The Tribulation: Chronology and 666
By Nathan Jones
Are the 21 judgments of Revelation listed chronologically or are the three sets of seven judgments just different descriptions of the same judgments?
(Note: This and other questions sent in to Lamb & Lion Ministries about the Tribulation were answered by Dr. David Reagan, Nathan Jones, and Tim Moore on our television program Christ in Prophecy.)
Tim Moore: If you attempt to overlay the seven Seal Judgments, the seven Trumpet Judgments, and the seven Bowl Judgments you’ll quickly discover that they really don’t align. And so, I personally believe that all 21 judgments are essentially separate as well as chronological in order. Though, I concede that there are some parenthetical chapters interspersed throughout the book of Revelation because the Apostle John was given views of the future in order to bring the reader of Revelation hope for a happy ending.
Dr. Reagan: Many people teach that the three sets of judgments are just overlaying one upon another, but to me they must be chronological in order. For one thing, the first Seal Judgment group affects one-fourth of the earth, while the next Trumpet Judgment group affects one-third of the earth. Those numbers are not the same because the results of each series affect the world differently.
Nathan Jones: Plus, Revelation provides time indicators throughout the telling of what will happen during the Tribulation. For example, Revelation 15:1 states, “Then I saw another sign in Heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels, having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.” If the seven Bowl Judgments were just echoes of the seven Trumpet or Seal Judgments, stating that the Bowl Judgments complete God’s wrath, therefore, wouldn’t jive with the time indicators that John provides throughout the book of Revelation.
What does the number 666 symbolize?
Dr. Reagan: Based on the questions we receive, I have come to the conclusion that most people don’t focus on the overall picture of God’s plan for the ages, rather they tend to obsess on one thing or another to the exclusion of the big picture.
Nathan Jones: Especially the Mark of the Beast, as I often get asked what exactly that will be. So many folks are terrified that they can accidentally take the Mark today and so be forever condemned to Hell.
Dr. Reagan: Yes, great fear! They’ll ask, “What is 666?” And then follow up with something like, “I just got my license plate and it has a 666 on it, so am I going to Hell?” Or, “I just got a social security card and it has 666 on it. Have I been marked with the Mark of the Beast?”
Tim Moore: The 666 as described in Revelation 13 does have to be some kind of important symbolic number. We know that Adam was created on the sixth day of Creation. And so, when the Bible talks about God being “holy, holy, holy,” always presented three times in the superlative, then the Antichrist should be “man, man, man” equaling 666.
Dr. Reagan: I believe that’s what the number 666 is all about. The Tribulation is going to be ruled over by an unholy trinity present upon this earth, represented by the number 666 and sworn allegiance to by a person having it tattooed on their right hand or forehead.
Tim Moore: The number 666 represents an unholy trinity. The Antichrist is going to be like a superman, sort of what some of what the Nietzsches of this world have talked about, so elevated by the adoring public that he eventually proclaims himself to be God. We see quite a number of false Christs already heading in that direction with their self-proclaimed claims of divinity.
Dr. Reagan: It’s interesting, too, that the Old Testament says that in the year that King Solomon received 666 talents of gold that he turned his heart away from God and began to focus on accumulating woman, horses, and money. The number 666 thus became a symbol of apostasy in Jewish history.
In the seventh and last segment of answering questions about the Tribulation, the Christ in Prophecy team will examine the Great Sign of Revelation 12.