery view of that ultimately occurring because of that depicted by the breaking of the first four seals. The breaking of the fifth seal presents the matter from a heavenly perspective (Tribulation martyrs in heaven crying out), and the breaking of the sixth seal presents the matter from an earthly perspective (the ultimate and utter collapse of world government, along with its interrelated trade and commerce). Out of the seventh seal there emanate, seven trumpets and seven vials. That which occurs when the seven trumpets are blown and the seven vials of wrath are poured out provides detailed information concerning that previously dealt with when the first six seals of the scroll were broken.

Further commentary on the fifth seal

What we see when the fifth seal is broken (Rev.6:9-11) results from that previously brought to pass when the first four seals had been broken. Additional revelation providing commentary for that revealed when the fifth seal is broken is given in all of ch.7 and parts of chs.11, 12 and 14. We have already seen the details given in all of ch.7 and parts of chs.11 and 12. Now, let us look into the details of related matters given in Rev.14:1-7, about the male-child, the 144,000, and their ministry. There are three places in the New Testament where there is a birth in connection with Israel, resulting in a world-wide ministry and these places have to do with the 144,000 during the Tribulation Period. All these have a specific Old Testament basis, which is very specifically given in Isa.66:7, 8: “Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a male child. Who hath heard such a thing? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” The three places where this subject is dealt with after this fashion in the New Testament can be found in the Olivet Discourse accounts of Matt.24 and Mark 13 and in Rev.14:1-7. In all these three passages, Israel is seen as experiencing birth pangs, there is then a birth, and there is subsequently a worldwide proclamation of the gospel message.

Israel – giving birth and experiencing birth

Isa.66:7, 8 quoted above, refers to future times when Israel will both (1) give birth and (2) experience birth. Israel will first deliver a “man-child”; then, the nation itself will be “born at once.” The “travail” and “pain” are connected only with the birth of the nation itself, not with the birth of the man-child. “Before she [Israel] travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man-child” (v.7). This “travail” and “pain” refers to the great Tribulation, during the second half of the tribulation period. That will lead to the birth of the nation – their repentance, re-gathering and restoration – anticipating the Messianic Era. The “sorrows” mentioned in the three New Testament passages refers to birth pangs which a woman undergoes as she endures a time of labor immediately preceding the birth of a child. This is pointing to the bringing forth of the 144,000 by Israel. Note in Matthew Ch.24 the mention of sorrows/birth pangs (v.8) is followed by the worldwide proclamation of the gospel (v.14). Then in Mark Ch.13 also the mention of sorrows/birth pangs (v.8) is followed by the worldwide proclamation of the gospel (v.10). Then in Revelation Ch.14, an angel appears in possession of the gospel message (v.6), immediately after certain things are mentioned about the man-child, the 144,000 (v.1-5).

Worldwide proclamation of the gospel

The proclamation of the gospel is a task committed to man, not to angels. It is evident from the context and related Scripture that the gospel message, in possession of this angel, will be carried worldwide, not by the angel in verse six, but by the 144,000 in verses one through five. The angel’s announcement to all that dwell on the earth (v.7) is not the gospel/good news, but only a warning about the impending judgment. Thus we can clearly see that Israel will give birth to the male-child, the 144,000, through the ministry of the two witnesses, during the first half of the tribulation period. By the middle of the 7-year tribulation period, as soon as the sealing of the 144,000 is completed, the great Tribulation will begin. All the Jews will face very severe persecution, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be (Matt.24:21, 22) and will be scattered all over the world. The 144,000 will proclaim the gospel all over the world, during that period. And by the end of the Tribulation period, the Jews will have no other way to turn; they will repent and cry unto their Messiah, who will return, regather and restore them to their land and to the original purpose for which the nation was brought into existence (Matt.24:29-31). Then in the Millennial Kingdom, Israel will occupy the position above all nations, and God’s authority and His blessings will be dispensed through Israel over the whole earth. Thus the promises of God given in Gen.12:1-3; 22:15-18; Exo.19:5, 6; Luke 1:31-33 and several other places will be brought to fulfillment.