Much of the confusion in understanding Revelation comes because people try their darndest to make it chronological.  It is NOT!  One way to demonstrate this is to ask ourselves when do certain events occur?  If a single event occurs in various chapters then we must overlap the chronology, not make it sequential.

One example:  When does God wipe away all tears?

Isaiah 25:8 prophecies that God will wipe away all tears when His victory is realized.

He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

No one suggests that this happens more than once.  Everyone agrees that God wipes away all tears after the 1000 years; after the Judgment of the Great White Throne!  And yet we find it occurring in Revelation 7:17 before the breaking of the 7th Seal!  It says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”  It says it again in Rev.21:4.  Must be the same event!

Seal #6 introduces “Great Tribulation”; and Chapter 7 displays those (the elect) who have suffered through Great Tribulation.   Rev.7:14 says, “These are they who have come out of Great Tribulation” (Jew and Gentile) Note: The martyred ‘saints’ were already under the altar in Seal #5 prior to the outbreak of Great Tribulation!

The breaking of the Seventh Seal, Chapter 8:1 is the very next verse and brings silence in Heaven for a half hour.  “When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.”

I am convinced that Dr. Doug Ezell, “Revelations on Revelation, New Sounds From Old Symbols” is correct in suggesting that the seventh seal represents the End.  It is the end of that vision and represents the end of recorded history, thus the beginning of our eternal dwelling.  Dr. Ezell says:

“In the Apocrypha there are two references to silence.  2 Esdras 6:39 reads as follows: ‘And then the Spirit was hovering, and darkness and silence embraced everything; the sound of man’s voice was not yet there.’  This statement was made in the midst of a discussion on creation.  Again, 2 Esdras 7:29-31 speaks of silence at the time of the revealing of the Messiah, new creation, and judgment:  ‘And after these years my son the Messiah shall die, and all who draw human breath.  And the world shall be turned back to primeval silence for seven days as it was at the first beginnings; so that no one shall be left.  And after seven days the world, which is not yet awake, shall be roused, and that which is corruptible shall perish.’ 

“I am not… claiming that the Apocrypha is sacred script.  I am trying to show that a first century interpretation of the end posited a belief that there was to be a silence before the new creation to correspond with the silence before the first creation.” -Dr. Doug Ezell

Revelation contains a series of seven eschatalogical visions.  Each must stand alone.  They do not run consecutively.  The Seven Seals begin with the Cross/Resurrection Event and concludes after this order ceases.



Parallels between Matt 24:4-9 and Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Questions from His Disciples, 24:1-3;

The parallels between Jesus’ Olivet Discourse and The Seven Seals of Revelations are striking.  Shouldn’t be, I guess, since Jesus is the author of both, but it does lead to a unique way of interpreting the Seals and Trumpets that I believe makes Revelation understandable.

As Jesus exited the Temple, his disciples called his attention to the marvelous structure, and its beautiful stones. (Luke 21:5)

Jesus responded that the time would come when not one stone would be left upon another.

As they sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him and asked:

  1. When will this happen?  (that one stone will not be upon another)
  2. What will be the sign of your coming?  (emphasis mine)
  3. What will be the sign of the end of the age?

He doesn’t proceed immediately to answer the questions, but begins with an overview of time from then until the end of the age.  Notice he says, “it will be like this… a lot has to happen… but the end is not yet. (vs. 4-6)  He’s generalizing the whole period of time.  Also notice, it’s not ‘the end of the world’, it is correctly translated ‘the end of the age’.  This, according to scripture, is a ‘world without end’.  There will in fact be a new Heaven and a new Earth one day, by and by, but that will follow a ‘thousand year’ reign of Christ upon this terra firma.

Note:  This description parallels the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, in Revelation Chapter 6.

Vs.4,5:  Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.  For many will come in my name claiming, ‘I am the Christ’, and will deceive many.”   White Horse…

Vs.6,7a:  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.   Red Horse…

Vs.7b:  There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.   Black Horse…

Vs.9:  Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death and you will be hated by all nations because of me.   Pale Horse…

(That’s 4 of the 7 seals of Revelation 6:1 – 8:1)

From the parallels between these words of Christ and the breaking of the seals in Revelation 6, some have concluded that since Jesus is here, obviously describing the whole period of time until the end of the age, then He is doing the same thing in Revelation.  The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is not a series of events yet to come during a 7 year period of time called the Great Tribulation, but is in fact a synopsis of what life will be like on Earth for the followers of Christ during time until the end of the age.      I say for ‘the followers of Christ’ for here in Matt 24 and 25 He is speaking to His Disciples and telling them (and us) what signs to expect.

