Prophecy – Part 64 – The seven Sealed Book, Revelation 24:1-14

Even though we are beginning to look at the seals being opened by Christ, we will continue our study of Matthew.  This will help us as we look to the future in the book of Revelation.

There are three subjects that Christ sets forth in Matthew 24:1-14 that still are future, but we will review them to help us in our study.

  1. The destruction of Jerusalem (v2)
  2. The Lord’s return (v. 3)
  3. The end of the world (v. 3)

NOTE:  The first four verses of Matthew 24 show the events that led Jesus to deal with the great prophecies.

  1. The disciples admire the temple’s magnificence and draw the attention of Christ to its beauty (v. 11). It was built of white marble plated with gold. The temple was a massive structure that could hold thousands of people (Acts 4:4). It was here that five thousand men were saved among a crowd which probably numbered many thousands more.

The temple had several porches such as Solomon’s Porch and the Royal Porch.  Each porch was supported with huge towering pillars, each one so large that it required three to four men  reaching arm to arm to reach around it.  The temple was one of the building wonders of the world.  The disciples apparently stood some place where the temple in all its magnificent beauty struck them with awe.  Why?  They wanted Christ to see the beautiful sight experience that this wonderful building brings to mankind who had created it.

This is the setting that Christ used to arouse the disciples interest in coming events.  He predicts the temple’s utter destruction (v. 2).   If you were one of the disciples with Christ in that setting, how would it have affected you?  Keep this in mind as Christ continues with prophecy, stating that as great as the building was it was going to be completely destroyed in the future, nothing would remain.

Christ’s description of the future aroused the disciples to ask TWO questions of the LORD.  (1)  When will the temple be destroyed and (2) what will be the sign of your return and of the end of the world (see also Luke 21:5-7).

Do not miss the fact that Christ warned His disciples that they must guard against being deceived (v. 4). This can mean one of several things:

  1. A person can be easily deceived when dealing with end-time prophecies or,
  2. A person can be easily deceived when facing the end-time events.
  3. Also, person can be deceived into thinking cataclysmic events are infallible signs that the end is at hand (v. 6, 14).
  4. This type of guessing can result in:
  • wild guesses,
  • universal predictions,
  • deceiving of others to satisfy one’s ego, or
  • discouragement of one’s faith when the end does not come.

It will help us in our study by noting the exact words of Christ as He says:

  • All these are the BEGINNING of sorrows” (v. 8).  The words “the beginning of sorrows” indicate that Christ is dealing with the “beginning” of a terrible period of trial for the believer (“you” v. 9).
  • He is not just referring to the normal trials that occur upon earth or the regular persecutions that are launched against believers over the centuries.
  • No doubt you would agree that world trouble and persecutions against God’s people have always existed, even from the beginning of time.
  • The great sorrow He now speaks about refers to some terrible period of time, still future, which is so terrible that it can be said to be the “the beginning of sorrows” or “woes” (v, 8).
  • This is to be a time which is to be distinguished from all other trouble that the world and believers have ever suffered throughout history.
  • Christ says, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation… stand in the holy place…then…flee…for THEN SHALL BE GREAT TRIBULATION, such as was not since the beginning of the world…” (Matthew 24:15-16, 21).
  • Really, there can be no question about this sign.  It launches the WORST PERIOD OF TRIBULATION that the world has ever seen. This sign points to a specific period of human history that is still future.
  • Some might ask what should this period be called? Perhaps the simplest term would be the best and easiest to understand.  So, shall we simply call it what the Scriptures do, the “great tribulation” (v. 21)?

Now note what Christ has said in the above verses.

“All these ARE the beginning of sorrows” (V. 8).

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation… stand in the holy place…then…flee into the mountains:  for then shall be GREAT TRIBULATION, such as was not since the beginning of the world…” (v. 15-16, 21, KJV).                                 

It would appear that Christ seems to be giving a list of signs, one of which is “the abomination of desolation.”  In verses 5-14 He gives nine signs, the ninth being world evangelism (v. 14).

