As usual, after writing my most recent Blog post, I look through it again for areas that might need broken down and expanded upon more. That, of course is where the label of many of my smaller blogs come from: “Breakdowns”. My last blog, however, you probably noticed, stuck out like a sore thumb. After years of contemplating about writing it, all the pieces finally came together, as well as the patience and motivation to do so… and there were a LOT of pieces! So much that the blog, “Terms and Conditions” ended up being over twice the size of any other Journal article I have written on this blog. And as thorough as it appears, I concluded in saying that there is much more that could be said on the matter. Even that was an understatement.
I knew automatically what portion of the Journal I wanted to break down, and as I started writing, I realized soon that this could never be as concise as a normal Breakdown. Hence, the new name of this blog; not being a breakdown, but “Terms and Conditions part 2”!
The primary topic of Part 2 is addressing the question about Matthew 24. I have quoted myself from Part 1 below:
“Matthew 24, (which many try to suggest is merely talking about Jews) demonstrates a parallel to Revelation 6 and 7 in this regard.”
The Pre-tribulationist view on Matthew 24 suggests that the events of this passage are not talking about the rapture, but rather, the events at Armageddon seen in Revelation 19:11-21. I believe that I gave a good defense for why Matthew 24 better lines up with the events of the great persecution and the events of the 4 horsemen just prior to the rapture, but there is more that could be said on the matter. Below is that passage in Revelation. We will use that for a frame of reference on what we are talking about, as we begin. I encourage you to have two Bibles open simultaneously if you can. Otherwise, keep a tab on Matthew 24 so that you can flip back and forth and see these passages side by side.
And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many crowns; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written: “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great feast of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, both free and slaves, and small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse, and against His army. – Revelation 19:11-21
Lets first talk about what we do not see in Matthew 24.
- Armies of Heaven, clothed in white, following Jesus.
This is truly going to be an amazing sight! Imagine seeing Christ adorned in white, upon a beautiful, strong white horse appearing in the sky. Imagine seeing his accompaniment of the redeemed saints throughout all time lining the sky with their immense presence! How magnificent! How breathtaking! Why did Jesus not mention any of that when the disciples asked, “What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” (Mat. 24:30) That is a HUGE sign! Or, that’s because Jesus isn’t talking about his entry to the battle of Armageddon. Let me also add, maybe its because Jesus’ desire for them is to be caught up with him BEFORE the wrath, not somehow encourage them to go through the Wrath of God to see this. Never in the Bible do we see Jesus advocating that the Jews should just casually stroll through the Wrath of God because THEIR hope is only in Christ’s appearance afterward. Never do we see that! Christ and the Apostles encouraged them with the hope of his return to gather the elect via rapture and ESCAPE the Wrath of God. Once again, I believe the confusion on this comes from the misinterpretation of the word, “tribulation” in Matthew 24. As we well established in the first post, it does not mean wrath. The Greek is very clear that it means persecution. So, immediately after the persecution of those days, “…at last, the sign of the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens…” alone, without a host of Heaven’s armies, to gather his elect before God’s wrath is poured out. Significant detail missed. And significantly inconsistent and dangerous implications if this was not talking about the rapture.
Christ goes on after verse 30 in Matthew to talk about what happens next. There is certainly no talk of war taking place. It says in verse 31 that he will “send out his angels with a mighty blast of a trumpet to gather his elect from all over the world.” Again, there is a significant detail missing. We will have a scene even greater than the Avengers Endgame final battle, where the forces of evil are lined up against all the forces of good throughout all time. It will be Jesus and his army stretching across the sky vs the Antichrist, his subordinate kings and all their armies facing one another. Note that Matthew also mentions that there will be deep mourning among the people. That is not the scene we see here in Revelation. We see blind, bold arrogance in the face of the enemies. They literally face the King of Kings in rebellion and opposition by means of direct all out war! This is not the scene we see in Matthew.
So, what do we see in Matthew 24?
- False claims of Messiah (v4-5)
- Nation vs nation (v7)
- famines (v7)
- More to come (v8)
- Apostasy (v9-10)
- False prophets (v11)
- Abomination of desolation (v15)
- Great Persecution that will be shortened for the elects sake (v21-22)
- The Sun and moon darkened/stars falling from sky/powers of heaven shake. (v29)
- Mourning upon all the people of the earth (v30)
- The elect are gathered together from every part of the earth (v31)
What do we see in Revelation, starting in Chapter 6-7?
