REVELATION: THE PERIODS OF SEALS, TRUMPETS AND VIALS ARE NOT CONTEMPORARY IN ALL THEIR EXTENSIONS.
I have heard
some brethren say that the seals, trumpets and vials of Revelation are three different
symbols which represent the same periods of the last days. It is to say,
that according to their interpretation, the fourth seal, for example,
represents the same period represented by the fourth trumpet and the fourth
vial, but depicting other details in each one.
I am do not agree with this interpretation. The first six seals are opened and no trumpet has been heard yet, nor any vial has been poured out either. The seventh seal is what triggers the beginning of the sounding of the trumpets. By the same token, the first six trumpets have been heard, but still no vial has been poured out yet. It is after the sounding of the seventh trumpet that the pouring out of the seven vials begins. In general, we see that the seventh period of each symbol includes the seven periods of the next symbol.
I am going to show a numeric example and a graphic example, to try to explain how I think the periods represented by these symbols are going to appear. After I have explained what I think, I will show the biblical basis that backs my interpretation.
During the period of the seventh seal the seven trumpets are heard; and during the period of the seventh trumpet, the seven vials are poured out. It is as if the seven trumpets are a detailed account of the events that will occur during the seventh seal period; and the seven vials are a detailed account of the events to occur during the seventh trumpet period.
These periods are different in duration, but in order to make my explanation easier let's suppose that the seven periods corresponding to the same type of symbol are of the same duration. Let's suppose that each one of the seven seals, just for the sake of using an easy number to handle, are going to last 49 days, not because I think that this is going to be the real time they will last. Let's also suppose that each trumpet will last 7 days, and that each vial will last one day. All together, the seals, trumpets, and vials, are going to last 343 days. Remember that this is just an example for didactic motives. If we admit these durations then:
the first seal period will last
from day 1 to day 49
the second seal period will last from day 50 to day 98
the third seal period will last from day 99 to day 147
the fourth seal period will last from day 148 to day 196
the fifth seal period will last from day 197 to day 245
the sixth seal period will last from day 246 to day 294
the seventh seal period will last from day 295 to day 343
After the seventh seal is opened, during the period it represents, the period of the sounding of the seven trumpets will begin. Therefore, continuing with this hypothetical example of the numbers, the trumpets periods would last in the following way:
the first trumpet period will last
from day 297 to day 301
the second trumpet period will last from day 302 to day 308
the third trumpet period will last from day 309 to day 315
the fourth trumpet period will last from day 316 to day 322
the fifth trumpet period will last from day 323 to day 329
the sixth trumpet period will last from day 330 to day 336
the seventh trumpet period will last from day 337 to day 343
I started, on
purpose, the period of the first trumpet on day 297 instead of 295 because I
wanted to emphasize that the first trumpet does not have to be heard
immediately after the opening of the seventh seal, but at anytime after its
Continuing with this numerical example we will see that the first vial would be poured out at any moment of the 337 day, after the sounding of the seventh trumpet. I think that all this will happen in rapid succession, but let's keep using our numerical example. So, the vials would be poured out on the following days:
the first vial would be poured out
on day 337
the second vial would be poured out on day 338
the third vial would be poured out on day 339
the fourth vial would be poured out on day 340
the fifth vial would be poured out on day 341
the sixth vial would be poured out on day 342
the seventh vial would be poured out on day 343
I want to remind again, that I am not saying that these periods are going to last what the example says. I repeat this because I am afraid that someone could start saying that I said that the seals are going to last 49 days, etc.. As an example we can say that the third trumpet could last more (or less) than the fifth seal. What can be said for sure is that the seventh period of a type of symbol includes the seven periods of the next type. If I had to express this idea graphically, I would do it with the following graph.
