- On January the 1st of 1984, Billy Graham published what became a 236-page bestseller, Approaching Hoofbeats: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse! (This is where I’m going with the message today:)
- One can already hear “the hoofbeats” getting ready to stomp!
- But before we get there, I need to give you a little review of what made me think about this study. Obviously, things are happening fast and furious all around the globe! It would take all our time today to enumerate them. They are NOT WITHOUT prophetic implications!
- Let me just briefly state that there are multiple indicators characteristic of the Tribulation period already positioning themselves for that 7-year period.
So, let’s just jump right in with the Five consecutive beginnings of the Tribulation period and observe how they are being prepped:
I. THE ANTICHRIST SIGNS A 7-YEAR ACCORD WITH THE NATION OF ISRAEL
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27)
I believe the very date the antichrist confirms a peace-treaty (possibly such as the Oslo Accords, the Deal of the Century, or the Abrahamic Accord) with Israel for an exact 7-year stretch, that will mark the beginning of the Tribulation, and not the Rapture or its consequences!
- This couldn’t have happened prior to 1948, when Israel regained its national statehood.
- In addition, the antichrist was not established yet, as he will be when this signing occurs. And yes, I believe he may already be waiting in the wings today, at least his spirit is (I John 4:3) … [The Church won’t be privy as to his identity (Cf. 2 Thessalonians. 2:3 with v.1) …]
- It appears that Israel will need a (Gentile) strongman to give them guarantees – – possibly because no other world figure can or will.
And now, a few introductory matters as to the next 4 events:
- It is commonly known that chapters 6 – 19:10 (62%) of the Book of Revelation detail the judgments that are coming upon the earth. There are many of them and cumulative in their effect. Probably more than one half of the world’s population will be decimated (that’s 1 out of every 2 persons, not counting other living beings and material damages)!
- The only One worthy to enforce these calamities, judgments or punishments is “the Lamb.” So why is He called a “Lamb” (29 times in this Book), which generally describes a meek and docile creature? The answer is rather simple – – lambs were often used for sacrifices. In short, because of Christ’s atoning and sacrificial death on the cross and through His resurrection, He alone reserves the right to punish those who reject Him. One excellent writer put it this way, “Because arnion (lamb) depicts the glorified Christ, enthroned with God, and destined to be victorious over all opposing forces, both human and divine (cf. 6:16; 17:14) …!” R. Thomas, Revelation 1-7: An Exegetical Commentary. Vol. 1, (p. 390).
- Jesus Christ will be the One to open the seals of God’s judgment Book and will be the Judge of the entire world! Here are the first 4 of these:
II. THE LAMB OF GOD OPENS THE 1ST SEAL: THE WHITE HORSE JUDGMENT
Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (Revelation 6:1–2)
- I personally believe that these are the beginning of the birth pains found in Matthew 24:8). They correspond with the pattern of the Olivet Discourse Jesus proclaimed some 65 years earlier (Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21) – – –
- Often in the Bible horses and horsemen are associated with war and conquest. This holds true here as well. The white color usually speaks of purity, but it this case, a deceptive purity. (The Matthew 24 passage speaks no less than 4 times of deception occurring during this period) !
- Many confuse this white horse with the one Christ rides on in 19:11. Just because both horses are white doesn’t identify the riders as being one and the same: [For example, both World War 1 and World War 2 were called “wars,” but were separated by 25 years – – beginning with 1914 and 1939 respectively]!
- The latter rider is “faithful and true,” the former is not so identified.
- The former has a crown of conquest, the latter, crowns of deity only.
- The former has a bow, the latter has a sword coming from His mouth. (No arrows are mentioned, perhaps implying a bloodless conquest).
- This rider is not Christ, but a false imitation of Him. Many, myself included, believe he will be the antichrist, in conquest of world dominion arriving by the middle of the Tribulation period (Rev. 13)!
- Can you not see the prophetic implications of a global leadership? But thank God – – that domination will only be temporary till THE KING arrives!
