The world now exists in a prophetic parenthesis of time between the fulfillment of the first phase of Daniel's prophecy and the beginning of the second phase. Once the future Roman prince confirms the covenant with many the earth will be on an unalterable course and a set timetable that will culminate with Jesus Christ returning in power and glory. After the Second Coming Jesus will then begin the judgement of the earth and every individual will stand trial. The righteous will inherit eternal life and take their place in the millenial kingdom and the wicked will be cast away to eternal punishment (Matthew 25:31-46). As of now we do not know how long until the Second Coming, and therefore we do not know how long it will be until Jesus judges the earth. However, once the covenant with many is confirmed by the Roman prince we will know that both are only seven years away.
The Magog Invasion
Ezekiel 38-39 describes a future invasion of the nation of Israel by a group of countries that is led by Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, of the land of Magog. This invasion occurs when Israel has recovered from war (38:8) at a time when it lives in safety but with unfaithfulness to God (Ezekiel 39:26). The purpose of this invasion is given in Ezekiel 39:7,
"I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the LORD am the Holy One in Israel."
Presently within Israel there is very little desire to see the rebuilding of the Temple. The nation as a whole is predominantly secular and Judaism is more often felt to be simply a cultural identity rather than a unique religious identity which can claim several unconditional promises that have been made to the Jewish people by the Creator of the universe. Israel's profound connections to God are understood by only a small and increasingly insignificant portion of those who claim to be Jewish. Only a minority consider themselves "religious" Jews and of this minority there are only 7,000 "messianic" Jews in Israel today. The prophet Ezekiel tells us that this predominant unfaithfulness and this secular attitude, which God considers to be a "profanity," will continue right up until Israel is miraculously rescued from the overwhelming invasion of Magog and it's allied Muslim nations. Given this fact it is highly unlikely that any peace agreement or covenant that is agreed to prior to the Magog invasion would include a clause to rebuild the Temple. The desire is just not there.
Another item that makes the Magog invasion a probable precursor to the 70th Week is the fact that after the invasion is destroyed the people from the towns of Israel will gather the captured weapons and use them for fuel for seven years (39:9). A translation of these ancient Hebrew words leads one to the impression that it is the wooden weapons that are burned for seven years. However, it should be understood that biblical Hebrew contained a very limited vocabulary, and that it is entirely likely that the fuel indicated here is not wood. It is a fuel that could be replaced by wood, as shown in 39:10, but if it is a fuel source that is taken from weapons of a 21st century conflict then it is most likely oil. The towns of Israel will survive on the fuel, perhaps the oil, that comes from the captured weapons for seven years. We are not told exactly how much of this fuel was captured, perhaps there was a ten year supply or even a fifteen year supply, but we are told that this supply will be used for exactly seven years.
After the Magog invasion, Magog (perhaps Russia) will be crippled, the Muslim nations which invaded will be humiliated, Israel will be occupied with rebuilding and cleaning up, while the Jewish people will finally turn back to their religion. This is just the climate that the future Roman prince might take advantage of, calling on all of the nations involved to agree to a lasting peace and allowing the religious Jews, no longer a minority, the right to rebuild their Temple. The 70th Week of Daniel would then begin in the aftermath of the Magog invasion. The towns of Israel would only use the captured fuel for seven years, because after seven years Jesus will have established the Millennial Kingdom, and at that time the captured fuel would not be needed as an energy source. It is quite possible that the seven years of Ezekiel 39:9 coincide with the seven years of Daniel's 70th Week, and both would follow the Magog invasion.
" 'This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused,' declares the Sovereign LORD."
In this verse God declares that his anger will be aroused when Gog attacks Israel, yet the two judgements which are described next, for reasons that can only be speculated upon, are not directed at Gog or upon his armies. The first of these judgements is related in Ezekiel 38:19,
"In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel."
This first judgement is a local earthquake that will be centered in the land of Israel. The second judgement is described in verse 20 and it is one that is felt worldwide,
"The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every
creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will
tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and
every wall will fall to the ground."
"I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD. Every man's sword will be against his brother. I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD."
So what do we make of the judgements that precede the judgements that are directed at Gog? The first is a "great earthquake" that strikes Israel and the second is a global event that will affect every person on the face of the earth. There are two possibilities that must be considered:
The first possibility is the following sequence of events that are arrived at by a
normal reading of the texts:
But there are some questions regarding this interpretation: After declaring His anger at the Gog invasion in verse 18, why does God then first direct his judgements at Israel and then the entire world? Why direct them at the land of Israel and the world if these judgement were meant for the invaders? The destruction of the Gog invasion is shown in 38:21-23 and 39:6, so it must be considered that perhaps the judgements of 38:19-20 serve another purpose.
