The Book of Revelation; Chapter Six – The Sixth Seal, part one

19 May

I am now getting back to my series on the Book of Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

Revelation Six

 Stars FallSee also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals

The sixth seal of the Book which John saw represents the sixth millennium, or approximately 1,000 AD to 2,000 AD (remember that in D&C 77: 7 we are told that each seal contains the history of the world during one millennium). So, to understand this seal we look to history. However, I would like to first point out that there is a great deal more detail given for the sixth seal than for any of the first five. I believe the reason for this is that the Revelation of John is to prepare the saints for what is to come. While it reveals the past, its primary focus is the future. The first four seals are given only a brief description because they have already ended. The Fifth seal is only slightly more detailed because it was the time in which John lived and the people he was righting too were already familiar with it. The sixth seal, and later the sevens, are given the greatest detail because they are the farthest in the future and thus are of the most importance to the audience.

So let us look at what chapter six says about the sixth seal. Honestly, I am not sure what it all means, so I give it in its entirety here.

“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 heavens opened as a scroll is opened when it is rolled together; and every mountain, and island, was moved out of its place. 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?”

This seems to describe the signs of the last days. The sun being dark and moon blood remind us of Joel 2: 31 in which both are given as signs of the last days. Isaiah 2: 19 describes the people hiding in the dens of rocks to escape the day of God, which is also in the last days. Even the footnotes for these verses refer us frequently to the last days. So, how can all this have happened in the sixth seal, or before the year 2,000?

Honestly, I have been thinking this over for many days and I don’t think I am qualified to give a good explanation at this time. However, in the History of the Church (dictated by Joseph Smith), Volume One, Chapter 30, we read an interesting account concerning a meteor shower that became known as “The Night the Stars Fell.

I arose, and to my great joy, beheld the stars fall from heaven like a shower of hailstones; a literal fulfilment of the word of God, as recorded in the holy Scriptures, and a sure sign that the coming of Christ is close at hand.

Now, Joseph Smith does also state that this display was far less then the one that would later happen in fulfillment of Revelation 6: 13, so exactly how this all ties in I am not sure. I know of no account of the sun going black (except eclipses, but those have always happened), or the moon turning to blood (though some say this is the Harvest moon, which has also always happened). There is of course the possibility that the seals to not represent exactly 1000 years each, but approximately 1000 years, which could mean that we are still in the sixth seal and thus these things have simply not happened yet. However, I don’t believe this to be the case because the events of the seventh seal have already begun, and thus this would require an overlapping of the seals.

So, in all this is the most perplexing portion of the Book, at least in my opinion, and I can offer no further thoughts on it at this time.

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