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THE REAL SEVEN SEALS 

The Seven Seals are the cornerstone of the Book of Revelation. They are the pivot on which the book turns and the foundation on which it unfolds. The seals give us an overview of the fate of the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem, as well as the conditions that would befall Christians and Jews, from the time of Jesus Christ's first coming until the time of His return.

 

In Revelation 5:1-5 the apostle John is shown a vision of a scroll in the right hand of God. He is told that the scroll is "sealed with seven seals” and that only Christ is "worthy" to "loose the seven seals" thereof. From Rev 1:3 we gather, and the contents confirm, that this scroll contains written prophecy.

Why is Christ worthy to remove the seals of the prophecy? Verse 9 explains:

“You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood"

Jesus Christ came to Earth to conquer Satan, to die for the sins of mankind and to qualify to rule on Earth. Through His victory, He became worthy to unseal the seals of this prophecy. 

But which prophecy?

There is only one set of prophecies in the Old Testament said to be sealed. They are the writings of Daniel. In Dan 12:4 Daniel is told to "seal the book" and in verse 9 he is informed that "the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end".

How does Christ's victory qualify Him to unseal the prophecies of Daniel?

It does so because the prophecies of Daniel cover a timeline of events from Nebuchadnezzar's conquest of Jerusalem until the second coming of Christ.

Christ's return will coincide with the resurrection of the firstfruits, the removal of Satan from rule and the accession of Christ to the rulership of Earth.

These are only made possible because Christ succeeded in His mission at His first coming. That's how He qualifies.

 Jesus Christ's first coming was according to the timeline given to the prophet Daniel in the Seventy Week Prophecy, found in Dan 9:24-27. 

This prophecy begins in Dan 9:24 by stating that "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city" and verse 26 adds that "the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary".

When did Christ speak of these very events, thereby unsealing their fuller application? He did so first and foremost in His Olivet prophecy. ​There He described conditions and events culminating in the final week, or seven years, which remained of the Seventy Week Prophecy. After Christ's ministry, a forty year period of grace transpired for Jews to repent and for the Church to become established. The Roman assault on the nation of Judah began in the spring of 67AD, reached its climax with the destruction of the city of Jerusalem in 70AD, and continued until the fall of Masada in 73AD, a period of seven inclusive years.

The conditions that would prevail between the death of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem, as described by Christ in the Olivet prophecy, were typical of the greater period of time that the Holy Land was under Gentile occupation. As foretold in Lev 26 and Dan 4, this was a period of 2520 years, from the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar until the end of World War II.  

So although in Rev 1:1 we are told that the prophecies of the book of Revelation relate to "things that must shortly take place", verse 19 elaborates further by stating that it is about "things which are" and "things which will take place after this". Therefore it is not just speaking of future conditions, but also those already present at the time of writing.

   

Many different interpretations of the book of Revelation exist, but it is the Historicist view that, with the benefit of hindsight, proves to be correct. This is logical because the Scriptures themselves employ that method of interpretation. When Daniel was given prophecies of beasts and the statue of a man made of various metals, he himself was told they referred to empires which would appear successively in history. It is also logical that God, in His Word, having given man an overview of man's first 4000 years, would give the next 2000 years in advance, leading up to the return of Christ. This way, no matter where in history a person would find themselves, they would have a message, and see conditions, pertaining to their time.

The region where the fulfilment of the seals must be sought is the Holy Land and especially Jerusalem, because it is the focus of the prophecies of Daniel. Jerusalem is also the focus of Christ's Olivet prophecy. Additionally, Christ's millennial rule will be from Jerusalem, so maintaining a "Jerusalem focus" is essential to a right understanding.

Earlier prophecies given by God had pertained to Israel as a whole. However, it was only people from the Kingdom of Judah who had returned to the Holy Land from captivity. Daniel, himself a Jew, was told that the prophecies given to him concerned "thy people and .... thy holy city" (Dan 9:24), meaning the Jews and Jerusalem. This is why the first "beast" in the prophecies of Daniel is Babylon, which captured Judah and Jerusalem, and why it is not Assyria, which captured Israel and Samaria.

Let's look at the description of the first seal in Revelation chapter 6.

I have added Christ's Olivet explanations under the text of the seals, in gold.

First Seal: False religion

Rev 6:1 Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.”

2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.

For many will come in my name saying I am He” (Lk 21:8) and “false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders” (Mt 24:23-27).

