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The Tribulation

Copyright May 10, 2013 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
All Rights Reserved.

(Bible Scripture Verses are from the New International Version, Copyright 2000)



Introduction

The events described in the book of Revelation will unfold exactly the way God planned for them to unfold before He created the world. The events in the book of Revelation will not unfold based on the speculations of any human being, and that includes myself.

The following summary is nothing more than the thoughts of an old man who has tried to understand the flow of events described in the book of Revelation. I do not believe my interpretation of those events is any better than the interpretations that have been proposed by countless other people during the previous 1,900 years. The reason I am sharing my thoughts on this topic is because I think my observations may provide a framework within which other people may be able to rearrange the events and create an even better estimate of what might actually transpire during the tribulation period.

The Four Horsemen Many of the tribulation timelines I have seen have the sequence of events occurring in the same order in which they appear in the book of Revelation. In other words, the events begin with all seven seals (Rev. 6:1 to 8:1), and then all seven trumpets (Rev. 8:2 to 11:19), and then all seven bowls or plagues (Rev. 15:1 to 16:21). There is absolutely nothing wrong with this sequence and it may be the sequence in which the events actually unfold during the tribulation period.

The events described in Revelation are presented in the sequence in which they were shown to John. In other words, John described what he saw in the order in which the events were shown to him. For example, the two witnesses are mentioned in Rev. 11:1-12 and these scriptures tell us that the beast will kill the two witnesses after 1,260 days. But the origin of the beast that kills the two witnesses is shown to John in Rev. 13:1-5 when the first beast is given the power to rule the earth for 42 months. If a month contains an average of approximately 30 days, then 1,260 days equals approximately 42 months. And 42 months is approximately 3.5 years using 12 months per year. This means that John was shown the two witnesses and their entire earthly ministry for 3.5 years as one vision and that vision included the beast killing the two witnesses after 3.5 years. Then John was shown a second vision of a woman and a dragon. Then John was shown a third vision of the origin of the beast that kills the two witnesses. This suggests that John was shown complete visions of specific events so he could record those specific events accurately. But some of the events revealed in some of the visions overlap the events revealed in other visions. This strategy allowed John, and his future readers, to see an entire event from beginning to end so that each specific event could be more easily understood. This is the same strategy that is used in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Genesis 1:1 to 2:3 describes the entire seven days of creation. Then Genesis 2:4-25 gives additional information about the creation of mankind on the sixth day of creation.

Therefore a better understanding of the entire book of Revelation might be achieved if each vision is accepted as being a complete vision of one specific sequence of events from their beginning to their end. This means a different vision of a different sequence of events may include some events that overlap into one or more of the other visions that were shown to John.

Basic Assumption: The following summary is based on the assumption that each vision is a complete vision of a sequence of events but each vision may contain some events that overlap with other visions.

In order to better understand each vision it would be logical to identify specific events within a vision that happen at a specific point of time, such as the beginning of the tribulation period, or the midpoint of the tribulation period, or the end of the tribulation period. However, for this to be effective the length of the tribulation period needs to be established first.



The Duration of the Tribulation Period

Bible scholars have generally been in agreement that the Tribulation period will last approximately seven years. This estimate is based on several scriptures, such as the following:
    Daniel 9:27a - He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.'

    Daniel 8:13-14 - Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, "How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled -- the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?" He said to me, "It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated."
Bible scholars generally agree that the term 'seven' refers to a period of seven years. This appears logical because the Bible specifically says it will take 2,300 days (evenings and mornings) from the time the daily sacrifice in the Jewish sanctuary is reinstituted (restarted) until the sanctuary is reconsecrated (cleansed and rededicated). During this 2,300 days there will be a rebellion, the daily sacrifice will be stopped, the desolation will be set up, and the sanctuary will be trampled underfoot (or desecrated). Using 365 days per year, the 2,300 days equals approximately 6.3 years. If the total time is 7 years then this would allow for approximately 0.7 years for the sanctuary construction to be completed, the Jewish priests to be consecrated, and the first sacrifice in approximately 1,900 years to be offered by a Jewish priest in the Jewish sanctuary.

Additional time information is contained in the following scriptures:

    Daniel 9:27b - In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

    Daniel 11:31-32 - His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.

    Daniel 12:10-11 - None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.
The above scriptures mention that in the middle of the 'seven' the sacrifice will be stopped. And shortly thereafter, the abomination that causes desolation will be set up in a wing of the temple. There will be 1,290 days until the end. The 1,290 days is approximately 3.53 years. If 3.53 years is the 'middle' of the time period, then the total time period would be approximately 7.06 years, using 365 days per year. When the term 'middle' is used it may refer to the exact middle or to the approximate middle. If 'middle' means the approximate middle then the original interpretation of the term 'seven' to mean 7 years is a reasonable assumption.

