Dr. Alan Kurschner answers this question of whether the seals in the book of Revelation express God’s future eschatological wrath.
First Four Horsemen Seals
He began with the first four seals showing that these are natural events in contrast to the supernatural judgment elements in the trumpets and bowls. The first four seals will purify the church before Christ returns. He also responded to the pretrib ignorant claim that “God would never bring tribulation to the church”; for example, noted is 1 Peter 4:17: “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
The fifth seal is deeply problematic for pretribulationism. It was demonstrated that the fifth seal thoroughly refutes the pretrib notion that the seals are the day of the Lord’s wrath. The fifth seal depicts martyrs, showing that they rightly recognize the day of the Lord’s wrath has not come. In 1 Thessalonians 5:9, we have a promise from God that no believers will experience the day of the Lord’s wrath. Pretribs would have God breaking his promise by claiming that the fifth seal is God’s wrath.
Dr. Kurschner explained that the sixth seal is also problematic for pretribulationists because the depiction of the wicked conveys that the wrath of God is impending, not that it has already started in the past. In addition, Joel 2:30–31 explicitly states that the celestial disturbances happen before the day of the Lord. He also noted Luke 21:25–28 and Matthew 24:29–30 which corroborates that the day of the Lord happens after the great tribulation.
Finally, it was explained that the two groups of people being delivered between the opening of the sixth and seventh seal demonstrates that the day of the Lord’s wrath has not happened because they are being protected before God pours out his wrath with the opening of the seventh seal containing the trumpet and bowl judgments. There is a progression in the final seals: the fifth seal promises wrath, the sixth seal portends wrath, an interlude in Revelation 7 protects from wrath, and the seventh seal pronounces wrath.
It is wrong to claim that because Jesus opens the seals himself, the seals, therefore, contain God’s wrath. Instead, it means that he is sovereignly orchestrating eschatological history—for the ungodly and the godly. The seals function as conditions that must be first met before the scroll is opened.
The overarching question in the book of Revelation is: will you be an overcomer?