Let’s define some terms.  What can we call the period of time between Jesus’ first coming and His second coming?  In your studies you may encounter several terms:

  • Age of Grace – this is the time from Jesus’ Crucifixion / Resurrection until His Second Coming.  This is ‘Grace’ or ‘Salvation’ extended to the nations, i.e. Gentiles.
  • The Parenthesis – this is the time between the 69th and 70th week of Jewish history as recorded in Daniel 9.  Begins with crucifixion of Messiah and ends with Rapture of the Church.
  • Age of the Gentiles – this begins with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (this occurred in AD 70) and ends with the Jewish people retaking Jerusalem. (this occurred in 1967)  In Luke 21:20 ff, we see Jerusalem surrounded by armies.  Many assume this to be future and will take place during the final seven years; however, as verse 24 indicates, this has already happened.  It says   the inhabitants of Jerusalem (the Jews) “will be taken as prisoners to all the nations.” No one teaches that the dispersion of the Jewish people is yet to happen.  That began in AD 70 when the Roman General Titus besieged Jerusalem.  It was also then that the temple was destroyed with literally not one stone remaining  upon another.  That is Luke 21:24a.  Part b says that “Jerusalem will be trampled by the gentiles until the time of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”  Israel retook Jerusalem in the 6 day war in 1967 fulfilling that prophecy.
  • Church Age – almost synonymous with Age of Grace, this begins with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and concludes with the ‘catching up’ of the Bride of Christ, commonly called ‘the rapture’.
  • Last Days – We hear a lot about ‘the last days’ and people tend to get alarmed when a teacher says we are living in the last days; however, scripturally “the last days’ is the entire period of time from the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost until the Bride of Christ is raptured and the Holy Spirit’s indwelling of every believer ends.  Acts 2:14-17; (16,17a) “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people…”   also see Joel 2:28-32.  Peter said, ‘This is it!’  Happening before your eyes!

In my opinion, the Holy Spirit’s withdrawal from indwelling all believers, (something we take for granted) is depicted in 2 Thess. 2:7;  “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till HE is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed,”

Two things:

Some have objected to the above statement saying that Jesus promised ‘never to leave us nor forsake us’. That is Hebrews 13:5 where God promises never to leave us nor forsake us.  Jesus actually says, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20b)  This is the ‘end of the age’ that we are talking about!  So, i.m.o., there will come a time when the indwelling Holy Spirit will cease indwelling all believers as He now does and will revert to an Old Testament type relationship.

Also, my opinion, this bespeaks the rapture; for when the Holy Spirit leaves the scene, i.e. indwelling each and every believer, then the believers who have prepared for and are ready for this event will exit with Him.  Luke 21:36 says, “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”  As I have written in other places, ‘to stand before the Son of Man’ has two possible meanings.  One has to do with judgment and the other has to do with a wedding.  I personally do not think this refers to the Judgment Seat of Christ which comes after His return to Earth to rule and reign; rather I believe this reference is the second meaning and is a picture of the Bride of Christ presenting herself to the Groom.  It’s a picture of the Bride of Christ being escorted from this abode to stand before the Bridegroom and she is in fact presented to the Groom for marriage.

If you’ve followed in Matthew 24, you realized that I left out verse 8.  “All these are the beginning of birth pains.”  This continues the progression suggesting that Jesus is giving us an overview of the entire age.  Earlier He says, paraphrasing, “it will be like this… a lot has to happen… but the end is not yet. (vs. 4-6)  Then in verse 8 He compares the whole period of time to birth pains.  What’s the significance?   He is saying these are signs that typify the age to come, but as we get closer to the end, the signs grow in intensity and frequency right up until the big event.  As a mothers’ birth pains grow in frequency and intensity until delivery so Jesus is teaching that all these signs typify the age in which we live and YET, they grow in intensity and frequency until DELIVERY!

Question 3: What will be the sign of the end of the age?  – Matt. 24:10-14

 “At that time many will turn away from 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 he 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.