If we read chapter 6 of the book of Revelation in one sitting we could assume that the 6 seals are opened in quick succession. However, when we understand the meaning behind each of them it become clear that these 6 seals are opened over a period of 6 years.
The first four seals are opened during the first half of Daniel’s 70th week. The fifth seal is opened at the mid-way point, three and a half years into the final 7 years of human misrule of the earth. The sixth seal is opened a little over 2 and a half years after the tribulation starts.
12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
The Day of the Wrath of YHWH
Verse 17 tells us that “the great day of his wrath is come” who is “he”? Verse 16 tells us it is the wrath of the Lamb. The day of the wrath of YHWH is a year long period when God pours out His wrath on those who would destroy His creation and exterminate His chosen people. This cannot be a literal day as the 5th trumpet plague alone lasts for 5 months, so it must be a prophetic day, a literal year long period.
Notice also in verse 16 that the men know who they are hiding from – “the face of him who sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb“. At this time there is no mistaking who is returning to earth in wrath and judgment!
The events of the first five seals were all humanly instigated events, inspired by Satan. From the 6th seal onwards they are all supernatural events specifically released by YHWH. In some cases YHWH is shaking the creation and in others He is unleashing demons upon the earth.
Joel chapter 2 gives us a parallel account of this period indicating the level of devastation the world will experience. But the prophet Joel end his narrative on a high. YHWH will restore to His people all that has been lost, He will pour out His spirit and “Whosoever calls on the name YHWH will be saved!”