As we can see in
the numeric example, "day 343" belongs
to the seventh seal, ( days 295 to 343 ), to the seventh trumpet, ( days 337 to
343 ), and to the seventh vial ( day 343 ). By the same token, in the
graphic example, the last portion of the seventh seal, the last
portion of the seventh trumpet and all of the
seventh vial, are concomitant. This explains why the seventh seal, the
seventh trumpet and the seventh vial finish in the epoch of the Second Coming
of the Lord and the destruction of the antiChrist,
and all three contain elements of the end of times.
Of course, all this is just a theory with the same authority or lack of authority than the one elaborated by anyone else. Anyways, the most brainy elaborated theories could be rendered obsolete by a new and more logical theory or by the implacable reality.
Observing the first four seals we are led to think in the possibility that some of these periods do not have to end when the next starts. Rather, their starting points are successive, but because of their total duration, they are partially contemporaneous. For example, the second seal, seems to be the war, the third one the famine, and the fourth the death. I don't think that first there will be a period of war, then after the period of war, a period of peace, and then the period of famine will begin, and when finished, a period of abundance, and then the period of death. The starting points of these three periods are successive, in sequential dates, but the duration of them are such that they last till after the beginning of the next period, and even well into it, or more. Therefore, there will be, at the same time, war, famine and death. Maybe the deaths will be caused by plagues that will be un unleashed in the future. The consequences of the opening of these seals will last into the fourth seal.
If someone has a better interpretation and can substantiate it with proofs or reasoning, please let me know, because I love to learn from my mistakes. Let me now explain what are the basis for my interpretation.
First argument. According to Rev 8: 1-2 the seven angels receive their trumpets after Jesus Christ opens the seventh seal. It is easy to realize that previous to the opening of the seventh seal nobody had a trumpet to sound. Therefore, the periods represented by the trumpets cannot be contemporaneous with, nor equivalent to, the periods represented by the seals.
"And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in
heaven about the space
of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given
seven trumpets." ( Rev 8: 1-3 )
The second argument is that the seals are opened by the Lamb, and no one else was considered worthy to open them, as is stated in Rev 5: 2-5. Therefore, it is not logical to think that if the trumpets and the vials supposedly are the samething than the seals, these two last ones were handled by just angels, and not by the Lamb Himself as was the case of the seals.
"1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the
throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed
with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming
with a loud voice,Who is worthy to open the book, and to
loose the seals thereof? …… 5 And one of the elders saith
unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the
tribe of Juda,
the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and
to loose the seven seals thereof. 6 And I beheld, and,…..
stood a Lamb as it had been slain …… 7 And he came and
took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the
throne……9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art
worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof:
for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy
blood, out of every kindred, and tonge, and people and
nation” ( Rev 5: 1-9 abbreviated )
For the third argument we must remember that "the harvest" represents the gathering of the Christians. Then we must consider that in the last verses of chapter 14, Jesus reaps the harvest, and that following the reaping the angels work in the gathering of the grapes of the wrath of God, for which in 15: 1 seven angels have the seven vials with the seven last plagues. So, it is evident that Jesus came in the seventh and last trumpet, and after that, the angels receive the vials. Therefore, the seven vials will be poured out after the seventh trumpet.
"14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the
cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head
a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15 And
another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud
voice to him that sat on the cloud: Thrust in thy sickle, and
reap, for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of
the Earth is ripe. 16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his
sickle on the Earth; and the earth was reaped. 17 And another
angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also
having a sharp sickle. 18 And another angel came out from the
altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to
him that had the
sharp sickle, saying: Thrust in thy sharp
sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the Earth; for
her grapes are fully ripe. 19 And the angel thrust in his sickle
into the Earth, and gathered the vine of the Earth, and cast
it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the
winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out
of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of
a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
15: 1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous,
seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is
up the wrath of God."
( Rev 14: 14 to 15: 1 )
These three arguments show that evidently the seals, trumpets, and vials are all symbols that represent completely different periods. It is also noticeable that even the beginning of the first period of each symbol are not contemporaneous, the last period of all of them are concomitant. It is to say that the seventh seal, the seventh trumpet and the seventh vial are partially contemporaneous.