13.6. The Synoptic Gospels

Further evidence that the book of Revelation sets forth future events is found in the parallels between what the book of Revelation records and the answers Jesus gave in response to the questions of the disciples regarding the sign of His coming. Mat. 24:3) Jesus’ response as they sat on the Mount of Olives is known as The Olivet Discourse and is recorded in the synoptic gospels. Since the disciples asked about the signs of His Second Coming and the end of the age, and the book of Revelation also records events leading up to His Second Coming, we expect to find a close correlation between the two. Mat. 24:4-8; Mark Mark 13:5-8; c.f. Luke Luke 21:8-19) and the first six seals of the Apocalypse (Rev. Rev. 6:1-11+) show a definite correlation between the events described in the passages.”1 Mat. 24:5-7 with the first four seals of Revelation Rev. 6:1-8+ indicates that the beginning of birth pangs and the first four seals are the same thing.”2 John McLean identifies the following parallels between the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation.3

Parallels Between the Olivet Discourse and the Seal Judgments of Revelation
Event Revelation Rev. 6:1+Matthew Mat. 24:1Mark Mark 13:1Luke Luke 21:1
False messiahs, false prophets.Rev. Rev. 6:2+Mtt. Mat. 24:5, Mat. 24:11Mark Mark 13:6Luke Luke 21:8
Wars.Rev. Rev. 6:2-4+Mtt. Mat. 24:6-7Mark Mark 13:7Luke Luke 21:9
International discord.Rev. Rev. 6:3-4+Mtt. Mat. 24:7Mark Mark 13:8Luke Luke 21:10
Famines.Rev. Rev. 6:5-8+Mtt. Mat. 24:7Mark Mark 13:8Luke Luke 21:11
Pestilences.Rev. Rev. 6:8+--Luke Luke 21:11
Persecution, martyrdom.Rev. Rev. 6:9-11+Mtt. Mat. 24:9Mark Mark 13:9-13Luke Luke 21:12-17
Earthquakes.Rev. Rev. 6:12+Mtt. Mat. 24:7Mark Mark 13:8Luke Luke 21:11
Cosmic phenomena.Rev. Rev. 6:12-14+[Mtt. Mat. 24:29]4 [Mark Mark 13:24-25] Luke Luke 21:11

Here we see the characteristic “fingerprint of the Holy Spirit” in the Scriptures. Individual men writing at different times, who lack detailed information from the other writers of Scripture, achieve consistency in describing the same topics or events. Many who have studied the Olivet Discourse understand the “abomination of desolation” mentioned by Jesus (Mtt. Mat. 24:15) as marking the dividing point of the final seven years:

Christ introduced and discussed the beginning of birth pangs (Mtt. Mat. 24:4-8) before He introduced the abomination of desolation and the Great Tribulation (Mtt. Mat. 24:15-21), and it appears that He introduced and discussed events in chronological order in this section of Matthew Mat. 24:1. This implies that the beginning of birth pangs will precede the abomination of desolation (of the middle of the 70th week) and the Great Tribulation (of the second half of the 70th week) and therefore will occur during the first half of that seven-year period.5


1 John A. McLean, “Structure of the Book of Revelation,” in Mal Couch, ed., Dictionary of Premillennial Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996), 374.

2 Renald E. Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come (Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1995), 25.

3 [Thomas Ice, “The Olivet Discourse,” in Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, eds., The End Times Controversy (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2003), 165] Also see [Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come, 25].

4 Items in brackets added by this author.

5 Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come, 25.