Seals opened in context of the judgement
There is an inescapable parallel between the setting of Revelation chapters 4 and 5, in which the seals are opened, and the judgement scene of Daniel chapter 7. We’ll consider some of the parallel elements and the implications for the present time, but before we do so, the following word of admonition is most instructive: “Study Revelation in connection with Daniel, for history will be repeated” – White, Ellen G., Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 116. Here are some of the parallels:
- Thrones were set – Daniel says, “I beheld till the thrones were cast down [set]” (Dan. 7:9; Revelation says, “a throne was set in heaven” (Rev. 4:2) and “round about the throne were four and twenty seats” (Rev. 4:4). Note that the persons who were seated on the twenty-four seats “had on their heads crowns of gold” (Rev. 4:4), so these twenty-four seats are really thrones, but obviously not as impressive as the one on which God sat. That explains why Daniel says “thrones”, while Revelation says, “a throne” and “four and twenty seats”.
- God sat on a throne – Daniel says, “the Ancient of days did sit” (Dan. 7:9); Revelation says, “one sat on the throne” (Rev. 4:2).
- Millions of angels gathered around God’s throne – Daniel says, “thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him” (Dan. 7:10); Revelation says, “many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” (Rev. 5:11).
- Christ comes to the Father – Daniel says, “one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days” (Dan. 7:13); Revelation says, “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain” (Rev. 5:6).
- Christ receives glory, honour and power – Daniel says, “And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom” (Dan. 7:14); Revelation says, “Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).
- Books were opened – Daniel says, “the judgment was set, and the books were opened” (Dan. 7:10); Revelation says, “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof” (Rev. 5:2) and “he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne” (Rev. 5:7), also, “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals” (Rev. 6:1). Daniel says “books” (Dan. 7:10), while Revelation says, “a book” (Rev. 5:1). A comment from Uriah Smith, an early Seventh-day Adventist pioneer, explains the seeming discrepancy. In the comment, he quoted John Wesley as follows: “The usual books of the ancients were not like ours, but were volumes, or long pieces of parchment, rolled upon a long stick, as we frequently roll silks. Such was this represented, which was sealed with seven seals. Not as if the apostle saw all the seals at once; for there were seven volumes wrapped up one within another, each of which was sealed; so that upon opening and unrolling the first, the second appeared to be sealed up till that was opened, and so on to the seventh.” – Smith, Uriah, Daniel and the Revelation, p. 420 (1909).
Daniel declares that the setting is the judgement. This judgement takes place before the second coming of Christ. The result of the judgement is that Christ receives “a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Dan. 7:14). It was further explained to Daniel that “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” (Dan. 7:27). Thus, Christ receives the title deed to this earth along with the list of all those who will be His faithful subjects. He then returns to earth to claim the dominion. At that time, it will be declared, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev. 11:15).
The opening of the seals within the context of the judgement means that although there may be a historic interpretation of the seals, there is undoubtedly, an end-time fulfillment that began in 1844, when the judgement commenced. The opening of the first seal sees events unfolding that are depicted as a white horse, whose rider “went forth conquering, and to conquer” (Rev. 6:2). This coincides with what is described as the Church of Philadelphia, to which was presented “an open door” that no man could shut (Rev. 3:8). This is a church for which there was no rebuke but only commendation. This opening of the first seal also coincides with the appearance of the Third Angel of Rev. 14 – indeed, a period of the gospel going forth with renewed power and direction from God. This is the period of the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers.
Back in the day, it was popular for Seventh-day Adventists to sing, “Have you heard of the Advent Church, how she is moving according to prophecy?” Today, many Seventh-day Adventists, while being convinced of the Sabbath, are not so sure that the Advent Movement has any special significance, more than any other church. But God sees otherwise. This Movement was raised up for a purpose, to preach the final message to the world. While we win the hearts of people with our health message, we should not stop there. People must be taught the mission for which the Movement was raised up, so that we can fulfill our God-ordained purpose.
By God’s grace, we will look, in another presentation, at the events associated with the opening of the remaining seals and consider where we are now in the unfolding fulfillment of prophecy.
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).
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