- A False Messiah/White Horse with rider who is to conquer, carrying a bow (v2)
- Red Horse – to take peace from the earth, aka War (v4)
- Black Horse – Famine/food shortage/inflammation (v5)
- Pale Green Horse – Death by sword, hunger, beasts (v7)
- Apostasy as a result? Doubting God? Losing Faith?
- Great Persecution of God’s elect (v9)
- Sun and moon darkened/stars falling from heaven/ sky rolled back like a scroll (v12-14)
- Great mourning upon all the people of the earth (v15-17)
- 144,000 Jews sealed + The Elect are seen gathered together from every nation, tribe, people and language (Described separate to the Jews) (7:4-9)
- The wrath of God is to be poured out via 7 angels upon the earth (Chapter 8…)
As I stated before, Revelation chapter 8 continues the story. It fills in the gaps of understanding left in Matthew 24. People are at this point seen mourning. Ask yourself, why are the people just now mourning? Wouldn’t they already be mourning in agony at all the plagues they just underwent if this was talking about Armageddon? They are beyond mourning in the actual description of Armageddon seen in Rev 19. They are angry, filled with rage and vengeance. They’ve seen it all! They don’t care that Jesus made an appearance. They are lined up for battle, ready to attempt to take him on. That’s incoherent to how Rev 19 describes their behavior.
BUT, if we continue the story from Matthew 24 as though Revelation 8 picks up where it left off, we understand that they are mourning because God’s wrath is about to be poured out, having just plucked out his people from the earth. That is a much more coherent narrative. I wont get into much detail on the wrath of God just yet. Just know that from chapter 8-11, God’s wrath is commencing.
“Well Brad, there is an awful amount of Revelation still after that, what about from chapter 12 on?” Good question!
The story resets.
At chapter 12, we get a very different tone. It’s a very different picture and really seems out of place. It’s correctly out of place. Chaper12 and on can’t be seen as a continuation of the same narrative anymore. The story starts all over again to give us another angle. This is a reiteration of what we just went over, with a few added details here and there. It fills the gaps. The Gospels do the same thing. Do you think it is fair to ask why there are 4 gospels that all talk about the same events? Isn’t that just redundant? It absolutely is a fair question. And there is an absolutely fantastic reason for that. It’s not redundant. The reason for it is because if you read each Gospel, it gives you a slightly different angle on the events that took place. There are some elements that one author doesn’t mention, but another author did. They fill the gaps to give us a greater understanding of what truly happened. This theme is common to scripture. Revelation does the same thing. Chapters 6 and 7 squeezed a lot together to help you see the big picture and soak it all in at once. You could look at my second list above, compare it to the 1st and say, “Hey, there are a few items missing there!” All of those, and I mean all of those, are addressed in this second half of Revelation. Chapter 12 is a drive by of what chapters 6 and 7 covered already. Then it really stretches out the story and fills in the gaps to bring the story to life. Chapter 12 begins before end times, before even the church. It begins with Israel, and flashes to end times, or more specifically, the great Persecution. Once again, I will list out the events covered for you to compare for yourself.
- Woman clothed with the sun, with moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. (Israel) (12:1)
- She was pregnant with a child. (The birth of Jesus) (12:2)
- A large Red Dragon is cast out of heaven with 1/3 of angels (Gives a backstory to know that this is Satan) (12:3-4)
- Satan/Dragon sought to devour the child. (Back to narrative) (12:4)
- Jesus’ ascension – He was “snatched away” and “caught up” unto God (12:5)
- War in heaven between Satan/demons vs Michael/angels (12:7)
- Satan forced out a second time (Clear distinction from the 1st mention) (12:8-9)
- Satan seeks to pursue the woman, (Israel) but she was saved (12:13-16)
- So instead, knowing his time is short, he declares war against the rest of her children (Christians) – aka The beginning of the Great Tribulation/Persecution (12:17)
Like I said, chapter 12 flies through events to set the stage. Satan is poised to make war with the children of God! Continuing, we will see HOW he does this.
How does he accomplish this?
- Antichrist revealed (Beast) (13:1-10) (6:2-4)
- False Prophet revealed (2nd Beast) Creates and brings to life great image/statue of Beast (13:11-14)
- Statue commanded that anyone who does not worship the Beast or or take his mark must be killed. (The Great Tribulation) (13:15-17)
What happens immediately after? The same picture we saw in Matthew and the first half of Revelation:
- 144,000 Jews sealed (14:1)
- White cloud with Son of Man seated on it. He Harvests the earth. (Rapture of believing Christians) (14:14-16)
- The Wrath of God is to be poured out via 7 angels upon the earth (14:18…)
Exactly following the pattern in Revelation 6-7 and Matthew 24.This is the same sequence of events. Where one half of Revelation leaves room for more description, the other half fills it in.
