Matthew 24 Unlocks the Seven Seals

Matthew 24 Unlocks the Seven Seals

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The last book of the New Testament is sealed tight. The first book of the New Testament unlocks it.

The book of Revelation is mysterious. It is impossible to understand on its own, but God intended it to be that way until this end time. The seven seals of Revelation must be unlocked by looking elsewhere in the Bible: Matthew 24. We need to know about these seals because they lead step-by-step to the return of Jesus Christ.

“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” (Revelation 5:5). Christ has qualified to replace Satan on Earth’s throne by overcoming him in the titanic battle of the ages. Only Christ can unlock the seals.

The Olivet Prophecy in Matthew 24 is one of the longest single prophecies in the Bible. It is the most important prophecy that Christ ever revealed while on Earth. It is about the birth of a new age after an eruption of world crises. The seven seals represent (in order): false prophets, war, famine, pestilence, tribulation, heavenly signs and the seven trumpets that lead directly to Christ’s return. These events happen in rapid succession!

Religious Deception

“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer” (Revelation 6:1-2). At first glance, you might think this man is Jesus Christ. The main difference is the weapon: Christ comes with a sword, not a bow (Revelation 19:11-16). This false Christ has deceived the whole world—the religious and the nonreligious. He causes more destruction than the other six seals, and it’s all through deception.

“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? 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). Religious deception is the first sign Christ gives that His return is near. False ministers focus on the person of Christ; their “gospel” is on the man instead of the message.

War

“And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword” (Revelation 6:4). War is the second seal.

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet” (Matthew 24:6). War has been a constant throughout history, but the conflicts before Christ’s Second Coming will be 100 times worse than ever before! Nuclear bombs now make possible the extinction of all human life. Once a nuclear war starts, it can’t be stopped.

Famine and Pestilence

“And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine” (Revelation 6:5-6). Famine is the third seal.

“And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth” (verses 7-8). Pestilence, or epidemic disease, is the fourth seal.

“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” (Matthew 24:7). Famine and pestilence will unleash a worldwide death plague like we have never seen before.

“All these are the beginning of sorrows” (verse 8). The first four seals are bad, but it gets a lot worse!

Tribulation

“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (Revelation 6:9-11). Tribulation is the fifth seal.

The Great Tribulation is not the wrath of God. This 2½-year period before the Day of the Lord is Satan’s wrath. God’s own lukewarm people will be killed because they weren’t dedicated to Him and His message. They must sacrifice their lives to enter into the Family of God.

“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:9-12). The clear picture here is one of chaos and division inside God’s own Church. The vast majority of God’s poeple have fallen away in this end time (2 Thessalonians 2:2). Whether God’s people stay loyal or not, the world will hate them. Only the loyal remnant, however, will receive God’s protection. The majority of God’s people will suffer for losing their excitement about Christ’s return to solve mankind’s problems. Their love has waxed cold because of lawlessness.

One of the many obvious signs of the coming Great Tribulation is America’s staggering national debt. There is no end in sight to the massive debt accumulation. The borrower is slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7). America is the greatest borrower in history. It won’t be long before our creditors demand their money back.

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14). A man who delivered the one true gospel message to the world has already come and gone. The stage is now set for the rapid chain of events that leads to Christ’s return. That chain includes the abomination of desolation, or the European army surrounding Jerusalem (verse 15; Luke 21:20).

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22). We stand on the brink of nuclear annihilation. “Mankind has never been in this position before,” Winston Churchill said after World War ii.

“Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:36). God tells us to stay awake spiritually so we can escape disaster. We must keep up with world news so we can see prophecy fulfilled.

Heavenly Signs

“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind” (Revelation 6:12-13). Heavenly signs are 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). Imagine that! Complete darkness. What could be a more obvious sign of fulfilled prophecy?

“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come” (Joel 2:31). Here, God gives us the sequence of events: Great Tribulation (2½ years), heavenly signs, Day of the Lord (one year). All this will happen exactly as Jesus Christ foretold 2,000 years ago.

Seven Trumpets

“For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:17). This references the seventh seal: seven trumpets culminating in the return of Jesus Christ.

“And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:31). The seven trumpets make up the seventh seal—they involve the armies of this Earth fighting against Christ at His return. Christ will put down all rebellion. He is sick of the sin and lawlessness in all corners of this world, and He will finally deal forcibly with it.

“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). Our Savior will rule with a rod of iron and bring peace and joy to all people. Man could never achieve this future on his own.

