Friday, February 20, 2015

Synching Up the Seven Seals with the Gospels

In my previous article, Sequence of Signs Preceding the Coming of Christ, I showed in each of the synoptic gospels, what Jesus Himself prophesied would happen before His return.  The sequence of events he foretold is the same in all three of the gospels. Now I would like to build on that study and show how those signs of the times correspond to the Book of Revelation, particularly the seven seals.  Each item in the column labeled "Synoptic Gospels" is based on Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21.

Deception
The first thing Jesus warned about was deception.

Synoptic Gospels Revelation
“Watch out that no one deceives you." [No corresponding seal in Revelation]

False Christs
The next thing He warned about was False Christs, which is the next sign to occur in sequence.

Synoptic Gospels Revelation
“For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.” First Seal (False Messiahs): Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, "Come." I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (Rev 6:1-2)

I include the first seal here for your consideration, because this could represent a false messiah. He's viewed as the good guy, riding a white horse. Since he's wearing a crown, it could indicate that he has been given authority over a nation or nations. He's going forth conquering and to conquer, perhaps with the aim of bringing world peace. I have also included the first seal below in the next sign Jesus gave us, since it could also correspond to that one, depending on how you look at it.

Also see my article called The Rise of Antichrists

Wars and Rumors of Wars, famines, pestilence, earthquakes, fearful events and great signs from heaven
The next sign the Lord told us would occur was a period when there would be wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilence, earthquakes, fearful events and great signs from heaven, which is the next sign to occur in sequence.

Synoptic Gospels Revelation
“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” First Seal (Rumors of War): Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, "Come." I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (Rev 6:1-2)

Second Seal (Wars): When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come." And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him. (Rev 6:3-4)

Third Seal (Famine and economic chaos): When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, "Come." I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine." (Rev 6:5-6)

Fourth Seal (death by sword, famine, pestilence, and wild beasts): When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, "Come." I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth. (Rev 6:7-8)

When the first seal is opened, the rider on the first horse has only a bow and no arrows.  He carries the threat of war, but no shots are fired.  That, to me, represents rumors of war as Jesus said. But when the second seal is opened, the rider is given a sword and power to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another.  That is war, unlike the first seal and it's rider.

Also see Wars and Rumors of Wars, The End Time Plagues, and The Land Mourns in the Last Days.

Persecution of witnesses, who will bear testimony for Jesus
The next sign the Lord told us would occur was a period when there would be Persecution of witnesses, who will bear testimony for Jesus, which is the next sign to occur in sequence.

Synoptic Gospels Revelation
12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me.  14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict." Fifth Seal (Persecution of witnesses):
When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. (Rev 6:9-11)

Also see Persecuted or Popular?

Apostasy, love of most growing cold, betrayal, hatred, and false prophets; preaching the gospel of the kingdom
The next sign the Lord told us would occur was a period when there would be apostasy, or falling away from the faith, the love of most growing cold; there will be betrayal, hatred, and false prophets. Meanwhile, there will be the true witnesses preaching the gospel of the kingdom, which is the next sign to occur in sequence.

Synoptic Gospels Revelation
"At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." [No corresponding seal in Revelation]

Under these conditions (i.e., persecution, apostasy, cold love prevalent even among believers, betrayal, hatred, and false prophets) will this gospel of the kingdom be preached in the whole world just before the end comes -- not under peaceful conditions, in which the righteous are dominating the world or reigning on seven mountains!

Jerusalem surrounded by armies, nearness of desolation, abomination of desolation, time of punishment
The next sign the Lord told us would occur was a period when there would be Jerusalem surrounded by armies, the nearness of its desolation, the abomination of desolation in the temple, and the time of punishment on Israel, which is the next sign to occur in sequence.

Synoptic Gospels Revelation
“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak."

“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written."
[No corresponding seal in Revelation]

Close up view
In Matthew and Mark, Jesus gave a close up view of what will occur in the holy place in Jerusalem.  It is the abomination in the temple that causes desolation to Jerusalem and the rest of Judea, which we now call Israel.  By combining the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew and Mark, we have him saying essentially, “When you see standing where it does not belong (i.e., in the holy place) ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel...” (Also see Daniel 9:27; 12:11).

As the apostle Paul said, "Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God." (2Th 2:3-4). 

Wide-angle view
And in Luke Jesus gave the wider view of the bigger picture regionally when this sign occurs, which is armies surrounding Jerusalem.  Luke recorded Him saying, “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.”  So this is about the desolation of Jerusalem (see Jeremiah 30:7), and the sign occurs in that city.  Therefore, the holy place where the abomination does not belong is in the temple there.  In Luke, we have Jesus giving the wider view of the bigger picture regionally when this sign occurs, which is armies surrounding Jerusalem. (Also compare Zechariah 12:3 and 14:2-5).

Dreadful time of Great Tribulation
The next sign the Lord told us would occur is the onset of a dreadful time of distress, known as the Great Tribulation, which is the next sign to occur in sequence.

