Matthew 24

and the

7 Seals of Revelation



John Hoole – July 8, 2012




A couple months ago, I taught a lesson on the last trip Jesus makes from Galilee to Jerusalem before His crucifixion.  In Matthew’s account, the trip begins in chapter 16, while Jesus and his disciples were up north in Caesarea Philippi.  In the chapters that follow, we accompany Jesus and the disciples until they reach Jerusalem.  This occurs in Matthew 21, in what we call “The Triumphal Entry.”  You can find Luke’s account in chapter 19 of his Gospel.  Let’s read two verses from Luke’s account.


Luke 19:41-42 NKJV


41     Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,

42     saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.


Here, we find Jesus weeping over Jerusalem.  He suggests that its leaders should have been aware of the time of His coming.  They were not, and I want you to notices the last phrase in verse 42.  Because they were not aware as they should have been, Jesus says to them that these things are now hidden from their eyes.  What they could have known before this moment, they will not now understand.


You have heard me say that one of the “mysteries” of the New Testament, something never alluded to in the Old Testament, is what Paul writes in Romans 11:25 about Israel’s temporary and partial blindness.  I believe that is what Jesus was talking about in Luke 19.  The truths about the coming of their Messiah, the Jews would now no longer fully grasp.


In less than a week Jesus will be crucified.  But prior to the crucifixion, the Gospels record a number of other happenings in Jerusalem.  One of those takes place when Jesus and His disciples were leaving the Temple area and heading east to the Mount of Olives.  Matthew 24:1 tells us that as they were leaving, the disciples point out the magnificence of the temple building.


Jesus responds with a statement that certainly they did not expect to hear.


Matthew 24:2 NKJV


2       And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down."


The next verse says that Jesus sits down on the Mount of Olives, and the disciples come up to Him asking Him three questions.


Matthew 24:3 NKJV


3       Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"


The three questions are:


         •  When will these things be?


         •  What will be the sign of Your coming?


         •  What will be the sign of the end of the age?


What follows, through the rest of chapter 24 and all of chapter 25 is the longest prophetic sermon or teaching given by Jesus recorded in the Bible.  Because of where this teaching took place, this is called the Olivet Discourse.


Having brought you thus far in these days just prior to Christ’s crucifixion, I need to once again mention that prophecy about Israel and the Church need to be kept separate.  Prophecy about Israel is not prophecy about the Church.  This Olivet Discourse presents a keen object lesson to this fact.  Some find and interpret details in these prophecies in it as pertaining to the Church.  In fact, none of them do.


Jesus is speaking about the end of the beautiful temple that was standing there as well as giving information about end-time Israel.  There is so much information about the end-times in this discourse, it   is impossible to cover in one lesson.  So, today, I want to discuss a couple of details found in Matthew 24.


To start, I want to show the close relationship between Matthew 24 and Revelation 6.  There appears to be a remarkable similarity between these two passages.  As we do, remember that in both cases it is Jesus who describing what will take place in the last days.


I will be discussing Matthew 24 and Revelation 6, but on the chart, you will also see Mark’s and Luke’s account of the Olivet Discourse.


Revelation 6:1-2 NKJV


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.


Let me make a couple of statements for those who may not have been with us during earlier lessons.  In the Book of Revelation, the future 7-year Tribulation begins with these verses.  Chapters 6 through part of chapter 19 gives many details of this period.


In verse 1, we are introduced to the first of the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”  The horse upon which he is riding is white.  While there are some who would take this rider as being Christ, a more literal interpretation would identify him as the coming Antichrist.  Christ also rides a white horse when He arrives on the scene, but that does not happen until Revelation 19.


The Antichrist, like the dragon – Satan – who gives him power, and who counterfeits the things of God, is seen here counterfeiting Christ by riding on a white horse.  This “prince that will come,” as Daniel describes him in Daniel 24:26, is identified as the ruler of the world during the Tribulation.  And he will deceive many Jews into believing he is their Messiah.


This is just what Jesus had told the Jew after they had rejected Him.


John 5:43 NKJV


43     I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.


Now, let’s look at Matthew 24.  What is the first thing mentions when answering the disciples’ questions?


Matthew 24:3-5 NKJV


3       Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"

4       And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you.

5       For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.


Christ repeats this warning in verse 11, saying “many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.”