NOTE: He closes the ninth sign with the words, “Then shall the end come” (v. 14).  But note in verse 15 how He seems to pick up the signs again, giving what seems to be those visible and terrible signs for which to watch.  Note His words, reading verses 14, 15 and 21 together:

“…then shall the end come.  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation…stand in the holy place…then…flee…for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world…” (v. 14-16, 21).

Is not Christ saying there is a difference between the signs that precede “the abomination” and the unparalleled trials that follow?  When the abomination of desolation stands in the holy place, the trials that follow are much, much worse — unparalleled in human history.

The abomination of desolation is the sign that launches the worst tribulations the world has ever known.  Just when this abomination will appear Christ does not say.  But His appearance is one of the ten signs that Christ gives and His appearance will signal the worst devastation ever known by the world.

A way to express what Christ is saying in these verses, which may help us as we seek to understand His words, is as follows.

  1. Christ is asked two questions by the disciples: WHEN shall the temple be destroyed, and WHAT shall be the SIGN of your coming and the end of the world?
  2. Christ answers by giving nine signs (v. 5-14). When He gives the ninth sign, WORLD EVANGELISM, He says, “and THEN THE END SHALL COME” (v. 14).
  3. Christ then says in essence, “But there is a tenth sign, a sign that you should see and for which you should watch for. And this tenth sign He discusses at some length.  He says: “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation…” (v. 15-28).
  4. It shall launch the worst tribulation the world has ever seen (v. 15-22).
  5. It shall cause a frantic search for the Messiah and false prophets, that is, for a great deliverer (v. 23-26).
  6. But know this:  the return of Christ will not be in an isolated place or done in secret (v. 26).
  7. His return will be as lighting: it shall be quick, stretching across the sky and visible to all (v. 27-28).
  8. Christ then says, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days” He shall return (v. 29-31).
  9. Many biblical scholars point out great similarities between what Christ says about the end time and sections of Revelation (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21, etc.).

There seems to be a similarity between the structure of what Christ says in Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation in dealing with the end time:

*The beginning of sorrows; preliminary sorrows, trouble and evil in society and nature; yet world evangelism continues (Matthew 24:5-14)

Corresponds to the Seven Seals (Rev. 6:1-17).

*The Great Tribulation: unparalleled…trials (Matthew 24:15-28)

…Corresponds to the Seventh Trumpet, the bowls and the beast (Revelation 8:1-13).

*The Son of man coming

Corresponds to The Final Triumph of Christ (Revelation 19:1-22:21).

Also there seems to be similarity between “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:5-14) and the Seals of Revelation 6:1-17).

The end of the world will not come all at once.  The future will be filled with wars, natural disasters, persecutions, and the claims of the false deliverers (false messiahs).

Further, at the very end there will be an increase and intensification of the signs.  But this is not all.  There is to be a terrible sign: the appearance of the rider on the white horse (The Antichrist, Revelation 6:2); “the abomination of desolation”; then desolating sacrilege” (RSV), “the man of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:3); the “little horn” (Daniel 7); the Antichrist.  This person will afflict the people of God beyond description.

Also, there seems to be a similarity between “the great tribulation” spoken of by Christ and the seven trumpets, the seven bowl judgments, and the beast covered by Revelation.

Further, others point to a great similarity between the beast (Antichrist) pictured time and again in Revelation and “the abomination of desolation” spoken of by Christ (see Matthew 24:1-31 and Revelation 11:7).

Much more could be looked into, to further our understanding of the future but we must now look at the white horse of Revelation 6:l-2 which we will do in our next study.

CHALLENGE

Please review this study and record at least two things that have impacted your thinking about Revelation.

Further, if you have not yet truly accepted Christ as your personal Savior consider John 3:16; Romans 10:9-13.  In Roman,s Paul adapts Moses farewell challenge from Deuteronomy 30:11-14 to apply to Christ.

Christ has provided our salvation through His incarnation (coming to earth) and resurrection (coming back from the dead).   In other words God’s salvation is right in front of us.  He will come to us wherever we are.  All we need to do is to respond and accept his free gift of salvation.

Further, consider Ephesians 2:8-9 as your think about your future now and in eternity.  God will bless you richly if you accept what His Son has done for you.