Our lives consist of and are measured by pivotal events and experiences that change our direction, our behavior. They can change our outlook on life in one way or another. Throughout history God has placed pivotal events upon humanity to shake us from the paradigms which allow us to justify our behavior, to define for ourselves what is good and evil. Some have developed a form of godliness but, whether knowing or unknowingly, deny the power and purpose of God as their Creator and Sustainer.
The Bible informs humanity of crucial pivotal events that will impact all the nations of the world shortly before the return of Christ. It is crucial to understand the pivotal events of God’s end-time prophecies, their timeline, and the results of them. It’s also important to understand that these events are necessary to bring a deceived mankind and all it has constructed to a standstill in order that some may finally become willing to listen, to perceive, to begin to understand and turn, so they might be healed spiritually.
Christ gave an outline of end time events leading up to His return when the disciples asked Him privately to tell them the sign of His return to earth and of the end of the age (Matthew 24:3-13). There are more details of these end time events outlined in the Book of Revelation which parallel Matthew 24.
The Book of Revelation describes Seven Seals which give an indication of what events lead up to and what events are included in the Day of the Lord. Revelation 6:1-8 describes the first four seals and Matthew 24:3-8 directly parallels and summarizes these four seals. The white horse of Revelation 6:2 parallels Matthew 24:4-5, which refers to the existence of false messiahs. The red horse of Revelation 6:3-4 is symbolic of the wars and rumor of wars in Matthew 24:6-7. And the black horse of Revelation 6:5-8 refers to the famines and the pestilences of Matthew 24:7.
Notice in Matthew 24:6, Christ says not to be troubled; that the end is not yet. Matthew 24:8 says it is just the beginning of sorrows. These four seals describe many distressful events that take place as man pursues his way of life. It began in the Garden of Eden and will continue to the very day Christ returns. Christ was explaining to His followers not to set expectations on dates based on world events.
Christ continued in Matthew 24 to elaborate on other events that would impact His disciples throughout time: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:9–13). See also the fifth seal in Revelation 6:9-11.
It is not until Matthew 24:14 that Christ gives His disciples the first indication of when the end is near: “And 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.” And God is the judge who decides when that preaching is complete.
The first solid indication of when the end will come is mentioned in Matthew 24:15-22: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. . . . For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”
The Bible Knowledge Commentary suggests that the establishment of the worship of a world dictator, the Antichrist, in the tribulation temple will make the temple abominable (and therefore desolate) by setting up in the temple an image of himself to be worshiped (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4). Such an event will be clearly recognizable by everyone.
There are many scriptures in the Bible that speak of a 3 1/2-year tribulation period called the “times of the gentiles” or “Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). During the period of tribulation: “they (the gentiles) will tread the holy city underfoot.” It will be for 42 months (a prophetic month is 30 days) and simultaneously, the two witnesses prophesy for 1,260 days (Revelation11:2-3). Another place where this time is mentioned is in Revelation 12:13-14, where God speaks of a portion of His people being protected in the wilderness for that same time period.
In Revelation 6:12-17 and Matthew 24:29, the sixth seal is described as heavenly signs that occur immediately after the tribulation. Yet, none of what we have covered gives details of the Day of the LORD. However, Matthew 24:30-31 gives a glimpse into the return of Christ:
”Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with the great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:30–31). In these two verses, Christ summarizes the Seventh Seal – the Day of the LORD (Revelation 8:1-9:21; 11:15-18). The Seventh Seal includes seven angels with seven trumpets. Each Trumpet blast signals a specific event coming upon the earth and upon any humanity who continue to resist Christ.
Through all the first Six Trumpets mankind is dealt a hard blow. Society is in ruins. Cosmocide is knocking at the door. Life has come down to kill or be killed. Humanity has brought itself to the brink of annihilation. “But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:20).
The “rest” still don’t understand that all that has happened is a direct result of their way of life. However, humanity will be without excuse because during the Tribulation and the Day of the LORD, God graciously places two witnesses in Jerusalem with power and supernatural protection as they reveal God’s ultimate purpose for humanity, eternal life for those who accept His way of peace as defined in the spiritual intent of His Laws, statues, and judgments. But some will continue to reject them and the God who created them (Revelation 11: 3-13).
Consequently, all that humanity has built to sustain itself in its rebellion against God is in shambles (Revelation 16:1-21). “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Revelation11:15). Of course, Christ and His army win every battle.
Then Christ and His angels will be surrounded by people who will die if their immediate physical needs are not met. God the Father through Christ and the resurrected saints – the Bride of Christ – will rebuild the earth and supply all the needs, both physical and spiritual for those who remain alive at His return:
“The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame. Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel (Jacob): I am the LORD your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame” (Joel 2:24-27).
“Many nations shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion the law shall go forth, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, And rebuke strong nations afar off; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, And no one shall make them afraid; For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken…. But we will walk in the name of the LORD our God Forever and ever” (Micah 4:2-5).
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:6–9).
This is good news for all humanity.