Whether the tribulation time period lasts exactly 7 years, or a little less than 7 years, or a little more than 7 years is not an issue that is worth debating. For the purposes of this summary it will be assumed that the tribulation time period is approximately 7 years long. It may be a little more or a little less than 7 years but this minor difference in time will not significantly impact any of the summary comments that follow. The middle of the tribulation time period will be set at approximately 3.5 years but it could be a little less or a little more than 3.5 years. Trying to be more precise on a midpoint estimate such as this is not a productive use of anyone's time who is diligently attempting to study and understand scriptures.

Therefore we can now construct an approximate theoretical timeline for the tribulation time period that includes a beginning, a middle, and an end, and it is shown below.

Timeline One

With this timeline as a starting position, it is now possible to add specific events onto our timeline if we use scriptures that give us precise information about when the event occurs, such as at the beginning of the tribulation, or the approximate middle of the tribulation, or the end of the tribulation.

If you are uncomfortable with the above timeline, or if you disagree with the interpretation of the selected scriptures up to this point, then you may wish to stop reading now because the rest of this summary will be based on the above timeline.



Adding Specific Events to our Timeline

The following scriptures provide enough information for them to be placed on our theoretical timeline at a specific location:
    Revelation 6:1-2 - I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

    Daniel 9:27 - In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

    Revelation 19:19-21 - Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
The above three events can now be placed on our theoretical timeline. The opening of the first seal will occur at the very beginning of the tribulation period. At the midpoint of the tribulation period the abomination that causes desolation will be placed on a wing of the temple. At the end of the tribulation the beast and the false prophet will be cast into hell. These three events are all shown on our timeline below.

Timeline Two



The Two Witnesses

    Revelation 11:1-12 - I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, "Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. 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 give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.

The above scriptures indicate that the Gentiles will trample on the holy city for 42 months. During this time there will be two witnesses who will prophesy for 1,260 (or 42 months using 30 days per month). Then the two witnesses are killed by the beast and their dead bodies are left in the street for people all over the earth to see them. But after 3.5 days the breath of life from God will enter them and they will live again and ascend into heaven in full view of the people who were previously celebrating their death. Since the two witnesses will prophesy for 42 months they must begin their ministry no later than the midpoint of the tribulation. In addition, the Gentiles will be trampling on the city for the same period of time. This description of the trampling is probably the same trampling underfoot as described in Daniel 8:13-14 as quoted earlier in this summary.

Therefore the appearance of the two witnesses should be placed just a little before the midpoint of the tribulation and their death and resurrection should be placed close to the end of the tribulation as shown in our timeline below.

Timeline Three



The Beast, the False Prophet, and the Mark of the Beast

    Revelation 13:2-5 - The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?" The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months.

    Revelation 13:11-17 - Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.

In the above scriptures the first beast rules for 42 months. The second beast, also known as the false prophet, appears next and he is the one who sets the image of the first beast in the sanctuary (the abomination of desolation). The false prophet gives the image the ability to speak and everyone has to worship the image and receive the mark of the beast on their right hand or forehead.

These events must occur somewhere near the middle of the tribulation period. And we already know that the beast and the false prophet are cast into hell at the end of the tribulation period. Therefore our timeline will appear as illustrated below.

Timelne Four



The Seals, Trumpets, Bowls, and Woes

During the tribulation there are seven seal judgments, seven trumpet judgments, seven bowl judgments, and three woe judgments. Some of these judgments have specific events associated with them that can be accurately placed on our timeline. Let's look at the bowl judgments first.

The Seven Plagues and the Seven Bowl Judgments

    Revelation 15:1 - I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues -- last, because with them God's wrath is completed.

    Revelation 15:7-8 - Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.

    Revelation 16:1-2 - Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go, pour out the seven bowls of God's wrath on the earth." The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image.

    Revelation 16:3 - The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead man, and every living thing in the sea died.

    Revelation 16:4-7 - The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: "You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve." And I heard the altar respond: "Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments."

    Revelation 16:8-9 - The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.

    Revelation 16:10-11 - The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.

    Revelation 16:12-16 - The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. "Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed." Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.

    Revelation 16:17-21 - The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, "It is done!" Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.
The seven plagues and the seven bowl judgments are the same event but they are sometimes called plagues and sometimes called bowls. The first bowl judgment falls on people who have received the mark of the beast. Therefore it must occur on our timeline sometime after the midpoint of the tribulation, or after the image of the beast has been given the ability to speak and people are required to worship it. Those worshipers receive the mark of the beast on their right hand or forehead. Therefore the first bowl judgment must occur after the midpoint of the tribulation. The seventh bowl judgment specifically mentions "Babylon" and this reference may allow us to associate it with the fall of Babylon. The seventh bowl judgment also specifically mentions huge hailstones and this may allow us to associate it with the hailstones mentioned in the seventh trumpet judgment. The trumpet and woe judgments will be examined in more detail later. However, at this time we can place the seven bowl judgments on our timeline as shown below.