So what we have here is the correlation of the first item mention in both accounts.  Deception by false Christs, false Messiahs will occur at the outset of the Tribulation


Second Comparison


Let’s continue reading in Matthew 24, beginning at verse 6.


Matthew 24:6-7a NKJV


6       And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7       For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. …


Now let’s turn to Revelation six and look at the account of the second horse and rider.


Revelation 6:3-4 NKJV


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, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.


The rider on the red horse correlates to what Matthew writes about “wars and rumors of war.”  This rider takes peace from the earth.  As you read through the Tribulation passages of Revelation, it becomes obvious that war occupies a large place during this period.  The greatest of them – Armageddon – will reach its climax at the coming of Christ.


Third Comparison


A moment ago, I read Matthew 24:7, but only read through the first phrase which says, “nations will rise against, and kingdom against kingdom.”  There are additional details in this verse following that first phrase.


The next phrase in verse 7 reads: “And there will be famines.”  Famine is an inevitable result of war.  The wars will cause incredible devastation to the world’s ecology and food production.  The result will be severe shortages.


Now let’s look at the account of the next horse and rider in Revelation 6.


Revelation 6:5-6 NKJV


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."


Following the red horse and its rider causing war, we find the black horse and rider representing famine.  The food production is rationed out at high prices.  The word “denarius” is used here because back then it represented a day’s wages.  It will take a day’s wages to buy a quart of wheat or three quarts of barley.


Fourth Comparison


Revelation 6:7-8 NAS


7       When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, "Come."

8       I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.


This horse is really an unearthly color.  It is described as “pale” in the NKJV, and as “ashen” in the New American Standard.  The Greek word used literally means “pale green,” like young vegetation.  The same word is used to speak of the color of grass in Mark 6:39It is also used to speak of the grass and vegetation in Revelation 8:7 & 9:4.  In the context of the fourth seal, it is a ghastly sight.  The rider is pictures as Death, and Hades, the abode of the dead, follows.


The horseman on the fourth horse consummates what was mentioned in previous horsemen.  Death is said to occur because of sword and famine, which was the activity of the previous two horses and their riders.  But here, we have, in addition to the previous, some additional ways death occurs.  The first mentioned is “pestilence.”


Now look at Matthew 24:7 (NKJV) again.


         For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,…


The NIV uses the word “plagues” instead of pestilences.  The NAS renders it the same as the NKJV, as “pestilences.”  So, once more we find a correlation between Rev. 6 and Matt. 24.


Fifth Comparison


We have come to the end of the four horsemen, but Revelation 6 is not finished with its descriptions.  So we continue with the fifth seal.


Revelation 6:9-11 NKJV


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?"

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.


The revelation we are given in the 5th seal shows very clearly the difficulty one will have in declaring one’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Martyrdom of believers during the Tribulation will be as common as it is uncommon in our country today.  Thousands will be martyred, sealing their testimony with their own blood.  Those who trust in Christ in that day will be forced to stand the acid test of being “faithful unto death.”  We find a similar description given in Matthew 24.


Matthew 24:9-10 NKJV


9       Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.

10     And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.


Since the focus of the Olivet Discourse is Jerusalem centered, most likely Jesus has in view Jewish persecution.  However, there is no doubt that Christians of all stripes will receive similar harsh treatment during the Tribulation.


Sixth Comparison


Let’s now look at the sixth seal.


Revelation 6:12 NKJV


12     I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake;…


Here, and in the verses that follow, we are presented with an array of cosmic phenomena.  But in this comparison, I want to focus only on the first thing mentioned – Earthquake.  And this is also mentioned by Christ in Matthew 24.  But we must return to verse 7.


Matthew 24:7 NKJV


7       For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.


So;, once again we find a correlation between Matthew 24 and Revelation 6.


Seventh Comparison


A moment ago, we read Revelation 6:12.  The first thing mentioned in the sixth seal was the earthquake.  But following, it also mentioned some cosmic activity in the heavens.  Let’s read it again, but add the next two verses as well.


Revelation 6:12-14 NKJV


12     I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.

13     And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.

14     Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.


As you read through the book of Revelation, there are several occurrences where such language is used.  Matthew 24 does not include this activity in his account of the Olivet Discourse.  But, we do find it in Luke’s account.


Luke 21:11 NKJV


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


I find the way it is translated in The Message to be interesting.  It reads:  “You will think at times the very sky is falling.”


There appears to be a large correlation between what we find Christ saying in the Olivet discourse in the Gospels and Revelation 6.