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The Gospel (Good News) of the Kingdom (more)
Believe in Jesus and you will inherit eternal life. But look at the context of John 3:16 for a true understanding of the Gospel. John 3:14-15, says: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life." The people of Old Testament Israel were told to look upon the serpent to be healed of sickness and disease. But Christ was lifted up so that we can be healed from sin. We must be saved from sin. All sins are habitual. If we still sin, we must continue to look to the cross in order to stop sinning – in order to be healed from our sinful habits, so that we no longer sin. Only then can we inherit eternal life. (more)
Daniel and Revelation
From the Islamic Antichrist Perspective
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Part One of this book gives an overview of events that should happen during the course of the end times. This view of eschatology is a literal furture-fulfillment interpretation. But it doesn’t fit most of the more dispensational future-fulfillment views of eschatology. Scriptural reasons for these views will be covered in detail.
Part Two of this book is a complete commentary on Daniel from the Islamic Antichrist Perspective. The reader will find this commentary to be significantly different from other commentaries on Daniel. Some commentaries are futurist oriented while others are preterist oriented.&nbs; Both of these traditional views of Daniel understand the legs of iron to be Rome. This book takes the Islamic antichrist perspective.  From this perspective, the legs of iron is the Islamic Caliphate. You will find an abundance of Scriptural evidence for this view.
Part Three of this book is a complete commentary on Revelation from the Islamic Antichrist Perspective. Revelation has more Old Testament allusions than any other New Testament book. Most scholars know about these references to the Old Testament. But every traditional interpretation of Revelation chooses to ignore this Old Testament context. Revelation is packed full of symbols. And most of the symbols can be found in the Old Testament. I believe that no interpretation of Revelation is valid without bringing the meaning of these Old Testament symbols into Revelation. We should not just guess at what a symbol might mean. Let’s let Scripture interpret Scripture.
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Revelation 5:1-3 I saw, in the right hand of him who sat on the throne, a [scroll] written inside and outside, sealed shut with seven seals. (2) I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the book, and to break its seals?" (3) No one in heaven above, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the [scroll], or to look in it.
The opening of the seals of the scroll begins the process of signs which reveal the mystery of God to the end-time baby-boom generation. Symbolically, the scroll records the mystery of God of which the wise will understand at the time of the end. It's the mystery of the timing of the resurrection. The scroll has been sealed so that not even the angels can open the scroll and read what is inside.
We must use the Old Testament to interpret the symbols of Revelation. In Daniel 12, we find a scroll that has been sealed such that Daniel and other wise people of God would not understand until the time of the end. This is the mystery of God. There is writing on both sides of the scroll, indicating that the amount of understanding that is sealed is quite a lot of information. Jesus Christ is able to break the seals of the scroll and to reveal the mystery. But this does not happen until the end-time generation. As the seals of the scroll are broken, the wise of the end-time generation begin to understand the signs of Christ’s return. We begin to understand the seasons and the times.
This end-time generation is the baby boom generation that began right after World War II. At that time, Israel became a nation. This is the parable of the fig tree in Matthew 24:32-34. This generation will see the return of Christ.
Matthew 24:32-34 "Now from the fig tree learn this parable. When its branch has now become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that the summer is near. (33) Even so you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. (34) Most certainly I tell you, this generation will not pass away, until all these things are accomplished.
The scroll of Revelation 5-6 is the scroll of Daniel 12:4-13. Only the wise can understand the signs, and thus understand the words of the scroll. The words of the scroll answer the question, "How long will it be to the end of these wonders?"
Daniel 12:2-3 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (3) Those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the expanse; and those who turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.
These wonders, by context, include the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 and the wise shining like the stars and teaching those who are not wise (verse 3). So the question is, "How long will it be until the resurrection? Then after that, how long will the wise teach the others during the age to come?"
Daniel 12:4-13 But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the [scroll], even to the time of the end: many shall run back and forth, and knowledge shall be increased." (5) Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, there stood other two, the one on the brink of the river on this side, and the other on the brink of the river on that side. (6) One said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? (7) I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by him who lives forever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when they have made an end of breaking in pieces the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. (8) I heard, but I didn't understand: then said I, my lord, what shall be the issue of these things? (9) He said, Go your way, Daniel; for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. (10) Many shall purify themselves, and make themselves white, and be refined; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand; but those who are wise shall understand. (11) From the time that the continual burnt offering shall be taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred ninety days. (12) Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred thirty-five days. (13) But go you your way until the end be; for you shall rest, and shall stand in your lot, at the end of the days.
