Seals are pinnipeds along with walruses and sea lions. It’s fairly simple to tell a seal apart from a sea lion. Seals don’t have visible ear flaps as do sea lions and seals are more aqua-dynamic than sea lions. Sea lions are able to “walk” by rotating their rear flippers on terra firma. Seals are belly crawlers on land. Now, some seals do have visible ear flaps. They’re the fur seals. The ear-less or hair seals are the exception to the ear identification rule. But I’m not going to talk about pinnipeds today I’m going to talk about the Biblical Seventh Seal, as prophesied in the Book of Revelation of the New Testament. Before I do that, let’s briefly go over the first six .
In a recent post I touched on the first 4 seals which released the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The seals are opened by the Lamb and Four Horsemen summoned, riding distinctive horses. A popular interpretation for the horsemen and their horses: white horse– conquest or pestilence; red horse– war; black horse– famine; pale horse– death. Next, Seals 5 and 6 are opened. Seal 5 deals with martyrdom– martyrs prior to the summoning of the Four Horsemen and the End-time martyrs. Those who believe in the Word of God will be persecuted. With the opening of Seal 6 the whole earth will be shaken and the population of earth will witness the events and all will know that the Almighty exists.
That brings us to the Seventh Seal. This seal is divided into seven subsections, each introduced by a trumpet blast, each trumpet sounded by an angel. With each trumpet blast nasty event(s) occur. The first trumpet blast signals the Great Tribulation. With the blast of the 7th trumpet comes the climax of human history on earth, the End-time. The mystery of the Almighty God is revealed and the last battle between good and evil occurs. The Almighty deals the world seven last plagues, known as the Wrath of God. All those who make it through the Tribulation and still remain unbelievers–disobedient– will be subject to His undiluted Wrath. After crushing the Beast, the anti-Christ, the son of God will rule the earth for 1000 years and there’s a resurrection At the end of the thousand years, Satan will be pulled out of the Abyss one more time and humanity will be tested again and this period sees another resurrection. There is more Wrath for the disobedient and finally, a new universe along with a new earth and a ruling New Jerusalem, will be created and there will be no more death.
That is the prophecy for humanity. Reading Revelation, one would almost think that it’s from the mind of Stephen King. Let’s think about this for a minute. When was the Bible written? The Book of Genesis of the Old Testament was written about 1500 years before the appearance of Jesus, ending with the Book of Malachi around 600 years before Jesus. The books of the New Testament were written, for the most part by the disciples beginning in 60 BCE (before common era) to somewhere in the early 90’s. Clearly, the New Testament concerns only a short block of time– shorter than that of the Old Testament. So , when was the Bible compiled?
The Old Testament
The Bible is a collection of texts considered sacred to Judaism and Christianity. The word, “Bible” is shared between the two religions but the contents differ. The collections of texts are considered to be “canonical”, meaning that they are sets of rules or laws, considered to be genuine. The Hebrew Bible contains 24 books and is largely the Old Testament, written in Hebrew and Aramaic. Different Christian religious groups can have different Bibles with differing content. The oldest surviving Christian Bibles are Greek manuscripts from the fourth century. Greek had been the language spoken in the ancient world, but gradually Latin replaced the Greek language due to the prevalence of the Roman Empire. In the fifth century, St. Jerome translated the Old Testament texts from Greek, using the Hebrew versions– originally the Greek texts had been translated from Hebrew. St. Jerome was trying to get the most accurate translations. This Bible was referred to as the Vulgate. Unfortunately, none of these Bibles exist today.
The New Testament
We can not say that the books of the Bible vary little from the originals because we do not have the originals. The New Testament is an anthology of texts written largely by the disciples of Jesus and compiled into a collection. They were written in Greek because Greek was the prevalent language during the first century and second century CE– the time we believe they were written. In most Christian traditions the New Testament has 27 books. Over time, books were added to collections or single works and there were books which were excluded creating various combinations of canonical collections of Christian scripture. A lot of time and history took place between the end of the period of the Old Testament and the beginning of the writing of the Christian New Testament– nearly five centuries. In 1947, in caves along the Dead Sea, caches of ancient manuscripts were discovered, which, once transcribed, will yield thousands of volumes of ancient texts. These collections included copies of Old Testament scripture and related texts. There are a lot of resources pertaining to the Scrolls and the usefulness in substantiating the accuracy of the Bible. However, that goes beyond the scope of this article.
So, it has been established that the Seventh Seal has nothing to do with sea mammals. The Bible was translated “seven ways ’till Sunday” and no amount of unsupported assurances will dispel the large possibility that things were lost in translation. Unless of course one claims the author was God. Unfortunately, we lost the originals. That leaves us with the Stephen King book of horrors.
Revelation is a scary book. The nasty events up until the Wrath of God were warnings: Worship God and be obedient or else. So, there is hope, in a helpless sort of way, for all who will be left behind and have to face the horror. And if one survives and pledges fealty and absolute obedience, then salvation is a given. That is outright coercion from an angry God. Does he have a right to be angry? I don’t know. Supposedly God’s mystery will be revealed. I’d like to be around to read those headlines. How many times have you asked yourself, “why am I here?” Or even more profound, “is this all there is?”
There are still more topics to cover within this purview , but another time perhaps.