In discussion and analysis of End Time events there is no better source than the Lord Jesus Himself. During the last week of His time here on earth, Jesus foretold the destruction of the Temple. (Mark 13:2) This caused four of the disciples, Peter, James, John and Andrew, to question Jesus as He sat on the Mount of Olives. His response is known as the Olivet Discourse, and is perhaps the most authoritative information we have regarding the Last Days.
The Olivet Discourse is found in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 17 and 21. The Gospel of John does not include this information.
The disciples asked Jesus two questions, although Matthew divides the second question into two parts. They asked:
1 When will these things happen?
2 What will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?
The response of Jesus is recorded differently in the three gospels, but there are many similarities. One consistent theme is the parallel between the events that Jesus foretold, and the Seven Seals described in the Revelation chapter 6. I will use the text of Matthew to demonstrate.
1 Jesus warned of men coming in His name, claiming, I am the Christ.. (Matthew 24:5)
Seal One a rider on a white horse, given a crown and a bow. (the anti-Christ?)
2 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled. (Matthew 24:6)
Seal Two a red horse whose rider has the power to take peace from the earth.
3 There will be famines . . . and earthquakes. (Matthew 24:7)
Seal Three a black horse whose rider rations out food.
4 They will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you. (Matthew 24:9)
Seal Four a pale horse whose rider is named Death and Hades.
5 But he who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:13)
Seal Five the souls of martyrs are seen under the Heavenly Altar.
6 The sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. (Matthew 24:29)
Seal Six the sun will turn black and the moon will be blood red.
7 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:30)
Seal Seven an angel put fire from the Heavenly Altar in a censer and hurled it to the earth, symbolic of judgement and the wrath of the Lamb. (Revelation 6:16)
Some of you may be familiar with this pattern, but I think it will be new to many. In the next lesson, one of the differences between gospels in the Olivet Discourse gives the Church hope that we will not be here for the Tribulation.
Until then, may our wonderful, all-knowing and ever-gracious Lord be praised!