In verse 19 God makes the statement of, "...at that time there shall be a great earthquake..." Perhaps this is merely an indicator that the great earthquake comes near to the time of the invasion. It should be considered that perhaps the judgements of the "great earthquake" and the following global event both immediately precede the Gog invasion. Then after these judgements the Gog invasion takes place and then God deals with the invaders beginning in verse 21 by saying, "I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains..." By placing the start of the actual invasion after verse 20 it becomes clear why Gog is not dealt with until verse 21.
The problem with placing the start of the invasion after the great earthquake and the
global event is that the scene described in Israel in chapter 38 does not seem to be a
scene of chaos because Israel is living peacefully and safely. However these may simply be
general descriptions of the land prior to any of the judgements. Indeed the
judgements of verses 19 and 20 may actually bring on the pre-meditated invasion. Before
focusing on how this may occur we will now focus on the possibility that the judgements of
Ezekiel 38:19-20 are also described in the book of Revelation.
Ezekiel and Revelation both describe a "great earthquake" that
occurs before the global event. All three prophecies describe the people of the earth
reacting with an attitude of fear from what has happened and all of them indicate that it
is indeed a worldwide event that leaves no one unaffected. Revelation 6:12 is the only
specific mention of a "great earthquake" within Revelation. There are other
descriptions of "earthquakes," and the "greatest earthquake" is
described in 16:18, but a "great earthquake" is only mentioned in 6:12,
paralleling the "great earthquake" of Ezekiel 38:19.
There is a great mystery regarding God's attitude towards Gog of Magog, the leader of the invading alliance. On the one hand God expresses great anger towards him because he shows the audacity to attack God's people Israel, yet on the other hand it appears that God himself is responsible for pulling Gog into the conflict in the first place as shown by a number of texts,
"I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out
with your whole army..." (Ezekiel 38:4).
"...Are you not the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel? At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them," (38:17).
"I will turn you around and drag you along. I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel," (39:2).
Whatever interpretations are drawn from these texts it is clear that it is God who personally acts to draw Magog into the invasion. The global effects of the judgement of Ezekiel 38:20, identified as a polar shift, may indeed by the hooks in the jaws of the leader of Magog, the manner in which God brings him out of his land of the far north, confidant of victory and unafraid of any repercussions from other nations.
At present the reality of the situation is that Russia (identified as the land of Magog "from the far north" of Israel) is no longer a superpower and would never attempt something so aggressive as an all out invasion of Israel, even with a number of allies. The one thing preventing Russian aggression at this time is clearly and simply America's, and thus NATO's, overwhelming military might. If Russia had a clear motive to invade Israel, and if America's military strength were in some way neutralized, then there would be nothing stopping Russia from attacking Israel.
If the hypothesis of the polar shift is correct then this might be that factor which
would serve to neutralize America, allowing Russia a window of opportunity. A polar shift
would cripple American society and plunge her military into chaos. At it now stands
America is dependant on orbiting satellites for communications, commerce, navigation,
surveillance, and weapons guidance. America's aircraft carriers use satellite navigation
and so do many of her modern tanks. Without satellites our most advanced ballistic
missiles are useless. In the event of a polar shift our sophisticated billion-dollar,
perhaps trillion-dollar array of state of the art satellites would become useless space
junk, at least for a matter of many months, and perhaps forever. Russia would be free to
act without an immediate worry of retaliation, at least not from any human agency.
However, Ezekiel tells us that Magog will be defeated by God Almighty, as will now be
After the preliminary judgements of the great earthquake and the polar shift in Ezekiel
38:19-20 we are then told how the invasion itself will be judged and destroyed.
God tells us, through Ezekiel, that the Magog invasion itself is crushed in a number of ways. The first is by causing the invading armies to actually turn against themselves: "Every man's sword will be against his brother." This judgement is similar to the destruction of the invaders of Judah in the time of King Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 2:1-30). At that time the invading alliance composed of Ammon, Moab and Seir was caused by God to turn on one another, and so Judah was saved. Ezekiel predicts a similar fate for the alliance formed by Magog.
