The seals of Revelation 6 are the exact same prophetic signs of the End Times, in the exact same sequence, as those given to us by Jesus in Matthew 24 (The Olivet Discourse). In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus gave a broad overview of each event; Revelation 6 provides us with more detail. In Matthew 24, Jesus’ disciples asked the question, “What will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” In response, Jesus gave his disciples a list of specific signs that will precede His return and indicate to believers whether they were living in the End Times. These are the same signs that John observed and later recorded in the Book of Revelation.
Matthew 24 runs parallel to Revelation 6 (the first six seals), and by comparing each account, we are better able to understand the specific end times signs we are to look for, which will precede Jesus' Second Coming. These signs include the Rise of the Antichrist, War by the Antichrist, the establishing of the Antichrist’s kingdom, Famine created by the Antichrist, Major Earthquakes, Antichrist declaring himself God in the newly built temple in Israel, Death of Millions, unprecedented persecution and Martyrdom in the Church, and Cosmic signs in the skies. These are the specific signs that will precede Jesus’ Second Coming.
The End Times will begin with a period known as the Beginning of the Birth Pangs. The Beginning of the Birth Pangs will last 3 ½ years. The Beginning of the Birth Pangs will be followed by a second 3 ½ year period, which will include the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. It is important to note that each time period is associated with great wrath.; the Beginning of the Birth Pangs = Man's Wrath, specifically, the wrath of one man – Antichrist. The Great Tribulation = Satan's Wrath, specifically his persecution of God’s people, Israel and the Church. The Day of the Lord = God's Wrath. Therefore, the opening of the first six seals, and the catastrophic events associated with them, do not represent God’s wrath.
The Church will undergo intense suffering and persecution during the opening of the first six seals. The purpose of this final trial will be to refine and purify the Church, the Bride of Christ, prior to the Rapture. Jesus gave us these prophetic signs of His coming so that, as believers, we can be prepared during the most cataclysmic, devastating and dangerous time in the history of the world. The Church must be prepared spiritually, emotionally and physically to face the rise of Antichrist, war, world famine, natural disasters, and possibly, martyrdom. Jesus will remove the Church (via the Rapture) immediately before the 7th seal is broken – before He pours out His final trumpet and bowl judgments, which constitute the “Day of God’s Wrath.”
In Revelation 13, one of the great prophetic chapters in the Bible, we are given astonishing details regarding the two beasts of Daniel’s 70th week: (1) Antichrist, and (2) the False Prophet.
First, John gives us a disturbing vision of Antichrist and his Kingdom. John describes, in much greater detail than he has done in the previous chapters, the rise and reign of Antichrist. Antichrist, energized by Satan, will be Satan's last attempt to overthrow and destroy the Kingdom of God, Israel, and the Church. Antichrist will be the earth's final gentile ruler and will reign over the world during the second 3 ½ year period of Daniel’s 70th week. Antichrist's power will know no bounds; he will demand the worship of men and inflict martyrdom on those who resist and remain loyal to Jesus. In this Chapter, John describes the key supernatural event that will occur during Antichrist's reign; Antichrist's death and his subsequent resurrection. John also provides us with additional details as to Antichrist's persecution of the Church.