Synoptic Gospels Revelation
"How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again."

"How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled."
[No corresponding seal in Revelation]

He spoke to His disciples about the onset of the Great Tribulation as something that would occur before His coming. The sign that occurs right before this onset is the abomination that causes the desolation in Jerusalem, and the armies surrounding Jerusalem that will bring that desolation to her.  Those combined events will be the trigger that set off the avalanche of disastrous events to occur next, including this flight from Jerusalem and the onset of the Great Tribulation -- "great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again."  This will be the beginning of the period known as Jacob's Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), which Jesus called the time of punishment (Lk 21:22), when God brings punishment upon the Jewish people (Lk 21:23), and eventually restores them according to the prophecy of Jeremiah in his thirtieth chapter.

Nations Tread Under Foot Jerusalem
In Revelation, we do have a reference to the temple and Jerusalem during this period, which will last for 3.5 years: “Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, ‘Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.’” (Rev 11:1-2).

The expression in Revelation, “they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months” corresponds to the words of Jesus in Luke, “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

False messiahs and false prophets performing great signs and wonders to deceive
The next sign the Lord told us would occur was a period when there would be false messiahs and false prophets performing great signs and wonders to deceive, which is the next sign to occur in sequence.

Synoptic Gospels Revelation
22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. Regarding the false prophet and the antichrist:
“And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who *had the wound of the sword and has come to life. (Rev 13:14).

When the people are saying ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ and ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ could it be a reference to ‘the abomination that causes desolation, standing in the holy place? Perhaps, but not necessarily.  It certainly speaks of false messiahs and false prophets performing great signs and wonders to deceive many.  Many people will be drawn to these people like a spectacle.  Crowds of people, who love to feed on that which is sickly or dead, will gather around the bodies of these false messiahs and false prophets. For wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

Some of these false christs and false prophets could literally appear or materialize out of thin air in various locations, as one of the wonders they perform to deceive many. There will be these strange people from another place that will appear on earth very soon.  Some of them could even come down in a UFO. But in reality, they are demons that will come to deceive people. There will probably be videos of this online and emails with the links to those videos of such men appearing. This will be a temptation even for believers, which we will need to resist.

The Bible tells us what the end of the antichrist and false prophet will be. “And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.” (Rev 19:20).

Signs in the sun, moon and stars, nations in anguish, tsunamis, terror, heavenly bodies shaken
The next sign the Lord told us would occur was a period when there would be signs in the sun, moon and stars, nations in anguish, tsunamis, terror, and heavenly bodies shaken, which is the next series of signs to occur in sequence.

Synoptic Gospels Revelation
“Immediately after the distress of those days 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’"

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken."
Sixth Seal  (Sun darkened, blood moon, stars fall to earth, sky split apart, mountains and islands moved out of place):
I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places…(Rev 6:12-14)

Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and glory
The next event the Lord told us would occur is the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and glory.

Synoptic Gospels Revelation
“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."

"At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Sixth Seal continued (Kings, great men, commanders, the rich, the strong, every slave, every free man hid in caves and mountains to hide from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb):

Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" (Rev 6:15-17)

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 would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads." (Rev 7:1-3)

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, "Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen." Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?" I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Rev 7:9-14)

John tells us in the book of Revelation what he saw when the sixth seal is opened. Then he tells us what he saw “after this.”  Both the events of the sixth seal and what happens “after this” correspond exactly with what our Lord Jesus prophesied in the gospels.

Everyone on earth will see this event, even those who are not ready for it.  Those who are not ready will mourn (Zech 12:10).  Jesus said, “All the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming.” In Revelation, John said that kings, great men, commanders, the rich, the strong, every slave, every free man hid in caves and mountains to hide from the presence of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.

At that time, Jesus said, “He will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other,” and they will be gathered together in the sky to meet the Lord. Just as the Lord made reference to His angels gathering his elect from the four winds, so also John referred to four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, and another angel having the seal of the living God with which to seal the bond servants of God on their foreheads.

The apostle Paul wrote: "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words." (1Th 4:14-18)

John described what he saw afterward.  He said in part, “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes…” He was told, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

Also see my article called The Son of Man

Putting it All Together
Here is a condensed, summarized chart showing the signs that Jesus gave in the Synoptic Gospels corresponding exactly with the events in the book of Revelation, especially the seals in their divine sequence.