Daniel was given the answer to the question. But Daniel did not understand the answer. The answer involves a time, times, and half a time in terms of millennia. At the time of the question, it was in the midst of the millennial week, which is seven thousand years. The half a time was the time from then until Jesus became an adult. The times (plural) involves two thousand years from that generation until this generation. The final time (singular) is the millennial reign of Christ, when the wise will teach the foolish. The breaking of the power of the holy people involves the foolish overcoming sin and maturing in Christ during Christ's millennial reign under the authority of the wise.
Daniel didn't understand the answer to the question. But a sign was given. From the abomination of desolation until the resurrection (by context) is 1290 days. Then there is an additional 45 days of "waiting" until the rapture. We should be able to recognize this sign because in this very same vision of Daniel 10-12, we have the abomination of 168 BC, which was prophesied in Daniel 11:31. It was a statue of Zeus on the temple mount. So when we see this happen again, we will know that the resurrection will be 1290 days later.
The opening of the seals starts the process of letting the Church know we are the end-time generation. Today, many Christians believe we will see the return of Christ. Combine this expectation with the shock of the trumpet-plagues, and the true Church will emerge and get holy. Back in section 17.4 of this book, which is titled, “God's Mystery in Parables and Symbolism,” we discussed how the symbolism of Revelation is used very much like parables. Both are “mysteries” that are being revealed. Both have the purpose of bringing holiness to the Church, as well as hiding God’s truths from the wicked. The righteous understand, but not the wicked. Therefore, this process starts with the breaking of the seals. And it concludes with the seventh trumpet.
After the seventh trumpet, no more work can be done (John 9:4). After the seventh trumpet, there will be the “night” when the antichrist rules. During that time, the saints will be turned over to the antichrist. It’s a time of the desert for sanctification. At the end of the 1335 days, Jesus returns as a thief in the night.
John 9:4 I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day. The night is coming, when no one can work.
But for now, let’s focus back on the breaking of the seals. Revelation 5 and 6 are about the breaking of the seals of this scroll. In Revelation 5:3, it says that no one in heaven or earth can look inside the scroll. This is analogous to Matthew 24:36 where it says that not even the angels in heaven knew when the day of Christ’s return (and the resurrection) would be. It's also seen in Daniel 12:6, because it was an angel who asked the question. But due to the triumph of Christ, he is able to open the scroll so that we will begin to understand the signs of the times and how they are related to the prophecies.
Revelation 5:3 No one in heaven above, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the book, or to look in it.
Matthew 24:36 But no one knows of that day and hour, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
We now continue in Revelation chapter 5.
Revelation 5:4-5 And I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open the book, or to look in it. (5) One of the elders said to me, "Don't weep. Behold, the Lion who is of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome; he who opens the [scroll] and its seven seals."
Why is Christ alone able to break the seals and open the scroll? Verse 5 says it’s because he has overcome. He has overcome sin. Of course Christ never sinned. So he didn’t have to overcome sinful habits. But Christ’s death on the cross allows us to overcome sin. Without Christ’s death, even if we were to stop sinning, we would still be guilty of past sins. Christ has overcome sin. This also means that Christ was tempted to sin and overcame all temptations.
Because Christ overcame sin, we who are in Christ can overcome all our sinful habits. This alone is the reason we will be able to reign with Christ when he sets up his earthly kingdom. The rulers of the world will be righteous rulers because they are no longer under the bondage of sin and Satan. Therefore, for the first time in history, the nations will be ruled by totally righteous rulers.
At the time of Christ’s first coming, Israel was not ready to reign with Christ. Israel was not ready to overcome sin. So Christ had to leave until the gospel of the kingdom could spread around the world. In time, there would be enough of Christ’s followers to reign over the world with some followers from every nation, tribe, people and language of the globe. We are in that end-times generation. Christ will return in this baby-boom generation. Since Christ is head of the Church, he alone is able to open the seals of the scroll which begin to reveal this truth to the wise of this generation. Again, only the wise end-time generation will be able to understand the answer to the question that is written on the scroll.
We now continue in Revelation chapter 5.
Revelation 5:6-7 I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. (7) Then he came, and he took it out of the right hand of him who sat on the throne.
