Where We Are on Jesus’s Timetable of Prophecy
The book of Revelation is the most misunderstood book in the Bible. But it was revealed by God the Father “to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass” (Revelation 1:1). The Greek word for Revelation is apocalypse—which means a revealing, an uncovering or disclosure, to enlighten or give light! God actually wants Revelation to reveal and enlighten us about events that are about to happen!
However, we can only comprehend this prophecy if God opens our minds to it—and He only performs that miracle for “babes,” or people with childlike, humble, teachable minds (e.g. Matthew 11:25). Is God able to reveal His truth to you?
The greatest gift on Earth is being able to understand your Bible. It is a living book, and fulfilled prophecy is irrefutable proof that God exists. God lives, and He has a lot to tell us about what is coming.
In Revelation 5, we see depicted a book in God’s hand that is sealed with seven seals. No one is able to unseal that book and make its meaning plain except “the Lion of the tribe of Judah”—Jesus Christ! No man can interpret God’s revelation. No one but Christ can reveal the meaning of the prophecies in this most important book of prophecy in the Bible.
In the next chapter, Christ opens the first six of the seven seals of this book one at a time. In each case, that unsealing introduces a momentous end-time event that will occur in the time leading up to the greatest event of all: the Second Coming! However, these prophetic events are all described in symbol. These symbols have confused readers ever since the Apostle John recorded them in the first century a.d.
An all-important key to understanding these prophecies lies in recognizing that Christ alone can explain them. So we must look elsewhere in Scripture to find where He explained the meaning of these symbols. Thankfully, Christ did explain them, in plain language! He gave us the key to the book of Revelation. He described precisely the events that would occur just before His return to Earth—in a prophecy He gave directly to His disciples. It is called the Olivet prophecy, recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21.
Within that explanation about these seals, Christ made an important digression with tremendous prophetic significance.
The Seven Seals
Let’s quickly look at the seven seals in Revelation. The first four seals are popularly called “the four horsemen of the apocalypse” (Revelation 6:1-8). Jesus Christ disclosed the meaning of these mysterious horsemen in Matthew 24:4-8.
The first seal is a white horse whose rider has a bow (Revelation 6:1-2). This first seal is an imitation of Jesus Christ—false religion. The second seal is a red horse. This represents wars and killing people in this end time (verses 3-4). The third seal is a black horse, picturing famine (verses 5-6). The fourth seal is a pale horse; it’s about pestilence, disease and suffering (verses 7-8). If you want a thorough breakdown of how this prophecy is already being fulfilled in our day, request a free copy of our booklet The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Continuing in Revelation, verses 9 through 11 describe the fifth seal, or the Great Tribulation, the worst time of suffering ever on Earth. The sixth seal is the heavenly signs (verses 12-16). God will give these signs to shake this world into realizing that He does exist!
The last seal is about the coming Day of the Lord (verse 17). Revelation 6 describes the first six seals, and then the rest of the chapters of Revelation apply to the seventh seal, which involves seven trumpets. (You can request a free copy of my booklet Unveiled at Last: The Royal Book of Revelation for more information.)
If you follow Christ’s explanation of these seals in Matthew 24, you notice something. After Jesus explained the first four seals, He digressed away from the main subject of the end time—the time just before His Second Coming. A digression is just temporarily turning from your subject matter to something else. Instead of continuing with the end-time prophecy about the fifth seal—which is the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21-22; Revelation 6:9-11)—He stopped and began speaking about what Jerusalem could expect in a.d. 70—just a few decades into the future.
Why would He do that? Christ used it to teach us an important lesson.
A Peace Deal That Will Lead to War
This is one of the main digressions in the Bible. It is a digression, yet it is still part of the seven seals of Revelation. There is a lesson in what happened to Jerusalem in a.d. 70 that we need to learn, and it tells you specifically what is happening in this end time. I believe this is one of the most precise prophecies in the Bible to show us what is happening on Earth right now!
