First, it was noted in part two of this study that, in Rev. 1:10, the apostle John wrote that he “came to be, in spirit, in the Lord's day.” I went on to argue that the expression "the Lord's day" should best be understood as an alternate form of the expression "the day of the Lord," and that John understood it as conveying the same meaning. Understood in this way, John had in mind that future period of time during which God will begin intervening in world affairs to judge the inhabitants of the earth and restore the kingdom to Israel. It was by means of a vision (“in spirit”) that John came to be in this future "day," and saw what was going to take place during this period of time. The implication of this is that all of the prophesied events and judgments that John subsequently describes as leading up to Christ’s return (as well as the events taking place afterword, until the passing away of the present heaven and earth) will be occurring during the (broad) day of the Lord. And this, of course, includes the events associated with the opening of the seven-sealed scroll.
In addition to this fact, I argued in part three that we should understand both the seven bowl-related calamities as well as the seven trumpet-related calamities as expressions of God’s indignation. But if the trumpet and bowls are to be understood as essentially related to God’s indignation during the day of the Lord, then the seventh seal must also be understood as essentially related to God’s indignation. The reason this is so is because (as argued earlier) it is the breaking of the seventh seal which results in the sounding of the seven trumpets (Rev. 8:1-2, 6).
Seals Five and Six
As is the case with the trumpet-related calamities, the mere fact that the word “indignation” is not explicitly used in reference to a particular seal is in no way an argument against the position that the breaking of the seal is, in some way, related to the expression of God’s indignation (see part three of my study for a more in-depth defense of this particular point with regards to the seven trumpets). However, it’s significant that the word indignation does, in fact, occur in Rev. 6:16-17, as part of the response of those who will be going through the frightening events brought about by the breaking of the sixth seal. Here’s how the events resulting from the opening of the sixth seal are described:
13 and the stars of heaven fall on the earth as a fig tree is casting its shriveled figs, quaking under a great wind.
14 And heaven recoils as a scroll rolling up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.
15 And the kings of the earth, and the magnates, and the captains, and the rich, and the strong, and every slave and freeman, hide themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains.
16 And they are saying to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him Who is sitting on the throne, and from the indignation of the Lambkin,
17 for the great day of Their indignation came, and who is able to stand?"
It should be noted that the same word translated “came” in v. 17 is consistently used by John to refer to either a time that has already arrived (Rev. 11:18; 14:7; 14:15; 19:7) or a time which arrived at some point in the past (Rev. 18:10). So it can be reasonably concluded that God’s indignation is, in fact, being expressed through the event(s) that follow the opening of the sixth seal. But what about the fifth seal?
Given that the “horseman” associated with the first seal likely represents the man of lawlessness, the opening of this seal can be understood as bringing about his rise to power, and his emergence on to the world scene as an influential political leader (and, for unbelieving Israel, as a possible Messiah figure). Given the likelihood that it is his actions as a world leader that will, whether directly or indirectly, lead to the calamities associated with the subsequent seals (among other evils that will unfold during the final years of this eon, including widespread deception), the opening of the first seal can also be easily understood as an expression of God’s indignation.