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IDRC (Dispensationalism Integrative Research Center) is a research center that has the objective to study and propagate the theological system known as “Dispensationalism,” through articles, images, graphics, books, etc. As the founder of IDRC, I am pleased to present the first work of this new institute: “Chronology of Judgments of Revelation in Dispensationalist Tradition (Seals, Trumpets and Bowls).

This article has a descriptive and dynamic nature. Descriptive, because its goal is simply to compare the different views on the subject within the Dispensationalist Tradition. Dynamic, because it will be updated constantly by two ways:

1) Direct Participation: when scholars directly communicate to IDRC in which category he fits in;

2) Indirect Participation: as new Dispensationalist materials are researched, the article will be updated as well. Therefore, the article will have a version that will show the date of update.


Chronology of Judgments of Revelation in Dispensationalism Tradition

IDRC, in this first article, presents a research in which there is an attempt to catalog the different views about the judgments described in the Book of Revelation. In this prophetic book, we note that “chapters 6-19 cover the Tribulation events with chapters 6 (the seals), 8-9 (the trumpets), and 16 (the bowls) forming the chronological backbone and following one another sequentially”.


Another important fact to note is that the most Dispensationalists sustain a sequential view of the judgments, rather than a parallel view. Charles Ryrie noted this point very well when he said:  “Do the judgments of the seals (chap. 6) and the trumpets (chaps. 8–9) and the bowls (chap. 16) follow each other in succession, or do the trumpets and/or the bowls recapitulate with greater intensity the judgments of the seals? In other words, do the trumpet and bowl judgments follow the seals as different and distinct judgments, or do they picture the same judgments? In this writer’s understanding they all follow in chronological sequence, and there is no recapitulation.”[2]

In the first version of the article, IDRC found six categories within the Dispensational view:


1 – Category

  • First Half (Tribulation): Seals.
  • Second half (Tribulation): Trumpets and Bows.


This view is supported by the following authors:

  1. Robert L Thomas.[3]
  2. Tom Constable.[4]
  3. Paul Benware.[5]
  4. Rick Griffith[6]
  5. Mark Hitchcock: “I believe the seven seals will be opened during the first half of the tribulation. The seven trumpets will be blown during the second half of the Tribulation, and the seven bowls will be poured out in a very brief period of time right near the end of the Tribulation just before Christ returns.”[7]
  6. Dwight Pentecost.[8]
  7. Roy Gingrich.[9]
  8. J. B. Hixson.[10]
  9. Charles Ryrie: “Where is the middle (three-and-a-half-year) point of the Tribulation in relation to these judgments? The Scriptures do not specifically say, but many feel that the middle point comes either with the first trumpet judgment or with the first woe judgment (which is the fifth trumpet judgment). If this is so, the first trumpet judgment comes when Antichrist kills the two witnesses and sets himself up to be worshiped. The trumpet judgments seem to continue on into the last year of the period. They are followed by a final rapid series of further judgments in the last months of the seventh year.”[11]
  10. Charles Feinberg: “Expositors are far from agreement on when the latter part of the trials on earth will begin. The present writer holds that the final part of the Tribulation Period coincides with the events of Matthew 24:15ff. Thus, the first six seals occur during the first half of Daniel’s Seventieth Week. They are the beginning of sorrows (cf. Mt 24:8).”[12]
  11. Leon Wood: “It is probable that, with the opening of the sixth seal, the first half of the tribulation is brought to an end. That is, the events symbolized by these six broken seals take place in the first three and one-half years of the total seven.”[13]
  12. William McDonald, commenting Revelation 8:6, states: “We have now come to the middle of the Tribulation.”[14]


2 – Category

  • First Half (Tribulation): Seals and Trumpets
  • Second Half (Tribulation): Bows


 This view is supported by the following authors:

  1. Ron Rhodes.[15]
  2. Maul Coach.[16]
  3. Tony Garland.[17]
  4. Scofield.[18]
  5. Henry Morris: “The last half of this period apparently contains the events described in Chapters 12-19. Correspondingly, the first half of the period is outlined in Chapters 4-11.”[19]
  6. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.[20]
  7. Thomas Ice and Timothy Demy.[21]
  8. Tim Lahaye.[22]
  9. Warren Wiersbe.[23]
  10. Jeff Kluttz.[24]
  11. Charles R. Swindoll: “We will see later, however, that when these various judgments are fulfilled in the coming tribulation period, the seals generally refer to conditions during the early part of the tribulation. The trumpets portray judgments near the middle of the tribulation, and the bowls clearly refer to the most severe judgments at the conclusion of the tribulation”.[25] 


3 – Category:

  • First Half (Tribulation): First 4 Seals
  • Second Half (Tribulation): Last 3 Seals, Trumpets and Bowls


