|By: Dr. John Ankerberg; ©1996|
|Bible Prophecy Questions Answered by Leading Christian Scholars.|
Dr. Renald Showers: When the sixth seal is broken, there are incredible cosmic disturbances that take place. The moon, the sun being darkened, stars falling from the heaven, etc. When you look at Matthew 24 where we have the description of Christ’s Second Coming, you have the same type of cosmic disturbances being described again: sun and moon being darkened; stars being affected, etc. In light of that, some have concluded that these have to be the same cosmic disturbances, and that therefore the Second Coming of Christ must take place in conjunction with the breaking of the sixth seal, and that this is where the day of the Lord’s wrath begins.
But there’s a problem with that approach, and that’s the fact that the cosmic disturbances described with the sixth seal are not the only cosmic disturbances described for the future in the Word of God. In fact, when you read further in the book of Revelation, you will find that there will be other cosmic disturbances after the sixth seal. For example, when you have the fourth trumpet being sounded and its judgment unleashed upon the world, we read in Revelation 8:12, "And the fourth angel sounded and the third part of the sun was smitten and the third part of the moon and the third part of the stars so as the third part of them was darkened and the day shone not for a third part of it and the night likewise." Here are more cosmic disturbances affecting the sun, the moon and the stars and the fact that this will happen, one seal and four trumpets after the sixth seal indicates this is not the same set of cosmic disturbances as with the sixth seal.
This also implies that the cosmic disturbances of the sixth seal were temporary, that they don’t continue on indefinitely; otherwise, you couldn’t have this separate set of cosmic disturbances one seal and four trumpets after the sixth seal. There’s at least one other place in the book of Revelation later on where you have cosmic disturbances again.
Then we see that according to Joel 3 there will be more cosmic disturbances, very similar to those described at the sixth seal, when the armies of all the nations of the world are gathered in the land of Israel. But we see from Revelation 16 that those armies don’t even begin to gather there until the sixth bowl, which would be one seal, seven trumpets and six bowls after the sixth seal. And so those cosmic disturbances: sun and moon being darkened; stars falling from heaven, etc., when the armies of the nations are all together there in Israel cannot be the same cosmic disturbances as those that take place with the sixth seal.
So you cannot conclude that since the cosmic disturbances when Christ comes in the Second Coming, when the armies are in Israel, are basically the same as those at the sixth seal that it’s the same set of cosmic disturbances. They can’t be because they’re separated by many other events in between. Therefore, they are not the same, and so therefore the Second Coming is not taking place with the breaking of the sixth seal.