Week in Review: The News That Matters in Germany, Iran, China, Russia, Israel and at Home

Week in Review: The News That Matters in Germany, Iran, China, Russia, Israel and at Home

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All you need to know about everything in the news this week

Get all the important news from June 4–10 by downloading the Trumpet Weekly. Click here to receive it by e-mail every week.

Highlights:

The Bilderberg meeting in Dresden

  • The Bilderberg Group was cofounded by two controversial figures: Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and Polish political adviser Józef Retinger.
  • Prince Bernhard, the former German prince of Lippe-Biesterfeld, was an SS Intelligence officer attached to the Nazis’ main industrial supporter, I.G. Farben. The prince was also a member of the Nazi Party until 1934, when he resigned to marry Princess Juliana, the future queen of the Netherlands. Retinger was thought to be an agent of the Vatican.
  • Prince Bernhard and Józef Retinger teamed up to found the Bilderberg Group primarily to drum up transatlantic support for the idea of a United States of Europe.
  • What is the Bilderberg agenda at the group’s 64th annual conference this week?
  • Moscow is violating New START Treaty

  • In 2010, Russia and the United States signed a treaty to reduce their nuclear arsenals. A bombshell report this week revealed that Russia is violating its part of the deal.
  • Critical components of Russia’s nuclear missiles were merely unbolted instead of severed completely. Inspectors could not verify if all of the missile caches marked for elimination actually were destroyed.
  • “Whether it’s Russian violations of the Open Skies Treaty, the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, or multiple violations of the [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] treaty, [the Obama] administration has proven singularly unconcerned with arms control compliance,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry told Washington Free Beacon.
  • “Never having been made to pay a price, why wouldn’t Putin conclude that violations of the New start Treaty would go unpunished as well?”
  • How Iran is using America’s $1.7 billion gift

  • It appears that United States taxpayers, as Bloomberg View’s Eli Lake noted, “are now funding both sides of the Middle East’s arms race.”
  • “The U.S. is deliberately subsidizing defense spending for allies like Egypt and Israel. Now the U.S. is inadvertently paying for some of Iran’s military expenditures as well.”
  • In January, the U.S. Treasury made a $1.7 billion settlement to Iran via the Islamic Republic’s central bank. In May, Iran’s Guardian Council asked its central bank to transfer $1.7 billion to its military.
  • Iran’s chess game

  • Caroline Glick wrote June 3: “Israel’s strategic environment will be determined in great part by the results of Iran’s actions in Iraq and Syria.”
  • “When isis is defeated in Anbar and in Raqqa in Syria, its forces are liable to turn west, to Jordan. … And if events in Iraq and Syria are any guide, where isis leads, Iran will follow.”
  • “The entire Middle East is one great board,” Glick concluded. “When a pawn moves in Gaza, it affects the queen in Tehran. And when a knight moves in Fallujah, it threatens the queen in Jerusalem.”
  • Other news:

  • Saudi Arabia is expanding its anti-Iran strategy beyond its allies in the Mideast. Reuters reported on Sunday that the Saudi kingdom is seeking more anti-Iran allies from countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  • Pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is mounting both from within and without. “Across the Atlantic,” wrote United Press International, “the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday voted 501-94 in favor of a resolution calling for the Venezuelan government to respect the ‘legal mechanisms recognized in the constitution’ that seek to recall Maduro.”
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    Matthew 24 Unlocks the Seven Seals

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    In Matthew 24, Christ unlocks the meaning of the seals of Revelation. Do you understand the meaning of those seven seals?

    Scoffers in the Last Days

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    Listen to the Trumpet Daily live each day at 7:00 am (CST) on Trumpet Radio.

    Why do so many professing Christians today scoff at the idea of Jesus Christ supernaturally intervening in the affairs of this world?

    One reason is the influence of science—specifically the theory of evolution—on mainstream churches. Most theologians today have been educated at top secular universities—at schools that reject the authority of God’s Word and that rely solely on human reasoning. And so scholars today, including many Bible scholars, have come to view the Bible as literature that might have some historical value, but not as the infallible Word of God.

    Another reason traditional Christians reject the many prophecies about God’s soon-coming Kingdom is because of the many false predictions throughout history. Because of these failures, many people, over time, have developed a skeptical, cynical attitude toward Bible prophecy. They scoff at the prophecies of God.

    This spirit of scoffing, as discussed on this episode of the Trumpet Daily, is actually a fulfillment of several Bible prophecies about the latter days.

    Nehemiah and the Six Day War

    Nehemiah and the Six Day War

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    Listen to the Trumpet Daily radio program that aired on June 10, 2016.