The second judgement against the Magog invasion is described as one of "plague and bloodshed." It seems to be a judgement that comes from the heavens, similar to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, "I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him." This heavenly blast is directed at the armies themselves, but it also seems to be directed at the nations of the invading armies as well. In other words, Magog (probably Russia), Meshech, Tubal, Persia, Cush, Put, Gomer, and Beth Togarmah will all be subject to this judgement. In fact, nations which are not even involved in the invasion will also be affected by this judgement, as Ezekiel relates,
"I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am the LORD." 39:6
This judgement that is described by Ezekiel as precipitated by the Magog invasion contains obvious similarities with the first trumpet judgement of Revelation 8:7,
"The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up."
-Revelation describes hail, fire and blood
that is "hurled down upon the earth."
Revelation 8:7 relates that the first trumpet judgement affects one third of the earth. If Russia, the accompanying invading nations, as well as the enigmatic coastlands are included in this judgement then it could easily involve one third of the surface of the earth. Perhaps it is a judgement that centers on the Middle East where the invasion takes place, but also radiates out to Europe, Africa, western Asia (Persia), and definitely Russia (Magog).
If the following premises are correct, then the 70th Week of Daniel does not begin until some time after the first trumpet judgement:
The Magog invasion precedes the 70th Week. Ezekiel relates unfaithfulness on the part of Israel as a whole until after the Magog invasion, and Israel would not demand a Temple until after a large-scale revival and renewed understanding of their religious identity. Also the seven years of burning the captured fuel seems to correspond with the 70th week.
The Magog invasion is destroyed at the time of the first trumpet judgement. The judgements of Ezekiel 38-39 seem to correspond with the sixth seal and first trumpet judgements too closely to be a coincidence.
The 2,520 day countdown- The confirming of the "covenant with many" by a future Roman prince with the nation of Israel will be an unmistakeable event for a number of reasons. First, it will be brought about by a Roman prince. Second, it will allow for the Jews to rebuild their Temple and to begin the animal sacrifices. Third, scripture implies it may come immediately after the Magog invasion as was discussed above. All of these indicators should allow the beginning of the 70th Week to be easily identified. This final seven year period will follow the biblical prophetic calendar of 360 days per year, as proven in Revelation 12, when the 1,260 day period of protection (12:6) is also referred to as a three and a half year period (12:14). Therefore, once the Roman prince confirms the covenant, there will be 2,520 days (7 times 360) until Jesus comes to judge the people of the earth.
The 2270 day countdown- In Daniel 8:13-14 the prophet overhears two angels discussing the events of the end of the age. The first angel asks a question that basically means this, "How long will it be from the renewal of animal sacrifics to the reconsecration of the sanctuary?" The answer is given to him by the second angel as "2,300 days." Daniel 12:11 tells us that the abomination of desolation will remain in the Temple for 1,290 days. However, we know that the Second Coming occurs 1260 days after the abomination is set up, because the Jewish remnant is protected for precisely 1260 days, not any longer, and the Antichrist is given authority to rule for 42 months (not 43). This means that the abomination is removed thirty days after the Second Coming, or 2,550 days after the 70th Week begins. If you subtract the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14 from the 2,550 days until the removal of the abomination then you will arrive at the conclusion that the Temple sacrifices are first reinstated 250 days after the "confirming" of the "covenant" which begins the 70th Week. The end result of this equation is that after the sacrifices are reinstated there will be precisely 2,270 days (2,520 minus 250) until Jesus comes to judge the people of the earth, and the renewal of animal sacrifices in a rebuilt Jewish temple will undoubtedly be an event that will be known to the entire world, (and probably castigated as medieval and unnecessary cruelty.)
The 1260 day countdown- From the time that the animal sacrifices are abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up in the Holy Place of the Temple until the return of Jesus to judge the people of the earth there will be exactly 1,260 days. This time period is the time during which the city of Jerusalem is "trampled on" by the Gentiles (Rev.11:2), it is the time period during which all of the saints are handed over to the Antichrist (Daniel 7:25, Rev.13:5-7) and it is the time period when the Jewish remnant will be protected in the desert (Rev.12:6,14). The same time period of exactly three and a half years is given for all of these events, and it is Jesus who puts an end to them when He returns to the earth. The setting up of the abomination will be an event that will most likely be known instantly around the world. Once it is set up believers will know that there are only 1,260 days left until Jesus comes to judge the people of the earth.
"When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed." Revelation 6:9-11.