The first condition that would exist in Jerusalem is the increasing presence and influence of false religion.

This first seal is not about Gentile countries having false religions as is commonly taught in the Churches of God. Gentile countries always have false religions. It wouldn't require a Biblical prophecy to foretell that under Satan's rule Gentile countries would have false religions. Rather, this is about the Holy Land, and specifically Jerusalem.

At the time of Christ's first coming, Jerusalem was under Roman rule, Rome being the sixth head of the overall "Beast" power of Gentile kingdoms to rule the city of God (Rev 17:10). The Romans were into all types of pagan religion, and with their practices defiled the land of Israel.

Additionally, Jewish "prophets", of which Josephus disparagingly mentions a number in "Wars of the Jews" 2:13.4-6, arose periodically, and were permitted to preach by the Romans, as long as their preaching did not lead to insurrection.

One of these prophets was called Theudas, of whom Josephus states "Now it came to pass, while Fadus was procurator of Judea (mid AD40's), that a certain magician, whose name was Theudas, persuaded a great part of the people to take their effects with them, and follow him to the river Jordan. For he told them he was a prophet: and that he would, by his own command, divide the river, and afford them an easy passage over it. And many were deluded by his words" (Ant 20:5:1). Theudas and many of his followers were captured and killed by the Romans.

Of events in the following decade Josephus says that "impostors and deceivers" arose who "persuaded the multitude to follow them into the wilderness: and pretended that they would exhibit manifest wonders and signs, that should be performed by the providence of God" (Ant 20:5:6).

Josephus continues by stating that "there came out of Egypt, about this time, to Jerusalem, one that said he was a prophet; and advised the multitude of the common people to go along with him to the mount of olives" upon which this man claimed that "he would shew them from hence how, at his command, the walls of Jerusalem would fall down". Instead, however, the Roman governor Felix ordered his troops to attack these rebels, upon which he "slew four hundred of them" (Ant 20:8:6).

Leading up to their first century demise, the Jews became ever more stricken with false religion; the siege of Jerusalem in 70AD saw three factions of Jews fighting each other more than they fought the Romans. Each faction had its own "false prophet" in charge: John of Gischala, Simon bar Giora and Eleazar ben Simon, as described at length by Josephus in "Wars of the Jews". The people's allegiances to these men was a major factor in their defeat.

In the following century, another false Jewish prophet arose, Simon Bar Kokhba, who was and still is by some Jews considered to be the Messiah. His war against the Romans, known as the Second Jewish Revolt, resulted in even more devastation than the First Jewish Revolt.

In Acts 8 we see in Samaria the appearance of Simon the Magician who went on to be a founder of false Christianity, as elaborated on at length by the historian Eusebius in his book "Church History". As far as false prophets go, it is hard to overstate the impact Simon had on history.

In the epistle to the Galatians we read that recipients of this letter were already, in these early days of Christianity, being influenced by "another gospel" (Gal 1:6). The brethren of the first Church era, Ephesus, were commended for identifying supposed "apostles" who in reality were "liars" (Rev 2:2). False Christianity became the dominant religion of the whole Roman Empire in the time of Constantine the Great, and has greatly impacted Jerusalem throughout the millennia.

Although Christ mentions "false christs and false prophets" in His Olivet statement regarding the time leading up to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, the broader application of false religion should be understood in regard to this first seal, because history shows that false Christianity, and subsequently Islam, together trampled down Jerusalem for more than sixteen hundred years.

Christ's first removed seal unseals Daniel 2, 7 and 8, showing that Jerusalem would be subjected to a long history of occupation and influence by the practitioners of false religions.

Second Seal: Bloodshed through war and violence

Rev 6:3 When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.

4 Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth (of Israel), and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.

Wars and commotions” (Lk 21:9), “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom" (Lk 21:10) and you will hear of wars and rumours of wars (Matt 24:6).

The second condition to last till Christ's return is bloodshed caused by war and violence, in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

Note that the word "earth" in verse 4 denotes Israel. On the third day of Creation God separated the earth from the sea. This foreshadowed God's work in the third millennium when He created the people of Israel and placed them in the land of Israel, separating them from the surrounding Gentile nations. In Rev 17:15 the nations are referred to as "waters" or seas. Please see the page "THE SEVEN DAY BLUEPRINT" for more on this.