    In just six days in 1967, the nation of Israel beat back three attacking Arab armies, gaining the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights and the West Bank, including all of Jerusalem. Many commentators and soldiers at the time acknowledged God’s miraculous intervention in the war. And yet, 49 years later this week, how many remember God’s help? In today’s program, Jerusalem correspondent Brent Nagtegaal looks back to the Six Day War and then further to the time of Nehemiah to show how and why God once helped the Jews gain victories.

    Israel’s Miracle Victory

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    Hiroshima and America’s Dangerous Amnesia

    Hiroshima and America’s Dangerous Amnesia

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    How President Obama’s recent visit to Hiroshima makes the world more dangerous

    United States President Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave what he called a “wholehearted welcome” to Mr. Obama’s May 27 visit to the memorial of the world’s first atomic bomb attack, in what many view as another “apology tour.”

    “Mr. Obama’s predecessors had good reasons to avoid Hiroshima,” the New York Times wrote May 25. “None wanted to be seen by American voters as apologizing for a decision that many historians even today believe, on balance, saved lives.”

    Mr. Obama stayed away from explicit statements like, I’m sorry the U.S. bombed Hiroshima. But the tone of the speech was certainly apologetic—saying, for example, that the bombing shows “[h]ow easily we learn to justify violence in the name of some higher cause.”

    Mr. Obama and those like him have forgotten, or are ignoring, the key facts surrounding America’s use of the atomic bomb. This historical amnesia has serious implications.

    In Japan We Trust

    In all of Mr. Obama’s almost-apologies, the fact that Japan started the war was ignored. Too many today do not want to assign blame. Each side in a war is considered equally immoral. Wars are written off as either the fault of both sides, or accidents.

    In Daniel Unlocks Revelation, my father wrote about one commentator who blamed World War i on “bloody events.” My father wrote, “To say that the war started because the powers were ‘caught in the webs of their alliances’ is to say that nobody was at fault! It just happened—nobody could help it; nobody could stop it—you can’t blame Germany, or Austria, or Britain, or France, or Russia.” Chaos ensues when men are unwilling to assign blame correctly.

    A complete view of this history demonstrates the importance of a strong America that is willing to quickly stand up to aggressive powers. But if you generalize it so much that the only lesson you gain from Hiroshima is that war is a bad thing and must be avoided at all costs, then you encourage the kind of weakness that caused World War ii in the first place.

    Who is responsible for the millions of deaths in the war in the Pacific? “The road to Hiroshima and the massive loss of life in the Pacific was paved by unprovoked Japanese aggression at Pearl Harbor,” Victor Davis Hanson wrote in “President Obama Is Visiting Hiroshima. Why Not Pearl Harbor?” “Americans and their president should remember the lessons of that surprise attack 75 years ago this year,” he added.

    Japan bombed America into the war—sensing victory, sensing weakness. George Freidman said bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a moral necessity. At the time, it was common knowledge that it would take two atomic bombings to force the Japanese to surrender and end a brutal war that had been raging, in the case of Japan, since its invasion of China in 1931. “For most of the world, the end of World War ii led to jubilation.” This was generally understood in 1945, but today, politicians and historians water down the truth about this history. They obscure the blame.

    Notice what President Obama said in his 2009 Prague speech: “[A]s a nuclear power, as the only nuclear power to have used the nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it, we can start it. So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

    He restated that again in Japan two weeks ago—and he makes these statements about disarming America even as Japan is in the midst of a massive military buildup! Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, imposed by the U.S. because Japan was such a killing machine, says, “land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.”

    Mr. Obama’s visit to Hiroshima is broadly interpreted as an endorsement of Abe’s campaign to reinterpret that Constitution and lead Japan away from its guilty past and into the world arena of global conflict. America’s pacifism is awakening the samurai. In Russia and China in Prophecy, Chapter 5 discusses “Japan’s Place in the Future.” It shows how Washington is, in fact, pushing for Japan to remilitarize and “to shoulder some of the burden of stabilizing global conflicts.” Fear of U.S. inaction coupled with fear of increasing Chinese and North Korean aggression is motivating Japan to once again become a military power.

    The kings of the east are becoming restless. All the while, America’s president is apologizing for ending the war in the Pacific and actually saving American and Japanese lives.

    China Remembers

    President Obama’s Hiroshima apology didn’t sit well with China. The Chinese people suffered enormously in World War ii. China lost approximately 14 million people because of the bloodthirsty conquests of Imperial Japan. Friedman estimated 100,000 deaths a month would be a conservative figure. Friedman wrote:

    It is forgotten that Japan continued to occupy vast areas of China, administering it with brutality at least equal to the Nazis. Critics of Hiroshima tend not to remember the ongoing war in China, and that with each month the war continued, the Japanese killed more Chinese citizens. They assume that waiting for Japan to capitulate did not have a human cost. From the standpoint of the Chinese, every day the war went on cost thousands of Chinese lives. … Around 140,000 Japanese may have died at Hiroshima, but at least the equivalent in Chinese lives were saved as a result. Critics of Hiroshima leave China out of the equation, which they must do in order to make their case.