In Revelation 5:6, Christ is described as having seven eyes. The seven eyes comes from Zechariah 3:9, where the Rock (Christ) has seven eyes. This passage is given in the context of Joshua in filthy clothes. But the sins of Joshua are removed. The seven eyes show that God sees the sins of the world. Here we see that Christ “removed the sin of the land in a single day” (Zechariah 3:9).
Zechariah 3:9-10 For, behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes: behold, I will engrave its engraving,' says Yahweh of Armies, 'and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. (10) In that day,' says Yahweh of Armies, 'you will invite every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig tree.' "
Zechariah 4:9-10 "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house. His hands shall also finish it; and you will know that Yahweh of Armies has sent me to you. (10) Indeed, who despises the day of small things? For these seven shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. These are the eyes of Yahweh, which run back and forth through the whole earth."
In order for the resurrection to happen, Christ had to die on the cross. The crucifixion happened in a single day. In Revelation, this is mentioned in the context of the opening of the scroll, which is the revealing of the mystery of God. The "Lion who is of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome; he who opens the [scroll] and its seven seals." (Revelation 5:5). He is the "Lamb standing, as though it had been slain" (Revelation 5:6). In other words, for the mystery of God to be revealed, Christ had to die on the cross. And much of that mystery was revealed to the New Testament writers.
Zechariah 3:10 goes on to say, "In that day, ... you will invite every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig tree." In a small way, this could apply to those who found a new way of living after accepting Christ as their Savior. But in a much greater way, this verse speaks of the peace that will come to the world after the resurrection. From this viewpoint, "in that day" would refer to the day of the Lord. So Christ removes the sin of the land in a single day. But its final fulfillment is not under the millennial day in which Christ reigns.
Also, don’t miss the symbolism of the fig tree. Towards the start of this chapter is a quote of Matthew 24:32-34. Jesus tells us to learn the parable of the fig tree. The fig tree is Israel. And Gentile believers are grafted into Israel. Israel will reign over the nations “in that day.” So every man and his neighbor in the entire global world will be under the fig tree of Israel’s reign.
We can now see why Christ is symbolically described as having seven eyes. It’s a reference back to Zechariah. But why are the eyes "seven spirits of God, sent into all the earth?" As we will see, the first four seals point us back to Zechariah 6. Zechariah 1:10, and 6:7 tells us these four horses go throughout the earth. They speak of the state of the world during the end-time generation.
The seven eyes of Christ tell us that Christ keeps close watch over the kingdoms of the earth. We can also see this in the "seven horns" of the same verse (Revelation 5:6). The "seven horns" of Christ in some ways equate to the seven horns of the beast, given later on in Revelation. The seven horns of the beast speak of seven kingdoms which at one time or another have ruled over Jerusalem. These kingdoms are the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, Roman, and the Islamic Caliphate Empires. The fact that Christ also has seven horns shows that Christ has also ruled over these kingdoms and has protected the world even through Satan has been the ruler of this world. This can be seen back in Daniel 10 where Michael protected the rulers of these empires.
We now continue in Revelation chapter 5.
Revelation 5:8-10 Now when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (9) They sang a new song, saying, "You are worthy to take the [scroll], and to open its seals: for you were killed, and bought us for God with your blood, out of every tribe, language, people, and nation, (10) and made us kings and priests to our God, and we will reign on earth."
There are a couple of important points in this verse (above). Verse 8 mentions the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders falling down before the Lamb. But Christ did not have to die for the four living creatures (angels). Christ died for us. So this verse must mean that the twenty-four elders sing this new song. This verse seems to confirm that the twenty-four elders are men who once lived on the earth. Christ died for them as Christ died for us all. We will be made kings and priests to reign with Christ. We "will reign on earth," not in heaven, over the nations.
But when will all this happen? That's the mystery of God. As it turns out, the disciples also wanted to know when all these things will happen. Matthew 24 begins with a question asked by the disciples. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3 NIV). Daniel was told, “Go your way, Daniel; for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end” (Daniel 12:9). Both the disciples and Daniel wanted to know when the “end” would occur.
Daniel 12:13 gives us the definition of the “end.” It’s the time of the resurrection, when Daniel himself will be resurrected. This verse is in immediate context of the 1290 days. The end is the end of the 1290 days. The “time of the end,” I believe, is the generation that will see the resurrection. The wise (righteous) of that generation will understand the answer to the question of Daniel 12:6, about the timing of the resurrection. But before that time, the words are “sealed.”
