This is the final post in a five-part series related to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse Framework.
In this series we’ve reviewed Jesus’s Olivet Discourse Framework, recognized the critical undergirding of the Old Testament, and studied multiple passages depicting the great end-time gathering. All of this ties together and provides a solid basis upon which to ground our understanding and synthesize a big picture framework of major events that lead to the day of the Lord.
Why does it matter to study these Scriptures about events leading up to and including the day of the Lord? Well, for every Christ-follower, the day of the Lord is our “blessed hope.” We should not only anchor our hope on the good news of Christ’s second coming, but also understand the major events leading to His return! Why? So that we can more earnestly watch, pray, and look for His revealing from the heavens (Mark 13:33; Philippians 3:20; I Thessalonians 5:4–6; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:28; 2 Peter 3:12–14; Jude 1:21).
To do this, it is critical to recognize the distinct purposes between the first and second coming of Jesus Christ. He first came as a lamb and suffering servant for the forgiveness of sins. Accordingly, Jesus fulfilled the prophecies regarding suffering and sacrifice (Acts 3:18). But as you know, much more remains to be fulfilled!
Jesus will one day return from heaven like a lion in power and glory to fully accomplish the expectant words of His holy prophets (Acts 3:20–21) concerning both judgment (Acts 10:42; 17:31) and restoration hope (Hebrews 9:28; 2 Peter 3:13). While the sacrificial system of the Old Testament has become obsolete through the new covenant, today we hold the same eschatological hope as that espoused and taught by the law and prophets (Acts 10:42–43; 24:14–15; 26:6–7; 28:23)! Therefore, repent and be converted (Acts 3:19) so you can enjoy the the glory and blessing to come at Christ’s second coming (1 Peter 4:13; 5:4; Titus 2:13; 2 Timothy 4:8; Colossians 3:4; Philippians 3:20–21; I John 3:2–3)!
Lining up the Prophets with the Olivet Discourse
It is a joyful exercise to see how the Scripture ties together so well. As promised, with this final post in the series, I’d like to demonstrate this cohesion using Jesus’s teachings as our gold standard benchmark.
Seven passages from the prophets will be compared with Jesus’s Olivet Discourse framework: Isaiah 13, Ezekiel 38, Zechariah 12, Zechariah 14, Jeremiah 4, Joel 2, and Joel 3. With a consistent and relatively straightforward narrative, the distinct parallels between the prophets and the Olivet Discourse shouldn’t be dismissed. These New Testament teachings from the mouth of Jesus, the greatest prophet, is a substantial authentication, confirmation and corroboration of the veracity of the Old Testament prophecies.
Please note: For easier reading, you may find it helpful to zoom-in with your browser to read each of the comparison charts. My comments after each comparison are very brief. This exercise is primarily intended to highlight the consistent voice of the prophets regarding the climactic events leading to the day of the Lord and how their messages are consistently aligned with Jesus’s Olivet Discourse teaching. Since there are so many examples to draw from (Ezekiel 38:17), this may become somewhat repetitive to you as we move from prophet to prophet. But repetition is good!
Let me encourage you. This takes time. While the Word of God isn’t a breeze-through novel, its commentary unto itself is deeply enriching. And though some of my conclusions may depart from current Christian thinking, I believe they stand up to biblical scrutiny. That said, I’m far from perfect and thus urge and implore you to be like the Bereans, who “searched the scriptures daily” to see if these things were so. Now to begin the study . . .
Isaiah 13:4–13 compared to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse
The key takeaway is the consistency between the sequential flow of events in Isaiah 13 with the teachings of Jesus. And while the rather straightforward narrative here in Isaiah 13 is one rooted in historical fulfillment, we see that it arcs forward to the day of the Lord and has future applicability. Many parallel Scripture references could be given to bolster the fact that Isaiah is speaking about a future day of the Lord, but that’s not the point of this exercise. Rather, I would like to highlight that sudden desolation and destruction is apparent on the day of God according to Isaiah’s description. Clearly, there is immediate, robust, dramatic consequence when Christ is revealed in power and glory. This is confirmed in the New Testament (Matthew 24:30, 2 Thessalonians 1:7–9; 2 Peter 3:10, 12; Revelation 14:9–10).
Ezekiel 38:12–23 compared to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse
Ezekiel 38:16 explains one of the main purposes and outcomes of the great end-time gathering of the armies of Antichrist (see also Ezekiel 36:23; 38:23; 39:6–7; Zephaniah 2:10–11; Isaiah 45:21–25; 59:19; 64:2)
And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. (Ezekiel 38:16)
The day of the Lord initiates with the powerful, mighty, and glorious “presence” of the Lord (Ezekiel 38:20). And with great hailstones, fire, and brimstone, Ezekiel 38:22–23 depicts a conclusive end to this present evil age of “many gods” to a future age full of the glory of “one God” Jesus Christ! All will “know the LORD” when He “magnifies” Himself and puts asunder all the gods of the earth (Zephaniah 2:11).
