You should keep in mind, as you read this article, that the time placement of the sixth seal is between the first set of martyrs and the second set of martyrs. Perhaps this thought has never occurred to you, as you have studied the seven seals prophecy, so this revelation may be a blessing to you as you study this subject. I have always understood the six seals to represent prophetic events taking place so the remnant church will recognize the last days.
In the fifth seal are those who were martyred in a time of tribulation—namely, during the 1,260 years under the papal rule. Symbolically, they are saying, “Lord, why are You not judging us?” which means, “Why do You not give us vindication? We are killed by the papacy. Lord, have mercy on us.” Then God gives to each a white robe representing His righteousness and tells them to wait until their brethren, like them, are killed for His sake and fill the number. (Revelation 6:9–11.)
Do you recall that another set of martyrs is going to come very soon after the Sunday law? So God placed the sixth seal in the interval separating the serial events that will take place from the fifth seal until the period when the second set of martyrs will occur. Keep this in your mind as we study the sixth seal.
Another “Prophecy” Source
In Catholic prophecy, the Bishop of Ireland, Malachy, predicted the reign of 111 popes. Actually, he made 112 predictions. The last pope he named, “Peter of Rome,” must be Satan. At that time, the city of Rome and the whole world will be on fire and destroyed. The last pope is not really human.
Malachy, 850 years ago, predicted that there would be 111 human popes following Pope Celestine II who died in 1146 a.d. Of these, John Paul II, interestingly enough, was pope number 110 after Celestine II, and Malachy’s prophecy claims that the next pope will be the final human pope. That is Benedict XVI, the current pope.
We do not believe in Catholic prophecy, but we can at least use it as a reference. Even according to Catholic prophecy, you and I do not have much time left.
Fornication with the Whore
When the funeral service for John Paul II was being held, I was in Germany, and I watched the proceedings live on television. It was just incredible! The CNN announcer and commentators were giving an explanation of every juncture, every order of the mass service. For 24 hours, the Vatican broadcasted to the entire world the greatest televised evangelistic crusade of all times.
Revelation 17:18 says, “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” Almost all of the world’s kings, presidents, prime ministers, political figures, and financial figures were present at the pope’s funeral. A congregation of approximately 200,000 people was scattered about in the Vatican square. About four million pilgrims came from different nations to the city of Rome to pay homage.
Representatives of various major religions, not just Christianity, attended this funeral service. Even a Buddhist monk and Islamic and Hindu representatives were there. This was not only ecumenism among Christian religions, but an ecumenical movement from whole new regions of the world. Surely the end is near.
Revelation is being fulfilled before our very eyes! The whore is having fornication with all the kings and the people of the world, which we saw depicted at the pope’s funeral service. It is nearly time for the seven last plagues to be poured out upon this world. This is how we understand chapters 17 and 18 of Revelation.
Revelation 17:2, 4, 18 says, “With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication.” “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.”
Kings and presidents of the world came to give their tribute as the newly elected pope, the former Cardinal Ratzinger of Germany, conducted mass. That great city, Rome, the Bible says, is the whore that wears purple and scarlet. Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, the newly elected pope, was arrayed with scarlet and purple and decked with gold and pearls and precious stones. How interesting!
That cup is full of abominations. All the kings and people of the world are drunken. When people are drunk, they do not know what to do or where to go; they are confused. This is the time when we must raise the third angel’s message in a clear and certain sound.
The Sixth Seal
“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:12–17. The sixth seal is discussing the succession of natural disasters.
We are in the end of the sixth seal period. You will understand why as we progress. Let us look at Revelation 6:12, 14 historically.
A great earthquake occurred on November 1, 1755. Known as “The Great Lisbon Earthquake,” it impacted other countries besides Portugal and was even felt along the Atlantic Coast of the United States. About 160,000 people were killed at that time. We consider this earthquake as the beginning point of the sixth seal. Why? It is because it was the largest of all the earthquakes that had ever occurred up to that time.
The second natural occurrence was the dark day of May 19, 1780. This day dawned clear and bright, in the northeastern part of the United States, but by 10:30 in the morning, the sky began to darken. Soon it was as dark as the night; all the cattle returned to their barns and all the birds flew back to their nests. That night the moon, which was at its full, had the appearance of blood.
Then, on August 12, 1833, the stars of heaven fell to the earth. This scene has been described as all the stars coming to the center of the sky and then falling to earth. It was estimated that about 200,000 stars fell in one hour. What an awesome sight that must have been!
The Bible prophecy has been fulfilled in succession exactly as it was described.Permanence Moved
Verse 14 refers to the heaven departing as a scroll and the islands and mountains being moved. We are told that just before Jesus Christ comes, there will be a great earthquake, which will shake down all the mountains and sink the islands of the oceans. (Revelation 16:18, 20.)
Ellen White wrote: “Now in regard to the coming of the Son of man. This will not take place until after the mighty earthquake shakes the earth. After the people have heard the voice of God they are in despair and trouble such as never was since there was a nation, and in this the people of God will suffer affliction. The clouds of heaven will clash, and there will be darkness. Then that voice comes from heaven and the clouds begin to roll back like a scroll, and there is the bright, clear sign of the Son of man.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, 251.
We have not witnessed the moving of mountains, but islands certainly have moved. As a result of the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami on December 26, 2004, it has been reported that some of the smaller islands may have moved as much as 60 feet. New maps are now being drawn of this part of the world because islands moved.