Only a few years after the death of Christ, war erupted between Herod Antipas, ruler of the regions of Galilee and Perea (who had beheaded John the Baptist), and King Aretas of Nabatea, the kingdom to the south of Perea and Judea. As quoted from newworldencyclopedia.org:

 

"....border disputes between Antipas and King Aretas of Nabatea had been slowly moving toward open warfare, exacerbated by Antipas' divorce of Aretas' daughter. In 36 C.E. Antipas' army suffered a serious defeat after fugitives from the former tetrarchy of Philip sided with the Nabateans. Antipas was forced to appeal to (Roman Emperor) Tiberius for help. The emperor ordered Lucius Vitellius, the Roman governor of Syria, to march against Aretas and ensure that he was captured or killed. Vitellius mobilized two legions, sending them on a detour around Judea..." (Article "Herod Antipas").

Emperor Caligula (37AD-41AD), who succeeded Tiberius, was not a person lacking in self esteem. He gradually began to view himself as a god and, as a consequence, gave rise to "rumours of war" for a considerable time in the land of Israel. Caligula ordered statues of himself to be erected in all nations the Romans occupied, and so, in 40AD, a general by the name of Petronius was sent to Jerusalem to set up a statue of Caligula in the Temple. However, he was intercepted before he got there and was rebuffed by the Jews. The order had been that if he and his army met opposition, they should kill all who stood against them and carry the rest of the nation off into captivity. Instead the Romans slunk off to Syria in defeat and reported to Caligula. From that time forward, the fear of reprisal hung over the nation of Israel. However, Caligula's sudden death gave the Jews a temporary reprieve. Josephus records this, and a lot more, in his Antiquities from 18:8.2 onwards.

In the decades leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem, the land was terrorised by a rebel group called the "Sicarii" as described by Josephus in War of the Jews 2:13.3. Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

"The Sicarii were a splinter group of the Jewish Zealots who, in the decades preceding Jerusalem's destruction in 70 CE, strongly opposed the Roman occupation of Judea and attempted to expel them and their sympathisers from the area. The Sicarii carried "sicae", or small daggers, concealed in their cloaks. At public gatherings, they pulled out these daggers to attack Romans and alleged Roman sympathisers alike, blending into the crowd after the deed to escape detection" (article "Sicarii").

Josephus says that thousands were killed by the Sicarii, many of them villagers whose towns were raided for supplies (War of the Jews 4:7.2). He also says that as bad as their deeds were, the fear of them that came over the people was even greater.

In 66AD the Jews revolted against the Romans as a response to heavy taxation, but also because of the generally deteriorating relationship between local Roman rulers and the Jews. Violent clashes had occurred in some regions between Jews and non-Jews, leading to many deaths. One Cestius Gallus was dispatched to restore order. He marched on Jerusalem but was driven off just when victory appeared to be his. The following year Vespasian and his armies arrived and began what would be the campaign that brought the Jewish nation to its knees, resulting in the total destruction of Jerusalem.

It is interesting to note that in the year prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, 69AD, no less than four Roman emperors, Nero, Galba, Otho and Vitellius met an untimely death.

Christ foretold this first century war in His Olivet prophecy, and added in Lk 21:24 that Jerusalem would be "trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled", predicting continued warfare and violence for the Holy Land. 

This ongoing warfare is elaborated on throughout the account of the seven trumpets of the seventh seal. Please see the page "THE HISTORICAL SEVENTH SEAL".

Christ's second removed seal unseals large portions of the book of Daniel, showing that Jerusalem would be subjected to a long history of war, violence and bloodshed.

                 

Third Seal: Famine and hardship

Rev 6:5 When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.

6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”

Famines” (Matt 24:7 and Lk 21:11)

The third condition to exist in the Holy Land is not only famine, but in its broader sense scarcity, hardship and deprivation.​ The above description in Rev 6:5-6 alludes to economic hardship as well as a lack of food. A denarius was a man's daily wage, but the amount of food it is said here to be able to purchase is barely enough for one person, let alone a man's dependants.

In Acts 11:27-30, the prophet Agabus foretells a coming famine. Most translations say this would come upon the "world", but the word is actually "earth" and verse 29 clearly says that the location of the famine is specifically "Judea". Verse 28 says that this famine took place during the reign of Emperor Claudius who ruled from 41AD to 54AD. I Cor 16:1-3 shows Paul arranging contributions for the Jerusalem brethren; Rom 15:25-28 refers to this as well.