In addition, pull out your bible and read Ezekiel 38:15–23. For the gathering to accomplish the Lord’s purposes, does it make sense for this climactic chain of events at the end of the age to occur over a period of several years or several days? How could the Lord’s fury and wrath (Ezekiel 38:18–19) directly destroy the armies of evil with great hailstones, fire, and brimstone (Ezekiel 38:22) if the gathering occurs over three years earlier? If there is a gap of over three years, the gathering loses its climactic feel, and the connection between the Lord’s presence and the gathered armies is severely muted. A scenario where the gathering occurs very near to the return of Christ appears more plausible since the gathering is met directly by the Lord!
Zechariah 12:2–10 compared to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse
Zechariah 12 succinctly takes us from the gathering rage of evil to the end of the age. Verses 8–10 highlight two main events of the day of the Lord; the Lord’s wrath and remnant Israel’s repentance. When the Lord forcefully and abruptly stops the enemies in a powerful way (Isaiah 30:27–28) they turn to Him!
Many other passages could be selected, but in regards to Israel’s repentance, compare the grace, supplication and resulting repentance referenced in Zechariah 12:10 with Isaiah 59:19–20, and also where Paul refers to Isaiah 59:20 in Romans 11:26–27.
So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. (20) And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. (Isaiah 59:19-20 emphasis mine)
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. (Romans 11:26–27 emphasis mine)
Zechariah 14:1–13 compared to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse
Zechariah 14 follows the narrative of Jesus without question. And we know that this chapter leads to the same destination as Ezekiel 38:23. Why? Because of the stark similarities and context. They teach about the same day-of-the-Lord events when the Lord causes men to kill each other as in the day of Midian (Zechariah 14:13, Ezekiel 38:21–22, Isaiah 10:26), along with a “great tumult from the LORD”. These day-of-the-Lord events ultimately lead to Jesus as King over all the earth (Zechariah 14:9) because of His great power, glory and victory! The nations will know that Jesus is LORD!
Jeremiah 4:5–6, 13–28 compared to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse
A certain pattern exists in the various prophetic declarations. In Jeremiah 4, we again see remarkable consistency with Jesus’s narrative.
Many things get our attention with this passage, including the great shaking (Jeremiah 4:24), the darkened heavens (Jeremiah 4:28), and the Lord’s call for the hearts of Israel to be washed from wickedness to experience salvation (Jeremiah 4:14). But, the most powerful of all is reference made to the “presence” of the LORD. Undoubtedly this is a prophecy of the Lord’s coming on the “day of the Lord” to judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42, 17:31) along with fulfilling a host of other purposes that we’ve discussed many times.
Joel 2:1–11 compared to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse
It has become a constant theme. The parallels between Jesus and the prophet Joel are also clear and distinct. The end-time gathering is spoken of as an unprecedented event (Joel 2:2), there is an indirect reference to travail (Joel 2:9), and there are direct references to a great shaking and cosmic events (Joel 2:10) the day of the Lord (Joel 2:11).
In addition, Joel 2:3–6 seems to be a rare mention of the 6th Trumpet where John saw horses, and them that sat on them, spewing fire, smoke, and brimstone out of their mouths. Aspects of the 5th Trumpet and 5th Bowl could also be in view here? As far as I can tell, Joel 2 contains the only reference in the prophets to one of the preceding plagues in the book of Revelation. This is telling. But, this fits my proposed framework, and I believe it is what we should expect! Most importantly, I believe it also fits with Jesus’s teaching in Luke 21:11 where “terrors and great signs from heaven” occur before the gathering and cosmic events.[i]
Joel 3:9–16 compared to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse
The alignment between Jesus’s Olivet Discourse and the prophets continues to be consistently consistent! And, doesn’t it seem right that signs in the heavens will precede the apocalyptic return of Jesus in power and glory? During His first coming, the skies turned black at the death of Christ and an earthquake announced His resurrection. Not unexpectedly, cosmic events in the heavens and a great shaking on the earth will announce and precede His glorious and powerful return to harvest the earth (Joel 2:30–31; 3:15; Isaiah 13:10; Matthew 24:29–31; Mark 13:24–27; Luke 21:25–28; Revelation 6:12–17). The harvest of the earth is comprised of two primary events. First, the reaping of the righteous (Revelation 14:15–16). Second, the reaping of the wicked (Revelation 14:9–10, Rev 14:18–19, Joel 3:13).