If the question which the fifth seal martyrs ask of God tells us only one thing, it is the fact that these martyrs do not know how long there is until the final judgement of the people of the earth by Jesus Christ. Why would they ask a question to which they knew the answer? The clear implication is that these are martyrs who have died prior to the beginning of the 70th Week. Once the 70th Week begins believers will know that there remains only seven years to the judgement. The question that the fifth seal martyrs ask is evidence that the 70th Week is yet future.
The predominant pre-trib view is that the resurrection/rapture occurs prior to the first seal and the Church is represented in heaven by the twenty-four Elders. Most believe that the 70th week begins with the opening of the first seal and that the martyred dead of the fifth seal are those who perished after the rapture in the early years of the 70th Week. Again, if they had witnessed the Roman prince confirming the covenant with Israel after the devastating Magog war, which allowed for the rebuilding of the Temple and the animal sacrifices then why would they have asked God "How long until the judgement?" They would have known the answer to this question.
The standard pre-wrath view is that the martyred dead of the fifth seal represent those saints who have died because of the Antichrist's enforcement of the mark of the beast. Their view is that the abomination is set up in the middle of the 70th Week between the 4th seal and the opening of the 5th seal. The pre-wrath view believes that these martyrs witnessed the Roman prince confirm the covenant, they witnessed the reinstitution of animal sacrifices and they witnessed the setting up of the abomination, yet they still harass God by asking "How long until the judgement?" All three of these events should have placed them on a secure, God-given countdown to judgement and the question in this context makes no sense whatsoever.
If the study of Revelation over the years has told me one thing, it is that every chapter, every sentence and every word in this book is filled with meaning. Nothing is irrelevant, nothing is an idle detail, nothing is illogical or trivial. With this in mind let us attempt to come up with an alternative explanation for the question which was asked by these fifth seal martyrs.
Here's a pre-trib objection:
"Perhaps these martyrs simply did not understand how prophecy is supposed to unfold. Pre-millenial dispensationalism is a dominant view in America, but elsewhere, in places like Europe, within the Catholic Church and in Third World nations believers are not all educated on these matters, and after the rapture who will be around to explain it for them?"
Yes, perhaps this is the case. Perhaps the ministry of the 144,000 did not reach them. Perhaps the rapture was not enough to convince them that the rapture is a separate event from the Second Coming. Perhaps they were all dedicated amillenialists. That would then mean that the fifth seal martyrs are all only ignorant believers, and that the question that they ask only serves to complicate things and is an irrelevant detail that can be justifiably ignored.
Here's a pre-wrath objection:
"When they died perhaps they knew how long until Jesus was to come, but while under the altar it is impossible to record the passage of time and they had become impatient and wanted to know exactly how much time was left."
Certainly this objection is a possibility, but personally I cannot buy it. Yes, they asked how much time was left, but then they were not given a precise answer. Why not? Everyone else in heaven would have known the answer and believers on earth would have known the answer, why then would God refuse to give these martyrs the precise answer? My opinion is that from the pre-wrath perspective this question is misleading and certainly defies logic.
First of all, my view is that the Day of the Lord, and thus the Tribulation period, does not begin until the polar shift event of the sixth seal. This is supported by the red moon which comes prior to the polar shift. The red moon was predicted only by Joel (2:31), and he clearly wrote that it would precede the Day of the Lord. If the tribulation begins with the polar shift of the sixth seal, then the fifth seal martyrs cannot be trib martyrs and they must be Church Age martyrs.
The Red Moon Rapture model also takes notice of the obvious transition that believers in heaven undergo. Before the sixth seal polar shift they exist under the altar, but then after the sixth seal they are shown standing in front of the throne. How did they come out from under the altar? What could this possibly mean? I believe that John was given a partial glimpse of the resurrection when he witnessed the fifth seal martyrs being given white robes. If the resurrection occurred here then it means the rapture did as well. The rapture/resurrection precedes the wrath/tribulation/Day of the Lord that begins with the polar shift of the sixth seal. As Paul writes in 1 Thess.1:10, "...Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath." After the polar shift we then see the raptured Church in heaven in Revelation 7. They did not instantly appear in heaven because first they met the Lord in the air, in the clouds, in the atmosphere above the earth (1 Thessalonians 4:17). In another article I offer many reasons why I believe the great multitude is the raptured Church, rather than the twenty-four elders. If the great multitude is the raptured Church and the giving of white robes signals the rapture/resurrection, then the fifth seal martyrs are not trib martyrs but Church Age martyrs.