Recently, the U.S. and the Western world made a nuclear deal with Iran that is supposed to slow down Iran’s nuclear program. But it isn’t going to do that. Both of America’s political parties are very weak against Iran in spite of the fact that Iran has lied and cheated in every agreement it has made with the United Nations—more than 20 times! Now this latest deal is somehow supposed to be the one that will bring peace. But if you understand Christ’s digression in Matthew 24, you realize it’s going to do the exact opposite: It is going to lead to war!
We have already experienced two world wars, but the Bible teaches in many places that there is coming a third world war. Iran is prophesied to set the stage for World War iii, and you can prove that from your own Bible! Yet people think that somehow a deal with Iran will bring peace. They used the same approach in the 1930s against Adolf Hitler and Germany, and it produced WAR! That’s a lesson we ought to have learned from World War ii in the 1930s, but as Winston Churchill said, we have thrown all of those lessons away.
Events occurring right now are leading directly to the pinnacle of Bible prophecy in this end time. Events are moving very fast, and there is nothing we can do to slow them down. The drama is truly outstanding, and it all ends with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. How exciting!
This Matthew 24 digression is about right now, today! It even ties to this Iranian nuclear deal and shows us where it will soon lead! Christ laid out these prophecies so we could understand. He is speaking to any individual who will pay attention to world events. Anyone with common sense is concerned about what is happening in this world. Christ’s digression shows how it concerns you in a very direct way, which you couldn’t even imagine if you didn’t understand Bible prophecy.
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world [or age]? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:3-5). That is speaking of the first seal, or the first horseman of the apocalypse.
Once one of these seals opens, events continue right down to the Second Coming of Christ. Verse 6 talks about “wars and rumours of wars”; that is the second seal. In verse 7, Christ spoke about famines, which is the third seal, followed by pestilences, the fourth seal. He then said, “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (verse 8). So you have four things here: false Christianity, wars, famine and pestilence. This is all about our time.
After Christ talked about the beginning of sorrows, then He digressed to take us to a.d. 70.
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)” (verse 15).
Take special note! This is a specific reference to what was to happen in a.d.
This history contains a lesson God wants us to grasp. The way Jerusalem was destroyed is very revealing for us today because it was a type and a forerunner of what is going to happen in this end time! We are getting extremely close to that time.
The destruction of Jerusalem anciently will happen on a massive scale to three nations of Israel in this end time (as we explain in our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy). The nightmare of a.d. 70 will happen again, but it’s going to be far worse in this end time.
This leads right into what Christ described in the fifth seal. It is about weapons of mass destruction and nuclear warfare. That is what the Great Tribulation is all about: It is a nuclear tribulation—a time when no living creatures would survive if God didn’t intervene! (verses 21-22).
God wants us to avoid that suffering and be protected from it. Anciently, just before Jerusalem was destroyed, God’s people had to be taken to a place of protection. Once again, God is going to have to protect His people. Just as there was an abomination that stood in the holy place anciently, another abomination in this end time will stand in the holy place. This is a sign for God’s people to flee, just as it was in a.d. 70.
Luke 21:20 explains what this abomination is: European armies surrounding Jerusalem. The Roman army that surrounded Jerusalem anciently was actually an ancestor to the Holy Roman Empire now rising up before our eyes! (You can read more about this in our free booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.) When those modern armies encircle the Holy City, it truly will be an abomination. But it is actually only a type of what is happening to all of the nations of Israel!
Putting this prophecy together with other prophecies gives us a more complete picture. When these armies surround Jerusalem, do you know who they have just defeated? Iran—the king of the south! (Daniel 11:40).