    China has not forgotten the atrocities that Imperial Japan brought on millions of Chinese civilians. In response to President Obama’s Hiroshima visit, “[t]he Chinese government suggested on Friday that the atrocities committed by Japan on Chinese soil during World War ii deserved more attention than the bombing of Hiroshima,” the New York Times reported.

    Chinese state news agency Xinhua wrote May 27 that Japan had a “covert agenda” in hosting President Obama in Hiroshima. “The Japanese government is trying to use the historic visit to highlight Japan’s image of a ‘war victim’ while downplaying its role as an aggressor in World War ii,” Xinhua wrote.

    “No matter what wishful thinking Washington and Tokyo are engaging in, Obama’s Hiroshima visit should not be used as an occasion to whitewash Japan’s atrocities,” it concluded. Mr. Obama’s visit further confirms to China that the U.S. no longer has the will to stand up to an aggressive power the way it once did. This U.S. weakness, together with Beijing’s wariness of Japan, is fueling a massive military expansion in China.

    As the United States apologizes for its past and reduces is military strength and influence worldwide, the rest of the world is frantically preparing for the next round of world war!

    Is the World Really Getting Safer?

    Mr. Obama did get one thing right in his Hiroshima speech. He spoke of mankind’s “core contradiction”—the fact that scientific advancement has not enabled man to bring peace and safety to this world. It’s actually made the world much more dangerous! Herbert W. Armstrong often referred to this same paradox.

    Almost 71 years ago, mankind entered into the atomic age. U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower said in his first inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1953, “Science seems ready to confer upon us, as its final gift, the power to erase human life from this planet.” For this reason, Eisenhower said, there needs to be a change in the “heart” of man.

    In his farewell address to Congress in 1951, Gen. Douglas MacArthur said mankind’s problem is basically theological. We need to improve our character, MacArthur said. This is what leaders of old warned after we entered into the new age.

    In his Hiroshima speech, President Obama did say that our modern advances needed to be accompanied by a “moral revolution.” Then he proceeded to speak of a world that is getting better and better—as if we are becoming more upright and moral with each passing day!

    God says that in the latter days evil men and seducers would wax “worse and worse” (2 Timothy 3:13).

    Just look at the many negotiations, institutions, treaties and peace talks we have had since the close of World War ii. And yet nations today still war against one another—and they are arming themselves for much bigger wars! China’s military buildup is alarming. Germany is calling for a European army. Pakistan is on the loose. And now you have Iran, the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism, right on the cusp of becoming a nuclear threshold state.

    In August 1945, only one nation had the bomb. Today, nine countries control 16,000 nuclear weapons. And many of these bombs are thousands of times more powerful than what America dropped on Japan 70 years ago. This is as good a time as any—seven decades after Hiroshima—to remember just how horrific nuclear weapons really are. And they will be used again—your Bible says so—and it will be far worse than what happened at the end of World War ii.

    The war in the Pacific was so horrific that the world was in jubilation in August 1945—not because atomic bombs killed 100,000 people, but because it finally brought that nightmare to an end. The world on Aug. 9, 1945, was cheering the end of what had been the worst war of human history.

    Jesus Christ said that the world war just before His return to this Earth would be so bad, if not for God’s intervention, man would destroy himself. That wouldn’t even be possible were it not for nuclear weapons. Can’t we see where this is heading? The last world war ended with the use of two atomic bombs. Think about a world war that starts with nuclear bombs. This is exactly what Jesus Christ described in Matthew 24.

    “Is the crowning achievement of technology and science and massive governmental production going to be the Frankenstein that will destroy us all and blot out all humanity?” Herbert Armstrong asked in 1983. “World leaders are bewildered,” he continued. “I talk to many of them. Perhaps I’ve talked to more in their own home offices than any other man alive recently. They’re absolutely helpless. They have no solutions. They are bewildered. They don’t know how to face the future. Why?”

    As technology gets better and better, evil men wax worse and worse. Is this really progress?

    In insisting that the world is better today than ever before, that it is improving, Mr. Obama overlooks the most important lessons from Hiroshima. Mankind now has the power to obliterate every human being on Earth!

    It’s important for us to understand that God is allowing all of this to happen so that mankind will consider his ways and turn to God.