Finally, the 7 plagues: What do we see through those? Are they comparable? Absolutely! Like I said before, this second perspective is merely another angle of the same events. We will see that they line up perfectly with each corresponding plague. Instead of making another set of lists, this time I will go plague by plague, showing you both reiterations and how they relate.
There is enough evidence here to connect the two different accounts of the same events. We run into the same issue with the Gospels, when one Gospel says something different. It does not suggest that there is a contradiction, but rather, it fills us in with more information. Likewise here, not everything is word for word. But there is enough to suggest that those things that are not quite word for word merely give us more context or information. They are not contradictions.
- Hail and fire mingled with blood cast on earth (8:7)
- Poured on earth. Malignant sores on all who has mark of beast and worshipped him (16:2)
The first angel in chapter 8 is described casting hail, and fire mingled with blood down to earth. Does this contradict chapter 16? We are told there that the first angel’s plague is of malignant sores. Rather than this being a contradiction, when lining these passages up, we see that whatever this plague of “hail and fire mingled with blood” is, it causes malignant sores. Not convincing enough? Then lets continue.
- Great burning mountain cast into the sea. Became like blood (8:8)
- Poured on sea. Became like blood (16:3)
The second plague; it is a mountain burning with fire that causes the sea to become “as blood”. Exactly the same picture.
- Great star fell upon rivers and springs, called wormwood. Deadly to drink (8:10)
- Poured on rivers and springs. Became like blood (16:4)
The third; a “star” called “Wormwood” falls on the rivers and springs, causing it to be as “blood” and undrinkable. No contradictions seen here. We are merely given the same thing, said slightly different.
- Sun, moon and stars smitten and did not shine (8:12)
- Poured on Sun. Everyone scorched with its fire (16:8-9)
Four; The Sun is smitten and does not shine. Being smitten could cause some sort of event like a solar flare that also would “scorch” people, as chapter 16 says. It could even be similar to the next plague; explosions or eruptions from the sun’s erratic activity causes smoke and darkness. Once again, we are talking about the same thing, but now we know its much worse than just darkness.
- Star fell from heaven with keys to bottomless pit. Smoke turned sunlight an air to Darkness. Army of creatures led by Abaddon tormented an for 5 months (9:1-12)
- Poured on throne of Beast. Kingdom is plunged into darkness (16:10-11)
Five; Fill in the blank. A star falls with the key to the bottomless pit: an explosion that renders the kingdom of the Beast to be in a cloud of utter darkness, tormented by what the impact released from the bottomless pit. Hard to tell if these creatures are supernatural. But whatever they are, they are released and cause havoc while the kingdom of the beast lays in darkness.
- Four angels bound in Euphrates are loosed to kill. (9:13-21)
- Poured on Euphrates. Kings from east could march west to kill. (16:12)
Six; The nations surrounding the Euphrates, who God has used in the past for his purpose of judgement are released to march west, to kill. Funny how all these plagues are directed at the same things in order. It’s almost as if they are talking about the same thing…
- “The world has now become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ…” Earthquake, lightning, great hailstorm. (Babylon’s destruction) (11:15-19)
- Poured in the air. “It is finished” Great thunder and lightning, earthquake, hailstorm. Babylon’s destruction. (16:17-21)
And finally, 7; “The End” Babylon is destroyed. Same victorious language used in both, as well as the same events describing the destruction of Babylon.
Need I say more?
These are the terms and conditions laid out for us to read and study. This is merely meant to serve as a map, let the Holy Spirit be your guide. Study and discern what the text is truly saying.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. – James 1:5-6
Let’s be honest here; the “any of you” being described here refers to “all of you”. We ALL need wisdom! The first step is acknowledging it. That is not excluding myself either. I pray that both you and I can see more eye to eye on those things that are yet to come. That together, we can better prepare for those things through the faith and wisdom of the Lord. We must first ask the Lord that we not be deceived about the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but that we come to the truthful understanding of the trials and tribulations we must face because we are His. And that by having this more truthful understanding of His return, we can be better witnesses for Him. Let this be your prayer too; that what Jesus is going to do in the future, drive your passion for Him as much as what he has already done in the past. Let the knowledge of Christ in the past and future be a constant to drive you in the present. I pray that this was beneficial to those hungry to learn more of God’s plan for us and the world.