Revelation 6-11

Here are a few things to look for, or mull over from each chapter of our reading today.
Read Revelation 6-11
Chapter Six
The first thing to see is that Jesus is the one with authority to open the seals and begin the final phase of earth’s existence.  The opening of the seals marks the beginning of the end, and it couldn’t begin until Christ appeared in heaven after crucifixion and resurrection.   So the big question is “how long after Jesus went back into heaven before He began opening the seals?”   Because if it has already begun, then the rider on the white horse has already appeared, right?
Some agree with that train of thought, thinking that the Roman Catholic church represents the rider in white.   Who really knows for sure.    What we do know is that there will be a terrible, cataclysmic event upon the earth….stars will fall from the sky, earthquakes will level mountains…and many people will die from war, famine and disease.    I would imagine that if a few meteorites crashed into powerful or dangerous countries around the world today, that other countries nearby would seize the opportunity to mobilize their armies and attempt to conquer them….that’s the sort of world we live in today.      
The greater point is this:  there will be a terrible time of war and suffering before Christ returns to bring peace to the earth.  The earth will not achieve “utopia” by enlightenment, or by natural progression.
I often mull over the events of the 5th seal.   The souls under the altar are already in heaven, and they are aware of what has happened to them…that they have been martyred for Christ.  These souls aren’t “asleep” or unaware while in the grave, they are alive in another place.  I wonder if everyone is alert in another place?   I wonder, how can “souls under the altar” (which seems ethereal in nature) be given white robes to wear?    Do these “souls” have a corporeal (tangible) body?    These souls are present before the great earthquake and meteor shower…but people are still being martyred for Christ…so there must be Christians still on the earth when the meteor shower hits…right?
Chapter Seven
Rather short, this chapter tells us that God “marks” 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes, and that there is a great crowd in heaven who have come out of the tribulation.    Note that they come from every nation….no nation will be spared according to this.   The crowd is beyond number, which seems to mean that millions will die in the tribulation and the surrounding events.    What we shouldn’t miss in this chapter is the sense of victory, the celebration songs of praise to God who alone saves and rescues.    We aren’t sure what the certain number of sealed people signifies, but we are sure that after the days of the tribulation many more people than can be counted will be in heaven with God singing praises to His name, along with the angels and the 24 elders and the created beings.    What a day of victory that is going to be!  
In my opinion one of two things happen here:  either the author goes back to the beginning and tells the same account from a different perspective, or events begin to slide downhill very quickly for the rest of the earth.
Chapter Eight
  Here’s a quick observation….take it or throw it away, whichever seems best to you:
The sixth seal seems like a great place to close the story.   The whole congregation is gathered in heaven praising God and celebrating His victory.   A congregation that cannot be counted is gathered around the throne singing praises to the Lord, along with the 24 elders, the created beings and all the angels.   What a day of victory!      But since the Bible says “those who are left alive will not precede those who have fallen asleep…” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17) how can there be a celebration of those who have been martyred, without the others having already been brought back to life?    Will there be a celebration in heaven that some Christians will not be part of because they are still on earth suffering?    Could we celebrate in heaven if that were the case?    The souls under the altar are told to wait..and it seems like the waiting is over after the sixth seal.   Hmmm.       Here’s the problem:  if the sixth seal is the end, (Oh…I forgot to mention that one of my theories is that Revelation is several pictures of events that are all happening simultaneously…or mixed together)  then how do you explain the events after the seventh seal?   The story is clearly continuing.    When the seventh seal is broken, 4 trumpets sound and meteorites begin to fall on the earth.   These must be additional meteorites from when falling stars were mentioned earlier….or, the language “the stars fell like figs” was more figurative….maybe there were falling stars that didn’t hit the earth.   They could be the precursor to what happened here…..that alone would incite a panic, and could trigger world war.
Chapter Nine
 A large meteorite opens a shaft in the earth that releases some strange animal that stings and creates pain but doesn’t kill.   At the same time, a 200 million man army is being held back by the Euphrates River, but the angels “release” the army….maybe by drying up the river.   And the army crosses and begins conquering the area.    The flag of Taiwan is Red and Blue…the Chinese flag is Red and Yellow.   I wonder if at some point in the future the two merge and create a new flag that is Red, Blue and Yellow.    That’s the only 200 million person army I can think of.     If you added the National Guard and Army Reserve to the Active Military the United States would just barely have 2 million.      By the way, China has the worlds largest military, 2.25 million right now….without Taiwan.
Chapter Ten
The angel announces that the seventh trumpet is about to sound.   This is the same rhythm as the seals…a pause before the seventh one.    I wonder if that means anything.   The scroll tastes sweet because it’s the Word of God, but it leaves a bitter aftertaste….meaning that the news isn’t good.   This is a prophecy that spells doom for the earth.
Chapter 11
The two witnesses are rumored to be Enoch and Elijah…both of whom never died a physical death.   I don’t know about that, though.   These two men will perform signs and wonders, but the people of earth will not be convinced.   I wonder if we will still be on the earth as Christians at that time.   I mean, that’s so specific that I can’t imagine anyone not accepting Jesus as God after having seen it play out in front of them.    And as I mentioned in the notes on Ten, the rhythm stays the same.   Just before the seventh trumpet a pause, then a glimpse inside heaven, and much praising and worshipping.