Timeline Five



The Seven Seals

Matthew Chapter 24 and Mark Chapter 13 both contain Jesus' comments about the last days when His disciples asked him about the signs that would precede His return and the end of the age. Jesus clearly answered this question for His disciples and His statements can help us better understand the timing of the first seven seals as described in the book of Revelation.

    Matthew 24:3 - As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

    Revelation 6:1-2 - I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

    Matthew 24:4-5 - Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.

    Revelation 6:3-4 - When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.

    Matthew 24:6-7a - You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

    Revelation 6:5-6 - When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"

    Matthew 24:7b - There will be famines ...

    Revelation 6:7-8 - When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

    Matthew 24:7c - and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. (King James Version)

    Revelation 6:9-11 - When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.

    Matthew 24:9 - Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.

    Revelation 6:12-14 - I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

    Matthew 24:15-16, 24, 29-32, 40-42 - So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel -- let the reader understand -- then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect -- if that were possible. Immediately after the distress of those days 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come."

    Revelation 7:9 - After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

    Revelation 7:13-14 - Then one of the elders asked me, "These in white robes -- who are they, and where did they come from?" I answered, "Sir, you know." And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

    Revelation 8:1 - When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
When Revelation and Matthew are used together they provide a very important piece of information about the timing of the fifth and sixth seals. In the book of Matthew Jesus told us that Christians would be seriously persecuted worldwide (described as seal five in Revelation) and then the abomination of desolation described in the book of Daniel would be set up in the Temple. The people in Jerusalem should immediately flee to the mountains, and then the sun and moon would be darkened and the stars would fall from the sky. Then Jesus described His return in the clouds with the sound of a trumpet and He will send His angels to gather up His saints from all over the earth. This is the event that Christians call the rapture (one will be taken and one will be left behind). Therefore the fifth seal needs to be opened sometime before the midpoint. And the sixth seal needs to be opened sometime after the midpoint because the abomination of desolation is set up in the Temple at the midpoint. The rapture will also occur sometime after the midpoint of the tribulation because Jesus returns in the clouds after the abomination of desolation is set up in the Jewish Temple. These events are shown on our timeline below.

Timeline Six

I do not mind if you wish to believe that the rapture will occur before the tribulation begins, or if you wish to believe the rapture will occur at the end of the tribulation period. I have read very long detailed articles that support both of these viewpoints. The problem I personally have with these two viewpoints is that they use random scripture verses taken from different parts of the Bible and then they link those verses together to prove a specific point of view. They either ignore the information in the first half of Matthew Chapter 24 or they claim it is not related to the tribulation period. They also ignore the fact that Jesus said the abomination of desolation, as described in the book of Daniel, would be set up in the temple and then He would return in the clouds to gather up His saints in Matthew Chapter 24. Jesus describes these same exact events in Mark Chapter 13 in the same exact sequence including the abomination of desolation just before He returns in the clouds to gather up His saints. I do not mind if you wish to ignore this very clear teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ in favor of a string of random scripture verses taken from different parts of the Bible that are linked together to support your point of view. But I cannot personally discredit Jesus' very clear words as He explained these events to His disciples. Jesus tells us He will collect His saints from the earth after the abomination of desolation is set up in the temple and before the seventh seal is opened. It is unlikely that the rapture will occur during or after the seven bowl judgments because the seven bowl judgments contain the wrath of God on unbelievers. Therefore the rapture cannot occur before the tribulation begins, and it is unlikely to occur during or after the bowl judgments, and it cannot occur after the tribulation is over.

Seal seven is not yet on our timeline because the only event associated with seal seven is silence in heaven for the space of approximately one-half hour. This could occur anytime after the midpoint and after the opening of seal six but before the end of the tribulation. We will look at the placement of seal seven on our timeline after we have examined some of the other events that will occur during the tribulation.



The Seven Trumpets, the Three Woes, and the Seven Thunders

Trumpet
    Revelation 8:2 - And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.

    Revelation 8:7 - The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

    Revelation 8:8-9 - The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

    Revelation 8:10-11 - The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water -- the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

    Revelation 8:12 - The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.

    Revelation 8:13 - As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: "Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!"

    Revelation 9:1-5 - The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man.

    Revelation 9:12 - The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.

    Revelation 9:13-16 - The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.

    Revelation 10:1-4 - Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down."

    Revelation 11:1-3 - I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, "Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. 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 give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth."

    Revelation 11:7-13 - Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

    Revelation 11:14 - The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.

    Revelation 11:15 - The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."
The above scriptures provide very specific information about the timing of the seven trumpets, the three woes, and the seven thunders. The seven thunders will be heard prior to the Gentiles trampling the holy city for 42 months and prior to the appearance of the two witnesses who will prophesy for 1,260 days. The two witnesses have already been placed on our timeline just a little before the midpoint of the tribulation. Therefore the seven thunders should be placed sometime before the midpoint.