Josephus adds that Queen Helena of Adiabene (Assyria) came to Jerusalem to worship around this time and, finding the city in famine, made arrangements for grain and dried figs to be brought from Egypt and Cyprus (Ant 20:47-51). This and the sending of contributions by distant brethren show that surrounding countries were not affected like Judea was.

While Jerusalem was under siege in 69-70AD, terrible famine resulted when rival groups of Jews destroyed their own grain supply out of spite toward one another.

When Israel walked with God, it was blessed with all the abundance God foretold in Lev 26 and Deut 28. However, the more they went against God, the more they were cursed, as foretold by the same prophecies. Gradually, they lost their land, and when Gentile nations conquered Israel it came to be under a perpetual curse. Ultimately, the resulting poverty and hardship became the norm in the land that should have been flowing with milk and honey.

  

Christ's third removed seal from Daniel's writings unseals Dan 9:11, where in prayer to God he states that "all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us". The curses that would befall Israel if they disobeyed were recorded by Moses mainly in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. With regard to food production and the national economy, it is made abundantly clear in these two chapters that walking with God brings blessings, and walking contrary to Him brings curses.

 In Israel's early years in the Holy Land, when for some time they obeyed God, crops were blessed and herds were plentiful, as can be seen from the enormous number of sacrifices that used to be offered. Over time, as lawlessness and godlessness became the norm, these blessings diminished. When Jerusalem and the whole land became subject to Gentile occupation, the land became desolate.

Visitors to the Holy Land during its many centuries of occupation would comment on how bleak and dismal the countryside looked. Not until Jewish settlers returned in the early 20th century did things begin to change. When they first arrived they found swamps, marshland, sand dunes and desert. Since the founding of the State of Israel, a total transformation has taken place. Vegetation is again flourishing, water is flowing, and much food is being produced. If you travel from the country of Jordan into Israel, you'll see a brown, barren countryside turn into a green one.

The 2520 years ("seven times") of Gentile occupation, foreshadowed in Daniel 4, cursed Jerusalem and the Holy Land for most of that entire duration.

Fourth Seal: Untimely death

Rev 6:7 I looked, and there before me was a pale horse. Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him.

8 They were given power over a fourth of the earth (of Israel) to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth. (NIV)

"Famine, pestilences and earthquakes in various places” (Matt 24:7) "great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences" (Lk 21:11).

The fourth condition to exist until Christ's return includes all causes of untimely death in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

Note that these curses are not a new phenomenon. In Eze 14:21 God already states, regarding Judah's then impending fall to Nebuchadnezzar, that He will send "My four severe judgments on Jerusalem - the sword and famine and wild beasts and pestilence".

It barely needs mentioning that war and famine themselves kill many people and invariably lead to all types of disease and sickness which in turn kill many more people.

Josephus records that, as the Romans swept through their country, the Jews endured great suffering, which reached a crescendo in the ultimate devastation of 70AD. 

The reference to "a fourth of the earth" most probably refers to the fraction of people living in the Holy Land throughout history who have suffered a premature death.

Like the previous seal, Christ's fourth removed seal from Daniel's writings also unseals Dan 9:11, where Daniel in prayer confesses to God that "all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us". Those curses are recorded mainly in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28.

If Israel had obeyed Him, God promised that "you shall eat your bread to the full" (Lev 26:5) and "I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through the land" (Lev 26:6). In Ex 15:26 He says "I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians". These kinds of promises are repeated in many places in the Bible and were fulfilled as long as Israel was faithful to God.

When Jerusalem and the Holy Land went into their long period of subjugation to Gentile powers, as prophesied in the book of Daniel, the reverse applied and untimely death became common.

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The first four seals are described as horses with riders. Horsemen in Scripture signify war and so these first four conditions are the direct result of Jerusalem's fall to the Gentiles as punishment from God, and were greatly exacerbated by the Jews' rejection of Christ. The fifth and sixth seals however, are somewhat different. Both these conditions started in Jerusalem, but over time spread to affect true Christians and Jews in the various other countries to which they dispersed.

Fifth Seal: Persecution of the faithful people of God

Rev 6:9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.

10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth (of Israel)?

11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.

“They will lay their hands on you and persecute you” (Lk 21:12), “They will put some of you to death” (Lk 21:16) and "Brother will betray brother to death" (Mk 13:12).

