Revealing Revelation – The Seven Seals Introduced

27Feb11

Previously we discussed the scroll itself and paid little attention to the actual seals. though we discussed the importance of the sealing in this post we will deal directly with the seals and how they have been understood or interpreted throughout history. This places us in Chapter 6 of the book of Revelation.

Before we look at the actual opening of the seals let’s first deal with what one should expect with openings. There are really only two views worth consideration. the first is that the events unfold as described as the seals are broken. This is a common, though not exclusive, view in Church history.

The other view (which this writer proposes) is that the opening of the seals only hints as to what the judgment held within the document presents. imagine watching this scroll being unsealed. With each seal being broken the scroll reveals a little more about it’s contents, but at no time is the document’s contents fully revealed until after the seventh seal is broken and the the scroll unfurled.

In other words, the verdict and sentence cannot be carried out until the document is fully opened. This can only be accomplished with the breaking of the seventh seal. That means that no actual actions take place with the breaking of the seals, but rather a glimpse or hint as to what the scroll conceals. This would be akin to a verdict being read in a courtroom, but the sentence is not carried out until some time later.

This is later supported by a pronouncement after the seventh seal is broken. Note the following passage in chapter seven:

Rev. 7:13 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. [2] Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, [3] saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.

So, well after the six apparently destructive seals are broken we are told that the sea, earth, trees, etc are not to be harmed until the sealing of God’s elect. This is after war, death, famine, pestilence and cosmic disturbances are declared. this lends strong credence to the idea that the seals are judgment sentences and not actual events. The actual carrying out of these proclamations will be seen in the seven trumpet and bowl judgments.

This leads to an important discussion of the importance and significance of seven in the judgment cycles in Revelation. This can be found, like so much of John’s allusions, in the Old Testament passages describing the judgment of God’s covenant people for covenantal unfaithfulness. The following passage was discussed during the sections on the Olivet discourse and will show quite often in our discussion here in Revelation as well.

Lev 26:18 And if in spite of this you will not listen to me, then I will discipline you again sevenfold for your sins…21 “Then if you walk contrary to me and will not listen to me, I will continue striking you, sevenfold for your sins…24 then I also will walk contrary to you, and I myself will strike you sevenfold for your sins…28then I will walk contrary to you in fury, and I myself will discipline you sevenfold for your sins.

Over and over the Lord declares a “sevenfold” punishment for their sins. This covenantal unfaithfulness deserving of this sevenfold judgment is found in the crucifixion of Christ and the persecution of his church. The demands the sevenfold judgment that is seen in the book of Revelation. Hence why there are seven seals, seven trumpets and seven bowls. The acts of that generation were deserving the sevenfold judgment promised for their actions. Again remember that Christ declared that all of the blood of all of the saints would be held against that generation. No generation could or would receive such a sevenfold judgment against them.

The following posts will deal directly with the seven seals themselves and what their breaking alludes to. In other words, what should the recipient of these judgments expect to encounter after the verdict is determined and the sentence in read.

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One Response to “Revealing Revelation – The Seven Seals Introduced”

  1. 1 Yeshua the Lord of Glory

    Hi David

    This is indeed both interesting and intriguing 🙂


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