We need to see the connection between this prophecy and the nuclear deal with Iran! This is the world’s number one terrorist-sponsoring nation—it exports terrorism around the globe. All those terrorist attacks are acts of war, but the West is too weak to deal with them. Our leaders act like we can negotiate and make a deal with Iran’s leaders, even as they lie and break every promise they make about their nuclear program. If you think Iran is belligerent now, imagine what it will be like when it gets nuclear weapons! Iran’s radical leaders have some of the most bizarre religious beliefs of anybody on Earth. Even most Arabs reject what they teach about their version of the Messiah coming: that the more violence and killing there is, the quicker he will return. No nation on Earth that has nuclear bombs thinks like that!
When you think about the nuclear bombs in that fifth seal, you had better think about Iran!
If you look at this passage of Scripture closely, and you understand duality, you can see a tiny time frame of where we are in Bible prophecy.
Matthew 24 is the most important prophecy Jesus gave while He was on this Earth. He gave this so you could recognize events that are leading up to the Great Tribulation and know what you need to do to be protected by the great God. That’s how important this is! Nothing could be more important at this time!
A Pushy Nation
“And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him [Iran pushes all the time with its exported terrorism]: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over” (Daniel 11:40). This prophecy is about Iran versus Germany (which we prove in our free booklet The King of the South). This German-led European power enters Jerusalem (verse 41). That European army in Jerusalem is what Christ referred to as the abomination of desolation that Daniel talked about (verse 31).
During the 1930s, Hitler kept making more and more demands—and Britain, under Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, kept making more and more concessions. It kept surrendering to Hitler in that sense, and that emboldened him all the more. To their shame, the British went so far as to pressure Czechoslovakia to give the Sudetenland to Germany, and Chamberlain came back with a piece of paper, shouting, “Peace for our time!” Almost immediately after, Germany decided it wanted the rest of Czechoslovakia. Then Hitler stormed into Poland, and within months, World War ii began.
After the recent nuclear deal, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said, The West surrendered to us. We got what we wanted! Those crippling sanctions were taken away! And now we can storm ahead with our nuclear program. That is what the Iranians are saying. This nuclear deal will only speed up the process!
That is just what Christ was talking about! That is why He digressed: to let us know what we are really dealing with in this end time!
Before World War ii, almost all the media, politicians and educators opposed Winston Churchill when he warned that Britain’s concessions would hasten war! He said that only standing up to Hitler would stop it! The same is true with Iran today, but the leaders of America and Britain don’t believe that—just as they didn’t believe Winston Churchill’s warning about Germany in the 1930s.
At the end of the war, Churchill said that something much worse was coming upon the world, and that we had better learn a lesson. He wrote in his book The Second World War (the best history of World War ii) that we did not learn the lesson. He discussed the follies and idiocy of many of the West’s policies and how they caused World War ii. That is the second seal: wars and rumors of wars. After the two world wars, we have had rumors and rumors and rumors of war. War is often in the news.
The Iranians are going to push and keep pushing. That is their nature! Their pushing is going to spark a war. They’re going to push at Germany, and then Germany will conquer them. Then Germany will proceed from there to start World War iii, just like it started World Wars i and ii. That is what your Bible says. That is where this nuclear deal with Iran is leading!
How It All Ends
Notice the sixth seal: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken” (Matthew 24:29). God is going to shake the heavens! He’s going to awaken this world to His existence, and to His tremendous power! He says the nations are only a drop in a bucket to Him! Who believes in that God?
But then see the wonderful outcome at the conclusion of the seventh seal: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (verse 30). Could anything be more wonderful, thrilling and inspiring?
God warns us how events are building toward tremendous suffering, which is coming upon this world because of our sins! But God wants to protect any individual who will turn to Him. Most are not turning to Him, but they are not lost spiritually. God is going to save most of the people in this world—even though, in the short term, they are going to have to suffer first!
Jesus Christ is going to return, and He is preparing for that event even today. You can see events building to His Second Coming. What could be more wonderful? Christ is going to come back to rule with a rod of iron. He’s going to teach His way of life and stop all this madness and suffering, and give mankind the peace and abundance that we all desire.