The fifth condition is the ongoing persecution of the true worshippers of God.

Luke 21:22 says "these be the days of vengeance", but vengeance on which people? Rev 6:10, quoted above, says "on those who dwell on the earth". The earth in prophecy refers to the land of Israel. The Jews instigated Christ's death and persecuted the Church, as shown in the book of Acts which records the killing of the deacon Stephen and the apostle James. It states that severe persecution broke out against the Church at that time, beginning in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1). Mark 13:9 adds that "they shall deliver you up to councils, and you shall be beaten in the synagogues". Clearly this refers to an initial Jewish persecution of the Church.

Prior to Christ's time this same mindset already existed, as testified in Luke 13:34 where Christ states "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her". Those who brought God's reprimand were never popular.

In the almost two millennia after the Romans destroyed the Jewish nation, the persecution of true believers was meted out mostly by Beast powers in the areas they controlled, including the Holy Land.

Christ's unsealing of the fifth seal in the Olivet prophecy shows that the examples of persecution in Daniel 3 and 6 are applicable to all believers, as those who stand up for God's truth are likely to face persecution of some sort throughout the age of man. The events involving Daniel and his friends being subjected to the fiery furnace and the lions' den are indicative of such demonic hostility.

Sixth Seal: Punishment of the unfaithful people of God: the Jews

Rev 6:12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake (the commencement of the "great tribulation" of the final seven years of the Seventy Week Prophecy, resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD); and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair (God's protection was removed from Israel and it was attacked by multiple Roman armies), and the moon became like blood (the Jewish nation met a violent demise).

13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth (the Jews were defeated and cast down), as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind (Israel is typified by a fig tree – see below).

14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island (the people of God, located in the midst of the seas of Gentiles) was moved out of its place (the surviving Jews saw their lives turned upside down, with many removed from their nation and sold into slavery).

15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains (the Jews became a stateless people, scattered among the nations),

16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! ("Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” (the time Christ is referring to here, the 70AD destruction, was just the beginning of this sorrow)" Lk 23:28-30).

17 For the great day of His wrath has come (and would continue for a long period), and who is able to stand?”

"And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (and, as a consequence, the Jews dispersed among the nations would be persecuted for this same period of time) (Luke 21:24).

The sixth condition is the ongoing punishment of the Jews.

Christ's unsealing of the sixth seal in the Olivet prophecy reveals that a thread running throughout Daniel's writings was to continue, i.e. God's vengeance against the Jews for their wilful rejection of Him. At the particular stage of history mentioned here in Rev 6, i.e. the commencement of the Roman campaign in 67AD, the Jews were about to go into captivity once again.

Specifically Daniel 9:26 is unsealed here by Christ. It states "the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined".

The people of Israel who had returned to the Holy Land after the Babylonian captivity were from the southern Kingdom of Judah, and mostly of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (Ez 4:1, 10:9). These Jews that re-occupied Jerusalem and its surrounding territory were originally a repentant people. In Neh 9 and 10 we read of a renewal of the covenant between these people and God. They promised once again to keep His laws and to walk with Him faithfully. Had they indeed maintained this attitude, God would have certainly continued to bless them. However, over time their religion deteriorated into what became Judaism, the ultimate sin of which was the rejection and killing of the promised Messiah. Obviously this has had serious ongoing consequences.

Of course, not all the Jews rejected God. The book of Daniel also treats us to Daniel's thoroughly heartfelt prayer of repentance in chapter 9. It is a remarkable response to Lev 26:40-42 and an enormous example for us in the Laodicean era of the Church of God, showing that even if the majority are going astray, individuals can still go against the flow, repent and find favour with God.

Below is the Olivet prophecy as recorded in Luke 21. I have used Luke's version as it is the most comprehensive one. It contains and reveals all of the seven seals.   

Underlined text identifies the sealsMy annotations and additional Scriptures are in gold.

Luke 21:5 Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said,

6 “These things which you see, the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”

7 So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?”

8 And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He’ and ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them (Seal 1).

9 But when you hear of wars and commotions (Seal 2 and 4), do not be terrified; for these things

must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.”

10 Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom (Seal 2 and 4).

11 And there will be great earthquakes (Seal 4) in various places, and famines (Seal 3 and 4) and pestilences (Seal 4); and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.

12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake (Seal 5).