I believe that the fifth seal martyrs are not tribulation martyrs, but I do believe that after they ask their question, and after they are given their white robes, they are given a prophecy that predicts tribulation martyrs. They were told to "...wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed." It is the future trib martyrs who are described as the fellow servants and brothers of the Church Age martyrs who have just been given white robes. The fulfillment of this prophecy is seen in Revelation 20:4. It must be realized that the fifth seal martyrs are not told they must wait under the altar and they are not told that they must wait for the resurrection. Indeed, they have already been given their white robes, and they are simply told here that they have to wait a little while longer for the judgement of the people of the earth. Their original question was simply, "How long until the earth is judged?" They may come out from under the altar and be resurrected and they would still be waiting "a little longer" for the final judgement of the earth.
One possible explanation for the identity of the fifth seal martyrs is that they are the Old Testament saints who must wait until their resurrection which does not occur until after the tribulation (Daniel 12:13). The problem with this view is that these saints were killed for their "testimony" which is central to the Great Commission of the Church to evangelize the world, and Israel was not called to evangelize.
Another objection to the fifth seal martyrs being Church Age saints is that their cries for vengeance do not seem typical of a Church Age believer. However, it must be said that the manner in which the martyrs ask for vengeance would not indicate either church or trib saint. Martyrs of any time are a result of a murder, so any martyr would be justified asking for vengeance in that they died from a criminal act. But notice that the martyrs do not ask for vengeance on their particular murderers, rather, they seem to say that vengeance will have been served once the earth as a whole has been judged. It appears that their desire is to see the end of the whole rebellious earthly system. It is true that the Church is taught to love their enemies and to bless them that curse them, but those same rules will still apply after the rapture. It is also true that the Church Age per se ends at the rapture, but spirit-filled believers will still exhibit love for their enemies after the tribulation begins. This was a clear example that was set by Jesus Christ throughout His life and especially during His Passion, and it is one that believers will be led to follow no matter the dispensation in which they live. Again, the text indicates that the fifth seal martyrs aren't bitter towards any individual, or towards their specific murderers, but rather towards the inhabitants of the earth as a whole, and once the earth is judged justice will have been served and vengeance achieved.
"If the resurrection/rapture occurs within the fifth seal, and the tribulation begins with the sixth, then what of the first four seals?" Well, it needs to be recognized that as each seal is opened each horseman is given a "power." The second horseman is explicitly given the power to make war and the fourth is explicitly given power to kill one fourth of the earth's population. It is also implied that the third horseman is given the power of famine, and the first, representative of the Antichrist, is given the power to conquer the world. I do not believe that the granting of these powers represents immediate parallel events on the earth. The bible relates the giving of these powers to the four horsemen but it does not tell us that these powers are immediately used. The first four seals, the first five in fact, are all opened in a matter of moments in heaven, then the resurrection/rapture and then the tribulation begins.
The first four seals are general judgements that apply simultaneously to the entire tribulation, they are not chronological judgements that unfold in sequence and apply only to the beginning of the tribulation. God does not give a specific judgement each time the Antichrist makes a conquest, or each time a war breaks out, or for each famine or for each human death, rather these are all defined as general judgements through the symbolism of the four horsemen. However the rest of the judgements, beginning with the sixth seal, are specific judgements that only apply to the specific time they are executed. The infamous Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will be executing their dire powers over the earth for the entire tribulation period. For this reason they are given their powers immediately before the resurrection/rapture. They must be armed with these powers first, in order to be able to begin to use their powers the instant the Church is taken from the surface of the earth at the fifth seal.
Most people are of the understanding that the opening of the first seal signifies the appearance of the Antichrist on the earth. However this may not be the case. The rider of the white horse is a symbolic representation of the conquests of the Antichrist. He is not the Antichrist per se, because the Antichrist is never in heaven. The opening of this seal simply represents the granting to this figure the power of world conquest. Obviously this power will be exercised as the Antichrist appears and begins his push for world domination, but the appearance of the Antichrist on earth will not happen until the restrainer of 2 Thess.2:7 is taken out of the way. It is my belief that the restrainer is the omnipresent Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit will not allow the Antichrist to be revealed until the Church is raptured from the earth.