A Clear-Sounding Trumpet
The oft-repeated prophetic warning of the day of the Lord and the harvest of the earth emits a distinct, clear, and certain sound. These messages uttered by the prophets are so consistent and contagious because their Author is God! Time after time we have seen messages from several prophets line up consistently with Jesus’s Olivet Discourse. We should take note. The distinct parallels are hard to dismiss. This deserves our respect.
The Book of Revelation compared to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse and the Prophets
Now, what about the debated book of Revelation? How does it align with Jesus and the prophets? Do we read the book strictly in a sequential chronological manner? Or, are there some parallels within the book of Revelation due to certain visions witnessed by John being recapitulated in unique ways?
In my book there is a proposed framework which I believe aligns with both Jesus and the prophets (see below). Obviously, I could be wrong. I simply think it is very important to build from the bottom up. In other words, the prophets (including the greatest of prophets the Lord Jesus Christ) should serve as the foundation of our understanding. Then, our interpretation of the complicated book of Revelation should complement, not contradict, the gold standard of Jesus and the prophets. As you can see, and as I described in the last post, I believe the climactic world-wide gathering (which begins at the 6th bowl/vial) is the same climactic end-time gathering that we read about in the prophets that leads to the soon and sudden return of the Lord! The 6th bowl/vial gathering fits each of the defining characteristics described by the Old Testament prophets.
Clearly, the proposed framework shown below for the book of Revelation flows in sync with the narrative of Jesus and the prophets in an expected left-to-right chronological sequence. I have studied other frameworks for the book of Revelation, such as the pre-tribulation, pre-wrath, and “classic” post-tribulation views. Especially with the pre-tribulation and pre-wrath views, there is chaos and disarray when comparing and contrasting those frameworks with the teachings of Jesus and the prophets.
The above consistencies between the Olivet Discourse, the prophetic oracles, and the book of Revelation fit together like a glove.
For full disclosure, let me tell you when my deep dive into the book of Revelation occurred. Years ago, I embarked upon a very in-depth study of the prophets. This was followed by a study of the Olivet Discourse. For the Olivet Discourse, I studied all three synoptic gospels together using side-by-side columns that I assembled, one each for Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. It was after these studies when I began to deeply explore and peer into the book of Revelation. There is no doubt that my proposed framework was strongly influenced by that sequence of study.
Many believe the day of the Lord is comprised of months and months of plagues (i.e. Trumpets and Bowls/Vials) that increase in intensity over a long period of time. But isn’t the focus of the prophets on the main event––the power and glory of God!? The “day of the Lord” is not about pre-cursor events but rather the great day when Christ is revealed!
Described below are three principles that are tethered to my proposed framework: 1) the emphasis by the prophets of Jesus Christ on the day of the Lord; 2) the emphasis by the prophets of the latter days gathering that leads to the day of the Lord; and 3) the emphasis by the prophets of events to occur when the 7th angel sounds to proclaim the day of the Lord.
So what about Revelation 16:14?
The real question is whether or not the world-wide gathering event of Revelation 16:14 is the same gathering event referred to by Jesus and the prophets. As you can tell from what I have written above, I think it is the same event. It appropriately and contextually fits within the narrative of the prophets. Moreover, it leads to the same event depicted by the prophets’ time and time again (i.e. the Lord coming to destroy the gathered armies).
On the flipside, if you elect to interpret the unprecedented evil gathering of Revelation 16:14 (that begins at the 6th bowl/vial) as a separate and distinct event from that referenced by Jesus and the prophets, it is like building without a foundation. We need to stand on solid ground, not spiritual sand. To conclude that Revelation 16:14 is a separate gathering event than that spoken of by Jesus and the prophets, the following weaknesses must be accepted:
- After each of the prophets describe a unique, vast, evil gathering toward the land of Israel, we can find nothing in their consistent narrative of events that hints at another massive gathering just prior to the day of the Lord. Therefore, we are electing to interpret Revelation 16:14 as an isolated event that has no other scriptural witness even though the prophets frequently spoke in detail about this exact time period.
- After Jesus describes an evil gathering of armies in Luke 21:20, we can find nothing in His continuing narrative of events that hints at another massive gathering just prior to the day of the Lord. Won’t the return of Jesus Christ serve the purpose of cutting short the days of great tribulation directly caused by the gathered armies? Isn’t this “cutting short” in reference to the gathered armies Jesus spoke about in Luke 21:20? In forcing another gathering event after Luke 21:20, we are electing to interpret Revelation 16:14 as an isolated event that has no other scriptural witness even though Jesus spoke in detail about this exact time period.
- Even though Revelation 16:14’s unique, vast, evil gathering looks, sounds, and feels identical to the narrative of the prophets; even though Revelation 16:14’s gathering flows in sync with Jesus’s narrative as depicted in my proposed framework; and even though the composition of the evil gathering of Revelation 16:14 (“the beast” and “the kings of the earth” and “their armies”––Revelation 19:19) matches the descriptions given by the prophets, we must conclude that it is not the same massive gathering.
These are notable weaknesses. Something is amiss if Revelation 16:14 is a different gathering event than the evil gathering declared by the prophets and Jesus.
The Crux of the Issue
Isn’t it common sense that Jesus would affirm the message of the prophets? Doesn’t it make plain sense when we read of a great end-time evil gathering leading directly to the presence of the Lord, that we should appreciate yet another of many “witnesses” the Lord has given us in Scripture? After all, many times the prophets spoke of this gathering (Ezekiel 38:17) and many times the prophets spoke of the occasion when “there should be time no longer” (or “there will be no more delay” as the ESV translation states) when the 7th angel begins to sound with the last trumpet for the day of the Lord (Revelation 10:6–7). This is important. The message of the prophets about the day of the Lord is vivid and alive, and is especially relevant to the events of the 7th angel when the mystery of God is finished and fulfilled.
The climactic day of the Lord at the 7th angel features: the resurrection of the dead and judgment (Revelation 11:18); a plague of enormous hailstones (Revelation 11:19; 16:21); the unleashing of fire and brimstone from the altar of God (Revelation 8:5; 14:10); voices, thundering, lightning, and an earthquake (Revelation 8:5; 11:19; 16:18, 21); the full strength cup of God’s orgē wrath (Revelation 6:16–17; 11:18; 14:10; 16:19); and dominion on earth given to Christ (Revelation 11:15; Daniel 7:14, 27) to restore creation and reign in glory and righteousness as King of kings and Lord of lords at the conclusion of the great and notable day of the Lord (Revelation 19:16).
The simple, plain, and straightforward correlations between the prophets, Jesus, and the book of Revelation should come at no surprise. All of us love how Scripture is an integrated whole and works together in a big story from Genesis to Revelation.
But why is it exceedingly difficult for most students of Scripture to make these correlations?
Maybe it’s because I’m too simple-minded and just plain wrong in what I’ve shown with these comparisons? Or, perhaps due to one critical prophetic text in Daniel Chapter 9, most are compelled to place the climactic evil gathering spoken by the prophets and Jesus at the mid-point of a future 7-year tribulation period, thus stripping the natural climactic feel generated from a simple reading of the text?
It’s time to take a fresh look at Daniel’s seventy weeks prophecy and explore even more of the fascinating cohesion of prophetic Scripture when seen through plain interpretation methods, Scripture harmonization, a futuristic lens, respect for Israel’s election, and an eschatological framework aided by the Jewish feast days—all leading to a monumental day of transition, the second coming of Jesus Christ on the day of the Lord.
This great and notable day is the heartbeat of prophetic Scripture. You can begin the exploration by submitting your email on this form and I’ll email a free PDF of my book to you. Or, just shoot me an email.
[i] As we’ve seen several times now, the primary focus of the prophets begins with the gathering (i.e. Trumpet 6/Bowl 6 – Ezekiel 38:17) and ends with the day of the Lord (i.e. Trumpet 7/Bowl 7 – Rev 10:6–7). It is a repetitive presentation. So, while biblical and extremely important, the preceding Trumpets and Bowls/Vials were less relevant in the Old Testament. Why? Because the Lord primarily revealed to the prophets the climactic events leading to the day of the Lord at the 7th angel (Revelation 10:6–7).
Here is a question. If the day of the Lord is comprised of a long series of Trumpets followed by a subsequent series of Bowl/Vial plagues, why is there zero mention of this by the prophets? In contrast, we see the opposite with Joel’s mention of the 6th, and possible aspects of the 5th Trumpet and 5th Bowl, occurring prior to the cosmic events and the day of the Lord. This is problematic for those who attest that the day of the Lord will be a long, drawn-out ordeal comprised of months and months and months of heavenly wrath and plagues from God. In a plain, straightforward way, Scripture depicts judgment day as robust, dramatic, sudden, quick, and powerful. It is the revealed presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory and power that brings a harsh and final judgment on the day of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 1:7–9), not a long series of great sights and fearful sights from heaven which precede the day of the Lord (Luke 21:11).
Those in the pre-tribulation and pre-wrath camps attest that the entirety of Trumpets 1 thru 7 and Bowls 1 thru 7 represent the “wrath of God” which believers are to be delivered from and not suffer. However, it is important to understand that the wrath followers of Christ will not experience is the (orgē––G3709) wrath of God (Romans 2:5; I Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9; Revelation 6:16–17; 11:18; 14:10; 16:19) which is specifically the final, full-strength cup of wrath, anger, and indignation poured upon the ungodly at the time of the 7th angel.