Daniel was told that only the wise will understand. Only the wise will know when all these things will happen. But Daniel was given the sign of the abomination of desolation. Jesus also tells the disciples that no man currently knows when the end will come. And Jesus also gives the disciples the same sign saying, "When, therefore, you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, let the reader understand" (Matthew 24:15). The holy place is the temple mount. When we see a statue standing in the holy place, then the wise will understand the answer to the question given in Daniel. The wise will be able to add 1290 days to the calendar date, and know the day of the resurrection. That's what Jesus meant by "let the reader [of Daniel] understand."
“No one knows the day or [time].” According to Strong’s Concordance, the Greek word for “knows” (eido) is “used only in certain past tenses.” The word can also be translated as “understand.” Daniel did not "understand" the answer to the question. But the wise will understand, especially when they see the abomination of desolation. Young translates it as “No one hath known.” This Greek word cannot place restrictions on whether or not one will know in the future. Here are some other places in the gospels where the same Greek word is used in the negative to say that someone does not know something: Matt. 20:22, 22:29, 26:70, 26:72, 26:74, Mark 4:13, 9:6, 10:38, 12:24, 14:68, 14:71, Luke 9:55, 23:34, John 1:26, 2:9, 4:22, 4:32, 7:28, 9:12, 9:21, 9:25, 9:29, 9:30, 10:5, 12:35, 13:7, 14:5, 15:15, 19:10, 20:2, 20:9, 20:13, 20:14, 21:4.
None of these verses imply that they would never know. In many cases, later they did know. For example, in Mark 4:13, we read, “And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable?” Did Jesus mean that the disciples would never understand the parable? People who insist that no man will ever know the day or the hour are unknowingly placing themselves in the category of the wicked because they don't understand the context of the passage.
We now continue in Revelation chapter 5; the last four verses of the chapter.
Revelation 5:11-14 I saw, and I heard something like a voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousands of ten thousands, and thousands of thousands; (12) saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who has been killed to receive the power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing!" (13) I heard every created thing which is in heaven, on the earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb be the blessing, the honor, the glory, and the dominion, forever and ever! Amen!" (14) The four living creatures said, "Amen!" The elders fell down and worshiped.
These verses remind us of some very well-known verses in Romans.
Romans 8:18-25 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which will be revealed toward us. (19) For the creation waits with eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. (20) For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but because of him who subjected it, in hope (21) that the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of decay into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. (22) For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. (23) Not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for adoption, the redemption of our body. (24) For we were saved in hope, but hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for that which he sees? (25) But if we hope for that which we don't see, we wait for it with patience.
Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14 NIV). Today is the first time in history when it’s even possible for the gospel to be preached to all nations within our generation. Depending on how it’s measured, one could say this has already been accomplished. So, the end must be soon. Are the words of the scroll being unsealed so the wise can understand?
Matthew 24:14 This Good News of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
The following table gives two very clear verses indicating this is the end-time generation. No other generation in history can claim verses that are this clear-cut.
Matthew 24:14 NIV
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Luke 21:24 NIV
They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
In Luke 21:24, we see that Jerusalem was to be trampled on by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled. This trampling began in 70 AD. The trampling stopped in 1967. Today, Jews are again in control of Jerusalem. Some will point out that these Jews are not Christians. But the Jews of 70 AD were not Christians either. This verse is clear evidence that we are the end-time generation.
There have been many times in history when Christians thought that Christ would return in their lifetimes. Martin Luther worried that Christ would return before he would be able to finish translating the Scriptures into German. And the Protestant Reformation brought about a lot of date-setting speculation. In the year 1000 AD, many people thought the world was coming to an end because of postmillennialism, as it was then understood.
Scripture, I believe, teaches all generations to believe that Christ will return in their lifetimes. But today’s generation has these two specific verses of Scripture, which read in very straightforward and clear ways, point to today’s generation as being the generation that will see Christ return. No other generation in history can claim such clear verses. But even if I am wrong, Scripture still teaches all generations to believe that Christ will return in their lifetimes.
