by Greg on July 1, 2013
God’s people achingly long for the return of Jesus. Providing comfort during the wait are the signs of His pending return that have been fulfilled. For example, there are the prophecies of Matthew 24, told by Jesus to His disciples.
Examples foretold were that there would be a great tribulation not having been seen before (Matthew 24: 21). During that tribulation time, Jesus said that for His name’s sake, believers in Him would be brought before authorities and persecuted, even put to death (Luke 21: 12, 16). This took place for over a thousand years during the Dark Ages. In that period, God’s people were tortured and/or burned at the stake.
There have also, of course, been the prophesied appearances of false Christs, false prophets, the increasing frequencies of wars, rumors of wars, famines, and earthquakes. All these signs, though, according to Jesus, would be the beginning of the passing time-parade. Later, in the book of Revelation, Jesus shows through the apostle John, signs that scream the nearness of His return. These would be signs that occur during earth’s last days.
The focus of this writing is concerned with those end-time mileposts. It’s about more recent events forecast in one of the seven seals (the seven are described in Revelation 6 and 8: 1). The seven seals present a view of earth’s timeline. They highlight earthly events as related to the life of the church. The timeline stretches from when John wrote Revelation (most scholars estimate AD 70) through Christ’s return and to the remaking of the new earth.
It’s the sixth seal that is spotlighted. Like the other six seals, it shows where earth is on the timeline. The sixth seal is being singled out because of its four prophetic end-time signs that show the closeness of Jesus’ imminent second coming. These four latter-day signs have been fulfilled. The sixth seal (Revelation 6: 12-17), revealed in a vision to John, is relayed by him as follows:
12I looked when He (Jesus) broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”’
The sixth seal’s four signs that have taken place are a great earthquake, the sun turning dark, the moon turning blood red, and stars falling from heaven. (The rest of the seal’s revelation has to do with what happens at Jesus’ actual return.)
A Great Earthquake
In 1755, on Nov. 1, there occurred the Lisbon Earthquake; so named because it was centered in Lisbon, Portugal. However, it spread to the greater part of Europe. It extended also to Africa and America, and was felt even in Greenland, the West Indies, Norway, Sweden, the island of Madeira, Ireland, and Great Britain.
Lisbon was destroyed and it’s estimated that there alone, between 60,000 and 90,000 lives were lost.
The quake even caused the sea to rise fifty feet above its normal level. That was the motion and momentum that caused a tidal wave to strike Barbados in the Caribbean.
In all, the quake covered at least four million square miles. It’s the most massive quake that’s ever been recorded.
Sun Turned Into Darkness
This prophecy was also made in Matthew 13: 24. “In those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light.”
A couple of decades before the end of 1260 years (538 AD – 1798) of tyranny against God’s people, the great papal persecution had just about ceased. It was on May 19, 1780 that the sun went dark. Historically known as The Dark Day, it was not an eclipse and it lasted for at least 14 hours. No other period of darkness has been recorded that comes even close to The Dark Day’s extent and density.
The following is a statement from a Timothy White who was quoted in Connecticut Historical Collections, compiled by John Warner Barber (2nd ed.; New Haven: Durrie & Peck and J.W. Barber, 1836) p. 403: