Book Excerpt: Revelation: The Way It Happened

Scholars have long recognized the unmistakable similarities between the images used in the seal-breaking [Revelation chapter 6] and the Olivet Discourse in Mark 13, Matthew 24, and Luke 21, where Jesus predicts the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 CE. War, international strife, famine, and earthquakes occur in the same order in both the Gospels and Revelation. Luke specifically names Jerusalem as the city under siege, and nearly all Bible interpreters agree that the Gospels, all written after the war began, “predict” the war of 70 CE. These Gospel accounts, often termed the “little apocalypse,” mirror Revelation in other ways as well:

The Gospels and Revelation both speak of the Abomination of Desolation.

Both speak of the gospel first being preached to every land.

Both speak of the Great Tribulation.

Both say false prophets will arise.

Both mention the Son of Man arriving on the clouds.

Both mention a trumpet sounding the end of all things.

Both mention a darkened sun and moon and stars falling from heaven.

Both describe birds feeding on the carcasses of the dead.

Both were to be fulfilled “soon.”

How have we come to believe that the Gospels speak of a different event than Revelation? Surely, at least in the minds of first-century readers, the “little apocalypse” in the Gospels—Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 CE—is also the “big apocalypse” of Revelation. Follow along as John and Samuel tell the story. But as Jesus opens the seals and later the trumpets sound, do not assume that an angel drawing attention to an event indicates that God approves of or causes the event. He merely allows it … for now. This will soon become a no-holds-barred war on a cosmic scale.

–Revelation: The Way It Happened, 2010, pp. 21, by Lee Harmon

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