In addition to these two clear verses of Scripture, there are other signs, which are in agreement, but are arguably not as unique to this generation. First of all, Matthew 24:6 speaks of “wars and rumors of wars.” The twentieth century has often been characterized as a century of war. Also, the reporting of war (rumors of war) has been, because of television, like no other century. The twentieth century has also seen many famines and plagues (Luke 21:11). AIDS is a good example. And the twentieth century has seen a constant increase in earthquakes (Matthew 24:7). The actual number of earthquakes has not increased. But the number of high-magnitude earthquakes capable of great damage has steadily increased. History’s deadliest tsunami, on Dec. 26, 2004, caused almost 300,000 people in 11 countries to be killed. It was caused by a 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Indonesia. It left 1.5 million people homeless.
Matthew 24:6-8 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you aren't troubled, for all this must happen, but the end is not yet. (7) For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be famines, plagues, and earthquakes in various places. (8) But all these things are the beginning of birth pains.
Many people incorrectly believe the seals are judgments, like the trumpets and the bowls. Instead, the seals are signs related to the opening of the scroll of Daniel 12. The seals are not judgments. They show signs of the end-time generation that will see the coming of Christ. They are signs of the beginning of the birth pains. They are signs of the generation that “will not pass away until all these things take place.” To show this, consider the parallelism between the seals and the early signs of Matthew 24.
1st seal – Rev. 6:2 And behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow. A crown was given to him, and he came forth conquering, and to conquer.
Matthew 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you aren't troubled, for all this must happen, but the end is not yet.
2nd seal – Rev. 6:4 Another came forth, a red horse. To him who sat on it was given power to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another. There was given to him a great sword.
Matthew 24:7a For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
3rd seal – Rev. 6:5 And behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a balance in his hand.
4th seal – Rev. 6:8 And behold, a pale horse, and he who sat on it, his name was Death. Hades followed with him. Authority over one fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword, with famine, with death, and by the wild animals of the earth was given to him.
Matthew 24:7b and there will be famines, plagues, and earthquakes in various places.
Luke 21:11a There will be great earthquakes, famines, and plagues in various places.
5th seal – (Rev. 6:9-11) Persecution of the Church. The souls of the martyrs under the altar.
Matthew 24:8-9 But all these things are the beginning of birth pains. (9) Then they will deliver you up to oppression, and will kill you. You will be hated by all of the nations for my name's sake.
6th seal – Rev. 6:12-14 I saw when he opened the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became as blood. (13) The stars of the sky fell to the earth, like a fig tree dropping its unripe figs when it is shaken by a great wind. (14) The sky was removed like a scroll when it is rolled up. Every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
Matthew 24:29 But immediately after the [tribulation] of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
In Scripture, four is the number of the heavens and the earth. The heavens and the earth were created in the first four days. There are four corners of the earth (Revelation 7:1, 20:8). There are four quarters of the earth (Isaiah 11:12). There are four quarters of the heavens (Jeremiah 49:36). The four winds are about all the heavens and the earth (Jeremiah 49:36, Ezekiel 37:9, Daniel 7:2, 8:8, 11:4, Zechariah 2:6, Matthew 24:31, Mark 13:27, Revelation 7:1).
The first four days of the Creation are associated with the heavens and the earth. Then, two days of the creation are associated with abundant life. Finally, there is one day that is set aside for rest. The seven seals, trumpet, and bowls of Revelation are all patterned in the same way. They are patterned after the Creation.
The seven seals are all about the end-time generation that will see Christ's return. It's the generation of Matthew 24:34, that will not pass away until all the signs of Matthew 24 take place. The four horses are also about the state of the whole world. Like the first four days of the Creation, the four horses are foundational. As we will see, the four horses are all about the signs in the world right after World War II. This about the foundation, or birth, of the end-time generation.
The fifth seal is about being willing to die for Christ so that the Christ can be preached throughout the world. The sixth seal is about the appearance of the New Jerusalem, which is Paradise. Contained therein is the tree of life and the key to eternal life. Those who lose their lives for Christ’s sake will find eternal life (Matthew 10:39, 16:25). The fifth and sixth days of the Creation were all about abundant life. The fifth and sixth seal is all about the end-time generation taking up their cross to follow Christ, and thus finding eternal life when the New Jerusalem appears. The problem is that very few, at first, will find this narrow gate that leads to eternal life (Matthew 7:14).
Sandwiched between the sixth and the seventh seal is information about the few (144,000) who find this narrow gate when the New Jerusalem appears. Christ will confirm a covenant with the many for seven more years. During this time, there will be a wakeup call for the Church. During this time, the many will learn they must overcome sin in order to inherit eternal life. So after the 144,000 we find the countless number go through the great tribulation and in so doing will find the narrow gate that leads to eternal life.
