How can the mountains and islands be moved from their places in the seals AND the bowls. Are they moved from their places twice? Or are the seals and the bowls different narratives of the same event?
First, Rev 6:14 reads, “The sky was split apart like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved [ekinēthēsan] from its place.” The Greek term for “moved” ekinēthēsan commonly means to shake (e.g. Matt 27:39) and not necessarily means a total and complete removal. Given the semantic range, the specific type of “moving” must be based on context, both immediate context and the larger context of the text of the book of Revelation. And speaking of context:
The seventh bowl earthquake, on the other hand, is described in significantly more intense terms and its consequences:
And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a violent earthquake, such as had not occurred since people were upon the earth, so violent was that earthquake. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. God remembered great Babylon and gave her the wine-cup of the fury of his wrath. And every island fled away [ephygen], and no mountains were to be found; and huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, dropped from heaven on people, until they cursed God for the plague of the hail, so fearful was that plague. (Rev 16:18–21)
Second, the bowls judgment are described as the “last” of God’s wrath (Rev 15:1). And it is the final and seventh bowl that shows that it completes God’s wrath (Rev 16:17). The seven trumpets judgment and the previous six bowls judgment clearly occur before this final, seventh bowl judgment.
The sixth seal earthquake, in contrast, occurs in the context of the celestial disturbance events that portend that God’s wrath is about to begin (cf. Joel 2:29–31!; Matt 24:29–31). Moreover, in a parallel passage, Luke 21:25–26 portends God’s impending judgment through the celestial and terrestrial disturbances:
And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth nations will be in distress, anxious over the roaring of the sea and the surging waves [salos]. People will be fainting from fear and from the expectation of what is coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Notice this is in the context of God’s wrath about to begin and not that it has been occurring up to that point: “People will be fainting from fear and from the expectation of what is coming on the world.” Incidentally, this is tsunami language and we know they are caused by earthquakes, which is why Luke uses a term that can be used of earthquakes: salos.
It is incoherent—and thus nonsensical—to retroject God’s wrath of the seven trumpets and seven bowls before the opening of the seventh seal. The seventh seal clearly indicates that it introduces the seven angels who have the seven trumpet judgments (Rev 8:1–6!).
The seals-trumpets-bowls narrative naturally portrays progression and not recapitulation: the first four seals prove the guilt of the objects for God’s wrath, the fifth seal promises God’s wrath, the sixth seal portends God’s wrath, the two groups are protected from wrath, and the seventh seal pronounces wrath via trumpets and bowls.
Collapsing together the sixth seal earthquake and seventh bowl earthquake is not warranted. John’s message is the progressive nature of God’s wrath, anticipating the final end with each series of seven culminating in the seventh bowl judgment, the most devastating earthly judgment upon the wicked portrayed in the Book of Revelation.
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