Many have become confused about just what will happen during the end times. I was quite confused with Revelation and other end-times passages for many years, but the books I’ve read about it have shown a pattern in the Biblical end times that all of a sudden seems mighty simple. This pattern is in Matthew 24 and Revelation 6 & 7, and the parallels are fascinating. They show the events from the first hints of trouble to the time when God takes us up to be with Him. Read the passages for yourselves to see the parallels and the other details unique to each account:

1. Wars

Matthew 24:6: “you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars.”

Revelation 6:2-4: “a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow . . . and he went out conquering . . . a red horse went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth . . .”

2. Famine with war, among other things

Matthew 24:7: “for nation will rise against nation . . . and in various places there will be famines.”

Revelation 6:5-8: “a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand . . . a quart of wheat for a denarius [equivalent to day’s pay] . . . and behold, an ashen horse . . . Authority was given to them [Death and Hades] over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine . . .”

3. Tribulation and persecution of believers

Matthew 24:9 (onward through to 22): “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you . . . For then there will be a great tribulation . . . Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.”

Revelation 6:9-11: “When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God . . . and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed . . . would be completed also.”

4. Sun, moon, and stars go dark

Matthew 24:29: “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky.”

Revelation 6:12-13: “when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth.”

5. Jesus Christ appears in the sky, and the unbelievers cry in anguish

Matthew 24:30: “then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”

Revelation 6:15-16: “Then the kings of the earth and . . . the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves . . . and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.”

6. The rescue (rapture) of believers from earth

Matthew 24:31: “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”

Revelation 7:9-14 (after an interjection about the 144,000): “I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne . . . ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation.’”

These six events are the basic framework of the end times before God’s judgment comes upon the wicked. They do not encompass all the events leading up to the end, but they do help us see an overall picture of what it will be like. One particular event to look out for is the darkening of the sun, moon, and stars, because this event is a unique heavenly phenomenon and is one that will come right before Christ’s appearing in the sky. As 1 Thessalonians 5:4 says, “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness.” Though the sky will be dark and all the world will wonder, we will know what is happening, because we are of the day. And God wrote down these events for us in advance so that we will know what to watch for as sons of the Light.