13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.

14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer;

15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist (Seal 5).

16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death.

17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake (Seal 5).

18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost.

19 By your patience possess your souls.

20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near (Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet (in Dan 9:27), standing in the holy place" (Mt 24:15).

21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.

22 For these are the days of vengeance (vengeance on the Jews for rejecting and killing Christ), that all things which are written may be fulfilled (written in the Seventy Week Prophecy of Dan 9:24-27, and also in Eze 4 where 40 years of sin by the House of Judah are foretold. Christ died on Passover 31AD; the final siege of Jerusalem began exactly 40 inclusive years later on Passover 70AD).

23 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! (Lk 23:28-30: "But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” For there will be great distress in the land (of Israel) and wrath upon this people (the Jews).

24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations (punishment of the Jews ongoing until 2520 years are fulfilled from the first fall of Jerusalem, as prophesied in Lev 26:24) (Luke 21:20-24 are all Seal 6). And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Seal 7, Trumpets 1-6) (This is a momentous chronological statement. It takes the prophecy all the way to the 20th century, when Judah's years of punishment ended).

25 And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars (see above the description of Rev 6:12-13); and on the earth (of Israel) distress of nations (Gentiles), with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring (many Gentile invasions);

26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth (on Israel), for the powers of the heavens (powers that control Jerusalem, as ordained by God) will be shaken (will change frequently) (Seal 7, Trumpets 1-6).

 27 Then (after "the times of the Gentiles" are fulfilled and the Jews control Jerusalem again) they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory (The second coming of Christ) (Seal 7, Trumpet 7)

28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.

29 Then He spoke to them a parable: Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.

30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near (Israel is in Scripture pictured as a fig tree - see Jer 24, Hos 9:10, Joel 1:6-7 and Lk 13:6-9, which put Mk 11:12-14, where Christ cursed a fig tree, into perspective. The re-establishment of the nation of Israel is a sure sign that Christ's return is near).

31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.

32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things (prophesied about it) take place (Luke 17:25 tells us who Christ meant by "this generation". Speaking of His then impending crucifixion, He said "But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation").

33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

There are two important points I want to add to the above explanation. Both have caused much confusion.

 

The first point is the meaning of Matt 24:14. It states "this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then will the end come". In our current Church era the word "end" has often been wrongly applied to the time of Christ's second coming. Unfortunately, this has had a very blinding effect on our understanding. There are many things that come to an "end" at various times in Scripture, e.g. a "beast" power's time of reign, a prophecy, a specified period of time, a person's life etc.

Matt 24:15 says "Therefore, when you see the abomination of desolation .......  standing in the holy place". This corresponds with Luke 21:20 which says "but when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near".

 

Therefore the "end" spoken of in Matt 24:14 is the end of the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish nation. People of course will object and say that the gospel wasn't preached to all nations by that time, so that in their eyes this can't possibly be the explanation. The Scriptures however, state otherwise:

In Col 1:5-6 Paul writes "the truth of the gospel which has come to you, as it has in all the world". And in Col 1:23 Paul continues with "the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven".

In Rom 10:18 Paul quotes Psalm 19 in regard to the preaching of the gospel: "Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the end of the world". In Rom 16:25-26 Paul speaks of the "gospel" that has been "made manifest .... to all nations".

Therefore, when God says "this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come", this shows that the New Covenant gospel went out (i.e began to go out) to all people, and then in the 70AD tribulation all things associated with the Old Covenant were destroyed, i.e. brought to an end.

The second point concerns the phrase "unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved" found in Matt 24:22, which follows Christ's warning about a coming "great tribulation". Many in our time believe this is speaking about everyone in the whole world.

The account in Luke, however, gives us the correct explanation. Luke 21:23 says "there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people". Verse 21 calls for those "who are in Judea" to "flee to the mountains" to avoid the coming distress. Obviously, therefore, "the land" is the land of Judea, and "this people" are the people of Judea, i.e. the Jews.

Seventh Seal: Seven major historical events in the timeline of Jerusalem

"And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Lk 21:24)

Rev 8:1 "And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour".

The seventh seal consists of seven trumpets, which are seven major events in Jerusalem's history. All of the first six seals were in the process of being fulfilled by the time the first trumpet of the seventh seal sounded.

See the page "THE HISTORICAL SEVENTH SEAL" for where Biblical history continues.

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