 This view is supported by the following authors:

  1. John Macarthur: “The seals encompass the entire period of the Tribulation (3:10), culminating with the return of Christ. It seems best to understand the first four seals as taking place during the first half of the Tribulation, the fifth stretching from the first into the second half, (called the “great tribulation” in7:14and lasting three and one-half years; 11:212:613:5) and the sixth and seventh taking place during that “great tribulation.” Apparently the seventh seal contains the seven trumpet judgments (8:1–11:19) and the seventh trumpet (11:15) contains the seven bowl judgments (16:1–21). The seven seals thus contain all the judgments to the end when Jesus Christ returns.”[26]
  2. Renald Showers.[27]


4 – Category

  • First Half (Tribulation): First 5 Seals
  • Second Half (Tribulation): 6th and 7 th seals, trumpets and bowls


This view is supported by the following author:

  1. Vernon McGee.[28]


5 – Category

  • First Half (Tribulation): no judgment.
  • Second Half (Tribulation): Seals, Trumpets and Bowls.


This view is supported by the following author:

  1. John Walvood.[29]


6 – Category

  • Intermediate Period (Between Rapture and Antichrist Agreement) : Seals.
  • First half (Tribulation): Trumpets.
  • Second half (Tribulation): Bowls.


This view is supported by the following author:

  1. Daymond Duck: “Revelation 4:1 reveals the Rapture, Revelation 6:2 reveals the appearance of the Antichrist, and Revelation 6:17 reveals the beginning of the Tribulation Period.”[30]



[1] J. Hampton Keathley III. Studies in Revelation. Pg 113

[2] Ryrie, Charles C. (1996-04-05). Revelation- Everyman’s Bible Commentary (Everyman’s Bible Commentaries) (Kindle Locations 791-794). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[3] Thomas, R. L. (1995). Revelation 8-22: An exegetical commentary (5). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[4]Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003; 2003), Ap 5:14.

[5] Benware, Paul. Understanding End Times Prophecy (Kindle Location 8517).

[6] Rick Griffith. Revelation. Pg 345, 346

[7] Mark Hitchcock. Cashless. Cap 2, pg 8 (Kobo)

[8] J. Diwight Pentecost. Manual de Escatologia. Pg 372

[9] Gingrich, Dr Roy. The Book of Revelation in Outline Form (Kindle Locations 1424-1425).

[10] J.B. HIxson. Diponível em <www.notbyworks.org> acesso 11/09/2013

[11] Ryrie, Charles C. (1996-04-05). Revelation- Everyman’s Bible Commentary (Everyman’s Bible Commentaries) (Kindle Location 1082). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[12]  Hindson, Dr. Ed (2005-09-20). King James Version Commentary (Kindle Locations 76000-76003). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

[13] Wood, Leon J. (2010-06-23). The Bible and Future Events: An Introductory Survey of Last-Day Events (Kindle Location 903). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

[14]William MacDonald and Arthur Farstad, Believer’s Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1995), Ap 8:6.

[15] Ron Rhodes. The End Times in Cronologicas Orde. Pg 117, 149.

[16] Tim Lahye e Ed Hindson. Exploring Bible Prophecy. Pg 515

[17] Tony Garland. A Testimony of Jesus Christ. Pg 143

[18] Citado em Tony Garland. A Testimony of Jesus Christ: volume1. Pg 142

[19] Henry Morris. The Revelation Record. Pg 27

[20] Fruchtenbaum, A.. The footsteps of the Messiah (Rev. ed.) Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries.

[21] Thomas Ice and Thimothy Demy. “A Verdade Sobre a Tribulação”. Pg 42-43

[22] LaHaye, Tim; Jenkins, Jerry B. Are We Living in the End Times? (Kindle Location 2244).

[23] Warren Wiersbe. Comentário Expositivo do Novo Testamento: vol 2. Pg 747

[24] Kluttz, Jeff. The Return of The King: A Prophetic Timeline of End-Time Events .

[25] Swindoll, Charles R. (2011-08-23). Insights on Revelation (Swindoll’s New Testament Insights) (Kindle Locations 2215-2217). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

[26] MacArthur, J. (1999). Revelation 1-11 (178). Chicago: Moody Press.

[27] Tony Garland. A Testimony of Jesus Christ. Pg 324

[28] Vernon McGee. Thru The Bible Commentary. Inloco (E-sword).

[29] Walvoord, John. Revelation (Kindle Locations 1887-1888). Ver tambem o seu livro Todas as Profecias da Bíblia. Pg 480, 483-484.

[30] Duck, Daymond R. (2006-11-14). The Smart Guide to the Bible Series: The Book of Revelation (Kindle Location 1089).


Author: Leonardo Costa

Version: 07.13.2015