This disaster gives us a small hint of what will physically happen on the earth just before Christ’s return and the great fear that will be in men’s hearts. “The kings of the earth and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves, saying, Oh, we cannot stand before the wrath of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. Please, mountains and rocks, fall upon us.” They would rather be killed in natural disasters than face the Saviour.
The Fifth Seal
Revelation 6:9–11 talks about the fifth seal. “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they [were], should be fulfilled.” In other words, that the number will be filled.
The number is not yet filled, so another set of martyrs is coming soon. It is time to prepare to become martyrs.
144,000 or Martyr
Most Seventh-day Adventists are interested in the make-up of the 144,000—those people who are going to be translated without tasting death. Oh, I hope so to be part of that number! But we do not know God’s plan or His providence for our lives. Perhaps you and I will be martyred, but either translation or death will be for the glory of our God.
Revelation 14:13 says, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed [are] the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Those people going through the Sunday law crisis, who die during the time of the loud cry of the third angel, will be blessed. This, in a way, is an exact description of the blessings God gave to the martyrs at the time of the fifth seal. I believe that, through the sixth seal, God is making known to us the succession of serial events taking place, so the remnant church will know the time in which we are living and what is about to take place.
“The two armies will stand distinct and separate, and this distinction will be so marked that many who shall be convinced of truth will come on the side of God’s commandment-keeping people. When this grand work is to take place in the battle, prior to the last closing conflict, many will be imprisoned, many will flee for their lives from cities and towns, and many will be martyrs for Christ’s sake in standing in defense of the truth.” Maranatha, 199. Mrs. White clearly states that there will be many martyrs at the end.
“I was pointed to the remnant on the earth. The angel said to them, ‘Will ye shun the seven last plagues? . . . If so, ye must die that ye may live. Get ready, get ready, get ready. Ye must have a greater preparation than ye now have [not only to become part of the 144,000 who will be translated without tasting death, but also to become martyred for the defense of the truth]. . . . Sacrifice all to God. Lay all upon His altar—self, property, and all, a living sacrifice. It will take all to enter glory.’ ” Ibid., 98.
This is the time to prepare our characters. Mrs. White wrote, “Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil.” The Great Controversy, 425. Can you stand before God without the Mediator?
“He who seeks to get to heaven by his own righteousness is forever doing, but never making progress. But he who follows where Christ leads the way, goes from strength to strength, from light to greater light. Walking in the path of faith and obedience, he wins others to the new and living way, which is consecrated by the blood of Christ. The light of truth illuminates his footsteps, and the thought of Christ’s life inspires his efforts, enabling him to go on from strength to strength, gaining continually in grace and the knowledge of Christ, until at last he is complete in Him, not having his own righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, 341.
“How much we lose by doubting the love of God! Why do we not come boldly to [the] throne of grace, and by living faith lay hold of the merits of the blood of a crucified and risen Saviour? This must be an individual work. I cannot be saved by another’s faith, nor can another be saved by my faith. Every soul must be saved by his own righteousness. Can we manufacture this righteousness? No. But Jesus has furnished it for us.” The Signs of the Times, September 2, 1889.
When we are dwelling in Jesus Christ, and He is dwelling within us perfectly, it is then that He seals us. Our characters are fixed, and we will not be moved anymore. The righteousness of Jesus Christ is living within us and controlling us; hence, His righteousness has become our righteousness. The indwelling Spirit of Jesus Christ changes our characters completely and He seals us. Then we will not be changed anymore. We must be sealed with the seal of the living God and become part of the 144,000 or be martyrs.
Power of Prayer
When I was a baby, my mother, as she was nursing me at her bosom, dedicated me to the Lord many times. I have no way of knowing this except that my mother told me.
One day, when I was a teenager, attending a Seventh-day Adventist high school but associating with worldly friends, I went with these friends and did some things I should not have done. I returned home a little after midnight. I knew I would have some fire on my backside for returning home so late. As I was the only son, with four sisters, my Korean father did not want to spoil me. He was very strict with me in discipline.
I was scared, so I sneaked into my room and just lay myself very quietly on my bed, which actually was a mattress on the floor, and I pretended that I was asleep. About half an hour later, someone opened the door and came into my room. It was my mother. She knelt beside me and prayed. She was whispering, but I could hear what she was saying. She was praying, “My God, I want my son back. You remember that I gave my son to You when he was a baby nursing at my bosom. I dedicated this baby to You, to become Your servant, but now he is in the world. I want my son back.” It was the most powerful prayer that I ever heard.
After my mother went out, it was my turn to kneel on the floor and pray to God: “God, I am sorry.” I did not know God very well at the time, but because of my mother’s love and prayer, that moment became the turning point of my life.
Jesus Christ, our Mediator, is praying powerful prayers in the heavenly sanctuary every day. If only you could open your ears and listen. Jesus Christ is praying over our souls for our preparation for the last days. The end is near. I would like to ask you and challenge you, if you have not already surrendered your life to Christ, to do so right now—not tomorrow, not next week, but now. Give your heart to Him today.
If you have hidden idols, hidden sins, about which only you know, give them to Christ, who is praying continuously, in such love, for your soul. Do it now, because time is almost gone.
Pastor David Kang is Director of Light for Life Ministry operating out of Georgia, U.S.A. His sermons are broadcast weekly on New York and Virginia Korean television stations. Pastor Kang also frequently travels to Asia where he trains pastors who often work “underground.” Pastor Kang may be contacted by telephone at: 706-377-1004.