The sixth trumpet occurs just before the seven thunders.

The first woe begins with the sounding of trumpet five and the first woe ends after the judgments of trumpet five have been completed and before trumpet six is sounded. Therefore the first woe occurs at the same time and for the same duration as trumpet five.

The second woe begins with the sounding of trumpet six and the second woe ends before trumpet seven is sounded. Therefore the second woe may occur at the same time and for the same duration as trumpet six. Or the second woe may begin with trumpet six and continue until the end of bowl six. The first option will be shown on our timeline but the second option is also a possibility.

Unfortunately there is no obvious clue as to when the first trumpet will be sounded so it cannot be placed with accuracy on our timeline. All we know is that the first six trumpets will be sounded before the seven thunders and before the two witnesses appear. Therefore the trumpets and the first two woes are simply placed on our timeline during the first half of the tribulation period but their placement should not be interpreted as happening at a specific time, such as year 1 or year 2 or year 3 or whenever. All we know is that they will happen before the midpoint of the tribulation. The first six trumpets may be spread out over a period of three years or they may all occur within a period of a few months (or a few weeks).

The seven thunders are also a mystery. They may require hours, days, or weeks. Or they may require months or years. All we know is that they occur before the two witnesses appear.

The first six trumpets, the first two woes, and the seven thunders can now all be placed on our timeline just before the appearance of the two witnesses.

Timeline Seven



The Seventh Seal, the Seventh Trumpet, and the Seventh Bowl

Now let's take a more detailed look at seal seven, trumpet seven, and bowl seven.
    Revelation 8:1 - When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

    Lightning Revelation 8:3-9 - Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

    Revelation 11:15,19 - The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ and he will reign for ever and ever." Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.

    Revelation 16:17-21 - The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, "It is done!" Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.
Since we have been interpreting John's visions as being complete visions for a specific sequence of events, such as the seven seals and the seven bowls, then to be consistent we need to appreciate the fact that the vision of the appearance of the two witnesses is shown to John after the sixth trumpet is sounded and after the seven thunders. And the seventh trumpet is sounded after the death and resurrection of the two witnesses. This would place the sounding of the seventh trumpet very near the end of the tribulation period. This is also consistent with the events described as occurring after the seventh trumpet is sounded because Jesus Christ will return to the earth to destroy His enemies and to reign for ever and ever.

Since Jesus Christ is the only One who is worthy to open all seven of the seals, He must still be in heaven when He opens the seventh seal. The seventh seal is silence in heaven for about half an hour. Immediately after the seventh seal is opened a golden censer is emptied on the earth that contains peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. The sounding of the seventh trumpet includes flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm and it mentions that Christ is now ready to begin His reign upon the earth for ever and ever. When the seventh bowl is poured out it includes flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake and a terrible plague of hail and a voice from the throne that says "It is done!" and Babylon is destroyed. Therefore it extremely likely that the seventh seal, and the seventh trumpet, and the seventh bowl all occur at approximately the same time near the end of the tribulation period.

The time interval between trumpet six and trumpet seven will be filled with the seven thunders and the seven bowl judgments. The seven bowl judgments all occur during the second half of the tribulation because the first bowl judgment begins with the judgment of sores on everyone who has received the mark of the beast.

The third woe is more difficult to place on our timeline. It may begin immediately after the second woe (Revelation 11:14) and it may end with the destruction of Babylon (Revelation 18:10, 16, and 19). Therefore the third woe may occur at the same time and for the same duration as the seven bowl judgments. Or the third woe may begin with bowl seven and end with bowl seven. The first option will be shown on our timeline.

The seventh seal, the seventh trumpet, and the third woe can now be placed on our timeline as shown below.

Timeline Eight



The 1,000 Years, the Great White Throne Judgment,
and the New Heaven and New Earth

The following events will occur after the seven-year tribulation period is over.
    Revelation 20:1-3 - And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

    Revelation 20:4-6 - I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

    Revelation 20:7-10 - When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth -- Gog and Magog -- to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

    Revelation 20:11-15 - Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

    Revelation 21:1-4 - Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."


Conclusion

A variety of other significant events are also described in the book of Revelation. However, I do not believe I am qualified at this time in my life to make any comments about their interpretation or their timing. Therefore I will not add anything more to our timeline at this time.

Now it is your turn. Perhaps you can position some of the events a little more precisely on our timeline, or perhaps you can add some other events onto our timeline based on clues you find in the Holy Bible.

Respectfully,
Grandpappy
(Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.)



Click on www.grandpappy.org for Robert's Home Page.

Grandpappy's e-mail address is: RobertWayneAtkins@hotmail.com