AS WE MOVE THROUGH the seven seals—which John MacArthur(1) identifies as the SEAL judgments of the tribulation—it is worth reading Matthew 24 where Jesus explains what will occur as each seal is opened. The seven seals closely parallel the signs of the approaching end times. In Matthew 24, Jesus speaks of three distinct periods: (i) the time of false christs, wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, and death, called “the beginning of birth pains” (Matt. 24:8); (ii) the time of the great tribulation (Matt. 24:21); and (iii) the time immediately after the tribulation period when the sun, moon, and stars will be affected and Christ will return (Matt. 24:29-30).
Jesus speaks of the “false peace” of the Antichrist in Matt. 24:4-5. This is the first seal. He predicts worldwide war in 24:6-7, which is the second seal. It is during the Tribulation that God will begin to restore creation in a glory too immeasurable to put into words. I have always believed that because God does not want the elect (those who truly belong to Jesus Christ) to experience the horrors of the last days, Jesus will gather all believers in His arms and snatch them up just before the Tribulation begins—a “pre-trib” rapture.
As of this writing, I am questioning whether my pre-trib belief stands on sound doctrine. I always want my teaching to be grounded in Scripture alone; not speculative fiction. With that goal in mind, I have decided to break from my discourse on the opening of the seven seals at this point and move on to The Revelation: Part Nine, where I will dive deep into the truth about the Rapture.
In The Revelation: Part Nine, we will look at Matthew 24:31, and 40 and 41. We will also examine 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17. I will then resume discussion of the remaining seals in The Revelation: Part Ten. In true exegetical fashion, this deep dive will involve looking at Scripture from the OT and the NT about the final hours.
Steven Barto, B.S. Psy., M.A. Theological Studies
(1) John MacArthur, Because the Time is Near (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers), 2007.