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1. After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind should blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.
    After this (the 6 seals opened) I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth,
What a contrast! The events of the 6th seal being broken are dynamic, and shake the earth, literally. Now we find a great calm upon the earth. It is not surprising to have the angels controlling the winds; apparently, God spoke His word on this, and the angels obeyed (Psalm 103:19-22).

However, while this is a physical event, this verse may also be symbolic of withholding judgment. In Isaiah 27:7-11, we find that "the east wind" means exile for Israel. This is a softening process on the hearts of the people. In Matthew 7:24-27, a wind blew (or trouble came) against the house. The scorching wind in Jeremiah 4:10-13 implies an invading army or marauding bands of thugs would torment Israel! Daniel in Daniel 7:1-8 uses the phrase of "the four winds of heaven" stirring up four world empires (beasts). This cannot be good.

Also consider that the sixth seal being broken symbolicly shows a time of GREAT persecution of believers during the tribulation. False doctrines can blow around men who are not grounded in the Word of God. Now a calm period permits the earth inhabitants to ground themselves deeper for what lies ahead.

    so that no wind should blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.
With the wind calm, this may mean that the 4 angels are again holding back the evil that is going on during the first 21 weeks of the tribulation until the 144,000 men from the tribes of Israel can be sealed (verse 4).

If this is literally true, a different mechanism to cause it to rain on the earth must be instituted. That is, as we know it, water evaporates from the sea, the wind moves it over land, and it rains. Since the wind is stopped, this cycle is stopped. To not harm the trees (verse 3), this period must be short. Otherwise the trees would die.

"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 Used by permission."

References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only.