If we look at Daniel and Revelation, then we will know when the seven-year tribulation will begin as certain key events occur. Much of the world may be unaffected at first, so knowing what to look for is vital!
When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoever reads, let him understand:) (Matthew 24:15 AMPC)
We were told by our Lord that we should look for and recognize this event as being close to persecution and His return to rule and reign. This also means Christians will be around when it happens. What is the “abomination of desolation?” Discussing the events surrounding the return of our Lord should show us what to look for and help us pinpoint this event.
Studying the events around the second coming should invigorate the body of Christ. After all, we are all expectantly waiting for this time. Unfortunately, instead of uniting us as a body working for the Kingdom of Heaven, it often creates division and strife. As we continue looking into the Book of Revelation, please remember that what we choose to believe concerning the return of the Lord doesn’t affect our salvation.
We are all brothers and sisters, adopted into the family of God. If what you believe doesn’t line up with what I believe, that is okay. We can agree to disagree and celebrate the fact that one day, we will all know the truth!
Previously we established a timeline of defined events that will happen in the final week before God’s wrath is poured out, just before Jesus returns. In this chapter of the Bible, past events are described in “weeks” which actually happened in that many “years.”
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate… (Daniel 9:27 AKJV)
We know that when this final week comes, the return of our Lord is at hand, even right at the door. When will this week begin? Are the seals connected to it?
...the Lamb opened one of the seals… And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given to him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. (Revelation 6:1-2 AKJV)
Most scholars agree that the person on the white horse is the Antichrist. The defining characteristics are:
- riding a horse - a symbol of power
- white - symbolic of self-righteousness
- bow - used with arrows which are words so his words will be weapons
- crown - symbolic of royal power and authority.
The Antichrist will come in power, seeming righteous, but will really be focused on his own self interest. He will be cunning with words and he is not a member of royalty but is “given a crown” so he is given the power and authority of a king even though he wasn’t born into it.
We must closely examine the scripture to see when this occurs. After Daniel’s week is described in chapter 9, some time later he is given a prophecy of the rulers to come which will affect Israel, the final accounts centering around the rulers of Syria. All have been fulfilled except the final ruler:
And in his place or office [in Syria] shall arise a contemptuous and contemptible person, to whom royal majesty and honor of the kingdom have not been given. (Daniel 11:21 AMPC)
“In his place or office” is referring to the royal leadership role of Syria. A person assumes that place of authority but isn’t royal by birth. The American King James Version states it this way: “obtain the kingdom by flatteries.” It is not a godly person, but vile, who is manipulating behind the scenes. This perfectly aligns with the first seal. If we continue reading, we see there is more to happen before the seven-year peace agreement is made:
Before him the overwhelming forces of invading armies shall be broken and utterly swept away...yes, and a prince of the covenant [with those who were at peace with him] also [shall be broken and swept away]. (Daniel 11:22 AMPC)
This scripture has two parts: invading armies being swept away and a peace covenant. Syria has been in a constant state of turmoil from invaders, since Israel was established as a nation. The Antichrist will assume power, then the armies invading Syria will be “utterly swept away.” The Hebrew words for this mean the invading great armies are overcome or destroyed with great strength. AFTER this happens or possibly as it happens, a peace agreement is made.
We know Daniel’s week begins with the signing of a peace treaty with many. The first seal is about the Antichrist coming in power, which may well happen before the peace treaty. This means that the first seal may be broken before the peace treaty is signed, for the Antichrist must be in power in Syria in order to sign that agreement.
I am not intimately aware of Syrian politics. I cannot tell you if there is a new player rising to power by manipulation behind the scene. I’m not sure if anyone could. But one thing we do know, the first seal isn’t necessarily the signing of the treaty, but the Antichrist coming into power, and gaining influence before that time. The verses that follow aptly describe not only what we know the enemy will do from prior studies but they give additional information as well.
And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. (Daniel 11:23 AKJV)
He shall enter peaceably even on the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yes, and he shall forecast his devices against the strongholds, even for a time. (Daniel 11:24 AKJV)
After the “league” or the signing of the seven-year agreement, he will first become popular with regular people, then the rich and powerful will align with him to gain more wealth. Finally after waging war and winning for a while, he loses when others come against him. Enraged at the loss he shows his true colors:
And armed forces of his shall appear [in the holy land] and they shall pollute the sanctuary, the [spiritual] stronghold, and shall take away the continual [daily burnt offering]; and they shall set up [in the sanctuary] the abomination that astonishes and makes desolate. (Daniel 11:31 AMPC)
This description fits with what we know the Antichrist will do in the middle of the seven-year peace agreement. He causes the daily sacrifices to cease and rails at Heaven, God, and everyone there while declaring himself to be god. The person discussed in these verses are definitely the Antichrist.
With confidence, we can now place the first seal before Daniel’s Week. We can continue looking at these events, knowing that they will all happen during Daniel’s week.
And when he had opened the second seal... there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given to him a great sword. (Revelation 6:3-4 AKJV)
The next seal releases a horse of a different color with a different purpose:
- red: anger, war and destruction
- horse: power
- sword: words will be used to cut deeply
War will come with great destruction. If we refer back to Daniel 11 we see that this could occur before or after the week begins because the Antichrist subdues the enemies of Syria before the covenant and then goes to war shortly after it is signed.