Synoptic Gospels Revelation
Deception
False Christs First Seal (Possibly a false messiah)
Wars and Rumors of Wars, famines, pestilence, earthquakes, fearful events and great signs from heaven First Seal (Rumors of War)
Second Seal (Wars)
Third Seal (Famine and economic chaos)
Fourth Seal (Death by sword, famine, pestilence, and wild beasts)
Persecution of witnesses, who will bear testimony for Jesus Fifth Seal (Persecution of witnesses)
Apostasy, love of most growing cold, betrayal, hatred, and false prophets; preaching the gospel of the kingdom
Jerusalem surrounded by armies, nearness of desolation, abomination of desolation, time of punishment
Dreadful time of great tribulation
False messiahs and false prophets performing great signs and wonders to deceive Regarding the false prophet and antichrist: “And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who *had the wound of the sword and has come to life. (Rev 13:14).
Signs in the sun, moon and stars, nations in anguish, tsunamis, terror, heavenly bodies shaken Sixth Seal (Sun darkened, blood moon, stars fall to earth, sky split apart, mountains and islands moved out of place).
Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and glory… He will send his angels…and they will gather His elect from the four winds... Sixth Seal continued (Kings, great men, commanders, the rich, the strong, every slave, every free man hid in caves and mountains to hide from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb).

An angel having the seal of the living God who seals the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.

A great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands…

They are those who come out of the great tribulation.

Our Lord Jesus compared these events to birth pains of a woman in labor.  Labor pains begin at a low intensity and build to a very high intensity to the point where they become unbearable, until finally the woman gives birth to the man child.  The labor pains begin at regular intervals that are spaced far apart in frequency, but as time goes on the tempo builds and becomes faster, as the pains occur more frequently intervals.

That is how we can expect these events to occur.  At first they will be spaced far apart at regular intervals, but then they will happen more and more frequently, until eventually they are happening so close together that there is no time to catch your breath between a particular sign and the one that follows it.  And when a particular sign occurs, it continues until the end.

The signs Jesus predicted were: deception, false christs, wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilence, earthquakes, fearful events and great signs from heaven, persecution of witnesses, who will bear testimony for Jesus, apostasy, love of most growing cold, betrayal, hatred, and false prophets, the righteous preaching the gospel of the kingdom, Jerusalem surrounded by armies, nearness of desolation, the abomination that causes desolation, flight from Jerusalem, destruction of Jerusalem, the time of punishment, the dreadful time of distress,  the onset of the Great Tribulation, false messiahs and false prophets performing great signs and wonders to deceive, signs in the sun, moon and stars, nations in anguish, tsunamis, terror, heavenly bodies shaken.  Only after all of these signs will the Son of Man be seen coming in a cloud with power and glory with all His holy angels with Him to gather the elect to Himself.  That is when the rapture will occur. As Jesus said, "be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time."

With regard to the saints going through the entire Great Tribulation, I do not believe that will happen, unless you are a saint who is not ready for the rapture.  I believe that the saints will see the onset of the Great Tribulation, in which the abomination that causes desolation occurs and Jerusalem is destroyed. We will see the days of darkness when the sun and moon do not give their light, and other things happening during that period, which correspond to the first six seals of Revelation, as I have already mentioned.  However, let us not forget that Jesus said, if those days had not been cut short, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

The final events that Jesus said would be signs to occur before his coming will happen at greater and greater frequency, so that the ones that occur after the abomination of desolation may happen within a very short span of time. This would mean that the saints only go through a very brief period of the Great Tribulation. So for the sake of the elect, whose robes are pure white and spotless, without any wrinkle, the Lord will shorten those days by coming, and sending His angels to gather them to Himself in the rapture.  Those who are not ready will be left behind to go through the 3.5 year Great Tribulation.  Those people will be here for the seventh seal and the wrath of God that follows. And believe me, you don't want to go through that!

That's why we need to pray to escape all these things.  "But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luk 21:36).  It may not be possible to escape the part leading up to the Great Tribulation, unless someone is put to death for their faith in Christ, but once the Great Tribulation begins, I believe there will be an escape for the righteous, by way of the rapture.

These are the definite signs that Scripture says will happen before the Lord returns, and we see them taking place all around us.  It’s time to wake up, repent, and live a life of daily repentance.  We need to produce the fruit of repentance, walking in love and in the light, and serving the Lord.  We need to watch and pray, always being ready for Jesus’ return.  We need to live in holiness, righteousness, and truth. Then that day will not overtake us like a thief in the night.  The one who stands firm to the end will be saved (Mt 24:13; Mk 13:13). I plead with you to save yourself from this corrupt generation (Ac 2:40). Stand firm, and you will win life.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted. The "Four Horsemen" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.

Author's note: You must take responsibility for your own actions. Nobody knows the day or the hour, and in no way am I date setting. This is only to provide you with information, so that you can make your own decisions, for which you will be accountable to God.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the companion article, Sequence of Signs Preceding the Coming of Christ, as well as the ones listed below in this blog, which are available through the Signs of the Times Directory.

The 311 Moment
Times and Epochs the Father has Determined 
Are you Rapture Ready?
The Day of Our Lord’s Wedding is at Hand
Rapture Revelation to Rachael Mushala
Rapture Revelation to Ayodelle Sawyerr
Rapture Revelation to Claire Andoun Solomon
Rapture Revelation to Angelica Zambrano
The Timing of the Rapture
The Son of Man 

You may access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

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