III. THE LAMB OF GOD OPENS THE 2ND SEAL: THE FIERY RED HORSE JUDGMENT
When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. (Revelation 6:3–4)
- This seal brings with it internal and external conflict and war.
- We are still at the beginning stages of the 1st set of judgments (of 3 – – the seal, trumpet & bowl judgments; along with other massive catastrophes)!
- This horse is another of the same kind the first horse is, but represents the killing of one another, thus removing any semblance of outward peace from the (entire) earth (1Thessalonians 5:3) … And you think it’s bad now?! Serenity is replaced by the sword!
- Any foreshadowing of this today??
IV. THE LAMB OF GOD OPENS THE 3RD SEAL: THE BLACK HORSE JUDGMENT
When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” (Revelation 6:5–6)
- This somewhat reminded me of a place in the vicinity of Philadelphia called “Black Horse Pike.” I’ve been on it as others of you may have also. Here we find Black Horse Privation!
- The rider of this horse has an old-fashioned scale in his hand. It represents a time of lamentation and mourning due to a scarcity of food and resultant anxiety! Provisions are so expensive that only the wealthy can afford it.
- Most often famine follows war! This one will be the worst severe ever!
- One writer pictures it this way: “Wheat was the main food of the ancient world, a better grain worth more than barley. This much wheat was only enough to sustain for one day a person of moderate appetite. Famine condition prices required a full day’s pay to purchase this minimum ration. A denarius was the average day’s wages for a working man. The minimum daily food requirement of barley was three measures because it was cheaper than the better food, wheat. These two foods were basic for the whole population. By buying the cheaper commodity a laborer could obtain three measures and have enough for himself and his family, but each person received less nutritional value. The purchasing power of a denarius drops far below what is normal and results in widespread hunger.” (Thomas, p. 432).
- This famine will not be universal however, the rich will be able to get some of the finer things of life (such as oil and wine)! The rich stay rich and the poor get poorer! But they will receive their judgment shortly (Rev. 6:15)!
What caused me to write this lesson was this very point – – we’re beginning to notice empty spaces on some grocery shelves as well as hard to obtain, or even unobtainable products, with numerous businesses closing shop! Any prophetic implications or applications here??
V. THE LAMB OF GOD OPENS THE 4TH SEAL: THE PALE HORSE JUDGMENT
When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth. (Revelation 6:7–8)
- The color of this horse is actually the yellowish-green (ashen gray) of decay and death.
- The Greek word Hades is often translated as “Hell” in our New Testaments. It accompanies death in our passage, meaning that this has special reference to those who die and go to Hell! That’s one quarter of the earth thus far. Translated, that would amount to about 2 billion people!
- The second time “death” occurs in verse 8 it refers to that brought about by fatal diseases. Could this be something like “Covid on steroids??”
Thomas pointedly summarizes from another writer (by the name of Swete), “The magnitude of this catastrophe can hardly be grasped because nothing comparable has happened throughout history” (p. 438)!
His personal conclusion is as follows: “After such terrifying developments, could matters get worse? How can the gloom of the fourth rider be exceeded? The remaining seals will tell. After all, these are only “the beginning of birth-pains” (p. 439).
These are only the opening disasters with many more cumulative and massive punishments to come on an unbelieving world!
Since we’re almost at that place, we know the Rapture must precede the Tribulation! BUT ARE WE READY? WHAT ABOUT OUR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS? In other words, WHAT ARE WE DOING ABOUT IT? DO WE REALLY CARE (about others as much as we do about ourselves)?
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:20) …!
Things are getting hotter and will literally come to pass shortly and suddenly
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, (Revelation 1:1) !
Believers need to get ready to give an accounting before the bema-seat judgment of Jesus Christ (Romans 14:12; 1 Corinthians 5:10-11)!
Unbelievers need to quickly repent and turn to their only Hope – -THE MESSIAH (2 Corinthians 6:2b)!
Of the many things that could be said about Hell, it may be categorically summarized: you DON’T want to go there!