By Rev. Bill Lee-Warner
The drive behind the above question is this: if it’s possible that the events reflected in the first three seals are presently happening and will continue to happen in history future, the timing of the beginning of the 70th Week of Daniel becomes indefinable. The result is that the information in the book of Revelation becomes murky with regard to our understanding of the structure and timing of end-time events.
If it can be shown that the first three seals of Revelation six are indeed within the 70th Week of Daniel, then it can be established that there will be a sequence of definite events leading up to the opening of the scroll (Rev. 5), the Day of the Lord, or His wrath against rebellious mankind.
For the following reasons, the 70th Week of Daniel includes the opening of the first three seals as mentioned in Revelation six:
1. If anyone would have understood the structure of the end times, Jesus would. He clearly knew that 69 of the 70 weeks will have been finished when He was to be “cut off and have nothing” (Dan. 9:26). When He responded to the disciples’ questions about the sign of the end of the age and His return, it seems logical that He naturally would have begun with those events that would begin the 70th week.
2. In the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24) Jesus is answering the disciples’ question as to what the sign of His return and the end of the age would be. In giving His response, He begins with a warning and then this statement: “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.” (24:5) Using the time-honored hermeneutic (Bible Study method) of comparing Scripture with Scripture, we discover from Revelation 6:2, a rider on a white horse will “go forth conquering and to conquer.” The only way we know who this rider is, is by comparing Revelation 6:2 with Matthew 24:5, and the answer is, he is “the” false christ. With his coming, there will also be a proliferation of false christs loosed into the world. At present, we see many false christs in the world. We undoubtedly will continue to see other false christs appear. The indication with the opening of the first seal is that a line has been crossed, a countdown has started and a new phase in God’s plan has begun. The observant, discerning, and spiritually alert person will know that. How? Israel was told both in Daniel 9:27 and Isaiah 28:15, 18 that she would enter into a covenant (peace accord) with a strong leader to her far north (Ez. 38:15). This leader will have the resources and clout to make the peace accord stick. That peace accord will begin the 70th Week of Daniel. To identify the first three seals as merely historical events that have no reference to a beginning point provides no help in understanding the sequence of end-time events as recorded in Revelation. It would provide no help in enabling God’s bond-servants (Rev. 1:1) at the time of the 70th Week to be able to prepare for the events revealed in the book of Revelation.
3. From Daniel 9:24, we learn that “70 weeks” was given to Israel to “finish [their] transgression, to make an end of [their] sin, to make atonement for [their] iniquity…” In Dan. 9:27, we learn that the one remaining week (7-year period) to be fulfilled has at its midpoint, the setting up of the abomination of desolation (ca. Daniel 11:31, 12:11). Jesus makes reference to that particular event in Matthew 24:15 (the Olivet Discourse). This is given in His response to the disciples’ questions about His ultimate return. Also, in the Olivet Discourse, He identifies certain events (paralleled in Revelation 6:1-6) that will precede the abomination of desolation. Since the conclusion of that final week will bring in “everlasting righteousness,” it will, without question, be a critical time period in history and the conclusion of history as we now know it. The events included in that week would clearly have been within the scope of Jesus’ response to the disciples’ question about His coming and the end of the age.
4. In Matthew 24:34 Jesus says that “the generation that sees all these things” will be the generation that will see the gathering “together [of] His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” What are “these things” Jesus is referring to? In context, it is clear that He is making reference to the events He has just described in verses 3-31. Therefore, the coming of Christ will be within the lifetime of that generation which will see the events described. The generation that does see “these things” is a time frame note. This note eliminates the possibility that those events are just general and indefinable events that have been going on in history.
Although our world is presently witnessing events that are reflected in the first three seals, it seems apparent that when the covenant is signed, initiating the 70th Week of Daniel, those same events will in some way intensify. In the final analysis, the true bond-servant will know when the world has entered the 70th Week. How? When the covenant is signed between Israel and some political leader to her north (Ez. 38:15; cf. Is. 28:15,18). Then the world will witness the events clearly described by Jesus in both the Olivet Discourse and Revelation six.