Q. With respect to God’s wrath, I find myself struggling with it’s beginning. I shouldn’t – because I have no problem seeing the Church in Heaven in chapter 5! And if Revelation is truly chronological then the wrath must take place in six. Yet, when I read Rev 6:12-17, it really sounds like the Lord’s wrath begins after the 6th seal (or depending on some accounts, the 7th – which means Chapter 8 kicks off the wrath after the half hour of silence). If either is the case, and assuming the Tribulation (70 weeks) kicks off after the first seal, then the Church wouldn’t be taken until some time into the Tribulation. Could you please elaborate on this?
A. The key to Rev. 6:16-17 is understanding that it places the beginning of God’s wrath in its past. The kings of the Earth say that the day of the Lord’s wrath has come, meaning that it has already begun. It’s their reaction to the events of the previous seals. Otherwise there would be no basis for their conclusion.
Here’s the progression. The first seal is the false messiah who has come to conquer. The second seal brings war to Earth as his conquest begins. The third and fourth seals are famine and pestilence, by products of war. The 5th seal shows the souls of martyrs, and the 6th seal the so-called natural disasters that demonstrate the supernatural aspect of things. This combination of things results in the kings of the Earth concluding that the preceding events signaled more than just another war. They signaled the beginning of God’s time of judgment on the Earth.
It’s also important to remember that Daniel’s 70th week and the Great Tribulation are not the same. The Great Tribulation is the last half of Daniel’s 70th week. The pre-trib view really places the rapture before the 70th week begins. The confusion came about as a result of someone calling Daniel’s 70th week the Tribulation period. This term does not appear in the Bible.
The Rapture takes place in Rev. 4 and the church is seen in heaven in Rev. 5. Daniel’s 70th Week begins in Rev. 6 with the Seal and Trumpet judgments. The Great Tribulation begins in Rev. 13 and includes only the Bowl judgments. Some people call this the time of God’s wrath, but the Bible says that with the Bowl judgments God’s wrath is completed. (Rev. 15:1) That is, they are the last phase of His wrath, not its entirety.