Similarly, the other three horsemen will not exercise their powers until the Church is taken. Not primarily because they are restrained, but because they will not have any significant amount of time to begin using their powers before the Church is taken. The first five seals, which culminate with the resurrection/rapture before the Day of the Lord, are all opened in only a matter of moments. The first seal predicts the conquests of the Antichrist, the second predicts widespread war throughout the tribulation, the third predicts famine, and the fourth predicts that one fourth of the earth's population will die throughout the tribulation because of war, famine, plague and wild animals. The fifth seal contains within it a prediction that many martyrs will soon die in the tribulation, but this prediction is made after the martyrs that are heard have already been given their white robes.
After these first five seals have been opened then the tribulation begins with an earthquake and a cosmic disturbance which includes the darkening of the sun, the moon turning red like blood and a brilliant display of falling stars. After these events then the polar shift, which has been shown to be the beginning of the terrible Day of the Lord judgements, will take place on earth. The initial sixth seal events will last from twelve to twenty-four hours. A minimum of twelve hours, so that everyone on earth can witness both the daytime event (dark sun) and the nighttime events (red moon and falling stars), and a maximum of twenty-four hours so that the wrath of the polar shift still falls on the same day as the rapture of the Church. This much was directly implied by Jesus when He compared the rapture to the protection of Noah and of Lot, saying that with both events the wrath fell on the same day that the righteous were protected, and saying, "...That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man." Matthew 24:38-39, Luke 17:26-30.
The sixth trumpet judgement is also referred to by the eagle of Revelation 8:13 as the "second woe." This judgement is executed by four angels who command an army of 200 million mounted troops. Scholars are divided as to the nature of this army, some say it is human while others say it is demonic. I happen to favor the demonic origin of this army for a number of reasons, but regardless of their origin it should be noted that this same judgement is prophesied by the prophet Joel. First, here is the description in Revelation 9:17-19
"The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury."
Here is the description given in Joel 2:3-9,
"Before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes. Before them the land is
like the garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste-- nothing escapes them. They have the
appearance of horses; they gallop along like cavalry. With a noise like that of chariots
they leap over the mountaintops, like a crackling fire consuming stubble, like a mighty
army drawn up for battle. At the sight of them, nations are in anguish; every face turns
pale. They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers. They all march in line,
not swerving from their course. They do not jostle each other; each marches straight
ahead. They plunge through defenses without breaking ranks. They rush upon the city; they
run along the wall. They climb into the houses; like thieves they enter through the
"Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the temple porch and the altar. Let them say, `Spare your people, O LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?' "
The passage that is crucial to the matter at hand is the verse that tells the priests of Israel to "weep between the temple porch and the altar." The implication is that the judgement described here by Joel is one that comes at a time when the temple is standing and at a time when the priests are going about their duties. If the army that Joel 2 describes is the same as the army of the sixth trumpet, then the sixth trumpet is blown after the 70th Week has begun, but before the Antichrist has taken over the temple at the midpoint of the 70th Week.
This conclusion is verified by the ministry of the two witnesses. In another article I make the case that all evidence points to the fact that the ministry of the two witnesses occurs during the 1,260 days of the first half of the 70th Week, that they are killed by the Antichrist on the first day that he is given power over the saints at the midpoint of the 70th Week (Daniel 7:25, Revelation 13:5-7), and that they are resurrected three and a half days into the second half of the 70th Week. At the time of their resurrection Revelation 11:14 states that "The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon."
The second woe is the sixth trumpet judgement. Revelation 11:14 is telling us that three and a half days after the midpoint of the 70th Week the invasion of the 200 million mounted troops will have ended. This is conclusive proof, a benchmark, that firmly places the midpoint of the 70th Week between the sixth and seventh trumpet judgements. Indeed, this is precisely where the chronological layout of Revelation places it as well. Chapter 11 describes the death of the two witnesses, chapter 12 describes the flight of the Jewish remnant and chapter 13 describes the setting up of the Abomination of Desolation. All of these events take place at the midpoint of the 70th Week after the sixth trumpet is blown. The seventh trumpet comes after the midpoint and then the seven bowl judgements are poured out. These begin with a judgement against those who have taken the mark of the beast.
The Red Moon Rapture model contains unorthodox interpretations, to say the least, of many of the judgements and events within Revelation. May I suggest to the reader that rather than focusing on a few of the unfamiliar positions, that the model as a whole be completely understood. The index to this new understanding of the timing of the rapture can be found here. And the homepage to this website is here. Hopefully several more articles will be produced in the near future which will further clarify the different positions of the Red Moon Rapture. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and I welcome any ideas or criticism as long as it is well thought out and not simply "textbook" arguments which have already been addressed within this comprehensive study.