The 144,000 and the countless number tell us the purpose behind the seven seals. The seals reveal the signs of the end-time generation in order that they may overcome sin and inherit eternal life. This little sandwich of purpose sets the seventh seal off from the six. Likewise, the seventh day of the Creation is set aside for rest. When the seventh seal is opened, there is silence in heaven for half an hour (Rev. 8:1). This silence can be seen as a rest. I believe this "half-hour" is a six-month period between the appearing of the New Jerusalem and the 1260-day period in which the two witnesses will prophesy.
The seven trumpets follow the same four-two-one pattern. The purpose of the trumpets is a wake-up call for the "many" in the Church who will not as yet have overcome sin when the New Jerusalem appears. Like the first four days of the Creation, the first four trumpets are associated with the heavens and the earth. But instead of creation, it's destruction. In association with the next two days of the Creation, the fifth and sixth trumpets focus on people instead of the heavens and the earth. But instead of creation, it's pain and death.
Sandwiched between the sixth and the seventh trumpet is information about the purpose of the trumpet-plagues. The angel with the little scroll is about a call to preach to the Church. Closely associated with this are the seven thunders. This is about the mystery of God that is revealed during the end-time generation. This insert also involves the two witnesses and their call to preach for 1260 days. During this time the temple is built. This happens literally but is figuratively about the building of the Church. In other words, the Church is given a wake-up call to overcome sin.
The angel with the little scroll and the prophecy of the two witnesses tell us the purpose behind the seven trumpets. The trumpets are a wakeup call for the Church in order that we may overcome sin and inherit eternal life. This little sandwich of purpose sets the seventh trumpet off from the six. Likewise, the seventh day of the Creation is set aside for rest. When the seventh trumpet is blown, there is a declaration of what this wakeup-call has accomplished. It's a celebration. The kingdom of Christ is established as a result of the Bride's genuine desire to make herself ready. But there still must be time for the overcoming of sin. People generally do not overcome sin immediately. The seventh trumpet is given in the past tense to show the absolute certainty of its being accomplished because the Bride has finally become determined to make herself ready (white robes) which is to overcome sin. Thus, it's a time of rest and rejoicing.
The seven bowls of wrath follow the same four-two-one pattern. All the bowls of wrath take place after the 42-month reign of the antichrist over every nation, tribe, people, and language. During the time that the antichrist rules, the Church goes through the great tribulation. After this time, the New Jerusalem re-appears and the Lord takes vengeance on the antichrist and world for giving the Bride great tribulation, and for the evil that has occurred against God's people throughout all generations. This vengeance is the seven bowls of wrath. The first six bowls occur after the last-day resurrection but before the rapture. Sandwiched between the sixth and the seventh bowl is the rapture (Revelation 16:15) and the gathering of the armies of the world for Armageddon (Revelation 16:16). The Bride, including those resurrected in Christ, is caught-up in the rapture. The Bride has made herself ready (Revelation 19:7) by overcoming sin. We all go to the New Jerusalem for the wedding banquet. Then we all return with Christ, who defeats the armies of the world at Armageddon. This is the seventh bowl of wrath.
Why is it important to recognize the connection to the Creation in the seals, trumpets, and bowl of wrath? The first point to remember is that God is in control. Even the great tribulation serves God's purpose. When Adam sinned, we lost our face-to-face relationship with Christ. We lost eternal life. These were lost because of sin. But through the blood of Christ, we have the opportunity to put our faith in Christ in order to overcome sin. This will bring us back to the face-to-face relationship with Christ, and back to the eternal life, that was lost by Adam during the story of the Creation.
The second point to remember is that because God created, the heavens and the earth still belong to God. When the New Jerusalem appears, the world will strongly object to any suggestion that the world is owned by Christ and those who dwell in the New Jerusalem. No doubt the antichrist will blaspheme Christ and those who dwell in heaven (Revelation 13:6) with this claim of ownership being one of his primary points. But in fact, Christ and those who dwell in the New Jerusalem were instrumental in the formation of the earth. The whole earth, therefore, belongs to Christ. When Jesus said the meek will inherit the earth, he had the authority to say this because he owns the earth. He owns the earth because he is the Creator of the earth (Colossians 1:15-16).